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Camino Francés to be abandoned?

Caminando

Veteran Member
It's been a long time since I last walked the CF, from Le Puy, and also from Jaca. Especially in France, I hardly met another pilg. In Spain I met many more, but never, even in July/August was there a bed problem (or bedbug problem) even tho' there were a lot less refugios. The nearest figures I remember are that around my time of walking, about 3000 got a compostela. This might be wrong but near enough? Since then, my main caminos have been VDP and CP, and there were few people on the way. With the VDP I can see why - it's tough.

Yet when I read this site today about the CF, it seems to be characterised by litter, turds and toilet paper: there is a race for beds, there are bugs; many pilgs seem to be carrying all sorts of phones, laptops, Ipods, tablets etc. (I wryly think of P. Cousineau's words, "To get out on pilgrimage is to throw down a challenge to everyday life"). And on this site there is an over interest in brand names and equipment. On the CF there are mobile tea vans, groups of cyclists, runners, costume pilgrims, and people who have paid someone to take them on pilgrimage, which they could have done much better by themselves. On the CP, there was a group of cycling evangelists, leafleting the hapless Portugese in their homes with ridiculous tracts. Arrriving in SDC cath. , the candles are coin-in-a-slot and electric, and the priests applaud and flash photograph the botafumiero. In Porto, there are day tripper bus excursions to SDC with a visit to the Pilgrim Mass thrown in. The rubbishy trinkets for sale in SDC are only rivalled by the appalling junk seen in Lourdes, like Bob Dylan's "flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark". 5 years ago when motorcycle riding to Morocco and adjacent to some of the CF, there was a long line of pilgs stretching as far as I could see, over the horizon, forced to compete for the next refugio bed.

I'd like to walk the CF again, for it is a gem, but I will have to go in winter to avoid the circus. I don't mind this, but would prefer a bit of warmth, as you do; I have done the CP in November, and hope to do the Inglés soon, so winter's ok. If I do the CF in winter, I can expect some refugios to be closed, even if listed as open. Of course now I know this, it's less of an issue, and I will make other arrangements. But what a difference!

Perhaps LovingKindness's type of pilgrimage from Trondheim is the model for the future.

Is it time for the CF to be abandoned by those who want to avoid crass commerce, competition, heaving crowds, cyclists, runners et al? Or is it just me? Or you?
 
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nathanael

Guest
I agree it is overcrowded but I guess that is why I like it. I have done it twice but in two sections and enjoyed the people, I usually hook up with one person and we walk together. The Camino Norte was no better last year with scrambling for beds that was a circus. Nevertheless try it again it is a fabulous trip.
chao,
n.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Caminando, I agree with you - I won't walk it again, ever, for the very reasons you describe. I walked it once from SJPdP, and from Sahagun after walking the Madrid Way. That last one (2009) was enough for me. Those caminos less traveled make me happy. The CF no longer does.

lynne
 

Br. David

Active Member
I think the above could easily have been written in medieval times (well, most of it anyway) - but pilgrimage is pilgrimage and there are quite a few humans on this planet. Mecca and the Ganges spring to mind - millions attending.

Each to his/her own - I also like silence and an empty hinterland, but I also like the sweating heaving mass of humanity. I suppose that the problem - if there is a problem - is that we cannot have the world we want, we have to want the world we have.

One could regret the side effects of mass pilgrimage and walk away, longing for the 'purer more genuine (really?) old days' or one could adjust and surrender into the new experience - or one could, if one had a mind to, return to help that mass of pilgrims in any way that one could.

It is fairly easy to be 'at one', to be stirred by beauty, when one is alone, when there are no compromises - the trick is to be 'at one' when one is in that sweating mass - to be there and yet not be there - don't you think? And one doesn't have to run for the next refuge, one could just stroll along, sleep a few hours on a church porch?

We can improve the lot for all pilgrims were we to want to. I agree that the negative aspects to a mass of people on the move can be disheartening - open-air defecating and not carrying away being the main visible one .. but we could easily alter this. Toilet kits could be available at every refuge. There could be information posters in many languages at each refuge. Pilgrim passports could cost, say, 10 euros, but would come with a toilet kit (small plastic trowel, sealable polyethylene sandwich bags?). Any of us could spend a few euros to buy boxes of the bags and hand them out at refuges or along the way ... as for bed-bugs, well these have become a global plague, common in the best hotels in the capitals of the world .. horrid but not specifically a Camino problem.

As for mobile tea - be kind, what exactly is wrong with providing refreshment for tired and thirsty pilgrims? Isn't that what the monastic refuges were set up to do? To cater to the needs of pilgrims? Isn't this just part of a pilgrimage?
Each year I give away tea, lemonade and first aid - I choose places where there is nowhere to stop for miles and usually no shade and I have yet to meet a pilgrim who thinks that this is a bad idea (though quite a lot of the young Americans at first think that I may be an ice cream van mirage!)

I think that you protest too much. It is like being in a traffic jam cursing all the traffic, not realising that you are the traffic

As for Lourdes - personally I absolutely LOVE the way humanity responds to religious sites. Those souvenir shops do have very cheap items, they are there for those who need little or have little to spend, but for just a few euros more - from only 5 euros up - there are some truly beautifully made items such as silver pendants.

All is well :wink:
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
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Not a protest, actually. My preference.

lynne
 
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Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Past OR future Camino
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Br. David said:
As for Lourdes - personally I absolutely LOVE the way humanity responds to religious sites. Those souvenir shops do have very cheap items, they are there for those who need little or have little to spend, but for just a few euros more - from only 5 euros up - there are some truly beautifully made items such as silver pendants.

All is well :wink:

Funny! This remains me of a story concerning ''Money Changers in the temple''...
 

Br. David

Active Member
Canuck said:
Br. David said:
As for Lourdes - personally I absolutely LOVE the way humanity responds to religious sites. Those souvenir shops do have very cheap items, they are there for those who need little or have little to spend, but for just a few euros more - from only 5 euros up - there are some truly beautifully made items such as silver pendants.

All is well :wink:

Funny! This remains me of a story concerning ''Money Changers in the temple''...


ah, just a bit different. One has to contextualise a story to understand it, don't you think? Jews would go to the temple and donate money and buy sacrificial offerings. The cheapest was a pigeon I think. Jewish religious law forbade using coins that had a head depicted on them so there were money-changers in the outer temple who would change 'profane' coins for acceptable coinage. As the Jerusalem temple was open to all, whether Jewish or not (though gentiles didn't get to the inner courts), people brought coins with them from all over the known world (thinking about it, you couldn't really arrive from the unknown world could you). There was no way that the donation/buying sacrificial animals could have worked unless there were money-changers. The fault was that they had been allowed to encroach onto the outer courts of the temple, which were still fairly holy ground - which is why the Jesus incident.
With modern shrines all souvenir trading is done clearly outside of temple/holy precincts.

There is a vast difference between the inner teachings of a religion and the external structure of a religion. Humans always fulfil needs. If there are cars on the road there will be petrol stations and breakdown organisations. If there is a religious shrine there will be hotels, restaurants, first aid centres, and souvenir shops ..
it is quite normal human behaviour - every town and city on the planet is a testimony to this - but it doesn't happen inside of the boundaries of holy shrines. :wink:
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
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Canuck wrote
"Funny! This remains me of a story concerning ''Money Changers in the temple''...
One small (?) difference. You can choose whether to buy a souvenir. In the Temple it was obligatory to change your secular money to temple currency, also to have an 'approved' sacrifice that had been passed as 'perfect' - and the system was being exploited. In addition it was blocking the Court of the Gentiles and so keeping people out of the Temple. That is why Jesus was angry.
Very different from the situation that David is describing.

The Camino, like anything else is a reflection of life in all its variety. Personally we would prefer peace and solitude while others prefer the crowds, souvenirs and all.

Blessings on your ministry David, good to see you back.
TerryB and Tia Valeria
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
I don't suppose that anyone asked the sacrificial animals what they thought of all this. It is my surmise that they were against it, regardless of any human's religious persuasion.

And, like prayer, did it work? Did the dead dove make the universe whole again after some sin, real or imagined, by a human?

Just askin' ...
 

Br. David

Active Member
Why, thank you T&T!

The opener of the thread was all true of course, busy busy busy indeed at certain times of the year and the further west you go - but there is something about entering that flow isn't there ... an opposite but quite as strong experience as the lone walk in the wilds. How lucky we are that we have both.

Hmmm ... I wonder if there were a similar rush to refuges in the medieval high period? Certainly bed bugs I would have thought, plus body lice ... defecating too as there would have been fewer toilets ... and much more smelly I should think ... plus ça change


I don't suppose that anyone asked the sacrificial animals what they thought of all this. It is my surmise that they were against it, regardless of any human's religious persuasion.

Good point. I think it was for that reason they decided not to use parrots as sacrificial animals just in case they complained about it.
 
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Canuck

Veteran wanderer
Past OR future Camino
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Br. David said:
...but it doesn't happen inside of the boundaries of holy shrines. :wink:

Please explain: collection, candle burning, offerings and the likes i.e. Swinging the botafumeiro for a good price?
 

revrenjen

Member
I walk my first camino this year, so I speak out of absolute ignorance, but this thread does remind me of the six weeks I spent volunteering with the Iona Community 5 years ago. Located on a tiny island off the west coast of Scotland, centered in a restored 13th century abbey, a place of pilgrimage since the sixth century, I expected quiet and contemplation. I found quite the opposite. As my supervisor said, "At Iona we don't really do quiet and contemplation. We do loud messy community."

I look forward to times of quiet and contemplation when I walk this year, but since I'm walking CF, I expect to find much loud, messy community. And hope to discover the lessons each has to teach me.

Buen Camino--
Rene
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
A graceful post, Rev...thanks.

Iona is beautiful though. You might wish to read the life of George MacLeod of Fuinary to see why it has the characteristics you found.

But if you want peace, then go to South Uist: here you will find what you seek. Or consider the community that Samye Ling Buddhist monastery has set up on Holy Island in the Firth of Clyde.

You will like your CF, and will find space for yourself each day. Meeting others is one of the things I like about caminos; my only caution is the numbers. After you make your way, you may want to do another, and your experience will help you choose. As said, the CF is a gem.

You will have a wonderful time......
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Br. David said:
I think that you protest too much. It is like being in a traffic jam cursing all the traffic, not realising that you are the traffic

Thanks Davey

You may spookily be on to something when you say I protest too much. However, I am not "the traffic", as I avoid such crowds if I can. I reported what others say, and compared that with earlier times. A tiny bit of camino oral history if you will.

On your camino(s) did you find the crowds too much? Did you have any trouble when you slept "on a church porch"?
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
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:
Abandon it Caminando!! Don't walk it - all your fears will be confirmed. There will be lots of pilgrims, lots more cafe bars and a race for beds even though there are many more albergues than there were 25 years ago. (The Jaca conference was in 1987 and that was when it was decided to revive the albergues so your walks must have been even pre-Don Valina Sampedro's days.)
The Camino is slowly building up to its former g[l]ory. Your early walks on the Camino Frances (at least 25 years ago if only 3000 got the Compostela) were at the start of the modern revival when hardly anybody had heard of it and very few walked it.
You'll never be happy walking it now that it has become almost medieval in its popularity.

“.. in 1121, when Ali-ben-Yussef, the Almorávide, sent a deputation to Doña Urraca, the legates were amazed at the crowds of pilgrims who thronged the roads. They enquired from their escort in whose honor so great a multitude of Christians crossed the Pyrenees. “He who deserves such reverence,” answered the escort, “is St. James…” (Walter Starkie)

A register dating 1594 at the hospice at Villafranca de Montes de Oca recorded 16,767 pilgrims that year, over 200 on some days.

The town with the highest number of albergues was Burgos which in the 15th-c boasted 32 hospices, and even as pilgrimage declined, still supported 25 into the late 1700’s.
Astorga had 21, Carrion de los Condes had 14 and at one time there were 7 in Castrojeriz. Even small villages like Obanos and Viana had several pilgrim shelters. (Terradillos de los Templarios and neighbouring Moratinos were among the few pueblos that did not provide a hospice for pilgrims.)
Just as they are today, some hospices were provided by Confraternities, some by the church and some were privately run.

Evidence of the decline of the Santiago pilgrimage was reflected in the Holy Year of 1867 when just 40 pilgrims turned up for the celebrated mass on 25th July.

It wasn't until 1937 that Sant’Iago was officially restored as the patron saint of Spain by Gen. Franco.

If you want to walk a route with hardly any other pilgrims, no bed problems (because you stay in hotels) no race for beds etc then you should consider the Via Francigena. That route too is gaining in popularity so don't leave it too late!
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Thank you S,

A detailed and useful post as always! You are almost spot on about the time of my first CF; it was 1990. The 3000 figure is a hazy memory, but near enough.

I still have a great soft spot for the CF, and want to walk it again in a late autumn or Nov. I spoke to a pilg on the CP in Nov, and she told me there was no problem with accommodation on the CF. She had walked the CF,then to Fistera, then bussed to Porto and started again to SDC. Well well!

My hope with this post was that people would share what they liked/disliked about the CF; I am also fully aware that it also depends on the time of year. I also wanted as I said, to give a brief comment on "how it was". Not, as Davey mistakenly says, to whine about the old days, but to compare and perhaps give a sigh. It does seem to be medieval in character now on the CF, with all the goings on and fascinating characters. It's reminiscent of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in fact. But ole Davey had a point when he said I protested too much - yes, true- and knowingly.

I found the CP last November to be rewarding, and the VDP too a while back, tho' the heat did me in. I had been advised it would be very hot, but of course I knew much better. I was a sorry boy I can tell you! But a walk of high quality- really special.

I mentioned LKs walk from Trondheim as a possible guide to the future, but disappointingly, no-one picked up on this. Now that, to me, is a Way of real quality. Very demanding not only physically, but within especially.Its the long solitary haul which does it. But a Way of the highest order in my book. If she arrives in Spain in a high season, I wonder how it wll be for her after the emptiness of the north. It depends on the route of course.

Do you see what I'm getting at? Its a changing camino, and I for one find it marvellous. There are ways to suit everyone, especially if you can choose the time of year.

On the Francigenia, it never appealed as I dont like Italy. I know I am in a minority of one here, but it's not a place for me. But there's lots to do. Back to LK again!

Now I've rambled on a bit but I must get back to my preps for my Camino Inglés whose flights I have just booked for about two weeks ahead. I will end the walk with a few days in Fistera and then Madrid, and do a bit of culture vulturing there. I missed the Prado as a hitchhiking youth long ago, and hope to finally see it. Plus any freebies in the city, as befits a penurious old gent....who me?
 

Vigdis

Member
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Camino Frances 2008/2009, Roncesvalles-Burgos Oct. 2012
Caminando said:
With the VDP I can see why - it's tough.

So you say in your first post in this tread, Caminando.
I don't know which camino to do next, so I am trying to find out a bit about them all.
Could you tell me what makes the VDP particularly tough? :)
 
A

AJ

Guest
Vigdis said:
Caminando said:
With the VDP I can see why - it's tough.

So you say in your first post in this tread, Caminando.
I don't know which camino to do next, so I am trying to find out a bit about them all.
Could you tell me what makes the VDP particularly tough? :)

Long distances between services/accomodation. Not so many water fountains. I carried 2 litres all the time. It's a wonderful route though. Do it in the spring.
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Caminando said:
I mentioned LKs walk from Trondheim as a possible guide to the future, but disappointingly, no-one picked up on this. Now that, to me, is a Way of real quality. Very demanding not only physically, but within especially.Its the long solitary haul which does it. But a Way of the highest order in my book. If she arrives in Spain in a high season, I wonder how it wll be for her after the emptiness of the north. It depends on the route of course.

Hi Caminando, I agree that what differentiates LK's journey is not just the Way she chose it's the way shes walking it- a long unbroken distance, walking solo at a time of year when she is unlikely to meet others and, perhaps more than anything else, being so open to what 'gifts of the road' (both bitter and sweet) her journey brings.
As to her reintegration with the 'madding crowds' I imagine/hope this will happen incrementally as she gradually walks into Spring and early Summer- a little like a deep sea diver slowly rising to the surface. Though from what I've read and heard SJPP and other such pilgrim 'hubs' can feel a little disorientating for those who've walked from Le Puy, Veselay etc....perhaps some sort of long distance pilgrim 'decompression chambers' would be useful at these places? :lol:
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
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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:
Very few people can afford the time or money to do such long walks.
My friend John-the-pilgrim (who I often refer to on this forum) wanted to walk from Santiago to Rome this year and then fly to Tel Aviv to do the Jesus Trail and a Holy Land Tour.
Although at 77 years-old he has the time, he has had to abandon the idea for this year due to the high costs.
I calculated that the Camino section between Santiago and Arles, at about 30 euro per day for 64 days (1600km at 25km per day), would cost 1920 euro. The ZAR is a weak currency and in our money that is almost R19 000.
I calculated that the Arles to Rome section - about 1200km through France, Switzerland and Italy (where he would have to stay mostly in Gites, hotels or monasteries) would cost about 50 euro per day. 50 days at 50 euro per day = another 2 500 euro or R25 000.
With airfares, trains to get to the starting point and overnight stops in between sections, the final amount was almost R75 000.
Too much for John and too much for the average person.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Vigdis said:
Caminando said:
With the VDP I can see why - it's tough.

So you say in your first post in this tread, Caminando.
I don't know which camino to do next, so I am trying to find out a bit about them all.
Could you tell me what makes the VDP particularly tough? :)

Hi V

AJ's post says it clearly. I found the heat overwhelming: I would start before first light and then have to halt at around 11-12 and hide in the shade. Water wasnt always easy to find, and difficult to carry enough. I ended up knocking on doors to ask for water - and it was freely given. My walk was in July/August.

The long empty stretches arent a problem, and you really feel the space. I'd say the walk was spartan and austere. That's the words that come to mind.

My solution to these issues was to bus north and start again at Salamanca, and that made a real difference.

However I still think that the VDP is a terrific walk, and I would suggest that you do it. It really is special and demanding, but so worthwhile. Don't hesitate, but choose your month wisely as I did not.

If you do it, I'd like to hear of your VDP.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
sillydoll said:
Very few people can afford the time or money to do such long walks.
My friend John-the-pilgrim (who I often refer to on this forum) wanted to walk from Santiago to Rome this year and then fly to Tel Aviv to do the Jesus Trail and a Holy Land Tour.
Although at 77 years-old he has the time, he has had to abandon the idea for this year due to the high costs.
I calculated that the Camino section between Santiago and Arles, at about 30 euro per day for 64 days (1600km at 25km per day), would cost 1920 euro. The ZAR is a weak currency and in our money that is almost R19 000.
I calculated that the Arles to Rome section - about 1200km through France, Switzerland and Italy (where he would have to stay mostly in Gites, hotels or monasteries) would cost about 50 euro per day. 50 days at 50 euro per day = another 2 500 euro or R25 000.
With airfares, trains to get to the starting point and overnight stops in between sections, the final amount was almost R75 000.
Too much for John and too much for the average person.

Yes S, money is an issue here. But you can do it cheaper than 30 euros, I'd say. If you cook for yourself, then 5 would do it. As for accommodation, using a tent saves a lot; LK does that. You can get superlightweight tents. These are the conditions for doing a long walk if you dont have much money.

When I read on this site how people make eating arrangements on the camino, I realise how very many are tied into the idea of restaurant eating all the way. Many are not already walkers; perhaps the camino is their first trail walk, and so are unused to fending for themselves. There is also perhaps a bit of the holiday spend culture. Likewise the surprising (to me) use of hotels, some being described as a bargain at 50-60 euros.

Because of the massive global frauds by banks and politicians, many more of us are becoming much poorer, and will have to find new ways to afford a camino, such as I've described.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
nellpilgrim said:
Caminando said:
I mentioned LKs walk from Trondheim as a possible guide to the future, but disappointingly, no-one picked up on this. Now that, to me, is a Way of real quality. Very demanding not only physically, but within especially.Its the long solitary haul which does it. But a Way of the highest order in my book. If she arrives in Spain in a high season, I wonder how it wll be for her after the emptiness of the north. It depends on the route of course.

Hi Caminando, I agree that what differentiates LK's journey is not just the Way she chose it's the way shes walking it- a long unbroken distance, walking solo at a time of year when she is unlikely to meet others and, perhaps more than anything else, being so open to what 'gifts of the road' (both bitter and sweet) her journey brings.
As to her reintegration with the 'madding crowds' I imagine/hope this will happen incrementally as she gradually walks into Spring and early Summer- a little like a deep sea diver slowly rising to the surface. Though from what I've read and heard SJPP and other such pilgrim 'hubs' can feel a little disorientating for those who've walked from Le Puy, Veselay etc....perhaps some sort of long distance pilgrim 'decompression chambers' would be useful at these places? :lol:

Yes, what she's doing is very thought provoking. I believe she has also walked the VDP, perhaps as a training exercise :shock:
 

esteban9

New Member
I have a particular interest in the VdlP, as I live in Sevilla. The following statements by Caminando struck me - "...the walk was spartan and austere...Don't hesitate, but choose your month wisely as I did not...Because of the massive global frauds by banks and politicians, many more of us are becoming much poorer, and will have to find new ways to afford a camino, such as I've described."

For several months, I have been pondering connections between the conditions aptly described by those statements. I am very concerned about the possibility of financial collapse. I hope that it doesn't happen or if it does, it will not be a collapse but rather another recession. But in either case, as the current recession has painfully taught me, concerns about money and "getting ahead" in the conventional sense should be examined more closely. While we may be getting poorer in a financial sense, we may be enriched by such examination of one's inner life. And I suspect that may mean more pilgrims using the Camino for the opportunity to do such an examination. I posted in the Pilgrim Books topic about a lady who, by her faith-in-action, gave us a tremendous model for examining the difference between material and spiritual riches (Peace Pilgrim - http://www.peacepilgrim.org/htmfiles/sagevideo.htm).

So, unless the bottom completely falls out of the capitalist system and the world begins to look like "Mad Max," I anticipate an increase in traffic on the Camino by pilgrims who are questioning the fundamental assumptions of our current system and, hopefully, looking at alternative ways of living (at least for themselves, but that is where the change must begin).

As for the VdlP. Living here, I can't imagine doing it in the summer. That would entail more physical suffering...but perhaps that will lead to some spiritual insights...I'll leave that to each pilgrim's mindset. In any event, I'm hoping that those undaunted by, or even seeking, a more "spartan and austere" Camino, choose the VdlP. But for those that don't want to add heat-related stress to the physical suffering of walking , choose another season as Caminando has recommended.
 
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A great deal of what humans do is to achieve a "change of state." Materialism entails the expectation that the next object will create a change of state; a 50" TV, for example, will make television more enjoyable. The next golf game on a course one has played hundreds of times will achieve a change of state by including a perfect putt. Sky diving will make me feel truly alive. A Camino walk will alter my spiritualism. It is all about controlling the tape recordings we keep playing back to ourselves.

Sometimes the change of state occurs. Sometimes it does not. Standing back a bit, we can be judgmental on the likelihood that someone else will achieve his change of state, but each of us has his own unrealistic expectation. I like my illusions, and try to allow others theirs.

Maybe I am wrong, and everyone should be doing things MY WAY...
 

esteban9

New Member
falcon269 said:
A great deal of what humans do is to achieve a "change of state." Materialism entails the expectation that the next object will create a change of state; a 50" TV, for example, will make television more enjoyable. The next golf game on a course one has played hundreds of times will achieve a change of state by including a perfect putt. Sky diving will make me feel truly alive. A Camino walk will alter my spiritualism. It is all about controlling the tape recordings we keep playing back to ourselves.

Sometimes the change of state occurs. Sometimes it does not. Standing back a bit, we can be judgmental on the likelihood that someone else will achieve his change of state, but each of us has his own unrealistic expectation. I like my illusions, and try to allow others theirs.

Maybe I am wrong, and everyone should be doing things MY WAY...

Maybe so, Falcon. Or not. We go about collecting new experiences like pretty shells on the shore, always hoping for the perfect one, eventually discarding the old. Is there a perfect one within, of inexhaustible value?

Worth pondering, methinks.
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