11 November 2019
ACE Tour Director Martin Locker discusses the creation of a tour focusing on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela.
Camino de Santiago
By Martin Locker
The Camino de Santiago de Compostela was a pre-eminent pilgrimage route in medieval Christendom, rivalled only by those beacons of faith found at Rome and Jerusalem. From its establishment, the route saw vast amounts of human traffic from across Europe, both in terms of geography and also social standing.
Having completed a doctorate in 2013 that explored the landscapes of pilgrimage in medieval Britain, I was very happy to extend this approach into the Camino, and also to explore the array of religious monuments and lore that have grown up along the route as the centuries have rolled by.
An additional pleasure is that, having relocated to the Pyrenees in 2017 and established a research project that examines the archaeology, folklore and traditions of that mountain range (‘Perennial Pyrenees’), I will be able to weave in some of the socio-cultural and religious practices that define Pyrenean life both past and present. To take a small example, in Roncesvalles, a tragic ambush of Charlemagne’s troops in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 gave birth to an entire genre of medieval literature, the chansons de geste, which in turn went on to link to the troubadour culture of Occitania and the Cathar presence! Echoes of this battle can also be found within the Peninsular Wars in the 1813 Battle of Roncesvalles.
ACE’s Camino tour in 2020 will not only present an opportunity to explore some of the finest ecclesiastical monuments in Spain, but it also presents the wide range of regional cultures within Spain, from Basque to Castilian and finally Galician, all of which present different geographical, linguistic and culinary landscapes.
Martin’s new tour - Camino de Santiago: Pilgrims, Cathedrals & Castles - will depart in April 2020.
Camino de Santiago: Pilgrims, Cathedrals & Castles - More Information
Header Image: Traditional Pilgrim's shell on the Camino de Santiago