Two Galician men undertook the extreme challenge in 2010 of walking more than 6,000 kilometers to Santiago. Many choose to do the Way adventure as a peronal challenge, but in the case of Andrés Fraga and Juan Rivas, "Coru", the challenge went a little further. Taking advantage of the last Xacobeo Holy year in 2010, they decided to try something truly original. They chose to do the Way of St. James from the northernmost point in Europe: Nordkapp (North Cape) in Norway. Over seven months, eleven countries and 6,300 kilometers they lived out a unique experience. Fraga confesses that he would not repeat it, but he does not regret this once in a lifetime adventure.
However, the greatest difficulty that Fraga and Coru encountered were not the enormous distances or the extreme climates. What almost derailed their challenge was the lack of funds. "Our idea was to do something different and broadcast the adventure live at a time when social networks were just getting started and had not yet taken off in Spain", Fraga explains. The short preparation time, barely two months, meant that the sponsorships they found were not enough to fully finance their modest expenses.
Finally, with the help of committed followers of their adventure they managed to reach Compostela in early December, after a seven-month journey. They got help from many people along the way who often invited them to sleep over, eat and drink. The travelers carried along a tent and often slept under the sky after their daily trek. Approximately every ten days they stopped in a city for a day or two and sleep in a bed for at least one night.
Fraga is in a position to be albe to offer walkers a bit of advice, after undertaking an experience that led him to wear out seven pairs of boots, lose 12 kilos, and increase his shoesize. After finishing his Camino, it took months for everything to go back to normal. "For anyone who wants to do a long-distance Camino journey, I recommend scheduling well, setting weekly goals and planning rest days. We started doing stages of 14 kilometers and by the end we wre doing 60. We were not walking very fast but when we arrived in Spain we realized that we had covered many more miles a day than most pilgrims, "Fraga explains. Taking good care of your feet and not skimping on moisturizer is another bit of advice from this expert walker.
Despite what might be expected, the cold weather in the Nordic countries was not the greatest enemy of these two marathoners, who set off at the end of April. The worst part was the heat in the Central European stages and the mosquitoes. Personal hygiene was difficult, so when they entered a city the first thing they did was have a shower because their presence could be noticed from a distance. Throughout their journey they crossed eleven countries: Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, France and Spain.
If you are interested in learning more about this experience you can find information at www.6mpasos.com