European Divorcee Trail
El Camino de Santiago is the most popular trail in Europe. It runs approximately 500 miles from southern France, across the Pyrenees, through the Basque region in Spain, across “the meseta”, and into Galicia in northwest Spain. This trail is 1,200 years old and has seen pilgrims as diverse as Charlemagne, St. Francis of Assissi, and Kinng Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. In the Middle Ages, when theEuropean population was 10% of its present size, El Camino routinely saw 500,000 pilgrims per year. Wow. Approximately 30% of European adults did the journey, which was usually the highlight of their lives.
El Camino de Santiago is now making a comeback. This is evidence by the fact that the number of pilgrims has increased annually since the 1980’s. 200,000 people walked El Camino in 2010. People go for all kinds of reasons from a desire for spiritual mysticism, seeking penance, to a quest for adventure. Some people even refer to El Camino as “the European Divorcee Trail.” Yes, you read that correctly. “It seemed like Europe’s biggest singles bar,” exulted one pilgrim.
Skywalker–author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, and Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail