The Pilgrims (in or before 1508) by Lucas van LeydenNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Find inspiration in these historical pilgrims
Each pilgrimage is a unique experience, but it's possible to have the same concerns, incentives or circumstances as people who have traveled the St. James Way in different historical periods. Tell us what you're looking for ... and we'll tell you who you're like.
Pilgrims on the Road to Fisterra (2020)Regional Government of Galicia
1. Do you like to travel light ...
Your match is Guillaume Manier, a French tailor who, according to his account of traveling the Way with three friends, made the pilgrimage with no money, living simply off guile and sporadic work. They harvested grapes in the Bordeaux region, spent some time as beggars in Bayonne and even tried to cross the Bidasoa river on rafts made from maize stems to avoid paying the toll.
Hostal dos Reis Católicos (1501)Regional Government of Galicia
... or in comfort and style?
Perhaps you're more like King Sigurd I Magnusson of Norway, the first known Scandinavian pilgrim to Santiago. He left Bergen in 1108, with a party of 60 boats and 100 men in each boat in the direction of Jerusalem. On the way, he stopped at Santiago, where he stayed for the entire winter.
Pilgrim on the Maior Staircase of Sarria (2021)Regional Government of Galicia
2. Do you prefer to travel alone ...
Your guide might be Fronilde, a Leonese noblewoman who, in 1045, made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela alone, something which was out of the ordinary at a time when women usually traveled accompanied by their husbands.
Pilgrims on the French Way as they pass through Arca (O Pino) (2005) by Fernando BellasRegional Government of Galicia
... or in good company?
You might be inspired by the bishop Gotelcaldo, the first known Jacobean pilgrim who came from beyond the Pyrenees. He traveled with priests and noblemen from Aquitaine, accompanied by troubadours, jugglers, archers, lancers, heralds, and pages ... and of course the mules they needed to carry all of their equipment!
Illuminated book (1592 A.D.) by Unknown authorMuseu Nacional de Machado de Castro
3. When you travel are you guided by faith …
Your match is Saint Elizabeth of Portugal. Also known as the Reinha Santa, she was an incomparably devout pilgrim. The Portuguese queen made two pilgrimages to Santiago and bestowed some of the greatest treasures upon the saint, including her own royal crown.
Four Women Dancing (version in reverse) (1400/1499) by Workshop of Andrea MantegnaNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
... or in search of fun?
Then you're probably like Margery Kempe. An archetype of the independent female traveler, she made accounts of her adventures as a pilgrim in the 15th century. She embarked from Bristol in 1417, and according to her account, spent 14 days in Santiago in great spiritual and bodily contentment.
Santiago's cake (2020)Original Source: Axencia Galega da Calidade Alimentaria
4. Are you interested in food ...
Your match is Giacomo Antonio Naia, an Italian Carmelite who traveled to Santiago between 1717 and 1719, and wrote a diary which painstakingly detailed all of the typical dishes of the various cities that he came across along the way. In this sense, he wrote an entire essay on cooking.
The Concert (1623) by Gerrit van HonthorstNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
... or music?
Then you'll have more in common with Sebald Örtel. The account of this businessman's journey in 1521 from the German city of Nuremberg contains lots of artistic details, especially musical references.
Medieval paintings, Cathedral of Mondoñedo (1219)Regional Government of Galicia
5. Do you expect to find adventure …
You might be inspired by Leo von Rozmithal, a bohemian nobleman from the 15th century. During his treacherous journey, he was almost shipwrecked twice, was captured by pirates, got involved in various altercations and arrived in Santiago in the middle of a popular uprising, the Irmandiño Revolts, which he also got involved in.
St. Bridget (Schr. 1307a) (15th century) by Anonymous, German, 15th centuryThe Metropolitan Museum of Art
... or spiritual revelations?
You might symbolize Saint Birgitta. This queen, a symbol of Sweden, is considered the great Nordic medieval writer. Her texts describe various visions that occurred among her party when she made the pilgrimage to Santiago between 1341 and 1343, including the apparition of the apostle himself.
Pilgrims in front of the Samos monastery (6th-18th Centuries)Regional Government of Galicia
6. Are you left with the desire to return …
You could try to copy Bona de Pisa, an Italian monk from the seventh century who traveled to Santiago as many as nine times. This tireless traveler also visited Jerusalem and Rome, helping other travelers.
Porta Faxeira in Santiago de Compostela (2021)Regional Government of Galicia
... or do you simply want to stay and live in Santiago?
Then do what Bretenaldo did. This Frenchman, who made the oldest known pilgrimage to Santiago by a foreigner, obtained a property with a home and farmland on the outskirts of Santiago towards 920-922 and became a resident of the city.