Along the trail, we have come to learn that there is an unspoken connectedness between the peregrinos and the physical trail itself. The key concepts that link the pilgrims to the road and each other have a overwhelming effect on the community. The two main mottos of the trail really speak to the amicable atmosphere that follows the Camino de Santiago.
The first saying speaks to the interconnectedness of all people on the trail by reaching out to passing pilgrims with the simple greeting, “Buen camino.” The most contact with the saying is between the pilgrims themselves when they are in the middle of the long trail who reach out to wish others luck on their journey. It doesn’t matter if the person is stopped, resting or practically running, the automatic response to a nomad with a backpack is,”buen caminio.” The other side of the greeting is when the initiator lives on the trail itself. The majority of these residents live in pueblos that exist solely to serve the pilgrims, subsequently, the residents find much pleasure in wishing the travelers a sound trip.
The second motto, “The Camino de Santiago provides,” truly, comes alive, mostly, through the actions of those on the trail. This saying requires faith; spiritual or secular are necessary. Since everyone’s experience is different, this concept comes to fruition when someone may need it most. For example, people leave shoes along the trail for those whose split or those who have too many blisters to continue with their own. There are boxes that say “take or leave” that exemplify the contributions given by everyone. Or perhaps, my favorite example, there are many food stands in the middle of the trail that run on donations by the people. The hospitality of the people is the epitome of the motto. It is hard to imagine the appreciation of a peregrino when the camino undeniably provides.
The trail was physically constructed with the destination in mind, while the community surrounding the Camino, focuses on the goal of reaching Santiago safely. The physical marks of the trail reflect how the surrounding Spaniards protect the pilgrims. Through the phrases, hospitality partners with the spiritual vibe of the Camino to insure the overall safety and happiness of those who seek Santiago. The weight of these phrases cannot be translated well due to their flexible sense of associated emotion. The general connotation of both mean to represent the open arms, hearts, and minds of the Camino community. The Camino is more so comprised of the people, rather than than the physical path.