Ivar, the Man Who Spent 17 Years Creating a Camino de Santiago Community

Discover caminodesantiago.me, the largest online English forum on the Camino de Santiago, created in 2004 by the Norwegian Ivar Rekve.

By Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me (2021)Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar Rekve will be the best-prepared pilgrim of all time when he finally decides to do the Camino de Santiago.

Peregrinos en la calle de Casas Reais, en Santiago de Compostela (2021)Original Source: Axencia Turismo de Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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The largest online repository of questions and answers on the Camino was set up in 2004. That year, Norwegian native Ivar Rekve made Santiago de Compostela his home. "When I arrived, I saw all these tourists with their backpacks … I didn't know much about the Camino, but I wanted to stay in contact with the wider world from right here in Galicia, so I decided to do something for the community."

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me (2021)Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar manages the caminodesantiago.me forum, which is a large community with over 90,000 registered users. Many pilgrims use the site to answer their queries before they set foot on the road to Santiago de Compostela.

"I started writing a blog, and since many of the comments I received were questions about the Camino." He thought, "Why don't I make a forum where people can get answers to their questions and help each other?" The forum has been running for 17 years. Over 6,000 questions have been answered on it, and even more importantly, a community has been created.

Peregrinos en el Camino de Santiago (2021)Original Source: Axencia Turismo de Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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"You come to the forum to ask questions, you do the Camino, you go back home, you enjoy the experience, and a few months later, you come back to the forum because you're planning your next route, and at the same time, you help other people plan their Camino. It's a place where folks can share information and help each other out."

Peregrinos en el puente de O Leboreiro (2021)Original Source: Axencia Turismo de Galicia

This experience has helped Ivar get quite familiar with the kinds of questions that come up when planning to do the Camino. "The most frequent questions are probably where to start, how to get there, and what to bring in your backpack." When asked about the most bizarre question he's seen, Ivar remembers one in particular: "'What time in the morning does the Camino open?' They thought there was some kind of door that they had to get through."

Peregrinos en el Camino de Santiago (2021)Original Source: Axencia Turismo de Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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He also knows what attracts pilgrims who set out on the trail to Santiago de Compostela from all over the world. "Folks do the Camino for many reasons, so what they enjoy the most depends on that. But in general, I think people do it to meet people from other countries and cultures, walk with them, listen to their stories, and get to know them."

Pilgrims in front of the Samos monastery (6th-18th Centuries)Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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"It's the mix of learning about Spanish culture, meeting interesting people, and making new friends. The experience as a whole is what makes the Camino very special."

The pilgrims themselves also make it special. Ivar thinks that many people now take a more touristic approach; they do shorter sections and don't prepare much in advance. But he also knows of hikers who go long distances from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, and even Kiev (in the Ukraine), like Ursula, who arrived in Santiago de Compostela in the spring of 2021.

Pilgrim on the Maior Staircase of Sarria (2021)Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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They are hikers by vocation. "There are people who walk all the time. I know many people who carry a laptop in their backpack and have a job that allows them to work remotely. They stop and work for a week, and then they walk again for three weeks, over and over again. That's their life."

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me (2021)Regional Government of Galicia

Ivar Rekve, responsible for the forum caminodesantiago.me
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Some people find information on their pilgrimage and a supportive community on caminodesantiago.me. The global crisis caused by COVID-19 has reduced the number of trips, but Ivar believes that pilgrims will keep traveling along the Camino. "I think that, after the pandemic, it might take one or two years to get back to previous numbers, but they will bounce back."

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