BeLux Blog

El Camino 2020 – Hiking the Way of Saint James in Spain

February 5, 2020

Stretching 483 miles or 778 kms, the “Camino de Santiago” or Way of St James is probably the most well-known hiking route in Spain, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

El Camino (as it is commonly referred-to by the locals) is a spiritual journey, aiming to explore not only the beautiful route and scenery but also ourselves. The path is full of symbols and secret messages hiding all kind of mysteries, so pilgrims that walk the Way of St James nowadays, embrace the adventure with the same enthusiasm as the medieval walkers. Each stone along the way hides a tale that is worth to be told, and it is in that spirit of adventure and soul searching that we are endeavoring in this initiative of hiking a part of this emblematic pilgrims’ way in Northwestern Spain in June 2020.

Right from the first conversations we had, we realized how important it was for us to embrace this challenge in a true Cisco fashion, combining our core values and benefits to make the experience remarkable and impactful not only at a personal level, but furthermore turn it into an opportunity to make a positive impact on the community. With this motto in mind, we came up with our recipe of 3 key enablers:

  • Wellbeing: The physical and mental readiness that this adventure requires is not to be underestimated, and we want to ensure that our hikers are well prepared before and during this experience. In today’s fast-pacing world, it is sometimes difficult to find time for ourselves and jumping from our office chair into hiking over 20 kms per day is not an easy task (or not an injury-free one, let’s be honest). With this in mind, we are partnering with Cisco Pavelka team in order to provide our hikers with expert support on the physical and mental preparation and get the most out of this amazing experience.
  • Giving back: Making this experience impactful for our community and embrace our giving back culture at Cisco was paramount from the beginning. It is in our DNA and this represented a fantastic opportunity to turn this initiative into a fund-raising event to collect funds in the fight against cancer – in a disease that affects 1 in 3 people in their lifetime, research is key. And what a better way to pay a tribute to our cancer warriors, and honor their memories, courage and fight.
  • Time2Give: Last, but certainly not the least, is the opportunity to leverage our Time2Give benefit, allowing us to fit the hiking experience into these 5 days off offered by Cisco to support the cause that matter most to us, without compromising personal time off.


With all these ingredients in the mixer, we have officially kicked off the preparation that will take us to hike the final stages of the French and Portuguese routes of the Way of Saint James. Across many Cisco offices, we are already popularizing the walking meetings, lunchtime gatherings for slow food & fast walk, and long walks on the weekend, and very soon we will kick-off our 16-week plan with our Pavelka team, including preparation workshops and mindfulness webinars. A great way to get ready for this adventure and a superb team building activity.

The word has spread and what started as an initiative led by a small group of employees in Cisco Belux has now expanded geographically with an increasing number of participants from 14 countries around the world registering their interest and local organizing teams being formed in Belgium, Spain, Portugal, UK, France and Poland working together on making this an unforgettable experience.

Stay tuned for more news on this amazing journey with destination Santiago de Compostela and our fund-raising efforts, we count on you to help us make a big impact!

Between the Way of St. James and the fight against cancer, there’s a bridge

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