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Luggage Transfer Correos

Do albergues refuse the pilgrims who don't carry their packs

2020 Camino Guides

longwayhome

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJpdP to Santiago ( Sept-Oct 2018)
And to me its a no brainer, tis better for me to walk 800km to Santiago with assistance than to curl up and get lost in health related excuses for not ever trying. Whilst I hear the frustration of those who want guaranteed cheaper accommodations and feel that they earn them by walking without support, I am brought to wonder, is the Camino not a victim of its own success? In which case best to go with the flow , remain flexible and adapt to changing tech culture, booking practices or try less populous routes perhaps? While some may still wish to walk without phone or GPS tech, those that use it are walking the walk of their own place in time. And that, to me, is the crunch of the matter. We walk within our allotted place in time, utilising our contemporaneous means to interact with the Camino , yet the Camino endures even as we change and adapt..I believe gourd camelbaks were once the ultimate in new tech!!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
AnnaCamino:

I have walked and carried my pack every step of The Way. That said, I feel no ill will towards others who may have sent their pack ahead or traveled by other means for a day or two. They are doing the Camino their way and should be considered, imo, like any other Peregrino to a bed. Most of the people I saw/met along the way who sent their pack ahead walked with day packs. They were usually much slower than others and could not manage the entire weight and walk.

I do not believe Albergues in the old days prioritized or discriminated between Pilgrims who came on horseback/mule or had a horse/mule drawn cart to carry their belongings versus those who walked. On the other hand, I would not be against prioritization rules as long as they were published or known versus Hospitalero's subjectively making that decision.

Bottom line here is everything I have said is my opinion. You have asked a question to drive a decision between you and your friends. I go back to my original post advice here. This is your Camino and you should do it your way.

Ultreya,
Joe
Great Post! We try and carry as much as we can, but my sister has medical issues, so we send a bag ahead when we can. In off times, Feb. March...we carry more than we normally due. At those times, I carry a BP and pulse-Ox machine . Some supplies I send ahead a week to a larger city and we stay nearby the post office so we can easily obtain and return the bag, reposting it a week ahead. We walk with 30 and 35 liter Osprey bags.


I assume that every person walking is doing their best to make their Camino meaningful. Many people would not be able to walk without these services.
We always stay in private albergues and make reservations and, therefore, we do not experience the resentment of, I am sure, only a very few, who think they should receive priority because they have carried everything. I guess, I am confused as to why someone would be upset with others speeding by with no pack? Do we not all make our own choices? Is anyone forcing anyone else to carry a heavy load? Rejoice with those pilgrims who are happily speeding by with just a little fanny pack and rejoice with us turtles.
 
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Trishagale

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014)
Frances (2017)
I know this thread started many years ago, but I see some posts from last year. I’d just like to talk about my husband, he is 69, has bad lungs from smoking and a knee that is not so great from an injury years ago. He could be sitting around at home but he wanted to join me and my daughter on this Camino.
He genuinely tried carrying his backpack but it was physically too hard carrying it up and down hills, over the stony track. So he decided to get it sent ahead. Every day is a physical and mental challenge, but he does it and I am very proud of him.
I don’t believe he should have to wait to book in, he has put the effort in.
By the way, we have not encountered this problem. All going well!
 

Nana6

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
France ( 2020)
I have read in some blogs that entry to some albergues might be refused if they don't carry their bags and use a "vehicle support service" such as a taxi to bring backsacks. My girlfriends and I are going to do the Camino next spring for a friend's 50th birthday and we are split about how to go -- backpacks or no backpacks -- although we want to stay in the albergues.

I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues. I have some experience backpacking in the Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) and we carried everything we needed for 3 days and managed just fine.

Is there a list of albergues that will or won't accept pilgrims who use vehicle support?

Thanks,

I hope the answer is that we must carry our packs and not be reliant on taxis.;)
You are going to need to carry water and snacks, possibly first aid and maybe a jacket. Sunscreen. Sending you packs ahead, because it is too much to carry is common
A " Vechicle Support System" through a tour company is not usually done with staying in albergues.
Not sure what kind of vehicle support you are referring to
 

JCLima

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
You are going to need to carry water and snacks, possibly first aid and maybe a jacket. Sunscreen. Sending you packs ahead, because it is too much to carry is common
A " Vechicle Support System" through a tour company is not usually done with staying in albergues.
Not sure what kind of vehicle support you are referring to
The post is from 2011.
 

Darby67

Enólogo caminando
Camino(s) past & future
2018 CF Jan-Feb
2019 CF Jan-Mar
@Trishagale, my experience or knowledge is limited to earlier this year sending my wife's bag ahead between Roncesvalles and Logroño. Because it was winter the availability is more limited for the couriers I often called ahead the day before to let the next place know that they would be seeing a pack coming via the courier. I did this just out of courtesy and my own personal anxiety reduction.

I did later in our walk hear of stories where hospiteleros would not accept packs without humans which I thought was interesting as services are used quite a bit.
 

1946caminoman

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 1999, 2008, 2012, 2018
You might find the albergue accepts you, but the inhabitants don't! Sounds like you can carry it just fine, and that would make life much simpler.

Incidentally, I know quite a few people in your age group,(I'm one of them) who would much rather spend their budget on staying somewhere other than the albergues, even if it required carrying their own packs. If you have the money for taxis and bag shuttles you might think about whether that would be better spent on private bathrooms and quiet nights.

Others, of all ages, consider the albergues, the international comeraderie in them, to be the highlight of the trip. If you fall into that group, go for the albergues, but I think you'll mingle much more easily if you are carrying your own pack.
Only an arsehole would judge you for not carrying your pack! If you can afford to send your pack on and want to, do it. It is YOUR camino, so do it as you want to!
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
I stopped reading this thread after the first 25 or 30 posts: it makes me very sad to read how a lot of people think and speak about pilgrims using backpack-transport and walking the camino with a daypack.

I plan on walking the camino using backpack-transport. Without that possibility I never would have been able to doit, mainly because my back wouldn't allow it. But apparently a lot of people think you're not a real pilgrim and it's fair to be sent away at an albergue if you don't carry all your luggage. I plan on walking every step from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, because by skipping parts by taking a bus for me it would not feel like a pelgrimage anymore. Well, for me walking the camino with just a daypack does feel like a real camino

Don't worry, I do not plan on staying at municipal albuergues, because I already read somewhere most of them don't accept backpacks sent ahead and I prefer to make a reservation for the night anyway, so for me it will be private albergues and hostels. But after reading some of the hostile reactions here I would not even feel welcome anymore in a municipal albuergue.

In all other threads of this forum people are talking about walking your own camino, in your own way and for your own reasons. Even if I would not have any physical reason for not wanting to carry all my stuff: I have every right to walk the camino the way I want it. So sad to see people even joking about ''your' camino meaning finding alternative lodging'. And well, I will remember that when I'll have problems mingling with people during my camino, not carrying a heavy backpack will be the reason ☹ For me judging people for walking a camino using backpack-transport seems so far from the spirit of doing a pilgrimage. So if walking the camino my way means it will be a camino without people willing to socialise with me, so be it...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Hi, Annet. Welcome to the forum. You have chosen a lovely camino, and I hope you enjoy every moment, even the hard ones! I noticed something in the last albergue I was in. A couple of pilgrims came from another albergue to leave their backpacks for collection. My guess is that they had been in a municipal albergue and had given the address of one of the private ones in order to be able to use the service. Seems very reasonable to me. You mentioned that you stopped reading this thread... well, yours is the only one I have read. If you can, dump your response to what you read. The thread was begun in 2011. Times change. Expect to be the pilgrim you hope to be, and hope for the same from all the others you will meet. Buen camino.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Don't worry, I do not plan on staying at municipal albuergues, because I already read somewhere most of them don't accept backpacks sent ahead and I prefer to make a reservation for the night anyway, so for me it will be private albergues and hostels. But after reading some of the hostile reactions here I would not even feel welcome anymore in a municipal albuergue.
Hi Annet.
Actually, that's not true at all. Many albergues will allow you in.
Personally, I think MANY of the people saying "a pilgrim isn't a pilgrim if . . . " are first-time walkers.
I remember the first time I walked, and somewhere on this forum I have posted this. I would actually get ANGRY when I'd see people skipping along without being burdened by a heavy pack. It took some real introspection to fix that. These days, when I take my groups for instance, I ALWAYS hire backpack transport. So I'm cured of the dreaded "a pilgrim isn't a pilgrim if . . . " disease, I suppose. My advice is just to walk your own camino, don't be angry at the haters. Haters gonna hate. Hold your head high, smile, put your love glasses on and walk unburdened into Santiago.

Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 6.35.59 PM.png
 

Nana6

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
France ( 2020)
I stopped reading this thread after the first 25 or 30 posts: it makes me very sad to read how a lot of people think and speak about pilgrims using backpack-transport and walking the camino with a daypack.

I plan on walking the camino using backpack-transport. Without that possibility I never would have been able to doit, mainly because my back wouldn't allow it. But apparently a lot of people think you're not a real pilgrim and it's fair to be sent away at an albergue if you don't carry all your luggage. I plan on walking every step from Porto to Santiago de Compostela, because by skipping parts by taking a bus for me it would not feel like a pelgrimage anymore. Well, for me walking the camino with just a daypack does feel like a real camino

Don't worry, I do not plan on staying at municipal albuergues, because I already read somewhere most of them don't accept backpacks sent ahead and I prefer to make a reservation for the night anyway, so for me it will be private albergues and hostels. But after reading some of the hostile reactions here I would not even feel welcome anymore in a municipal albuergue.

In all other threads of this forum people are talking about walking your own camino, in your own way and for your own reasons. Even if I would not have any physical reason for not wanting to carry all my stuff: I have every right to walk the camino the way I want it. So sad to see people even joking about ''your' camino meaning finding alternative lodging'. And well, I will remember that when I'll have problems mingling with people during my camino, not carrying a heavy backpack will be the reason ☹ For me judging people for walking a camino using backpack-transport seems so far from the spirit of doing a pilgrimage. So if walking the camino my way means it will be a camino without people willing to socialise with me, so be it...
Don't be concerned with what people may or may not think. There will be people you will meet that are sending their bags ahead for various reasons.
You will have a wonderful Camino.
You are a real person, with real reasons for walking a real pilgrimage
Therefore, you are a real Pilgrim and you will have a real experience!
I wish you well as you travel your road your way. Buen Camino!
 

Derrybiketours

A journey of 500 miles begins with one step!
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdeP-SANT-FIN (09/2018)
PORTO-SANT (11/2018)
Caminho Da Fe, BR (01/2019)
SJPdeP- SANT (29/09/2019)
The Camino is a metaphor for life, it's not perfect but we're all trying to become better versions of ourselves and some of us need to carry more or less and walk, bike, bus wherever we need to, however we please, to get to wherever we end up. Judge away if it serves you and read with caution if your adverse to Pilgrims who carry the weight on their shoulders. I do it because:

I'm on a pilgrimage and expect there to be a degree of physical discomfort until body adapts, you build core strength and you realise that anything is possible.

After weeks carrying my pack I feel stronger, the pack and it's contents conform to my body shape and I become connected with it, I even name it Terry and develop an attachment in some ways like my trusty Merrell shoes and Tilley hat

When walking with others who are carrying their bags there's a sense of comradeship and it's interesting to observe the different pack sizes and memrobilia and patches that adorn the exterior including the curious object's that hang from it.

Carrying a pack permits the opportunity to dry out clothes attached to the exterior

Carrying a pack can be used as a prop to sit on or rest head against when stopping for rest.

Carrying all your possessions gives you a sense of achievement, independence and self sufficiency.

I save on the cost of paying for the service which means more cafe con leche and pay it forward.

If I meet someone else or get a warm fuzzy feeling about a place I stop at en-route I can park up for the night and be in the moment.

If I'm exhausted or pick up a potential injury en-route I listen to my body and rest up until confident to continue walk.

I don't have to worry about my bag getting lost or damaged in transit.

I walked with others who forward their bags only to find at the end of a long days hike the bag wasn't left off were it was expected creating unnecessary stress, anxiety and labour intensive search around all Albergue, bars, and possible buildings that was left at. Not to mention phonecalls and emails as a result.

Carrying all you need with you means you can adapt your layer's or clothing to changing environments.

Carrying all you need means that if there is occasion that Albergue is overbooked and it's late in the day it's easier to improvise and prepare to sleep under the stars or in alternative shelters.

Carrying all you need means there is opportunity to give away item's to others more in need.

Carrying all you need means that should the opportunity to pickup something along the way there's room in the pack to accommodate for provisions etc.

I'm open to the lesson that you carry or end up carrying what you need not want you want.

I can achieve a state of flow when my body, mind, feet, back, pack, shoes and the trail and connection with nature become one, my basic needs are taken care of and my thoughts can focus on nothing but being in the moment and feeling free.

The only pack I leave behind every morning is the emotional pack I take with me and no one would want to carry that and I couldn't afford to pay for it.

I understand that others do it there way and I respect that but just some alternative reason's why I personally do it my way and when I can't I'll transfer my bag, walk as far as I can, bus or taxi to my Albergue and rest easy wherever I end up in the knowledge I did it my Way 🤠
 
Camino(s) past & future
2000,2001,2004 Camino Frances from St. Jean
2005 Camino Argonese from Oloron to Puente de la Reina, Camino Frances from St. Jean,
2013 Camino Portugese from Porto, Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Camino Finisterre
(2016) Camino Portugese from Braga
Hi Annet,

My first Camino was in 2000 at a time when the only place packs were transported was the stage from Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebrerio. By 2005 packs were being transported only in the last 100 km, from Sarria onwards.

The rules regarding the albergues were instituted not as a way of determining who was a real pilgrim, but more as a means of fairness. If you had your pack transported, it meant that you had access to a vehicle that could take you down the road far easier than a person carrying a pack. It was also why bicyclists were not allowed to check in to an albergue until later in the afternoon after the walkers had arrived. Back then, if an albergue was full, there were no alternative places to stay so those who had easier means of getting to the next albergue checked in later.

Checking the webpage for the Federación Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago I see that the rules haven’t changed. I can think of a number of reasons they may have for not changing the rules that have nothing to do with deciding who is a real or authentic pilgrim. So if you want to stay in a municipal albergue, know that there is a rule that is sometimes enforced denying entrance to those who use a pack transport. Just as there are rules against people who are using taxis or traveling with animals.

Along the Camino you will run into people who will decide you are not a real pilgrim if you don’t carry your pack (or for some other reason they have decided denotes what is a real pilgrim). Please ignore them.

If you choose to walk and have your pack transported and stay in a private albergue, Hostal or Parador, most people won’t think you are not a real pilgrim. There are some in the previous group who will tell you that real pilgrims don’t stay at the Parador, but hopefully you are already ignoring them.

If you choose to have your pack transported and stay in a municipal albergue, there are some who might shun you or question if you are a real pilgrim. Here it isn’t that you choose to use a transport service that is the issue. Instead they are seeing you as cheating since there is a federation rule that gives preference to those who carry packs and in their mind a real pilgrim doesn’t cheat. Unfortunately, since the rule is unevenly applied, there are albergues that accept transport deliveries and they may be wrongly judging someone. They feel the same way about the people who stay out past curfew and bang on the door late at night or who come in drunk and partying.

I agree that you have the right to walk the Camino the way you want it, but there are consequences to your decisions of how to walk. The decision before you seems to be to walk using a transport service or not to walk at all. You seem to not have the option of walking with a pack so it is unfortunate that you may not be able to stay at some municipal albergues. Other albergues may be uncomfortable because people think wrongly that you are cheating even though the albergue allows you to stay there. But you have already decided to stay in private albergues that will let you forward your luggage, so that doesn’t really seem to be a problem.

Reading through your message, it seems that you are mostly concerned with how other people may not view you as an authentic pilgrim. I can assure you that you will meet some of those people along the way, they usually make themselves known right away. On the other hand, you will meet plenty of other wonderful people to socialize with, so you needn’t worry about walking alone.

All of this makes me think of the children’s story the Velveteen Rabbit. There is a nice discussion there of what is real that resonates with me as I think about the whole pilgrim thing.

Steven
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Once again a thread returns to the well-worn "it's my Camino" and "no one has any right to judge". I wonder if I can beg the moderators' indulgence for a personal observation on this business of "judging" and all the little variants and derivatives of the "J" word?

As humans beings we are all meant to be rational and reflective creatures: we are after all even named Homo sapiens. Given the huge diversity of experiences which feed into that personal reflection it would be astonishing if our conclusions on any given topic were ever unanimous. We can and often do disagree very strongly on topics which are important to us. In my own opinion to argue that "no one has a right to judge my actions" is an untenable position: in effect a declaration that I am personally infallible in the sense that my deeds and words are not subject to external scrutiny and are necessarily correct simply because I say so. In what field of human life is that true?

If we accept that others may legitimately reach different conclusions from our own then I feel that we should also accept their right to express them - though always in a polite manner. Disagreement is not necessarily discourtesy. I would suggest that as rational beings we should consider a contradictory position dispassionately and assess the arguments being put forward. Unless we are profoundly arrogant I think that we must always be open to the possibility that our own words and actions have been flawed. There is no obligation to agree with a contrary position but I feel that a rational response to one should be analysis and reflection rather than a knee-jerk defensive anger. If one's words or actions have been considered and justified why should we be unduly troubled by a contradictory position?
 

Gilmore Girl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
Once again a thread returns to the well-worn "it's my Camino" and "no one has any right to judge". I wonder if I can beg the moderators' indulgence for a personal observation on this business of "judging" and all the little variants and derivatives of the "J" word?

As humans beings we are all meant to be rational and reflective creatures: we are after all even named Homo sapiens. Given the huge diversity of experiences which feed into that personal reflection it would be astonishing if our conclusions on any given topic were ever unanimous. We can and often do disagree very strongly on topics which are important to us. In my own opinion to argue that "no one has a right to judge my actions" is an untenable position: in effect a declaration that I am personally infallible in the sense that my deeds and words are not subject to external scrutiny and are necessarily correct simply because I say so. In what field of human life is that true?

If we accept that others may legitimately reach different conclusions from our own then I feel that we should also accept their right to express them - though always in a polite manner. Disagreement is not necessarily discourtesy. I would suggest that as rational beings we should consider a contradictory position dispassionately and assess the arguments being put forward. Unless we are profoundly arrogant I think that we must always be open to the possibility that our own words and actions have been flawed. There is no obligation to agree with a contrary position but I feel that a rational response to one should be analysis and reflection rather than a knee-jerk defensive anger. If one's words or actions have been considered and justified why should we be unduly troubled by a contradictory position?
No knee jerk reaction. I've been following this thread for quite a while and do feel there is a lot of judgmental post which surprised me. I sent my pack on transport quite a bit due to physical problems and it made it possible for me to finish I think I was most disappointed to read that people without packs on their backs might be avoided by some pilgrims as they assumed they wouldn't be their kind of pilgrim. No one knows what suffering a person is carrying - I've walked with and without my pack. It is more convenient to have it with you, but proves nothing about you as a person.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
@Gilmore Girl I intended to make a general point about the nature of debate rather than address one specific issue. You made a decision which appears to me to be well considered and justified to your own satisfaction. Others have taken a contrary position which you understandably find unacceptable. The question I intended to raise is whether or not it is acceptable to deny those others the right even to express that unpalatable contrary opinion. Simply labelling a contrary position as "judgmental" does nothing to address the contested issues and further the discussion.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I totally agree with @Bradypus that it’s perfectly acceptable, indeed to be expected, that we would all have our own opinions on this topic. There is a huge difference between having an opinion and being judgmental, IMO. I have given my opinion on the “carry pack” issue to hundreds of people, both in person and in writing.

My own opinion is that the Camino is a perfect opportunity for those of us who are used to always taking the convenient, “less efffort” alternative to see about challenging ourselves physically. Why? Not because I think it will make me or you a better person, but just because it’s a challenge that we don’t often undertake in our normal car dependent “park as close to the store as possible” lives. And I am one of those who thinks that humankind needs to rise to challenges in order to survive. And I also see the toll that all of this convenience and effortless living has taken on our physical, and probably mental, health and fitness.

People who say they can’t carry their packs because of their back problems frequently are misinformed about the impact of a pack on back problems. In fact, good packs put absolutely no pressure on the back or its muscles. So for those with the normal lower back pain problem, it’s just not accurate to say “I have back pain so I have to have my pack carried.” That doesn’t mean I think you are a bad person or a flawed peregrino if you want to have your pack carried, just that I think you may have missed an opportunity to challenge yourself and see how free-ing it is to walk without being tied to a destination.
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
Judge away if it serves you and read with caution if your adverse to Pilgrims who carry the weight on their shoulders.
You really did not get my point at all. I don't judge people walking with their packs.
My point is that people carrying their packs judge people that do not carry theirs, because that is what's happening in this thread!

So you don't have to defend your reasons for choosing to carry your backpack. I respect everyone's choice to either carry it or not. You have your reasons to carry it and that's completely fine, I never adversed to pilgrims who do carry it.

I do see some advantages in carrying, but then again, that's not my point. Some people choose not to carry it, for no mather what reasons. I am one of those people. And sadly there are people who feel the need to judge that. So I don't see why you are turning it around in suggesting I would be the one judging people for the choice they make.
 
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Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
If you had your pack transported, it meant that you had access to a vehicle that could take you down the road far easier than a person carrying a pack. It was also why bicyclists were not allowed to check in to an albergue until later in the afternoon after the walkers had arrived. Back then, if an albergue was full, there were no alternative places to stay so those who had easier means of getting to the next albergue checked in later.

You seem to not have the option of walking with a pack so it is unfortunate that you may not be able to stay at some municipal albergues. Other albergues may be uncomfortable because people think wrongly that you are cheating even though the albergue allows you to stay there. But you have already decided to stay in private albergues that will let you forward your luggage, so that doesn’t really seem to be a problem.
Thanks for your reply.

From what I have read you don't have access to the vehicle yourself when you use transport-services. They just pick up your backpack at the place you stay and drop it of at the next place. People using it will still walk the whole camino. They don't get in the vehicle themselves. (I am not talking about people skipping parts of the camino by taking a bus or car themselves.) Nobody knows what someone else is capable of. Maybe person 1 walking the camino without their pack has a much more difficult camino than person 2 who does carry a bag. You just can't tell. I can understand a bit about the bicyclists, 5 km on bike is not as much as 5 km on foot, but with or without their backpack walking 5 km further can be just as difficult, depending on the person himself. He doesn't have an easier means to get to the next albergue, he would still have to walk there.

Indeed I don't mind staying at a private albergue or hostel. I'm just resenting the idea that people will be avoiding me and calling me a cheater just for walking the camino without a heavy backpack. But then again, I would not even like to socialise with people feeling that way about me, so I know following your advise is definitely the best I can do: ignore them.
 

Gilmore Girl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2017
@Gilmore Girl I intended to make a general point about the nature of debate rather than address one specific issue. You made a decision which appears to me to be well considered and justified to your own satisfaction. Others have taken a contrary position which you understandably find unacceptable. The question I intended to raise is whether or not it is acceptable to deny those others the right even to express that unpalatable contrary opinion. Simply labelling a contrary position as "judgmental" does nothing to address the contested issues and further the discussion.
No, I don’t think their right to express their opinion should be denied.
 

Annet2020

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portugues 2020
My own opinion is that the Camino is a perfect opportunity for those of us who are used to always taking the convenient, “less efffort” alternative to see about challenging ourselves physically. Why? Not because I think it will make me or you a better person, but just because it’s a challenge that we don’t often undertake in our normal car dependent “park as close to the store as possible” lives. And I am one of those who thinks that humankind needs rise to challenges in order to survive. And I also see the toll that all of this convenience and effortless living has taken on our physical, and probably mental, health and fitness.

People who say they can’t carry their packs because of their back problems frequently are misinformed about the impact of a pack on back problems. In fact, good packs put absolutely no pressure on the back or its muscles. So for those with the normal lower back pain problem, it’s just not accurate to say “I have back pain so I have to have my pack carried.” That doesn’t mean I think you are a bad person or a flawed peregrino if you want to have your pack carried, just that I think you may have missed an opportunity to challenge yourself and see how free-ing it is to walk without being tied to a destination.
For some people walking a camino is a challenge in itself. I don't need to do it carrying all my stuff for it to be a challenge. But I did not mean to start a discussion on whether to carry a backpack or not. I have my reasons to choose walking with a daypack and I don't really feel like defending all my reasons for it.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
I have read in some blogs that entry to some albergues might be refused if they don't carry their bags and use a "vehicle support service" such as a taxi to bring backsacks. My girlfriends and I are going to do the Camino next spring for a friend's 50th birthday and we are split about how to go -- backpacks or no backpacks -- although we want to stay in the albergues.

I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues. I have some experience backpacking in the Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) and we carried everything we needed for 3 days and managed just fine.

Is there a list of albergues that will or won't accept pilgrims who use vehicle support?

Thanks,

I hope the answer is that we must carry our packs and not be reliant on taxis.;)
I am not a pilgrim yet as my planned Camino is also spring 2020. Planning this pilgrimage has been such a source of joy and excitement. As a new member who reads posts on this forum everyday, and with little experience like yourself and friends I would respond to your question and say: do your caminos any way you want to. Have a plan B in case albergues choose to refuse non backpackers with a good list of alternate nearby albergues as well as phone numbers handy just in case you do need transportation for whatever reason. Be prepared for nothing, anything or everything to go wrong. Live your Camino and let go of all the other stuff. It does not matter. Your journey is what matters. Buen Camino and safe journey ❤
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
(2020) Camino Frances
I am not a pilgrim yet as my planned Camino is also spring 2020. Planning this pilgrimage has been such a source of joy and excitement. As a new member who reads posts on this forum everyday, and with little experience like yourself and friends I would respond to your question and say: do your caminos any way you want to. Have a plan B in case albergues choose to refuse non backpackers with a good list of alternate nearby albergues as well as phone numbers handy just in case you do need transportation for whatever reason. Be prepared for nothing, anything or everything to go wrong. Live your Camino and let go of all the other stuff. It does not matter. Your journey is what matters. Buen Camino and safe journey ❤
Omg Lmao 🤣 I commented on a thread that is 8 years old. Too funny. My thoughts on the subject matter are current however I should make a point of checking the dates of the posts. Note to self made 😀
 

Doogman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
?
I am not sure why anyone else would care whether or not I carry my pack, and I certainly don’t care whether anyone else carries theirs or not. There are some very good reasons to carry and some very good reasons not to carry.

I am even conflicted. Sometimes I carry my pack (which I will be doing on the Primitivo in about ten days time), and sometimes I even (horror!) book a self-guided tour that arranges accommation and pack carrying (as I did last year when on the Via Francigena). I just don’t understand why anyone else would care. I am the same person.
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018; September 2018; May 2019; Sept (2019)
I was never of a mind NOT to talk to someone on the camino on the basis of whether or not they carried their big pack.That said, I didn't think I had much in common with those who had their pack sent ahead.

I certainly wouldn't have sought them out of an evening, which is rather ironic, given that I am about to embark on the second Camino Salvado, where everyone's big packs will be sent ahead.



Regards
The Camino is not necessarily about carrying your pack. At 71 years of age, 110 lbs and 6'6" I cannot carry my pack. I have never been ignored by anyone because I sent my bag ahead. In fact, I have made more friends than I can count. We all do the Camino in different ways depending on our own abilities. We are not there to judge others. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2000,2001,2004 Camino Frances from St. Jean
2005 Camino Argonese from Oloron to Puente de la Reina, Camino Frances from St. Jean,
2013 Camino Portugese from Porto, Camino Ingles from Ferrol, Camino Finisterre
(2016) Camino Portugese from Braga
I'm just resenting the idea that people will be avoiding me and calling me a cheater just for walking the camino without a heavy backpack.
Annet,

Apparently I was not clear in my post.

Historically, the rule on individuals having priority over those transporting their packs dates to a time when only transportation of packs was done with a vehicle support that the walker had access to use. It was set up before today’s delivery service models existed. At that time, there was no judgment on being a pilgrim or not, just who would have a more difficult time getting to the next available bed. Times have changed, but the rule hasn’t been updated.

The rule is still part of the Spanish federations website, though it is applied randomly. In the peak periods when the albergues are sure to turn people away at the end of the day, it is more heavily enforced. In the winter, when the albergue will not be full, it probably will not be enforced. I can think a number of reasons for not changing the rule that have no judgment about whether a person is a true pilgrim or not. I just accept that they have the right to establish the rules they want. I don’t get bothered by whether I think the rules are fair since it’s hard to say what is fair. Accept that the rule is an imperfect means of allotting a limited number of beds and not a judgment on you.

Your point is valid that it may well be physically easier for a person carrying a pack to get to the next albergue. I totally agree with you. In the past I have done 50+ km in a day carrying a pack so I know have have more ability to get to the next albergue than some people not carrying a pack for whatever reason. These doesn’t make me a better pilgrim, just more able bodied. This does not take into account those people who are physically able to carry a basic pack, but who travel with a full wardrobe, hair driers, curling irons and such. (Yes, I’ve seen these pilgrims). So there is a whole range of physical ability and as you acknowledge, it is hard to tell who is has a better physical ability to handle getting on to the next albergue. Yes, basing the decision on who carries a pack and who uses a transport service is arbitrary and probably unfair to some.

One of the other complaints I hear is that if you can afford the money for a transport service, you can afford to pay more for a private albergue. Looked at from the other side though, if you have to pay for a transport service because you physically can’t carry a pack, you are already at a financial disadvantage over the able bodied person saving money by carrying their pack. They could use the money they saved and use that to upgrade to a private albergue and you’d both be spending equal. But once again, it’s hard to tell who can afford to pay more.

Even more foolhardy would be trying to determine who reason for traveling to Santiago is the most valid. Given that the municipals are government run, at least from an American perspective where we value a separation of government and religion, it wouldn’t work trying to figure out who was more spiritual or religious.

What I set out to explain in my previous post is that there are three different reactions to people who use a transport service. The first group are the people who insist you have to carry your pack to be a pilgrim. The second group, those who don’t care what you do with your luggage.

The third group, is the difficult one. They don’t care whether or not you carry a pack as long as you stay out of a municipal albergue, but they believe it is cheating if you use a luggage service and take a bed in a municipal albergue against the rules. This is complicated because there are albergues that accept transport service deliveries so you are not breaking any rules. Hopefully, the albergue is clear about the policy. In some cases it is fuzzy, they may not accept transport service deliveries because they don’t want to bother with with them, but they don’t care if you use one. It’s easy enough to ask what the policy is. The final group of albergues don’t want you if you used a transport service, but sadly for everyone, there are those who send their pack to a bar and then proceed to the albergue. Sometimes they get in, but sometimes they are called out for cheating the system. This leads to some pilgrims thinking anyone who uses an albergue and a transport is cheating when that may be incorrect.

So my advice which you seem to have taken to heart is to ignore the people from the first group who you will not be able to please. Rejoice and enjoy the company of the vast majority of people in the second group, they are generally more fun to be around anyway. As for the third group, if you are staying in private albergues as you plan, they won’t be a problem. If along the way, you decide you want the experience of staying in a municipal albergue, find one that accepts deliveries.

As a final note, in your earlier message you talked a bit about how important it is to you to walk every step of the way for it to be a real pilgrimage for you. Please be mindful of those who are physically limited and not able to walk every step of the way. Some of the so-called dreaded bus touregrinos are more surely pilgrims on their way to the apostles tomb than some who carry huge packs and walk every step over long distances. Yes, they might cause a clog in the trail as they limp across that Roman bridge, but that only makes me more mindful of how blessed I am to be able to walk every step.

Steven
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
As a final note, in your earlier message you talked a bit about how important it is to you to walk every step of the way for it to be a real pilgrimage for you. Please be mindful of those who are physically limited and not able to walk every step of the way. Some of the so-called dreaded bus touregrinos are more surely pilgrims on their way to the apostles tomb than some who carry huge packs and walk every step over long distances. Yes, they might cause a clog in the trail as they limp across that Roman bridge, but that only makes me more mindful of how blessed I am to be able to walk every step.
I am something of a pedestrian fundamentalist myself. For me it is important to walk every step of the way from my starting point to my destination and to carry my pack. But I am not self-centred enough to believe that my own choices should apply to everyone else. I think there is a very distasteful competitive edge to a lot of Camino discussion these days. My first Camino predated both luggage transport services and the 100km rule - both of which seem to provide an excellent excuse for bragging and a very unpleasant oneupmanship from the more physically able or time-rich. I would LOVE to see the cathedral abolishing the 100km rule and returning to the earlier situation when pilgrims were asked to explain their motivations for undertaking the pilgrimage and give some account of their own experience on the way before being given their Compostela. An inquisition which had much more to do with interior questions and very little to do with physical abilities or achievements.
 
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Nana6

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
France ( 2020)
I am something of a pedestrian fundamentalist myself. For me it is important to walk every step of the way from my starting point to my destination and to carry my pack. But I am not self-centred enough to believe that my own choices should apply to everyone else. I think there is a very distasteful competitive edge to a lot of Camino discussion these days. My first Camino predated both luggage transport services and the 100km rule - both of which seem to provide an excellent excuse for bragging and a very unpleasant oneupmanship from the more physically able or time-rich. I would LOVE to see the cathedral abolishing the 100km rule and returning to the earlier situation when pilgrims were asked to explain their motivations for undertaking the pilgrimage and give some account of their own experience on the way before being given their credencial. An inquisition which had much more to do with interior questions and very little to do with physical abilities or achievements.
I understand your point of view.
However, what would you see as a solution of Pilgrims who have a sincere desire to do the Pilgrimage but are not able bodied enough to do so without some kind of assistance?
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I understand your point of view.
However, what would you see as a solution of Pilgrims who have a sincere desire to do the Pilgrimage but are not able bodied enough to do so without some kind of assistance?
I think you may have misunderstood my post. I choose to carry my pack all the way because I know that I can very easily and it gives me a freedom to change my plans at will. Using luggage transport means that you commit yourself to walking a certain distance and that limits your options for that day. I am fortunate enough to be in reasonable health and fitness and so do not need that assistance to walk a Camino. A fact for which I am very grateful. If you need such assistance to walk a Camino then by all means use it with whatever blessing I can give you.
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2005, 2007; Madrid/Frances 2011; 1/2 VdP 2012; Portugese Litoral2019; Finisterre/Muxia2019;
Wouldn’t the solution be to stay in private albergues? You want to stay in municipals but if you transport your pack you can’t; however it is still possible to walk your 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)
My point is that people carrying their packs judge people that do not carry theirs, because that is what's happening in this thread!
I'm sorry @Annet2020, but I fail to see where the judging is happening. Different viewpoints, yes certainly - but no-one currently here is being judgemental. People are expressing and describing their experience, that's all.
a rational response to one should be analysis and reflection rather than a knee-jerk defensive anger. If one's words or actions have been considered and justified why should we be unduly troubled by a contradictory position?
I totally agree with @Bradypus that it’s perfectly acceptable, indeed to be expected, that we would all have our own opinions on this topic. There is a huge difference between having an opinion and being judgmental, IMO.
You have no need to defend, explain, or rationalize yourself to anyone - the camino is there for all of us, no matter how able-bodied. Plenty of people transport their packs and it's no big deal. But if you're unconsciously the one comparing yourself unfavorably to people who carry their packs, then anything we say when received from that place of insecurity will feel like judgement - regardless of whether it's there or not.
 
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C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I will remember that when I'll have problems mingling with people during my camino, not carrying a heavy backpack will be the reason
That would most likely be wrong. There would probably be other other reasons, if that were to happen.
I'm just resenting the idea that people will be avoiding me and calling me a cheater
I have never seen such nasty behaviour. However, there are all types of people on the Camino, so I suppose you could encounter 1 or 2 unpleasant people. But to go with that resentment and expectation would be a very unfortunate approach to your Camino.
Accept that the rule is an imperfect means of allotting a limited number of beds and not a judgment on you.
Exactly.
 

blamoca

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
My gosh ..it's 2019...few if any of us are walking the camino as they did hundreds or thousands of years ago. Carrying your pack has nothing to do with being a pilgrim...sending your pack has nothing to do with money. What about the fancy hiking poles and boots that make our walk easier...the tech clothing that makes us more comfortable, the sun glasses ..the meds, creams..aids...that alleviate our discomfort and pain... the maps we're able to follow on our expensive phones, the photos we're taking and calls, emails, texts we send and receive from those about whom we care most in the world, and if St. James will accept each and all of us in Santiago..then why the judgement about how we each get there and why impose these rules or criteria? shouldn't we just embrace and rejoice that we are surrounded by fellow pilgrims who have made it work in such a way that for them..it enabled them to be there, to do a Camino, to be able to be on the same trail as you to wish you buen camino as you pass, to say grace with you at a communal meal, to share a drink with you...have a conversation with you, to translate for you or help you find your way ....and to congratulate you when you arrive in Santiago ..this should be a non issue in 2019.
 

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 think it is a non-issue for most of us repeat pilgrims. There are a lot of misconceptions and anxieties by newcomers.
You just spoke my thought, @C clearly .
It isn't an issue. Really.

If you walk the camino looking for problems, you will surely find them. And if you look for commonality and connection that will be what you find.
Your choice.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
@danielle aird quoted a post of mine from 2011 a little earlier, and it made me wonder whether my views on this had changed in the intervening time, and why.

While I still hold to the view I expressed then that I wouldn't shun someone because they had not carried their own pack, I think that there are other dimensions to this topic.

The first is that it is clear to me that this has long been an accepted practice, and I say this because my first credential which I got in 2010 contains, in French, this: 'Walking pilgrims have priority over those on bicycles. Those performing their pilgrimage with the support of a car must seek separate accommodations from the Pilgrims' Shelters.' There is a somewhat similar clause in the English translation of the credencial from the cathedral in SDC, 'Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels.'

Further, the cathedral requirement for the compostela is, amongst other things, to 'Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle.' There is no mention of carrying a pack anywhere that I can find on the Pilgrim Office website. That might be the traditional way, but that is a personal choice we make. And because there is no requirement to walk with a pack, there isn't going to be any requirement to explain why one might have done that or not. It is completely irrelevant, even when forum members feel that their reasons for making this choice need to be considered in some way.

But the rise of pack taxi services and the move into this marketplace by the Correos has created the circumstances where one doesn't need to be in a larger (physical) group in order to arrange for the support of a car. One can almost seamlessly become part of a large virtual group by virtue of the pack taxi services. So my question is 'Should one analyse this membership of a large virtual group in the same manner as if one were in a somewhat smaller group who arranged a support vehicle?' And right now, I cannot see any reason not to do that.

So what? By obtaining a credential, and by extension agreeing to the terms in it, it would be reasonable to expect that someone who is using a pack taxi would also not seek to use pilgrim shelters/hostels, or at least not those that operate to support pilgrims in the traditional style (on foot, by bicycle or on horseback) carrying their pack. But even the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations allows some leeway on this matter, and appears to only seek to apply this restriction during the summer months.

Which gives rise to this - at some stage, a hospitalero will have to make a judgement about whether or not someone whose pack arrives by taxi will be allowed to stay. And while the reasons for not carrying a pack are not of interest to the Pilgrim Office, and perhaps should only be a matter of interest to fellow pilgrims as a topic of polite conversation and nothing more, they might very quickly have great significance if it is going to make the difference between staying somewhere or having to move on to find other accommodation.

As for the mantra 'its my Camino'? It is indeed, and of course each of us walk it in our own way. But clearly it isn't going to stop someone who has to make a judgement about that from doing so.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
@danielle aird quoted a post of mine from 2011 a little earlier, and it made me wonder whether my views on this had changed in the intervening time, and why.

While I still hold to the view I expressed then that I wouldn't shun someone because they had not carried their own pack, I think that there are other dimensions to this topic.

The first is that it is clear to me that this has long been an accepted practice, and I say this because my first credential which I got in 2010 contains, in French, this: 'Walking pilgrims have priority over those on bicycles. Those performing their pilgrimage with the support of a car must seek separate accommodations from the Pilgrims' Shelters.' There is a somewhat similar clause in the English translation of the credencial from the cathedral in SDC, 'Groups organised with support car or by bicycle are requested to seek alternative shelter to the pilgrim hostels.'

Further, the cathedral requirement for the compostela is, amongst other things, to 'Do the last 100 km on foot or horseback, or the last 200 km by bicycle.' There is no mention of carrying a pack anywhere that I can find on the Pilgrim Office website. That might be the traditional way, but that is a personal choice we make. And because there is no requirement to walk with a pack, there isn't going to be any requirement to explain why one might have done that or not. It is completely irrelevant, even when forum members feel that their reasons for making this choice need to be considered in some way.

But the rise of pack taxi services and the move into this marketplace by the Correos has created the circumstances where one doesn't need to be in a larger (physical) group in order to arrange for the support of a car. One can almost seamlessly become part of a large virtual group by virtue of the pack taxi services. So my question is 'Should one analyse this membership of a large virtual group in the same manner as if one were in a somewhat smaller group who arranged a support vehicle?' And right now, I cannot see any reason not to do that.

So what? By obtaining a credential, and by extension agreeing to the terms in it, it would be reasonable to expect that someone who is using a pack taxi would also not seek to use pilgrim shelters/hostels, or at least not those that operate to support pilgrims in the traditional style (on foot, by bicycle or on horseback) carrying their pack. But even the Spanish Federation of Friends of the Camino de Santiago Associations allows some leeway on this matter, and appears to only seek to apply this restriction during the summer months.

Which gives rise to this - at some stage, a hospitalero will have to make a judgement about whether or not someone whose pack arrives by taxi will be allowed to stay. And while the reasons for not carrying a pack are not of interest to the Pilgrim Office, and perhaps should only be a matter of interest to fellow pilgrims as a topic of polite conversation and nothing more, they might very quickly have great significance if it is going to make the difference between staying somewhere or having to move on to find other accommodation.

As for the mantra 'its my Camino'? It is indeed, and of course each of us walk it in our own way. But clearly it isn't going to stop someone who has to make a judgement about that from doing so.
A parochial albergue I know on the CF accepts deliveries of luggage, but that does not mean a bed is secured. if it is raining, the bag/pack is brought inside. If the owner arrives after all the beds are taken, some other solution is found. Maybe the pilgrim has to walk on, maybe the pilgrim will be driven to the next albergue...
No objection to the bag being delivered, but no commitment to keeping a bed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
The private albergues will usually allow pilgrims with transported backpacks (especially if the book in advance). Its the donativo ones that usually reject the transported ones. Some even have signs stating there policy of rejection even if beds are available.
 

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)
By obtaining a credential, and by extension agreeing to the terms in it, it would be reasonable to expect that someone who is using a pack taxi would also not seek to use pilgrim shelters/hostels, or at least not those that operate to support pilgrims in the traditional style (on foot, by bicycle or on horseback) carrying their pack.
These terms are not general knowledge, and it's a pity that they are not - because as a result there seems to be an erroneous general sense of entitlement that a 'pilgrim' (however one defines that) is entitled to a bed, no matter what - and that's obviously not always the case.

@kirkie, this way of working with the situation seems quite fair, and reasonable.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
But the rise of pack taxi services and the move into this marketplace by the Correos has created the circumstances where one doesn't need to be in a larger (physical) group in order to arrange for the support of a car. One can almost seamlessly become part of a large virtual group by virtue of the pack taxi services. So my question is 'Should one analyse this membership of a large virtual group in the same manner as if one were in a somewhat smaller group who arranged a support vehicle?' And right now, I cannot see any reason not to do that.
I think we might have to disagree on this one. My own interpretation of the "group with support car" reference is rather more literal. An attempt to stop the monopolisation of albergues by larger parties which are free to move more quickly because of the vehicle support and who might be booked in en masse by a group member sent ahead for the purpose. A practice which leaves little or no room for individual walkers arriving later whether they use luggage services or not. I think that your 'virtual group' concept is stretching the rule rather further than was probably intended.
 

Dancing Rain

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Salvado (2017)
Camino Frances (2018)
For some people walking a camino is a challenge in itself. I don't need to do it carrying all my stuff for it to be a challenge. But I did not mean to start a discussion on whether to carry a backpack or not. I have my reasons to choose walking with a daypack and I don't really feel like defending all my reasons for it.
Welcome Anne. Relax & take each day as it comes. There will be challenges, unexpected experiences & changes of plans. Your camino will be your camino, however you do it. There is no right or wrong way, only the way that is right for the uniqueness of who & what you are. Many blessings on your Way. Buen Camino
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
When I joined the Francés at Melide earlier this year it seemed as if the majority of people now get their packs transported. So if you want to/need to/whatever - just do it and don't give it a thought.

I carry my own pack because of the benefits it brings me and the lessons it teaches - nothing to do with a moral judgment. I like carrying it. It makes me stronger and uses a few more calories (and justifies that extra piece of cake). I have absolute freedom about how far and where I walk. If I feel like going "off piste" on the spur of the moment, I can. In making an effort to minimise weight I realise how little I do need to be happy. I free myself from making decisions about my appearance, and what to wear. At the same time I am never without the real essentials, that one thing in my pack I started the day thinking I would not need (gloves, wet weather gear, warm socks, blister kit, swim suit, anti-histamine, etc).
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I think that your 'virtual group' concept is stretching the rule rather further than was probably intended.
I would agree that the current circumstances might not have been foreseen when these 'rules' were put in place. I am also not so sure we will get any further here in deciphering this - that seems to be a matter for the cathedral and FICS perhaps.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Really? They are printed in plain sight on every credential - you don't have to search for them.
On the Cathedral's own credencials certainly. And in Spanish which I suspect many foreign pilgrims either cannot read or do not take the trouble to. Not so sure that the many approved credencials from the various international Camino associations and the Amis in SJPDP reproduce them in their respective languages.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018), Mozarabe and more (2019)
If we accept that others may legitimately reach different conclusions from our own then I feel that we should also accept their right to express them - though always in a polite manner. Disagreement is not necessarily discourtesy.
A plea for moderation? This statement merits inclusion in the forum rules, although others might disagree...
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Indeed I don't mind staying at a private albergue or hostel. I'm just resenting the idea that people will be avoiding me and calling me a cheater just for walking the camino without a heavy backpack.
I have been walking the Camino Francis almost every year since 2006.
In all those years and all those Caminos, I only remember ONE pilgrim mention the fact that I was not carrying my pack. It was a young man, probably almost young enough to be my grandson, who clucked his tongue at me as I was buying my lunch at a bar. He asked me where my pack was. I told him it was being transported. He insisted a "real" pilgrim must carry their pack every step of the way. I just chuckled and walked away. If he "resented" me, I guess that was HIS problem and it only took me 15 seconds to get over it.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If you fly to Rome and take a taxi to St Peter's to pray at the tomb, the Pope still calls you a pilgrim.
Indeed. Pilgrims who arrive on foot are a tiny proportion of the total. The Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi is a vast travel agency offering group tours to many religious sites. And it refers to its customers as pilgrims.
 

Mournes

Active Member
On the Cathedral's own credencials certainly. And in Spanish which I suspect many foreign pilgrims either cannot read or do not take the trouble to. Not so sure that the many approved credencials from the various international Camino associations and the Amis in SJPDP reproduce them in their respective languages.
On the Cathedral's own credencials certainly. And in Spanish which I suspect many foreign pilgrims either cannot read or do not take the trouble to. Not so sure that the many approved credencials from the various international Camino associations and the Amis in SJPDP reproduce them in their respective languages.
[/QUOTE
Hi Bradypus,just to let you know that the regulations are printed on the back of the credential issued by the pilgrim office in St Jean Pied De Port but only in French.I have another credential issued by the Association Saintaise Charente Maritime and they are also on the back page but once again only in French.I agree with you that not all French Associations do this as I have one from Bordeaux but no regulations .
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Its the donativo ones that usually reject the transported ones. Some even have signs stating there policy of rejection even if beds are available.
Keep in mind that this probably has nothing to do with a "judgement" of the pilgrim's worth. It relates to the fact that the donativo is staffed by volunteers, the building may be closed during delivery hours, and they do not want an unsecured depository of backpacks outside their doors.
 

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)
Really? They are printed in plain sight on every credential - you don't have to search for them.
Haha, yes...but since when did that stop anyone from being ignorant? :oops:
There should be a disclaimer instructing us all to read the fine print.;)
 

CAJohn

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
I don't worry much about what people who don't know me well think of me. It seems a waste to spend my precious time worrying about them. On the other hand, when unpleasant people start off unpleasant, they save me from wasting my time trying to get to know them.
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
There should be a disclaimer instructing us all to read the fine print
In the fine print, perhaps?

Nonetheless, I view claiming ignorance of these 'necessary conditions' because they are not in one's native language, or any other basis, is not an adequate reason for not complying with them.
 

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)
In the fine print, perhaps?
🤣
Oh, your dry wit is delicious, Doug. Thanks for the chuckle.
Yeah. Certainly there, where everyone will miss it.

(And I 'sort of' agree. I can imagine the vulnerability of being in a place where everyone communicates in an alien script - so can be sympathetic to Korean or Japanese pilgrims when they struggle to understand basics. But no-one here is in that boat. And if I'm ignorant, that's not someone else's fault, alas. :oops: )
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ),Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )Camino Portugese (2018 )Camino Ingles(
I have read in some blogs that entry to some albergues might be refused if they don't carry their bags and use a "vehicle support service" such as a taxi to bring backsacks. My girlfriends and I are going to do the Camino next spring for a friend's 50th birthday and we are split about how to go -- backpacks or no backpacks -- although we want to stay in the albergues.

I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues. I have some experience backpacking in the Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) and we carried everything we needed for 3 days and managed just fine.

Is there a list of albergues that will or won't accept pilgrims who use vehicle support?

Thanks,

I hope the answer is that we must carry our packs and not be reliant on taxis.;)
What you want to consider is not whether the alburgue will allow you in, but will they receive your backpack when delivered by the transport service. Most municipal/religious alburgues will not accept delivery of a bag. Sometimes the transport service can suggest another drop off point where you can fetch your pack then go to the alburgue ( sometimes a nearby bar, sometimes not quite so near by ) . One solution to consider is a compromise where you pool the heavier items from your individual packs and send one bag ahead. This lightens everyone's load and is easier on the wallet. At day's end, you only need to go fetch the bag of belongings from where it was delivered. Something to consider.....
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Keep in mind that this probably has nothing to do with a "judgement" of the pilgrim's worth. It relates to the fact that the donativo is staffed by volunteers, the building may be closed during delivery hours, and they do not want an unsecured depository of backpacks outside their doors.
Hola @C clearly, possibly but I know for a fact that Gaucelmo in Rabanal (operated by CSJ in the UK) does specifically exclude "transporters" and it has nothing to with unsecured backpacks. Its just their policy.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Once again a thread returns to the well-worn "it's my Camino" and "no one has any right to judge". I wonder if I can beg the moderators' indulgence for a personal observation on this business of "judging" and all the little variants and derivatives of the "J" word?

As humans beings we are all meant to be rational and reflective creatures: we are after all even named Homo sapiens. Given the huge diversity of experiences which feed into that personal reflection it would be astonishing if our conclusions on any given topic were ever unanimous. We can and often do disagree very strongly on topics which are important to us. In my own opinion to argue that "no one has a right to judge my actions" is an untenable position: in effect a declaration that I am personally infallible in the sense that my deeds and words are not subject to external scrutiny and are necessarily correct simply because I say so. In what field of human life is that true?

If we accept that others may legitimately reach different conclusions from our own then I feel that we should also accept their right to express them - though always in a polite manner. Disagreement is not necessarily discourtesy. I would suggest that as rational beings we should consider a contradictory position dispassionately and assess the arguments being put forward. Unless we are profoundly arrogant I think that we must always be open to the possibility that our own words and actions have been flawed. There is no obligation to agree with a contrary position but I feel that a rational response to one should be analysis and reflection rather than a knee-jerk defensive anger. If one's words or actions have been considered and justified why should we be unduly troubled by a contradictory position?
Of course we will never be free from others judging our actions. But one of the things that draws many back to the Camino is that we tend to be less subject to it there, in a more supportive and less judgmental community. One of the lessons that many seem to take from their camino experience is to be less judgmental. Far be it from me to judge those who don't take that particular lesson, though. After all, another lesson that many people seem to take is to pare down the amount of "stuff" they own, and as I mentioned in another thread, I never got the hang of that one.

As well, while we are free to judge and express that judgment, we shouldn't be surprised at the effect that judgement can have on others, especially to those new to our community. It isn't a big leap from "my actions are disapproved of in this community" to "people who choose to act in this way that is disapproved of are not welcome here". Certainly, we can judge and disparage the actions and choices of others, so long as we are ready to accept that, when doing so as a community, we are likely making them feel unwelcome in our community.

This is just my opinion, and I am by no means infallible.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
Certainly, we can judge and disparage the actions and choices of others, so long as we are ready to accept that, when doing so as a community, we are likely making them feel unwelcome in our community.
I do see your point. I do not particularly relish contradiction or opposition myself. If only because it forces me to consider again whatever I may have said which is apparently so controversial. But how far down the road of individual self-censorship should we go in a drive for inclusiveness? I do not think that there is any collective orthodoxy being enforced by this community. If I post my own opinion on a subject and another member of the forum then offers their personal contrary opinion does that mean that my voice is not welcome in the wider group? Other than the moderators occasionally gently reminding us of the basic rules of the forum I do not think that anyone here speaks for "our community". We speak for ourselves. You cannot realistically expect to please all of the people all of the time. If you are not prepared to accept that then I think that a public forum with a large and diverse membership is not the place to post your views.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I do see your point. I do not particularly relish contradiction or opposition myself. If only because it forces me to consider again whatever I may have said which is apparently so controversial. But how far down the road of individual self-censorship should we go in a drive for inclusiveness? I do not think that there is any collective orthodoxy being enforced by this community. If I post my own opinion on a subject and another member of the forum then offers their personal contrary opinion does that mean that my voice is not welcome in the wider group? Other than the moderators occasionally gently reminding us of the basic rules of the forum I do not think that anyone here speaks for "our community". We speak for ourselves. You cannot realistically expect to please all of the people all of the time. If you are not prepared to accept that then I think that a public forum with a large and diverse membership is not the place to post your views.
I completely agree that there is no collective orthodoxy being enforced by the community and that we should all be able to post our own opinions. I posted an opinion contrary to yours, after all. But I think we can recognize that a group is not merely a collection of individuals and that group dynamics sometimes do come into play.

I'm not saying that people shouldn't post their opinions. I'm just saying that sometimes people might be wise to consider the effect and value of doing so. It is one thing when an individual posts "I disagee. Have you considered..." It is another thing entirely when a large number of members of the community post "What you are doing or proposing to do is wrong and not befitting a member of this community (in this case, a 'pilgrim')". That was what the person who reopened this thread seemed to see in the first 25 or so posts. (I can't say for sure how warranted that perception was. I admit to not going back and re-reading them.) Posting this type of response when it has been posted many times before doesn't add to the discussion and may contribute to people feeling unwelcome.

Of course, I'm not saying that was what you were doing in your recent post. Just that this type of effect may be worth considering sometimes when posting disagreeing views.

And I'm not saying moderators should step in to prevent the behaviour that I am alluding to. Just that I'm not sure that we want it as a community when we stop to think about it, which I'm not sure we always do.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
That was what the person who reopened this thread seemed to see in the first 25 or so posts. (I can't say for sure how warranted that perception was. I admit to not going back and re-reading them.) Posting this type of response when it has been posted many times before doesn't add to the discussion and may contribute to people feeling unwelcome.
I have re-read the first 30 or so posts, and I wouldn't have made the assessment @Annet2020 did earlier. There might be something I am not seeing in them that triggered her concern, but I couldn't find it.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
If you fly to Rome and take a taxi to St Peter's to pray at the tomb, the Pope still calls you a pilgrim.
It's a characteristics of Compostela mainly, I think, that pilgrim is short for long distance pilgrim on foot where long distance is anything over 100 km in the eyes of the Cathedral authorities and longer distances in the eyes of others. The Cathedral doesn't really say or publish much about it, in contrast to the immense output by us, the media, the camino associations and the guidebook industry, but when you look closely you see that the Cathedral, too, refers to pilgrims who qualify for a Compostela for example are those "who make pilgrimage in the old fashioned way". But they, too, regard those who come by plane, train, bus or car as pilgrims when they come with pilgrimage intentions to visit the place of the Apostle James.

Camino walking pilgrims are simply a subgroup of Compostela pilgrims - or rather part of the camino walking pilgrims overlaps with the group of Compostela pilgrims - but many are not aware of this because ... erm ... they don't know that much about the general topic of pilgrimage as such, to put it bluntly.
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
but when you look closely you see that the Cathedral, too, refers to pilgrims who qualify for a Compostela for example are those "who make pilgrimage in the old fashioned way".
I agree. A growing tendency to regard "qualifying for a Compostela" and "being a pilgrim" as identical. And as the cathedral has introduced ever more restrictive conditions for receiving a Compostela over the years then the scope for more divisive argument over the precise meaning of "pilgrim" also increases :confused:
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
It's a characteristics of Compostela mainly, I think, that pilgrim is short for long distance pilgrim on foot where long distance is anything over 100 km in the eyes of the Cathedral authorities and longer distances in the eyes of others. The Cathedral doesn't really say or publish much about it, in contrast to the immense output by us, the media, the camino associations and the guidebook industry, but when you look closely you see that the Cathedral, too, refers to pilgrims who qualify for a Compostela for example are those "who make pilgrimage in the old fashioned way". But they, too, regard those who come by plane, train, bus or car as pilgrims when they come with pilgrimage intentions to visit the place of the Apostle James.
Although to say that bicigrinos are making their pilgrimage in the old fashioned way is, perhaps, to stretch the term. Not knocking or disparaging bicigrinos as pilgrims at all, but the bicycle is a relatively modern invention which doesn't predate the automobile by much, if at all.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017
I was never of a mind NOT to talk to someone on the camino on the basis of whether or not they carried their big pack.That said, I didn't think I had much in common with those who had their pack sent ahead.

I certainly wouldn't have sought them out of an evening, which is rather ironic, given that I am about to embark on the second Camino Salvado, where everyone's big packs will be sent ahead.



Regards
Surely it depends on ones age as well - I am 80 and think it should be acceptable to send on my ack!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Surely it depends on ones age as well - I am 80 and think it should be acceptable to send on my ack!
I don't think age has anything to do with it. Perhaps you should read my more recent contribution here, where I discussed the post you have quoted. I come to the conclusion it is acceptable for anyone to use a pack transport service.

However, by doing so, I raise the prospect that you are performing [your] pilgrimage with the support of a car [and] must seek separate accommodations from the Pilgrims' Shelters. (extract from my 2010 credencial issued by the Pilgrim Office at SJPP.) You can follow the link below, I haven't copied the full post into this response.
@danielle aird quoted a post of mine from 2011 a little earlier, and it made me wonder whether my views on this had changed in the intervening time, and why.

While I still hold to the view I expressed then that I wouldn't shun someone because they had not carried their own pack, I think that there are other dimensions to this topic.

...
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I just get a bit of a (perhaps holier than thou) chuckle out of those who claim someone isn't a pilgrim because of x, y or z, when more often than not those claiming such have not set a foot inside a church en route (except perhaps to take pictures) and have no intention of visiting the relics of the saint on arrival.

It's just one more lesson in tolerance the camino can teach if one is inclined to learn.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Although to say that bicigrinos are making their pilgrimage in the old fashioned way is, perhaps, to stretch the term. Not knocking or disparaging bicigrinos as pilgrims at all, but the bicycle is a relatively modern invention which doesn't predate the automobile by much, if at all.
Good point. I wonder at what moment in time they included bicigrinos and/or when the first person had the idea to hacer el Camino on a bicycle. My guess is: sometime between 1970 and 1990 ☺ . And what kind of mental acrobatics were performed at the time to include them. I bet the first ones were a group of men clad in Lycra and belonging to a cycling club. I like to think that that it's a nod to the immense popularity of bicycle racing in Spain.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I don't think age has anything to do with it. Perhaps you should read my more recent contribution here, where I discussed the post you have quoted. I come to the conclusion it is acceptable for anyone to use a pack transport service.

However, by doing so, I raise the prospect that you are performing [your] pilgrimage with the support of a car [and] must seek separate accommodations from the Pilgrims' Shelters. (extract from my 2010 credencial issued by the Pilgrim Office at SJPP.) You can follow the link below, I haven't copied the full post into this response.
I guess it all comes down to what is meant by "support of a car" and what was intended to be accomplished by including that provision in the credencial. Support of a car is a very broad phrase. If someone drives me to where I start my pilgrimage and I don't walk from my doorstep, is my pilgrimage in some way supported by a car? If I get a ride from a stranger on one day of my pilgrimage, is that day's walk performed "with the support of a car" or is the whole pilgrimage so tainted and I cannot in good conscience use albergues for the rest of my pilgrimage? And those are just examples where I am actually riding in the car. What if I am walking and carrying my backpack but my significant other is not and is driving each day and we meet up in the evening. Clearly the significant other cannot use the albergues but what about me? In a sense, I am being accompanied by a car.

Of course, one could also ask what is meant by "Pilgrims' Shelters. Is this referring to municipal albergues, parochial albergues, associaltion albergues, private albergues, any, all some combination?

It is all very vague and broad. To help understand how we should interpret and apply it, it would be helpful to understand the intent. Another poster here in the forum has posited that the intent behind "support of a car" was to refer to those who had a car available to take them elsewhere if the albergue was full. If that is the case, then it wouldn't include people who use a pack transport service. That is certainly one possible interpretation.

Another possible view of the intent is that it is meant to separate those who work harder and struggle more from those who don't, the idea being that car support reduces labour. That seems to be the view that your interpretation takes. It also seems to be the view taken by those albergues that accept pack transport where there is some sort of medical "justification", with presumably the idea that whatever medical condition the pilgrim is suffering from, it imposes a labour of suffering equivalent to carrying a pack and makes the pilgrim equally ndeserving of a spot in the pilgrim shelter. It is also a possible interpretation, but not the only one (see above). Personally, I prefer this one a little less, because it puts us in the position of judges of another's labour and suffering, and I would prefer to avoid that.

A third possible intent is to preserve the "purity" of the pilgrimages. There are those who do it "properly", on foot or bicycle or horse, carrying their baggage and those who are not "pilgrims doing it in the old fashioned way", with the use or support of a vehicle. The former can use the pilgrim shelters and get a compostela and the latter cannot. Needless to say, for any who have read my posts elsewhere in this forum, I like this idea of the intent least, because I don't believe in "pure" or "proper" or "real" pilgrims in this fashion.

All of which is to say that someone may use the baggage transport services and still feel that they are not contravening the rules in the credencial, if their different understanding of the intent of those rules leads them to a different understanding of what the vague terms refer to.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
I guess it all comes down to what is meant by "support of a car" and what was intended to be accomplished by including that provision in the credencial. Support of a car is a very broad phrase. If someone drives me to where I start my pilgrimage and I don't walk from my doorstep, is my pilgrimage in some way supported by a car? If I get a ride from a stranger on one day of my pilgrimage, is that day's walk performed "with the support of a car" or is the whole pilgrimage so tainted and I cannot in good conscience use albergues for the rest of my pilgrimage? And those are just examples where I am actually riding in the car. What if I am walking and carrying my backpack but my significant other is not and is driving each day and we meet up in the evening. Clearly the significant other cannot use the albergues but what about me? In a sense, I am being accompanied by a car.

Of course, one could also ask what is meant by "Pilgrims' Shelters. Is this referring to municipal albergues, parochial albergues, associaltion albergues, private albergues, any, all some combination?

It is all very vague and broad. To help understand how we should interpret and apply it, it would be helpful to understand the intent. Another poster here in the forum has posited that the intent behind "support of a car" was to refer to those who had a car available to take them elsewhere if the albergue was full. If that is the case, then it wouldn't include people who use a pack transport service. That is certainly one possible interpretation.

Another possible view of the intent is that it is meant to separate those who work harder and struggle more from those who don't, the idea being that car support reduces labour. That seems to be the view that your interpretation takes. It also seems to be the view taken by those albergues that accept pack transport where there is some sort of medical "justification", with presumably the idea that whatever medical condition the pilgrim is suffering from, it imposes a labour of suffering equivalent to carrying a pack and makes the pilgrim equally ndeserving of a spot in the pilgrim shelter. It is also a possible interpretation, but not the only one (see above). Personally, I prefer this one a little less, because it puts us in the position of judges of another's labour and suffering, and I would prefer to avoid that.

A third possible intent is to preserve the "purity" of the pilgrimages. There are those who do it "properly", on foot or bicycle or horse, carrying their baggage and those who are not "pilgrims doing it in the old fashioned way", with the use or support of a vehicle. The former can use the pilgrim shelters and get a compostela and the latter cannot. Needless to say, for any who have read my posts elsewhere in this forum, I like this idea of the intent least, because I don't believe in "pure" or "proper" or "real" pilgrims in this fashion.

All of which is to say that someone may use the baggage transport services and still feel that they are not contravening the rules in the credencial, if their different understanding of the intent of those rules leads them to a different understanding of what the vague terms refer to.
@David Tallan, thank you for proposing some interesting scenarios to consider in thinking about this. I am inclined to think that the one both you and @Bradypus have suggested, where a car is not available to take one on at the end of the day, is worth considering. In contrast, your suggestion of a scenario of being accompanied seems superficial, and you should perhaps consider un-partnering from someone who left you carrying everything while they drove from place to place.

The other driving circumstance I had considered was when one gets transported, eg by taxi, from a point to get accommodation and then returns to that point to continue. Like your arrival by car scenario, I wouldn't consider that as being supported by a car.

In my earlier post on this, I took some care to avoid loaded terms like 'purity' and 'real pilgrim', and also took some care in the analysis to show why one didn't need to form views about these matters. Basically, the cathedral accepts that pilgrims might walk supported by a car, so I don't think we need to suggest those who do so are any less pilgrims than those who don't.

As a simple test, it appears to me that if an albergue doesn't accept deliveries by a transport service, then they are applying the condition on the credencial that pilgrims who chose this option should arrange other accommodation. Arranging by artifice to appear at such an albergue as if one had carried their pack would be to thumb one's nose at this condition on the credencial. Further, in this scenario, the person using such an artifice clearly knew that the albergue wasn't accepting pilgrims using pack transport, and could have arranged for other accommodation. So if they had observed the condition, they wouldn't have needed to find other accommodation should they have found themselves rejected by, for example, a municipal or association albergue.

As to your assertion that this rule is too vague and broad, I suggest it might be broad, but certainly not vague. Use of a transport service to carry one's pack is to be supported by a car. What might be vague would be which albergues seek to apply this condition strictly, and whether they only do that during periods of high demand for beds.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
@David Tallan, thank you for proposing some interesting scenarios to consider in thinking about this. I am inclined to think that the one both you and @Bradypus have suggested, where a car is not available to take one on at the end of the day, is worth considering. In contrast, your suggestion of a scenario of being accompanied seems superficial, and you should perhaps consider un-partnering from someone who left you carrying everything while they drove from place to place.

...

As a simple test, it appears to me that if an albergue doesn't accept deliveries by a transport service, then they are applying the condition on the credencial that pilgrims who chose this option should arrange other accommodation. Arranging by artifice to appear at such an albergue as if one had carried their pack would be to thumb one's nose at this condition on the credencial. Further, in this scenario, the person using such an artifice clearly knew that the albergue wasn't accepting pilgrims using pack transport, and could have arranged for other accommodation. So if they had observed the condition, they wouldn't have needed to find other accommodation should they have found themselves rejected by, for example, a municipal or association albergue.
Just to mention that the idea of being accompanied by someone who drives while the pilgrim walks is not one I made up for the purpose of argument but rather a scenario I have seen proposed several times on these forums by people who have spouses with no interest in walking the Camino but who wish to accompany their partner in Spain.

I agree that someone who arrives at an albergue that gives preference to those who carry their backpacks and pretends to have done so when they have not is thumbing their nose at rules they have agreed to obey. But I believe that, when choosing to stay at an albergue, there is implicit agreement to follow the rules of the albergue. I see it as the rules of the albergue in question that they are thumbing their nose at rather than the rules on the credencial. If the rules on the credencial were the focus, whether or not the albergue enforces them would be moot; the pilgrim would be equally thumbing their nose at the rules even shipping their bags ahead to an albergue that accepts them. The credencial, after all, doesn't distinguish between different pilgrim shelters that accept luggage and those that don't. It bars pilgrims using vehicle support from all albergues (assuming as we do that pilgrim shelters = albergues).

The solution is obvious. Set up a pony express for backpacks and use horses to ship them ahead. After all, if pilgrims can ride horses, surely their backpacks can, too.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
On a blustery Nov day on the Le Puy, I walked 36 km to get to a town with open accommodation, arriving at about 7-7:30 pm just as it was getting dark. I hitched a ride for about a km on a farm truck that was escorting a tractor home, in an effort to beat sunset.

By the rules, I guess I should have been required to sleep outdoors.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
On a blustery Nov day on the Le Puy, I walked 36 km to get to a town with open accommodation, arriving at about 7-7:30 pm just as it was getting dark. I hitched a ride for about a km on a farm truck that was escorting a tractor home, in an effort to beat sunset.

By the rules, I guess I should have been required to sleep outdoors.
I make up my own set of rules. One of them is that agricultural vehicles don't count as vehicles. I can only remember using the rule once; it was pouring with rain and very muddy, and my companion slipped SPLAT face down into the mud about half a kilometre from Santo Domingo. A little "kangaroo" type vehicle saw it happen, and the farmer, on his way home, very kindly offered us a lift into town. We climbed gratefully into the back, surrounded by bags of chook poo.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
It is all very vague and broad. To help understand how we should interpret and apply it, it would be helpful to understand the intent.
Indeed it is all very vague. Whose rules, whose albergues, whose intent? The text of the Cathedral's credencial states that it is only for pilgrims who wish to make pilgrimage with a Christian attitude ... that one of its two purposes is giving access to the albergues that offer the Christian hospitality of the Camino ... and that organised groups with a support vehicle should not stay in albergues de peregrinos, without defining what these are.

Neither the Cathedral nor the Camino associations have the power to impose general rules on all who walk to Santiago and on all who offer accommodation. Two kinds of other actors contribute to rule making and opinion shaping: those who run albergues and those who walk, have walked or will walk, ie what each individual considers as right for himself or herself and often stipulates as a rule for everyone else on the road. Once you realise that you only have to follow the rules of those who offer you a bed you can walk with a good conscience, no matter whether your backpack is on your back or in a Jacotrans van.

I personally? I carry my backpack every step of the way and at the same time I try not to come anywhere near any of the albergues that have rules about backpack transport. 🙃
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
The solution is obvious. Set up a pony express for backpacks and use horses to ship them ahead. After all, if pilgrims can ride horses, surely their backpacks can, too.
:) :cool: Ingenious lateral thinking!

Many thanks for this one @David Tallan . Despite the foul weather outside I am sitting here with a huge silly grin on my face when I read this again :)
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
On a blustery Nov day on the Le Puy, I walked 36 km to get to a town with open accommodation, arriving at about 7-7:30 pm just as it was getting dark. I hitched a ride for about a km on a farm truck that was escorting a tractor home, in an effort to beat sunset.
Personally, I'm not seeing what similarity this has to someone sending a pack forward, e.g. to a bar, collecting it from there and then walking with their pack to an albergue that doesn't accept packs delivered by taxi. I wouldn't see it as a dilemma, but if you do, it is up to you how you deal with it.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
Just to mention that the idea of being accompanied by someone who drives while the pilgrim walks is not one I made up for the purpose of argument but rather a scenario I have seen proposed several times on these forums by people who have spouses with no interest in walking the Camino but who wish to accompany their partner in Spain.
@David Tallan, I do recall seeing a discussion like that a little while ago. I didn't realize the walker was going to be carrying all their gear, and not having any of it carried in the accompanying vehicle. I still have difficulty imagining that!
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Personally, I'm not seeing what similarity this has to someone sending a pack forward, e.g. to a bar, collecting it from there and then walking with their pack to an albergue that doesn't accept packs delivered by taxi. I wouldn't see it as a dilemma, but if you do, it is up to you how you deal with it.
Either way the pilgrim is being assisted by a vehicle (receiving support). Different kinds of assistance, to be sure, but the credencial doesn't specify what kind of support is meant.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Personally, I'm not seeing what similarity this has to someone sending a pack forward, e.g. to a bar, collecting it from there and then walking with their pack to an albergue that doesn't accept packs delivered by taxi. I wouldn't see it as a dilemma, but if you do, it is up to you how you deal with it.
It wasn't a dilemna for me, as I believe any card carrying medieval pilgrim would have accepted any and all free rides he could get, and a tractor convoy is really the modern equivalent of a wagon ride. But I was vehicle assisted and should be excluded by the theory posited about that.

Where does one draw the line?

Should someone who makes a good effort to walk the camino, but needs a bit of help because of health or other infirmity, really be excluded from the albergues? I met a woman on one of my caminos who was dying of cancer, had hugely swelled lower legs as a result of chemo. Mary was determined to walk and hobbled about 10-12 km per day, taking all day to do so. To accomplish that she sent her luggage forward and sometimes had to look for it. She went to church every place that had one, was devout in her faith.

Rigidity in rules would be loathsome if it penalized someone like Mary.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011 (2019)
It wasn't a dilemna for me, as I believe any card carrying medieval pilgrim would have accepted any and all free rides he could get, and a tractor convoy is really the modern equivalent of a wagon ride. But I was vehicle assisted and should be excluded by the theory posited about that.

Where does one draw the line?
The question I posed was quite clear, and the example you proposed of a one-off assistance is clearly not what I suggested might create a concern. Neither, for that matter, would being in @Kanga's position of getting kangaroo assistance.

Further, it was clear when I raised this question that it was not our place as fellow pilgrims to make the judgement on whether someone was going to be able to stay or not. I very clearly suggested that falls on the individual hospitaleros, and I would now add, working in whatever framework they are given for this.

So the question that can be answered is 'Who draws the line?', and I simply say 'The hospitalero, not us.' Like you, I can only hope they have the good sense not to make bad decisions about these things.
 

Micah26

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2018)
Hi all,

I can only speak for me. To me when I walked it was a pilgrimage in honor of my mom and my friend both who died from cancer. I made a commitment to walk to them so they would know in a way I would be ok. I’ve had a stroke and my right side is limited. I carried my pack every day but two. Despite the weight, for me it let me be free to decide where to stay... short walk when needed, longer one on a good day. I also took a bus and a train because I injured my foot and was instructed to rest it (or risk permanent injury on the good side). I do not feel I « cheated ». I walked every day as much as my body could tolerate. Watching bicycles scoot by me and others on horseback and with a donkey... we all got there and « qualified » for a bed. Truly a pilgrimage in my mind has few rules... I can imagine St Francis of Assisi accepting a ride, food, water and being grateful if only for the opportunity to chat. It’s seems in this world we get so caught up in details and miss the big picture... Buen Camino All!
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I plan on walking the camino using backpack-transport. Without that possibility I never would have been able to do it, mainly because my back wouldn't allow it. But apparently a lot of people think you're not a real pilgrim and it's fair to be sent away at an albergue if you don't carry all your luggage.
As early as 1994, I have personally suggested to people on the Camino with such health issues to use the JacoTrans.

I think that if you can carry your pack that it's better to do so, and I'm particularly not keen on people transporting entire suitcases along the Francès, but the main reason for it is that if you transport your luggage, then you are programming your route in advance, which will kill versatility and spontaneity ; plus it can leave you in the lurch if you have a sudden emergency, and everything you need for the emergency may be elsewhere and out of reach.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
In my own opinion to argue that "no one has a right to judge my actions" is an untenable position: in effect a declaration that I am personally infallible in the sense that my deeds and words are not subject to external scrutiny and are necessarily correct simply because I say so. In what field of human life is that true?
To make just one off-topic comment on this point, that is a fruit of philosophical Modernism and Relativism.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
One of the lessons that many seem to take from their camino experience is to be less judgmental.
To suggest to people that they might have a better Camino experience by doing ABC rather than XYZ is not to be judgmental, no matter if they might mistakenly take it as so.

I am angered by those who make great noise in the albergues at 4AM-5AM, rustling their plastic, unpacking and re-packing their bags, putting lights on, and especially those making no effort whatsoever towards any meaningful consideration towards others.

The epitome of this is when they do all of these things, travelling in groups of 5 or 6, sending their packs ahead, and doing the silly bed race thing to make sure that they get in before anyone else, rinse and repeat every single day.

Those are the sort of pack transporters that very few other pilgrims enjoy the company of.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Although to say that bicigrinos are making their pilgrimage in the old fashioned way is, perhaps, to stretch the term. Not knocking or disparaging bicigrinos as pilgrims at all, but the bicycle is a relatively modern invention which doesn't predate the automobile by much, if at all.
I always refer to bicycles as "the new traditional method" ... :cool:
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I believe any card carrying medieval pilgrim would have accepted any and all free rides he could get
Those doing their Camino in the most penitential spirit most certainly would not have done so. These were people who left home deliberately without any money, and choosing to live entirely on charity, and in a spirit of great personal sacrifice.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Those doing their Camino in the most penitential spirit most certainly would not have done so. These were people who left home deliberately without any money, and choosing to live entirely on charity, and in a spirit of great personal sacrifice.
Reaffirming that then, as now, pilgrims came in all sorts of shapes and sizes and intentions.

An aquaintance of mine walked from Chengdu, China to Llasa back in about 1985, in a time when foreigners were not allowed to be in many of the areas between those two places. She met many faithful Buddhist Tibetans prostrating themselves full length on the ground each and every step of the way.

And no compostela in sight...
 

janeen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept 2015 sept 2018
I believe municipal albergues dont accept backpacks that are transported. If sent there they get dropped off at another place for pickup. This could be a cafe or another albergue. They will accept the pilgram though.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
Hi,

since 2011 when the original thread was started, backpack-transport has become a widespread phenomenon, not only on the CF, but also on other popular Caminos (except major sections of the VdP).

Now in some places 3 or 4 enterprises are competing for customers. The number of albergues has also increased substantially since then.

So by now no-one is excluded from doing the camino if he needs backpack-transportation, but it is still a general rule that public/municipal/parish albergues may reject people who use it. That is up to the discretion of the person who runs the albergue. Finally it is no harm for anybody, there is plenty of alternative accomodation.

Sometimes it is reasonable and useful to use backpack-transport. I met a chinese student on the Camino Primitivo in 2018 who had blisters on her shoulders from the shoulder-straps of her back-pack. For her it was a relief, to send her backpack ahead some days.

BC
Alexandra
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
You are right Ian, to say that the Refugio Guacelmo doesn't accept pilgrims who have had their pack transported for them. Actually these packs are delivered to another Albergue in Rabanal where the Pilgrim's have to go and collect - and I guess, usually stay there. Regarding the use of mobile phones in the field on the property, I wasn't aware of this rule and I was hospitalero there for 18 days! Yes, they do serve you a nice English cup of tea and biscuits!
That said, there can be many reasons why a pilgrim might send his pack ahead by a transport system: an on-going physical disability, injury while on the Camino, feeling ill that day, age, pregnancy (yes, there are some pregnant women walking the Camino), plus of course, the ones who simply want to make the Camino an easy hike! Most of the reasons are difficult to understand when a pilgrim having already walked hundreds of kms, carrying his burden on his back, is overtook by a couple or more walkers rapidly striding out, eager to reach their destination of the day asap! It's difficult to judge.
Then there are the group who arrive by bus, get dropped off a couple of kms before the village, take up their pack, walk into the village, have a refreshment and then give up their pack to be delivered further ahead. I have witnessed this once in Hornillos.
Personally, like you Ian, I would feel guilty to send my pack ahead - unless for some serious phhysical disability. I consider that my pack is part of me and part of MY camino. Anne
I am over the guilt. I'm not getting younger and this back has to last a bit longer. I gave my back a rest day, when I reached Rabanal my pack wasn't there, nor the welcome mat. I had a wonderful meal and conversations in Foncebedon(sp). I don't know what I missed. Life was and is good.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
To answer the original question.
I am pretty confident that I saw a sign on the Xunta albergue in Ocebreiro that ranked pilgrims in the order they would get a bed if it was busy. This was on Easter Sunday this year.
1. Walkers from SJPP
2. walkers from Burgos
3. Walkers from Leon.
4 Cyclists from the above
5. People with vehicle support.
This might not be totally accurate as I stopped worrying after item 1.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances/SJPP 2015,2016,2018,2019
Way of St. Francis, Italy 2017
Portuguese/Finisterre 2018, 2019
I have read in some blogs that entry to some albergues might be refused if they don't carry their bags and use a "vehicle support service" such as a taxi to bring backsacks. My girlfriends and I are going to do the Camino next spring for a friend's 50th birthday and we are split about how to go -- backpacks or no backpacks -- although we want to stay in the albergues.

I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues. I have some experience backpacking in the Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) and we carried everything we needed for 3 days and managed just fine.

Is there a list of albergues that will or won't accept pilgrims who use vehicle support?

Thanks,

I hope the answer is that we must carry our packs and not be reliant on taxis.;)
Wow, I tried to read through the replies and you received very few real answers. I have walked seven Camino's and will tell you not to worry either way. There are some albergues that do not take baggage transport, but most do. They are mostly parochial or municipal albergues. If you need to use baggage transport, you will not need a taxi there are multiple baggage companies that pick up/ drop off at the albergues. Envelopes are provided at most albergues. They are all aware of the albergues that do not accept baggage transport. Sometimes they have made arrangements to leave bags at a local hotel or bar. I suggest that you try to train and carry you bag as it will give you more flexibility, but after injuring my back I know that we truly never walk in another man's shoes and should not judge.
 

OTH86

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
Hola @C clearly, possibly but I know for a fact that Gaucelmo in Rabanal (operated by CSJ in the UK) does specifically exclude "transporters" and it has nothing to with unsecured backpacks. Its just their policy.
Hmm, I distinctly remember on Oct 23, 2013, I took a taxi from Astorga to Rabanal - not knowing anything about that policy - and was allowed to stay at Gaucelmo. I WAS asked if I had walked, and I said I hadn't. The hositalero said he thought he had heard a car door close... I said, yes, that was probably me. He mentioned their policy, but I was allowed to stay the night at Gaucelmo. There were four of us pilgrims that night in addition to the two hospis. Gratitudes... 🙏
 

André Walker

Never loosing my way: always standing on it
Camino(s) past & future
Holland-St.Jean, Frances, Del Norte, VdlP.
There is only 1 true pilgrim:
  • he/she who carries his/her own backpack all the way.
  • the backpack should weigh no less than 20 kilograms (44 lbs.) upon arrival at an albergue.
  • pilgrims that are not overweight should be refused at municipal and donativo albergues for not having carried enough additional weight.
  • he/she has to have at least 3 blisters (preferably inflamed) to prove he/she has suffered.
  • the ones that don't have blisters can make up for it by whipping themselves on the back 10 times for each missing blister (with a maximum of 30).
  • he/she (being a European) should refrain from using cars/buses/trains/planes as a means to get to the starting point of their Camino and just walk to their chosen starting point.
  • overseas pilgrims can swim over there.
  • he/she should refrain from drinking vino tinto and eating menu del peregrino and just rely on what nature offers or what's been given to them by locals. Buying bocadillos or tortilla is also forbidden.
  • he/she should not be wearing walking boots or sneakers or such. Medieval sandals are ok.
 

taigirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2019
The monastery at Rabanal refused pilgrims who didn't carry their packs. Only one I found that did that on recent Camino.
I have read in some blogs that entry to some albergues might be refused if they don't carry their bags and use a "vehicle support service" such as a taxi to bring backsacks. My girlfriends and I are going to do the Camino next spring for a friend's 50th birthday and we are split about how to go -- backpacks or no backpacks -- although we want to stay in the albergues.

I would like to travel light (this is not my first canoe trip) and not overpack the backpack, carry our own backpacks and just stay in the albergues. I have some experience backpacking in the Costa Rican rainforest (Osa Peninsula) and we carried everything we needed for 3 days and managed just fine.

Is there a list of albergues that will or won't accept pilgrims who use vehicle support?

Thanks,

I hope the answer is that we must carry our packs and not be reliant on taxis.;)
 
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