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Camino numbers and compostelas

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Luther

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
April 20, 2016 to May 20, '16 SJPdP to Santiago d C.
How are the pilgrim numbers comparing this year? Still climbing?
 

Luther

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
April 20, 2016 to May 20, '16 SJPdP to Santiago d C.

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
English speaking Pilgrims are advised to avoid any year after about 1987 ;)

The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.

2020 will likely increase the numbers on the route from Sarria by a possibly unbearable volume. Those starting in Trondheim may find that its only the last 100km that are busy
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.
I have been wondering if the 'Camino Frances Effect' will eventually spread out to other less-traveled routes, as repeat walkers get more confident about walking and want to avoid the crowds or just try another route. Certainly this has happened on the Portuges already, the numbers there having climbed steeply in the last several years. My bet (and I'm not a betting person, so it's worth zip ;) ) is that the next surge in numbers will happen on the Ingles. It's short enough to get a Compostela and a good alternative for people turned off by the crowds after Sarria.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
My bet (and I'm not a betting person, so it's worth zip ;) ) is that the next surge in numbers will happen on the Ingles. It's short enough to get a Compostela and a good alternative for people turned off by the crowds after Sarria.
Already happening. There has been a big growth in numbers on the Ingles in recent years. And although accommodation has also increased my impression is that it has not kept pace with demand in peak periods. But the growth on the Ingles is very relative: it is building from a very small base. Still very far removed from the three-ring-circus of the Camino Frances.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Ach. Thats the trouble isn't it. Numbers double on the Ingles; there is one spare bed on the Frances.

And we've all probably been asked that question "Why didn't you walk the proper/real Camino?" or some variant thereof. Google (other search engines are available) Camino and you get the Frances; walk into Waterstones (other book stores may be available) and St John's book is smack there under "Adventure". The phenomenon that is the Camino Frances will hardly notice next years Holy Year. The numbers demanding their Camino will carry on rising and even if most end up watching the 25 July fireworks from somewhere on Monte Gozo at least they'll have had their event.

Hmm. Grumpy Tinker. But to my mind concern about numbers on the Camino is a bit like wondering if Hell will be crowded. If it is your destination what difference does that make ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Ach. Thats the trouble isn't it. Numbers double on the Ingles; there is one spare bed on the Frances.

And we've all probably been asked that question "Why didn't you walk the proper/real Camino?" or some variant thereof. Google (other search engines are available) Camino and you get the Frances; walk into Waterstones (other book stores may be available) and St John's book is smack there under "Adventure". The phenomenon that is the Camino Frances will hardly notice next years Holy Year. The numbers demanding their Camino will carry on rising and even if most end up watching the 25 July fireworks from somewhere on Monte Gozo at least they'll have had their event.

Hmm. Grumpy Tinker. But to my mind concern about numbers on the Camino is a bit like wondering if Hell will be crowded. If it is your destination what difference does that make ;)
Tincatinker, you are an amusing person! I will be starting the Primitivo on 8/26 and originally hoped to walk a quieter path, but am now preparing to strategize distance vs bedrace etc... arrgghh!! However, I know it will be rewarding and that I will meet all sorts of nice people. Perhaps a few too many nice people
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I will be starting the Primitivo on 8/26 and originally hoped to walk a quieter path, but am now preparing to strategize distance vs bedrace etc... arrgghh!!
Not very long ago, the Primativo was a quieter path. (I was surprised to read your comment, realizing I have an outdated idea of which paths are quiet and which ones aren't.)
@Richmond Gardner, have you thought of walking the Invierno? It still is.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Not very long ago, the Primativo was a quieter path. (I was surprised to read your comment, realizing I have an outdated idea of which paths are quiet and which ones aren't.)
@Richmond Gardner, have you thought of walking the Invierno? It still is.
It’s a thought... booked a room in Oviedo on 8/25, but have no commitments otherwise. The Primitivo just appealed to me and I was hoping that with only 6 days left in August (vacation month in Europe) not so many people would be starting a 12-13 day Camino. Plus the temperatures seem to be remaining cooler (which will be welcomed)
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
You will meet other Pilgrims on the Primitivo. You are unlikely to follow them all day. 6 days just about gets you to Grandas de Salime which is not exactly a major transport hub. Where do you need to get to on day 7?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
But, these days everyone is everywhere. So, avoiding crowds is just a lot harder. If I stay away from famous landmarks I hope to miss the tour bus with all the camera wielding tourists snapping selfies...
You have two options: either go to the places where everyone goes for the Peace and Solitude, or go where nobody goes because its too crowded. Actually there is a third option but equally obviously I'm not going to tell you what it is ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
Just meant that vacation month ends on day 6 . Then it is September ( and POOF, it will magically change). I plan to go straight through to Lugo, and then change to the Verde for the last part. I actually allowed a little extra time just in case. Should arrive in Santiago around the 7 th and fly home from Madrid on the 11th.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But, these days everyone is everywhere. So, avoiding crowds is just a lot harder. If I stay away from famous landmarks I hope to miss the tour bus with all the camera wielding tourists snapping selfies...
The Invierno and the Primativo are both off the tour bus ant trail. Fortunately everyone is not everywhere, just yet. The Invierno is definitely quiet. I expected hoardes at Las Medulas, but even there there were only a handful of people.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
I do think is a matter of when you walk and when you start. As hospitaleros in the summer we had some days of only 4 or 5 pilgrims and other days when we were full. At Christmas we were never full.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2017)
I do think is a matter of when you walk and when you start. As hospitaleros in the summer we had some days of only 4 or 5 pilgrims and other days when we were full. At Christmas we were never full.
Well, that is good to hear... really seems to be unknown how full the trail will be. At a minimum, it will be quieter than the CF and a new experience! And I thoroughly enjoyed the April CF.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
English speaking Pilgrims are advised to avoid any year after about 1987 ;)

The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.

2020 will likely increase the numbers on the route from Sarria by a possibly unbearable volume. Those starting in Trondheim may find that its only the last 100km that are busy
Hola Tinca - you are spot on. I think the next Holy Year (2021?) it will be standing room only in May and early June and from mid-Sep through to mid-Nov on the Frances. If you have a line in motor home rentals you could make a killing!!
I have tentative arrangements to walk the Porto in Sep 2020 (from Porto via Coastal Route) might have to think about a tent??🙏:D
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I think the next Holy Year (2021?) it will be standing room only in May and early June and from mid-Sep through to mid-Nov on the Frances.
I think you are being too optimistic! I would say that finding a bed, in 2021, in the CF will be almost impossible between the end of April and the beginning of November.

IMHO 2021 will be a year to try the less popular caminos: Olvidado, La Lana, Mozarabe, etc. (with the small problem that most of them join CF at some point). Eg.: Camino de Levante + Camino Zamorano + Via de la Plata or Olvidado + Invierno ... With these combinations you can avoid, or near avoid, the CF.
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
IMHO, for those seeking a quiet Camino, I would search all the companies providing tour packages, and make a list of the Camino routes on offer. Then I would add to the list, those routes serviced by commercial (non-Correos) mochila transport services.

Then, do your Camino on one of the remaining routes with no tour group or mochila transport interest. Easy peasy... simply avoid those routes being sold to tourigrinos.

Once you eliminate all the routes with commercial support availability, what remains, for the time being, are ‘old school’ Camino routes.

This said, and as many of these routes eventually flow into the Frances or Portuguese routes closer then in to Santiago, you may have do some clever routing to avoid as much of final 100 km on these major “pilgrim arteries” as you can.

For example, come down the Primitivo, cross over to the Norte after Lugo, then take the option that joins the Frances at Lavacolla, instead of the classic Primitivo that joins the Frances at Melida.

Then there is the Camino Invierno option from Ponferrada. It is 260 km of scenic beauty space no the Ribiera Sacra wine region.

Not as much infrastructure yet. But it is doable. A number of us intentionally walked the Invierno in 2018 and 2020 to determine the viability of this route specifically to avoid the Frances. It does the job rather nicely.

Hope this helps.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
English speaking Pilgrims are advised to avoid any year after about 1987 ;)

The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.

2020 will likely increase the numbers on the route from Sarria by a possibly unbearable volume. Those starting in Trondheim may find that its only the last 100km that are busy
How are the pilgrim numbers comparing this year? Still climbing?
I think TincaTinker is right about his prediction. I thought (for me anyway) the CF was too crowded in late September/October 2014. I am walking it this year but starting on October 29th. I think the popularity of different Caminos will be contingent on difficulty and terrain and of course infrastructure. Don't know much about Ingles or Invierno and some others. I walked the Norte last year and I believe many pilgrims will be put off by the many step hills even though it is beautiful. I think even though the Primitivo is gaining popularity there may be a limit to it as it is, from many friends who have walked it, tougher than the Norte. VDLP I believe will never get to crowded as it is long and pretty desolate and has a reputation for people who like to walk in solitude. (can't wait to walk it one day soon). Also as the temperature in the summer months is bordering on the dangerous and many can't walk during other times because of work or other commitments.
There are lots of other less traveled Caminos for people to try, all over Spain and France and other countries. It would take an additional leap of faith to go even further out of their comfort zones to walk a path less traveled with, at least for the foreseeable future less services.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sep/Oct 2015
C Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Sep/Oct 2017
VdlP, Muxia 2018
English speaking Pilgrims are advised to avoid any year after about 1987 ;)

The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.

2020 will likely increase the numbers on the route from Sarria by a possibly unbearable volume. Those starting in Trondheim may find that its only the last 100km that are busy
Its a cycle (excuse the pun!). (Although I walk, always). I think the Camino will go into decline at some point in the future only to revive once more. I think 'numbers' is just one issue. Prices and regulation will also impact. History seems to indicate that the rise and fall in the numbers is cyclical.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The Pilgrim Welcome Office in Santiago de Compostela has told the press that they are expecting to hand out Compostela number 200.000 today (2 August 2019), a new "historic record", as it will happen twelve days earlier in the calendar year than in 2018 and twenty days earlier than in 2017. This indicates that numbers are still rising although they register only those who come to request their Compostela and not those who don't or who are on a shorter camino trip without reaching Santiago.

Tourism numbers are still rising and numbers for something called "slow tourism" and "hiking tourism" which has been steadily gaining in popularity since the 1990s in Spain and elsewhere are also still rising but anyone who reads this forum attentively will know that this has nothing whatsoever to do with the camino numbers since camino peregrinos are neither tourists nor hikers ... ☺
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
for those seeking a quiet Camino, I would search all the companies providing tour packages, and make a list of the Camino routes on offer. Then I would add to the list, those routes serviced by commercial (non-Correos) mochila transport services.

Then, do your Camino on one of the remaining routes with no tour group or mochila transport interest. Easy peasy... simply avoid those routes being sold to tourigrinos.
Brilliant idea, @t2andreo .
And a quick search of tour companies and what is offered turned out to be a bit overwhelming; there is a lot on offer to prospective tourigrinos! Even narrowing it down to luxury tours resulted in more than three-quarter of a million results.
Hmmm. Maybe not so easy?🤔

But off the top of my head, it's probably safe to say that avoiding the Frances and the Portugues in 2021 is a good idea. Perhaps also by then the Ingles or Primitivo. Or go in winter, when the tourists are not out yet.

Edit ~ Looking at a few of the top entries, there are luxury tours taking in the Frances, of course - but also the Norte and the Primitivo. And then there is this one, that has people walking on parts of the Frances, but jumping all over the place (including to Monforte de Lemos on the Invierno, and Lugo on the Primitivo). A completely out of the way camino may be hard to find! (BTW, $9490, anyone? Australian dollars, I assume, but that's still a hefty bill.)
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
luxury tours
I didn't encounter a single person who was on a luxury tour on the Camino Frances. So who is it actually who causes the ever increasing numbers and the hordes? Us who are on our first camino pilgrimage or on the nth repetition? Surely it's not us, no way ...
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Surely it's not us, no way ...
It probably is, sad to say. 😇

I didn't encounter a single person who was on a luxury tour on the Camino Frances.
Maybe you've been 'out of sync' with them? I have more than once, including this year a whole busload of people between Castrojerez and Itero de la Vega. They were very nice, actually. And very clean. Obviously they weren't creating a space crunch in any albergues.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The Pilgrim Welcome Office in Santiago de Compostela has told the press that they are expecting to hand out Compostela number 200.000 today (2 August 2019), a new "historic record", as it will happen twelve days earlier in the calendar year than in 2018 and twenty days earlier than in 2017
And we know who it is: the peregrina number 200.000 of the year 2019 who received her Compostela in Santiago today is from Madrid. She had walked 6 stages from Tui. She had said that she would go to Santiago if she passes the civil service entry examinations for the Spanish police force. And she did. I had a Spanish work colleague who had mentioned something similar about her daughter.

Wherever such promises are situated on the broad scale ranging from deep religiosity to folk religion and tradition or even superstition, this is something that is often overlooked I feel: the memories and the traditions of doing a short pilgrimage of say one to five days are more alive in (predominantly) Catholic areas in Europe than the long distance foot pilgrimage. And these short pilgrimages have also increased in popularity during the past few decades. In fact, the first time I became aware of a pilgrimage in Spain was long before I heard of the revived camino walks. It was a then popular song about un mes de mayo, about the month of May when so many people go on the really massive El Rocio pilgrimage. So I will not be surprised when in particular the shorter Camino walks - as well as the bus trips to Santiago - will hugely increase in the year 2021. Just stay away if that's not your kind of thing and not your kind of tradition.
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
The Invierno and the Primativo are both off the tour bus ant trail. Fortunately everyone is not everywhere, just yet. The Invierno is definitely quiet. I expected hoardes at Las Medulas, but even there there were only a handful of people.
Please do slow down on advertising the Invierno, at least for the next couple of months.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Well, well, well, there is a genuine Galician km-marker in the middle of Brussels in Belgium! It's the real thing, not an imitation.

They know how to promote their assets, these Galicians ... :). In the heart of the European Institutions district, directly in front of one the European Parliament's buildings, there is a brand-new camino mojon cemented into the pavement! The distance on the marker says 1318 km, which is the distance that the crow flies to Santiago. As does the modern traveller. On foot, it would be around 1900 km.

The national and international promotion of the Xacobeo 2021 will be massive, I guess. I don't have a photo, so a press photo from April 2019 with some Galician and/or other Spanish personalities will have to do:
mojon-camino-en-bruselas.jpg
 
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gschmidl

sator arepo tenet opera rotas
Camino(s) past & future
Kumano Kodo (11/2018), Camino Sanabres (4/2019)
Once you eliminate all the routes with commercial support availability, what remains, for the time being, are ‘old school’ Camino routes.
Or just do it off-season. We did the VdlP from Ourense in April/May this year and encountered a grand total of 10 people.
 

Carolyn G

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
May 2019
(Future - CP September 2020)
We just returned from walking the CF. Several hoteleros commented that there’s a disconnect between the number of pilgrims getting Compostelas and the number who actually walk from Sarria and stay along The Way. We saw many huge tour busses letting folks out to get stamps & then return to the bus. I asked about it at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago and was told “everyone has their own Camino” which is true.
 

Mycroft

Member
I have been wondering if the 'Camino Frances Effect' will eventually spread out to other less-traveled routes, as repeat walkers get more confident about walking and want to avoid the crowds or just try another route. Certainly this has happened on the Portuges already, the numbers there having climbed steeply in the last several years. My bet (and I'm not a betting person, so it's worth zip ;) ) is that the next surge in numbers will happen on the Ingles. It's short enough to get a Compostela and a good alternative for people turned off by the crowds after Sarria.
Over the years I have always chosen the routes that are least traveled, such as the Ingles--as you say numbers there will increase. When I was on this routes about 6 years ago in the month of March there were no other pilgrims, and the locals seemed surprised anyone was walking there--some had no idea what I was talking about when I asked if there were albergues for pilgrims. Facilities were sparse. I have not checked to see how things have changed.
I leave in a few weeks to walk the Portugues, a route I have wanted to walk for some years--I decided I'd better get to it now since the numbers of pilgrims there have jumped dramatically.
I am running out of "least-traveled" camino routes!
 

Mycroft

Member
We just returned from walking the CF. Several hoteleros commented that there’s a disconnect between the number of pilgrims getting Compostelas and the number who actually walk from Sarria and stay along The Way. We saw many huge tour busses letting folks out to get stamps & then return to the bus. I asked about it at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago and was told “everyone has their own Camino” which is true.
Interesting observation, Carolyn. Do they no longer ask pilgrims if they walked (the last 100 miles)? Are the office personnel so busy they simply look to see if there are an adequate number of on the credencial? Yes, everyone has her or his own Camino, but it saddens me to think receiving a compostela has become a trinket to some folks, to collect like those little spoons from years back.:confused:
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Frances, 2017 Frances, (2019 ???)
Ach. Thats the trouble isn't it. Numbers double on the Ingles; there is one spare bed on the Frances.

And we've all probably been asked that question "Why didn't you walk the proper/real Camino?" or some variant thereof. Google (other search engines are available) Camino and you get the Frances; walk into Waterstones (other book stores may be available) and St John's book is smack there under "Adventure". The phenomenon that is the Camino Frances will hardly notice next years Holy Year. The numbers demanding their Camino will carry on rising and even if most end up watching the 25 July fireworks from somewhere on Monte Gozo at least they'll have had their event.

Hmm. Grumpy Tinker. But to my mind concern about numbers on the Camino is a bit like wondering if Hell will be crowded. If it is your destination what difference does that make ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
First 2016
Latest Camino Torres 2019
I walked on the Camino Torres in May. I met no pilgrims in the first week, three in the second and the third week on the Portuguese there were hundreds.

The quiet paths are out there just not leading into Santiago any more. The impression I get is that if you can only do the last 100km then Ourense is the place most likely to offer a stress free experience since the VDLP does not seem to have caught on in quite the same way yet.
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
English speaking Pilgrims are advised to avoid any year after about 1987 ;)

The number of Pilgrims, in particular on the Camino Frances, will continue to increase until the number of posts on Social Media that decry the Camino exceed those that extol it. I give the Camino another decade.

2020 will likely increase the numbers on the route from Sarria by a possibly unbearable volume. Those starting in Trondheim may find that its only the last 100km that are busy
Don't do the Frances. It's rather boring anyway
 

Doughnut NZ

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2019)
I didn't encounter a single person who was on a luxury tour on the Camino Frances. So who is it actually who causes the ever increasing numbers and the hordes? Us who are on our first camino pilgrimage or on the nth repetition? Surely it's not us, no way ...
I did come across a group of people who were on a bus tour on the flat part Just before Castrojeriz. Their bus was parked just out of Castrojeriz. They bunched up on the path and almost blocked the way.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
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lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
:eek: Nooooo... I lost my heart to the Via.... she’s everything and more... I know I’ll walk it again one of these days ❤
Maybe one day we will meet on the VDLP and not have known we shared a brief moment here. That would be pretty cool.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
My plan is to walk at least one camino every year for as long as I can... there's a fair chance that could happen 😃
I do too as long as my old body allows me. I will be off on the CF again starting October 29th from SJPP. Want to try a semi-winter camino and love the CF but I would never walk it in season. Way to many Pilgrims and way, way too many touragrinos for my taste. But to each his own. (I have to say that or people will get mad at me :))
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I do too as long as my old body allows me. I will be off on the CF again starting October 29th from SJPP. Want to try a semi-winter camino and love the CF but I would never walk it in season. Way to many Pilgrims and way, way too many touragrinos for my taste. But to each his own. (I have to say that or people will get mad at me :))
haha... well... I might start from Logrono-ish but not until 18 November... it's just a thought at the moment... but it could turn into a plan :D
 

Luther

Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
April 20, 2016 to May 20, '16 SJPdP to Santiago d C.
We just returned from walking the CF. Several hoteleros commented that there’s a disconnect between the number of pilgrims getting Compostelas and the number who actually walk from Sarria and stay along The Way. We saw many huge tour busses letting folks out to get stamps & then return to the bus. I asked about it at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago and was told “everyone has their own Camino” which is true.
That's an interesting one. I didn't see that in 2016, though I saw many tour buses dropping people off with small packs, a staff, and shell. I presumed they were walking into Santiago, but maybe not.
 

Jpollhein

Two Texas Travelers, CF 8-23-19 to ?
Camino(s) past & future
8-23-19 our first one
Wow! Not a lot of Christian encouragement here. Very disappointing. We have finally been able to get the time away for something we have spent years planning for and about a year an a half physically preparing for and to read these posts that denigrate the "sham pilgrims" and the "bus people" and "all the crowds and tourists" just seems many here have lost sight of the purpose of Pilgrimage. We do not get to dictate an "ideal" Camino. God's hand will guide us and I will stop reading these posts because, like most social media, the problems and "bad news" always seem to take front and center in forums like this. Not for us. We will walk as pilgrims, taking each in their own condition and finding our way to Santiago. And we will rejoice and be glad. The Camino will provide. If that is a naive attitude, so be it. Attitude is important and can color our paradigms bright or dark. Buen Camino.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
all the crowds and tourists
They're definitely there, @Jpolhein. And that cartoon is not too much of an exaggeration of what the last day into Santiago can feel like on the Frances. But it's still wonderful. Buen camino!
 

Jpollhein

Two Texas Travelers, CF 8-23-19 to ?
Camino(s) past & future
8-23-19 our first one
They're definitely there, @Jpolhein. And that cartoon is not too much of an exaggeration of what the last day into Santiago can feel like on the Frances. But it's still wonderful. Buen camino!
I am sure they are!, but not as many in late Sept/ early October when we will arrive. Regardless...so what? Jesus said "let the children come." He did not care how many.
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
We will walk as pilgrims, taking each in their own condition and finding our way to Santiago.
Good for you. If you're able to focus on yourself and your Camino, you'll be having a great experience. And it's true: looking at how other people do their Camino (luggage transfers, skipping parts by bus, train or taxi) is OK, just don't judge them. Who knows why they are doing their Camino their way? There's no way of knowing what doing it their way will bring them.

And, having walked a couple of Camino's so far (and hoping to do a couple more) I've found out that there is only one right way of walking a Camino: my way.

And that goes for everyone! So my advice would be: get on the road and find your way.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
We don’t judge, we just have opinions 😇.

Seriously, I regard myself as someone who is pretty relaxed about the busses, the tiny backpacks, the large groups, Jacotrans, the followers of the The Way movie, the people who read HaPe etc etc but it doesn’t mean that I have to pretend that I'm blind or must not be interested in what others report and think. Or that the occasional jokes and every pointed comment have to be suppressed. On a virtual online forum of all things!

I'm sometimes getting wary of lines from the New Testament that are quoted out of context in order to underpin an opinion. I skimmed through the 55 messages in this thread. "like most social media, the problems and 'bad news' always seem to take front and center in forums like this". REALLY? It would be a sad day, in my most humble opinion, if there were only feel good "groupthink" messages on this forum. There's useful and interesting stuff in this thread, for example for people who are not fixed on a particular time of the year or a particular Camino.

There are people who walk sections and like it that way and even prefer it. I'm one of them. Until I reached Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, I never paid attention to where and when I walked. There were next to no other pilgrims around. SJPP was a huge shock to the system for me. I wanted to give up, I just couldn't face so many people on the way, in the bars and cafés, nattering away non-stop everywhere. From then on, I picked the times I would walk more carefully. And I was aware in advance that many might walk at the same time as me. Perhaps that's why I became fairly relaxed about it. I even made a serious effort to improve my Spanish so that I could interact with more of them than just the English/French/Dutch/German speakers. When I walked through Sarria, I actually had the impression that it was fairly empty 🙃. Thank you, forum. 😊
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Regardless...so what? Jesus said "let the children come." He did not care how many.
In the year of my first Camino fewer than 5,000 people received Compostelas. By last year that number had risen to 327,378. Multiplied by more than sixty times. And that does not include the people who walk sections of the Caminos without requesting a Compostela at the end. I wonder if you will welcome the continuing unrestricted growth so readily and uncritically after you have experienced the Caminos for yourself? It is a probably a measure of my own selfishness and lack of charity but I am quite prepared to admit that I do care about the issue. There can be too much of a good thing.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I am quite prepared to admit that I do care about the issue
I think it's a real problem that affects everyone and that we should all be worried. It's not just that there aren't enough albergues, this can be solved. The real problem, IMHO, is that the spirit of the Camino changes when you walk in a row of pilgrims 700 km long and the only thing you see is an endless row of pilgrims.
This modifies the spirit, not only while walking, but also in albergues, when you arrive in Santiago, etc.

This can be partially solved if people move from the CF to other less populated caminos, as is already happening. I really hope that the tendency to take alternative caminos grows rapidly!
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
It's not just that there aren't enough albergues, this can be solved.
It is known that there are bottlenecks on certain camino sections at certain times of the year but "not enough albergues" is not the main problem on the Camino Frances from Sarria onwards for example where there is the highest concentration of camino walkers.

There was a recent article in a Galician newspaper that surprised me. "Son muchos pero somos muchos", said an albergue owner in Sarria. "There are a lot of pilgrims but we offer a lot of beds". Ten years ago (that's as recent as 2009), Sarria had only one public albergue and one private albergue, now there are 43 albergues to which you have to add the beds in hotels, pensions, B+Bs, some of them even considerably off camino but used by camino pilgrims. According to the local camino association, the average occupancy rate in the albergues rarely reaches 70%.

There is change, for many reasons and in different ways, and those who have walked in earlier years can see it very clearly.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
"not enough albergues" is not the main problem on the Camino Frances
Eps!! Sorry that is what I tried to mean! My fault!

My idea was that there are a lot of albergues but, if needed, it is not so difficult to increase its number and/or capacity.
 

Jpollhein

Two Texas Travelers, CF 8-23-19 to ?
Camino(s) past & future
8-23-19 our first one
Good for you. If you're able to focus on yourself and your Camino, you'll be having a great experience. And it's true: looking at how other people do their Camino (luggage transfers, skipping parts by bus, train or taxi) is OK, just don't judge them. Who knows why they are doing their Camino their way? There's no way of knowing what doing it their way will bring them.

And, having walked a couple of Camino's so far (and hoping to do a couple more) I've found out that there is only one right way of walking a Camino: my way.

And that goes for everyone! So my advice would be: get on the road and find your way.
Amen, Andre! Buen Camino!
 

Jpollhein

Two Texas Travelers, CF 8-23-19 to ?
Camino(s) past & future
8-23-19 our first one
In the year of my first Camino fewer than 5,000 people received Compostelas. By last year that number had risen to 327,378. Multiplied by more than sixty times. And that does not include the people who walk sections of the Caminos without requesting a Compostela at the end. I wonder if you will welcome the continuing unrestricted growth so readily and uncritically after you have experienced the Caminos for yourself? It is a probably a measure of my own selfishness and lack of charity but I am quite prepared to admit that I do care about the issue. There can be too much of a good thing.
Okay. So the Camino is becoming commercialized, and that is a bad thing. I get it. So what are you doing about it? Do your criticisms really accomplish anything? I would be glad to have experienced the young Camino and move on to find other ways of Pilgrimage. I am sure there are many that do not have a Compostela, which is just a piece of paper. The Pacific Coast Trail and Adirondack Trail are two we look to in the US. Maybe it was too easy to commercialize the Camino? Regardless, I wish you well and hope you find your next great adventure. Buen Camino!
 

Jpollhein

Two Texas Travelers, CF 8-23-19 to ?
Camino(s) past & future
8-23-19 our first one
We don’t judge, we just have opinions 😇.

Seriously, I regard myself as someone who is pretty relaxed about the busses, the tiny backpacks, the large groups, Jacotrans, the followers of the The Way movie, the people who read HaPe etc etc but it doesn’t mean that I have to pretend that I'm blind or must not be interested in what others report and think. Or that the occasional jokes and every pointed comment have to be suppressed. On a virtual online forum of all things!

I'm sometimes getting wary of lines from the New Testament that are quoted out of context in order to underpin an opinion. I skimmed through the 55 messages in this thread. "like most social media, the problems and 'bad news' always seem to take front and center in forums like this". REALLY? It would be a sad day, in my most humble opinion, if there were only feel good "groupthink" messages on this forum. There's useful and interesting stuff in this thread, for example for people who are not fixed on a particular time of the year or a particular Camino.

There are people who walk sections and like it that way and even prefer it. I'm one of them. Until I reached Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, I never paid attention to where and when I walked. There were next to no other pilgrims around. SJPP was a huge shock to the system for me. I wanted to give up, I just couldn't face so many people on the way, in the bars and cafés, nattering away non-stop everywhere. From then on, I picked the times I would walk more carefully. And I was aware in advance that many might walk at the same time as me. Perhaps that's why I became fairly relaxed about it. I even made a serious effort to improve my Spanish so that I could interact with more of them than just the English/French/Dutch/German speakers. When I walked through Sarria, I actually had the impression that it was fairly empty 🙃. Thank you, forum. 😊
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
The real problem, IMHO, is that the spirit of the Camino changes when you walk in a row of pilgrims 700 km long and the only thing you see is an endless row of pilgrims.
This modifies the spirit, not only while walking, but also in albergues, when you arrive in Santiago, etc.
Exactly. And talking about it, and even saying that one doesn't like it that much and why, isn't criticism as such. It's not negativity as such. It's just that, talking about what one has seen and experienced. Together with many other things.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Don't do the Frances. It's rather boring anyway
It depends on what one is looking for in a Camino. I found it plenty interesting in both 1989 (when numbers were somewhat lower) and 2016. I'm not saying other routes don't have a lot to offer, but to say that the Frances has nothing to offer of interest says more to me about the person making the statement than about the Frances.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
There is change, for many reasons and in different ways, and those who have walked in earlier years can see it very clearly.
I certainly saw the changes in 2016 from my previous camino in 1989. Personally, on the whole, I am not confident that they are changes for the worse. There are definitely things I miss about the rarely trodden camino of 1989. There are definitely things I appreciated about the more populous camino of 2016. Personally, I welcome the company of other pilgrims and like the camaraderie. While there was certainly some of that in 1989 it is much more readily available today. And I don't think more infrastructure to support pilgrims is a bad thing. On the other hand, I have a friend who walked from Paris to SdC in 1989 or 1990 and he feels much as you and Bradypus and prefers to walk the less populous camino paths now, rather than the Frances. To each their own. I look forward to experiencing some of the other routes, which I know will be more like my 30 year old memories. But I also look forward to walking the Frances again.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
My plan is to walk at least one camino every year for as long as I can... there's a fair chance that could happen 😃
I too, have been fortunate to walk at least once every year since my retirement, and God willing, plan to continue.
 

ozpeacenik

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from Sarria (1/10/2019)
Wow! Not a lot of Christian encouragement here. Very disappointing. We have finally been able to get the time away for something we have spent years planning for and about a year an a half physically preparing for and to read these posts that denigrate the "sham pilgrims" and the "bus people" and "all the crowds and tourists" just seems many here have lost sight of the purpose of Pilgrimage. We do not get to dictate an "ideal" Camino. God's hand will guide us and I will stop reading these posts because, like most social media, the problems and "bad news" always seem to take front and center in forums like this. Not for us. We will walk as pilgrims, taking each in their own condition and finding our way to Santiago. And we will rejoice and be glad. The Camino will provide. If that is a naive attitude, so be it. Attitude is important and can color our paradigms bright or dark. Buen Camino.
I had similar thoughts reading this. My wife and I are doing Sarria to Santiago at the start of October and really don't care if people think we are sham pilgrims or not.

Have a great camino.
 

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