Over 600 participants from 17 Countries Gathered in Croatia at the Adria Camino Festival

The first Adria Camino Festival, organized by the Croatian Confraternity of St. James and tourism cluster South Istria,  took place in Pula from May 2nd to my 5th with a theme“”Camino de Santiago – A Shared European Path.” During the three days the Festival program, which included the opening of a new section of Croatian Camino route in South istria, and the premiere of the new Camino movie by Bill Benett, attracted over 600 participants from 17 countries.

Camino de Santiago, known as “the main street of Europe”,  is the first European Cultural Route that attracts millions of pilgrims each year on its routes across Europe, all leading to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
The Festival opened with a keynote address from Ms. Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for culture followed by Members of the European Parliament Francisco Jose Millan and Željana Zovko, Their presentations delved into the significance of the Camino de Santiago cultural route in promoting common European heritage and identity. The afternoon program delved deeper into the Camino’s diverse European routes, formed in the Middle Ages when pilgrims walked thousands of kilometers from their homes to Santiago de Compostela and back. The first day of the Festival concluded with a European premiere of Bill Bennett’s new film, “The Way, My Way,” a movie that made the audience both laugh and cry, as well as touched them in a unique way, so much so that they rewarded the director and the cast with a standing ovation.  Second day attracted most participants on the opening of the Camino route in South Istria, part of the Croatian and European network of Camino de Santiago routes. All the Festival participants were deeply touched by the presentation of Marina Radošić, a blind pilgrim who walked the 400 km of Camino Frances. Evening was time for laughter and time travel with a Costume play “Camino in 1203. AD” where pilgrim actors depicted a medieval pilgrimage through a play full of comic twists.
The Festival concluded on Sunday with a featured presentation by John Rafferty known in Camino community as JohnnyWalker) a who presented “Pilgrim’s Code of Conduct ” responding to the need to preserve the authentic Camino experience among the huge crowds that its increased popularity brings.

Supported by the European Federation of Saint James Way, Xacobeo, the regional government of Galicia and the Spanish embassy in Croatia, Adria Camino Festival presented Camino routes across Europe, offered networking opportunities between Camino associations and institutions and provided a new platform for promoting and developing that unique experience that is Camino de Santiago.