Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Sixteen days on the Camino (the road) from 2. August. After arriving at the grave of St. Jacob, Guro Marte Gulstad realized that this was only the beginning. "Above the portal when you exit the church there is a seal with the symbols 'omega and alfa' - signifying the end and the beginning - positioned in contrast to the usual 'alfa and omega', the beginning and the end. This is a reminder that the Camino is never finished, but that we should continue to work for the Kingdom of God, the work that St. Jacob started almost 2000 years ago."

 

The relationship between the Way and the Goal was different for Guro-Marte this time from what it was when she first walked to Santiago de Compostela five years ago. This year, at the Feast of St. Olav, she had been accepted into the Catholic Church in St. Olav Cathedral. "Five years ago I had no true concept of what a Saint is. This time I was prepared for the meeting with St. Jacob. Arriving at the Cathedral and the Saint's grave was an intensely moving experience. I was overwhelmed", she recounts.

The Way was also important. You are close to nature and meet lots of wonderful people. Special friendships are forged along the road. The journey started in the far north of Spain, along the Camino del Norte, often with splendid views of the Atlantic. Guro-Marte had clear goals for each day's walking, setting aside time alone for prayer and contemplation. During the two weeks on the Camino she attended mass as often as possible, altogether ten masses before she reached Santiago. Sometimes there was a special blessing for the pilgrims at the end of mass. Before she left Trondheim she had received blessings from our parish priest Dom Albert.

August is a popular month for pilgrimage in Spain. It is holiday time and there are lots of pilgrims and tourists. The heat can be challenging for us from the high north. If possible, it might be best to avoid the busiest periods, and rather walk the Camino in spring or autumn. Good preparation for the journey is essential. "I am happy to share my experiences with others who are thinking of setting out on a pilgrimage to the grave of the Holy Apostle Jacob. It is a fantastic experience which many should allow themselves", says Guro-Marte.