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Camino de Santiago... in Estonia?

That's right, as distant and unknown as it may sound, this small Baltic country also has its own itinerary of the Camino de Santiago. We were also shocked when we discovered it, after doing the Winter Way with a group of young people from Estonia, a couple of summers ago. That's how the idea was born, and that's how we finally discovered it on foot in a new youth exchange crossing Estonia from north to south.

Let's share how this amazing #erasmusplus experience has been!

As we were saying, during the month of July we went on a pilgrimage as far away as Estonia. In collaboration with associations from Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Estonia, together with the host Ethos MTÜ, a multicultural group of 27 young people travelled around the country starting in Tallinn and ending in Pärnu, on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.

Camino Estonia is not something that we have invented, as it is part of a large network of Ways of St. James that exists throughout Europe, and is proof that the Camino "starts in front of your front door", as well as the interest it arouses around the world. It is a great pride to see how it is valued and known as a sign of identity that places Galicia on the map wherever we walk.

As a sign of its official status, the Estonian Way has its own pilgrim passport, which we stamped stage after stage in every little church or place we came across. Reaching Santiago on foot was a bit far away, but it is incredible to see how they have even signposted the whole route with stickers. We were able to know all these details with its main promoter Epp Sook, the president of the association Camino Estonia.

What did we do during these ten days? We walked and walked, with long days of up to 30 kilometres a day, made all the more bearable by the fact that Estonia is one of the flattest countries in the world. Suffice it to say that its highest elevation is a 300-metre hill called Suur Munamägi, "the big egg". But even without mountains, its spruce forests, lakes and endless plains are a sight to behold on foot.

During this experience, we had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in local history and traditions, to travel from village to village and to attend workshops on the theme of pilgrimage, the relationship of young people with nature and mental health. Small villages with strange names such as Marjamaa, Pärnu Jagupi or Kivi Vigala welcomed us with great hospitality, where we were also able to camp in the open air for several days in a row.

Here is our happy face when after a long morning's walk we came across.... an alpaca farm!

And to finish the route we arrived in Pärnu, the so-called summer capital of Estonia, where we were welcomed in a youth centre (Sauga ANK) that left us all impressed. It even had its own kitchen and a theatre and activity room where we spent the last days of our experience.

Thanks to all of you who joined us, see you at the next one in Valdeorras!

Lucas Docampo


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