Walking the Way of Saint James
People continue to take the Pilgrim trail and can be instantly identified by the pilgrim staff and the symbol of the scallop shell. The shell is the traditional symbol of the pilgrimage because the grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes that pilgrims travel, all eventually arriving at a single destination at Santiago de Compostela. It is also symbolic of the pilgrim because just as the waves of the ocean wash scallop shells up on the shores of Galicia, God’s hand also guides the pilgrims to their final destination.
I have been giving some thought to perhaps tackling the Camino myself one day and have been looking at the various different routes. I have to say that I may have a preference for the one that starts in Plymouth in the UK because that would seem to include rather a nice cruise on a P&O ferry across the Bay of Biscay and an evening in the duty free bar followed by a just short stroll from A Coruña to Santiago de Compostela.
Sir Walter Raleigh wrote:
Give me my scallop shell of quiet;
My staff of faith to walk upon;
My scrip of joy, immortal diet;
My bottle of salvation;
My gown of glory (hope’s true gage);
And then I’ll take my pilgrimage.