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Coping with change after Sarria - wisdom needed please

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Past OR future Camino
2019, 2022 (Frances from Roncesvalles)
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I'm sorry that I cannot give you any immediate practical advice. All I can offer you is the knowledge that you are not alone in finding the last stages of the Camino Frances a challenge to the spirits for all the reasons you name. Many others have felt the same. In my own case I found that the most aggravating elements faded a little in memory when looking back on all the joyous parts of a completed journey once in Santiago itself. I hope that you find the same in time.
 

andycohn

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
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I've been through all or part of the last section three times now, and I've become more tolerant, as I've realized it's not just my Camino. It's everyone's, even the more rowdy people. The last time through, after joining up at the end of the Norte, I even enjoyed the infectious energy the "newbies" bring. I know it's a shock, but they're entitled to their experience just as much as we are. Shouldn't even be "us" vs. "them." We're all in it together.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
BarbaraW,

Many of us who have walked have been jolted by the hub-bub of "re-entry".
Perhaps tomorrow you might start early to walk alone into Santiago.

Nevertheless memories of your more peaceful moments will remain.

"...But to have been,
This once, completely, even if only once:
To have been at one with the earth, seems beyond undoing."


Rainer Maria Rilke, 9th Duino Elegy,
(translated by Stephen Mitchell).
 
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amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
All I can think of is, maybe arrive in Santiago late in the afternoon, the atmosphere is a lot more bearable, and you will not find so many people!
The Francés has these things...
I personally choose arriving in Santiago after at least 40 km, and as late in the afternoon as possible, like 6 or 7 pm.
 

Terrri

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
May/June 2013
September/October 2016
September/October 2019
Any chance you can take a day or two off and regroup? Make your days really short? Not sure how many kms you have left to walk but make this last part enjoyable and not something you want to hurry up and finish.
I was holed up in a hotel by the large mall in Santiago. While I was waiting to heal I would walk down the couple of streets to where the camino passes by, and was shocked to see the pilgrims who were in such a hurry - maybe because they had less than 2km to get to the cathedral - and maybe they were irritated by the change in dynamics from their earlier stages - most of them barely lifted their gaze or slowed down to see what was around them.
Sit and people watch to see the dynamics and not just what you see while walking. There is a park beside the camino that has a fountain of a head sticking its tongue out - from my perspective it was sticking its tongue out at all the pilgrims who ignored it.
On the bright side I believe if there are large groups (school groups etc.) then your chances of seeing the botafumeiro swing are much better. We saw it swing one night and the next night we toured the cathedral after mass and the smoke and odour were in the air still, indicating it swung again that night.
Our third night we didn't tour but when we went to the plaza expecting a quiet evening of reflection it was full of people and music and stages preparing for a 10km run that started at 10pm that night.
Hopefully you can find what you need and let go of your irritation before arriving.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Having walked the Frances several times and having experienced the increase of pilgrims at Sarria onwards all I can say is that it's nothing to stress over. I mean why would you? It's as they say, nothing but a thing. Sure, sometimes when there's a large group walking all together taking up the path it can be aggravating, but so what. Who am I to say who is more deserving to walk than someone else? I just adjust, take a break and move on, remembering how blessed I am to be there in the first place. There are so many that want to walk the pilgrimage but never will.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
Maybe ask yourself who is spoiling whose Camino atmosphere.

Those noisy celebrants are part of the Camino, and it is part of your challenge. If you want quiet, then you will need to make other arrangements. You can't walk into a throng of happy celebrating people and expect them not to show it.

Just give in to the occasion - deliberately decide to enjoy it in spite of your preferences!

Good luck and Buen Camino!.
 
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Peter462

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2019
Caminho port june 22
Hi Barbara, unfortunately I don't have any great pearls of wisdom to offer, only my own experience of the cf and nearly 3 years to reflect. I can be a bit of a social butterfly and was pleasantly surprised to find that the camino was much more sociable than I expected, even though my initial motivation to walk was for a period of solitude.

I loved the first few weeks but I did get a bit scunnered (scottish for disgruntled 😅) at times from sarnia. I felt I couldn't get much peace and was even starting to resent company at times. On reflection though it was partly due to knowing my camino would end soon and I would have to go back to my own life. My camino bubble was going to burst, or so I thought.

On my last day from O pedrouzo I was in that much of a hurry to finish I got lost for the last 3 or 4 kms and had to walk along the grass verge of a motorway leading into santiago. But then just as I was to cross over the bridge into the city I met a French girl, Esther. She was frozen to the spot as she had a great fear of crossing over big bridges. I asked if I could help and took her hand and walked over the bridge with her. The smile on her face quickly brought me to my senses and reminded me of the journey I had taken.

I've now spent a lot of time thinking over all of my camino experiences, the good and not so good. And although I was regretting at times being so sociable when I felt I couldn't get a minute to myself, I wouldn't change any of it. My life was a bit "colourful" at times before I walked the cf but it taught me so much about life I'll be forever grateful. And one of the biggest lessons I learned was to try and practice acceptance as soon as I feel the old need to try and control situations.

I'm sure you'll look back on your camino and the light and love from your experience will shine brighter than any of the niggles.

Take care,
Peter
 

SkyDancer

Camino dreaming
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2021, Portuguese Central 2022
A couple of things that helped me last year when I walked was every morning I would make a determination to practice patience and then when I came upon rowdy people or large groups I would first say Buen Camino and their excited reaction usually made me smile. I tried to feel their happiness and use it to increase my own.

I’m not sure if that makes sense but I found it really helped me to rejoice in the excitement and happiness of others and this in turn helped to reduce any annoyance or impatience I may have felt at not having the quiet camino that I had grown used to over the first six weeks. ❤️
 

Scarlet Fez

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2016, Portuguese 2017, Del Norde 2018
On my last day from O pedrouzo I was in that much of a hurry to finish I got lost for the last 3 or 4 kms and had to walk along the grass verge of a motorway leading into santiago. But then just as I was to cross over the bridge into the city I met a French girl, Esther. She was frozen to the spot as she had a great fear of crossing over big bridges. I asked if I could help and took her hand and walked over the bridge with her. The smile on her face quickly brought me to my senses and reminded me of the journey I had taken.
Peter, you were meant to get lost and the Camino provided you to help Esther during her moment of need.

As for the original question, yes in 2016 from Sarria I did find it a bit of a circus to Santiago. But whether it was other walkers you recognised from earlier in your experience or you could tell from the state of their kit and appearance they had walked further that you would exchange a knowing nod or smile out of respect.
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
Start early if the crowd is starting later in the morning and/or start later in the day if the crowd is getting an early start.
 
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Roseangel

New Member
Past OR future Camino
September 2018
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Hi Barbara, congratulations on walking your Camino. It is a real shock to the system. After reading about this I tried to get a mind set of everyone is on a journey.
I left quite early in the mornings (very quietly) if a large group I would just pull over for a while. My first reaction was "I've walked from Sjpdp, I'm more worthy"
Buy that was a lesson I knew I needed to work on amongst many more. I did change my outlook along the way & ended up loving the enthusiasm of the new/fresh walkers. However my second Camino I took the train from Sarria to Santiago .
Then after a few days went to Muxia which was very healing and serene.
My SEP Camino Frances I'm looking at training it from Sarria to Ourense and walking from there instead of Sarria.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Good advice. The only thing that we can change is our own reaction.
I'm sure that is true to a certain extent. But it has its limits. If someone slaps me in the face it is not entirely up to me to choose how much pain I will feel. Our perceptions and reactions to the world around us are personal and individual and not wholly under our immediate control. Various factors in my life have contributed to making me a shy and introverted person who does not enjoy contact with large numbers of boisterous people. Although I find great pleasure in walking pilgrimage routes I now very deliberately choose routes and times which offer solitude rather than a forced immersion into the hectic celebrations of others. Unexpectedly finding myself in a 120km long party would be a very stressful experience for me and I cannot simply change my whole personality and "deliberately decide to enjoy it". I strongly sympathise with the OP's situation and find answers which ultimately boil down to "snap out of it" are unhelpful.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
I'm sure that is true to a certain extent. But it has its limits. If someone slaps me in the face it is not entirely up to me to choose how much pain I will feel. Our perceptions and reactions to the world around us are personal and individual and not wholly under our immediate control. Various factors in my life have contributed to making me a shy and introverted person who does not enjoy contact with large numbers of boisterous people. Although I find great pleasure in walking pilgrimage routes I now very deliberately choose routes and times which offer solitude rather than a forced immersion into the hectic celebrations of others. Unexpectedly finding myself in a 120km long party would be a very stressful experience for me and I cannot simply change my whole personality and "deliberately decide to enjoy it". I strongly sympathise with the OP's situation and find answers which ultimately boil down to "snap out of it" are unhelpful.
I suppose then that the OP learned a valuable lesson for any future ancient, popular pilgrimages walked by millions over the centuries. Choose the road less traveled.
As for their present situation really all one can do is carry on. Ultreia. The masses certainly aren't going to adjust for any introverts that come along.
 

Pilgrim9

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP-SdC (2017)
SdC-Muxia-Fisterra-SdC (2017)
Lisboa-SdC (2018)
Ferrol-SdC (2018)
I have been contemplating the busy-ness of the last-100-km-experience and am thinking about choosing a walking route from Sarria into Santiago that is not "officially recognized", i.e. not marked on maps as a Camino route.

My conscience would not object and I cannot see why the compostela-issuing authorities would object either, as long as I get the prescribed two auditable stamp impressions per day; auditable meaning traceable to real businesses or churches, at real locations, that are collected in a geographically-logical sequence.

Edit: Be aware that subsequent commenter(s) have pointed out that deviating from an Officially Recognized Camino Route could create a significant barrier to acquiring a Compostela.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
I have been contemplating the busy-ness of the last-100-km-experience and am thinking about choosing a walking route from Sarria into Santiago that is not "officially recognized", i.e. not marked on maps as a Camino route.

The pilgrim office now insist that the final 100km is walked on an officially recognised Camino route. This rule is stated on the cathedral's own credencial. I discovered this newly introduced rule in 2018 after asking for a Compostela at the end of a pilgrimage from San Andres de Teixido - about 150km from Santiago but not on a recognised route. There have been a number of changes to Compostela rules since my first Camino but I cannot understand the logic which decides that only those who walk authorised routes are pilgrims. I decided that the pilgrim office and I no longer share a common understanding of what pilgrimage means and so I no longer ask for a Compostela at the end of my journeys.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings
Just give in to the occasion - deliberately decide to enjoy it in spite of your preferences!
I cannot simply change my whole personality and "deliberately decide to enjoy it". I strongly sympathise with the OP's situation and find answers which ultimately boil down to "snap out of it" are unhelpful.
I tried to word my advice in a way that was not a cavalier "snap out of it." I do not find this natural, either, but do sometimes find it helpful to consciously attempt a different attitude.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I find it quite a jolt to the senses as well. So next time, I'll turn left at Ponferada, and finish on the Invierno. Ive heard some of the stages can be longer, but I figure I will have built up to it by then.

After walking for weeks in relative quiet, it isn't about being impatient or angry with the throng of people, it is actually so jarring, I feel unsettled, anxious and a bit jumpy. Sort of like waking up and finding you're on another planet. I think made worse by the fact that I walk to Sarria via Samos, which is so tranquil and quiet.
No amount of 'snap out of it' will change that.
I think the older I get the less I am able to exist in crowds. Especially since I've now moved to a small rural village. If I have to wait for 2 cars before crossing the road, it feels like a traffic jam!
I used to live and work in a city.

Now it takes me a while to work my way back to coping with crowds.
After Portomarin, I started quite early in the morning, and it eased a bit for me.

I was quite relaxed in Santiago though, and enjoyed sitting back and watching and cheering other pilgrims walking in.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
But it has its limits
I respectfully disagree.
No, it doesn't.
There is such a thing as boundless love, no matter what people do or say to us.

And ... you're absolutely right:
I strongly sympathise with the OP's situation and find answers which ultimately boil down to "snap out of it" are unhelpful.
I cannot simply change my whole personality and "deliberately decide to enjoy it".
We can't.

But we have a choice which to feed: negative reactivity or positive responsiveness. There may well be anxiety, irritability, jumpiness - but we dont have to make them our home because there are lots of other things happenig too.

So, kindly accepting and holding the painful reactions, while consciously letting in the beauty around us that's happening at the same time. Zooming in on the beautiful, releasing the rest to be in the background.

Compassion for yourself, empathetic happiness for the newbies help too. Three weeks ago this was us. Remember how that felt?
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
@BarbaraW ... I have no wisdom for you, it is now too late. You must be there by now.
Hmm. I will never again walk the camino I walked, from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I actually do not want to. Why should I? I did not know what I was doing, then. I have learned some more. I still have more to learn. Here, where I am.
i hope you walked into Santiago with joy.
 
Past OR future Camino
First one in 1977 by train. Many since then by foot. Next one ASAP.
We have felt the same, and more so as we’ve grown older. We seem to enjoy those quiet moments more. Our answer is to not walk the Frances again. Our next Camino will hopefully be one on a less traveled route.
Sitting and sipping a reparative vino blanco in SdeC, I'm inclined to agree with you, Annie. If there's a next time for me it probably won't be the Frances.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
@BarbaraW I do hope you arrived with joy in your heart and will look back on what an amazing journey you have just made.

For anyone planning their first Camino, reading this......

From Sarria, it's just different.

I've only walked that section three times so far, but I enjoy it just as much as the previous 700 kms.
The Pilgrims on that section might be a bit different and walking the Camino in a different way, but they are Pilgrims. And there are more of them.........than us (longer distance Pilgrims) :)

It's a common issue for Pilgrims on their first Camino.
That 'Transition' at Sarria, and coping with it.

Heck, on my last Camino the Transition started at O Cebreiro with coachloads of school kids!

For what it's worth, I made a video recently on this topic. It might help you. Or not :)

The video merely contains my opinions and how I coped from Sarria. Don't shoot me !

P.S. I'm not sure I'll ever walk that section again though. Like others commenting above, I prefer the route less travelled. And I probably only have a couple more Caminos left in me.....


 
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biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
I have done that stretch a three times. The first time I did not understand the dynamics of the increase in pilgrims from Sarria, the next time it was "off-season" and the third time I swore would be my last. The CP isn't quite as congested on the final 100k but the vibe on the CP is different. One time I took the train from Astorga to Ferrol to walk the CI for a second time thus avoiding the final 100k congestion on the CF after Sarria.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
The Pilgrims on that section might be a bit different and walking the Camino in a different way, but they are Pilgrims.
And there are more of them.........than us (longer distance Pilgrims) :)
I would not disagree. I do not see the issue as being a conflict between "them" and "us". For my own part it is more a case of being overwhelmed by the sheer numbers being encountered. None of the irritations that @BarbaraW mentions are exclusive to those who start in Sarria. But on the meseta with fewer pilgrims they are less frequently met and there is usually space to leave the worst examples behind you. Harder to do that in the very busy final few stages.
 
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Frances (2017), Primitivo (2019)
Yup…just the noise, volume of people and massive infrastructure are jarring to the senses of the distance walker. For me, on my two times through this section, I tried to bring my focus inward and still found things to appreciate. I will say that I gleefully hopped on a train at Baamonde, last time on the del Norte and went to Pontevedra to avoid going into Santiago from the east again. And, I really enjoyed the last three stages of the PC. Also, the Invierno beckons, should I find myself at the crossroads again.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Yup…just the noise, volume of people and massive infrastructure are jarring to the senses of the distance walker. For me, on my two times through this section, I tried to bring my focus inward and still found things to appreciate. I will say that I gleefully hopped on a train at Baamonde, last time on the del Norte and went to Pontevedra to avoid going into Santiago from the east again. And, I really enjoyed the last three stages of the PC. Also, the Invierno beckons, should I find myself at the crossroads again.

Yep, an Invierno finish, to the VdlP for me next time :)
Hopefully next year.
 

Gazelle2

Member
Past OR future Camino
19th May 2014
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Barbara, Savour the moment, it is a wonderful achievement, sit in the square and just enjoy the feeling of finishing it intact. Many aspire to complete the Camino, but many fall by the wayside . I know what it takes and I know what you have been through !!! Well done and if it is a more peaceful joyous walk with stunning views you seek, take on The Le Puy, it is the most beautiful walk I have ever done and I have done a few!!!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
2012, 2013, 2014.
Well done for getting to Sarria. My advice is to filter it out and get on with your walk, coming into Santiago can be an anticlimax because of expectations, it was for me first time but I let it go and enjoyed the experience of reconnecting with camigos I met along the way.
Expectations are the bane of reality.
 

Shalaw

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2015
Portuguese is next!
I find when I’m feeling negative about things, it’s time to reframe my thoughts into positive thoughts. I would use this time to re-enter the non-Camino world, because once you get to Santiago you’re back in the real world again. You can also choose to add the energy and excitement of those around you to your own. The Frances route is the most popular and I was not surprised at the instant change when we got to Sarria. Choose to enjoy, the good, the bad and the ugly!

Buen Camino!
 
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Elaine Rau

New Member
Past OR future Camino
May, 2016, Sarria to Santiago de Compestela
I've been through all or part of the last section three times now, and I've become more tolerant, as I've realized it's not just my Camino. It's everyone's, even the more rowdy people. The last time through, after joining up at the end of the Norte, I even enjoyed the infectious energy the "newbies" bring. I know it's a shock, but they're entitled to their experience just as much as we are. Shouldn't even be "us" vs. "them." We're all in it together.
Disagree with this statement. People are not entitled to spread their ugly graffiti everywhere, or leave their basic manners at home, or startle hikers by not just giving a basic shout out instead of using stupid little bells meant for child bikes.
 

McSherry

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (Part) - 2019
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.

Here is a suggestion that may help you. We were only able to walk from Sarria as that is all of the time we could afford. We were a bit slower than most because of some health issues. We found that there was an early morning rush (school groups, those rushing to secure spaces at albergues, etc.) who would nearly trample us, and once that wave got past, the route was rather deserted. Yes, we still met up with other people on occasion (never large groups), but had plenty of "alone time." This was in June and one year pre-covid so things should have been going rather strong...it was not like we chose an off time or the route was abandoned due to covid, monkey pox, or herds of attack chickens.

So, though it may impact you in other ways (like getting a bed at the other end if you do not have reservations) consider hanging back a bit. Perhaps your anger may abate as do the crowds.
 

WayWalker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2016
Very popular topic! On my 1st Camino from SJPP when we hit Sarria it was us long distance people as opposed to the shiny, energetic new walkers. We decided we are all here for the same reasons. My second Camino on the Portugese didn't even meet up with the Frances going into Santiago so that was different. My Camino del Norte in 2018 had us meeting the CF in Arzua and after the solitude of the Norte had me in utter shock! Decided to pub crawl with the rest, and our Team Norte family into Santiago. It felt like a celebration. I just went with the flow. Easier that way.
 
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Tony Lenton

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Ingles (2018)
Camino Frances ( from Ponferrada 2019)
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I don’t want to sound naive or simplistic but isn’t it simply a case of “ live and let live.” None of us really know the impact we’re having on others and annoying people aren’t confined to those walking from Sarria. Good luck, though. Don’t let others affect your fantastic achievement.
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (2020)
I find it quite a jolt to the senses as well. So next time, I'll turn left at Ponferada, and finish on the Invierno. Ive heard some of the stages can be longer, but I figure I will have built up to it by then.

After walking for weeks in relative quiet, it isn't about being impatient or angry with the throng of people, it is actually so jarring, I feel unsettled, anxious and a bit jumpy. Sort of like waking up and finding you're on another planet. I think made worse by the fact that I walk to Sarria via Samos, which is so tranquil and quiet.
No amount of 'snap out of it' will change that.
I think the older I get the less I am able to exist in crowds. Especially since I've now moved to a small rural village. If I have to wait for 2 cars before crossing the road, it feels like a traffic jam!
I used to live and work in a city.

Now it takes me a while to work my work back to coping with crowds.
After Portomarin, I started quite early in the morning, and it eased a bit for me.

I was quite relaxed in Santiago though, and enjoyed sitting back and watching and cheering other pilgrims walking in.
I don’t want to sound naive or simplistic but isn’t it simply a case of “ live and let live.” None of us really know the impact we’re having on others and annoying people aren’t confined to those walking from Sarria. Good luck, though. Don’t let others affect your fantastic achievement.
I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. A short time ago as I was complaining to a friend about screaming children at a laundromat I was using here in the states, she leaned in and whispered a prayer: “Bless them. Change me.”
My first Camino, Frances, begins on June 10. I expect the most annoying person I will meet will be myself.
Buen Camino
 

Rosalinda

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2015 Sarria to Santiago; 2017 Ourense to Santiago
Can you start off super early or much later so as to avoid most crowds and or groups? We have done the last 100km twice with kids and we always got a late start; 9:15am-9:45am and we hardly saw anyone. Yes we saw a few loud groups playing music or even singing but isn't that better than to have them stay home playing video games or on their phones?
 

PNeer

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019, Portuguese 2022
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I know.... let go, enjoy the celebration. That is also a part of life
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I am on both sides of this conversation. I walked the Frances from SJpdP on my first camino, from Oloron Ste Marie on my second, both times arriving in Santiago through Sarria. I found my walk across the Napoleon route very similar to the final approach into Santiago: many people in a festive mood and wanting to cheer me on. I really wanted them to just shut up and let me enjoy the experience. Learning to travel with extreme extroverts can be a challenge for us introverts, and no doubt vice versa. On my first camino, I made contact with walkers from Sarria and found that they were pilgrims like myself, whose lives had led them to choose, or only have the option for, a shorter walking route. In particular, I remember a couple of American college students walkng together, and a British woman whose pre-school aged twin daughters and responsible job made a longer pilgrimage impossible for her.
I remember my second walk in from Sarria because of the massive influx of festive walkers who made the walk into Santiago challenging. I observed a large number of energetic young women, all wearing red shirts. This was clearly a group travelling together, some arm in arm. Then I remembered the note in the cathedral of Oloron Ste Marie, reminding parishioners to sign up for the parish's group pilgrimage. This was a way to make community for a church group, and I was seeing another such. I observed their energy and fellowship with delight from then on.
But, I have walked three pilgrim routes since then, none through Sarria, and my plans for this fall will again take me into Santiago on another route. I am not saying which, since I don't want all of you on it.
 
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Beaverlaker

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I just finished the coastal Portuguese Camino and it was amazing. However, in a very densely treed and narrow part of the trail a biker came hurling over the hill and almost took me out. I feel the Camino is for all types of travelers but as with everything respect and courtesy goes a long way.
 

Deacon Hutch

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2018)(2019)
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Barbara, maybe that is the Camino’s way of preparing you to go back into the world post Camino. A world that is full of noise, distractions and clamor.
 

makingtrax

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
El norte2010
Portuguese 2014
Primativo 2016
Frances sept 2017!
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Patience and love. Enjoy Santago.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
I have done that stretch a three times. The first time I did not understand the dynamics of the increase in pilgrims from Sarria, the next time it was "off-season" and the third time I swore would be my last. The CP isn't quite as congested on the final 100k but the vibe on the CP is different. One time I took the train from Astorga to Ferrol to walk the CI for a second time thus avoiding the final 100k congestion on the CF after Sarria.
P.S. I'm not sure I'll ever walk that section again though. Like others commenting above, I prefer the route less travelled. And I probably only have a couple more Caminos left in me.....
I keep playing with what caminos I will walk starting in late October this year. I will start on the Aragones. If more of the municipal albergues open up on the Madrid I will walk to Logrono than train to Madrid and walk from Madrid to Sahagun. I will stay on the Camino until Sarria. Last year I walked the Via de la Plata and intended to avoid the CF completely but it was getting close to December and more and more albergues were closed and private hostels were getting expensive for me so I walked to Astorga. It was early the end of November when I got to Sarria and it wasn't too bad at all. I tried to sleep in "non stage" towns the rest of the way. This worked well for me.
This year I will assess when I get to Sarria and if it is more crowded or if the feeling strikes me I will take a train and walk to Santiago from Ourense.
Everyone says we walk our own Camino and many here, and I do not generally disagree that what happens after Sarria is part of the Camino so embrace it. I would rather walk the Camino that I choose. I prefer to limit the actions of others by controlling my own actions and as Robo says I prefer the route less traveled. It brings me the peace and joy I seek.
For others go nuts from Sarria and enjoy.
 
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once you get to Santiago you’re back in the real world again
Ummm...? The camino and the real world are not different places. But maybe you are a different person?

This was in June and one year pre-covid so things should have been going rather strong...it was not like we chose an off time or the route was abandoned due to covid, monkey pox, or herds of attack chickens.

So, though it may impact you in other ways (like getting a bed at the other end if you do not have reservations) consider hanging back a bit. Perhaps your anger may abate as do the crowds.
Very good suggestion. Let the masses go ahead, and then have the way to yourself.

I just went with the flow. Easier that way.
“Bless them. Change me.”
My first Camino, Frances, begins on June 10. I expect the most annoying person I will meet will be myself.
And...amen.
Especially the last part.
The camino after Sarria is what it is, not inherently bad, just its own thing. It's only a problem if we make it so.
 

AllisonDG

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I recently finished and experienced the same. Looking through your photos of earlier stages and staying connected to the friends you made along the way will help you to remain focused on the things that matter most.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
There is a third option.
Find peace and joy in the hubbub.
I grew up in total hubbub. In a one bedroom apartment with 5 people. Parents slept in the living room. In the Bronx in New York. Went to a high school which was in the Guinness Book of World Records at the time for being the largest high school in the world. 7,600 guys broken into 3 sessions from 7:15AM to 7:00PM. Lived in lots of huge cities topped off by the 22 million in Mexico City. I have had enough of the hubbub. Yes there is joy and peace in everything if you allow it. For me, the easier it is to find peace and joy the better. I am still a Bronx kid with alot of what makes the Bronx pulsing through my veins. That is being loud of mouth and brain. Saying what you think and rubbing a whole lot of people the wrong way by just being yourself. We aren't usually very socially or politically correct and have our own definition of wokness. In a nutshell for me being woke is calling out bulls*&t which surrounds us every day. So I would much rather walk the road less traveled and leave the third option to others. Go for it and enjoy it.
At 68 I prefer to take the easy way out.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Yes
(clip.)......But, I have walked three pilgrim routes since then, none through Sarria, and my plans for this fall will again take me into Santiago on another route. I am not saying which, since I don't want all of you on it.

Like @Albertagirl, I have ended about 3 caminos thru Sarria and then avoided it for the next 10 caminos.
Also like Albertagirl....I am cautious about talking about other routes as the increased numbers are annoying to us selfish folks. I don't want you all on it, either. :cool: 🌵
 
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Camino Francais 2017
Camino Norte 2022
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
On my first Camino, my walking companion and I were joined by a woman who had lost her "group" that started in Sarria. Even tho' it was annoying, I came to realize that her anxiety was well-placed as it was all so new. She stayed with us for a day and found her tour that evening. That said, experiencing the Camino is individual when walking basically alone and a group kinda experiences it as a group. Letting go of expectations of peoples' actions can truly support how you want to embrace the last part of your Camino.
Buen Camino.
 

Linda Verburg

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese 2017+2022
Camino Frances 2021
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Start walking very early that way you can avoid the crowds. It helped me 😊
 

geraldkelly

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Vía de la Plata / Camino Sanabrés, Camino del Baztán, Camino Aragonés, Chemin du Puy
I know it's too late for you but I'll say it for the benefit of future pilgrims: don't be in Sarria at the weekend, you'll miss most of the crowds.
 

camino.ninja

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 5 6,16,17,18,19,20
Primiti+Salvador 19
Portug. 17,18,20
Catalan 17
Norte 17
Plata 18
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.

I see the part from Sarria as returning and preparing for ordinary life.

You meet people who have not been calmed by the long walk and who’s minds are still noisy.

That is how people are back home.

Maybe it will upset you the first time you walk there. Maybe even the second and third time. But eventually you will make peace with that as well.

Making peace with yourself is easy, but you have to make peace with the rest of the world as well.

Best
Andy
 
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Pilgrim Patricia

Want to do the VdlP again!
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata; Hospitalera Miraz 2011
Hi Barbara, congratulations on walking your Camino. It is a real shock to the system. After reading about this I tried to get a mind set of everyone is on a journey.
I left quite early in the mornings (very quietly) if a large group I would just pull over for a while. My first reaction was "I've walked from Sjpdp, I'm more worthy"
Buy that was a lesson I knew I needed to work on amongst many more. I did change my outlook along the way & ended up loving the enthusiasm of the new/fresh walkers. However my second Camino I took the train from Sarria to Santiago .
Then after a few days went to Muxia which was very healing and serene.
My SEP Camino Frances I'm looking at training it from Sarria to Ourense and walking from there instead of Sarria.
@Roseangel: Ourense is lovely! I think your plan to walk from there to Santiago is perfect. My walk was a number of years ago, but I can remember choosing the long slog up a very steep hill on the edge of Ourense to get the elevation gain over with in one go. How wonderful it was to get to the top and see the marker "Santiago 99kms"!
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
Yes, I understand your distress.

I have gently asked an exuberant new teenage pilgrim who couldn't help but engage in singing rap songs in the forest, to treat the forest as a Church. He meekly complied, with understanding. We smiled and continued on our separate ways.

Stay humble.

This final lap into Santiago prepares us for re-engaging with the real world. In Santiago, most people understand the pilgrim. Take bets that, at home, most people don't. This is a good reason to spend time in Santiago decompressing and not rushing off to catch a plane, if one has been walking for several weeks.
 

Hilarious

Hilarious
Past OR future Camino
Planning stage Camino Frances from SJPdP (Sept. 2019)
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Barbara - thank you for your post. You have brought back many memories for me of my 2019 Camino. Yes, it was much more populated from Sarria onwards. Sometimes there were very noisy groups, people who dragged their walking poles (no rubber tips on them). We would stop for a cafe con leche, walk a bit faster, walk a bit slower, take photos etc. We also met some of the most inspirational people from Sarria onwards. A Spanish gentleman is in my heart and mind forever, Luis had a severe stroke a number of years prior to his Camino. The Camino was one of the goals of his rehabilitation. He was on crutches and had to drag his feet along - his carer was always alongside. We saw him often and always had a great connection. We spent four days in Santiago and had a great reunion with Luis. I would not be concerned about negative thoughts walking into Santiago - you may experience the whole range of emotions, I very much doubt that negativity will be one of them. Ultreia!
 

NYSE

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
As in life, one must embrace the good times as well as the bad. And some day, when looking back, one realizes those "bad" times were not really that bad.
 

Kelly Ann

Member
Past OR future Camino
N/A
I'm sure that is true to a certain extent. But it has its limits. If someone slaps me in the face it is not entirely up to me to choose how much pain I will feel. Our perceptions and reactions to the world around us are personal and individual and not wholly under our immediate control. Various factors in my life have contributed to making me a shy and introverted person who does not enjoy contact with large numbers of boisterous people. Although I find great pleasure in walking pilgrimage routes I now very deliberately choose routes and times which offer solitude rather than a forced immersion into the hectic celebrations of others. Unexpectedly finding myself in a 120km long party would be a very stressful experience for me and I cannot simply change my whole personality and "deliberately decide to enjoy it". I strongly sympathise with the OP's situation and find answers which ultimately boil down to "snap out of it" are unhelpful.
Exactly and I couldn't agree more! These overused sayings like, "The Camino Will Provide" or "We Can Never Demand" or - it goes on and on - "Us vs. Them" or "Nothing To Stress Over", or "how blessed I am to be there in the first place" and "decide to enjoy it in spite of your preferences!", "The only thing that we can change is our own reaction" - which is completely wrong - etc., come from an arrogance that is a massive turn-off. "Expectations are the bane of reality" - who said anything about their expectations anyhow? - and "I find when I’m feeling negative about things, it’s time to reframe my thoughts into positive thoughts" are more airy-fairy sayings that are overused and, therefore, lost their meaning. It's okay to find something unpleasant and to express it. What's not okay is to pretend that it wasn't unpleasant and feel like you can't express your own truth. We all need to be able to say when we didn't feel happy or right about something as long as we express it respectfully without having to hear or read these incredibly arrogant and insensitive comments that really come from a place of Pride and Arrogance and not from a caring and listening ear. And oh dear, maybe the worst one, "Making peace with yourself is easy, but you have to make peace with the rest of the world as well."-PULEASE.....!
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2013
Camino Frances to Finisterre/Muxia staring Sept. 2015,

Via de la Plata 2019
I have had that same experience Barbara but I humbly had to review my thoughts and feelings when as I was walking amongst a whole bunch of rowdy school kids and I tripped. Oops, how embarrassing yet they all were so concerned and insisted on taking my backpack!!! I was not even hurt. We shared our food and had a blast of a day.
 
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But @Kelly Ann ... Barbara said she didn't want to hold on to these negative feelings and specifically asked forum members to contribute advice to help her find a better state. I'm sure she has taken those pieces of advice that she has found useful.

I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2021
Fisterra 2021
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I feel your pain. We did the CF and then onward to Finisterre last autumn. We had our fellow walkers that we had mostly been with for the last month, but felt 'imposed upon' by all the folks joining after Sarria. It took a day to realize that we had the privilege of walking the whole route from SJPdP and they did not. That gave it a bit of a different perspective because we recalled how excited we were to initially begin the Way. It also gave us pause to think about the few people we met at the beginning who had come from further in France and Germany and England, on whose route we joined when they were already well experienced, and we were the 'newbies'. We experienced a further culture change when we headed out on the route to Finisterre. None of our 'group' continued on so it was a very different feel again. Quieter, and starting from scratch making camino friends.

Sorry for the ramble, but I guess what I am getting at is the camino changes as we go along the route and the changes are part of the Way that we must be ready for. We are not alone, and we can't put the Way into a mold. (even if I do dislike the racing bicycles)

Enjoy the beautiful country, the beautiful people, and whether you believe in God or not let yourself be taught about life and its fluctuations.

Buen Camino!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We also met some of the most inspirational people from Sarria onwards. A Spanish gentleman is in my heart and mind forever, Luis had a severe stroke a number of years prior to his Camino. The Camino was one of the goals of his rehabilitation. He was on crutches and had to drag his feet along - his carer was always alongside.
I think this is a wonderful point that too often gets lost. Sure, there are lots of people, sure, some of them are boisterous, sure, they are only walking 100 km, but if you were to take the time to meet and hear the stories of those people walking from Sarria, you would be humbled. Here are a few

— a Korean son and his father, who hadn’t spoken in 30 years and who met to walk together into Santiago to see if they could bridge the gap

— a mother of an infant, who promised Santiago that if he spared the life of her very ill child at birth, she would walk to Santiago. Her husband and the infant were driving the route, so that the mom could nurse the son, but she walked into Santiago.

— the very loud, large group of Spanish teenagers who arrived in Santiago on a Sunday morning and walked into the pilgrims’ office to get their compostelas, all with t-shirts saying “We love you Juanma.” This was the one year anniversary of Juanma’s death, and they walked, with his parents, in his honor and his memory.

— and our very own Rebekah tells a powerful story about her own camino from Sarria.

I think that rather than try to figure out how best to deal with the awful reality of these Sarria interlopers, maybe reflect on the fact that their reasons for walking may be a whole lot more compelling than ours, and we should just go with the flow and focus on our own Camino.
 

jimmyc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Barbara, you are not alone in how you feel. When I walked from SJPP in 2015 some of the people I met up with, were so disgusted after Sarria, that they gave up the Camino, and went home.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
Barbara, you are not alone in how you feel. When I walked from SJPP in 2015 some of the people I met up with, were so disgusted after Sarria, that they gave up the Camino, and went home.
Wow. Gave up on the Camino? Really? Why? Because they encountered other human beings on an ancient religious pilgrimage path that was walked by millions in medieval times and had in the last twenty years or so had a resurgence, a massive increase in popularity which has since brought millions more to it? :D
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Ourense to Santiago (2019), CF: (2014, 2004, 2002, 2001). On to Fisterra, (2002, 4, 14).
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.

Your first sentence has your answers.

Whatever is true, lovely, honorable, et cetera, think on these things.

Buen camino.
 
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jimmyc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Wow. Gave up on the Camino? Really? Why? Because they encountered other human beings on an ancient religious pilgrimage path that was walked by millions in medieval times and had in the last twenty years or so had a resurgence, a massive increase in popularity which has since brought millions more to it? :D
Your question as to why, you will need ask them.
 
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Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
I understand how hard it is. For many posters they haven't walked in years and particularly not in a holy years post COVID. My 5th time on the Frances and 8th Camino was in October. I thought I was doing my best and staying off stage. Unfortunately, one day I wasn't thinking and hit Portomarin at 8:00. I walked the entire day with 200 hundred people, smoking, playing music on speakers...no matter how I tried, I couldn't escape the crowds. The stops were so crowded that it took forever to use the toilet and get a drink or food. I have hit this section many times, but never like what I experienced. I just wrote the day off and thanked God that I had all the days of solitude earlier. You can be sure that now I not only stay off stage but never walk into a stage town when the groups are leaving.
 

henrythedog

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
X
Whilst the stretch from Sarria to Santiago will pretty much always be busier than the preceding section, the difference is not always quite so dramatic as some describe it - but - in peak season; a holy year; starting at the weekend and (less quantifiable) post-pandemic; it was always going to be a circus.

it was apparent to me in March between Burgos and Leon that the levels of infrastructure were simply not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Try the Frances starting before the end of March or after mid-September for a much less crowded experience.
 
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2019, 2022 (Frances from Roncesvalles)
Thank you for so many helpful and thoughtful replies. Bradypus's almost instant response made me feel much less of the grumpy old lady and I treasure Mspath's beautiful quote from Rilke. Peter 462's story reminded me that the Camino often provides in unexpected ways. The stories about how others had dealt with similar feelings were helpful. I'm sorry if anyone thought that I meant there was anything lesser in walking from Sarria. I do not and had tried to make that my irritation was only about some behaviours.
This is what happened. I left Lavacolla at 6.30, and walked through the woodland glorious with birdsong. There were two others far ahead. It was the most beautiful dawn, with a white crescent moon in the last of the night. At San Marco I stopped to say hello to the sun and my shadow. The desire for breakfast had me thinking about how all those crowds ensure that the facilities we all need are able to survive. Monte de Gonzo provided breakfast and I got chatting to a couple of English cyclists. I let go of my plan to get to the cathedral for 9.30 feeling it was more important to learn about their very different Camino.
Closer to the city I thought about the pilgrims of old who must have felt so exuberant at having survived their journey and reached Santiago. I have not had to ford rivers, fear bandits or risk pestilence.
As I crossed the motorway bridge I was in tears of joy.
The city was quiet and, without having looked at my watch, found it was just 9.25 when I reached the cathedral. They let me in, with my backpack (only 20 litres) . At the end of mass I felt I a touch on my shoulder. It was S whom I'd met a few days previously. We were both thrilled to see each other and went together to get our Compostelas.
I'm a slow walker and had thought everyone I knew would be long gone home, but later bumped into other old friends, one in particular whom I'd spent several evenings with and liked very much.She had just arrived so I showed her the Pilgrim Office routine, and ended the day with a convivial supper.
So, a most joyous day.
I hope this thread helps someone else too.
 
Past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Thank you for so many helpful and thoughtful replies. Bradypus's almost instant response made me feel much less of the grumpy old lady and I treasure Mspath's beautiful quote from Rilke. Peter 462's story reminded me that the Camino often provides in unexpected ways. The stories about how others had dealt with similar feelings were helpful. I'm sorry if anyone thought that I meant there was anything lesser in walking from Sarria. I do not and had tried to make that my irritation was only about some behaviours.
This is what happened. I left Lavacolla at 6.30, and walked through the woodland glorious with birdsong. There were two others far ahead. It was the most beautiful dawn, with a white crescent moon in the last of the night. At San Marco I stopped to say hello to the sun and my shadow. The desire for breakfast had me thinking about how all those crowds ensure that the facilities we all need are able to survive. Monte de Gonzo provided breakfast and I got chatting to a couple of English cyclists. I let go of my plan to get to the cathedral for 9.30 feeling it was more important to learn about their very different Camino.
Closer to the city I thought about the pilgrims of old who must have felt so exuberant at having survived their journey and reached Santiago. I have not had to ford rivers, fear bandits or risk pestilence.
As I crossed the motorway bridge I was in tears of joy.
The city was quiet and, without having looked at my watch, found it was just 9.25 when I reached the cathedral. They let me in, with my backpack (only 20 litres) . At the end of mass I felt I a touch on my shoulder. It was S whom I'd met a few days previously. We were both thrilled to see each other and went together to get our Compostelas.
I'm a slow walker and had thought everyone I knew would be long gone home, but later bumped into other old friends, one in particular whom I'd spent several evenings with and liked very much.She had just arrived so I showed her the Pilgrim Office routine, and ended the day with a convivial supper.
So, a most joyous day.
I hope this thread helps someone else too.
I was hoping that you would tell us something of what happened! So glad to see it was a positive experience. In fact, your post here expresses so well what it actually was for you. Thank you.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Another thing to keep in mind is that many (maybe most?) of those walking the last 100 km, especially the youth groups, are Spanish people walking in their own country, and enjoying their own culture.
So who are the real interlopers?
 
Past OR future Camino
2019, 2022 (Frances from Roncesvalles)
A good point Trecile. It is humbling too that so many people, especially in the villages wish you a heartfelt Bien Camino. They must do it hundreds of times a day. Next time I feel impatient in Spain I shall remember local people's hospitality and patience with pilgrims.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Wow. Gave up on the Camino? Really? Why? Because they encountered other human beings on an ancient religious pilgrimage path that was walked by millions in medieval times and had in the last twenty years or so had a resurgence, a massive increase in popularity which has since brought millions more to it? :D
While I agree with your sentiment, I, too, wanted to give up on walking to Santiago when suddenly many more Camino walkers were sharing my space than before: it happened to me in Saint Jean Pied de Port. I am not the only one with such an experience. And like so many others, I walk in sections over several years, and eventually friends and family persuaded me to continue to Santiago and I did. I walked from the Sarria/Portomarín area to Santiago in late October and barely saw a pilgrim on the trail, let alone two.

Nobody has to walk to Santiago on foot. Not even the last 100 km. Not even the last 5 km in a Holy Year. Other than experiences, all you can 'gain' is a fancy piece of paper that is not linked in any way to indulgences (just to make this clear). Santiago Caminos are not spaces that are owned, organised and supervised by some authority that guarantees a space for silence, meditation, reflection or whatever else we'd prefer to be surrounded by. They have organically grown over the last four decades. They are attractive destinations and are being promoted as such for what they are at present, which also includes their history, their patrimony, their landscapes, their cities, their gastronomy as focal points of attraction, especially the Galician parts and the most well-known part, the Camino Francés in Galicia. At times it attracts a huge number of people. And forum members have chosen to be among that huge number.

Kudos to those who try to handle it instead of complaining about their choice of time to walk and their choice of place to walk.
 

Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
Wow. Gave up on the Camino? Really? Why? Because they encountered other human beings on an ancient religious pilgrimage path that was walked by millions in medieval times and had in the last twenty years or so had a resurgence, a massive increase in popularity which has since brought millions more to it? :D
Perhaps because they encountered so many other human beings. I have walked the Frances, Primitivo, Ingles, Finisterre, Portugues, Via de la Plata, Mozarabe and Sanabres Caminos. Some more than once. I've also walked pilgrim routes in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Japan. All this spread over more than 30 years since my first Camino in Spain. And despite all that experience my immediate intention on reaching Sarria on my most recent Camino Frances walk in 2016 was to pack it in right there and find a train or bus to an airport. Something I have never done during a pilgrimage. The vast numbers and the crass garish commercialisation of the Camino struck me almost like a physical blow. Instead I passed through Sarria without stopping and by evening I was mentally ready to carry on my journey. I finished my walk in Santiago and in retrospect I was glad to have done so. I now have a clearer first hand understanding of what the modern Camino Frances is. That's why I walk elsewhere these days.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
"The only thing that we can change is our own reaction" - which is completely wrong
Maybe it's not your experience. But that doesn't mean it's wrong.
The way after Saria just is. Santiago just is.
We all have different reactions to what we meet there - it's our minds who make it good or awful, not Santiago itself. And minds can be changed. At least mine has. Maybe yours is more fixed.

Sometimes the world offers us something we don't like. Not to paste a false happy face there. And there's nothing wrong with expressing that.

But jumping from a our individual unpleasant experiences to everything and everyone is a leap too far.

To hate this part of the camino (or Santiago) in toto because a few things were a turn-off is is an making the whole barrel rotten because of a few rotten fruit.

And offering the opinion that "the last 100km of the camino is a touristic rip-off" as a universal truth is just plain wrong. Because it's not the whole truth at all, or even close. Yes, it's really busy sometimes, and there's the usual stuff like that. Overwhelm may be one person's experience. But there is much else besides - as many posts here have described.
 
Last edited:

BombayBill

Still Learning
Past OR future Camino
September 2022 Norte Primitivo
I’ve had occasional mixed feelings about some aspects of being there on the Camino but I feel the same way about where I live. I’ve noticed I continue to still live here and my credit card will attest to the fact I keep returning there. September! Ultreia!
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
Perhaps because they encountered so many other human beings. I have walked the Frances, Primitivo, Ingles, Finisterre, Portugues, Via de la Plata, Mozarabe and Sanabres Caminos. Some more than once. I've also walked pilgrim routes in the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Norway and Japan. All this spread over more than 30 years since my first Camino in Spain. And despite all that experience my immediate intention on reaching Sarria on my most recent Camino Frances walk in 2016 was to pack it in right there and find a train or bus to an airport. Something I have never done during a pilgrimage. The vast numbers and the crass garish commercialisation of the Camino struck me almost like a physical blow. Instead I passed through Sarria without stopping and by evening I was mentally ready to carry on my journey. I finished my walk in Santiago and in retrospect I was glad to have done so. I now have a clearer first hand understanding of what the modern Camino Frances is. That's why I walk elsewhere these days.
I understand your reaction to the apparent commercialization to parts of the CF. I had a similar reaction when I started a Camino in Lourdes. Because my first Camino changed my depth of feeling for my "cradle Catholic" religion so fully, I decided to start walking my next one from that most Holy site.

Boy, what a surprise! If I never see another Virgin Mary plastic bottle with a screw off head for Holy water, it will be too soon. Garish with Gregorian Chant playing "softly" from every single tourist trinket trap in town, yikes!

And yet . . .

I was surrounded by believers. People in wheelchairs. People lying on gurneys who couldn't sit in a chair. People who had saved up their one last glimmer of hope to make this journey, and their faithful companions. None probably expected to suddenly be able to walk, to see, to hear, after bathing in the water of Lourdes. But all could have spent their vacation money in other, more comfortable, relaxing, spas and chose to be among the masses there. They came for . . . they probably weren't sure themselves.

I had to change my thinking from why I was there to why they were there and accept them on their own terms. To humbly realize how blessed I was that I would begin my walking journey, one that many of those pilgrims had never, and would never, be able to do. I decided to absorb their faithfulness in spite of the commercialism. Commercialism caused simply by local people making a living - can't blame anyone for that!

It would have been easy to just turn my back on Lourdes and state that all those people had lost sight of what was truly blessed about the place.

But, like walking in Sarria, I had to change my thinking and decide to absorb the expectant energy of those pilgrims who were on a different path than I.

Bradypus, no one can doubt your devotion to walking the Camino(s) for all the right reasons. The Camino works its mojo on each of us in new ways, each time.
 
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Bradypus

Migratory hermit
Past OR future Camino
Too many and too often!
@Kathy F. Thank you for your post. I didn't have your "cradle Catholic" upbringing. I was raised in a small and conservative Presbyterian church in Scotland. Eventually I found myself at home in an Anglican church. Despite that very different background I did find myself visiting Lourdes in odd circumstances.

On what should have been the final day of a walk from my home in Wales to SJPDP I slipped and fell. The result was a prolapsed spinal disc. Fortunately I had generous compassionate care from the owners and fellow pilgrims in Beilari and after a few days I could walk rather unsteadily with a stick. Clearly there was no prospect of finishing my walk. I decided to return to the UK but have a couple of days in Lourdes on the way. I had heard many descriptions of the souvenir stalls and they lived up to their billing :) But I was hugely impressed with the prayerful atmosphere in the Sanctuary itself. Even in the extremely cold bath. I had come prepared in part to be offended and dismissive and instead found myself quite literally immersed in the experience.
 

legless

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances March-April 2022.
Thank you for so many helpful and thoughtful replies. Bradypus's almost instant response made me feel much less of the grumpy old lady and I treasure Mspath's beautiful quote from Rilke. Peter 462's story reminded me that the Camino often provides in unexpected ways. The stories about how others had dealt with similar feelings were helpful. I'm sorry if anyone thought that I meant there was anything lesser in walking from Sarria. I do not and had tried to make that my irritation was only about some behaviours.
This is what happened. I left Lavacolla at 6.30, and walked through the woodland glorious with birdsong. There were two others far ahead. It was the most beautiful dawn, with a white crescent moon in the last of the night. At San Marco I stopped to say hello to the sun and my shadow. The desire for breakfast had me thinking about how all those crowds ensure that the facilities we all need are able to survive. Monte de Gonzo provided breakfast and I got chatting to a couple of English cyclists. I let go of my plan to get to the cathedral for 9.30 feeling it was more important to learn about their very different Camino.
Closer to the city I thought about the pilgrims of old who must have felt so exuberant at having survived their journey and reached Santiago. I have not had to ford rivers, fear bandits or risk pestilence.
As I crossed the motorway bridge I was in tears of joy.
The city was quiet and, without having looked at my watch, found it was just 9.25 when I reached the cathedral. They let me in, with my backpack (only 20 litres) . At the end of mass I felt I a touch on my shoulder. It was S whom I'd met a few days previously. We were both thrilled to see each other and went together to get our Compostelas.
I'm a slow walker and had thought everyone I knew would be long gone home, but later bumped into other old friends, one in particular whom I'd spent several evenings with and liked very much.She had just arrived so I showed her the Pilgrim Office routine, and ended the day with a convivial supper.
So, a most joyous day.
I hope this thread helps someone else too.
Oh I'm so pleased you had a lovely day after your worries.
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances/Portuguese/Ingles/Sanabre/Frances/Fineste
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Just an idea, perhaps you could slow your pace and collect some of the litter left along the path. This could inspire others and make the world a better place.
 
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SheptontoSantiago

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Norte and Primitivo October 2020
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
I felt the same but found being in Santiago a great feeling of comradeship as I saw so many people I had walked with reach their destination across the couple of days I was there. Enjoy the moment, you deserve it.
 
Past OR future Camino
One or more times each year from 2014 - 2022.
Wow! Lots of replies. Here's my 2 cents.

"Get used to different."

If you're not familiar with this phrase or it's source, check out the online series "The Chosen." It is free and you can watch it via an app on your device. Will you like it? I don't know but I can tell you it has had over 400,000,000 views.

You are going to be "back home" soon. If experiencing the Camino has had any deep effect on you, you will soon realize that something is different in your life.
 

Richard A Stead

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
I felt the same but found being in Santiago a great feeling of comradeship as I saw so many people I had walked with reach their destination across the couple of days I was there. Enjoy the moment, you deserve it.
I’ve done it twice. Avoid the feeling of superiority because ( like me ) you’ve walked from SJPdP. All Caminos bring their rewards and to see so many people especially school kids having a good time is what focus on.
 

GeoRivero

New Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP to SDC Aug 2021
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Hi, I have learned that if I choose to stay in the town outside (typically past the stages on our guide books or apps) of the “normal” stages there is some peace in the mornings that I cherish. I get up a little earlier and hit the road, it gives a few of hours of mostly peace. I hear you though, I find myself less at peace around people who at times seem very uncourteous and the general tourism feel of the last 100k.

Hope this helps, Buen Camino.
 

viajerasolitaria

Member since 2013
Past OR future Camino
2019
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Portuguese, Finisterre, Muxia
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
As someone who has walked several Camino routes, I empathize with your views on the last 100km. Perhaps you might consider continuing your journey to Muxia. Mind you, my last Camino was pre-Covid, but even then I still found the walk from Santiago to Muxia to be FAR less crowded, especially once you diverge from the route heading to Finisterre. Muxia is a quaint, lovely seaside village that seems as if time has stood still. Buen Camino!
 

David Hobson

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Norte
As someone who has walked several Camino routes, I empathize with your views on the last 100km. Perhaps you might consider continuing your journey to Muxia. Mind you, my last Camino was pre-Covid, but even then I still found the walk from Santiago to Muxia to be FAR less crowded, especially once you diverge from the route heading to Finisterre. Muxia is a quaint, lovely seaside village that seems as if time has stood still. Buen Camino!
I have just finished. SJpdP to Santiago and have been reasonably pleased with the behaviour of other Perigrinos. But from Sarria the compassion of other perigrinos has been left behind. In Melide three young people (after arriving at 2pm) put the in-room washing machine on at 9:30 and the dryer on from 10:00 until 11:00. I tried to confront the three (other perigrinos turned to the wall) who came to my bed and stared at me.
Why are they on a shared experience?
 

Alx

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Planning Camino Primitivo
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Ohhh. Wait till you reach the Cathedral. Thousands of tourists, many irritated by shaggy stinky pilgrims. Even more, statistically, businesses would prefer them over us, we do not bring enough money to them. 😂 All that is a part of your pilgrimage experience. You've been dealing with terrain, fatigue and weather, now deal with the crowd. It only makes you stronger.
 

freespirit

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - Lourdes v SJPDP - Santiago (June/July 2010) Camino Frances - SJPDP - Santiago (July/August 2015) Camino Frances - SJPDP - Santiago (June/July/August 2017)
I know how very fortunate I am to have the health, time, and money to walk for 4 weeks on the Camino Frances. And recognise that it is as valid to walk from Sarria as from anywhere else. But am finding it increasingly difficult not to become irritated; by large noisy groups, by cyclists swooping by without warning, by litter, by people playing music....
I don't want to walk into Santiago tomorrow morning holding these negative feelings. I know that my body is tired, and I'm missing the easier camaraderie of the earlier days. But would welcome any advice to help me find a better state.
And, BTW, thank you for all the wisdom and advice posted on this forum.
Hi thats what i found while walking my last Camino Frances in 2015, it seems ok nice and pleasant till you get to Sarria, then it seems the madness starts, people playing music acting silly, a few years back i understand they looked into changing the trip from Sarria to make it a further distance perhaps they should again, the pleasure of the true pilgrims walking all the way from SJPDP and further back seems spoilt by a few who just want to party
 

Shalaw

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2015
Portuguese is next!
Exactly and I couldn't agree more! These overused sayings like, "The Camino Will Provide" or "We Can Never Demand" or - it goes on and on - "Us vs. Them" or "Nothing To Stress Over", or "how blessed I am to be there in the first place" and "decide to enjoy it in spite of your preferences!", "The only thing that we can change is our own reaction" - which is completely wrong - etc., come from an arrogance that is a massive turn-off. "Expectations are the bane of reality" - who said anything about their expectations anyhow? - and "I find when I’m feeling negative about things, it’s time to reframe my thoughts into positive thoughts" are more airy-fairy sayings that are overused and, therefore, lost their meaning. It's okay to find something unpleasant and to express it. What's not okay is to pretend that it wasn't unpleasant and feel like you can't express your own truth. We all need to be able to say when we didn't feel happy or right about something as long as we express it respectfully without having to hear or read these incredibly arrogant and insensitive comments that really come from a place of Pride and Arrogance and not from a caring and listening ear. And oh dear, maybe the worst one, "Making peace with yourself is easy, but you have to make peace with the rest of the world as well."-PULEASE.....!
The original poster asked for advice and it’s been given. She can decide if she listens to any of it, or not. No one is trying to convince her it’s been unpleasant, and we have shared what works for us.
 
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