In May 2022, a team of eight Thames Hospice supporters embarked on a trip of a lifetime as they completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain in aid of the Hospice. Hannah, Digital Marketing Manager at Thames Hospice, was one of those trekkers and shares their experience…
The first thing we all noticed as we reached our starting point in Sarria, what we thought was a 100km trek was actually going to be over 113km!! This didn’t deter us though as we set off on our pilgrimage to complete the Camino de Santiago.
The scenery along the Camino was breathtakingly beautiful, as we passed through tiny untouched Spanish villages, stunning countryside and farmlands of northern Spain. Our local guide Bruno was brilliant and ensured we could experience as much of the culture as possible along the route. He treated us to local delicacies at our daily picnic stop, pointed out historical monuments and architecture, and shared lots of interesting stories with us from his many pilgrimages. We felt fully immersed in the Camino experience from day one.
The walk didn't come without its challenges, with each of us struggling at some point along the way. We had to walk up and down some rather challenging hills, made extra challenging by a heatwave! But as a team we spurred each other on, and were all encouraged to keep walking by the reason we were doing this trek – the Hospice. We really formed a bond as a team; as we all had the same end point to reach and we were all doing it because we felt passionate about raising as much money as we could for the Hospice.
We met so many other inspiring people along the way, all with the same goal but all doing it for very different reasons. We met other fundraisers proudly sporting their charity t-shirts, people from all over the world on religious or spiritual journeys, even pilgrims with sprained ankles determined to hobble the rest of the way. If you ever found yourself trailing behind or speeding ahead of your own group, you never felt alone as there was always fellow pilgrims passing and wishing you a ‘Buen Camino!’
On our final day of trekking, we regrouped so we could complete the final 5km of the route together and cross the finish line as a team, which was really important to us. As we approached our end point at the magnificent Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, there was an overwhelming sense of achievement, emotion and pride as we realised we had done it! We had completed our challenge and raised lots of money for the Hospice!
Here’s what some of our other trekkers had to say about their experience:
“A journey I will never forget” | “Life changing” | “A magnificent journey physically and emotionally” | “Incredible experience never to be forgotten”
To see me and the Camino Team in action check out our 'Camino Trek' highlights on the Thames Hospice Instagram.
Why not experience this feeling for yourself and take on our next overseas adventure:
Trek the Grand Canyon
14-21 September 2023
Spaces are limited so if you’re interested in signing up and would like to find out more, please email our Fundraising Team.