Santiago Train Tragedy

My friends and followers who have walked the Camino understand the extent of the sadness associated with this great tragedy. However, for many of you, my wonderful readers, this blog may be your first close introduction to Spain. We haven’t arrived in Santiago yet, but it is the goal, the focus, the end point of our travels.

The Camino de Santiago de Campostella is a pilgrimage to one of the three holiest sites of the western world, the other two being Rome and Jerusalem. The tomb of Saint James is in the Cathedral of Santiago and his feast day is . . . wait for it . . .  July 25.

If you haven’t been to Spain, the news of this tragedy may skim over your consciousness. We get news of many tragedies, numbingly common. But I hope that, by following this blog, you have a slight inkling of where Santiago is, of who travels to it, of how they feel when they arrive.

I hope Santiago de Campostella is no longer a place you have never heard of, but a place you can start to imagine. I hope you will feel more compassion for those people – families, students (Santiago is a major university city), and probably many pilgrims – who were on the train, traveling to Santiago, for the Feast Day and celebration.

The internet is a powerful tool. I hope my blog helps in some tiny way to improve understanding and interest among people who speak different languages, eat different foods, listen to different music, yet feel the same moments of happiness and sorrow as all human beings around the world.

Our compassion and care for each other binds us and shapes us. The Camino is one place where this coming together of  people, this sharing of our strengths and weaknesses, of what we have and what we need, reminds us that we are all traveling together.


A pilgrim prays in front of the Cathedral in Santiago de Campostella



9 responses to “Santiago Train Tragedy

  1. Little more than a year ago the news of a train crash in Spain would have barely made a blip on my radar, if indeed it made it to the radar at all, since I don’t watch the news and American World news coverage is pitiful at best. But since I first heard about this last night my heart has been heavy with grief. Over the people who lost their lives and the families that lost their loved ones. Over the injured and the impact this will make on their lives. Over a country that is desperately trying to stabilize its economy and to have this awful tragedy happen. I think of the pilgrims that have planned, saved, trained and walked all those miles to Santiago and now are walking into a city in morning.

    Thank you Kathy for your well written and moving post.

    • Janet, this kind of event should keep us all humble and focused on what things are truly important in life – friends, family, peace and harmony. Strangely, I could actually say the same about the Camino, but the context is cruelly different. Thank you for your kind words.

  2. hi Kathy. My wife cathy and I have been in Santiago since Sunday. We were in our hotel when the train tragedy was occurring and listened to all of the sirens an emergency vehicles rushing to the train station. We were of course unaware at the time of what was happening. It wasn’t until announcements were made later on Cathedral Square cancelling all of the plans festival events for that night and for the feast day that we knew of the extent of the tragedy. I have since finished my walkby walking the three days to Finnestere and have been returned to Santiago. It was very disappointing that the High mass schedule for noon today on the feast day was also cancelled. There were thousands of people around the cathedral waiting for the mass. It is just all very very sad.we continue to enjoy reading you’re wonderful blog. Farmer John and Kathy.

    • Farmer John & K! I’m so glad to hear from you. Your post made me very happy and sad at the same time. I’m glad the two of you made it to the end of your journey. Congratulations!!. But, of course, I feel so badly for you and all the thousands who eagerly awaited the celebration, only to be changed from celebration to mouring in minutes. I know you all feel the sorrow for the friends and families of the victims of the accident. Godspeed, my friends, Thanks for keeping up with my blog.
      . ,

    • Rider, it must be sobering for you, since you knew that you had sat in a seat on that very train yourself. Don’t tragedies like this make us appreciate the fragility of life a little more? Let’s hug our loved ones (or send them a nice e-mail at least). Peace, my friend.

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