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Art writer's trail

Art writer and longtime Art Zone contributor Catharina Van Bohemen has published a book documenting her walking of the Camino de Santiago.

Titled Towards Compostela, the book is part memoir, part travel writing and features drawings by artist Gregory O'Brien.

Catharina says, "In 1998, I walked the Camino de Santiago, a medieval pilgrimage route across the north of Spain, to Compostela where it was believed that the remains of St James the Apostle were contained in the Cathedral. A friend gave me a journal and told me to write as I walked. The journal became the most important thing I carried. As I slouched slowly towards Compostela – the pack always heavy, my feet always sore – I wrote.

I wrote leaning against crumbling church walls, under trees in town squares, and on hillsides where I looked west towards Compostela and wondered if I’d ever get there.

Walking is a textured experience – you’re always aware of your body in new, yet ancient and strange places; you’re always remembering – forever making connections and contrasts with where you’ve come from and where you’re going to. You remember and reflect; you want to write down your thoughts.

Arriving at Compostela doesn’t really mean you’ve arrived. Pilgrimage is circular – you come to a sacred space to touch and to go, and what you take away may not be clear for years: perhaps a greater awareness of why you set out in the beginning, or that every road is the Camino."

Catharina also teaches, writes features for Art Zone and reviews art books. Towards Compostela, published by Cuba Press, is her first fully fledged book.


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