Just a few hours from the end of 2017, on the Camino con Correos we want to look back and revisit those moments we’ve shared with you on the Camino de Santiago. 2017 will stand out as a historic year, by reaching 300,000 pilgrims arriving to Compostela and celebrating a rounded ephemeris: thirty years of the Camino de Santiago as European Cultural Itinerary.
During these 12 months, we've celebrated values intrinsic to every pilgrim, including strength, spirituality, integration, culture, diversity, solidarity, friendship, sensitivity, sustainability, hospitality, hope and peace. And we've shared many stories and useful tips, travelled throughout Spain, discovering the Magic of the Camino and accompanying our pingüirinos, encounters and experiences and, above all, we have made travel companions for life.
Andrew Patrick Larkin. With this 22-year-old from Michigan (USA), we start this year's report. Because Andrew, despite arriving on a rainy day in December at a little-travelled Pilgrim Office, perfectly summarizes what 2017 has been: a historic year. He is pilgrim number 300,000, a figure that's never been reached before, which demonstrates the ever-increasing popularity of the Jacobean route. Equally exciting was the commemoration of the declaration of the Camino de Santiago as first European Cultural Itinerary, distinct in that this October we celebrated its 30th anniversary. This declaration granted by the Council of Europe in 1987 sought to recover and value the Camino de Santiago, an example of Europeaness and a privileged meeting place. Three decades later, we celebrate that all those recommendations and good practice guides have come true.
2017 was also a special year for the Camino con Correos, with the start-up of the online contracting service of our Paq Mochila, with which we want to make the Camino de Santiago easier by transporting luggage from stage to stage. Additionally, we were fortunate to again participating in the initiative The Camino ends at the Obradoiro, sharing the five stages of the Camino Inglés with former basketball player Nikos Galis. And we shared magical moments at the meetings of the different Associations of the Friends of the Camino, especially at the XI Jacobean Congress held in Antequera.
And, of course, we continue to learn and share all the experience of the Camino with you. Cities such as Seville, Alicante, Barcelona, Santo Domingo de la Calzada and San Sebastian hosted the exhibition Discover the Magic of the Camino, 57 photographs that capture some of the charms of the Jacobean route through the eyes of the traveller. In addition, from the iPeregrinos, we launched the initiative The Values of the Camino in 12 Months. A project where we deepen all these feelings that move us when it comes to the Camino de Santiago and that will continue in 2018 thanks to more than 600 images that you've sent to us.
The Camino de Santiago has provided 2017 with unforgettable encounters with the likes of José Sanchís ‘Mocho’, creator of the hands of the Camino, a symbol of friendship on the pilgrimage to Santiago; Xavier Jordi, our YouTuber pilgrim; or Diego Davila, a Brazilian lover of the Camino.
And, in addition, we have participated in very special pilgrimages, including the Camino de Hospidepor, travelled by five people with functional diversity and 6 companions of the Asepeyo de Sant Cugat hospital. Or the pilgrimage through the Camino Primitivo of the three members of Prohibido Rendirse Sí Se Puede benefiting the Women Affected by Breast Cancer of Aspe (Alicante).
2017 has given us its all, and we've shared with you numerous tips so that you can better experience the Camino: from how to plan it, what to eat and what to see at the different ocations that cross different routes.
And, above all, we keep on walking by your side on the Camino. Carrying your luggage, transporting it at the beginning of your pilgrimage or back to your home, sending your bike or allowing you to enjoy your adventure without any worries. And for that we have more than 150 Correos offices throughout different points of the Camino de Santiago, we have extended our hours to improve pilgrim customer care and we are still present in key points such as the Pilgrim Services Office, on Carretas Street. Thus, we say goodbye to 2017 full of energy and looking forward to meeting you all again in 2018. Safe travels!
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¡Buen Camino! This is our wish at Correos! – that pilgrims can fully enjoy their Camino and discover new places, histories, people and experiences through our postcards.