Manolo is a 65-year-old lawyer - and atheist – walking the road to Santiago de Compostela for the 99th time. For him, the pilgrimage is about contemplation and self-discovery. This time he also wants to test his strength after recovering from COVID.

Manolo is still feeling the effects of COVID-19. He has trouble breathing and tires easily. But he won’t let that stop him from making the journey and pursuing his goal of doing the pilgrimage 100 times. The route has only recently reopened. For months Spain’s regional borders were closed due to the pandemic, and the Camino de Santiago was more or less deserted. That was a problem for the many hostels along the way, and indeed for the entire region, for which the pilgrims are an important source of revenue. The travelers range from devout Catholics to freethinkers like Manolo. But one thing unites them: they all agree that walking the Way of St. James is a life-changing experience. A report by Norman Striegel.

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