The Orange Blossom Trail: From Cartagena to the Way of St. James
The Orange Blossom Trail may be one of the least recognized and yet its beauty has managed to captivate the attention of many pilgrims. However, there is one point that needs to be clarified and that is that, although many know the Orange Blossom Route, they are not the same destinations. Camino de Azahar and Ruta de Azahar are different destinations, although their beauty is still remarkable in both directions.
The origin of this road is not clear, although it is based on an oral tradition of Cartagena in which, commonly, it is said that the Apostle Santiago disembarked on its beaches. Not at any time, but at the very moment he reached the Iberian coast. And although there is no document that affirms this, the tradition in the area as well as the statue of the Apostle that runs through the streets of the neighborhood of Santa Lucia every July 25 shows the great attachment that the people of the area feel towards this tradition.
A path recovered and signposted since 2004
This path begins in the urban center of Cartagena, directing the steps of the pilgrims towards the north. From this point, all those who walk through this place find landscapes of great beauty and that are very well accompanied by the Murcian orchards. In this way we give with the charm of the place and that, undoubtedly, inspired the area to name the route.
The remarkable thing about this path is that it is one of the most traveled given its simplicity. Of course, it is a road that soon connects with different points and what causes that many can discover new surprising places. Especially if we take into account that its different variations can propose to cross 5 different communities.
Its direct connection is with the Camino del Sureste, which culminates in Benavente with the Vía de la Plata, in order to reach the final destination in Santiago de Compostela. This is one of the most successful stretches among pilgrims not only because of its ease, but also because it is a perfect route for cycling, both for the beauty of its landscapes and for the comfort of discovering a new adventure
A route with a great tradition
Although the history of its origin is not very clear, in Santa Lucía there is a great tradition towards this path. And it is that, besides becoming one of the most used from Cartagena, parishes have also been dedicated to it. In the neighborhood of Santa Lucia pilgrims can find a parish dedicated to the Apostle.
Of course, this route takes us to some of the great wonders of the peninsula such as Cartagena (point of origin), passing through Villanueva del Río Segura, Abarán, Pozo Cañada and Albacete, where it joins the Camino del Sureste. From this point, the pilgrims resume their way to guide their steps towards Santiago.