By Ashley Cordero:
Today we backpacked through a more agricultural side of the Camino compared to yesterday’s hilly countryside. On either side of the path there was farmland for what seemed to be miles upon miles. We walked by as farmers went about their day tending to their crops and we saw the occasional herd of animals grazing. As we continued to walk there was the occasional small town that would pop up. It made me think about the relationship between the peregrinos (aka pilgrims) and the residents of the small towns that have sprouted up along the Camino during the middle ages. To us tourists/peregrinos, Spain and the Camino are fun, new experiences and a nice vacation from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. However, for many towns along the Camino, our vacation is their livelihood. Many pilgrim routes acted as a route of trade and commerce years ago. Now, with what seems to be an exponential growth in the use of internet, cars, airplanes, and highways, these routes are less in demand and no longer necessary for trade and commerce. These little towns find themselves fading into the background. The pilgrims that travel the Camino have filled in these economic losses and have come to serve as a primary source of income for these towns. Pilgrims and residents rely on one other for support and strength. I am glad to experience such bonds and relationships with people along the way.