During half term, 25 S.Anselm’s pupils walked the famous Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. The three-day walk was challenging but rewarding, starting in Melide and finishing at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
The Camino, (The Way of St James), is a pilgrim route leading to the relics of James, the Apostle, which are held in the cathedral at the end of the route.
The children started their pilgrimage early on the Sunday morning, departing from the school by coach and flying to Santiago from Stansted Airport.
The first night of the trip was spent in Melide where the children, staff and accompanying parents thoroughly enjoyed their meal.
On Monday morning, they started their route to Arzua. The morning started damp and autumnal but by lunch time the sun was out and the coats were off. The children particularly enjoyed seeing the wildlife on the route which included salamanders, kittens and sheep. They also enjoyed eating large Galician croissants.
Along the pilgrim route, each stop had a stamp for the children to mark their pilgrim passports. At the end of the trip these became a lovely keepsake, with a stamp to remind them of their route. Mr Thompson had the idea that house points would be awarded for the most stamped passport and so the competition commenced!
The second day coincided with Stanley’s birthday and the children celebrated by tying balloons to his backpack. During dinner, he was presented with an amazing, Halloween-themed birthday cake to share.
The last day of walking started rather damp and the group was caught in heavy showers. Thankfully, this passed and they were able to continue in their waterproof gear. The route passed by Santiago Airport and it was fascinating for the group to see the planes taking off from so close up.
Spirits were high upon the final descent into Santiago where the group came to the end of their 50km walk. They had a well-earned meal in the beautiful vaulted dining room at the monastery.
The last day of the trip was mostly spent shopping and exploring Santiago. Some parents and children had the opportunity not only to see the wonderful cathedral but to attend the pilgrim Mass. One of the most iconic scenes from this Mass is the Botafumeiro, a 53-kilo incense thurible, which is thought to be the largest in the world, swinging from the rafters. Using a complex system of pulleys, it is swung from the central cupola of the cathedral, from which it hangs, towards the side aisles. It takes eight men to move it and can reach speeds up to 68 km/h. The S. Anselm’s attendees were fascinated by this part of the Mass and had never seen anything quite like it.
The trip concluded with a second dinner in the monastery where they celebrated Cebe’s birthday with Santiago cake, a dessert surprisingly similar to our own Bakewell Tart.
A special thanks goes to Mr Mortimer for organising the trip which in itself was an organisational and logistical feat and ran very smoothly. Also, a big thank you goes to Mrs Webster, Mrs Brailich and Miss Flack for giving up their half-term to accompany the children on the trip.
Short videos showing each day’s activities can be found on our Instagram.