MOUNT VERNON — Michael and Theresa McAlpin will share the amazing details of their 33-day trek along the fabled Camino de Santiago — the Way of St. James — at the first Brown Bag Chat of the fall season, Wednesday, Sept. 5, at noon at the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County.

In the spring of 2015, after 45 years of marriage, the McAlpins answered the call of adventure and embarked on their first ever trip abroad, intending to walk the 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago, from St Jean Pied de Port in southern France to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain. After more than 200 miles their journey was cut short by a serious illness, and they were forced to return home to recover.

A year later, they returned to complete the journey in 33 days, carrying all of their possessions on their backs. They arrived at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela having acquired many stories and a great appreciation and affection for the people and culture of Spain.

Spanish legend holds that St. James the Great (in the New Testament, one of the sons of Zebedee) carried on missionary work in Spain before returning to Jerusalem, where he was martyred under King Herod Agrippa in 44 A.D. The legend has it that the saint’s remains were returned to Spain.

According to tradition, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, built in 812 A.D., holds the saint’s remains. For over a thousand years, pilgrims have journeyed along a variety of routes through northern Spain to venerate St. James at the Cathedral.

Brown Bag Chats are presented at the main branch of the Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County, 201 N. Mulberry St., Mount Vernon, Wednesdays at noon. The sessions are free and open to all. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch, if they wish, and light refreshments are also served. The sessions are held in the library’s basement multipurpose room.


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