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All prebooked - yes or no ?

#1
There is a travel agent in Hamburg/Germany (I'm bilingual) who is offering a service for prebooking accommodation including breakfast and dinner as well as lugagge transport - all the way from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela.
http://tinyurl.com/28hpoo

It would cost me approx. € 3.300 for the entire Camino.

Imagine: you come and go whenever you want, no rush for a decent and clean place for the night, only a few things to carry around. Everything is well organized.

It's temping, isn't it? Money isn't the problem, but the questions "is that authentical" or "is that the right way to walk the Camino" do remain.

What do you think?
 

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omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#2
I'm sure you will get people saying it's not authentic but down through the ages those who could have afforded such comfort/organisation would have used it-there are accounts of quite elaborate pilgrimages undertaken by nobility etc.
To me it's a toss up between having the certainty of a bed at the end of the day and the anticipation of know knowing what the end of the day will bring.
Having said all that you still have to walk-nobody does that for you so in that sense it's just as authentic as any other pilgrim.
 

spursfan

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#3
You might as well go the whole hog and get someone else to walk for you as well

One of the great things about the Camino is the lack of things to worry about - and putting your faith in whatever happens and appreciating it
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#4
Pre booked

Hello Howie,
There are as many different ways to walk el camino as there are pilgrims and there is nothing wrong with an organised camino.
You could also do parts of it with an organised tour guide - someone like Nancy Frey who is an expert on the history of the camino and can tell you things that you might not even find in a guide book. Also, with a pre-booked camino there is the comfort in knowing that you have a clean bed and probably a private bathroom at the end of each day.
However, the only part that you will miss out is the comaraderie around a table in the evenings with pilrims you have walked with all day.
In 2002 my friend and I offered foot massages to footsore pilgrims in the albergues along the way. Although the sounds of ecstasy was sometimes almost erotic, I can assure you that there is nothing erotic about hot, sweaty, scaly, blistered feet! Half way into the walk we noticed familiar faces searching for us in the albergues. One guy from Brazil would scream with delight every time he arrived at an albergue where we were!
You can still get your credential stamped along the way at hotels, inns, bars, libraries, police stations, churches etc and will still get your compostela at the end.
Whichever way you do it, have a wonderful walk!
 

Paulus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
#5
Howie,

Everybody does it her/his way: as already stated you also can hire someone to walk for you and that's also a Camino.

IMHO: do forget the holiday-feeling about the Camino and begin to walk and meet others in the albergues, feel the backpack and your muscles, meet strange,kind and lovely people, step away of everydays organizing and let the Camino come over you. Follow the fletchas and see where the Camino will bring you that day: that's the Camino.
The stories about not be able to sleep anywhere....well...I expierenced that there's always a place somewhere and....if you have enough money : there's always a casa rural or little pension/hostal to sleep: if you want.
Don't overplan it!!

Paul
 

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#6
Thank you all so far.

It didn't know one can hire someone to walk the Camino on ones behalf (sic). Now, that's downright funny and most definitely not what I intend to do...

But I want to walk with the absolute certainty, that everything is taken care for, i. e. when I arrive there ist a room for me and my luggage. I want to walk to think. Not to worry or to be permanently in a haste - I absolutely loathe that. Had to organize stuff all my life, professionally and private, now I just want to concentrate on the things right in front of me, in this case: The Camino.

As I said in my introduction: I don't really know why I want to go the Camino Frances. Buggered if I know. But I absolutely just know I have to go the Camino Frances. The Frances. Nothing else. Why? Buggered if I... etc. etc.

I'm not religiuos, on the contrary, I belong to the naturalistic Brights. No alternative or esoteric views either. No problems to solve. I'm actually as happy as Larry...

I'm not particularly interested in meeting people - had that all my life. Thank you.

I will not even have a stamped credential. Nor will I have a cellphone. Or a weblog. And I most certainy will not write a book. I even won't tell my kids about my plans. Only the memsahib will know - and spoil me rotten at the end of the journey, somewhere in a finca on Mallorca before we go on to Canada for holidays...

I just want to do it for myself. Funny pilgrim, eh? Do I make sense? Or maybe I'm completely wrong? I will see. Did anybody of you guys/gals have a mindchanging experience of the third kind while walking the Camino? I really would like to know.

Foot massage sounds good, though.

Meeting the whole caboodle at the and of the day and wagging our tongues for hours not so much... But again: maybe I'm completely wrong.
 
#7
as others have said, and as I am beginning to learn, it's your camino and we all have to do it in our own way for our own reasons.

Good luck; I hope you get to walk in you own way, at your own pace, and discover your own camino.
 
#8
JaneB said:
... we all have to do it in our own way for our own reasons ...
Yes. Certainly.

I just want to find out if "my way" (see above: not to worry, not a lot of contact etc.) is absolutely unusual, absurd and/or even somewhat silly - or is it quite common?

What do y'all think?
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#9
Howie
I have similar inclinations too. I went on the vdlp last year and loved it. I started on my own but met a danish bloke. We went our own paces which meant we usually met up late afternoon. Neither of us had this ridiculous habit of getting up hours before daylight rustling those damn plastic bags.We both preferred to wait till 8 or so to try and find a coffee and-more importantly actually see where we are going.
We met several other people which was good but I relished the isolation on the VDLP.
 
#11
Howie,
Welcome to the dance. You have acknowledged your invitation. Now you are beginning to prepare. Your posting sounds a lot like mine a year ago. I know that the invitation to the camino is a gift that one can accept or reject. I wanted to accept the invitation,but on my terms. Like you, I didn't want to worry about all the details of accomodations etc. The more that I wrestled with the idea, the more I became challenged with the reality that it is really about control. It's sort of like getting a shirt as a present from one of my children. What is more important? Whether or not I like it or the fact that they wanted me to have it? The camino is offering you a gift. No matter how much you plan, the camino will present challenges that you have not thought of. I assure you that the more I let go of the camino that I wanted and embraced the camino that offered itself to me as I walked the freer and more joyous I felt.
The only thing authentic about the camino experience is what happens interiorally. It's not about whether or not I want to talk to someone. The camino is an experience of the total self. The sights, sounds, smells, touch will integrate themselves into what is happening within yourself. You can only allow that to happen. When you do, you will dance upon the earth. Ultreya, John
 
#12
At the risk of repeating what has already been said, it's your camino and what works for you is the best way to approach things.

I can identify with the idea of having all the details looked after and not having to worrry about anything. When we know that everything has been taken care of, we are then in a position to just let go, breathe, relax and let the camino work it's magic.

On the flip side, always needing to get somewhere by a certain time and a certain date may prove to be not much fun as it does not allow for anything spontaneous. What if you need a rest day? What if you decide to stay an extra day some where to explore? Personally, I would find a set itinerary to be very confining and way too much like the way I live back home.

Book your accomodations for the first couple of days if it makes you feel better. After that trust that you will always be in the right place at the right time and that all your needs will be met. Part of the learning in walking the camino is to let go of all the external stuff that we think we need in order to make our lives work.

Blessings,
Lora
 

WolverineDG

Veteran Member
Donating Member
#13
Howie, don't forget the old saying "Man plans. God laughs." I once took a trip to Australia, & had every day planned practically down to the last second. What happened? I got over there & discovered I wanted to spend more time in Cairns, but couldn't, because I had to be in Brisbane, according to my schedule.

I would advise you to keep some flexibility in your plans, in case you want to linger in a town, or just take a rest day.

Buen Camino!
dg
 
#14
Thank you all so far.

I found a few things, thoughts, very interesting, things I never thought about:
Don't overplan it!!
(by Paulus) No Sir. Won't do that. But, alas, being me, I can't life without a plan. And preferrably a plan B as well...
it's your camino and we all have to do it in our own way for our own reasons
(by JaneB) That is uplifting. Thank you.
You have acknowledged your invitation. Now you are beginning to prepare.
(by papajohn) "Invitation". Hm. Very interesting idea.
On the flip side, always needing to get somewhere by a certain time and a certain date may prove to be not much fun as it does not allow for anything spontaneous.
(by Lora) This is exactly what I need: a destination to reach. Everyday. All my life. That's just the way I am. Oh, and I am spontaneous, though. Very much so. Ask my dear wife...

What impressed me most was papajohns article. You see, as I've already said, I see things the naturalistic way. Or so I thought... So why made it "click" reading about "the Camino's invitation"? I don't have any connections to northern Spain, to the catholic church, to the Camino - zilch. Zip. So why did I have this beautiful dream for years, me, walking happily a very long distance all on my own - and only after papajohns article this dream, completely forgotten, suddenly popped up in my consciousness?. A dream, reaccuring many times. For years. Why - no idea. Was that "the invitation"? Hey, I'm a naturalist and don't believe in stuff like that! Or am I wrong? Again? On the other hand I see things - please don't laugh - on quantum mechanic levels. That means in my book: we - everything - is ONE. That certainly is naturalistic - and in itself almost religious (and, btw, frowned upon by the late Pope). To say it in my words: "We are all but sparks from the same fire".

And re the "prebooked idea" and lugagge transport, another surprise: talking about that to my wife she said: "Howie, silly you, of course you need lugagge transport. You can't carry a backpack, stupid". Why? After a motorcycle accident and an injured spine a very long time ago I can't carry anything on my back. No way. Couldn't do that for one hour. But I didn't even think about that when I considered the idea to walk the Camino. Why? To repeat myself: buggered if I know...

The more I think about the whole matter the more mystified I am. And the more my plans to walk the Camino intensify. Why? See above...
 
#15
Hi Howie

A few years ago, when I was walking in Patagonia, I met a guy who was spending the day organising his next couple of weeks to the last detail, whereas I spent the day pottering and watching the world go by. Several days later we met again by chance. I had enjoyed my loosely structured walking and had made a lot of friends by being flexible in what I did. He had had a very frustrating time because a delay near the beginning had caused him to spend a lot of time rescheduling everything and he never got to where he wanted to go.

I do understand that it will depend on what sort of person you are and he could have been miserable without the confidence that everything had been planned, however, with all the money that you say that you can afford, you can always take taxis or sleep in posh hotels if you have any problems.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope that you enjoy the camino as much as I did.

Best wishes
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#16
A Rite of Passage

Howie asked the question:

Did anybody of you guys/gals have a mindchanging experience of the third kind while walking the Camino?
For some people, the camino is just a long hike. No more - no less.
For others it is a Rite of Passage.

In 1909 Arnold Van Gennep wrote The Rites of Passage. In it he explained his theory of the characteristics and form of rites of passage and the way they can change us. He writes that all rites of passage have three stages: separation, limen, and aggregation.

Separation - from your comfort zone and all that is familiar.
Limen - a bit like going through adolecence - painful, exciting, tiring, exhilarating.
Aggregation - the stage when you return home, back to your 'normal' life, but can't settle. Your home, your friends, your culture stays the same – only you, the returning traveller, has changed.

It is like the well-known Zen story of the Ox Herder.
According to Cha’n belief, if you have no faith in the possibility of experiencing your intrinsic self then ox herding is irrelevant. If there is no ox to herd, there can be no ox herding, no progression. This is true for people who have no interest in discovering their intrinsic nature, as well as for those who once held the ox and let it go.

Some of us are oc herders and some just keep on looking for the ox!
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
#17
Sil - I loved your last post! It struck a chord in me - as I mentioned in another post, I found the Camino experience really transformational. Your interpretations of the stages were perfect.
And I agree - for some, it is just a hike. Nothing wrong with that at all. For me, it was an inner as well as an outer journey, and even remembering it can set me on the path again.

lynne
 
#18
paulmack said:
... you can always take taxis or sleep in posh hotels if you have any problems ...
Exactly that is the problem and my question: are there hotels and restaurants along the Camino frances? Are taxis easily available? Right in the middle of nowhere to flag down a cab: "haya mista, please get me to the next Holiday Inn, a bit sharpish if you please, I'm in urgent need of a shower, the bathrooom and a 400 gram sirloin steak medium/rare with a jug of beer..."? Highly unlikely. I don't think so - at least I got the impression (fori, reports, blogs, books, research, maps, Google Earth etc.) that there is not a lot at all available - only small villages (good!), gravel roads (would love that!) and lots of pilgrims (to avoid...) in a rush to get a bed (cum bed bugs) for the night, therefore starting at an ungodly time and walking by the light of - no, not the light of the stars - the light of LED torches... That definitely is not my idea of a sort of "spiritual" walk to find out things.

And lugagge transport? I can't carry a backpack because of an old spine injury. Any ideas? Please?

sillydoll - liked your comment. In particular:
For some people, the camino is just a long hike. No more - no less. For others it is a Rite of Passage.
Because I still don't know (and do I really want to know? Don't think so...) why I have to walk the Camino to me the walk is more the mentioned "Rite of Passage". I'm not much of a hiker anyway.

And that:
Separation - from your comfort zone and all that is familiar.
Limen - a bit like going through adolecence - painful, exciting, tiring, exhilarating.
Aggregation - the stage when you return home, back to your 'normal' life, but can't settle. Your home, your friends, your culture stays the same – only you, the returning traveller, has changed.
I know. All three stages. I used to run motorcycle tours in New Zealand (5 months, 5 tours all over the country, no break) and in the US as well (SFO, the Rockies, National Parks, back the 101, 5 weeks per tour). Believe me: riding a bike for months on end is an almost Zen-like experience. And so I know the three mentioned stages very well indeed (although I would name it a bit different). After doing this for 5 years I was completely changed and ready to uproot my life completely for the sake of my inner peace - so we migrated to New Zealand. Luckily I had the right women by my side to do so. Then, after 10 years of absolute bliss and peace, I feel the beckoning again. The Camino. Time for a change. Why? You know my answer to that one...
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
To me the term "Camino" is a metaphor for life.

Everyone should be able to live their lives as they please.

All should do their Caminos as they wish.

Buen Camino :arrow:

xm
 

William Marques

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
#20
Howie said:
paulmack said:
... you can always take taxis or sleep in posh hotels if you have any problems ...
Exactly that is the problem and my question: are there hotels and restaurants along the Camino frances? Are taxis easily available? Right in the middle of nowhere to flag down a cab: "haya mista, please get me to the next Holiday Inn, a bit sharpish if you please, I'm in urgent need of a shower, the bathrooom and a 400 gram sirloin steak medium/rare with a jug of beer..."? Highly unlikely. ...
Posh or at least decent hotels are more common than you would expect. It is only the small villages where no alternative to the basic refugio exists and that is changing.
4/5* hotels in Pamplona, Logrono, Santo Domingo, Burgos, Leon, Astorga, Ponferrada, Villafranca, Santiago.
2/3* hotels most small towns / large villages on route.
In most places you will be in mobile phone range to hail a taxi though you may be some way away from the nearest road.

After a long day we are all in need of a shower (or better a bath) the bathroom a 400 gm rib-eye and a bottle of wine and if we deprive ourself of it we need to ask why? Pilgrim routes have always had every type of person on them from the beggar to the king and the reason there is so much physical history on the route is due to the wealth and commerce that all those pilgrims brought.

I can see the benefit of the refugio and the comradeship but I can also see the benefit of privacy and comfort. As I said before your camino will be unique however you do it and I wish you well.

As for a mind changing experience - I think it is much less likely to happen if you look for it.

Buen Camino
William
 
#21
and just to add my own thoughts. . .if you can afford to stay in the slightly more salubrious places you may well free up a bed in a refugio for someone who is having to count every euro in order to manage the Camino financially. We all have to do it our own way
 

marktqm

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2006)
#22
Howie,

If you can't carry a backpack due to back problems, why not use a handcart? Some pilgrims have done that in the past.

Last year I walked for a day with an Irishman who had a small backpack that's only probably 5 kilos, unusually light. Not a lot of stuff in his bag though but he eventually reached Santiago, without a sleeping bag, or a towel. He did stay in posh places when he felt like having a warm soak in the tub, but he also stayed in the ordinary refugios where he met ordinary pilgrims.

Mark
 
#23
organize

Was that 3,000 Euros???? WOW . Your comment was

". Had to organize stuff all my life, professionally and private, now I just want to concentrate on the things right in front of me, in this case: The Camino. " Well it will be VERY organized with a tour, (you may not be organizing it) but it is STILL organized. What happens, if you are tired and don't want to walk 30kms today. One day i walked 4km. BE FLEXIBLE. and as one chap says, if you REALLY want solitude, try a different route.
There are so many people on camino frances , that was the best part for me, meeting people from different countries.
I will be doing the camino norte, FEW people, will be an interesting story to share afterwards. i look forward to the fantastic scenery and more time to enjoy the beauty.
have a fantastic camino, it is adicting.
dawn
 
#24
Walk it my way

Idon't expect the Way would change me any which way. It may be only the hike for me. I am a 58 yrs old Thai female and Buddhist. When applying for Schengen visa at Spanish Embassy in Bangkok, I have submitted full Camino itnerary in every stage (with prebooked accommodation as much I can muster todate), the Spanish consul asked me a simple question 'Why?" and my simple answer is "Why not?" I've got my visa for the maximum 3months. He might have thought it would take that long for me.
I hate to compete for a bed at the end of the day so I took trouble to book accom ahead but it's not the end of the world if I can't pre-book. I will do my best not to take the rufigio's precious space if I can find casa rural or pensione along the way. If not, come what may.
I have never worried if my camino walk is going to be non-authentic or not. I want to do the walk and intend to enjoy the whole trail,weather-blister-accom,etc permitting. I look forward to seeing you all sometime along the way. A smile would suffice.
Cheers
Wichanee
 

Minkey

Active Member
#25
I'll try not to be as cynical as Spursfan ;-D but I kinda agree with his sentiment. Personally I'd say it's great using the albergues, only really not liking one or two of them (Melide being the first that springs to mind!) but hell... They're cheap, they provide what I need, the staff are usually very nice and they're normally quiet-ish in the evening (with snores and shuffling aside)
 

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