Week 6: From Monday 26 to Sunday 2 October: first days of walking in Spain.
Every week, in partnership with Reporters d’espoirs, Thierry and Martin share their experience with us: the encounters they make, the economic and social challenges of the rural areas they cross, the joys but also the difficulties they experience. .
End clap this Monday, September 26 for our ESS 750 project. As planned, we finished the French part of the route with a magnificent stage under a superb sun. The emotion is strong. We are therefore stopping our meetings with the actors of the social and solidarity economy, but the march continues until Santiago de Compostela, which we will reach on Saturday 29 October.
It is therefore time for a “first assessment” but also for what we call our “surprise report” after this week spent in Spain.
Without drawing definitive conclusions, one thing is certain: we have been able to observe some very fine social and economic successes. Here are their commonalities.
- The love of the territory, the concern for others and relationships imbued with great authenticity.
- The desire to preserve traditions, while remaining resolutely in line with modernity. As the saying goes: “Modernity without tradition is blind, tradition without modernity is sterile.”
- The will to serve the environment and the nature which they consider as a treasure.
But these actors are confronted with a lack of coordination between the various local actors and a lack of means but also of skills, in particular to respond to the challenge of national development.
Now let’s move on to our “astonishment report” at the end of our week in Spain. We hear in France that the Spanish part, and especially the traditional route, the Camino Frances, would be less beautiful, too crowded and that the Spaniards would not be welcoming. It is not so.
The landscapes are also superb. Admittedly, these are different, but wouldn’t that be a matter of personal appreciation? The walkers and walkers are more numerous but the space is wide! Their international profile (we met 18 different nationalities) is remarkable. Thus, we met a large number of Americans but also Koreans and Asians. One wonders why the Americans start the path at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. Wouldn’t there be a potential there for France to exploit?
Hosts and Spaniards are particularly welcoming and very concerned about the Camino, considered a tourist, cultural and economic asset… The signage is excellent, symbolized by the shell.
We understood that the negative opinions on the Spanish part were finally peddled by those who could not, did not want or did not dare to venture into Spain. This first week, despite three days of rain, has been a very good experience, in line with what we have been experiencing since leaving Puy-en-Velay forty days ago. We look forward to the remaining twenty-seven stages to reach Santiago and Finisterre. And as we say on the way: Ultreïa!