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2019 Camino Guides

278 041 pilgrims got their Compostelas in 2016

Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#2
The increases from year-to-year seem to be on a more or less constant rate of increase. One can almost plot future expected volumes from this data. Ok Doug...the ball is in your court...my brain hurts.:eek:

It is interesting to observe the plotted annual numbers of Compostelas issued above. It is also interesting to note that the increase in 2016 over previous years is not likely the result of the Year of Mercy. This was a special status conferred on the year by Pope Francis. His Holiness extended the Holy Year plenary indulgence provisions to Catholics making pilgrimage and performing specified actions according to Catholic Church dogma.

If the Year of Mercy factored into additional pilgrims, the numbers above do not reflect it. One might have expected more pronounced out of range "spike" in pilgrim numbers for 2016.

The second point to offer here is that someone needs to start projecting a likely range of numbers for the 2021 Holy Year. That is when the next spike will occur. If the Camino Frances is to suffer "gridlock," that is when it might occur.

I hope this contributes to the dialog.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#4
While the article on the number of Compostelas being issued, the truly fascinating one in my opinion is the one you can click on in the sidebar on the new hygene and other rules for albergues in Galicia: must have bed made upon arrival with set of sheets, comforter or blanket, pillow and towel! Also, heating set at at least 19 degrees, someone to receive calls 24 hours a day, and then, depending on the number of beds someone on site all day and night and individual lockers.

It also says that depending in the number of stars an albergue has (stars, an albergue?!) bedding would be changed every 3 or 4 days. Fine for people spending a week in a pension, but for those of us spending 1 night that means sleeping in a ned tho or three people have also slepted in.

Second issue is cost, according to the article. Clearly this cannot be done with 6 or even 10€. (Mind you, on the Norte and Primitivo you do find some albergues offering this for 10-12€).

Article says that these rules are clearly made by people who have no understanding of the Camino (one night per albergue) and the prices charged.

http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/notici...ela-indigna-albergues/0003_201612O29C1995.htm
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#5
It is also interesting to note that the increase in 2016 over previous years is not likely the result of the Year of Mercy. This was a special status conferred on the year by Pope Francis. His Holiness extended the Holy Year plenary indulgence provisions to Catholics making pilgrimage and performing specified actions according to Catholic Church dogma.

If the Year of Mercy factored into additional pilgrims, the numbers above do not reflect it. One might have expected more pronounced out of range "spike" in pilgrim numbers for 2016.
erm, 2016 had more pilgrims than the previous Jacobean Holy Year, 2010, which has never happened outside of the following Holy Year -- and really, it's exactly one year too early to see just from statistics if there was any meaningful effect due to the Jubilee Year or not.

I do agree with you anyway that the growth curve carries on apace, and clearly the Jubilee Pilgrims aren't a "spike" as such (as those of the Jacobean Holy Years are), though they might be numerous enough to be a "blip".

--

Thank you ivar for posting this !!
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
#6
Looking at the chart - makes me wonder if we are close to "peak pilgrimage"?;)
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
#8
Assuming the maintained interest for whatever motivation in the Camino, then ultimately accommodation constrictions and bad word of mouth following on from that is likely to be the determining factor in peregrino, bikigrino and touregrino numbers.
Taking the 2014 compostela figure as 237,810 then assuming an annual 9% increase in numbers annually then the next Holy Year in 2021 would see 434,726 collecting compostelas, an annual 10% increase wouls see 463,424 collecting compostelas, an annual 11% increase would see 493,732 collecting compostelas and a 12% annual increase would see a mind blowing 525,722 compostelas being issued ( daily average of 1,440 so summer peak would see daily averages of 2,500+ daily for several weeks ).
As the annual increase over the past 6 years has averaged over 10% then I think when I retire in Summer 2020, an early Winter camino might prove far less demanding in many ways than waiting until Spring 2021.
The extra capacity for queues waiting to collect their compostelas when the pilgrim office relocates may prove to be under pressure a lot earlier than many anticipate.
For 2015, 9% increase would see 259,213 arrivals, 10% increase 261,591, 11% 263,969, 12% 266,347 and the current 14% increase if maintained would see 271,103.

We are not alone :eek:

Seamus
Going to stick my neck right out there and forecast the next Holy Year will see 550,000+ compostelas being issued.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#9
Going to stick my neck right out there and forecast the next Holy Year will see 550,000+ compostelas being issued.
Not so sure. I ammore of the opinion that those going for religious reasons are there and tapped out, that the increase is from tourists looking for aninexpensive long distance walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#11
Going to stick my neck right out there and forecast the next Holy Year will see 550,000+ compostelas being issued.
Might not be far off :eek:

Current annual growth would indicate 450,000+ by 2021, even without adding in a Holy Year.

Might be time to 'Engineer' some Bad Press to keep people away :D
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#13
Going to stick my neck right out there and forecast the next Holy Year will see 550,000+ compostelas being issued.
hmmmmmm don't think so, but very maybe in 2027 (though the number of people "on" the Camino each year has most likely passed the half million mark since 2010 at least)

looking at the curve though and the typical size of a Holy Year "spike", 400,000+ in 2021 is definitely possible ...
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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#14
I am more of the opinion that those going for religious reasons are there and tapped out
erm, I really don't think so -- and the article itself points out that the % of those declaring "religious reasons" is rising (if I read it correctly)

More statistically, if the overall numbers are rising, then so are the detail numbers for each "type" of pilgrim

Just as there are numerically more of those doing it for health or tourism or sports reasons, so there are numerically more doing it for religious ones -- and vice-versa
 
#16
These numbers are stupefying. I think the phenomenon is similar to what you see in the increases in the length of time that US commuters spend on the road getting to and from work. Well, maybe not exactly, but I think both graphs reveal the ability of an individual to tolerate more and more of an unpleasant phenomenon in small increments (either time sitting in the car or the numbers of pilgrims we are surrounded by) with no point at which we say -- ENOUGH, I'm done with this. Kind of like the frog in boiling water. (Yes, I know, that's an urban myth, but it's a good metaphor http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2006/09/the-boiled-frog-myth-stop-the-lying-now/7446/)

People have been predicting the "collapse" of the Camino for years now and it just doesn't seem to hit that breaking point, maybe because our tolerance is so elastic. And people like me keep predicting that caminos like the Invierno, the Olvidado, the Levante, etc. will start showing growth that reflects people's dislike of the crowds on the Francés, but that hasn't really happened either.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#17
People have been predicting the "collapse" of the Camino for years now and it just doesn't seem to hit that breaking point, maybe because our tolerance is so elastic. And people like me keep predicting that caminos like the Invierno, the Olvidado, the Levante, etc. will start showing growth that reflects people's dislike of the crowds on the Francés, but that hasn't really happened either.
But one could argue it is true of the Portuguese, Norte, Primitivo, Ingles and even VDLP. I think the bulk of us still require manageable distances (well under what you walk daily) so we require some level of infrastructure. For instance, I wanted the Norte to bemy first Camino in 2007,but with 40km stretches between albergues that was not going to happen. But now there isno reasonnot to walk the Norte. Same for the Primitivo. I'm sure that as soon as the Invierno sees a handful more albergues it will be walked much more. I also don't think anyone walking the Frances for the first time expecta it to be so crowded and maybe quite surprised.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#18
erm, I really don't think so -- and the article itself points out that the % of those declaring "religious reasons" is rising (if I read it correctly)
Don't they put together "religious" & "spiritual"? I bed spiritual is going up, no doubt, but religious?
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#19
I don't think so, that curve looks like it's just getting steeper ...
This is not an unconstrained system, however. The number of lodging beds, especially on the stops after Sarria, are the main constraint. And I suspect the point has already been reached, where the high demand has stimulated construction/expansion of additional lodging. But Lodging beds are a rather inelastic resource; it takes capital, and permitting time, and construction time etc etc. On the other hand, increased demand itself stimulates more demand, as each finishing pilgrim tells all their friends of the experience.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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#20
These numbers are stupefying
At the height of the Camino, in the 13th and 14th Centuries, half a million walking from home to the Cathedral then walking back home again annually was normal, not stupefying.

The Camino isn't somehow radically changing, it's simply getting back to what it always should be.

yes -- lots of merit et cetera to we awesome pre-revival and during-revival peregrinos, but if in our lifetimes we see the oldest "records" smashed, how could we be anything other than grateful to God ?
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#21
Am I the only one having problems with uploading the statistics from the Oficína del Peregrino? I wanted to check the numbers, per months, different Caminos etc but the page just goes blank.

/BP
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#22
Am I the only one having problems with uploading the statistics from the Oficína del Peregrino? I wanted to check the numbers, per months, different Caminos etc but the page just goes blank.

/BP
It's blank here as well, but we are told 9 people walked in today asking for a Compostela.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
09 CFrancés, CFisterra 10 VPodiensis 11 CNorte 12 VPlata 13 VPlata, CSanabrés 14 CLevante, CSanabrés 15 CSureste, CInvierno, CMuxia 16 CMadrid, CSalvador, CPrimitivo (17 RLana, CInterior)
#23

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#24
Am I the only one having problems with uploading the statistics from the Oficína del Peregrino? I wanted to check the numbers, per months, different Caminos etc but the page just goes blank.

/BP
No, you're not. I'm having the same problem. (Tuesday, 3rd January 2017)
Perhaps the Oficina's computer got its digits in a twist?:eek:
 

fraluchi

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
#25
[...]The Camino isn't somehow radically changing, it's simply getting back to what it always should be.[...]
And not to worry ! There are some significant trends in pilgrim numbers on the various Caminos since 2011. Looking at past years's figures during the period from May to September, when the bulk of pilgrims arrive in Santiago, the following emerges:
- The variances in overall number of pilgrims slowed gradually down from +14% in 2013 ( vs. 2012) to +4% in 2016 (vs. 2015).
- The number of pilgrims who walked the Camino Frances decreased, during the comparative years, from 14% to 0% (zero).
- The proportion of Camino Frances walkers vs. the overall number has gradually decreased from 69% in the year 2012 to 62% in 2016 and the proportion of pilgrims who walked from Sarria to Santiago dived from 30% to 6%.
- An important "shift" from the Frances was towards the Camino Portugues: during the comparative years the increases were 20%, 20% 23% and 18%. (the bulk from Tui, Valenza and Oporto)
Numbers on other Caminos, though being relatively small compared to the bulk of pilgrims, increased particularly on the Caminos del Norte and Primitivo.
So it would indicate that there should be enough room for "new" pilgrims on a stagnant volume of Camino Frances pilgrims during the aforementioned main months.:cool:
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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#26
BTW, as far as I know there are no reliable estimates for the number of pilgrims to Santiago in the Middle Ages.
This is a good point -- estimates at the height of the mediaeval pilgrimage are of about 300,000 to 500,000 , BUT this included the non-walking/riding ones, and if we include all pilgrims to Santiago, current numbers are about 4 million in a Holy Year. So in a sense, the mediaeval numbers starting being dwarfed decades ago.

Of course, the absence of even the beginnings of the public transport systems of the Renaissance and later meant that likely a majority of those 300K to 500K would have qualified for a Compostela according to the current rules, AND would have returned home by the same means, walking/riding, so that even factoring in those modern pilgrims doing the Camino in stages (which no mediaeval pilgrim possibly could), actual daily numbers on any particular stages of the Francès were still likely significantly higher, even though the numbers in the City of Santiago itself in the 2010s are either likely very similar to the 11th-13th Centuries for "traditional" pilgrims, or MUCH larger today considering all types of pilgrims.

But the numbers have become directly comparable during these 2010s, whereas even in the 2000s, the mediaeval numbers were still unquestionably higher, for the Camino that is.

Bearing in mind also that those living towards Madrid, or Barcelona, or Valencia, or elsewhere would have walked from there, and not artificially made their way to SJPP or Roncesvalles or wherever, BUT the vast majority of those walking/riding from further than Spain would still have ended up on the Francès, just as today, with only few taking the other routes via Andorra or south of the Pyrenees via Catalonia.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#27
WOW/WOW/WOW - sorry but this statistic is almost overwhelming. What does it say about the numbers to expect in 2021 (the next official Holey Year). I am very sad to say but, on the assumption that a large percentage of these pilgrims walked the Frances (and started in Sarria); that this part of Spain is in danger of
being loved to death (IMHO).

We might have to join our winter adventurer (SYates) and start walking in late Nov/Dec (bringing the thermals). Or maybe encourage more pilgrims to walk other Caminos (VDLP/Porto)! Cheers (oh and thanks to Ivar and others for the very well presented statistics - my professor would have given you an A+ for the graphs!!:)).
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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#28
As far as I know the only reliable figures are based on some lists of ship passengers from England in the 1400s or so and these are limited to a few months of a few years and everything else is guesswork and much of what was published a few decades ago is regarded as questionable but of course gets reprinted forever and ever
Well yes and no, fragmentary archives do exist here and there -- those at Toulouse for example suggest up to a thousand pilgrims a day, though of course it was also a pilgrimage destination in its own right.

The registries of the Cathedral at Santiago having been lost though does of course mean that a great degree of guesswork is necessary, whereas the Francoist revival movement of the 1940s-60s, the religious revival movement of the 1960s-1980s, and the modern Galician regionalist revival movement of the 80s and 90s all had a vested interest in promoting the most positive interpretation possible of this or other questions.

... and of course, even for 2016, determining how many people were pilgrims on the Ways of St James itself involves a significant degree of guesswork, because there is no centralised structure that every single one of us must necessarily adhere to, and many many of us will simply be completely off the radar.

But as far as I can tell from the (perhaps anecdotal) evidence surviving from the period, including in individual pilgrim accounts, the estimates made of pilgrim numbers in the hundreds of thousands seem to be quite plausible, at least for the high point of the mediaeval Way in the 13th Century. Clearly, they would not all have travelled along the Francès.

---

edit :

I can see that a certain form of erudite revisionism has become fashionable, but I can see, quoted by even in the most sceptical type of this sort of thing, a quote from Burgos from as late as 1598:

« On voit passer et on héberge chaque année à l’hospice de Burgos, où on leur donne à manger gratis deux ou trois jours, huit à dix mille Français et Gascons qui viennent dans nos royaumes à l’occasion du pèlerinage … En France, dit-on, ils promettent pour dot à leurs filles ce qu’ils auront amassé au cours d’un voyage aller et retour à Saint-Jacques, comme si c’était aux Indes, en venant en Espagne avec des pacotilles ».

-- so 8 to 10 thousand per year, just on the Francès, bang in the middle of the Reformation/ counter-Reformation period when pilgrimages were being generally condemned (as in this example) throughout Europe, and in a period when it is known that the Camino was well on the way towards its decline.

However these same people still try and present the mediaeval numbers as in the hundreds only, whereas even at the end of the Renaissance, numbers were at least as high as they were in the 1990s. This sort of revisionist narrative simply appears not to make any sense, not when there are contemporary mediaeval sources speaking of massive crowds of pilgrims.

These revisionists seem to think that millions of pilgrims would have left massive evidence that they also expect would have survived until today, except that this is very unrealistic for periods prior to the invention of the printing press, let alone its industrial version in the 19th century. And we all know for a fact that the vast majority of pilgrims today leave scant material evidence behind that they were ever there at all. It is extremely unreasonable to imagine that those of 700-900 years ago would be any different.
 
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#29
Looking at the figures elsewhere it is interesting that though numbers have increased every year the number of cyclists has declined almost continuously since 2010.

In fact if the number of cyclists had remained in the same proportion as they were in the 1990s there would be 100,000 or so more of them, that they are not is perhaps something for walker to be thankful for.

Another change is the percentage of men and women in the 1990s there were nearly 50% more men than women now the numbers are almost equal, I wonder when the crossover will happen.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#30
I am a walker who would be very happy for the number of cyclists to stay at current levels - provided they stay on the surfaced roads. Too many collisions and near-misses on narrow, muddy, steep and uneven paths over the years. As things stand at the moment part of me wants to lay down a bottle or two of decent Rioja to celebrate with on the day when the number of cyclists finally declines to zero.
 
#31
Medieval pilgrimage was very much a local thing and long distance pilgrims were the exception. There may have been many pilgrims to Santiago but they would probably have been fairly local (North West Spain) as there are plenty of other pilgrimage centres in Spain.

There is material evidence for this from the finds of pilgrim badges which were common even then and all the evidence shows that most badges in an area are from the nearest main pilgrimage centre such as Canterbury for South East England.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#32
I am a walker who would be very happy for the number of cyclists to stay at current levels - provided they stay on the surfaced roads. Too many collisions and near-misses on narrow, muddy, steep and uneven paths over the years. As things stand at the moment part of me wants to lay down a bottle or two of decent Rioja to celebrate with on the day when the number of cyclists finally declines to zero.
Hey Brad - the "too many collisions/near-misses" have multiple reasons - with almost equal blame. I have come across walkers with the ipod music so loud I could hear it as I rode past - no chance she (yes it was a woman) would have heard my bell and the several calls. I gave her a very wide birth. The second idiot stood in the middle of the road (coming down from the Mt Gozo) he virtually dared me to run into him - fortunately his friends dragged him out of the way.
If you think the cyclist are a problem - how would you feel if there were 20 or 30,000 horse riding pilgrims - the horse droppings would overwhelm the walkers. At least the cyclist don't pollute the environment. Buen Camino
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#33
If you think the cyclist are a problem - how would you feel if there were 20 or 30,000 horse riding pilgrims - the horse droppings would overwhelm the walkers. At least the cyclist don't pollute the environment. Buen Camino
Horses don't pollute. On the contrary, manure feeds the ground. Messy for us humans perhaps, but then again, just about everything annoys us. o_O
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#34
@Saint Mike II I have come across many considerate cyclists like yourself who ring bells, call out warnings and moderate their speed when passing walkers. Sadly a very significant percentage do not. I never walk with headphones on. My hearing is reasonably acute. Even so there is often no more than a few seconds faint mechanical sound to warn of an approaching cyclist. A strong breeze, the noise of rainfall or the rustle of a rain hood can be enough to reduce the warning time almost to nil. I have been struck by passing cyclists even after standing aside at the extreme edge of a path still too narrow for two-abreast traffic. I have been knocked to the ground with torn trousers and grazes when a cyclist passing at speed lost control on a muddy path and slid sideways into my shins. On one memorable occasion on the Primitivo I moved to the edge of the path to allow a cyclist to pass only to be deliberately kicked in the thigh as he passed - knocking me several feet down a steep rocky slope. No walker has ever knocked the feet from under me, splattered me with mud, torn my clothing or deliberately assaulted me. I cannot agree that there is "equal blame" in the problems which arise from walkers and cyclists sharing the same off-road paths.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#35
@Saint Mike II I have come across many considerate cyclists like yourself who ring bells, call out warnings and moderate their speed when passing walkers. .... I have been knocked to the ground with torn trousers and grazes when a cyclist passing at speed lost control on a muddy path and slid sideways into my shins. On one memorable occasion on the Primitivo I moved to the edge of the path to allow a cyclist to pass only to be deliberately kicked in the thigh as he passed - knocking me several feet down a steep rocky slope. No walker has ever knocked the feet from under me, splattered me with mud, torn my clothing or deliberately assaulted me. I cannot agree that there is "equal blame" in the problems which arise from walkers and cyclists sharing the same off-road paths.
OUCH - shins are painful - not much padding. As for the d*ckhead" who kicked you - I hope he had punctures/flat tyres all the way to SDC. As my fellow cyclist newfydog says - if you can't control your bike you should not be riding. As a cyclist I accept that it is my responsibility to fit in with the walkers. If, as a cyclist, you don't agree - then get off the Camino and stick to the major roads.
(I think we can finish this aspect! OK). Cheers - happy walking.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#36
Medieval pilgrimage was very much a local thing and long distance pilgrims were the exception. There may have been many pilgrims to Santiago but they would probably have been fairly local (North West Spain) as there are plenty of other pilgrimage centres in Spain.
Yes, and mediaeval literary pilgrims were more likely to provide accounts about the longer, more exceptional ones rather than the shorter or more common ones that many of their contemporaries engaged in -- to BTW address Kathar1na's surprise at the greater number of accounts concerning Jerusalem than Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#38
This is a good point -- estimates at the height of the mediaeval pilgrimage are of about 300,000 to 500,000 , BUT this included the non-walking/riding ones, and if we include all pilgrims to Santiago, current numbers are about 4 million in a Holy Year. So in a sense, the mediaeval numbers starting being dwarfed decades ago.
.
For example, In the case of 360.000/year in the Middle Ages, that means an average 0f 1000 pilgrims per day going and returning and 3 or 4 thousands in a pick day in every stop.
I see many problems in feeding so many people. For example, in a poor cerealistic area like the stretch Villafranca- Portomarin that would riquire a complex system of storage and transport of cereals. That system only could have been organised by the Kingdom of Leon that was always in banckruptcy because the wars against the Muslims and other Christian Kingdoms.
So probably no more than 100.000 pilgrims / year on the Francés in the Middle Ages. IMO.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
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#39
For example, In the case of 360.000/year in the Middle Ages, that means an average 0f 1000 pilgrims per day going and returning and 3 or 4 thousands in a pick day in every stop.
I see many problems in feeding so many people. For example, in a poor cerealistic area like the stretch Villafranca- Portomarin that would riquire a complex system of storage and transport of cereals. That system only could have been organised by the Kingdom of Leon that was always in banckruptcy because the wars against the Muslims and other Christian Kingdoms.
So probably no more than 100.000 pilgrims / year on the Francés in the Middle Ages. IMO.
These are interesting objections, except that food (and goods) distribution in the Middle Ages was handled by corporations, not kingdoms ; mediaeval pilgrims very often travelled in large groups and not infrequently organised these things for themselves ; complex systems of storage and transport existed, and had done since Roman times ; and most crucially, you're both falsely assuming that all of these people were to be found only on the Francès as it exists today which is VERY unlikely to be the case, and you're greatly overestimating how much food 1000 people actually need in a day (rather than want).

You might be considering these things in an overly parochial and pessimistic way, simply by virtue of not realising just how much of an economic and political revolution was created by the Roman Empire in its roads infrastructure, the benefits of which were only damaged but not destroyed by the fall of imperial Rome -- yes there were also taxes and other hindrances in feudal times, but OTOH the feudal kingdoms were very decentralised, so that there was no sort of centralised nationalist protectionism either ; but mostly just some local Lords looking out for the interests of the local families.

Another thing you should realise is that even though in absolute terms some areas are poorer in agriculture than others, OTOH the permanently resident populations were much MUCH smaller 700-900 years ago, so that local food production capabilities were under several orders of magnitude less strain than they are in the 21st Century -- also, the local organising of the feeding and lodging of pilgrims was a direct source of income for those residents, just as it is today, and you cannot just cast aside the spontaneous economic ingenuity of local families and fraternities and corporations and abbeys and monasteries to organise the provision of such services including importing food from elsewhere to the benefit of all as if this were just some sort of abstract function of local soil quality.

More anecdotally, I've occasionally lived in and passed through multiple localities where conditions of life for the local families are/were not that much different to conditions as they were in the Middle Ages (though life in these "lost worlds" has been changing VERY rapidly since the 1970s, and particularly since the inventions of the internet and WiFi), and whatever resources people lack in such conditions -- outside of periods of war, plague, and famine, where pilgrims were anyway unlikely to set foot outside of home -- food availability for paying travellers in stable communities simply is not a problem.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#40
Yes, maybe I have underestimated the trading possibilities in the Middle Ages in the Kingdoms of Spain and I also forgot the chestnuts which were a basic element of nutrition in Galicia before the potatoes. There are still a lot of chestnut trees between Villafranca del Bierzo and O Cebreiro. So maybe more than 100.000 pilgrims/year were possible.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#41
Just one point to make...throughout this dialog, we all seem to be discussing and referencing the original post that stated the number of COMPOSTELAS ISSUED at Santiago de Compostela during 2016. The OP did not indicate the TOTAL NUMBER of pilgrims arriving at Santiago. This is likely an unknown number.

As most of us know, the number of Compostelas issued only reflects a percentage, albeit a large percentage, of the overall number of pilgrims. Many pilgrims, including some repeat and veteran pilgrims, opt our of standing in line to obtain "the piece of paper," especially during the more crowded summer months. However, these veterans KNOW what they have done. Moreover, if they did it as a spiritual exercise, the "documentation" is likewise spiritual, and unnecessary. Their credential is evidence enough.

So, the actual numbers of people on all the Camino routes, heading towards Santiago is likely higher than the number of Compostelas issued. Any number I might offer would only be a slightly informed guess. However, I will go out on a limb (please don't murder the messenger) and suggest that the total number of Compostelas issued reflects only about 85 - 90 percent of total traffic.

This is MY OPINION based on my volunteer work at the pilgrim office. It reflects the anecdotal empirical evidence of "self-rejects" (people who see the line and state - "never mind - I have x Compostelas already..."), as well as the significant numbers of pilgrims who come to the office requesting "solo sello," or only a stamp. The stamp only indicates they made it that far.

Also remember, that the total number of pilgrims also includes people who go to the office and receive "visitation certificates" instead of Compostelas if they indicate they did pilgrimage for anything OTHER than spiritual or religious reasons. it also includes people who are on a Camino but fail to finish for whatever reason.

In fact, this happened to me this past April when I was forced to "pull the plug" at Sarria because of joint pain. So close, yet so far. I do plan to return to finish this bit, but that is irrelevant.

Finally, as the "peak Camino" issue actually revolves around the "carrying capacity" of the Camino infrastructure, and the single biggest factor in determining that capacity is available bed space along the way, we need to factor both "tourigrinos" and regular tourists (who are not on Camino) in among the numbers. This is most true at the major cities and large towns, which also attract tourists in their own right.

Places like: Logrono, Burgos, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Leon, Astorga, O'Cebreiro, and other cities and towns along the Camino Frances attract tourists even without their association with a Camino. A similar paradigm exists to a varying degree at cities and towns along other Camino routes.

So, the question remains, when does doing a Camino become more of a hassle than it is worth? If we are seeking solace, solitude, fellowship, and a spiritual (writ large) experience, we need to seriously start to define and carve out an "alternative Camino universe."

By this I mean we need to open a discussion about how to counter the negative effects of overcrowding by defining alternative times, alternative routes, and perhaps alternative daily practices that attenuate the stress on us all. For example, if we avoid albergues for whatever reason, that is a significant variable to our solution to this issue. Any alternative route or timing must provide infrastructure similar to that found on the Frances.

Yes, we all know that no route is as developed as the Frances, except perhaps portions of the Portuguese. But, what I am proposing is a sort of parallel Camino. A network of routes, times, and places, that are known to experienced veterans, and not subject to commercial exploitation, at least until after the next Holy Year. This may take a separate thread from this one, and require you to be a contributing Forum member to access it. Lurkers not permitted...

In the end, we may all end up finding each other out and about during April - May, or October - November. My personal rule-of-thumb is to stay off established Camino routes when colleges are out of session.

After four springtime (April -May) Caminos, I have modified that rule to include periods in the Spring, when an increasing number of universities are hosting groups of 12-20 students on a course. These groups generally sop up available hostal bed space wherever they go. So, I am thinking increasingly of shifting to doing my Caminos as soon as the universities go back into session around mid-September.

I rather think that SYates is going to have more company starting this coming autumn.

I hope this helps the dialog.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF , SJPP to Santiago Sept/Oct 2016
#42
Soon after buying my flight and committing to walking the Camino, I found out about the Year of Mercy... "Oh no, there's going to be so many of us!" Crowd is my nemesis...
Well, I made it into the statistic! I walked the Camino Frances from SJPP to Santiago in 2016.
Yes, it was busy... But it was also serene and magical...
Yes, I had some worries about a bed at the end of the day but I never went without...
Yes, I didn't care much for Santiago as I loved the small villages but the crowded Santiago gave me my biggest gift of surrendering and much more.
This is one statistic I am glad I participated!
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#46
Those are December figures only. Try July 11,000 from Sarria, 4,000 from a small provincial town in southern France. Or August with 15k from Sarria and again 4k from StJdP.

If you start your pilgrimage in Erewhon it doesn't matter how long it takes or how many re-starts you make - you are a pilgrim who started from Erewhon.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#47
Is there anyway of knowing out of that number how many did the full Camino ?
erm, as a "purist", I define "the full Camino" as from the altar of your parish church (or from your front door, that's OK too) to the Shrine of St James ... so I'd say no, there isn't any way to know that. :p
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), Primitivo(13), Norte(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18)
#48
Is there anyway of knowing out of that number how many did the full Camino ?
You would have to define a full Camino first. There are ways of seeing how many started from a certain location.

There is no way of knowing how many walked that did not get a Compostela.
 
#51
upload_2017-1-12_15-24-6.png

This is a stacked chart showing the numbers from each major start point on the CF over 2016. The months are in reverse to a normal chart. It shows Sarria and SJPP as the main start points and a relatively stable number of pilgrims from May to October except from Sarria which has a more pronounced mid summer peak.

This shows the Compostelas issued so the start time will be 35 days or so earlier from SJPP, 14 days earlier from Leon and 5 days earlier from Sarria etc etc
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#53
View attachment 31146

This is a stacked chart showing the numbers from each major start point on the CF over 2016.
Love this graph. The outline of the Sarria numbers remind me of the elevation graph of SJPP to Ronfesvalles. I wonder if we could also suggest people split "that" o_O.

But what I find fascinating is that start dates numbers vary so much from one starting point to the next. Why would Pamplona peak in August while Leon does in June and October. We can see the "waves" walkers.
 

MTtoCamino

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis SJPdP to Finnestere April(2014)
#54
The numbers starting in Sarria is what really astonishes me, yet I suppose it reflects the fact societies have little free time for longer pilgrimages. We do what is available to us.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#55
A very clear minority (less than 20,000) are for religious reasons on the road to Santiago.

Entre los nacionales, los catalanes han sido los más numerosos (4.661) y entre los extranjeros, los estadounidenses (5.728)

Curiosidades: coreanos (3.096); alemanes (5.207) / franceses (7.187) / Nueva Zelanda (364) [...].

33.761 peregrinos han señalado el motivo de su viaje como "espiritual". 20.514 como "cultural" y 18.469 como "religioso".
They clearly make a mistake in the text where they say Americans were largest in numbers amongst foreigners because then they go to give numbers for the French which are greater.

I have to admit I really like the way they break up the numbers: none of this mambo jambo of "religious/spiritual" the cathedral uses (as for why they do it ...).

If only we could now get SJPP to count the same way, we could get a wonderful picture of who walks, why amd from where.

On the sad note, I think it is fair to extrapolate that the increase is amongst the short distance walkers.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#56
If 60,000 left SJPDP and only 34,000 claimed a Compostela, that suggests either many did not get to Santiago, or many did not claim the Compostela. We know that people often take several years to walk from SJPDP, but that should not make any difference to the overall numbers that reach Santiago.

I do think the numbers who leave the Camino before reaching Santiago, for various reasons, is high.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#57
Anyway, they counted a little under 60,000 pilgrims in SJPdP in 2016 - while around 34,000 pilgrims claimed a Compostela in Santiago in 2016 and indicated SJPP as their point of departure.

....

They also claim that only 25% of those counted in SJPdP in a particular year do not arrive at the end of their journey (I am not sure that I understand what this means). That's 1 in 4.
Very likely an overestimate -- there's a not insignificant number who pass through SJPP and its pilgrim office, but who started from further away (just personally, I've been in that office 3 times, and in SJPP 4, not having once started there) ; and the pilgrim office in Santiago, nor the pilgrims themselves, will not always state SJPP as the starting point of a pilgrimage that was completed in stages, on the basis of the final Credencial shown, which may designate some other location.

What the statistics show though is that the % of those abandoning the Camino at some point after SJPP is 25% or lower -- in other words, they show that the great majority who attempt the Camino succeed.
 
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M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#58
I walked from SJPDP to SDC last year for the first time. Some of the huge numbers mentioned here are kind of sad. Always good for the folks walking I guess, but discouraging for me contemplating my next walk. I don't seek comfort, as in familiarity, so will look farther afield next time. I don't seek to belong to a 'Club' - I think risk, the challenge of the unknown, a bit of apprehension, even fear, is stimulating and is essential for a genuinely new adventure. Discomfort and aversion to contentment is more conducive to a rich psychic life, it seems to me. Mind you, I'd love to walk the Masar Ibrahim but that's looking increasingly worrying in recent weeks. I'm certainly not into "Extreme Camino", but as I get older the dangers of psychological and psychic contentment seem increasingly toxic to me. But that's me. I don't mean to criticise others' choices.

I guess if you're totally open, then stepping out your front door can be brand new every time and as challenging as any jungle. Or if your front door is in Syria, there's absolutely no effort to the search.

I saw a wonderful movie yesterday called "Paterson" about a guy who is a poet working as a bus driver. He was a sweet, calm, quiet, loving character. He wrote his poems at various times during the day. He was one of the world's great adventurers, open, a listener, alive. Each day was the same: walk to work, drive the bus, listen, connect, write, walk home to his wife, love her, take the dog for a walk, write. He and his poems were simple, limpid, true.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#59
Interesting @Mike Trebert - I've been listening to a podcast interview with Sarah Constant, who walked 12,000km across the Sahara. She said that one of the things she liked was the daily pattern and constant repetition, and it is within that framework that she finds intellectual and emotional freedom. Or something like that. Which is not unlike my feelings on camino.
 
M

Mike Trebert

Guest
#60
Interesting @Mike Trebert - I've been listening to a podcast interview with Sarah Constant, who walked 12,000km across the Sahara. She said that one of the things she liked was the daily pattern and constant repetition, and it is within that framework that she finds intellectual and emotional freedom. Or something like that. Which is not unlike my feelings on camino.
I doubt she'd be keen to walk the same 12,000kms again. As I understand it, traditionally in a Zen monastery, there is routine every day for years on end. The 'master' randomly shocks and punishes you every so often to get you to jump out of your "comfort zone". Non-attachment to contentment can exist in the midst of constancy. So it seems to me. Maybe that proves your point as much as it does mine.
 
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#62
I walked from SJPDP to SDC last year for the first time. Some of the huge numbers mentioned here are kind of sad. Always good for the folks walking I guess, but discouraging for me contemplating my next walk. I don't seek comfort, as in familiarity, so will look farther afield next time. I don't seek to belong to a 'Club' - I think risk, the challenge of the unknown, a bit of apprehension, even fear, is stimulating and is essential for a genuinely new adventure. Discomfort and aversion to contentment is more conducive to a rich psychic life, it seems to me. Mind you, I'd love to walk the Masar Ibrahim but that's looking increasingly worrying in recent weeks. I'm certainly not into "Extreme Camino", but as I get older the dangers of psychological and psychic contentment seem increasingly toxic to me. But that's me. I don't mean to criticise others' choices.

I guess if you're totally open, then stepping out your front door can be brand new every time and as challenging as any jungle. Or if your front door is in Syria, there's absolutely no effort to the search.

I saw a wonderful movie yesterday called "Paterson" about a guy who is a poet working as a bus driver. He was a sweet, calm, quiet, loving character. He wrote his poems at various times during the day. He was one of the world's great adventurers, open, a listener, alive. Each day was the same: walk to work, drive the bus, listen, connect, write, walk home to his wife, love her, take the dog for a walk, write. He and his poems were simple, limpid, true.
Hi, Mike, Don't give up on the Camino, there are lots of them that fit the description of what you are looking for. Catalán, Madrid, Ebro, Mozárabe, Castellano-Aragonés, Invierno, Olvidado, Vadiniense, Lana, San Olav, Baztán, Levante.... the list goes on and on. Lots of people here on the forum who are pulled to these solitary caminos, so you can usually get a lot of information from someone who has walked. Buen camino, Laurie
 


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