Bowling Green father, son on the Camino de Santiago

Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 2:11 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - A Bowling Green father and son are currently on the Camino de Santiago, a 500 mile journey that begins in Saint Jean Pied de Port, France and travels through four of Spain’s 15 regions, ending at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James, is an ancient trail in which people make the pilgrimage to the Cathedral where the Apostle Saint James the Great is believed to be buried. It originated in medieval times and is made up of a vast network of roads and paths.

Dan Klein and his eldest son John began their pilgrimage on June 17. They joined us on day 34 of their journey.

“It checks all the boxes. The natural beauty is incredible. We’ve literally crossed mountains, we’ve crossed fields, a lot of small towns,” said Klein. He wanted to make this pilgrimage with John, as his son starts college in the fall. “We walk probably five or six hours a day. It’s a lot of time. Sometimes we walk together, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we walk alone, sometimes we walk with our Irish friends, our Bulgarian friends, our French friends.” Klein described it as a spiritual experience, particularly their visit to the crypt where it is believed St. James is buried. “To be five or six feet from a guy who...Jesus walked by the boat and said ‘come follow me.’ It’s a very moving experience.”

John said he is treasuring this bonding experience with his father. “It’s been a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to do this with my dad, my role model, my best friend. Day in and day out, to be able to walk with him and get to know him better each day and to spend such quality time before going off to college, it’s really been amazing.” John also commented on the people he’s met along the way, saying it’s given him new perspective to meet people from all over the world. “You eat with them and you walk with them and you sleep with them some nights. It’s been great as a young man to really broaden my horizons and learn about myself and learn about life.”

Despite the grandeur of the scenery and history surrounding them, the Kleins say it’s also the simplicity of their daily life that’s so enjoyable. As someone passed the father and son on horseback during our interview, John offered the traveler a soft “hola” as Dan said, “Our day is very simple. We get up, we eat, and we put our pack on and we go. We get to a place and we get cleaned up, we eat, we go to sleep. And we get up, we do it again, and it’s just a wonderful, simple life.”

You can follow Dan and John’s journey on Facebook here.

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