Finances for the final Camino month were tough again, train fares from Lourdes in particular, but I made it through -- no more Albergues nor pilgrim menus on top of rent and bills is a huge difference.
Got enough for tomorrow, and Tuesday is payday. Hooray !!
A great help is that there is a local fund to help the elderly and disabled at Christentide, that I had forgotten about, but I went to see someone in the local services to say hello, and there were a nice €40 waiting for me (they lasted long), and a box of chocolates, well-timed indeed as that was on my birthday !!
On the topic though, this fourth stage of my Camino did get more and more difficult after the first three months ; sure, there was a lot of sleeping outdoors in that period of it, so less expenditure, but even so. 5 days of difficulty, 10 days the following month, 15 the month after. And I got through December with a great deal of help from some forum members, whom I am deeply grateful towards, and also a few nights outdoors, and it did help that Castilla y León is not so costly as Galicia.
I'd never attempt a Camino with no money, that's ridiculous, but the truth is that my income that was sufficient in the early Summer of 2022 ceased to be enough over the course of Autumn to Winter 2022-23.
The only two I came across with no money as such were one clinically insane pseudo-pilgrim tramp, living on the Camino ping-pong manner going back and forth between the Albergues that would put him up for free because they feel sorry for him, and he is very disturbed ; and one "True Pilgrim" I met twice, first at Santiago, then weeks later in Mansilla de las Mulas, on his Way from Santiago to Rome with his two dogs and sleeping nearly always outside. Brilliant guy, and definitely a pilgrim, no pseudo- about him.
One German peregrina though looked at me in disgust and disdain, "if you haven't enough money, don't go on the Camino" according to her.
Nonsense, but this is the risk now with grotesque inflation plus the increasingly generalised touristification of the Camino, in a redefinition as a privilege for the rich, and no longer a Catholic Christian Pilgrims' Way, that all are welcome in, rich or poor. This has been the tendency for many years, but a tipping point seems to have been reached.
Of course there's a personal situational element to these comments, a certain bias, as I myself am now less capable of just sleeping outdoors than I was, 30 years after my first Camino, and with complicated dietary needs that are not dirt cheap as things were previously ; and the walking takes longer and longer ; but even so, daily Camino expenditure did increase substantially over the course of 2022.
I certainly do not begrudge those pilgrims wishing for more comforts along the Way, may they be enjoyed !! But a certain equilibrium that had emerged, a positive cohabitation in good will, is in the process of being ruined by the current financial crisis.
I think some sort of solution is inevitable, for the Camino anyway, but I do hope it doesn't get *too* bad in the meantime ... If it becomes for the wealthy alone, the fewer pilgrims there will be, the less custom at each place along the Way, then establishments will be forced into closure from not enough pilgrims. If things get worse.
We walk these Pilgrim Ways in Faith, not in cost/benefit ratio !!