El Camino de Santiago
The Red Headed Traveler
El Camino de Santiago is the pilgrimage route to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region of northwestern Spain. Tradition has it that the remains of the apostle St. James are buried there after having been transported by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain and buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.
From one of its most popular starting points, St. Jean Pied de Port in southwestern France, El Camino stretches nearly 500 miles to Santiago (another popular starting point is Roncesvalles in Spain). Pilgrims, or peregrinos, as they are known in Spanish carry a document called a credencial, a pilgrim's passport, that receives an official St. James stamp from each town or refugio at which a pilgrim has stayed. It serves as proof that a pilgrim has walked El Camino according to an official route, and also is necessary if a pilgrim wants to obtain a compostela, or certificate of completion of the pilgrimage.