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20% drop in pilgrim numbers at Roncesvalles

Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
A local news website has reported that so far this year the number of pilgrims recorded at Roncesvalles is about 20% lower than during the same period in 2019. A drop of about 10,000. There are a few other statistics given in the article.

 
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Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
A perfect opportunity to mention here that if you are thinking about doing the last 100km, you may also consider doing the first 100km instead.
But the first 100km doesn't finish at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned in thinking that is the natural end point of a pilgrimage on the Caminos?
 

Anhalter

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Interesting. When i was walkin May/June this year, the section till Pamplona was all "OMG, you MUST make reservation or you'll sleep in the rain" (which was not the case) and the later sections where all "yea, let's just walk into town at 17:30 and we'll get a bed easily" (which was the case for all but one exception).

One might speculate, that people are beginning to avoid the SJPDP-Pamplona bottleneck...
 

Roseangel

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September 2018
I had my third stay on 10th September this year, having booked it months before. My new walking buddies hadn't so one raced to get a bed, the other continued to walk with me, it was a "Camino will provide attitude" we rocked up and lined up. First friend was excited she got a bed. The poor lady checking in looked absolutely exhausted dealing with a few issues regarding check in. One lady had booked for the wrong date. I witnessed impatience and rudeness from tired pilgrims and was ashamed. My friends ended up sleeping in the overflow, which looked like a scene out of The Way. She didn't sleep well but was grateful for a bed. I found the staff so helpful and the staff showing us to beds, doing our washing, showing us where to pick up our bags etc all so lovely and greatly appreciated their help. I hope to one day give back to the Camino in some form, either a hospitaliario it cleaning the tracks of rubbish.
 
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wisepilgrim

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But the first 100km doesn't finish at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned in thinking that is the natural end point of a pilgrimage on the Caminos?
No, you're not... and I agree with you.

I ought to have clarified a bit more: For everyone thinking to do the last 100km as a starter camino, with plans to return to points further/farther away if everything goes well.

I find that there are a lot of pilgrims in this group.
 
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Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
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I would imagine that the % increases (less pilgrims) in other parts of the camino, like the glorious meseta. Galicia is saturated, but only Galicia.

A perfect opportunity to mention here that if you are thinking about doing the last 100km, you may also consider doing the first 100km instead.
I am in Galicia at the moment. I have never seen this many walkers, anywhere, on my previous 5 trips. As mentioned; not many in other parts
 

TaijiPilgrim

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I recall the albergue in Roncesvalles reduced its number of bunks by a sizable amount. Could this contribute to the lower numbers?
 
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peregrina2000

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Am I right to think that this might indicate an even larger downturn in the future? If a Holy Year’s numbers are 10% fewer than the pre-covid non Holy Year, that would make 2022 a real outlier in terms of numbers, no? Haven’t Holy Years typicallly seen huge spikes, with a subsequent reduction to the more normal growth on the graph? Or is this phenomenon limited to Sarria? I may be missing something here, so really I am just asking.
 

trecile

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Haven’t Holy Years typicallly seen huge spikes, with a subsequent reduction to the more normal growth on the graph? Or is this phenomenon limited to Sarria?
My guess is that holy years mostly affect the last 100 km.
I think that we would need to see a graph of those starting at SJPDP and Roncesvalles over the years.
 

wisepilgrim

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Am I right to think that this might indicate an even larger downturn in the future? If a Holy Year’s numbers are 10% fewer than the pre-covid non Holy Year, that would make 2022 a real outlier in terms of numbers, no? Haven’t Holy Years typicallly seen huge spikes, with a subsequent reduction to the more normal growth on the graph? Or is this phenomenon limited to Sarria? I may be missing something here, so really I am just asking.
I think @trecile is correct in the need for better historical data from SJPP/R.
And I think that you may very well be correct about a future downturn; not because fewer overall pilgrims will walk but because the allure of the Portugués/Norte/etc. is more pronounced than ever.
 

Steve54

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My wife and I contributed to the Roncevalles decrease, by walking to Burgette and getting a room in a Pension there. We did not want to sleep in the big Albergue...

Jim, currently in Las Herrerias...
I was also in this category. A more accurate comparison might be numbers starting in SJPDP registered by the pilgrim office. Steve Started SJPDP on 19 September and arrived Santiago 17 October. I do regret completing the walk so quickly and should have taken a few extra days. Days less than 25km were generally more enjoyable than those more than 25km.
 
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trecile

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Or perhaps confusing the bare minimum to earn a Compostela with the bare minimum to receive a plenary indulgence.
You're right. It's not necessary to walk at all to receive a plenary indulgence. From the Pilgrims Office

In order to gain the Jubilee Indulgence individuals must:

Visit the Cathedral of Santiago where lies the Tomb of St. James the Great.
Say a prayer: at least the Apostle’s Creed, the Our Father and a prayer for the intentions of the Pope. It is also recommended that the individual attend Mass.

Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (go to confession) and Eucharist (go to communion) within the 15 days before or after the visit to the Cathedral.

Indulgences can be gained at other times in the year through the performance of other acts of devotion. These are outlined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


However, I'm sure that there are many who want to receive both a Compostela and a plenary indulgence, and therefore walk the final 100 km in a holy year.
 

K_Lynn

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Frances 2021
But the first 100km doesn't finish at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned in thinking that is the natural end point of a pilgrimage on the Caminos?
I assumed they meant do the first 100 and then the last 100.
 

trecile

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I assumed they meant do the first 100 and then the last 100.
This is how @wisepilgrim clarified :
No, you're not... and I agree with you.

I ought to have clarified a bit more: For everyone thinking to do the last 100km as a starter camino, with plans to return to points further/farther away if everything goes well.

I find that there are a lot of pilgrims in this group.
 
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Anamiri

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My wife and I contributed to the Roncevalles decrease, by walking to Burgette and getting a room in a Pension there. We did not want to sleep in the big Albergue...

Jim, currently in Las Herrerias...
I wondered if the opening of Borda might mean people walking, SJPDP, Borda, Burgette instead - bypassing Roncesvalles.
 

trecile

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I wondered if the opening of Borda might mean people walking, SJPDP, Borda, Burgette instead - bypassing Roncesvalles.
With only 14 beds, I don't think that Borda accounts for such a drop off. Plus, I'd venture to guess that at least half of those who stay at Borda and Orisson also stop at Roncesvalles.
 

Ellann

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Portuguese Camino 2022
I would imagine that the % increases (less pilgrims) in other parts of the camino, like the glorious meseta. Galicia is saturated, but only Galicia.

A perfect opportunity to mention here that if you are thinking about doing the last 100km, you may also consider doing the first 100km instead.
Thanks for saying this because after completing the Portuguese last week, I vowed never again due to health issues and definitely not the French Way, but now I am home, I am thinking maybe about 200 km stretch in the middle of the French Way to be more in tune with my physical abilities. Will think more next year with a view to May 2024.
 

Rhysmike

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St. Jean to Santiago (Apr to June 2014); St. Jean to Finisterre (Apr to May 2016); Via Francigena - Lausanne to Rome (Sep to October 2016)
Am I right to think that this might indicate an even larger downturn in the future? If a Holy Year’s numbers are 10% fewer than the pre-covid non Holy Year, that would make 2022 a real outlier in terms of numbers, no? Haven’t Holy Years typicallly seen huge spikes, with a subsequent reduction to the more normal growth on the graph? Or is this phenomenon limited to Sarria? I may be missing something here, so really I am just asking.
I think Covid and travel concerns are major reasons.
 
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Rhysmike

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With only 14 beds, I don't think that Borda accounts for such a drop off. Plus, I'd venture to guess that at least half of those who stay at Borda and Orisson also stop at Roncesvalles.
We walked in May and June this year. My observation was that all of the private rooms were booked but albergue dorms were not full. There were noticeably fewer people on the trail with many cafes nearly empty. I think Covid is the main reason.
 

SallGar

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future: Camino Portuguese
I apologize, but I am thoroughly confused. I just Googled the requirements for receiving the Compostela. A number of the sites show that the Compostela is only awarded for walking the last 100 km. Only a couple state that any consecutive 100 km will do. Would someone please set me straight? My wife and I are planning our first Camino around an April/May 2023 timeframe. Thank you!
 

Bradypus

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Too many and too often!
I apologize, but I am thoroughly confused. I just Googled the requirements for receiving the Compostela. A number of the sites show that the Compostela is only awarded for walking the last 100 km. Only a couple state that any consecutive 100 km will do. Would someone please set me straight? My wife and I are planning our first Camino around an April/May 2023 timeframe. Thank you!
If you want to receive a Compostela then at minimum you must walk the final 100km of a recognised Camino route ending in Santiago. As proof the pilgrim office will expect to see at least two sellos per day in your credencial for that final 100km section. No matter how far you have walked previously. This screenshot is from the pilgrim office's own website and spells out the conditions.
compostela.jpg
 

SallGar

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future: Camino Portuguese
If you want to receive a Compostela then at minimum you must walk the final 100km of a recognised Camino route ending in Santiago. As proof the pilgrim office will expect to see at least two sellos per day in your credencial for that final 100km section. No matter how far you have walked previously. This screenshot is from the pilgrim office's own website and spells out the conditions.
View attachment 135521
Thank you! That is what we are planning. I appreciate your response. Buen Camino!
 
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Ellann

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Portuguese Camino 2022
If you want to receive a Compostela then at minimum you must walk the final 100km of a recognised Camino route ending in Santiago. As proof the pilgrim office will expect to see at least two sellos per day in your credencial for that final 100km section. No matter how far you have walked previously. This screenshot is from the pilgrim office's own website and spells out the conditions.
View attachment 135521
I walked the Portuguese Camino, finishing last week and DID NOT get two sellos or stamps per day from Tui onwards and I got my compostela.
 
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Quite a few assumptions about the reasons for the decrease … :cool:. If I am not mistaken, the article deals with lower numbers of pilgrims in 2022 overall in the region of Navarra, compared to 2019, and not just in Roncesvalles.

There are no actual survey data why those who did walk in 2022 came to walk, and what the reasons are of those who could have come in 2022 but didn’t come. Holy Years - do they actually matter much for the overwhelming majority of the long distance Camino walkers? And those who walk only in Galicia - are they all “starter pilgrims” on their “taster Camino”? Or do they simply just want to walk in green Galicia during the summer months and not elsewhere or is their traditional idea of pilgrimage just that: a relatively short distance and not a month long walk?
 
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TravellingMan2022

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Norte
Quite a few assumptions about the reasons for the decrease … :cool:. If I am not mistaken, the article deals with lower numbers of pilgrims in 2022 overall in the region of Navarra, compared to 2019, and not just in Roncesvalles.

There are no actual survey data why those who did walk in 2022 came to walk, and what the reasons are of those who could have come in 2022 but didn’t come. Holy Years - do they actually matter much for the overwhelming majority of the long distance Camino walkers? And those who walk only in Galicia - are they all “starter pilgrims” on their “taster Camino”? Or do they simply just want to walk in green Galicia during the summer months and not elsewhere or is their traditional idea of pilgrimage just that: a relatively short distance and not a month long walk?
First thought is how is European economic aspect impacting situation. Appreciate for European folks, Camino is a cheap ‘holiday’ but maybe some Impact! I don’t know!
 
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trecile

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I walked the Portuguese Camino, finishing last week and DID NOT get two sellos or stamps per day from Tui onwards and I got my compostela.
It is up to the discretion of the volunteer at the Pilgrims Office. Some have been denied for not having two stamps per day, so we always recommend that people abide by the requirements set forth by the Cathedral.
 

TravellingMan2022

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Norte
Quite a few assumptions about the reasons for the decrease … :cool:. If I am not mistaken, the article deals with lower numbers of pilgrims in 2022 overall in the region of Navarra, compared to 2019, and not just in Roncesvalles.

There are no actual survey data why those who did walk in 2022 came to walk, and what the reasons are of those who could have come in 2022 but didn’t come. Holy Years - do they actually matter much for the overwhelming majority of the long distance Camino walkers? And those who walk only in Galicia - are they all “starter pilgrims” on their “taster Camino”? Or do they simply just want to walk in green Galicia during the summer months and not elsewhere or is their traditional idea of pilgrimage just that: a relatively short distance and not a month long walk?
I did 3 caminos in 2020 and 2021.It was mainly Europeans. Young folks too. Didn’t really hear terms like ‘holy week’ or even ‘pilgrim’ . Very different in feel to this forum! I have often wondered if the religious aspect is largely an older folks USA thing? Not saying it is! I just don’t know!
 
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caminos in 2020 and 2021. It was mainly Europeans
That's not surprising. Although I've not re-checked the numbers right now, these two years were the Covid-19 years with numerous travel restrictions and movement restrictions with the result that the Camino pilgrim population was less international than in previous years. Which is also the reason why the reference year in the article is 2019 and not the two years between 2019 and 2022.

People who are interested in the cultural-religious-historical background of the Camino to Santiago will know about the existence of Holy Years. That knowledge does not mean that Holy Years are of particular meaning to them personally and that it influences their travel choices though. Generally speaking. There will always be anecdotes that will tell the opposite story.
 

TravellingMan2022

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Norte
That's not surprising. Although I've not re-checked the numbers right now, these two years were the Covid-19 years with numerous travel restrictions and movement restrictions with the result that the Camino pilgrim population was less international than in previous years. Which is also the reason why the reference year in the article is 2019 and not the two years between 2019 and 2022.

People who are interested in the cultural-religious-historical background of the Camino to Santiago will know about the existence of Holy Years. That knowledge does not mean that Holy Years are of particular meaning to them personally and that it influences their travel choices though. Generally speaking. There will always be anecdotes that will tell the opposite story.
Yes sorry I wasn’t clear! I know they were very much the Covid years (how could I not!) hence young Europeans! I guess I was saying how that demographic were unaffected by thing like ‘holy week’ and terms like ‘pilgrim’!
 
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My guess is that holy years mostly affect the last 100 km. I think that we would need to see a graph of those starting at SJPDP and Roncesvalles over the years
The previous Jacobean Holy Year was in 2010. Below is a graph illustrating Compostela numbers for 2009, 2010 and 2011 for those who indicated Sarria, Cebreiro, Roncesvalles or SJPP as their departure points. The increase in 2010 is significantly noticeable for Sarria and also Cebreiro and not much for Roncesvalles and SJPP. A comparison between 2004 (Holy Year) and 2005 gives a similar result btw. People are often fixated on annual totals only without differentiation of seasonal or regional factors.

In Holy Years, Galicia promotes the Camino(s) to Santiago more than in other years but it concerns mainly the Caminos in Galicia and, I guess, mostly for target groups in Spain. It is not surprising that one person interviewed for the article said that Navarra ought to promote their part of the Camino to Santiago more.

2009-2010.jpg
Source: Based on graphs on solviturambulando.es
 
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VdlP(2012) Madrid(2014)Frances(2015) VdlP(2016)
VdlP(2017)Madrid/Sanabres/Frances reverse(2018)
’ . Very different in feel to this forum! I have often wondered if the religious aspect is largely an older folks USA thing? Not saying it is! I just don’t know!
Whoah! There certainly are plenty of Americans on the form, but I would guess less than 50%. Older folks, possibly. 😉
 

dick bird

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I walked the Portuguese Camino, finishing last week and DID NOT get two sellos or stamps per day from Tui onwards and I got my compostela.
I am guessing that would be because the person you spoke to at the Pilgrim’s Office used their discretion to decide you were a bona fide pilgrim. Probably a good call. All the best and Buen Camino for next time.
 
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TravellingMan2022

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Whoah! There certainly are plenty of Americans on the form, but I would guess less than 50%. Older folks, possibly. 😉
Thanks. I didn’t mean to imply that Americans were the majority on this forum ( although they might be on reflection, not that I have an issue with that if course), I guess I was going back to an earlier post about how important ‘holy week’ is in the big scheme of things and maybe more broadly moving that to thinking about the difference between the forum which has a certain culture ( lots of use of terms like holy week/pilgrims) versus my experience of the Camino.

I have probably taken us off at a tangent so I will stand down!
 
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I did 3 caminos in 2020 and 2021.It was mainly Europeans. Young folks too. Didn’t really hear terms like ‘holy week’ or even ‘pilgrim’ . Very different in feel to this forum! I have often wondered if the religious aspect is largely an older folks USA thing? Not saying it is! I just don’t know!
Not where I thought my earlier comment would lead to and not certain whether it would be wise to pursue this path ... 😉.

I guess that it is safe to say that this forum and many of the friends and of the 'promotors' of Camino de Santiago walking focus on the long-distance and long-term foot pilgrimage - over many hundreds of kilometers and over many weeks. What they know are the contemporary books and movies and blogs and news articles and they shape their ideas of how it's done and what they like. I was thinking recently that there are people, especially in the south and the middle of the European continent who still have a collective memory of foot pilgrimage and it is different ... that it is shorter and does not lead to very far away destinations. These were just some recent thoughts I had along these lines ... iow, say 100 km or a week, or even just a weekend, is all they ever want or aim for and ending at the main destination is important to them.
 
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TravellingMan2022

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Norte
Not where I thought my earlier comment would lead to and not certain whether it would be wise to pursue this path ... 😉. I guess that it is safe to say that this forum and many of the 'promotors' of Camino de Santiago walking focus on the long-distance and long-term foot pilgrimage - over many hundreds of kilometers. What they know are the contemporary books and movies and blogs and news articles and they shape their ideas of how it's done. I was thinking recently that there are people, especially in the south and the middle of the European continent who still have a collective memory of foot pilgrimage and it is different ... that it is shorter and does not lead to very far away destinations. These were just some recent thoughts I had along these lines ... iow, say 100 km or a week, or even just a weekend, is all they ever want or aim for and that they end at THE destination.
Not where I thought my earlier comment would lead to and not certain whether it would be wise to pursue this path ... 😉.

I guess that it is safe to say that this forum and many of the 'promotors' of Camino de Santiago walking focus on the long-distance and long-term foot pilgrimage - over many hundreds of kilometers and over many weeks. What they know are the contemporary books and movies and blogs and news articles and they shape their ideas of how it's done. I was thinking recently that there are people, especially in the south and the middle of the European continent who still have a collective memory of foot pilgrimage and it is different ... that it is shorter and does not lead to very far away destinations. These were just some recent thoughts I had along these lines ... iow, say 100 km or a week, or even just a weekend, is all they ever want or aim for and that they end at THE destination.
Sorry I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about which I am sure is a reflection on me rather than you!! I was merely supporting your view that ‘holy week’ didn’t seem that important to the folks I have walked Caminos with and maybe (just maybe) didn’t correlate with the views on here!!
 
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I was merely supporting your view that ‘holy week’ didn’t seem that important to the folks I have walked Caminos with and maybe (just maybe) didn’t correlate with the views on here!!
Not that it matters much in the greater scheme of things but: I was referring to the Jacobean Holy Year which happens "every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years (a total of 14 times in every century)" and not about Holy Week which happens every year and is a synonym for the week from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. :cool:

Both - the week and the year - create spikes in pilgrim numbers in various parts of the Camino de Santiago. That's a fact. One can have opinions about the reasons why this happens.
 

TravellingMan2022

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Norte
Ah ok thank you for your clarity and time taken! This is way beyond anything I know about!!

I’ll stick to flights and ATM fees!
 
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dougfitz

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Not that it matters much in the greater scheme of things but: I was referring to the Jacobean Holy Year which happens "every 6, 5, 6 and 11 years (a total of 14 times in every century)" and not about Holy Week which happens every year and is a synonym for the week before Easter. :cool:
I think the Jacobean Holy Year is a significant factor in any consideration of the numbers of pilgrims, and would still provide quite fruitful discussion. My difficulty as an erstwhile student of the black statistical arts is that forum members will rarely have access to the range of statistics that would let the discussion proceed down both the highways and many by-ways it might entail.

Of course, that doesn't stop us from developing various theories explaining the circumstances as they appear to us. It's such great fun!!
 

Kanga

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.... or is their traditional idea of pilgrimage just that: a relatively short distance and not a month long walk?

Katharina this immediately reminded me of the local annual pilgrimages to shrines or holy sites so common in Spanish villages and towns - the Romeria. The whole village or town participates, and it is often very celebratory. I can see how that cultural tradition would influence Spanish perceptions of the Camino, and how it plays into the Sarria to Santiago section. Makes absolute sense. I've always said Sarria to Santiago is one big fiesta, and even more so in a Holy Year.
 
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Not sure whether to put it into this thread or another one ... this is, again, about a different pilgrimage culture, walking in a large group and in short sections over a long period of time: A Camino de Santiago that has lasted eight years comes to an end - seventy families from the diocese of Getafe [near Madrid] will arrive this weekend at the tomb of the apostle after almost a decade of pilgrimage. Next weekend, between 28 and 31 October, they will cover the 65 km from Palas de Rey to Santiago, accompanied by seminarians, priests and two bishops, one of whom has accompanied these pilgrims on almost all the stages of the way. They started in November 2014; some were babies and small kids then and are now teenagers. 350 people.

Does anyone seriously think that they are just "doing the minimum distance" and "just for getting a Compostela"???

 

Anamiri

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2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Not where I thought my earlier comment would lead to and not certain whether it would be wise to pursue this path ... 😉.

I guess that it is safe to say that this forum and many of the friends and of the 'promotors' of Camino de Santiago walking focus on the long-distance and long-term foot pilgrimage - over many hundreds of kilometers and over many weeks. What they know are the contemporary books and movies and blogs and news articles and they shape their ideas of how it's done and what they like. I was thinking recently that there are people, especially in the south and the middle of the European continent who still have a collective memory of foot pilgrimage and it is different ... that it is shorter and does not lead to very far away destinations. These were just some recent thoughts I had along these lines ... iow, say 100 km or a week, or even just a weekend, is all they ever want or aim for and ending at the main destination is important to them.
Yes, we met a woman from Portugal I think in 2016, and she was excited and proud to show us footage of a 'pilgrimage' her town undertakes annually I think. It was 3 -4 days. I am afraid I don't remember the details, but I do remember the animation with which she spoke about it, so it was an important event to them. Her whole family would participate.
I remember wondering where such a big group (hundreds, maybe more) would find accommodation each night.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Am I right to think that this might indicate an even larger downturn in the future? If a Holy Year’s numbers are 10% fewer than the pre-covid non Holy Year, that would make 2022 a real outlier in terms of numbers, no? Haven’t Holy Years typicallly seen huge spikes, with a subsequent reduction to the more normal growth on the graph? Or is this phenomenon limited to Sarria? I may be missing something here, so really I am just asking.
Initially, I was going to start my camino in Sept in SJPdP. I was able to make reservations up to Roncevalles. However, we could not find a private room we would want to stay at from there to Pamplona. This was 5 months before departure. So after monitoring the booking sites, including direct contact with accommodations, we decided to start elsewhere.
 
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Baba John

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, 2019 Frances
But the first 100km doesn't finish at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned in thinking that is the natural end point of a pilgrimage on the Caminos?
You are correct. The 100k
But the first 100km doesn't finish at the tomb of the apostle in Santiago. Am I being ridiculously old-fashioned in thinking that is the natural end point of a pilgrimage on the Caminos?
You are correct Bradypus the fist 100k does not end in Santiago, but a few more k's and your there. And, is my guess, the more fulfilled for it.
Peace be with you.
 

Rex

One Step at a Time
Time of past OR future Camino
2023 VF 2nd Half
I walked the Portuguese Camino, finishing last week and DID NOT get two sellos or stamps per day from Tui onwards and I got my compostela.
I had the same experience on the Portuguese in September, 2018; the volunteers in the Pilgrim Office were so swamped they weren't even checking for stamps other than the initial stamp from Lisboa and a very cursory glance at the last few days. They did ask me if I had walked the last 100KM. In 2013, when I walked from SJPDP to Santiago the volunteer checked carefully over the final four or five days to be sure I had two+ sellos per day.
On the VF, this past summer, I had some trouble getting stamps every day, as many hotels in French towns don't have stamps for pilgrims and the front desk staff were occasionally mystified by my request (and probably equally mystified by my bad French. Fortunately, I knew how to order red wine and cheese, so all was well.) ;>)
Bon Chemin
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
Katharina this immediately reminded me of the local annual pilgrimages to shrines or holy sites so common in Spanish villages and towns - the Romeria. The whole village or town participates, and it is often very celebratory. I can see how that cultural tradition would influence Spanish perceptions of the Camino, and how it plays into the Sarria to Santiago section. Makes absolute sense. I've always said Sarria to Santiago is one big fiesta, and even more so in a Holy Year.
This is also a common thing in Greece. Many churches celebrate mass only once a year and local people make the pilgrimage on that day.
 
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To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I remember wondering where such a big group (hundreds, maybe more) would find accommodation each night
I had a look at the website of the group from Getafe: They had started in Roncesvalles in 2014.

This year, they did their 14th trip during 23-25 September to cover the sections from Sarria to Palas de Rey and they will be doing their 15th and last trip now, from 28-31 October, to cover the sections from Palas de Rey to Santiago.

They travel by private car and by bus from Madrid to the Camino de Santiago and therefore they have a bus at the disposal for all participants. They spend the nights in one place, such as a colegio (school) earlier in Ponferrada, the monastery in Samos plus additional accommodation, and the very large Monte do Gozo albergue now. The bus gets them to their starting point in the morning and brings them back to their accommodation at the end of the day.

It is interesting that the instructions for this group say that to maintain the spirit of pilgrimage we will try to walk more or less together at the beginning of each stage and after meals and we will have times of prayer on these occasions.

A somewhat different Camino de Santiago world ...
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
I walked the Portuguese Camino, finishing last week and DID NOT get two sellos or stamps per day from Tui onwards and I got my compostela.
It is certainly possible that a kind volunteer may give a pilgrim a Compostela when the pilgrim has not fulfilled all of the official requirements. That is clearly what happened to you. However, I would not advise anyone for whom a Compostela is important to count on encountering such a volunteer.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
1989
Katharina this immediately reminded me of the local annual pilgrimages to shrines or holy sites so common in Spanish villages and towns - the Romeria. The whole village or town participates, and it is often very celebratory. I can see how that cultural tradition would influence Spanish perceptions of the Camino, and how it plays into the Sarria to Santiago section. Makes absolute sense. I've always said Sarria to Santiago is one big fiesta, and even more so in a Holy Year.
I think there are a number of ideas and types of pilgrimage.

The Romeria is certainly one type, not unique to Spain, where it is a short distance pilgrimage on foot to a nearby shrine, often on a special day. For others, a pilgrimage is likely a long distance trip, generally not on foot, to an important shrine or holy place (think of most pilgrims to Lourdes, Fatima, Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca, etc.). The Camino de Santiago seems to be unusual in combining the mode of travel of the former with the distance of the latter.
 

Pronetowander

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
July 2019 Primitivo
Sept-Oct 2021 Frances
No, you're not... and I agree with you.

I ought to have clarified a bit more: For everyone thinking to do the last 100km as a starter camino, with plans to return to points further/farther away if everything goes well.

I find that there are a lot of pilgrims in this group.
On my Camino last year I arrived in Santiago Sept 25th along with 641 other pilgrims. I checked up on the official figures for the same day this year and 885 arrived. I expected the figures to be much higher as in pre pandemic years.
 

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