Closing in on three weeks now and since day one I have spent a lot of time thinking about signs. The Way is marked throughout the 500 miles with an astonishing variety of way-finding.
Finding your way on the way is usually simple, sometimes humorous and rarely difficult.
We missed a marker only once and found ourselves about a mile off the Camino. As back up we have an app that we can follow the route on our phones. We try not to use it – and keep our noses out of phones. But the day we took the wrong turn we
went to the app to see where we went wrong.
Signage can be very amateurish and even cryptic in some places, and it was one of these that we missed that day. But you get used to seeing the signs, so if you’ve made a wrong turn you won’t go along too far before you begin to suspect you’ve done something wrong because the yellow arrows have disappeared.
Official signage is often very pretty blue tiles with the yellow Camino scallop shell. These signs are most often found on the sides of buildings in the small towns and villages.
Some towns and municipalities have taken it on themselves to create their own unique Camino signage. In Logrono they created a more stylized modern look using stone and metal. In the teeny village of Redecilla Del Camino a long yellow stripe in the middle of the road through town bearing the Camino scallop shell guided you on your way.
Sometimes the Camino runs parallel the highway and sometimes you have to cross a busy road. Here the signage has the look of official highway signs, but still in the familiar blue and gold.
Much of the directional marking is done with yellow spray paint. It’s not clear to me who does this. Locals trying to be helpful? Pilgrims who have noticed a need? Sometimes you can barely make out the yellow spray paint. Sometimes it’s unclear which way the arrow is actually pointing.
As we climbed out of the valley and above the town of Najera we went through a beautiful section of red rock mountains. The yellow arrows stood out against the red rocks.
Sometimes pilgrims get creative. Often we stumble across arrows or messages made from stones or sticks. One place an entire labyrinth with a tiny cross in the middle was laid out. A good sign.
I still have close to three weeks to go. No doubt there are still more signs ahead to amaze and amuse. But these are the ones that have guided us along these past weeks. On our journey full of
hopeful signs for grateful life.
229 miles done. 259 to go! 😃