A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

COVID A return to a more basic camino?

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Via De La Plata, Camino De Madrid, The Oberstrasse, Camino Ingles, Camino Portugues
Like many others, I have been reminiscing about my first camino back in 2000. At that time we had something called mad cow disease causing a lot of trouble for farmers and doubts about whether it was safe for people from the uk to travel abroad. It didn't seem to prevent me from travelling to Spain if I remember correctly. I flew to Madrid then to Pamplona and not knowing any better took a taxi to St Jean Pied Du Port.

The camino then was different than today with a lot less refuges and longer distances to walk between them and few places to get coffee or breakfast (like the VDLP is now). Refuges were always basic and usually municipal with very few private ones. I don't remember staying in a private one except for the Pequińo Potala in Ruitelan. The most basic I can remember was San Juan De Ortega but the old school Zubiri was close. The thing is though, you just accepted them as part of the experience and just glad of a roof over your head if the weather was bad.

The reason I am writing this today though is that I am wondering if the camino will return to this more basic form again due to the closure of so many places that depend on the pilgrim traffic economically. I know it's bad for the peole who have invested everything in the camino infrastructure but would it really be such a bad thing for the pilgrim? A return to a more basic and maybe more meaningful camino?

What do you folks think?
 
Last edited:

Lindsay53

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances April / May 19
I would like such an experience. While I enjoyed my Camino last year, it did feel crowded at times. My needs are simple, a roof and a bunk at the end of the day, anything else is a bonus. I doubt the Camino will ever return to the way it was 20 years ago, but a 'simpler' Camino would be attractive although I certainly feel for those whose livelihood depends on the pilgrim traffic and who may not be able to survive this downturn.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Via De La Plata, Camino De Madrid, The Oberstrasse, Camino Ingles, Camino Portugues
I would like such an experience. While I enjoyed my Camino last year, it did feel crowded at times. My needs are simple, a roof and a bunk at the end of the day, anything else is a bonus. I doubt the Camino will ever return to the way it was 20 years ago, but a 'simpler' Camino would be attractive although I certainly feel for those whose livelihood depends on the pilgrim traffic and who may not be able to survive this downturn.
You can still get that simplicity on some other routes.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
Refuges were always basic and usually municipal with very few private ones. I don't remember staying in a private one except for the Pequińo Potala in Ruitelan. The most basic I can remember was San Juan De Ortega but the old school Zubiri was close. The thing is though, you just accepted them as part of the experience and just glad of a roof over your head if the weather was bad.
I have only a vague idea of what our "new normality" will look like. Judging by the guidelines for albergues that were published by the Spanish government right now, the basic albergue in San Juan de Ortega may be in for a rude awakening, though. "Just a roof over your head" will not be good enough in 2020. Not in the view of the authorities who do have a say in all this.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
I thought it was Foot and Mouth disease in those days? Mad Cow Disease isn't contagious though I remember not being able to do country walks in the UK but beaches and city walking were allowed.

And Zubiri was far worse than San Juan - the showers at the old school house were outside, the refugio was on a main road with trucks passing all night and no curtains or shutters!

I admit I do miss the simplicity of 20 years ago - it was quieter (apart from the snoring!) and far, far less commercial but then we take so much out of Spain on our Caminos who are we to deny the small villages and wayside bars their opportunities to prosper?

No doubt the pilgrims of the 60s and 70s looked on us at that time with scorn and said "Back in our day . . . "

Stick with the advice from Don Henley "Don't look back, you can never look back."
 

Antonius Vaessen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2016 VdlPlata - Sanabres
2016.Primitivo
2017 Salvador
2018 Norte (to Sobrado)
2019 Norte again
What the future will bring, nobody knows. The development might lead in the opposite directions: less possibilties to stay in albergues with communal meals, dormitories with double beds and so on. Although I stay sometimes in private rooms or hostels I prefer staying in albergues
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Via De La Plata, Camino De Madrid, The Oberstrasse, Camino Ingles, Camino Portugues
I thought it was Foot and Mouth disease in those days? Mad Cow Disease isn't contagious though I remember not being able to do country walks in the UK but beaches and city walking were allowed.
Foot and Mouth was a disease that was a number years before that. The new form came about from feeding cow brains to cows in their food. Another name for it was Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and when it infected humans it became Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD).
 

Dromengro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Leon 1984
Frances (2021)
I walked and camped the Frances in 84. I met no other pilgrims. I don't remember there being many bars/cafes ( one I went to was in a cow shed with the cows looking over the partition into the bar.) and shops were hard to find, many were just rooms in peoples houses.
I was looking forward to seeing the crowds and commercialization to see how much it had changed.
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
That's pretty much how the Norte and Primitivo were in 2003 and 2004. I noticed a big change between then and 2012, even.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF : stages 2008, 2017, 2018 ; completed.
Foot and Mouth was a disease that was a number years before that. The new form came about from feeding cow brains to cows in their food. Another name for it was Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and when it infected humans it became Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD).
I fear that you are a little confused.

Foot-and-mouth disease : UK outbreak 2001 (previous episode 1967) ; viral disease, easily spread between animals and also on human footwear etc. resulting in quite severe restrictions on walking in the countryside.

BSE : spread through animal feed and thence to humans eating infected meat ; no restrictions on travel, walking off-road etc.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018; Munich to Lindau (Germany) Sep 2020
.... I know it's bad for the peole who have invested everything in the camino infrastructure but would it really be such a bad thing for the pilgrim? A return to a more basic and maybe more meaningful camino?

What do you folks think?
I was on the Camino Aragonés, Camino de Invierno and on the Camino Francés. I liked each experience (the lonelier caminos and the more crowded Camino Francés) very much. And so I think I can live with a more basic camino as well.
But there is no need for an economic desaster that destroys much of the camino infrastructure... with many lovely places where people have spent months and years of hard work and love... I can have a more basic Camino if I just walk on a lonelier Camino or in lonelier time of the year.

So I hope very much that most of the albergues will survive.
And everyone who wants to can help a little bit:
 
Last edited:

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
Been using lockdown to go thru old photos, letters etc in an effort to leave some stories for the grandchildren.
Following is a bit long compilation of my emails home from my first (2005) camino--complete with griping and all the typos from the frustrating internet kiosks with Spanish keyboard. Much simpler to be sure but may have little wish to return to that time 15 years later

Finaly found internet in spain
> making my move from project manager to pilgrim. trip was 48 gruelling hours
> since there wasnt a shuttle service from paplona to stjeanpiedduport, i had
> to take 3 trains. overall thee were 21 transportation transfers between pdx
> and stjeanpieddup ort, the french start before the pyrnees. have had two
> days of walking 11hours the first day and 9 today. we are taking in slow
> and enjoying the scenery. sorry for no earlier notice but french phones and
> spanish phones cant work and this is first internet other than in landing
> airports.
> nice walk, nice trip, buen camino to all.......................al
>

Subject: Day 5

>Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:06 -0700

>

>nice walk thru rolling agricultural hills with wind turbines on the

>ridges and dotted with small vineyards. Mostly into the swing of the

>camino now that the pyrnees and pamplona are behind. <traveling
>companion Jim completely blew out knee and had cup of fluid drained
>in pamplona so he is shadowing el camino santiago on a bus.
>tomorrow is about 25k to estella and two more like days to logrono
>will bring us to the high plains--with no rain yet but as i write
>this i feel about a 25 know breeze outside the refuge. this refuge
>is the first municipal one tried and has 120 or so beds in about 5
>new dormlike rooms. also serves a pilgrim dinner and has washer and
>dryer--a nice place catering to the every increasing number of
>pilgrims. of the 80 or so occupants there are about 4 other
>americans a handful of canadians, and the rest are french, italian,
>and german mostly. the crowd is distinctly older--only about a
>dozen 20somethings and at least 50 of us who qualify for the aarp.
>ive almost adapted to the rythyms of the camino and a few mor days i
>should be full on rivertime and lost to the modern world. this is
>an interesting hybrid of old world and modern world and the modern
>increasingly becomes mor frustrating--like the ampersand is nowhere
>to be found on the europena keyboard and requires a
>control,alt,upeer,2 to get to an email address.ç

>.............................al

>

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: elcaminosantaigo--day 14 or so


internet here only sporadic and european keyboard frustrating.
only 475km more and trip is over. short days 22km, longer days 30km. nice
blend weaving the social and the isolated. 8 hour walk about 4 days ago my
body felt the whole day like the last 6miles of walking the portland
marathon--it hates me. but after a treat of wine, mixed salad, and veal, it
was happy again. i am sold on the spanish wines. dont know the grape
varietal but tastes like a yound pinor or siraz. share some below 3 euro
wines with other pilgrims and never had a bad wine. so next time at story
look for anything from la rioja. great stuff.
today second day on plains (meseta) and it must be like walking north
dakota. lots of isolation at time for the monkey mind to tkae me from
gratitude to greif. tonights refuge in castrojirez is best so far. only
about 30 beds in bunks and floors and plenty of space inbetween so i dont
have to swap garlic breath with the nearest german. came in to opera
arias, incense, and a hospitelero rushing to carry my pack to my bed and
guide me to the showers. o, how the camino provides our basic needs at the
needed moment.
only met 4 other americans so far. mostly german and french followed by
italian and spanish. actually met 4 brazilians and 4 from netherlands so
they are better represented than americans.
seem to have lost traveling companion jim. i dont think buses went to last
night or tonights villiages so only tomorrow as backup, then it is solo
along the journey until we can reconnect. his knee still isnt in shape for
the distance and good for only about 10km so dont know what the camiino will
offer.
whatever road you are on right now--buen camino..............al




Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: midpoint to el camino santiago


slow internet connection, so cannot respond to any emails just do this
broadcast. all is well, jim and i reconnected and he did a 7k and 17k day
on knee, first after the surgery 10 plus days ago, but probably not enuf to
keep up or avoid bussing.
the camino is very crowded very early, last night was 4th nite of refuges
all full. so i jointed the pilgrm race for beds today leaving at 6am hiking
straight includeing eating my breakfast yogurt as i walked to save time. in
the first 17km 18 people passed me, in the next 10 another 24, so after
doing 27km in 6.5 hours, i got the second to last bed. not much fun but
havent figured a way to stagger the starts etc to avoid the overcrowding and
weather too rainy-windy to just set down my bag in a wheatfield and camp.
last night was fairly large city so got a nice pension with private bath for
a change. tonite is terradillos de templarios and only place in town is the
refuge--also only place to eat. an american gi i have intermittently met
and waled with is leaving the trail at sahagun tomorrow in frustration at
the crowds so that is kind of sad.
food, people, and walk still great, but clearly this is fully discovered and
way easy access for the german, french, italian, and spanish walkers.
cannot imagine what this summer will be like since there are maybe 5% of the
pilgrims under 50. it is mostly just us old folks. did meet one dutch guy
who had done appalacia and pacific crest trails. he is 74, takes a top
bunk, and springs up there in a single bound so walking must be good.

buen camino to all.........................al



To brian 5/14 buen camino.

mine has been and is and sure sounds like yours was. im on my forth nonwoking internet machine here in a cafe in leon, a city of 500,000 which is pretty civilized and cool. will take train to astorga tomorrow to buy more time for mountain hiking. it will give me about 300km left and 14 nights to do it so maybe jim can join since the days will be short and he cannot move faster than 3km per hour at best. we took train from shagun to leon today to cut out about 90km of walking and get back on schedule. it is a real pain to get bus schedules for him everyday and have me committ to a fixed walk then meet up at night. the trail is very overcrowded very early this year so if i dont get to a refuge by 2pm, there arent any beds left so everyone is leaving in the middle of the night like some ecochallenge race. last nite i was in a 5 person room and when i got up at 6am, 4 has long left in what i call the pilgrim racei walked 27km in 5 hours yesterday to get the second to last bed at 1pm and that isnt the laid back hike i wanted. three of our new friends hav left the camino in frustration because they refuse to participate in the race for a bed...........dad

Kids 5/14happy and safe and pretty sure i am going to retire early and maybe be living in a tent somewhere in telluride by august 1 if you guys are cool with that. i love walking and living like a scumbag in the outdoors, am used to hand washing every nite and taking cold showers. also my belt size is down about an inch so far so maybe ill be down 20 pounds by end of elcamino and back into somesort of decent shape. if i could get my mind out of the pilgrim race and if jim were closer to my own speed and ability which he cant do after the knee surgery in pamplona, this would be a trip from heaven. as it is, i love it but it has lots of frustrations...............dad



Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:07 AM
Subject: maybe stage 28

found an internet cafe full of teenagers in some town outside ponferrada. just walked nice 2 hours through vineyards in bierzo. even did a little bierzo wine tasting last nite before dinner. companion jim did two days walk and knee is now out again so i walk alone as he busses for the next two days into the mountains of galacia.
experience is still a great walk and like a traveling circus on another planet. not sure i will every get used to civilization again. havent seen a tv in nearly a month, wouldnt know what to do without a carafe of wine at dinner, will miss my cans of sardines for protein as a midmorning snack, and most of all will miss the hospitalero morning 6am greeting of buenas dias--of course by then 1-3 of the other pilgrims are already up and out and racing for the next bed. not my thing--i measure life by how many pass me as i nap beside the vines.
probably another week of walking, then into final destination of santiago although i may still walk another 3 days to finestere before going to sample food in portugal and looking at some of the gaudi buildings in barcelona.
a temporary austrailian friend who is on his 3rd camino describes is as ´--a health club full of churches, museums, region cuisine in a northern spanish backdrop.
it is definitely mind-cleansing...............................al





Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 5:20 AM
Subject: 3 days left

started staying in the smaller refuges outside the larger cities to avoid
the crowds and it is working--except now there arent the restaurants with
the nice pilgrim menus. passing through palas de rei on way to smaller town
cassanova. right ankle is wearing down so about half of day is like walking
on a sprain which is annoying. scenery is still nice and of course the
pilgrim life of walk, eat, sleep, walk, drink, wash, etc is a perfect
simplification. lots of nice trail and refuge conversations. last night
had about 6 english speakers which is the greatest concentration of my
native tongue so far. sadly only over beers and a bar omlette which was the
only food available within a mile of the refuge we selected. of course,
there were only 20 fellow pilgrims. jims knee appears to hold up to the
20-25km days with a good icing every 3 hours and lots of vitamin i
ibuprofen600s.
on the better parts of the walk i keep thinking i will continue to
finistere, another 100km and the edge of the known world in 1100ad, but that
feeling goes away quickly so i may just do a bus tour and then off to
portugal.
elcaminosantiago is highly recommend to you all. my only dissappointment is
that it is far mor crowded far earlier than i had expected. weve been
unusually lucky on weather and have had only 2 days of rain so far--plus
another 3 days with afternoon showers.

........................................al


5/28 Saturday mass

trying to pay bills and do a little correspondence at an internet that has working machines and a real connection. most of the way the machines have been not just a spanish keyboard where you cant find the capital or the ampersand, but also half broken and always a dialup connection.
jims knee went south a few klicks into yesterdays walk so he hitched from a road we crossed and i walked the rest of the way in. the last 6 km was city, badly waymarked, and in a drizzle so that took a bit of the joy off the edge. the final refuge which we didnt stay at was for 1000 pilgrims and was row upon row of quanset hut, looked like a nice prision. stayed last nite in a decent pension, will do a little shopping, make the noon mass hoping that they break out the huge swinging incense pot call botafumerio. give the statue of st james a hug and thanks for a great journey, then catch a bus for finisterra to overnight at the coast and beach. since that is the old haunt of celtic pagan gods, there is likely to be a beach bonfire where pilgrims burn their clothes. and mine certainly need a good burning. my package of one travel outfit--ie a shirt with a collar anc clean hiking shorts arrived safely so i am a sartorial wonder.
jim leave for paris tomorrow so today is end of joint journey. as it turned out, it was interesting to blend the individual experiences on walking and bus journeys. hes had time to get started on his first novel which is a murder-terrorist adventure set along the camino. the characters and color will all be built around our camino experiences.
love to all and will be in touch as i can and due back in pdx on june 9. routing is to porto then lisbon portugal but will no doubt find some beach town to hide out in if i can find a nice english book here in santiago.....................al



5/31 camino Santiago

only the ankle is happy it is over. the rest of me wants to continue on walking. i will try to do the 800km from le puy france to rancovalles, spain. that would be foothills of the pyrenees and harder pyrenees themselves. and the french refuges take reservations so there wouldnt be such a rush for the available beds. it is a little harder physically because the refuges are 30-45 km appart rather than the elcamino7-17. will also check out some of the other great world treks as there seem to be quite a few that i haven heard of.
glad lotus petal going well. i wont make it to barcelona for a world famous meal at comerc24 for the tapas done by carles abellan, a student chef of the famous ferran adria who has the hottest restaraunt on the planet for foodies.. i cant help wondering if the market in the use isnt ready for bigtime tapas and with a little tapas training and menu development combined with asian fusion (really tapas like) you couldnt have the planets hottest restaurant. just apprentice yourself to ferran, do a quick study in bali or thailand, and open up...................ahh, the dreams of a madman.

love you and will be in touch.....................dad



5/31 porto

got here after a nice 3 hr train ride from santiago. fairly decent internet next door to my pension in a western union office.
ate barnacles in finistere as part of sea feast. I have been living on pulpo (octupus) since that is the main dish in galicia, the province that surrounds santiago
walking wasnt that hard, just that 30 days of 15-20 miles per day takes its toll, especially on my right ankle which is still feeling like it is sprained. if my ankle hadnt been having problems, i would have walked the 87km extension from santiago to finsterre, but took the bus instead.
there is a feeder trail from LePuy france to pamplona that i would consider doing. it is also around 800 km but the refuges in france allow reservations which would eliminate the daily rush to beat other pilgrims for limited beds.
ill spend another day here in porto, the to lisbon for a few days. i think i will delete barcelona since it is so far and the only reason to go is to see gaudi stuff and i spent a half day in his museum in Astorga--he is even more impressive than frank lloyd wright i must say..........................love........al
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
My first camino was 1989, with even less people than in 2000. If I want that kind of "basic Camino", I know there are routes that will provide it. I don't have a problem with the improvements in infrastructure and the increasing number of pilgrims with which to share my experience.

That said, I have no idea what a Camino in a post-Covid world will look like. One of the things it will probably depend upon is whether the current pandemic is the first in a series of uncontained pandemics, or whether we can take lessons from it that prevent similar situations and future new viruses are better contained, as SARS and MERS were. And, of course, what form those lessons take and how much the "new normal" post-pandemic resembles the old normal and what has changed.

IF the overall situation returns to something more or less like what we had before (not permanent social distancing, the closure of places where people congregate, the disappearance of intercontinental flights, etc.) then I would expect the Camino and its infrastructure to rebound relatively quickly (years and not decades). The demand will still be there and that will enable the businesses to return. I am not dismissing the economic challenges that people face. But it seems to me that we have seen businesses suspended for more than months, for years even, due to the various conflicts of the last century and when the wars were over, the businesses returned. I expect this to be the same.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Been using lockdown to go thru old photos, letters etc in an effort to leave some stories for the grandchildren.
Following is a bit long compilation of my emails home from my first (2005) camino--complete with griping and all the typos from the frustrating internet kiosks with Spanish keyboard. Much simpler to be sure but may have little wish to return to that time 15 years later

Finaly found internet in spain
> making my move from project manager to pilgrim. trip was 48 gruelling hours
> since there wasnt a shuttle service from paplona to stjeanpiedduport, i had
> to take 3 trains. overall thee were 21 transportation transfers between pdx
> and stjeanpieddup ort, the french start before the pyrnees. have had two
> days of walking 11hours the first day and 9 today. we are taking in slow
> and enjoying the scenery. sorry for no earlier notice but french phones and
> spanish phones cant work and this is first internet other than in landing
> airports.
> nice walk, nice trip, buen camino to all.......................al
>

Subject: Day 5

>Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:06 -0700

>

>nice walk thru rolling agricultural hills with wind turbines on the

>ridges and dotted with small vineyards. Mostly into the swing of the

>camino now that the pyrnees and pamplona are behind. <traveling
>companion Jim completely blew out knee and had cup of fluid drained
>in pamplona so he is shadowing el camino santiago on a bus.
>tomorrow is about 25k to estella and two more like days to logrono
>will bring us to the high plains--with no rain yet but as i write
>this i feel about a 25 know breeze outside the refuge. this refuge
>is the first municipal one tried and has 120 or so beds in about 5
>new dormlike rooms. also serves a pilgrim dinner and has washer and
>dryer--a nice place catering to the every increasing number of
>pilgrims. of the 80 or so occupants there are about 4 other
>americans a handful of canadians, and the rest are french, italian,
>and german mostly. the crowd is distinctly older--only about a
>dozen 20somethings and at least 50 of us who qualify for the aarp.
>ive almost adapted to the rythyms of the camino and a few mor days i
>should be full on rivertime and lost to the modern world. this is
>an interesting hybrid of old world and modern world and the modern
>increasingly becomes mor frustrating--like the ampersand is nowhere
>to be found on the europena keyboard and requires a
>control,alt,upeer,2 to get to an email address.ç

>.............................al

>

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: elcaminosantaigo--day 14 or so


internet here only sporadic and european keyboard frustrating.
only 475km more and trip is over. short days 22km, longer days 30km. nice
blend weaving the social and the isolated. 8 hour walk about 4 days ago my
body felt the whole day like the last 6miles of walking the portland
marathon--it hates me. but after a treat of wine, mixed salad, and veal, it
was happy again. i am sold on the spanish wines. dont know the grape
varietal but tastes like a yound pinor or siraz. share some below 3 euro
wines with other pilgrims and never had a bad wine. so next time at story
look for anything from la rioja. great stuff.
today second day on plains (meseta) and it must be like walking north
dakota. lots of isolation at time for the monkey mind to tkae me from
gratitude to greif. tonights refuge in castrojirez is best so far. only
about 30 beds in bunks and floors and plenty of space inbetween so i dont
have to swap garlic breath with the nearest german. came in to opera
arias, incense, and a hospitelero rushing to carry my pack to my bed and
guide me to the showers. o, how the camino provides our basic needs at the
needed moment.
only met 4 other americans so far. mostly german and french followed by
italian and spanish. actually met 4 brazilians and 4 from netherlands so
they are better represented than americans.
seem to have lost traveling companion jim. i dont think buses went to last
night or tonights villiages so only tomorrow as backup, then it is solo
along the journey until we can reconnect. his knee still isnt in shape for
the distance and good for only about 10km so dont know what the camiino will
offer.
whatever road you are on right now--buen camino..............al




Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: midpoint to el camino santiago


slow internet connection, so cannot respond to any emails just do this
broadcast. all is well, jim and i reconnected and he did a 7k and 17k day
on knee, first after the surgery 10 plus days ago, but probably not enuf to
keep up or avoid bussing.
the camino is very crowded very early, last night was 4th nite of refuges
all full. so i jointed the pilgrm race for beds today leaving at 6am hiking
straight includeing eating my breakfast yogurt as i walked to save time. in
the first 17km 18 people passed me, in the next 10 another 24, so after
doing 27km in 6.5 hours, i got the second to last bed. not much fun but
havent figured a way to stagger the starts etc to avoid the overcrowding and
weather too rainy-windy to just set down my bag in a wheatfield and camp.
last night was fairly large city so got a nice pension with private bath for
a change. tonite is terradillos de templarios and only place in town is the
refuge--also only place to eat. an american gi i have intermittently met
and waled with is leaving the trail at sahagun tomorrow in frustration at
the crowds so that is kind of sad.
food, people, and walk still great, but clearly this is fully discovered and
way easy access for the german, french, italian, and spanish walkers.
cannot imagine what this summer will be like since there are maybe 5% of the
pilgrims under 50. it is mostly just us old folks. did meet one dutch guy
who had done appalacia and pacific crest trails. he is 74, takes a top
bunk, and springs up there in a single bound so walking must be good.

buen camino to all.........................al



To brian 5/14 buen camino.

mine has been and is and sure sounds like yours was. im on my forth nonwoking internet machine here in a cafe in leon, a city of 500,000 which is pretty civilized and cool. will take train to astorga tomorrow to buy more time for mountain hiking. it will give me about 300km left and 14 nights to do it so maybe jim can join since the days will be short and he cannot move faster than 3km per hour at best. we took train from shagun to leon today to cut out about 90km of walking and get back on schedule. it is a real pain to get bus schedules for him everyday and have me committ to a fixed walk then meet up at night. the trail is very overcrowded very early this year so if i dont get to a refuge by 2pm, there arent any beds left so everyone is leaving in the middle of the night like some ecochallenge race. last nite i was in a 5 person room and when i got up at 6am, 4 has long left in what i call the pilgrim racei walked 27km in 5 hours yesterday to get the second to last bed at 1pm and that isnt the laid back hike i wanted. three of our new friends hav left the camino in frustration because they refuse to participate in the race for a bed...........dad

Kids 5/14happy and safe and pretty sure i am going to retire early and maybe be living in a tent somewhere in telluride by august 1 if you guys are cool with that. i love walking and living like a scumbag in the outdoors, am used to hand washing every nite and taking cold showers. also my belt size is down about an inch so far so maybe ill be down 20 pounds by end of elcamino and back into somesort of decent shape. if i could get my mind out of the pilgrim race and if jim were closer to my own speed and ability which he cant do after the knee surgery in pamplona, this would be a trip from heaven. as it is, i love it but it has lots of frustrations...............dad



Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:07 AM
Subject: maybe stage 28

found an internet cafe full of teenagers in some town outside ponferrada. just walked nice 2 hours through vineyards in bierzo. even did a little bierzo wine tasting last nite before dinner. companion jim did two days walk and knee is now out again so i walk alone as he busses for the next two days into the mountains of galacia.
experience is still a great walk and like a traveling circus on another planet. not sure i will every get used to civilization again. havent seen a tv in nearly a month, wouldnt know what to do without a carafe of wine at dinner, will miss my cans of sardines for protein as a midmorning snack, and most of all will miss the hospitalero morning 6am greeting of buenas dias--of course by then 1-3 of the other pilgrims are already up and out and racing for the next bed. not my thing--i measure life by how many pass me as i nap beside the vines.
probably another week of walking, then into final destination of santiago although i may still walk another 3 days to finestere before going to sample food in portugal and looking at some of the gaudi buildings in barcelona.
a temporary austrailian friend who is on his 3rd camino describes is as ´--a health club full of churches, museums, region cuisine in a northern spanish backdrop.
it is definitely mind-cleansing...............................al





Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 5:20 AM
Subject: 3 days left

started staying in the smaller refuges outside the larger cities to avoid
the crowds and it is working--except now there arent the restaurants with
the nice pilgrim menus. passing through palas de rei on way to smaller town
cassanova. right ankle is wearing down so about half of day is like walking
on a sprain which is annoying. scenery is still nice and of course the
pilgrim life of walk, eat, sleep, walk, drink, wash, etc is a perfect
simplification. lots of nice trail and refuge conversations. last night
had about 6 english speakers which is the greatest concentration of my
native tongue so far. sadly only over beers and a bar omlette which was the
only food available within a mile of the refuge we selected. of course,
there were only 20 fellow pilgrims. jims knee appears to hold up to the
20-25km days with a good icing every 3 hours and lots of vitamin i
ibuprofen600s.
on the better parts of the walk i keep thinking i will continue to
finistere, another 100km and the edge of the known world in 1100ad, but that
feeling goes away quickly so i may just do a bus tour and then off to
portugal.
elcaminosantiago is highly recommend to you all. my only dissappointment is
that it is far mor crowded far earlier than i had expected. weve been
unusually lucky on weather and have had only 2 days of rain so far--plus
another 3 days with afternoon showers.

........................................al


5/28 Saturday mass

trying to pay bills and do a little correspondence at an internet that has working machines and a real connection. most of the way the machines have been not just a spanish keyboard where you cant find the capital or the ampersand, but also half broken and always a dialup connection.
jims knee went south a few klicks into yesterdays walk so he hitched from a road we crossed and i walked the rest of the way in. the last 6 km was city, badly waymarked, and in a drizzle so that took a bit of the joy off the edge. the final refuge which we didnt stay at was for 1000 pilgrims and was row upon row of quanset hut, looked like a nice prision. stayed last nite in a decent pension, will do a little shopping, make the noon mass hoping that they break out the huge swinging incense pot call botafumerio. give the statue of st james a hug and thanks for a great journey, then catch a bus for finisterra to overnight at the coast and beach. since that is the old haunt of celtic pagan gods, there is likely to be a beach bonfire where pilgrims burn their clothes. and mine certainly need a good burning. my package of one travel outfit--ie a shirt with a collar anc clean hiking shorts arrived safely so i am a sartorial wonder.
jim leave for paris tomorrow so today is end of joint journey. as it turned out, it was interesting to blend the individual experiences on walking and bus journeys. hes had time to get started on his first novel which is a murder-terrorist adventure set along the camino. the characters and color will all be built around our camino experiences.
love to all and will be in touch as i can and due back in pdx on june 9. routing is to porto then lisbon portugal but will no doubt find some beach town to hide out in if i can find a nice english book here in santiago.....................al



5/31 camino Santiago

only the ankle is happy it is over. the rest of me wants to continue on walking. i will try to do the 800km from le puy france to rancovalles, spain. that would be foothills of the pyrenees and harder pyrenees themselves. and the french refuges take reservations so there wouldnt be such a rush for the available beds. it is a little harder physically because the refuges are 30-45 km appart rather than the elcamino7-17. will also check out some of the other great world treks as there seem to be quite a few that i haven heard of.
glad lotus petal going well. i wont make it to barcelona for a world famous meal at comerc24 for the tapas done by carles abellan, a student chef of the famous ferran adria who has the hottest restaraunt on the planet for foodies.. i cant help wondering if the market in the use isnt ready for bigtime tapas and with a little tapas training and menu development combined with asian fusion (really tapas like) you couldnt have the planets hottest restaurant. just apprentice yourself to ferran, do a quick study in bali or thailand, and open up...................ahh, the dreams of a madman.

love you and will be in touch.....................dad



5/31 porto

got here after a nice 3 hr train ride from santiago. fairly decent internet next door to my pension in a western union office.
ate barnacles in finistere as part of sea feast. I have been living on pulpo (octupus) since that is the main dish in galicia, the province that surrounds santiago
walking wasnt that hard, just that 30 days of 15-20 miles per day takes its toll, especially on my right ankle which is still feeling like it is sprained. if my ankle hadnt been having problems, i would have walked the 87km extension from santiago to finsterre, but took the bus instead.
there is a feeder trail from LePuy france to pamplona that i would consider doing. it is also around 800 km but the refuges in france allow reservations which would eliminate the daily rush to beat other pilgrims for limited beds.
ill spend another day here in porto, the to lisbon for a few days. i think i will delete barcelona since it is so far and the only reason to go is to see gaudi stuff and i spent a half day in his museum in Astorga--he is even more impressive than frank lloyd wright i must say..........................love........al
There was email for your first Camino? Luxury! We couldn't even dream about email on my first Camino. We had never heard of it. And it was uphill all the way to and from Santiago. Both ways!
 

Barbara

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
OK, I know that since the 8th century CE, give or take, the Pilgrimage to St James (Not the camino, and certainly not with a capital c) has been taken by people of all walks of life, and for all sorts of reasons. Until around 1950 or later those who chose to walk, and that was one option among many, came mostly, almost exclusively, from Europe. Mostly because the rest of the world couldn't get to Spain even if they a) knew it existed b) wanted to and C) liked Estrella Galicia and pulpo.

Often enough the religious aspect took second place to a holiday. Chaucer expressed this very clearly. But it was essentially a Catholic Pilgrimage for the remission of sins. In a world where most people believed in hell, punishment, and eternal damnation. Bedbugs. And for long periods the black death, starvation, bandits, war and sudden death.

Now that, if you like, was a basic camino. Get there. Be absolved of your sins. Go home, if you failed to survive the round trip, at least you would go to heaven. It wasn't a walk where the object of the exercise was to form a Camino family and tell the world what a great (or horrible) time you were having on a daily basis, complete with video.

It's only rather recently that we have had instant communication and blogging. The ability to go from one route to another without difficulty. The ability to return home in a couple of days. Yellow arrows. Ibuprofen. Lightweight gear. Taxis. Buses. Good maps. Showers. Ambulances. Hospitals where the available options are not limited to leeches and purgatives. Dentists. Anesthesia. Carbon fibre trekking poles. Aeroplanes. Internet Fora. Vaccines. A choice of footwear. Bedbugs seem to be back in fashion.

I expect even those who didn't get blisters or tendonitis because they were on horseback, and had servants to sort out their daily problems, had a few problems. But yeah, they had a simple pilgrimage. Oops, sorry, Camino.

I think I prefer first world problems, personally..
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
I think all the facilities on the CF make it an accessible journey for almost everyone and therefore special. I hope it doesn't change too much post virus. There are plenty of walks and an increasing number of pilgrimages in remote places around the world where people can, [hopefully] still go to experience the simplicity of life. The modern CF is an interesting mix of simplicity and, if you choose, quite opulent and pleasurable comfort!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Been using lockdown to go thru old photos, letters etc in an effort to leave some stories for the grandchildren.
Following is a bit long compilation of my emails home from my first (2005) camino--complete with griping and all the typos from the frustrating internet kiosks with Spanish keyboard. Much simpler to be sure but may have little wish to return to that time 15 years later

Finaly found internet in spain
> making my move from project manager to pilgrim. trip was 48 gruelling hours
> since there wasnt a shuttle service from paplona to stjeanpiedduport, i had
> to take 3 trains. overall thee were 21 transportation transfers between pdx
> and stjeanpieddup ort, the french start before the pyrnees. have had two
> days of walking 11hours the first day and 9 today. we are taking in slow
> and enjoying the scenery. sorry for no earlier notice but french phones and
> spanish phones cant work and this is first internet other than in landing
> airports.
> nice walk, nice trip, buen camino to all.......................al
>

Subject: Day 5

>Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:06 -0700

>

>nice walk thru rolling agricultural hills with wind turbines on the

>ridges and dotted with small vineyards. Mostly into the swing of the

>camino now that the pyrnees and pamplona are behind. <traveling
>companion Jim completely blew out knee and had cup of fluid drained
>in pamplona so he is shadowing el camino santiago on a bus.
>tomorrow is about 25k to estella and two more like days to logrono
>will bring us to the high plains--with no rain yet but as i write
>this i feel about a 25 know breeze outside the refuge. this refuge
>is the first municipal one tried and has 120 or so beds in about 5
>new dormlike rooms. also serves a pilgrim dinner and has washer and
>dryer--a nice place catering to the every increasing number of
>pilgrims. of the 80 or so occupants there are about 4 other
>americans a handful of canadians, and the rest are french, italian,
>and german mostly. the crowd is distinctly older--only about a
>dozen 20somethings and at least 50 of us who qualify for the aarp.
>ive almost adapted to the rythyms of the camino and a few mor days i
>should be full on rivertime and lost to the modern world. this is
>an interesting hybrid of old world and modern world and the modern
>increasingly becomes mor frustrating--like the ampersand is nowhere
>to be found on the europena keyboard and requires a
>control,alt,upeer,2 to get to an email address.ç

>.............................al

>

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: elcaminosantaigo--day 14 or so


internet here only sporadic and european keyboard frustrating.
only 475km more and trip is over. short days 22km, longer days 30km. nice
blend weaving the social and the isolated. 8 hour walk about 4 days ago my
body felt the whole day like the last 6miles of walking the portland
marathon--it hates me. but after a treat of wine, mixed salad, and veal, it
was happy again. i am sold on the spanish wines. dont know the grape
varietal but tastes like a yound pinor or siraz. share some below 3 euro
wines with other pilgrims and never had a bad wine. so next time at story
look for anything from la rioja. great stuff.
today second day on plains (meseta) and it must be like walking north
dakota. lots of isolation at time for the monkey mind to tkae me from
gratitude to greif. tonights refuge in castrojirez is best so far. only
about 30 beds in bunks and floors and plenty of space inbetween so i dont
have to swap garlic breath with the nearest german. came in to opera
arias, incense, and a hospitelero rushing to carry my pack to my bed and
guide me to the showers. o, how the camino provides our basic needs at the
needed moment.
only met 4 other americans so far. mostly german and french followed by
italian and spanish. actually met 4 brazilians and 4 from netherlands so
they are better represented than americans.
seem to have lost traveling companion jim. i dont think buses went to last
night or tonights villiages so only tomorrow as backup, then it is solo
along the journey until we can reconnect. his knee still isnt in shape for
the distance and good for only about 10km so dont know what the camiino will
offer.
whatever road you are on right now--buen camino..............al




Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: midpoint to el camino santiago


slow internet connection, so cannot respond to any emails just do this
broadcast. all is well, jim and i reconnected and he did a 7k and 17k day
on knee, first after the surgery 10 plus days ago, but probably not enuf to
keep up or avoid bussing.
the camino is very crowded very early, last night was 4th nite of refuges
all full. so i jointed the pilgrm race for beds today leaving at 6am hiking
straight includeing eating my breakfast yogurt as i walked to save time. in
the first 17km 18 people passed me, in the next 10 another 24, so after
doing 27km in 6.5 hours, i got the second to last bed. not much fun but
havent figured a way to stagger the starts etc to avoid the overcrowding and
weather too rainy-windy to just set down my bag in a wheatfield and camp.
last night was fairly large city so got a nice pension with private bath for
a change. tonite is terradillos de templarios and only place in town is the
refuge--also only place to eat. an american gi i have intermittently met
and waled with is leaving the trail at sahagun tomorrow in frustration at
the crowds so that is kind of sad.
food, people, and walk still great, but clearly this is fully discovered and
way easy access for the german, french, italian, and spanish walkers.
cannot imagine what this summer will be like since there are maybe 5% of the
pilgrims under 50. it is mostly just us old folks. did meet one dutch guy
who had done appalacia and pacific crest trails. he is 74, takes a top
bunk, and springs up there in a single bound so walking must be good.

buen camino to all.........................al



To brian 5/14 buen camino.

mine has been and is and sure sounds like yours was. im on my forth nonwoking internet machine here in a cafe in leon, a city of 500,000 which is pretty civilized and cool. will take train to astorga tomorrow to buy more time for mountain hiking. it will give me about 300km left and 14 nights to do it so maybe jim can join since the days will be short and he cannot move faster than 3km per hour at best. we took train from shagun to leon today to cut out about 90km of walking and get back on schedule. it is a real pain to get bus schedules for him everyday and have me committ to a fixed walk then meet up at night. the trail is very overcrowded very early this year so if i dont get to a refuge by 2pm, there arent any beds left so everyone is leaving in the middle of the night like some ecochallenge race. last nite i was in a 5 person room and when i got up at 6am, 4 has long left in what i call the pilgrim racei walked 27km in 5 hours yesterday to get the second to last bed at 1pm and that isnt the laid back hike i wanted. three of our new friends hav left the camino in frustration because they refuse to participate in the race for a bed...........dad

Kids 5/14happy and safe and pretty sure i am going to retire early and maybe be living in a tent somewhere in telluride by august 1 if you guys are cool with that. i love walking and living like a scumbag in the outdoors, am used to hand washing every nite and taking cold showers. also my belt size is down about an inch so far so maybe ill be down 20 pounds by end of elcamino and back into somesort of decent shape. if i could get my mind out of the pilgrim race and if jim were closer to my own speed and ability which he cant do after the knee surgery in pamplona, this would be a trip from heaven. as it is, i love it but it has lots of frustrations...............dad



Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:07 AM
Subject: maybe stage 28

found an internet cafe full of teenagers in some town outside ponferrada. just walked nice 2 hours through vineyards in bierzo. even did a little bierzo wine tasting last nite before dinner. companion jim did two days walk and knee is now out again so i walk alone as he busses for the next two days into the mountains of galacia.
experience is still a great walk and like a traveling circus on another planet. not sure i will every get used to civilization again. havent seen a tv in nearly a month, wouldnt know what to do without a carafe of wine at dinner, will miss my cans of sardines for protein as a midmorning snack, and most of all will miss the hospitalero morning 6am greeting of buenas dias--of course by then 1-3 of the other pilgrims are already up and out and racing for the next bed. not my thing--i measure life by how many pass me as i nap beside the vines.
probably another week of walking, then into final destination of santiago although i may still walk another 3 days to finestere before going to sample food in portugal and looking at some of the gaudi buildings in barcelona.
a temporary austrailian friend who is on his 3rd camino describes is as ´--a health club full of churches, museums, region cuisine in a northern spanish backdrop.
it is definitely mind-cleansing...............................al





Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 5:20 AM
Subject: 3 days left

started staying in the smaller refuges outside the larger cities to avoid
the crowds and it is working--except now there arent the restaurants with
the nice pilgrim menus. passing through palas de rei on way to smaller town
cassanova. right ankle is wearing down so about half of day is like walking
on a sprain which is annoying. scenery is still nice and of course the
pilgrim life of walk, eat, sleep, walk, drink, wash, etc is a perfect
simplification. lots of nice trail and refuge conversations. last night
had about 6 english speakers which is the greatest concentration of my
native tongue so far. sadly only over beers and a bar omlette which was the
only food available within a mile of the refuge we selected. of course,
there were only 20 fellow pilgrims. jims knee appears to hold up to the
20-25km days with a good icing every 3 hours and lots of vitamin i
ibuprofen600s.
on the better parts of the walk i keep thinking i will continue to
finistere, another 100km and the edge of the known world in 1100ad, but that
feeling goes away quickly so i may just do a bus tour and then off to
portugal.
elcaminosantiago is highly recommend to you all. my only dissappointment is
that it is far mor crowded far earlier than i had expected. weve been
unusually lucky on weather and have had only 2 days of rain so far--plus
another 3 days with afternoon showers.

........................................al


5/28 Saturday mass

trying to pay bills and do a little correspondence at an internet that has working machines and a real connection. most of the way the machines have been not just a spanish keyboard where you cant find the capital or the ampersand, but also half broken and always a dialup connection.
jims knee went south a few klicks into yesterdays walk so he hitched from a road we crossed and i walked the rest of the way in. the last 6 km was city, badly waymarked, and in a drizzle so that took a bit of the joy off the edge. the final refuge which we didnt stay at was for 1000 pilgrims and was row upon row of quanset hut, looked like a nice prision. stayed last nite in a decent pension, will do a little shopping, make the noon mass hoping that they break out the huge swinging incense pot call botafumerio. give the statue of st james a hug and thanks for a great journey, then catch a bus for finisterra to overnight at the coast and beach. since that is the old haunt of celtic pagan gods, there is likely to be a beach bonfire where pilgrims burn their clothes. and mine certainly need a good burning. my package of one travel outfit--ie a shirt with a collar anc clean hiking shorts arrived safely so i am a sartorial wonder.
jim leave for paris tomorrow so today is end of joint journey. as it turned out, it was interesting to blend the individual experiences on walking and bus journeys. hes had time to get started on his first novel which is a murder-terrorist adventure set along the camino. the characters and color will all be built around our camino experiences.
love to all and will be in touch as i can and due back in pdx on june 9. routing is to porto then lisbon portugal but will no doubt find some beach town to hide out in if i can find a nice english book here in santiago.....................al



5/31 camino Santiago

only the ankle is happy it is over. the rest of me wants to continue on walking. i will try to do the 800km from le puy france to rancovalles, spain. that would be foothills of the pyrenees and harder pyrenees themselves. and the french refuges take reservations so there wouldnt be such a rush for the available beds. it is a little harder physically because the refuges are 30-45 km appart rather than the elcamino7-17. will also check out some of the other great world treks as there seem to be quite a few that i haven heard of.
glad lotus petal going well. i wont make it to barcelona for a world famous meal at comerc24 for the tapas done by carles abellan, a student chef of the famous ferran adria who has the hottest restaraunt on the planet for foodies.. i cant help wondering if the market in the use isnt ready for bigtime tapas and with a little tapas training and menu development combined with asian fusion (really tapas like) you couldnt have the planets hottest restaurant. just apprentice yourself to ferran, do a quick study in bali or thailand, and open up...................ahh, the dreams of a madman.

love you and will be in touch.....................dad



5/31 porto

got here after a nice 3 hr train ride from santiago. fairly decent internet next door to my pension in a western union office.
ate barnacles in finistere as part of sea feast. I have been living on pulpo (octupus) since that is the main dish in galicia, the province that surrounds santiago
walking wasnt that hard, just that 30 days of 15-20 miles per day takes its toll, especially on my right ankle which is still feeling like it is sprained. if my ankle hadnt been having problems, i would have walked the 87km extension from santiago to finsterre, but took the bus instead.
there is a feeder trail from LePuy france to pamplona that i would consider doing. it is also around 800 km but the refuges in france allow reservations which would eliminate the daily rush to beat other pilgrims for limited beds.
ill spend another day here in porto, the to lisbon for a few days. i think i will delete barcelona since it is so far and the only reason to go is to see gaudi stuff and i spent a half day in his museum in Astorga--he is even more impressive than frank lloyd wright i must say..........................love........al
Interesting reading........
Bed races 15 years ago !
 

PeteD

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
Bicigrino CF SJPdP - SdC Mar 2016
Kumano Kodo Sept 2018
VdlP (Mar 2020 X)
VdlP (Mat 2022)
In the end I will look forward to seeing what the CF and other caminos become when we can walk again. It seems that the modern pilgrimage has always been changing in many aspects with perhaps only the hearts of those who walk remaining a constant. There's no going back to our last experience so let's embrace whatever eventuates. However, it is always interesting to speculate 🤔
 

Vancouver Islander

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Fingers Crossed - April (2020)
Been using lockdown to go thru old photos, letters etc in an effort to leave some stories for the grandchildren.
Following is a bit long compilation of my emails home from my first (2005) camino--complete with griping and all the typos from the frustrating internet kiosks with Spanish keyboard. Much simpler to be sure but may have little wish to return to that time 15 years later

Finaly found internet in spain
> making my move from project manager to pilgrim. trip was 48 gruelling hours
> since there wasnt a shuttle service from paplona to stjeanpiedduport, i had
> to take 3 trains. overall thee were 21 transportation transfers between pdx
> and stjeanpieddup ort, the french start before the pyrnees. have had two
> days of walking 11hours the first day and 9 today. we are taking in slow
> and enjoying the scenery. sorry for no earlier notice but french phones and
> spanish phones cant work and this is first internet other than in landing
> airports.
> nice walk, nice trip, buen camino to all.......................al
>

Subject: Day 5

>Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:06 -0700

>

>nice walk thru rolling agricultural hills with wind turbines on the

>ridges and dotted with small vineyards. Mostly into the swing of the

>camino now that the pyrnees and pamplona are behind. <traveling
>companion Jim completely blew out knee and had cup of fluid drained
>in pamplona so he is shadowing el camino santiago on a bus.
>tomorrow is about 25k to estella and two more like days to logrono
>will bring us to the high plains--with no rain yet but as i write
>this i feel about a 25 know breeze outside the refuge. this refuge
>is the first municipal one tried and has 120 or so beds in about 5
>new dormlike rooms. also serves a pilgrim dinner and has washer and
>dryer--a nice place catering to the every increasing number of
>pilgrims. of the 80 or so occupants there are about 4 other
>americans a handful of canadians, and the rest are french, italian,
>and german mostly. the crowd is distinctly older--only about a
>dozen 20somethings and at least 50 of us who qualify for the aarp.
>ive almost adapted to the rythyms of the camino and a few mor days i
>should be full on rivertime and lost to the modern world. this is
>an interesting hybrid of old world and modern world and the modern
>increasingly becomes mor frustrating--like the ampersand is nowhere
>to be found on the europena keyboard and requires a
>control,alt,upeer,2 to get to an email address.ç

>.............................al

>

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: elcaminosantaigo--day 14 or so


internet here only sporadic and european keyboard frustrating.
only 475km more and trip is over. short days 22km, longer days 30km. nice
blend weaving the social and the isolated. 8 hour walk about 4 days ago my
body felt the whole day like the last 6miles of walking the portland
marathon--it hates me. but after a treat of wine, mixed salad, and veal, it
was happy again. i am sold on the spanish wines. dont know the grape
varietal but tastes like a yound pinor or siraz. share some below 3 euro
wines with other pilgrims and never had a bad wine. so next time at story
look for anything from la rioja. great stuff.
today second day on plains (meseta) and it must be like walking north
dakota. lots of isolation at time for the monkey mind to tkae me from
gratitude to greif. tonights refuge in castrojirez is best so far. only
about 30 beds in bunks and floors and plenty of space inbetween so i dont
have to swap garlic breath with the nearest german. came in to opera
arias, incense, and a hospitelero rushing to carry my pack to my bed and
guide me to the showers. o, how the camino provides our basic needs at the
needed moment.
only met 4 other americans so far. mostly german and french followed by
italian and spanish. actually met 4 brazilians and 4 from netherlands so
they are better represented than americans.
seem to have lost traveling companion jim. i dont think buses went to last
night or tonights villiages so only tomorrow as backup, then it is solo
along the journey until we can reconnect. his knee still isnt in shape for
the distance and good for only about 10km so dont know what the camiino will
offer.
whatever road you are on right now--buen camino..............al




Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: midpoint to el camino santiago


slow internet connection, so cannot respond to any emails just do this
broadcast. all is well, jim and i reconnected and he did a 7k and 17k day
on knee, first after the surgery 10 plus days ago, but probably not enuf to
keep up or avoid bussing.
the camino is very crowded very early, last night was 4th nite of refuges
all full. so i jointed the pilgrm race for beds today leaving at 6am hiking
straight includeing eating my breakfast yogurt as i walked to save time. in
the first 17km 18 people passed me, in the next 10 another 24, so after
doing 27km in 6.5 hours, i got the second to last bed. not much fun but
havent figured a way to stagger the starts etc to avoid the overcrowding and
weather too rainy-windy to just set down my bag in a wheatfield and camp.
last night was fairly large city so got a nice pension with private bath for
a change. tonite is terradillos de templarios and only place in town is the
refuge--also only place to eat. an american gi i have intermittently met
and waled with is leaving the trail at sahagun tomorrow in frustration at
the crowds so that is kind of sad.
food, people, and walk still great, but clearly this is fully discovered and
way easy access for the german, french, italian, and spanish walkers.
cannot imagine what this summer will be like since there are maybe 5% of the
pilgrims under 50. it is mostly just us old folks. did meet one dutch guy
who had done appalacia and pacific crest trails. he is 74, takes a top
bunk, and springs up there in a single bound so walking must be good.

buen camino to all.........................al



To brian 5/14 buen camino.

mine has been and is and sure sounds like yours was. im on my forth nonwoking internet machine here in a cafe in leon, a city of 500,000 which is pretty civilized and cool. will take train to astorga tomorrow to buy more time for mountain hiking. it will give me about 300km left and 14 nights to do it so maybe jim can join since the days will be short and he cannot move faster than 3km per hour at best. we took train from shagun to leon today to cut out about 90km of walking and get back on schedule. it is a real pain to get bus schedules for him everyday and have me committ to a fixed walk then meet up at night. the trail is very overcrowded very early this year so if i dont get to a refuge by 2pm, there arent any beds left so everyone is leaving in the middle of the night like some ecochallenge race. last nite i was in a 5 person room and when i got up at 6am, 4 has long left in what i call the pilgrim racei walked 27km in 5 hours yesterday to get the second to last bed at 1pm and that isnt the laid back hike i wanted. three of our new friends hav left the camino in frustration because they refuse to participate in the race for a bed...........dad

Kids 5/14happy and safe and pretty sure i am going to retire early and maybe be living in a tent somewhere in telluride by august 1 if you guys are cool with that. i love walking and living like a scumbag in the outdoors, am used to hand washing every nite and taking cold showers. also my belt size is down about an inch so far so maybe ill be down 20 pounds by end of elcamino and back into somesort of decent shape. if i could get my mind out of the pilgrim race and if jim were closer to my own speed and ability which he cant do after the knee surgery in pamplona, this would be a trip from heaven. as it is, i love it but it has lots of frustrations...............dad



Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:07 AM
Subject: maybe stage 28

found an internet cafe full of teenagers in some town outside ponferrada. just walked nice 2 hours through vineyards in bierzo. even did a little bierzo wine tasting last nite before dinner. companion jim did two days walk and knee is now out again so i walk alone as he busses for the next two days into the mountains of galacia.
experience is still a great walk and like a traveling circus on another planet. not sure i will every get used to civilization again. havent seen a tv in nearly a month, wouldnt know what to do without a carafe of wine at dinner, will miss my cans of sardines for protein as a midmorning snack, and most of all will miss the hospitalero morning 6am greeting of buenas dias--of course by then 1-3 of the other pilgrims are already up and out and racing for the next bed. not my thing--i measure life by how many pass me as i nap beside the vines.
probably another week of walking, then into final destination of santiago although i may still walk another 3 days to finestere before going to sample food in portugal and looking at some of the gaudi buildings in barcelona.
a temporary austrailian friend who is on his 3rd camino describes is as ´--a health club full of churches, museums, region cuisine in a northern spanish backdrop.
it is definitely mind-cleansing...............................al





Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 5:20 AM
Subject: 3 days left

started staying in the smaller refuges outside the larger cities to avoid
the crowds and it is working--except now there arent the restaurants with
the nice pilgrim menus. passing through palas de rei on way to smaller town
cassanova. right ankle is wearing down so about half of day is like walking
on a sprain which is annoying. scenery is still nice and of course the
pilgrim life of walk, eat, sleep, walk, drink, wash, etc is a perfect
simplification. lots of nice trail and refuge conversations. last night
had about 6 english speakers which is the greatest concentration of my
native tongue so far. sadly only over beers and a bar omlette which was the
only food available within a mile of the refuge we selected. of course,
there were only 20 fellow pilgrims. jims knee appears to hold up to the
20-25km days with a good icing every 3 hours and lots of vitamin i
ibuprofen600s.
on the better parts of the walk i keep thinking i will continue to
finistere, another 100km and the edge of the known world in 1100ad, but that
feeling goes away quickly so i may just do a bus tour and then off to
portugal.
elcaminosantiago is highly recommend to you all. my only dissappointment is
that it is far mor crowded far earlier than i had expected. weve been
unusually lucky on weather and have had only 2 days of rain so far--plus
another 3 days with afternoon showers.

........................................al


5/28 Saturday mass

trying to pay bills and do a little correspondence at an internet that has working machines and a real connection. most of the way the machines have been not just a spanish keyboard where you cant find the capital or the ampersand, but also half broken and always a dialup connection.
jims knee went south a few klicks into yesterdays walk so he hitched from a road we crossed and i walked the rest of the way in. the last 6 km was city, badly waymarked, and in a drizzle so that took a bit of the joy off the edge. the final refuge which we didnt stay at was for 1000 pilgrims and was row upon row of quanset hut, looked like a nice prision. stayed last nite in a decent pension, will do a little shopping, make the noon mass hoping that they break out the huge swinging incense pot call botafumerio. give the statue of st james a hug and thanks for a great journey, then catch a bus for finisterra to overnight at the coast and beach. since that is the old haunt of celtic pagan gods, there is likely to be a beach bonfire where pilgrims burn their clothes. and mine certainly need a good burning. my package of one travel outfit--ie a shirt with a collar anc clean hiking shorts arrived safely so i am a sartorial wonder.
jim leave for paris tomorrow so today is end of joint journey. as it turned out, it was interesting to blend the individual experiences on walking and bus journeys. hes had time to get started on his first novel which is a murder-terrorist adventure set along the camino. the characters and color will all be built around our camino experiences.
love to all and will be in touch as i can and due back in pdx on june 9. routing is to porto then lisbon portugal but will no doubt find some beach town to hide out in if i can find a nice english book here in santiago.....................al



5/31 camino Santiago

only the ankle is happy it is over. the rest of me wants to continue on walking. i will try to do the 800km from le puy france to rancovalles, spain. that would be foothills of the pyrenees and harder pyrenees themselves. and the french refuges take reservations so there wouldnt be such a rush for the available beds. it is a little harder physically because the refuges are 30-45 km appart rather than the elcamino7-17. will also check out some of the other great world treks as there seem to be quite a few that i haven heard of.
glad lotus petal going well. i wont make it to barcelona for a world famous meal at comerc24 for the tapas done by carles abellan, a student chef of the famous ferran adria who has the hottest restaraunt on the planet for foodies.. i cant help wondering if the market in the use isnt ready for bigtime tapas and with a little tapas training and menu development combined with asian fusion (really tapas like) you couldnt have the planets hottest restaurant. just apprentice yourself to ferran, do a quick study in bali or thailand, and open up...................ahh, the dreams of a madman.

love you and will be in touch.....................dad



5/31 porto

got here after a nice 3 hr train ride from santiago. fairly decent internet next door to my pension in a western union office.
ate barnacles in finistere as part of sea feast. I have been living on pulpo (octupus) since that is the main dish in galicia, the province that surrounds santiago
walking wasnt that hard, just that 30 days of 15-20 miles per day takes its toll, especially on my right ankle which is still feeling like it is sprained. if my ankle hadnt been having problems, i would have walked the 87km extension from santiago to finsterre, but took the bus instead.
there is a feeder trail from LePuy france to pamplona that i would consider doing. it is also around 800 km but the refuges in france allow reservations which would eliminate the daily rush to beat other pilgrims for limited beds.
ill spend another day here in porto, the to lisbon for a few days. i think i will delete barcelona since it is so far and the only reason to go is to see gaudi stuff and i spent a half day in his museum in Astorga--he is even more impressive than frank lloyd wright i must say..........................love........al
I really enjoyed reading this series of emails. I remember my struggles with internet cafes and the European keyboard during my travels in southern France. One internet café in Paris (obviously the wrong section to have been in) had machine gun armed police outside. Another, in a coffee house setting, had giant cockroaches climbing the columns in front of the computers. Fun times...
 

binhpac

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Camino Frances
2020 Planned Camino Frances
I think it's the opposite.

The Hygiene and Sanitary Standards will be raised. Donativos need to provide certain Standards, that they didn't had before. You won't have lots of bunk beds in a small room anymore.

The current circumstances just accelerated the progression of the camino into higher sanitary standards. So it is not going back to the roots, but faster to a higher quality of infrastructure.

Some small albergues with 20 Beds in a small House can only have 10 Beds now and renovated areas, they probably need to raise prices to function.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
My first camino was August to September 2001; beds and pilgrims aplenty; with a blazing hot sun which turned my black hair to blonde from Roncesvalles to Santiago.

On second camino and first stint as a hospitalera September 2002, again plenty of beds and pilgrims and Internet cafes.

Every subsequent pilgrimage was off season. Ergo, pilgrims were scarce.

I was so looking forward to walking during high season either this year or next. I wanted packed cafes, matrimonio bunk beds, where to sleep wonders.

Now; that’s gone for the foreseeable future.

The aforementioned is not to be.

I would give quite a bit to return to the: What to do about Sarria to Santiago hordes threads on this forum.

I’d give a lot to return from CF and complain about the snorers, the 5am plastic bag rustlers, et cetera.

May a miraculous vaccine find us: ASAP!
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
Aside from the issue of will there ever be a vaccine for COVID-19, there are some other issues surrounding a vaccine to consider.

Vaccines are not 100% effective. Influenza vaccines, as an example: From year to year, they can have an effectiveness range of between 40% to 78%. There are many reasons for this, including some of the same issues we see with COVID-19 mutations. It can take quite some time AFTER a vaccine has been developed and globally administered, before its effectiveness can be determined.

One decision, is whether to wait until a vaccine is developed before one decides to travel. But a second decision may be focused on a willingness to travel based on the established level of effectiveness of a vaccine.

And then there is a third concern.

That concern is the issue of contraindications and the potential side effects of a vaccine. A percentage of the population are likely to not be able to be immunized due to those issues. Again, we won't know the extent of this issue for a period of time until after immunizations are in the population.

The issue of wanting a vaccine as a solution for travel and Camino may be far more complicated than it seems.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
Aside from the issue of will there ever be a vaccine for COVID-19, there are some other issues surrounding a vaccine to consider.

Vaccines are not 100% effective. Influenza vaccines, as an example: From year to year, they can have an effectiveness range of between 40% to 78%. There are many reasons for this, including some of the same issues we see with COVID-19 mutations. It can take quite some time AFTER a vaccine has been developed and globally administered, before its effectiveness can be determined.

One decision, is whether to wait until a vaccine is developed before one decides to travel. But a second decision may be focused on a willingness to travel based on the established level of effectiveness of a vaccine.

And then there is a third concern.

That concern is the issue of contraindications and the potential side effects of a vaccine. A percentage of the population are likely to not be able to be immunized due to those issues. Again, we won't know the extent of this issue for a period of time until after immunizations are in the population.

The issue of wanting a vaccine as a solution for travel and Camino may be far more complicated than it seems.
How I wish you were wrong.

But, you are not.

Only time will tell.
 

alhartman

346 joyful days in Spain and France since 2005
Camino(s) past & future
Hope so!
@David Tallan : Yes, email in 2005, but a pain to use. Only half the 'civilized' world was connected by then. Facebook came out in 2004. The iPhone (which I think coincides with the end of the 'basic camino' ) did not come out until 2007. The post above is the full extent of what I could do at locuterio and shared albergue machines--1 eu for 20 minutes dialup, with frequent failures.
I carried a flip phone on my 2006 LePuy to SJPdP to lower the anxiety of my 89 year old parents--agreed to switch on one hour a day to take any incoming calls from them. A modern convenience that I could not have done the walk without.
@nycwalking : 2001-2 is practically the dark ages. Cannot imagine how hard finding connectivity in rural Spain was then. But likely a sweet spot in camino timing.
@Robo : always a bed race methinks. But the worst for me were 2005 and 2016; always full by late afternoon..
I feel very grateful that I have seen the camino and its changes over so many years. I rate my number 1 as 2013, LePuy to SdC in 70 wonderful days. I do not really wish for it to be anything other than whatever it is at the time I am there. It has been magical in my life. I still hope for yet another whenever and whatever it may be like.
 

daveag

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2019
I’ve loved reading through this thread—thank you. As others have said, I think we won’t yet know what return will look like. It seems that it COVID responds like other corona virus, a vaccine should be attainable. Questions of how long it lasts and effectiveness will be answered as we all move forward. I imagine the Camino is like most things right now—there’s some with a desire to eventually get things back to the way they used to be (Pre-COVID), some that are asking if this is an opportunity to reinvent things—neighborhood, work patterns, the Camino. I pray that we can be patient enough to move forward in a manner safe for everyone and, indeed, be brave enough to ask the question about another way to do things.
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
It seems that it COVID responds like other corona virus, a vaccine should be attainable. Questions of how long it lasts and effectiveness will be answered as we all move forward.
I think that is a key component: Is it attainable, when will it be obtained, and what will the long-term and actual efficacy be?

That is why I think the discussion of the Camino, in several threads, has been defined and discussed in two major ways.
  1. Opening the Camino to international pilgrims, with a vaccine available. . with or without a protocol requiring immunization.
  2. Opening the Camino to international pilgrims, using existing infectious disease-control strategies and policies, when a vaccine does not exist and is less than 100% effective.
I do not see any information, from any reliable source, that is planning a reopening to international tourism OR Camino pilgrimage ONLY when a vaccine and an immunization policy is in place. I think that is a recognition by relevant stakeholders that a vaccine is a future prospect rather than a current or near future reality.

That could change if the nature of the pandemic changes, and/or the disease and its impacts drastically change. If that happens, though, the world will be in such a state of disrepair, that the notion of international tourist travel will be far from the thoughts of most.
 

Stephen

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Twice walked from St Jean to Estella and once from Sarria to Santiago. Maybe someday I'll find the time to do the entire walk.
I've found the time. Just completed SJPP to Santiago. 25 Aug to 1st Oct, 2016.
And now the Portuguese from Lisbon.
One albergue in Muxia has already closed. I fear a lot more will go the same way.
 

Aglass

Andrew
Camino(s) past & future
Walked el Camino Frances in 2003. Did the Primitivo in August 13 and Ruta lebaniega in July 14. Summer 2016 - Camino del Salvador.
One day: Ruta de la Plata into the Sanabres, maybe part of the Norte, and perhaps the Olvidado.
@David Tallan : Yes, email in 2005, but a pain to use. Only half the 'civilized' world was connected by then. Facebook came out in 2004. The iPhone (which I think coincides with the end of the 'basic camino' ) did not come out until 2007. The post above is the full extent of what I could do at locuterio and shared albergue machines--1 eu for 20 minutes dialup, with frequent failures.
I carried a flip phone on my 2006 LePuy to SJPdP to lower the anxiety of my 89 year old parents--agreed to switch on one hour a day to take any incoming calls from them. A modern convenience that I could not have done the walk without.
@nycwalking : 2001-2 is practically the dark ages. Cannot imagine how hard finding connectivity in rural Spain was then. But likely a sweet spot in camino timing.
@Robo : always a bed race methinks. But the worst for me were 2005 and 2016; always full by late afternoon..
I feel very grateful that I have seen the camino and its changes over so many years. I rate my number 1 as 2013, LePuy to SdC in 70 wonderful days. I do not really wish for it to be anything other than whatever it is at the time I am there. It has been magical in my life. I still hope for yet another whenever and whatever it may be like.
I can't remember if wifi was around in 2003 when I did my first Camino? I had a German mobile with roaming prices. I'd been in hospital most of the previous year and my wife and in-laws insisted on calling every day. When I got back my phone bill was more than I'd spent in a month on lodging, food and any extras
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
I would like such an experience. While I enjoyed my Camino last year, it did feel crowded at times. My needs are simple, a roof and a bunk at the end of the day, anything else is a bonus. I doubt the Camino will ever return to the way it was 20 years ago, but a 'simpler' Camino would be attractive although I certainly feel for those whose livelihood depends on the pilgrim traffic and who may not be able to survive this downturn.
Agree
 

David61

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
Frances (2020)
Foot and Mouth was a disease that was a number years before that. The new form came about from feeding cow brains to cows in their food. Another name for it was Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and when it infected humans it became Creutzfeldt Jacob Disease (vCJD).
Caroline, you have your dates mixed up. CJD (mad cow) was 1994 and foot and mouth 2001
 

malingerer

samarkand
Camino(s) past & future
cf (2), de la plata, cp. (2003 -2018)
Camino is Camino. like an ocean. Many things happen on the surface, There are storms and waves thunder. The sea ripples. But in the deep the ocean remains the ocean There are seaquakes on the floor and volcanic eruptions but the ocean remains the ocean. So too with Camino. The terrain can be altered by man with road and rail works, new building etc but the ancient way is still down there. There is no going back to a simpler or more basic way for change is always with us. My people, the Celts , walked towards the setting sun a long time ago. I do not know if they left any records about how they felt on the journey. I do not think it mattered to them. It was the end of the journey that had significance and not the mode of travel or the state of their accommodation on overnight stays. They carried that which was important in their hearts and souls just like a great many of us. For me that is the constant in the world of change. NOW is where we live so let's embrace it, We can still be kind and helpful irrespective of our attitudes and beliefs so walk soft and stay safe. Vaya con Dios.

The malingerer.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Do you know which one Stephen?

 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
I have a feeling that if the owners are closing it down, there will be someone else who will buy it and reopen it later.

While this is a time that has challenged the economy and businesses, the opportunities for growth in this type of business will return and likely flourish. It is my hope that with grants, no-interest loans, and other governmental supports, that most of the small business owners can weather this storm. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
So many Caminos, so little time. I think the many Caminos of various levels of distance, difficulty, infrastructure and crowds is one reason it’s such a durable pilgrimage. Can’t wait to hit the trail again.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I have a feeling that if the owners are closing it down, there will be someone else who will buy it and reopen it later.

While this is a time that has challenged the economy and businesses, the opportunities for growth in this type of business will return and likely flourish. It is my hope that with grants, no-interest loans, and other governmental supports, that most of the small business owners can weather this storm. :)
Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. 😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in September 2015
Been using lockdown to go thru old photos, letters etc in an effort to leave some stories for the grandchildren.
Following is a bit long compilation of my emails home from my first (2005) camino--complete with griping and all the typos from the frustrating internet kiosks with Spanish keyboard. Much simpler to be sure but may have little wish to return to that time 15 years later

Finaly found internet in spain
> making my move from project manager to pilgrim. trip was 48 gruelling hours
> since there wasnt a shuttle service from paplona to stjeanpiedduport, i had
> to take 3 trains. overall thee were 21 transportation transfers between pdx
> and stjeanpieddup ort, the french start before the pyrnees. have had two
> days of walking 11hours the first day and 9 today. we are taking in slow
> and enjoying the scenery. sorry for no earlier notice but french phones and
> spanish phones cant work and this is first internet other than in landing
> airports.
> nice walk, nice trip, buen camino to all.......................al
>

Subject: Day 5

>Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 09:07:06 -0700

>

>nice walk thru rolling agricultural hills with wind turbines on the

>ridges and dotted with small vineyards. Mostly into the swing of the

>camino now that the pyrnees and pamplona are behind. <traveling
>companion Jim completely blew out knee and had cup of fluid drained
>in pamplona so he is shadowing el camino santiago on a bus.
>tomorrow is about 25k to estella and two more like days to logrono
>will bring us to the high plains--with no rain yet but as i write
>this i feel about a 25 know breeze outside the refuge. this refuge
>is the first municipal one tried and has 120 or so beds in about 5
>new dormlike rooms. also serves a pilgrim dinner and has washer and
>dryer--a nice place catering to the every increasing number of
>pilgrims. of the 80 or so occupants there are about 4 other
>americans a handful of canadians, and the rest are french, italian,
>and german mostly. the crowd is distinctly older--only about a
>dozen 20somethings and at least 50 of us who qualify for the aarp.
>ive almost adapted to the rythyms of the camino and a few mor days i
>should be full on rivertime and lost to the modern world. this is
>an interesting hybrid of old world and modern world and the modern
>increasingly becomes mor frustrating--like the ampersand is nowhere
>to be found on the europena keyboard and requires a
>control,alt,upeer,2 to get to an email address.ç

>.............................al

>

Sent: Monday, May 09, 2005 9:37 AM
Subject: elcaminosantaigo--day 14 or so


internet here only sporadic and european keyboard frustrating.
only 475km more and trip is over. short days 22km, longer days 30km. nice
blend weaving the social and the isolated. 8 hour walk about 4 days ago my
body felt the whole day like the last 6miles of walking the portland
marathon--it hates me. but after a treat of wine, mixed salad, and veal, it
was happy again. i am sold on the spanish wines. dont know the grape
varietal but tastes like a yound pinor or siraz. share some below 3 euro
wines with other pilgrims and never had a bad wine. so next time at story
look for anything from la rioja. great stuff.
today second day on plains (meseta) and it must be like walking north
dakota. lots of isolation at time for the monkey mind to tkae me from
gratitude to greif. tonights refuge in castrojirez is best so far. only
about 30 beds in bunks and floors and plenty of space inbetween so i dont
have to swap garlic breath with the nearest german. came in to opera
arias, incense, and a hospitelero rushing to carry my pack to my bed and
guide me to the showers. o, how the camino provides our basic needs at the
needed moment.
only met 4 other americans so far. mostly german and french followed by
italian and spanish. actually met 4 brazilians and 4 from netherlands so
they are better represented than americans.
seem to have lost traveling companion jim. i dont think buses went to last
night or tonights villiages so only tomorrow as backup, then it is solo
along the journey until we can reconnect. his knee still isnt in shape for
the distance and good for only about 10km so dont know what the camiino will
offer.
whatever road you are on right now--buen camino..............al




Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 9:07 AM
Subject: midpoint to el camino santiago


slow internet connection, so cannot respond to any emails just do this
broadcast. all is well, jim and i reconnected and he did a 7k and 17k day
on knee, first after the surgery 10 plus days ago, but probably not enuf to
keep up or avoid bussing.
the camino is very crowded very early, last night was 4th nite of refuges
all full. so i jointed the pilgrm race for beds today leaving at 6am hiking
straight includeing eating my breakfast yogurt as i walked to save time. in
the first 17km 18 people passed me, in the next 10 another 24, so after
doing 27km in 6.5 hours, i got the second to last bed. not much fun but
havent figured a way to stagger the starts etc to avoid the overcrowding and
weather too rainy-windy to just set down my bag in a wheatfield and camp.
last night was fairly large city so got a nice pension with private bath for
a change. tonite is terradillos de templarios and only place in town is the
refuge--also only place to eat. an american gi i have intermittently met
and waled with is leaving the trail at sahagun tomorrow in frustration at
the crowds so that is kind of sad.
food, people, and walk still great, but clearly this is fully discovered and
way easy access for the german, french, italian, and spanish walkers.
cannot imagine what this summer will be like since there are maybe 5% of the
pilgrims under 50. it is mostly just us old folks. did meet one dutch guy
who had done appalacia and pacific crest trails. he is 74, takes a top
bunk, and springs up there in a single bound so walking must be good.

buen camino to all.........................al



To brian 5/14 buen camino.

mine has been and is and sure sounds like yours was. im on my forth nonwoking internet machine here in a cafe in leon, a city of 500,000 which is pretty civilized and cool. will take train to astorga tomorrow to buy more time for mountain hiking. it will give me about 300km left and 14 nights to do it so maybe jim can join since the days will be short and he cannot move faster than 3km per hour at best. we took train from shagun to leon today to cut out about 90km of walking and get back on schedule. it is a real pain to get bus schedules for him everyday and have me committ to a fixed walk then meet up at night. the trail is very overcrowded very early this year so if i dont get to a refuge by 2pm, there arent any beds left so everyone is leaving in the middle of the night like some ecochallenge race. last nite i was in a 5 person room and when i got up at 6am, 4 has long left in what i call the pilgrim racei walked 27km in 5 hours yesterday to get the second to last bed at 1pm and that isnt the laid back hike i wanted. three of our new friends hav left the camino in frustration because they refuse to participate in the race for a bed...........dad

Kids 5/14happy and safe and pretty sure i am going to retire early and maybe be living in a tent somewhere in telluride by august 1 if you guys are cool with that. i love walking and living like a scumbag in the outdoors, am used to hand washing every nite and taking cold showers. also my belt size is down about an inch so far so maybe ill be down 20 pounds by end of elcamino and back into somesort of decent shape. if i could get my mind out of the pilgrim race and if jim were closer to my own speed and ability which he cant do after the knee surgery in pamplona, this would be a trip from heaven. as it is, i love it but it has lots of frustrations...............dad



Sent: Wednesday, May 18, 2005 12:07 AM
Subject: maybe stage 28

found an internet cafe full of teenagers in some town outside ponferrada. just walked nice 2 hours through vineyards in bierzo. even did a little bierzo wine tasting last nite before dinner. companion jim did two days walk and knee is now out again so i walk alone as he busses for the next two days into the mountains of galacia.
experience is still a great walk and like a traveling circus on another planet. not sure i will every get used to civilization again. havent seen a tv in nearly a month, wouldnt know what to do without a carafe of wine at dinner, will miss my cans of sardines for protein as a midmorning snack, and most of all will miss the hospitalero morning 6am greeting of buenas dias--of course by then 1-3 of the other pilgrims are already up and out and racing for the next bed. not my thing--i measure life by how many pass me as i nap beside the vines.
probably another week of walking, then into final destination of santiago although i may still walk another 3 days to finestere before going to sample food in portugal and looking at some of the gaudi buildings in barcelona.
a temporary austrailian friend who is on his 3rd camino describes is as ´--a health club full of churches, museums, region cuisine in a northern spanish backdrop.
it is definitely mind-cleansing...............................al





Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 5:20 AM
Subject: 3 days left

started staying in the smaller refuges outside the larger cities to avoid
the crowds and it is working--except now there arent the restaurants with
the nice pilgrim menus. passing through palas de rei on way to smaller town
cassanova. right ankle is wearing down so about half of day is like walking
on a sprain which is annoying. scenery is still nice and of course the
pilgrim life of walk, eat, sleep, walk, drink, wash, etc is a perfect
simplification. lots of nice trail and refuge conversations. last night
had about 6 english speakers which is the greatest concentration of my
native tongue so far. sadly only over beers and a bar omlette which was the
only food available within a mile of the refuge we selected. of course,
there were only 20 fellow pilgrims. jims knee appears to hold up to the
20-25km days with a good icing every 3 hours and lots of vitamin i
ibuprofen600s.
on the better parts of the walk i keep thinking i will continue to
finistere, another 100km and the edge of the known world in 1100ad, but that
feeling goes away quickly so i may just do a bus tour and then off to
portugal.
elcaminosantiago is highly recommend to you all. my only dissappointment is
that it is far mor crowded far earlier than i had expected. weve been
unusually lucky on weather and have had only 2 days of rain so far--plus
another 3 days with afternoon showers.

........................................al


5/28 Saturday mass

trying to pay bills and do a little correspondence at an internet that has working machines and a real connection. most of the way the machines have been not just a spanish keyboard where you cant find the capital or the ampersand, but also half broken and always a dialup connection.
jims knee went south a few klicks into yesterdays walk so he hitched from a road we crossed and i walked the rest of the way in. the last 6 km was city, badly waymarked, and in a drizzle so that took a bit of the joy off the edge. the final refuge which we didnt stay at was for 1000 pilgrims and was row upon row of quanset hut, looked like a nice prision. stayed last nite in a decent pension, will do a little shopping, make the noon mass hoping that they break out the huge swinging incense pot call botafumerio. give the statue of st james a hug and thanks for a great journey, then catch a bus for finisterra to overnight at the coast and beach. since that is the old haunt of celtic pagan gods, there is likely to be a beach bonfire where pilgrims burn their clothes. and mine certainly need a good burning. my package of one travel outfit--ie a shirt with a collar anc clean hiking shorts arrived safely so i am a sartorial wonder.
jim leave for paris tomorrow so today is end of joint journey. as it turned out, it was interesting to blend the individual experiences on walking and bus journeys. hes had time to get started on his first novel which is a murder-terrorist adventure set along the camino. the characters and color will all be built around our camino experiences.
love to all and will be in touch as i can and due back in pdx on june 9. routing is to porto then lisbon portugal but will no doubt find some beach town to hide out in if i can find a nice english book here in santiago.....................al



5/31 camino Santiago

only the ankle is happy it is over. the rest of me wants to continue on walking. i will try to do the 800km from le puy france to rancovalles, spain. that would be foothills of the pyrenees and harder pyrenees themselves. and the french refuges take reservations so there wouldnt be such a rush for the available beds. it is a little harder physically because the refuges are 30-45 km appart rather than the elcamino7-17. will also check out some of the other great world treks as there seem to be quite a few that i haven heard of.
glad lotus petal going well. i wont make it to barcelona for a world famous meal at comerc24 for the tapas done by carles abellan, a student chef of the famous ferran adria who has the hottest restaraunt on the planet for foodies.. i cant help wondering if the market in the use isnt ready for bigtime tapas and with a little tapas training and menu development combined with asian fusion (really tapas like) you couldnt have the planets hottest restaurant. just apprentice yourself to ferran, do a quick study in bali or thailand, and open up...................ahh, the dreams of a madman.

love you and will be in touch.....................dad



5/31 porto

got here after a nice 3 hr train ride from santiago. fairly decent internet next door to my pension in a western union office.
ate barnacles in finistere as part of sea feast. I have been living on pulpo (octupus) since that is the main dish in galicia, the province that surrounds santiago
walking wasnt that hard, just that 30 days of 15-20 miles per day takes its toll, especially on my right ankle which is still feeling like it is sprained. if my ankle hadnt been having problems, i would have walked the 87km extension from santiago to finsterre, but took the bus instead.
there is a feeder trail from LePuy france to pamplona that i would consider doing. it is also around 800 km but the refuges in france allow reservations which would eliminate the daily rush to beat other pilgrims for limited beds.
ill spend another day here in porto, the to lisbon for a few days. i think i will delete barcelona since it is so far and the only reason to go is to see gaudi stuff and i spent a half day in his museum in Astorga--he is even more impressive than frank lloyd wright i must say..........................love........al
Great story. Thanks for sharing.
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Camino Conversations

Camino Conversations

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

Most downloaded Resources

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 55 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 197 15.0%
  • May

    Votes: 325 24.8%
  • June

    Votes: 95 7.3%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 379 28.9%
  • October

    Votes: 158 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock