Harry and Kathleen Berg complete El Camino


A photo of a man and a woman standing at the town gate of St Jean Pied de Port.

Harry and Kathleen Berg at the entrance to St Jean Pied de Port.

Harry and Kathleen Berg walked El Camino Frances from St Jean Pied de Port, in France, just north of the Spanish border, to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, in 2010. They walked about 780 km, over 34 walk days and 2 rest days.

Like a few others they then felt they wanted to complete the pilgrim journey by also walking the Via Podiensis from le Puy en Velay in central France to St Jean Pied de Port. They did this second section in two stages — from le Puy en Velay to Cahors in 2013, and from Cahors to St Jean Pied de Port in 2014.

In May 2013 they walked from le Puy en Valey to Cahors, about 340 km, in terrible weather, over 16 walk days. Except for one nice day, the maximum temperature was 8 degrees with rain — with or without thunder and lightning, and sometimes even snow.

The Bergs were hoping for better weather this year for their walk (420 km over 20 walk days) from Cahors to St Jean Pied de Port where they had started in 2010. The weather was not so good for the first three days but then their prayers for better weather were answered — with a vengeance. Most days were 30 degrees C or above, up to a maximum of 36 degrees C.

“Hard work when there are hills to climb and you have to carry all your food and drink for the day,” recalls Kathleen. “This part of France was very lightly populated, so often there were no villages along the way. However, we felt a great sense of achievement when we arrived in St Jean Pied de
Port. We had met lots of interesting people and I certainly improved my French, as many people in this area speak little or no English!”