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Tanya and husband walking the Camino

Each year hundreds of thousands of people set out on the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago, also referred to as the Way of St. James in English. At Bike Spain Tours our most popular bike trip is the Camino de Santiago, we offer guided and self-guided tours starting in León and Burgos. One of our customers, Mary Lynn Patton, traveled with us on our Camino guided tour from León in 2009. After enjoying her first pilgrimage with us so much, she decided to return, but this time she wanted to get the full experience with a five-week trip.  So, Mary Lynn came back to us and asked if we could help her put together a self-guided 35 day pilgrimage that allowed her to travel by bike and her friend, Tanya, to walk the same routes. We were thrilled to plan this unique customized Camino for them!

 

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Mary Lynn and Tanya celebrating another week completed

We wanted Mary Lynn and Tanya to be able to enjoy their trip without any worries, so we took care of planning all of the hotel accommodations, luggage and bike transfers, and cycling routes. We served as their contact in Spain for any questions or concerns they had throughout the five-week journey. The trip began in St Jean Pied de Port, France and ended in the traditional culmination of the pilgrimage route, Santiago de Compostela.  Mary Lynn traveled on one of our Specialized touring bikes,  Tanya walked, and in León Tanya’s family joined the journey! All luggage transfers were organized each day so they did not have to worry about carrying anything with them that they didn’t need during the day.

 

Mary Lynn receiving her “Free Hug”

Each day Mary Lynn posted beautiful photos from their trip, which allowed us and her friends and family back home to follow along on the pilgrimage, and get a glimpse at some of the unforgettable moments of the journey. Although the weather didn’t always cooperate, the rain and fog didn’t stop these travelling ladies from taking on each stage of the Camino. When the weather or steep inclines did get them down, something along the way picked them right back up, like an encounter with a young German girl offering “Free Hugs,” or attending a pilgrim mass in an old Spanish church.

 

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Dining in León

After 21 days of walking and biking, spirits were lifted when the ladies reached León and found Tanya’s husband and daughter anxiously awaiting their arrival! They were able to spend some time in León before heading back out on the road. Together the group set out to complete the remainder of the journey from León to Santiago. On the last leg of their journey they encountered a lot of rain, but together they made the best of the bad weather.

 

The sky upon arrival to Santiago

On day 35, after a long and rewarding trek, they finally arrived in Santiago de Compostela. They celebrated their journey with mass in the famous World Heritage Site: Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. In a client feedback survey we asked Mary Lynn what her favorite part of the tour was and she responded, “It was a trip of a life time to explore the Camino de Santiago route from St Jean to Santiago, and my favorite part was the slow pace of traveling the amount a walker can walk per day, about 25 kilometers.” We are so happy that we were able to plan this customized Camino for Mary Lynn and Tanya, and we applaud them for completing the five-week pilgrimage!

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