I found this at an English antique store in Foscoe, NC. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time.
Now I know that it is in relation to the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. This is a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint James the Greater, the apostle of Jesus. The scallop shell and this distinctive red cross are both associated with this saint.
In heraldry, the Cross of Saint James, also called the Santiago cross or the cruz espada,is a charge in the form of a cross. It combines a cross fitchy (the lower limb is pointed, as if to be driven into the ground) with either a cross fleury (the arms end in fleurs-de-lys) The three fleurs-de-lis represent the “honor without stain”, which is in reference to the moral features of the Apostle’s character. The sword represents the chivalrous character of the apostle St. James and his martyr ways, since he was decapitated with a sword. It can also symbolize taking the sword in the name of Christ, in a certain sense. (from Wikipedia)
All roads lead to Santiago. There are many different routes. Some say that there are as many different routes as there are pilgrims, because you must start where you are.
I have been reading quite a bit about this, trying to learn as much as I can. This could be a very difficult and strenuous trek. It is done on foot or on bicycle, and at a minimum must be walked the last 100 km (63 miles) or biked the last 200 km.
The most common route is the Camino Frances, and it starts just north of the Pyrenees and is 760 km. It takes about 40 days to complete.
I have made this necklace as a reminder to me of this goal. There are “rocks” for the journey, and I did them one at a time rather than three on a wire because each step has to be taken one at a time. The blue and yellow sections represent the wayfinding arrows.
There are yellow arrows along the way showing you where to go so you don’t get lost.
I am amused that there are yellow arrows in my neighborhood. I’m noticing them as I walk. I’m sure they are for the utility company, but they encourage me on my walk.
The average day’s walk on the Camino is 20 km (12 miles). I’m training for it by walking every day. I don’t have the time yet to walk more than an hour at a time. I’ve read that an average day has about 6 hours of walking. I’m sure I can’t do all of that in one stretch. There will need to be rest breaks to cool off my feet and have lunch.
I hear that a common pilgrim’s lunch is a bocadillo, which essentially is a ham and cheese sandwich, but with a baguette, Spanish cured ham, and really tasty cheese. I’ve also heard that you must eat octopus while in Santiago (The region of Galicia), as it is a special treat.
The best thing about this is that I am learning so much. This is the best research project I’ve ever gotten into. I’m learning about history, geography, another culture, another language, and about hiking in general. I’m training for this in as many ways as possible.