So, here we go...
My name is Shane Altmann, I am the principal at St James Lutheran College in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.
I learned a few years ago of The Way of St James, the famous pilgrim route across northern Spain due to its association with the namesake of our college. We had a competition with our students to come up with a name for our college yearbook and a whole bunch of kids submitted the word Santiago. Santiago is the Spanish name of St James. We decided to go with it and my fascination with that famous pilgrim route was born.
To cut a long story short, part of the wonderful privilege that I have as a principal in a Lutheran School in Queensland is the opportunity to go on sabbatical. I applied to go wandering through the hills of Spain as a 'recon' exercise for potential future expeditions with our senior school kids and was graciously granted permission to do so.
My wife, Monica, and I decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity for our whole family to do something extraordinary together as well. We have made plans to pull the kids out of school for a while and travel together to Spain to undertake this most famous pilgrimage.
The Way of St James is a vast pilgrimage that has many routes. The most famous of these is the Camino Frances, an 850 kilometre trek across the north of Spain from the French border to Santiago de Compostella, a city close the the north western edge of the Iberian peninsula.
Being ambitious but sensible, we have decided not to walk the whole length of the Camino (local name for the route) but rather to take on the last 300 kilometres. We have hooked up with a very helpful company called Camino Ways to assist with our journey. With their assistance we have a 21 day tour organised to walk from Leon to Santiago de Compostella in July this year.
The following blog is intended to be a record of our final preparations for this amazing journey, the record of our travels and perhaps some handy information for other principals, schools or groups who are thinking about preparing a similar experience for their students.
The longest journey starts with the first step. Ready, set, go!