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Rent-a-Pilgrim – Portuguese Man Walks to Holy Shrine in the Name of Others, for a Fee

If you’re too sick, too busy or just too lazy to embark on a pilgrimage to the holy shrine of Fatima, in Portugal, you can just hire Carlos Gil to do it for you. The 52-year-old real-estate agent charges €2,500 ($2,700) for every 100-mile journey he takes on foot in the name of someone else.

Carlos Gil started offering the unusual service, which has been referred to as “pilgrimage by proxy”, 16 years ago, when he got this “crazy idea” of reviving a 700-year-old tradition. In the Middle Ages, wealthy noblemen who were to sick or too busy to go on pilgrimage themselves would hire others to do it for them. The practice is virtually unknown t most people, as the Catholic Church frowns upon renting someone to visit a holy place in your name. Gil believes he is the only person offering the service in Portugal, and one of the few in the world.

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Muslim Walks 6,000 Kilometers from Bosnia to Mecca

Senad Hadzic, a 47-year-old Muslim from northern Bosnia, has recently completed an epic 5,700 km journey, from his hometown to the to the Saudi city of Mecca, by foot.

Making the pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city in the religion of Islam, at least once in their lifetime is obligatory for all able Muslims. Each year, millions travel to the birthplace of Muhammad, but not many of them walk thousands of miles to get there. That’s what makes Senad Hadzic’s experience so impressive. The Bosnian departed from his town of Banovici, in December 2011 and has walked for 314 days through Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan to reach the Muslim holy city in south-western Saudi Arabia. Despite experiencing severe weather conditions, like temperatures ranging from minus 35 Celsius in Bulgaria to plus 44 Celsius in Jordan, Senad managed to walk at a rate of between 20 to 30 kilometers per day, to reach Mecca after an unbelievable 5,700 km journey.

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