Fordham University

Medieval Studies (mvru) 2998-001

Spring 2007, 28 May-10 June




Study Tour: Medieval Spain (walking the Camino de Santiago)

Course Credit

3 credits. Fordham College students may apply the credits earned for this course (MV 2999) as a free elective regardless of major, or toward a major or minor in Medieval Studies or History. (This course does not replace any of the required credits in the Honors Program curriculum.) Eligibility requires that students be full-time and registered for 15 credits during the spring 2007 semester. Participation in this study tour can then be added to their schedules for a total not exceeding 18 credits without further tuition charges.



Richard Gyug

Dealy Hall 628

tel. 718-817-3933


Study tour in northwestern Spain along the historic and modern Camino de Santiago from León to Santiago de Compostela. Participants will walk about 15 miles a day for two weeks (28 May-10 June). Meetings, lectures and discussion each day. The group will meet periodically in the spring 2007 to discuss reading assignments and tour arrangements.



The Camino de Santiago is the traditional pilgrimage route from France across northwestern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, the legendary burial site of St. James. One of the great medieval pilgrimages and the greatest surviving itinerary for medieval monuments and landscapes, it has enjoyed a remarkable revival in recent years, attracting European Union sponsorship, the attention of media stars, and hundreds of thousands of walkers and pilgrims.


In this two-week study tour, participants will walk the route, and meet each day for lectures and discussion of the medieval and pre-modern monuments along the route. The group will meet periodically during the spring 2007 semester to discuss reading assignments and prepare for the walk. A journal is required at the end of the course.


See below for further course descriptions and requirements. See also the appended “Statement of Responsibility and Disclosure.”


Pre-Departure and Post-Return Requirements

Pre-Departure: participants will meet for two hours each month at Fordham from January to May 2007 to discuss assigned readings, submit short written reports on assigned readings, and make travel arrangements. The two short written reports will account for 30% of the course grade; the discussion will be included with participation on the study tour for 30% of the course grade.


Post-Return: participants will submit a journal by 30 June 2007 on their analysis and assessment of the historical context, the relation of the experience to their readings, and the contemporary Camino.


Method of Evaluation

Journal (report submitted on 30 June after the study tour)…........40%

Discussion in meetings (before and during the study tour)…..…..30%

Two written reports (4-5 pp.) on readings (spring 2007)...............30%


William Melczer, The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela (1993) [translation of Bk 5 of the Codex calixtinus]


Nancy Louise Frey, Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago, Journeys Along an Ancient Way in Modern Spain (1998)


David M. Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson, The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook (2000)


Additional bibliography will be assigned for reports during the spring semester.


  Additional Fees

      Tuition will be covered as part of the fulltime spring tuition. For the course, an additional fee of $400 will cover course expenses for the group and instructor, but DOES NOT INCLUDE tuition, airfare, hostel/hotel accommodation, breakfast/dinner, ground transportation, or entrance fees. The total of such expenses beyond the course fee will be approximately $2000, although it can be much less. Not including transportation (airfare), tour expenses will be about $1000; i.e. lodging (13 nights in hostels @ $5; 1 night in hotel @ $50) $115, meals ($45 p.d.) $630, museum entrance fees $50, incidentals $200 +/-. ATMs are available along much of the route if students have cards to access accounts. Insurance covering the unlikely need for medical attention or emergency evacuation will be available and is strongly suggested.

The Camino and Responsibility

Although the historical context supplies the content of this course, much of the experience will be about walking and self-reliance. Participants will need to be prepared and fit. Good shoes or boots, well used and broken in, and a semester-long record of regular walking will be expected of everyone. Although the instructor will provide information about accommodations, food, and travel tips of all sorts, and will be available every day for lectures, and to help along the trail and at the destinations (he will be walking too and staying in the same hostels), each participant is responsible for finding their way from place to place, plus their own accommodation, meals, coursework, and the experience of the Camino. There are lots of ways someone can make themselves miserable, or worse, but remember also that as many as 75,000 pilgrims/walkers will walk the Camino this year (there will probably be 50-100 pilgrims/walkers staying in the same hostels each night), and with a little care and preparation, they can all share an unusual and fulfilling experience.



Every destination will have most of the amenities, and at no time does the Camino stray far from villages or major roads, so the gear doesn’t need to be comprehensive. In fact, the lighter the better, because you will be walking five to ten hours each day. Everyone needs good shoes or boots, a light sleeping bag (hostels do not have sheets or blankets), a light camp mattress (in case you end up sleeping on a floor!), a light backpack, a couple of changes of clothes, water bottles, a hat, sunscreen, etc. The whole kit should not be more than 22 lbs.



Students will be responsible for signing in to the hostels on their own. The hostels are maintained for credentialed walkers (the credencial is a passbook from the starting point—León—that will be stamped at each hostel), and staffed by attendants trained in assisting pilgrims/walkers. None of the hostels in Spain provide blankets or sheets, so a light sleeping bag is required.


Hostels range from free to a few Euros per night, but do not take reservations—it’s first come, first served. In late May and early June, demand will be moderate, but some hostels can fill quickly. Although finding a place can make for anxious moments, if you carry a light camp mattress (recommended) as well as the sleeping bag, hostels will almost always find room for you, even if it is on the floor of the hostel’s dining room. Most small towns also have very reasonable hotels. In the end, after spending months on the Camino or its branches, I have never been without a place to sleep. The system works.



Students will be responsible for their own meals. Groceries are available in most villages for breakfasts, breaks and lunches, and bars along the route supply reasonable breakfasts and lunches. For the evening meal, many hostels have kitchens for preparing food, and almost every village with a hostel has very reasonable (though basic) restaurants with a “pilgrim’s menu” (bread, first course of pasta or vegetables, second course of meat or fish or eggs, etc., dessert, water, wine, for 7-9 Euros [$9-10]).


Emergencies and Medical Attention


In case of blisters, fatigue, heat or emergency, all points on the route are close to taxis or intercity buses; almost everywhere has cell-phone coverage. We will lease several cell phones for the group, and many other walkers along the Camino will also be carrying cell phones.



Medieval Study Tour on the Camino de Santiago, 28 May-10 June 2007





Principal Sites



Jan 2007

Orientation meeting (2 hours)

Feb 2007

One 2-hour meeting each month at Fordham to discuss readings, submit short written reports, and make arrangements

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

1 (28 May)


-meet, 10:00


-tour city

-gothic cathedral, s. xiii

-Collegiate church of San Isidoro (museum, romanesque frescoes in the Panteón de los Reyes)



2 (29 May)

Villadangos de Páramo

-walk 20.6 km (5 hrs)


-landscape (meseta and Páramo)



3 (30 May)


-walk via Hospital de Órbigo, 30.5 km (8 hrs)

-meeting/lecture at Hospital de Órbigo

-tour Astorga

Hospital de Órbigo

-13th-century bridge, site of the 1434 paso honroso (tournament)


-Roman mosaics

-renaissance cathedral

-episcopal palace (Gaudí)



4 (31 May)

Rabanal de Camino

-walk 20.6 km (5 hrs)


-medieval towns of the Maragatería

-vespers in Rabanal



5 (1 June)


-walk 32.7 km (8 hrs)

-tour of Ponferrada

-Monte Irago (Cruz de hierro/Cruz de ferro at 1504m. alt.)

-village of El Acebo

-romanesque bridge of Molinaseca

-Ponferrada, Templar castle



6 (2 June)

Villafranca del Bierzo

-walk 22.5 km (5 hrs 30 min)


-valley of El Bierzo

Villafranca del Bierzo

-church of Santiago, San Francisco and Santa María

-“calle del Agua”

-castle of the Marquis



7 (3 June)

O Cebreiro

-walk 30 km (8 hrs 30 mins)


-the village of O Cebreiro

-the 12th-century “holy Grail” in the pre-romanesque church of O Cebreiro

-landscape (the view over Galicia)



8 (4 June)


-walk 20.5 km (5 hrs)





9 (5 June)


-walk 17.5 km (4 hrs 30 mins)


-monastery of Samos


-churches of San Salvador

-13th-century towers and walls

-gothic convent of the Magdalena



10 (6 June)


-walk 22.5 km (5 hrs 45 mins)


-church of Barbadelo, sculptured tympanum


-romanesque churches of San Nicolás and San Pedro

-17th-century palace of Berbetoros

-16th-century comital house



11 (7 June)

Palas de Rei

-walk 24.5 km (6 hr 30 min)


-houses of Ligonde

-church of Eirexe

Palas de Rei

-church of San Tirso

-medieval houses



12 (8 June)


-walk 14.8 km (3 hr 45 min)


-14th-century castle of Pambre

-town of Leboreiro

-romanesque bridge of Furelos


-14th-century church of Sancti Spiritu

-romanesque church of Santa María de Melide

-pulpo at Exequiel!



13 (9 June)

Pedrouzo (Arca)

-walk 32.4 km (8 hrs)


-village of Boente

-Arzúa, church of Santiago



14 (10 June)


-walk 20.1 km (5 hrs)

-pilgrims’ mass at noon

-tour of the city

-dinner at El Gato Negro

-end of the study tour

-romanesque cathedral (Portico de la Gloria) and museum

-city streets



11 June


bus, 9:15-10:00



air or train from Santiago to Madrid

30 June

Journals due (may be submitted as email attachments)



As a student at Fordham University, I acknowledge that I have agreed voluntarily to participate in the STUDY TOUR ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO, 28 May-10 June 2007. In connection with my preparation for and participation in the Study Tour, I wish to acknowledge my responsibility for the following:

I am to the best of my knowledge in good health and therefore able to undertake the range of activities contemplated by the Study Tour. I also acknowledge that as a condition of participating in the Study Tour, I have obtained comprehensive medical/health insurance, which will be in effect during my travel to and from Spain and during my participation in the Study Tour. I also agree to report to the Study Tour faculty any physical or mental condition which may require special medical attention or accommodation during the Study Tour at least 30 days prior to the commencement of the Study Tour.

I agree to prepare with at least a two-hour walk each week during the spring semester.

I agree to observe a midnight curfew at all times during the trip, and confirm that I will begin each day’s walk by at least 7:30 a.m.

I also agree to provide proof that I have insurance that covers international travel.

I acknowledge that I am responsible for complying with all applicable rules and regulations of the travel providers involved. I understand that the University is not responsible for any delays, loss of property, or other damages or inconvenience which may be associated with such travel to and from Spain, including any surcharge or other cost which may be associated with my lateness or non-appearance for a scheduled flight.

As a student enrolled in the Study Tour, I acknowledge that I remain fully subject to the rules and regulations of the University concerning my conduct, including the right of the University to suspend or limit my participation in the Study Tour should circumstances warrant. I further acknowledge my understanding that study in a foreign country involves special challenges and opportunities, and in addition to accepting all risks associated with participation in the Study Tour, I also accept the University’s expectation that I will, at all times, conduct myself as a responsible representative of the University and will abide by its standards of conduct. In this regard, I acknowledge that the University, as academic sponsor of the Study Tour, does not assert nor assume any role in loco parentis and relies on the maturity and responsibility of each student to provide for his or her individual well-being as a participant in the Study Tour.

Signature: _______________________________ Date: ______________

Print Name: ______________________________ ID # ________________

Date of Birth ____________________________

Study Tour: Camino de Santiago

28 May-10 June 2007

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