Road to salvation?

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which has drawn religious trekkers across northern Spain since the ninth century, looks more like a highway today.

Credit it to the Wild effect, inspired by Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, or a yearning to fulfill a bucket-list task, or a true quest for salvation. No matter the motivation, it’s moving as many as 240,000 pilgrims this year, up from 423 registered hikers in 1984. The route—or The Camino—is now lined with tourist facilities all the way to Santiago. Some determined pilgrims chafe at daytrippers dropping in mid-course, cell phones in hand. Others salute the positive effect the path’s popularity has had on Spain’s lagging economic recovery, mirrored here in Jesus’ listless expression.   —Diane Richard, writer, September 3


Image: Patricia de Melo Moreira for The New York Times

Source: Raphael Minder, “Lifting the Soul, and the Spanish Economy, Too,” The New York Times, September 1, 2014