Sketches for a Portrait of* my Camino 

Tuija Wetterstrand (Lehtonen)
Place of residence:
Helsinki, Finland
Time of the Camino:

My favourite links:
[Confraternity of Saint James]
[Cathedrals office]

In Finnish only:
[Pyhiinvaeltajan passi]
[Mistä matkaan]

Palkittu vaelluspäiväkirja
Tuija Wetterstrandin Kävellen Santiago de Compostelaan -kirjan kansikuva, ISBN 9789529182954
Suositun vaelluskirjan uudistettu, kokonaan nelivärinen laitos nyt saatavilla! Pyhiinvaellusmatka, alkaa  Roncesvallesista Ranskan ja Espanjan rajalta ja päättyy 750 km myöhemmin Santiago de Compostelaan. Lisänä käytännön vinkkejä! Uudistetun laitoksen esipuheeseen on lisätty kertomus reilun 200 kilometrin vaelluksesta Ranskassa, Le Puyistä Conquesiin. Kirjakaupoista sen saa tilaamalla. Tiedustele myös lähimmästä kirjastostasi.
Kirjan ensimmäinenn laitos (julkaistu nimellä Lehtonen) palkittiin Päätalo-instituutin Möllärimestari-kilpailussa vuoden 2005 parhaana omakustanteena sarjassa dokumentit. Palkintoraati perusteli valintaansa seuraavasti: "Lehtonen on kirjoittanut helppolukuisen ja mielenkiintoisen kertomuksen pyhiinvaelluksesta Pohjois-Espanjassa. Teoksessa kuvataan...myös katolisen alueen historiaa. Kirja on kirjoitettu selkeällä kielellä...Erinomainen lukukokemus, herättää kyllä vähemmänkin kiinnostuneet."
On Thursday evening of May 29, 2003 I arrived to the village of Roncesvalles in Spain. My long time dream was about to come true: tomorrow I would start my pilgrimage, "Camino", towards Santiago de Compostela. So far everything had gone wrong. I had planned to start my pilgrimage already a day before from St Jean Pied de Port in France. I thought I was smart and bought a cheap ticket from Helsinki to London and an other cheap ticket from London to Pau, a newly opened line by Ryanair. In London there was a message in my email: all the flights to France on Tuesday - the day of my flight - were cancelled because of a general stike. After several unsuccesful attemps to call to Ryanair information desk I finally got a hold of a very stressed officer who offered me next available flight to France on Friday. No way I wanted to stay in London that long! I was eager to start walking, and besides, I did't want to change more euros to pounds as during the transaction I would loose yet another 1,5 pounds. So I asked to change to the the first possible flight to anywhere near that direction, and landed to Gerona in Spain on Wednesday morning. Late that evening I hade made my way  to Pamplona by bus and for a moment I considered of starting my pilgrimage from there. But then I desided to go to Roncesvalles, that would at least be closer to my intended starting point.

From there on everything went fine. On June 28th  I arrived to the Pilgrim Office in Santiago de Compostela, got the last stamp to my pilgrim passport, "Credential" and was issued the official certificate, "Compostela", as a proof of  having compleated the journey. I still don't know exactly why I wanted to spend one month slowly walking towards the presumed tomb of Saint James, carrying my belongings in a backbag and sleeping in humble refugios. Still I found the experience profoundly impressive.

I wanted to share some of the moments of my Camino, hoping "to give something back". At first I thought of editing and publishing part of my diary. But the web is full of good diaries about Camino, and besides I felt it difficult to translate some of my thoughts from Finnish into English. Also a list of advise based on my experiences didn't seem like a good idea: there are loads of informative pages on the web that are upadated regularly (look at the collection of my favourite links on the left). So I ended up scanning some of the pictures I took and building simple web pages around them. I have arranged the pictures in themes to illustrate the many aspects of the Camino. The collection of pictures is very uneven. From many spectacular sights and great moments there are no pictures at all. Sometimes I was just too tired or too busy to grab my camera at the right moment.

The historical facts I have mostly got from the book The pilgrimage road to Santiago by David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay. All mistakes are mine.

Along the way

Testing one's own physical limits and sharing thoughts and ideas with other pilgrims. Camino is this and much more. Please note that the pictures are not displayed in chronological order. (31 pictures) Enter

Happy moments

Despite the pain and exhaustion pilgrimage is also a lot of fun. Meeting interesting people from all around the world is one of the best parts of the Camino. Look at the happy faces of the pilgrims in June 2003. (14 pictures) Enter

Walking pilgrim

Feet play an important role in the pilgrimage. Dirty shoes and smelly socks are the distinctive mark of a walking pilgrim. (9 pictures) Enter

Echoes from past

Deep sense of history  is part of the Camino. Here is a highly miscellaneous collection of buildings, monuments and other interesting stone structures along the way. (31 pictures) Enter

Spanish countryside

The breathtakinly beautiful scenery tops the wonderful experience of Camino. Take a virtual walk with me through the beautiful Spanish countryside. (11 pictures) Enter

* The heading of this page is inspired by two excellent books of a Vietnamese author Huu Ngoc: Sketches for a Portrait of Vietnamese Cultureand Sketches for a Portrait of Hanoi. And Mr. Ngoc himself was, no doubt, inspired by James Joyce's A Portrait of an Artist as a Young  Man...)

©Tuija Wetterstrand
Last updated 7.1.2017. This was the last update, these pages are not updated any more. All links were checked during the last update but ever since, sorry about the broken links!

Questions? Comments?
Please email to: