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FICS Forum: Why Change the 100 km. rule to 300 km.?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Topics' started by Rebekah Scott, Mar 23, 2016.

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  1. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    Dear friends, the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago, an activist group comprised of historians, sociologists, hospitaleros, and camino busybodies, last weekend met in Sarria to debate the latest issues and decide how to solve some problems.
    Most of you know that one of our more controversial proposals is petitioning the cathedral to extend the 100 km. required to earn a Compostela certificate to 300 kilometers. Everyone asks why.
    So I translated (pretty awkwardly in places, I know!) the explanatory document, a paper written by Anton Pombo, a camino historian who has lived much of the current renaissance on the trail -- he was one of the first to paint yellow arrows to Finesterre. This document was presented to the cathedral dean and cabildo last week. It has NOT been approved or put into effect!


    PROPOSAL TO EXPAND THE MINIMUM DISTANCE REQUIRED FOR AWARDING OF THE COMPOSTELA to 300 KILOMETERS


    THE GENESIS OF THE ROAD

    Since its inception, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was never a short-term undertaking. It was not a local or regional shrine that gradually gained fame through popular acclaim and miracles. On the contrary, it sprang into being with fully-formed international appeal: It led to the officially recognized apostolic tomb of Santiago the Greater. It managed to bring together not only Christian rites and symbols, but incorporated practices of past cults as well, as evidenced by legends of the translation of James’ body and the possible Celtic pilgrimage to Finisterre.

    Alfonso II the Chaste, King of Asturias and Galicia, made the first political pilgrimage to Santiago after the rediscovery or "inventio" of the tomb between AD 820 and 830. The first documented pilgrims appeared in the 10th century from beyond the Pyrenees, devotees from from Germany and France, but we do not know their itinerary.

    By the 11th century the “French route” along the Meseta was already established as a long-distance roadway to and from Europe, equipped with a network of pilgrim shelters. The pilgrimage to Santiago took its place alongside Jerusalem and Rome as one of the three great classic treks of Christianity. Santiago stood at the western end of the known world, following the direction the sun in the day and the Milky Way in the night. For pure symbolic value, Santiago surpassed Jerusalem and Rome. The Jacobean legend spread through Europe in the tales of Compostela in the times of Bishop Gelmirez, and above all, in the Codex Calixtinus. The universal dimension of this pilgrimage shines through medieval literature, inspiring works like the Historia Caroli Magni et Rotholandi or “Pseudo Turpin.” This book recounts the exploits of King Charlemagne, whose army supposedly opened the Camino pathway, guided by a sweep of stars all the way to Compostela and the ocean beyond.

    The same tone was maintained into the late Middle Ages, despite the Reformation. The Counter-Reformation infused the pilgrimage with a focus on Catholic dogma. Walking to Santiago became a visible, living profession of religious faith. Pilgrims trickled in from all over the world. Centuries passed, but the Way of Santiago never lost its international character.

    DECLINE AND REBIRTH OF THE PILGRIMAGE

    But over time, the triumph of Liberal thought and the overwhelming idea of progress consigned the ancient pilgrimage path to a relic, something anachronistic and meaningless, reserved for vagrants and beggars. By the 19th century, the Compostela pilgrimage was practically extinct.

    Other European Christian shrines and pilgrimages enjoyed a limited success, so archbishops Payá y Rico and Martin Herrera sought to stir up a new public religious devotion to St. James. The relics of the apostle were re-discovered after 300 years, so the local authorities tried to revitalize the pilgrimage with their meager means, using local processions and day-trips to Santiago as well as other holy sites, to at least keep the flame burning.

    These local “romerias” became popular throughout Spain, upholding regional pride but thwarting the idea of traditional pilgrimage on foot. Twentieth-century “National Catholicism” manipulated the Compostela pilgrimage, focusing the faithful on arriving at the goal. The Way itself was downplayed, and the old walking routes were practically forgotten.

    When the European Postwar intellectual and social crisis struck in the 1950s, it was foreigners, not Spaniards, who rediscovered the value of the pilgrimage. The Paris Society of Friends of the Camino was founded in 1950, with the Marquis Rene de La Coste-Messelière, among those who took the first timid steps.

    The first Spanish association formed in Estella in the 1960s with the involvement of Paco Beruete and Eusebio Goicoechea, and registered itself in 1973. They delved into the study of the Jacobean pilgrimage as part of the Medieval Weeks festival in Estella, with their eyes always trained on the 11th and 12th-century "golden age" they hoped may someday revive.

    This same historicist and romantic spirit, with the Codex Calixtinus as the main reference, is what inspired Elijah Valiña Sampedro, a man misunderstood in his time, to conceive the idea of revitalizing the foot pilgrimage on the French Way. Not beginning from Sarria, his own birthplace, nor from the Galician frontier, despite his being the pastor of St. Mary of O Cebreiro, Don Elias took the long view. He traced the most direct route to Compostela, gradually joining section to other sections. He understood from the beginning the Way in its original sense, as a geographic whole. Thus, with the collaboration of different people all along the route, he went to work to recover and mark with yellow arrows the better-known and documented French Way, from the Pyrenees to Compostela. He cooperated closely with the French, who did the same with France’s great historic routes, described in the famous guide book V of Calixtino: Tours, Vézelay, Le Puy and Arles.

    Thus was reborn the Camino de Santiago in the 70s and 80s of the last century, with the utmost respect for history and tradition. The French Way was recovered first, and the remaining historical itineraries soon followed. It was an exemplary process, performed selflessly from the bottom up with the support and generosity of associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago, which multiplied since the 80s. The Amigos groups’ first major achievement was the International Congress of Associations of Jaca (1987), chaired by Elias Valiña as Commissioner of the Way. A new credential was established, drawn from a prototype from Estella, to serve as a safe-conduct to contemporary pilgrims, allowing the use of pilgrim accommodations. No minimum distance was established to claim a Compostela at the Cathedral.

    FROM THE XACOBEO TO NOW

    The year 1993 was a Holy Year, and pilgrims poured into the shrine city. The regional government of Galicia rolled out "Xacobeo," a secular, promotional program that claimed to “parallel” the religious celebration while developing advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. The Xacobeo slogan, "All the Way," summed-up its fundamental objective: to transform the Camino de Santiago into a great cultural and tourist brand for Galicia, and squeeze the maximum benefit from a tourist phenomenon ripe with possibilities for community development. It was at this point that the still-incipient mileage requirement of the Compostela was set at 100 km.

    The "All the Way" and 100 km idea, despite Galicia’s good-faith construction of a public network of free shelters, immediately created tensions with the plan developed by Valiña and the worldwide Jacobean associations. The minimum distance, which fit perfectly into the plans of the Xunta de Galicia to “begin and end the Camino in Galicia,” ended up creating a distorted image of what and where the Camino de Santiago is, a distortion that appears now to be unstoppable, and threatens to undermine and trivialize the traditional sense of the Compostela pilgrimage. For many, the pilgrimage is understood only as a four- or five-day stroll through Galicia – a reductionist view antagonistic to the historical sense of the great European pilgrimage tradition.

    This distortion has contributed to the ongoing transformation of the road into a tourist product. Tour operators and travel agencies offer the credential and Compostela as marketing tools, souvenirs that reward tourists and trekkers who walk four or five days of the road without any idea of pilgrimage, using and monopolizing the network of low-cost hostels intended for pilgrims. The consequence of this abuse is the same seen at by many sites of significant cultural heritage: the progressive conversion of the monument or site to a “decaffeinated” product of mass tourism. It is a theme park stripped of “boring” interpretive information from historians or literary scholars, suitable for the rapid entertainment of the new, illiterate traveler unable to see any value in an experience that is not immediately recognizable and familiar. The consumer cannot enjoy an experience that requires preparation, training, and time, so the marketers provide him with a cheap and easy “Camino Lite” experience. Likewise, even as the Camino is commodified, its precious, intangible heritage of interpersonal generosity and simplicity is lost. Without this “pilgrim spirit,” the Camino’s monumental itinerary becomes a mere archaeological stage-set.

    In recent years, the number of pilgrims from Sarria, Tui, Lugo, Ourense, Ferrol and other places just beyond the 100 km required to obtain the Compostela, has grown steadily, according to data provided by the Pilgrimage Office of the Cathedral of Santiago. The true number of “short haul” pilgrims is, according to studies prepared by the Observatory of the Camino de Santiago USC, much higher. More than 260,000 pilgrims registered in 2015, but at least as many again did not register at the cathedral office – they had been on the road without reaching the goal (they ran out of time) or they did not collect the Compostela due to lack of interest or knowledge. Many of these unregistered "pilgrims" respond the low-cost tourist or hiker profile.

    According to figures for 2015, of the 262,516 pilgrims who collected the Compostela, 90.19% arrived on foot. More than a quarter left from Sarria (25.68%, more than double the number who left from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, a traditional starting point 500 km. away in France). Another 5.25% walked from Tui; 3.94% came from O Cebreiro (151 km); Ferrol 3.31%; 2.17% from Valenca do Minho; 1.17% from Lugo; Ourense 1.09%; 0.84% to 0.57% from Triacastela and Samos, to name the next major starting points. Add up all these “short haul” pilgrims, and you see they are 44.02%, almost half of the total. Their numbers rise each year. If we add to this figure those arriving from points far less than 300 km from Santiago de Compostela the number is well over 50% of registered pilgrims.

    We are faced with a choice. This “short-trip pilgrim” dynamic is only slowed by foreign pilgrims, who naturally fit better into the traditional role of the long-haul pilgrimage. We can keep silent and give up the Camino to the short-term interests of politicians, developers and agencies seeking only immediate benefit or profits. Or we can resist, try to change the trend, redirect the Camino to its role as an adventure that has little to do with tourism. We can reclaim the long-distance Camino and the values that make it unique: effort, transcendence, searching, reflection, encounters with others, solidarity, ecumenism or spirituality, all of them oriented toward a distant, shared goal.

    Some object, noting that long ago, every pilgrim started from his own home, no matter how near or far it was from Santiago. Documentation and history say that Santiago de Compostela was never a place of worship for the Galicians, who had their own shrines and pilgrimages. Outside the pilgrimage, Santiago never had a great relevance for Spaniards, let alone the majority of foreign pilgrims.

    The FICS proposal to amend of the Compostela requirements by the Council of the Church of Santiago is not intended to solve at a stroke the problems of the Camino. Requiring a walk of 300 kilometers will not ease the overcrowding on the last sections, or stop the clash between two opposite ways of understanding the pilgrimage. It aims at the symbolic level, and hopes to establish a new understanding of the Way which dovetails with the traditions of the preceding eleven centuries .

    1. We hope first to re-establish to dignity of the Compostela, which has lately become an increasingly devalued certificate granted without requirements or agreements attached. It is handed out as a prize or a souvenir at the end of a Camino de Santiago package tour, without a flicker of its religious or spiritual connotation.

    2. The contemporary revival of the Camino has made every effort to restore and protect historic pilgrimage routes. The Camino trail is hailed for its cultural interest, and its heritage value is listed by UNESCO. The same care should be exercised should be taken to preserve the practices of the pilgrims on the Santiago trail – the “pilgrim spirit” that forms the Camino’s intangible heritage. Thousands of pilgrims still experience the unity and life-changing power of the trail in its utter simplicity. Their needs cannot be sacrificed to “inevitable concessions to modernity.”

    3. Many Gallegos who profit from the Camino see the pilgrimage as a passing phenomenon. They take a short-sighted view of history, and disregard the efforts and claims of neighboring communities of Asturias and Castilla y Leon, and Portugal, all of which have striven to document, retrieve, waymark and revitalize their historic itineraries of the reborn pilgrimage. Despite what Gallego tourist authorities say, the Camino de Santiago does not begin at the Galician border. The road should be treated as a whole, not segmented into independent and disjointed portions, and even less monopolized by the end-point. Even more oddly, ancient camino routes are being marketed as a paths without a goal – a phenomenon apparent in France, or on tributary routes that converge with larger axis, (ie, the Aragonés Camino, Camino del Baztán, San Adrian Tunnel, etc.), sold as "Jacobean routes."

    4. This proposed distance is fixed at about three hundred kilometers. This figure is not a random whim – it is drawn from the very first recorded pilgrimage route to Compostela, now known as Camino Primitivo. This is the route taken by the courtiers of Oviedo to the honor the relics of the “Locus Sancti Iacobi,” a distance of 319 km.

    Likewise, the 300 km. distance also fits the subsequent 10th century shift of the main pilgrimage axis to the French Way. King Garcia moved his court from Oviedo to Leon, a move confirmed by Ordoño II. Leon is 311 kilometers from Santiago.

    Other places linked to the pilgrimage also fit within the scope of this distance: Aviles (320 km), the main medieval port of Asturias, where seaborne pilgrims landed; Zamora (377 km) in the Via de la Plata; Porto (280 km) in the Central Portuguese Way; or the episcopal city of Lamego (290 km) on the Portuguese Way of the Interior.

    5. The basis of our proposal is historical: The original geographic triangle of Aviles, Oviedo, Leon. There should therefore not be an arbitrary numerical figure, but a reasonable level of average distance for the traditional pilgrimage on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, in the vicinity of 300 km. This puts the spotlight on the different Jacobean long-distance routes. It meets the needs of contemporary pilgrims for good transportation links and population centers to launch them on their way.

    6. The change is not intended to exclude pilgrims whose limited schedules prevent them from walking more than 100 km, an objection that always is posited against increasing the required mileage. The road can be done in stages, at different time periods, or very slowly, all of which are perfectly valid ways to obtain the Compostela.

    7. Attempts to divert pilgrims from the overcrowded French Way and Portuguese Route have been unsuccessful, and there are still overcrowding problems on the final, Galician stages, especially from Tui and Sarria onward to Compostela. Municipalities along these roads face serious problems at times of peak pilgrim traffic.

    8. The Galician administration’s appropriation of the Camino de Santiago and marketing efforts that describe only the last (Galician) 100 km, have left large areas of Galician Camino “high and dry:” Samos, Triacastela or O Cebreiro, on the French Way; Castroverde, Baleira and A Fonsagrada on the Primitivo; Ribadeo, Lourenzá, Mondoñedo, Abadín and Vilalba on the Northern Way; The whole province of Ourense east of the capital, Allariz, Xinzo, Verin, A Gudina, on the Sanabres Route. The citizens of these camino communities provide the same services to pilgrims, but are unfairly cut from the pilgrimage map by a regional administration so sharply focused on the 100-kilometer radius.

    9. The 300-kilometer shift will ease the antagonism that rises up between long-distance pilgrims and those on a “short haul.” Attempts to turn the last stages of the Way into a pure tourist “Disneyland” will be blunted.

    10. An exception must be made for the English Way, a route with historical documentation reaching back to the Late Middle Ages. Pilgrims came by sea to Ferrol (120 km) and A Coruña (75 km), now one of the most marginalized of all itineraries. Finally, another logical exception must be granted to disabled pilgrims, for whom the 100 km limit should continue.

    The request to extend the 300 km the minimum for obtaining Compostela is part of a more ambitious global proposal. FICS proposes a new management model for public shelters, with preference given to long-haul pilgrims, and eliminating abuses by commercial interests who profit from the albergue network. Government bodies should stop viewing the pilgrimage to Santiago as a tourist product or leisure experience. It is imperative that management and promotion of the Camino be removed from the Tourism department and returned to the oversight of Culture and Heritage.

    We view The Way in its original medieval incarnation, as a great long-haul odyssey. The current dynamic strips away the meaning of the Camino for the sake of pecuniary interests and inevitably leads to a complete break with tradition. Those of us who work on and for the Camino – Amigos Associations, albergues, volunteers, government agents, and the Compostela cathedral itself -- are directly responsible for preventing this process of consumption. Our position is not just a romantic notion, much less a reactionary stand. It is made from deep respect for an ancient tradition that some shortsighted people are distorting for the sake of economic opportunism. If we do not stand up, they will soon destroy the magic that is the Camino de Santiago.


    Anton Pombo, International Brotherhood of Camino de Santiago.

    Sarria, March 12, 2016
     
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  2. SEB

    SEB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you Rebekah for posting this information. I am sure that the content will provoke many comments but I find the proposals heartening, especially the reassertion that the Way is a pilgrimage route with all its historical and religious connotations.
     
  3. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Some strong and compelling arguments and un gato entre las palomas
     
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  4. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Very interesting, this should generate a lively debate.

    I'm pretty much a newbie here having only done one camino, for me it was a pilgrimage, as will be my other camino journeys. I have no view on whether it should be 100 or 300 km to obtain the Compostela. In my mind if you are doing the camino for a certificate then you're doing if for the wrong reason. I did get the Compostela after my CF but if the queue had been long I wouldn't have bothered, my credential is more important to me than the Compostela.

    I have not written this to be confrontational, it's just me views as a pilgrim.
     
  5. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Sounds like a good idea to me.
    No doubt the compostela has lost much of its significance. It has become a secular tourist souvenir of sorts. A trophy for participating. Rather sad.
    Making a 300 km minimum doesn't mean you cannot walk the Camino, it just means you have to walk further to get a compostela. You want that sheet of paper? Cowboy up, baby. ;)
     
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  6. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Very much what I feel too. Though that may be in part because I already have several.
     
  7. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    Mine too... I was very proud of showing friends and family my credential and I also enjoy revisiting it myself.

    @Rebekah Scott, I'm simply a person that has walked, I have no great prior knowledge so my comments are simply observations... or maybe just questions? I've had a good read of the document so if you're looking for feedback from an uneducated pilgrim...

    I understand why these routes would want to be maintained and it makes perfect sense... but would these exceptions simply means that all the tourist traffic or folks with little time or short distance walkers divert to these routes instead? Would the exceptions simply move the problem rather than solve it?


    I'm just not clear on what this means. It could be read as wanting to prevent new entrepreneurs creating new shelters or facilities to cope with the new pilgrim demands? I'm not sure I understand the statement or the sentiment behind it... I'm also not clear why this issue is brought together with the 100km/300km debate? But this could simply be down to my lack of understanding... so it's just an observation.

    Sorry if I've misunderstood... and feedback wasn't wanted :oops:
     
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  8. lovingkindness

    lovingkindness Veteran Member

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    thanks for posting this, Rebekah.
     
  9. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Not necessarily the wrong reason Waka, but a fairly strange one. ;) As a child I cycled proficiently for a certificate, and later I did my Auditors exams for a Certificate. I once got a certificate for turning up at a compulsory Elf & Safty course and not causing too much trouble. But the Camino - I just wanted to say sorry to a couple of friends, say hello to a slightly different mind-set, make my peace with a couple of the old gods and go home feeling a little bit different. I did pick up a compostella but, I guess like you, it is when I look at my credencial that I look at the significant document of my journey.

    But do people really walk the Camino for a Compostella? Even those who (allegedly) hop buses / taxis / Tour Group camper trucks? Would Galicia see a plummet in tourism income if the obligatory distance was trebled? Would the streets of Sarria, Palas de Rei and Arzua clog with tumble-weed as the ancient rusting menu-del-peregrino boards faded in the blazing sun-light. Would it be the 300k Mojone that became smothered in graffiti and ankle deep in picnic litter? And will those tour companies who charge €50 to find a pilgrim a bed in a €10 Albergue have to adjust their business model? I guess that even now the darkest cabal of camino bandits are planning their next move - Pilgrims can only arrive on weekdays because otherwise they clutter the place up when the tourists are opening their wallets...

    I wish FICS well. And every Pilgrim wherever they start their journey and however far they walk.
     
  10. lessonslearnedabroad

    lessonslearnedabroad Member

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    I walked my first Camino last year, from SJPP to Finisterre. I leave in 3 weeks from my second Camino, the Portugues.

    I walked the CF for spiritual reasons, and to test my physical limits. I can honestly say that, personally, I found the last 100km to be the worst part of my Camino. Not only is to too busy (even in September), but there is a noticeable difference in the quality of the Camino itself. Prices rise, and the Camino seems much more commercial than in previous parts of the walk. The pilgrims seemed louder and less respectful, over all. Again, this is just a generalization and from my personal experience. Everyone walks for their own reason, and that's cool. I just found the final 100km to be a bit less respectful to those pilgrims who walked for religious/spiritual reasons.

    I think keeping it at 100km would perhaps contain the commercial aspect of the Camino, which perhaps is for the best? Though, I think making the trip mandatory from SJPP wouldn't be too bad either ;)
     
  11. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Seems good to me, although I'd prefer a longer distance - 500km with two stamps per day would really styme the faint-hearted. I've thought about alternatives; abolishing the certificate completely, or doing away with a specific mileage component and issuing a "walking distance" certificate instead, I dont think either of these would work because the 100km rule would still be in people's minds.

    I'm not adverse at all to people walking bits of the camino for holiday pleasure, as many do in France. Nothing wrong with that and plenty right. The benefit of a clear distinction between a pilgrimage or a walking holiday is that pressure would be off the last section. Other parts would maybe get chosen because of their beauty or for other touristic reasons, spreading the commercial advantages more evenly.

    I am saddened by the crass commercialism from locals that spoils the last 100km, and that, I think, is the inevitable consequence of hosting hoards of, essentially, tourists. The previous respect afforded to Camino pilgrims is missing. I see the difference in places like France or Germany when you tell people you are a pilgrim walking to Santiago.

    Good luck with the proposal, though I can't see it succeeding. Too many vested interests in maintaining the status quo.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2016
  12. 2kiwis

    2kiwis Member

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    I am doing my first Camino in September ,I think the change to 300 km is a good idea ,I wanted to do the route from Zamora but decided the distances between accomodation was more than I want to walk in a day ,so am doing the France's .if it means than more people are on these alternative routes it must be a win win situation ,more income for those other towns and hopefully more auberges to stay in.
     
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  13. Urban Trekker

    Urban Trekker Happy Trails

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    In America we are loving our National parks to death. Too many people not enough services or space. The Park Service remedy was to close popular camp grounds, close access roads and trails, restrict or control what access there is, and to impose fees and raise existing prices. All they managed to do is alienate the very ones the parks were intended for, The People, and in tern have force the poor and marginalized out. I fully understand the Park Services intent but question the methods.

    I understand the concerns of the FICS. People are loving the caminos to death and it is important to preserve and protect the past but I question their recommendations. If the cause or issue is over crowding on the last 100 kiloliters is the certificate, drop the certificate. Do keep the passport for prof for staying at albergues, other pilgrim accommodations and getting pilgrim meals. Personally, I'm prouder of my Stamped passport.

    One last thing, I'm not Catholic nor am I very religious, refer to myself as agnostic. I believe in God and I know that Christ was a real person. Is the FICS saying that the Camino is for Catholics only. Does my not being Catholic make me unworthy of walking the caminos? Does my presents on the camino lessen the experience for the faithful? Maybe I'm trying to read between the lines. Buen Camino

    Happy Trails
     
  14. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I think that I would feel more comfortable with this proposal if I knew that I was following in the footsteps of the 'common man', and not attempting to ape the antics of some long deceased royal, no matter how devote he might have been.
     
  15. SYates

    SYates Camino Fossil AD 1999 Donating Member

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    What about those that simply can't, because of health and other reasons, walk 300km but could just manage 100km?
    What about those whose home is closer than 300km to Santiago and walk from their own door to Santiago?

    Just two questions that come spontaneously to my mind.

    Buen Caminos, corto a lejos, SY
     
  16. paul.ferris

    paul.ferris Active Member

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    The 300 km or some other longer distance appeals to me. It would certainly eliminate the weekend taxi perigrinos/as.
    The other part of this initiative which wants to downplay the tourist aspect of the Camino and restore traditional values might affect me more. I am not particularly Christian.
     
  17. jirit

    jirit Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Once you have a rule that defines an "obligation" in order to earn a "reward", then there are always those that support and those that oppose the rule.

    Redefining the rule or creating a new rule, with a new obligation and/or reward only creates more issues for that support or oppose it.

    Removing the rule, and the obligation and reward might be the ideal solution.

    Then everybody's camino is rightly their own individual journey, with its own individual obligation and its own individual reward.
     
  18. mrmcc916

    mrmcc916 New Member

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    You know the last 100 is a tourist trap when you sit down for a coffee in the morning and there is a tour group stamping out pilgrims passports. Granted it was a school trip but still quite disheartening to see that this was done. Bump it up and make it 300.
     
  19. Ingsebingse

    Ingsebingse New Member

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  20. Ingsebingse

    Ingsebingse New Member

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    Dear#Lessonlearnedabroad
    I totally agree in all you say. I have walked the Camino 3 times. And every time the last 100 km. has made me kind of depressed. Lots of big groups of people very noisy, singing and shouting, nearly having a party on the road. These people are not quite as exhausted as people who has walked all the way, so in the evenings at the albuerges they are staying up late and not respecting the " bedtime ".
    After walking 600+ km. this is not what I need. I love walking, but I will never againg do the Camino France. I think the last 100 km is like being in a circus. Inge
     
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  21. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    Part about abusing the pilgrim albergues is aimed at the tour operators, guides, and "coaches" who charge pilgrims for their services, but send clients to the donativo albergues for "free" accommodations. If you can afford to pay someone to carry your bags and show you around, you can probably afford to pay for your lodgings... and leave the low-cost beds for pilgrims with few resources.

    It's true the people who just want a quick or short-haul compostela would head for the Ingles... but maybe there will be a special Camino Ingles certificate? This can go all kinds of ways.

    The entire document is intended to raise discussion. Thanks for buying in to that.

    BTW, You are not "an uneducated pilgrim" if you're part of the Forum!
     
  22. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    @Rebekah Scott - that makes perfect sense and I can totally see what you mean now... and yes I agree it seems unfair to be part of a tour and use those albergues. I never got that at all from the document... so many thanks for clarifying.

    I'm glad I asked now as I was barking totally up the wrong pilgrim tree and your reply frames things very differently... thanks!
     
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  23. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Off the the English they go, or walk slowly or in stages, as stated in the document.
     
  24. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Someone was on fire while writing this document. It is well reasearched, well argued, and has a lovely bite to keep people reading. The logic is flawless and an answer is provided to those who mention those who cannot walk long distances.

    Loved the bit about the "illiterate" short distance walkers on holidays.

    Now we have a clear definition of what a "real pilgrim" is.

    Thank you @Rebekah Scott for all the work invloved in this translation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  25. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    Yeah, that last 100 km or so, can at times be ridiculously busy. The large groups walking together singing and having a good time can be a bit annoying, but I remind myself that as for the most part, those groups are composed of locals, that I am a guest in their country and need to be flexible and empathetic.
    I don't let that last week or so dissuade me as there are so many enjoyable days prior to it, and that walk into the plaza in front of the cathedral makes it all worthwhile.
    To any prospective pilgrims reading this thread. Please don't be put off by the griping and whining. It's all good.
    cheers
     
  26. Dutch

    Dutch Straightforward

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    I like it. A good idea to spread out the busy last section, if you ask me.
     
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  27. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Some but not all, and other routes too.
    I'd better get the Ingles completed before all the Sarria mob arrives.
     
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  28. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Hola Rebekah - camino busybodies!! ( I love it).
    I have completed only one Camino (by cycle - I hope to return in May 2017 to walk from St Jean) so I don't have the experience to comment on some of the historical/ecumenical finer points. However I do have a real problem with the tourpilgrims - completing the 100 km "bucket list item". I would totally support withdrawing the compostela from this class of " pilgrim", unless they have a physical disability that prevents them from travelling further. (That said I saw at least 2, maybe 3, pilgrims with artificial limbs walking between Ponferrada and Villafranca.)
    I doubt that this issue will ever be solved to the satisfaction of all, but a health debate is always useful!
    Cheers
     
  29. fraluchi

    fraluchi Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I've also read the resolutions dated 12th and 13th of March.:(
    My reaction to the issues: A camel is a horse designed by committee.:D
     
  30. rometimed

    rometimed Active Member

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    Hrm... I like the idea but this would kinda wipe out the English Route would it not?
     
  31. soozansings

    soozansings Active Member

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    Thanks, Mark. I don't need a piece of paper, but if the fact that I only have time to walk from Ponferrada offends anyone, so be it. The fact that the whining and griping offend ME, also so be it. I've got my big girl pants on, but I hope that the folks I meet along my Camino are less judgemental.
     
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  32. AJ

    AJ Veteran Member

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    Amen!
     
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  33. Aidan Trainor

    Aidan Trainor New Member

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  34. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie

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    Thanks for translating and posting, Reb. Please keep us updated on the progress of this very interesting proposal!
     
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  35. zzotte

    zzotte Active Member

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    Thanks for at the translation, I think is a great idea :)

    zzotte
     
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  36. Aidan Trainor

    Aidan Trainor New Member

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    You talk about the trek of Christianity and making the trek 300k to receive your compostela because it is
    too crowded. Do you think it will make a difference 100k -300k people will do whatever they decide and
    not for the Compostela it has little meaning it's only a piece of paper it's what you get out of the trek that
    really matters weather it be 100 or 300.
    Any how it was a Pagan trek long before the arrival of St James so the trek is whatever you want it to be
    spiritual ,religious or otherwise.
     
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  37. compliance51

    compliance51 member 2013 Donating Member

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    I cried when I entered Santiago from SJPP. I walked from Le Puy en Velay to SJPP last year and will finish in Santiago the end of May. It truely is a emotional journey that changes your being. I'm sure I will cry again.
     
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  38. amorfati1

    amorfati1 Veteran Member

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    Thank you Rebecca for taking the trouble to translate this. Wouldn't have otherwise read or heard about it.

    My favorite bits are '...re-establish to dignity of the Compostela..." and "...It is made from deep respect for an ancient tradition that some shortsighted people are distorting for the sake of economic opportunism. If we do not stand up, they will soon destroy the magic that is the Camino de Santiago. ..."

    Dignity and deep respect is an attribute and expression of an inner stance that can be found in any culture and religion. No one religion/culture has monopoly to such human qualities and expressions.
    And I would certainly applaud any effort to remind of this, to encourage to pay heed to the dignity and respect of this path.
    The camino has a certain quality which is very hard to frame into words - in my experience, it nourishes something that resonates in soul. it is Real. It offers so much that is not tangible - and lasts much longer than the dust remains on our shoes.
    Yet that 'magic' defies measuring. But it can be honored and respected. And it can indeed be easily 'destroyed' by not recognizing what it offers.
    Perhaps by encountering it, embarking on this journey with this deep sense of respect and believing that places, rituals, experiences have a dignity on their own... And i certainly would want to pay my respects to that as much as i am able to.
    buen camino - bon chemin - bom caminho

    (And as other posters have pointed out: we as humans have managed to defile so many precious places ... Perhaps we could collectively exhibit awareness in action and do it differently now?)
     
  39. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Personally, I think it's a great idea to increase the distance requirements.
    However, I think as long as book after book, and movie after movie, romanticize the Camino, people are going to want to walk, Compostela or not.

    I can't imagine tour groups sending clients to donativo albergues.
    I'd be afraid my folks wouldn't get a bed!
     
  40. Wokabaut_Meri

    Wokabaut_Meri merely labeled

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    Thank you so much Rebekah for providing this translated version.

    What is described is what is happening to many walks and wild places around the World. 'Loved to death' as @Urban Trekker so aptly states. Here in Australia we are seeing the same approach to our parks now. I don't know what the solution is - perhaps it lies more in people's attitude to the wild and the Camino. A common description for any adventure nowadays is more of a tick on a list than a reverence to a place.

    On a lighter note perhaps we should rename the Camino Forum Camino Busybodies! Love it!
     
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  41. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    I best fit into the group who started as a long distance walker and finished as a Pilgrim. It seems to be a group discussed often enough that there is reason to believe there are quite a number in the same category. I grew up in a non-religious home and schools where I am from do not teach such history so as comical as this may be to many I was introduced to the Camino by the movie 'The Way' and was moved by it. It started my process of getting to SJPDP and while getting a Compostela wasn't my foremost goal, it was a goal because it was what I knew at the time. I was barely fit enough to undertake the whole CF and had an opportunity to carve enough time away to do so. Many aspects of my life changed after reaching SDC including a new, profound sense of spirituality and pride in myself for seeing this through. I fully appreciate the negatives associated with this well articulated document drafted and having read many posts about the final 100kms (I walked during the winter so did not experience this firsthand) but I also wonder how many people who are only able to do the shorter distance (I think many do not have the luxury of time, money, support, etc?) would miss out on the many great things that came along with the completion of a Pilgrimage that can make us better people? On bad days at work I turn around a look at the Compostela on my wall, look at photos I took and come to this forum. It makes those days better and I carry on. I hope whichever ways comes to be, it will be for the betterment of all. These thoughts are not meant to be an opinion one way or the other, just simply my thoughts on the subject presented.
     
  42. Lance Chambers

    Lance Chambers Lance Chambers Donating Member

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    I did my first Camino in Sept. 2015 and started in Sarria. Because of the experiences I had I'm back this year with my son (he's 30 and I'm 66).

    I went on the Camino because I had reached an age where I was unsure of my ability to do anything physical that required some dedication and effort. You may or may not understand how I felt when I walked through the doors of the Cathedral - I felt truly reborn and empowered.

    A small part of wanting to return is, strange as it may seem, to get another Compostela. That piece of paper is a daily reminder that I achieved something and it is also a permanent reminder of the trip/hike/pilgrimage and it seems that there are some people would like to take that away from me. I will walk further this year and will, if I finish, feel even more empowered than I did in 2015.

    Also the people who want to snatch away and devalue that indicator of what I achieved (the Compostela) are, it seems, people of a religious bent who feel that to get the Compostela everyone has to complete what they believe is a true pilgrimage. I believe those 'religious people' are being irreligious, petty and downright nasty. They seem to fail to understand or accept that there are many reason why people do the Camino and that a Compostela can be a part of that without them being Pilgrims in the truest sense of the word.

    Saddened by the parochial attitude of some in this thread.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  43. Dutch

    Dutch Straightforward

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    Not sure if that is true. To many of us here this piece of paper has little value. I value my pilgrim passport and its its stamps and memories that come with each stamp alot more than the piece of paper i can get at the end of a long walk, but i think for a majority of the Spanish people walking just the last 100k, this piece of paper IS one of the reasons for walking. Just one example i have heard from several 100k pilgrims is that they than can add this to there resumé and apparently this adds value. Value they can get over a long weekend of fun with friends for cheap.

    I really believe if you would take away the price money and the end of the 100k walk, many would not bother showing up for the game in the first place. Kinda sad.
     
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  44. Tia Valeria

    Tia Valeria Veteran Member Donating Member

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    The Camino will become a walk for the wealthier pilgrims who are 'time rich' and those who are less able (not disabled), have less financial resources and time free will be excluded. We cannot all return to complete sections year after year, time wise or financially. If the Inglés is excluded from the new rule then why should other 100km Caminos not count as valid too.

    A sad idea which I feel is being driven by secular and foreign organisations rather than anyone else. If the Confraternities are backing it then I do not really want to be part of it. I could not with a clear conscience recommend walking the Camino to many that I know who may find when they come to walk that the rules have changed and their 100kms no longer will qualify.

    Maybe the actual answer to gain respect again for the Camino is a rule by which the only Compostelas issued are to those who have church (ie home church) backing, which they carry with them, as well as the official Cathedral credencial. Everyone else can walk whatever distance and just get a final stamp and then pay for the certificate of distance if they want a piece of paper. Controversial? no more so IMO than the 300km idea. I can already hear shouts of NO... but at least it still includes all walkers and does not exclude folk, many of whom say that the credencial is more important than a certificate anyway.

    Sad, and going to creep away - as one who would have been excluded if this rule had been in place in 2011.
     
  45. Donna Sch

    Donna Sch Active Member Donating Member

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    I'm ambivalent about this one. My main camino buddies were others who had also spent "40 days in the wilderness" on theVDLP/Mozarabe/Levante and yeah, between us we sometimes made comment about "peregrinos lite". Yes the last 100 km from Ourense was party mode for us because we were almost there and we had time to spare and the last 5 days were very easy compared to any other 5 days. But a "peregrino lite" is still a peregrino. And one of my Spanish friends who started in Ourense certainly suffered as her feet were torn apart with blisters. She earned her Compostela with every step.
     
  46. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Hola Lance - I guess you are one of the few who start in Sarria due to the uncertainties of age and physical condition so you are not someone who the proposed changes are aimed at.

    The people I was referring to included the two women I saw alight from a car about 2 or 3 km east of Portomarin, took their overly large backpacks out of the rear luggage compartment; checked the make-up in the mirror and started over the bridge into town. I doubt that they would have even raised a slight glow by the time they arrived at the church to stamp their passports. (The driver of their car passed me on the bridge and was then seen to drive up the hill towards the church. Obviously she/he was going to wait for the passenger-pilgrims.)

    Lance I am really pleased that you and your son will be returning to attempt the Camino from St Jean - you can use your earlier walk as a guide as to how to pace yourself. Best wishes; Buen Camino.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
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  47. Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah Scott Camino Busybody Donating Member Donating Member

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    At the end of the day the camino is still there, with or without credentials or Compostela papers or mileage restrictions.
    If you want to walk the Camino, you can start anywhere you want, and stay as long or as short a time as you like. No one is telling anybody how to do the camino, nor taking anything away from anybody, nor barring anyone from the pilgrimage.
    This document is a history of how the trail developed, and how credentials and certificates became involved. It was written by a respected Gallego historian who knows the Camino inside and out. Yes, it is opinionated. We make no apology for that. It is not a religious document -- FICS members are as diverse as any other group of pilgrims.
    This is food for thought, designed to spark discussion. And so here we are.
     
  48. nellpilgrim

    nellpilgrim Veteran Member

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    It's a complicated business but if the historical heart of the pilgrimage is the issue then surely religious motivation rather than mere distance would be the defining criteria? Tia Valeria's suggestion of pilgrims having their church backing to quality for the Compostela is a start, though of course there are many christians who aren't affiliated to an established church. And perhaps those whose motivations are different getting an equally impressive certificate of distance as she also suggested would be acceptable…..or not?

    The fact is I rather like the buzz of the last 100 kms on the CF and it seems to me, with it's motley crowds and mixture of the sacred and the profane, that it's probably truer to the 'real medieval' pilgrimage experience than any sanitised touristically pure version. Surely having to deal with humanity warts and all and seeing through all the tat and tinsel to the essential is a lesson for all pilgrims? Yet again Fr. Lopez of Triacastela words come to mind "remember God doesn't count your steps or Santiago weigh your pack- what they measure is you heart pilgrim, so look to your heart ....and take care of your feet!"
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  49. Saint Mike II

    Saint Mike II Vetran Member Donating Member

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    Tia you have raised a number of valid points and as I implied in my initial answer I am unable to determine the full background reasons for a change. However let me offer the following: anyone can walk from St Jean to Santiago and call themselves a "pilgrim"; the only reason to have a credencial (and have it stamped) is the offer of cheaper accommodation. If there are no financial constraints on "pilgrim" then they are free to stay wherever they want and the "stamps" become mere talking points over a glass or two of vino at the end of the day. As for your suggestion/recommendation (which I have bolded above) what "church" will be recognised as being an acceptable issuing authority? Today I suggest less the 30% of the pilgrims are practicing Christians (Catholic or Protestant etc) so are you going to recognise a certificate issued by a rabbi; a buddhist abbot or even an imam???
    So as I said previously - this is a discussion that will continue very long after the vino has run out and the lights extinguished.
    Peace be with you as Good Friday approaches.
     
  50. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    I think I understand what you say - and sympathise - with one exception: what is nowadays mostly understood as "true pilgrimage" in the context of the camino/French Way has little to do with (Christian/Catholic) religion. However, the fervour that is often expressed when "true pilgrimage" is mentioned and defended can resemble religious fervour at times.

    The pilgrimages connected with St James in the Middle Ages throughout parts of Europe are referred to as Jakobuskult by historians, ie the cult of St James (without any negative meaning sometimes associated with the word cult). I sometimes think this has been replaced by a Camino cult in our times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  51. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    For me, this proposal needs at least three weeks of research!

    However, a cursory glance shows that Anton made no mention of the reasons and the main protagonists who were responsible for the resurrection of the Camino de Santiago from almost total obscurity in this century.

    Without understanding this, it is going to be an uphill battle to reverse nearly 30 years of massive investment into the concept and vision of the EU - which, lets face it, had the full support and co-operation of many governments, municipalities, pilgrim groups, associations, church bodies, cities etc., (everyone with a vested interest)

    The main focus and intention of European Union was to develop the Camino de Santiago as a European cultural itinerary. [The 'period' or 'full stop' is important.]

    Quote: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang WILD - 1987
    "Our work is aimed not only at the pilgrims, who are guided by spiritual motives, but also at those expressing cultural practices peculiar to our own age and society. As we have pointed out on several occasions, and I should like to do so once again today, the purpose of our work is not merely to revive the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim routes for nostalgic, erudite or archaeological reasons, but also to project them into the future.”
     
  52. TerryB

    TerryB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I have said my piece on the thread last year when this subject came up.
    I can agree with the above quote! Much else of what is said is elitist and exclusivist. There are many pilgrims (in the best sense of the word) who walk who are not "disabled" who cannot manage to walk 300 kilometers due to restraints and time, ability, age and sometimes energy. We cannot all "cowboy up baby".
    The use of public albergues by tourist groups is forbidden anyway.
    And by the way, the early shrine at Compostela could have been to Priscillian, bishop of Avila and so-called heretic and not St James the Great. :p

    I may sign in again when kindness and openness reasserts itself!
    Tio Tel
     
  53. Tincatinker

    Tincatinker Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    This Thread https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...-for-organisation-to-run-its-albergues.39227/ and the link within has its own message on the camino in Galicia. In essence the company with the contract to run the Xunta Albergues can't make a profit and are pulling out. Some of the public comments attached to the article are interesting. There is evident resentment expressed at the cost to the community of supporting the camino infrastructure to provide cheap holidays.

    There is a further article in La Voz http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/notici...e-red-oficial-gallega/0003_201603P24C1994.htm which states that the only Albergue that does make a 'profit' is Pontevedra which is run by volunteers organised by the Asociacion de Amigos del Camino.

    Neither of these issues relates directly to the proposal from FICS but it struck me that the infrastructure many take for granted as they walk down that golden tunnel of the Camino may not be as stable as it looks.
     
  54. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong but I think this does not refer to the European Union but to the Council of Europe, located in Strasbourg and a totally different kind of entity.

    What the European Union has done, on a large scale, is pouring money into Galicia since Spain joined in 1986 (!), as Galicia is one of the poorest regions of Europe and receives support through their regional development funds and programmes. These funds are administered by regional administrations such as the Xunta of Galicia. I guess that most walkers are totally unaware of this but this money has financed a lot of the roads and paths and other infrastructure they use, restoration of houses and other buildings etc. Look at the Xunta's plans for the Camino in Galicia for the next few years (Plan Director y Plan Estratégico del Camino de Santiago en Galicia 2015-2021), the EU's ERDF logo is right on the front page.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
  55. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    This is all very interesting! I am enjoying the parry and thrust of all the varied opinions.

    Keep it up folks...debate is good.
     
  56. Mark Lee

    Mark Lee Guest

    "Elitist"? Shoot, no way am I that. I'm just an old southern redneck, and the only exclusion I believe in is to exclude those that take themselves too seriously, ha ha. ;)
    cheers....baby
     
  57. SEB

    SEB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you for this Tincatinker, this - together with Rebekah's OP - is perhaps the most pertinent post I have read regarding the financial realities of the Camino. Your first and last paragraphs definitely merit serious reflection with regards to the future of the Camino infrastructure and our own expectations as pilgrims. I hope that this intervention will mark the start of a long reflection of how best to balance the economic needs of the local communities' with their - up until now - willingness to encourage and support the thousands of people walking to Santiago. Spain is in dire financial straits, it is incumbent upon any of us who can do so to repay the hospitality that has been extended to us.
     
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  58. Waka

    Waka Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Some but not all, and other routes too.
    It worries me that as pilgrims/hikers religious or not we can judge were and how far someone should walk to gain the Compostela.
    I have to admit that for me the journey from Sarria was marred by many things, not just tourists, but I never once felt that they shouldn't be there, or not obtain a Compostela, and never once was I in a position that I couldn't find somewhere to lay me head when my body told me to stop.
    Why should I worry if someone gets a Compostela for not adhering to the rules, it doesn't affect me. I know in my heart what I have achieved and that's all that matters.
    I really don't think that by changing the rules on distance will make any difference, it might just mean that tourists will ride a little longer.
    We must remember that everyone does their own camino for whatever reason, and should be welcomed by all.
     
  59. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Active Member

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    (Camino Primitivo, Caminho Portugues including Coastal Route/Fatima/Variante Espiritual, Camino Ingles September/October 2017)
    The Camino is certainly becoming a big business, particularly in Galicia. I saw this protest sign in Sarria last year. The locals certainly do not like the commercialism either.

    DSCF9229.JPG
     
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  60. Dutch

    Dutch Straightforward

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    Pacific Crest Trail april thru sept 2016
    And the picture of the banner is for what exactly?
     
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  61. MaidinBham

    MaidinBham Active Member

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    My humble opinion is that the local, municipal and national government's should do whatever necessary to preserve and sustain the Camino and the rich cultural, historical, and spiritual treasure's you find in every step. If this means that distance for compostela is changed from 100km to 300km, then that is what should, and must be done. I don't know enough about the history of El Camino, to know if 300km is a arbitrary distance or not, but would even go as far to say, make it an even greater distance. Pilgrim's may still collect their stamps, carry a credencial. and perhaps compostela's given for people with disabilities.
    For me, the things that make El Camino so special, can not be packaged as a product that is bought and sold, as in lets say, Sarria where a commercial product and opportunistic tour operators have manipulated and exploited resources. The "Sarria Camino" is for me anyway, not the The Way. It should not be packaged as such, and if local and national governments deem that quality of life for the locals, or sustainability of cultural tourism is lacking, or not producing a "quality" product, then I hope that the powers that be, will have the wisdom, experience and knowledge to make the necessary changes. I also believe that everybody must walk their own camino. But I also believe that everybody must realize the impact their camino has on the bigger picture.
    I worry a lot about sustainability of El Camino, as the world increasingly becomes a more complicated place. But I can only do my part, and I am increasingly conscientious about the impact I have when walking my camino. Be mindful, be respectful, and realize you are not walking alone (even if solo) you are walking with a community that is so much bigger and more complex than you alone. Honor The Camino every step you take.

    Janice
     
  62. soozansings

    soozansings Active Member

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    Thank you. I agree.
     
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  63. Charrito

    Charrito Active Member

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    An interesting thread, and one which undoubtedly will have many different points of view, as we have already seen from the previous posts.

    As something of a 'veteran' (I walked the Camino Francés in 2006, and have since been on many more routes), I have to say that something does need to be done about this. I was about to say 'this problem', but I feel that being negative is not the right approach.

    It is, indeed, more than annoying when you leave Sarria at 7.00 in the morning and find hundreds of 'pilgrims' in front of you on the road, many of whom you have not seen previously. It is even more annoying when you see that many of these have no rucksacks, but are walking in massive groups with their luggage being transported to the next town for them.

    The Camino does not always have to be religious. It is for me, but it is also an amazing cultural experience, an escape from daily routine, a chance to enjoy some well-needed peace and tranquillity, meet people from near and far, witness the marvellous landscapes, sample the gastronomy, and a whole lot more.

    Recently, I have been walking less crowded routes, like the Variante Espiritual on the Camino Portugués or the Camino de Invierno. For those of you who do not feel overjoyed with the thought of the masses on the last 100 kilometres, or if you just don’t have enough time to walk 300 kilometres, look for alternative routes.

    Whatever your cup of tea, if you have never walked the Camino then it will almost certainly hook you after your first time, and many of you will be back.

    Buen Camino to You all!
     
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  64. SEB

    SEB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Thank you Janice - so considerate and beautifully expressed.
     
  65. clearskies

    clearskies Veteran Member

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    Thank you Rebekah for posting the article. There is a need for debate on this issue as the way things are at present cannot be maintained.
     
  66. AJ

    AJ Veteran Member

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    Isn't any set distance arbitrary?
     
  67. oursonpolaire

    oursonpolaire Veteran Member

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    Some of us like the stamped credencial as it provides us with a credible alibi. If we are ever asked to assist the police with their enquiries and they wish to know where we might have been on (say) September 15, we are able to flourish the credencial, note that we were in the albergue in Estella and, by the way, were the Germans ever terrible snorers that night.
     
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  68. Older Guy

    Older Guy Active Member

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    Interesting discussion. I have seen elitism sweep so many USA wilderness areas. Now, it is hard to hike certain wilderness areas without either reserving a permit well in advance, or win a lottery that rations out permits. This is even true for climbing mountains. As a youth, when I backpacked in national parks & forests if you came to a camp and there was someone there, you hiked a few miles further to the next campsite. Today that is impossible.

    I have not yet done my Camino, but will shortly by bicycle. I can bicycle 2oo+ miles is 2 days and have regularly. I can bicycle 450 in less than a week, but I am going to take a little less than 3 weeks to do my Camino. But if I did it in less than a week, it is not a pilgrimage, it is an endurance sporting event. For me the attraction of the Camino is that it can be many things all at the same time. For me it will be a pilgrimage, it will be a physical challenge, and it will be tourism and experiencing other pilgrims.

    Perhaps to me the most troubling aspect is.....
    This reminds me of those who want to limit tourist and outdoor enthusiasts in US national parks and wilderness areas. I understand the concept, but when I have seen government or organizations, impose high fees, fitness requirements, or luck in order to get access to public lands, I find it troubling. The Camino is public right of way for the most part. Yes the Albergues are publicly or non-profit funded, but they also charge for their services.

    I can understand how people who go by bus from city to city collecting stamps and then seeking their Compostela are both cheating themselves and cheapening the document. However, as will all things in life, you get out of something what you put into it. They get the paper and they get what they think are bragging rights. For some with disabilities it may be a point of pride, for the rest, they know they cheated and they will not be able to tell the stories of the life changing experiences they acquired.

    If the Compostela requirement for walking goes to 300 km, I would hope that they would adjust the horseback to a longer distance as well as the bicycle to say 400 or 450 km, but I think that the real point is to manage the crowds and make it a more elitist undertaking. I think that the change in the passport initiated by the Church in Santiago is another attempt to make it harder for the tour bus operators to sell the illusion of a Compostela. I would suggest that folks wait and see how that goes before they take this next step of a longer distance requirement.
     
  69. simply B

    simply B member Donating Member

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    @Rebekah Scott


    Thank you for your efforts in keeping us informed! Here’s my take, for whatever it is worth.


    Adherence to the “Historical Truth” of the Camino #1 – I just do not think that matters to most people anymore. The changes I have seen just since I was a ‘newbie’, and not that many years ago, are striking and I do not expect them to pass until the internet becomes un-economic.


    Adherence to the “Historical Truth” of the Camino #2 – In my experience, most of the Compostela-driven horde are natives of the country in which the rest of us are guests. Call me a wimp but I am loath to tell my hosts what to do and how things should be done.


    Practical #1 – Not too many weeks ago, I often came upon pilgrims on Rua Villar looking for the Pilgrim Office. (They were apparently not members of the Forum!;)) But how does one phase in “new rules”…and over what time frame?


    Practical #2 – “Tell me the game and I will play it!” Said to me by many employees over many years. More rules just tell people the ways to circumvent the rules to their advantage. People adapt - - that is just what they do. 100 km or 300 km, people will figure out a means to exploit it.


    Practical #3 – In light of #3, I would sign up for the last 300 km being a problem? (Nope.)


    Practical #4 – Do the resources exist to make all the folks at the Pilgrim Office both experts on the historical tradition as well as diplomats? Seriously, I would not want to be in their shoes when someone who walked the Ingles gets a Compostela while those who walked from Sarria do not qualify. (I think that the exception for the disabled is good but who sets the test for disabled?)


    Spiritual – The heart of the Camino experience is really in the heart of those who walk it. Are the last 100 km different in character? Yes. Can they be annoying to folks who have walked from afar? Yes. Do they have any less to teach us in terms of tolerance and long-suffering? IMHO – No.


    On Business – Times are tough, worldwide. I am not disposed to put people out of business who have gambled on the Camino as a means for income. These situations are self-limiting. Over-popularity that we witness now will give way to abandonment as things get too crowded. Dissatisfaction with crowds grow, numbers fall off and the Camino will go into slumber as it has several times over the last millennium plus. Hard to envision but these things happen. Will I help to accelerate the cycle? No.


    Just my ramblings,


    B
     
  70. Richard P

    Richard P Member

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    Thank you Rebekah for beginning this thread and posting the FCIS letter.
    When I set out from Geneva almost a year ago destined for Santiago I felt I was on a personal journey of thought and lots of time for reflection. The carrot at the end (the Compostela) was not even on my mind, though I did know of it. As I progressed I met many people who were also headed to Santiago but as I soon learned - not this time. They had the good fortune of living in Europe and could return home and come back at another date. This made me think about the camino in the historical sense as to how many people set off from home with one goal in mind -Santiago! There was no compostela and how many had to return before they had reached their goal because of banditry, illness, weather etc. For them it was a singular purpose journey - Religious.
    Jump ahead to the present day in Spain where I also met people who had one goal in mind - Santiago. Only difference was many of them were starting in Bilbao (a favorite, because it missed out a lot of mountain walking) , Santander (easily accessed airport) and many smaller towns further west. I even met folks who were determined to "Knock off" the Norte by starting in Pendules and Ribedao.
    At first this bothered me. Then, as I had a lot of time to think and reflect, I realized that in fact I didn't care one wit. They were out here walking, adding Euros to the local economy and feeling genuinely happy in their journey.
    As someone posted earlier about getting University credits for receiving the Compostela I did meet a number of young people who were taxiing from one location to another to get their stamps. Well, so what? At least they were spending money. It had nothing to do with me. I was on my own journey.
    Ultimately the compostela really is only a piece of paper. You know what you - the peregrino has done. That is where the final nod of the head is.
    Enough ramblings
    buen camino
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  71. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Why ever not? The FICS paper doesn't present a compelling case for change.
     
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  72. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    I wonder what Don Elias Valina Sampedro [who is referred to many times in the article] would have thought about all of this?
    His dream and his vision was to lead pilgrims back to Santiago, on foot, horseback, bicylce and in family cars. Yes - in cars!
    It was never the intention of Don Elisa that pilgrims should only stay in albergues. On the contrary, he promoted and supported the local hospitality industry. The first appendix in his 1985 Guia del Peregrino book lists “Hotels on the Camino de Santiago’ complete with telephone numbers and number of beds. Hotels over two stars were not listed because "they receive ample publicity". He suggests that in small towns pilgrims visit the Tourist Offices for information on families that let out rooms.
    “Do remember” he warns, “that some hotels, fondas and refugios that appear in the relevant section of this guide may operate for only part of the year. For this reason, and to avoid unpleasant surprises, it is best to telephone ahead if travelling out of season.”
    He offers advice for people making the journey by vehicle and the words ‘fit for vehicles’ is included when describing the paths. Don Elias advised pilgrims to exercise common sense in their choice of vehicles, saying that what is possible for a jeep or an all-terrain van might not be possible for a family car. “Exercise common sense and always carry a spare tyre.” He says.

    Can you imagine the outcry if Don Elias was alive today and suggested any of the above on this Forum or on his Facebook page!
     
  73. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    My solution? If we want to go back to how things were, do away with the distance requirement. This, and this alone, has caused the over-crowding and the excessive promotion of the last 100km.
     
  74. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    The peive Rebekah posted explained very well how the proposed 300km is set in the history, in the origins, of this particular pilgrimage. Not arbitrary one bit, unlike the 100km the tourism in Galiccia promoters set in the 90s.,:(
     
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  75. NualaOC

    NualaOC Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I agree, although I think this is part of a wider question about the meaning and relevance of the compostela. Any decisions about the need for a distance requirement should IMO be based solely on this question, rather than on complaints/opinions about pilgrim behaviour, commercialism etc.

    This is an interesting idea - even though I would be one of the many people no longer eligible for a compostela in such an arrangement.
     
  76. dougfitz

    dougfitz Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Sorry, but incredibly arbitrary. Choosing the distance traveled by what one might assume to be a wealthy individual with the resources to pursue his pilgrimage in some comfort does not appear to me to be any justification at all. It is an incredible stretch of the imagination to see how that might apply to the experience of the bulk of pilgrims, then or now.
     
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  77. sillydoll

    sillydoll Veteran Member

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    In 900 AD there was no Spain, and no Portugal. The Kingdom of Galicia had a border with Al-Andalus and Leon. Any historical arguments are subjective to a certain era, and certain places that existed at that time.
    The Codex is quoted frequently as a reference. Why not make the required starting point in San Michel and Borce as described by AP? At least John Brierley would be happy!
     
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  78. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    This is really quite a thought provoking thread and certainly interesting to hear many different POV's. Just another thought to add to the mix regarding the relevance of a Compostela and a person's desire and motivation to have one. I know it's not exactly apples to apples but if I understand correctly, Pilgrims of old would scour the shores of Galicia to find a scallop shell to take home with them to verify that they walked the Camino all the way. Symbolically, this seems very similar to obtaining a paper Compostela, something that declares to others that we are Pilgrims and we traveled to Santiago. In a thread of a few months ago, many members of this forum showed all other members their pride for a 'Wall of Camino' in their home with their Compostela taking its rightful place of honour.
     
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  79. Kathar1na

    Kathar1na Member

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    Depends on how old ;). Pilgrims of old were not allowed to travel as freely as we are allowed to travel. They needed permission and documentation from their local authorities before they left and they needed to bring back proof; pilgrims were also exempt from (road) taxes while travelling and needed proof of their status. That's why Santiago Cathedral handed out "compostelas" in the Middle Ages, see this quote: The age of this document goes back to the 14th century. The one granted to the French pilgrim Yves Le Breton, on 1 May 1321, is still kept in the “Pas de Calais Archives”. Also, in “Zoendic bonc de Gantes”, the Flemish pilgrim Guillermo van de Putte was granted La Compostela on 13 September 1354; and the Arxiu Museum in Barcelona keeps the one given to Bartolomeu Montels de Cordedeu, dated 24 August 1535.

    The difference between now and then: pilgrims were required to get this official paperwork, we aren't.

    Another difference: in those days, the church (ie Santiago Cathedral) told pilgrims what to do, now pilgrims can try to tell Santiago Cathedral what to do.;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  80. MichaelB10398

    MichaelB10398 Active Member

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    To me the compostela is a spiritual document that is intended only for those who go on pilgrimage for a spiritual purpose. There are other documents that are issued and, maybe new ones, that could be issued for those who have walked the Way for secular purposes. I think the documents should be issued by different entities....possibly. This would ensure there is no confusion between two documents and to treat each as valid, desired, and special.

    The demands of the compostela for spiritual purposes is governed by the Catholic Church. In this instance, there should be a distance requirement. However, for the other I am rather ambivalent. If you walk and you want one, go get one. The merit is that an individual chose to go and finished some distance. The document should reflect how far you walked.

    There appears to have always been some degree of conflict defining a "true" pilgrim. I tend to resist the use of pilgrim in secular terms, but that is just me and my own peculiarities. Others feel differently - thus the presence of the conflict. I appreciate the disagreement, but I find more value to the position that the compostela certificate, as issued by the Catholic Church, to be only for those who walk for spiritual reasons. When that discovery was made - before leaving one's home or two days before entering Santiago is irrelevant to me. Further, only the individual knows and can answer honestly.
     
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  81. clearskies

    clearskies Veteran Member

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    Maybe not, but I support it. A lot don't. I can't see the Dean being one.
     
  82. t2andreo

    t2andreo Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Although this has been an interesting thread to follow, I have avoided wading in. Primarily, this is because my opinion does not matter.

    Besides, I am a pilgrim. To me the journey IS the destination. I relish every moment I am walking on Camino, and am, frankly, depressed and morose when it is over. The journey home is always filled with the desire to chuck it all, turn around, and be a hobo or Camino Groupie in Santiago. I have modest, but independent means, so it is even possible, visa notwithstanding. Only the realization that I have a family back here (in the US) prevents me from doing so in any given year. Sometimes responsibility does suck!

    Simply give me a worthwhile pilgrimage destination and I will manage to journey there, walking as much as possible, as long as the Lord gives me strength and keeps me vertical and self-propelled...one foot in front of the other, repeat as needed, and remember to stop when you arrive at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

    Mileage requirements are irrelevant. Having done several Caminos, I now realize that the Compostela is a nice to have piece of evidence of satisfactory completion, following the arguably arbitrary Church requirements, but it is not, in and of itself, the motivating factor. Any spiritual benefits obtained are just that, spiritual. They would accrue regardless of paper documentation.

    Rare is, I opine, the deceased pilgrim who shows up at the Pearly Gates proffering his or her Compostela to gain access...although I submit this seems to be the widespread belief among our Spanish Camino cousins, many whom who walk the least acceptable distance, and then jostle and clamor to get the Compostela when at the Pilgrim Office.

    BTW, this has been my direct observation and experience from two years of volunteering at the office. But, and nonetheless, I respect their motivation. And as one of the basic Camino Rules proclaims: "It is not for me to judge, for I do not have all-seeing knowledge..." Besides, I too am a Pilgrim...

    This year, I will dedicate my Camino (starting from Madrid on 7 April) to a very ill friend in Belgium who is, frankly, on his deathbed. I would walk any distance to achieve this accomplishment for any friend or loved one. Yes, there will likely be a Compostela. But it is not for me. I will send it to the wife of the friend. If it sustains him in his time of need, or improves his spirits, my purpose is achieved.

    So, and IMHO, the relevant authorities in Spain can do as they wish. It is irrelevant. I am a pilgrim. I will adapt to and overcome whatever new or changed requirements they throw at me...bring it on!

    However, I rather suspect there are competing, local and regional economic and political interests at work here. In the ongoing movement of the human race and among humans, this is a normal progression. It is to be expected for competing provinces or other local jurisdictions to compete each other for large pieces of the presently finite Camino peregrino economic "pie."

    Were I to have an opinion, it would likely be something like, leave well enough alone, and work together to focus on making any deficiencies along The Way better. If larger numbers of pilgrims are, thus attracted, everyone benefits. But playing "Lifeboat" (tossing some communities and divergent interests out of the lifeboat to preserve others) with the finite existing resources, is a losing proposition. Someone will always lose. I opine that the relevant authorities should figure out how to expand the size of the overall economic pie.

    I hope this helps the dialog...
     
  83. MaidinBham

    MaidinBham Active Member

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    Whether arbitrary or not, the problem of sustainability on El Camino still behooves the question of what can be done.

    Janice
     
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  84. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    I keep coming back to this thread and I read all the views with interest. I'm still convinced that 100km or 300km, the modern Camino is what it is and new rules, just as with King Canute, won’t be able to stop the tide. The letter is interesting and the debate too but I have to say I'm always really uncomfortable with the terms tourgrino/true/real pilgrim and the like... I've said before it just sounds like an inferior term, almost an insult? Even if unintentional... and it certainly sounds like a judgement? But maybe I'm just way tooo sensitive!

    I wonder if someone can help? I've tried to find some figures and not been successful... what were the numbers of medieval pilgrims? In its peak, do we know how many were waking each year? I did read once that at its most popular 10% of Europe was either walking to or walking from a Camino... which sounds incredible? The reason I ask is that I'm guessing that through the centuries the Camino has evolved and changed to meet the demands of the many and the few. The towns we now love grew out of need to for services. I wonder if in those days, over the years, if discussions such as these also took place?

    I've also been thinking about the last week of my Camino journey and if was too busy. On my first Camino I took the last bed in Larrasoana and Los Arcos... never in the last week. On my second I took the last bed in Zubiri and Logrono was full to bursting? So... my problems were early not later, which is interesting?

    And... finally. I was raised as a Protestant by parents who came from Methodist and Chapel backgrounds... no frills religion! At 16 I joined a friend at her church, her family were born again Christians and Wow I was so shocked by all the singing and clapping and hugging... not what I was used to at all [​IMG]:D Then, as an adult working in London I went to a Gospel service and WOW! Both experiences were far removed from my parent’s church... but what I took away was how much joy there was... the whole building buzzed with joy. I like to think that the last 100km has some of that joy.
     
  85. koilife

    koilife Veteran Member Donating Member

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    It seems to me that a central question, which I did not see answered in the OP, is when did the Compostela as a document start getting issued, and why was it issued?

    Assuming the following are true:
    1. the compostela has genuine roots into the middle-ages and is not actually a modern invention since the resurgence of interest,
    2. the original pilgrimage of the Camino was for Christian religious reasons, and walking for holiday or health or culture is a modern phenomenon,
    3. the compostela was originally awarded for those who made pilgrimage for religious reasons as an evidence of having done so, and
    4. there are legitimate reasons for traversing the Camino other than Christian religious reasons,
    then I would suggest that the Compostela remain as an artifact recognizing that one made pilgrimage for Christian religious purposes, regardless of distance. The problem is one of determining purpose. Personally, I think @Tia Valeria's suggestion of a parish stamp or letter of recommendation is a better way to address this than any other I've seen so far. It resolves the questions of disability, limitations of time, arbitrary albeit historical distances, how many stamps each day, whether or not the credencial is issued by an exclusive authority, etc.

    I think it remains the unavoidable fact that the common end of these pilgrim routes is the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela that houses the bones of St. James the Greater. If one disbelieves at least the possibility of that, or does not accept the most fundamental aspects of the Christian faith, then there should be nothing about the camino that attracts them that is different than, say, walking the Appalachian Trail or cycling the wonderful trails across Europe. Unless, it is that there is an inexpensive and readily available infrastructure which makes the camino attractive. If the goal is inherent to the journey, and not to the destination, then the Compostela, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and the camino itself are merely conveniences or accidentals, and they are not relevant.

    If one does not believe in saints or the Christian faith, then why should there be any issue with not awarding a recognition for having made pilgrimage to the tomb of the saint for reasons of the Christian faith? And frankly, if one makes pilgrimage for reasons that exclude a Christian religious one, regardless of distance, they probably don't care for a certificate about a Christian religious purpose. Likewise, if one is not Christian, they probably don't care for a certificate about a Christian religious purpose. They should make pilgrimage for their own purposes, and nothing about the Camino should inhibit that choice. If a Jew or Buddhist or Muslim or agnostic or atheist or New Age spiritualist or pagan wants to walk the Camino, wonderful! If some form of recognition of completion is important to them, then a distance certificate or the other certificate (I forget what it is called) should suffice.

    But, if one makes pilgrimage to the tomb of a Christian saint for reasons of faith, it is reasonable to recognize that purpose via the Compostela when the pilgrimage is completed, assuming they care about such recognition in the first place. Moreover, it needn't be their only purpose, it just needs to be part of their purpose. Likely, the actual recognition is not a primary motive, simply a fringe-benefit and a wonderful memento. Obtaining a stamp or letter of recommendation of that purpose from their local parish/church/congregation is reasonable to receive the Compostela. And, if they are not affiliated with any particular church (perhaps they are lapsed, or grew up in a largely agnostic or spiritual/individual context), then it should still be relatively easy to approach any local church and articulate a desire to walk for religious purposes, even if that is simply to grow closer to God (as this is still in the Christian context, I assume this to be the Trinity, or the person of Jesus), and receive a letter acknowledging their expressed intent. If a church refuses, then some other church will almost certainly grant a recommendation.

    Please note, I have explicitly avoided making this Catholic/non-Catholic, as recognition of the saints is part of the wider Christian heritage, and even for those denominations that reject belief in saints, respect for one of the original apostles of Christ seems appropriate. Note also that I am NOT suggesting the camino be restricted in any way to elites, specific denominations, specific motives, cowboys (<grin>) or "true pilgrims" (I term I have grown to dislike intensely from its abuse).

    Nor does this address in any way the issues of overcrowding, overuse, or economic interests. But, I think it does refocus the intent of a Compostela to affirm one's pilgrimage as an expression of the Christian faith, and not merely as a function of arbitrary distance.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  86. MaidinBham

    MaidinBham Active Member

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    I actually read in a thesis paper written about "Sarria Camino" that the 100 km was set by the Santiago Cathedral because it marks the Galicia border. Circa 1985 when Galicia tourism was promoting El Camino.
    Janice
     
  87. SEB

    SEB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    LesBrass, your comments are really interesting but some aspects prompt further thoughts, as no doubt some of mine will bother you, but we can, after all, speak from experience or offer an opinion, it has no more gravity than that.:)

    I also twice had the experience of taking the last bed in an albergue, both occasions were before Puenta La Reina last year. I have posted elsewhere with regard to Camino Angels, of the time someone took me into their home when I had nowhere to sleep that night, this was before Logrono. I started walking the end of March/so by the beginning of April the crowds descended for Semana Santa, and most places were completo pretty soon after opening. Friends who walked the Camino last September booked rooms in a private albergue in Ages and witnessed two other pilgrims, who had also booked ahead, being turned away, their bunks having been given to others, the reason given that they arrived too late. So already we have pressure on beds in some places and at some times on the Camino Frances well before Sarria.

    I am an Anglican, although not attached to any church as I live miles from the nearest town, but, using your King Canute analogy, I would be swimming against the tide of certainty if I attempted to deny that the Camino has its historic beginnings and its contemporary conclusion (if a compostela is collected) in the Catholic church, and just as I respect my Spanish hosts for welcoming me to their country, so I thank the Catholic church for including me in its various provisions along the Way and at its end. It does not matter why people walk - leisure, social contact. 'looking for love' as some have posted on this forum or athletic challenge. That is their right and nobody else's business, unless those who are walking for religious/spiritual reasons (and doing so on a very limited budget) then find that the pressure on the infrastructure results in no places to stay for them, then I consider it a threat to pilgrims being able to consider going on religious pilgrimage to SdC. I take your point about derogatory language with regard to those walking from Sarria, but I do think it is permissible to regret the negative impact of the marketisation of the Camino by commercial (not individuals shepherding groups) tour operators allegedly booking blocks of beds in albergues, albeit private. One of the (many) good things about walking from SJPDP is that we can learn useful stuff along the way: how to live alongside people in crowded and basic conditions, how to share, how to let go of first impressions that too readily could become final judgements. Judgement - such an interesting word with too many negative interpretations, it can also be about discernment, evaluation of what is good and what is not. A recent post in this thread expressed what I mean better than I can, so I hope that @MaidinBham doesn't mind me quoting it here.


     
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  88. hughwilliams

    hughwilliams New Member

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    So many ideas of a camino, I like walking and meeting people, if they walk fast then we walk together.
    I have also walked several days with people recovering from serious heart problems. From Nerja to Burgos with a Dutch man who had just had a triple bypass was truly a humbling experience. Yet with Florida Bob just a week later, the old fit American trail walker showed a gentleness of spirit worthy of any camino.
     
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  89. MichaelB10398

    MichaelB10398 Active Member

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    At no point have I understood any effort in this process (to continue with a 100 km camino or lengthen it to 300 km in order to receive a compostela) as a way to limit who is and who is not a pilgrim or to exclude who is invited to participate going on the Camino. There has been no effort to exclude any religion, or any individual who desires to go on Camino for their own spiritual purpose. No one is defining that spiritual purpose.

    We have grown far too concerned about defining anything for fear of excluding anyone from anything. The problem is that someone who goes on Camino for secular purposes in a conscious manner does not merit a compostela. I don't see why that is a problem for anyone. For those who have a spiritual motivation to walk the Camino - no one is defining that degree of spirituality or from which religion it sprouts - they merit a compostela.

    The only thing that is being presented is to lengthen the distance to 300 km to merit a compostela. BTW, the Compstela has been issued for over a thousand years. In Catholicism it was viewed as an indulgence since the Middle Ages.

    What has always impressed me is that Catholicism welcomes all to the Camino without reserve or rancor. Most, if not all, participants on the Forum echo that same kind of charitable acceptance of all others that walk the Way. We need to retain that degree of charity towards all while new changes are discussed or presented. My sincere thanks to all for your desire to kindly interact with all here and on the trail.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  90. Arn

    Arn Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Congrats to everyone!
    This is a thread that clearly shows the level of critical thinking and intensity of positive civil discourse that make the Forum...not just another "social media", # driven, ego centric, Blogobitchosphere.
    High marks to you all. And, thank you Ivar for making it possible.
     
  91. Ray J

    Ray J Member

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    From the article: "Finally, another logical exception must be granted to disabled pilgrims, for whom the 100 km limit should continue."
     
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  92. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

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    I believe you have studied this to a greater degree than I have however my understanding is that the documentation from their local authority was the key to passage (to and from SDC) while the Compostela was official proof of completion & admission into the hospital for 3 day while the scallop shell was the unofficial proof of completion prior to Evidential letters or Compstelas in the 13th century. Is this not correct?

    I am interested to learn if all Pilgrims needed these letters of passage. If you lived within Galicia did you require a letter and were the wealthy and Royalty also required or was it just the common man who must have these documents? I know this is an aside but seems like you might be the right person to ask about such history.

    While most today are not required to get this official paperwork, my understanding is it actually still required by some who are part of the programs that substitute walking the Camino rather than have jail time for troubled youth primarily, as I understand it. In these cases they must return with a Compstela. While not a Church indulgence, it is still an indulgence requiring proof in the form of a Compostela.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  93. kelleymac

    kelleymac Active Member Donating Member

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    Here is the crux. The motivation of maintaining the Camino and it's development needs to be focused on Culture and Heritage, not Tourism. My son and I walked from Leon to Santiago de Compostela in March/April 2015. (I wish now we had begun from Burgos, but I was concerned about not having enough time.) We return in three weeks to begin at SJPP. --- Back to 2015-- We passed Sarria, and there was a marked difference in -- oh, everything. Attitudes of locals, prices, lack of working kitchens at the albergues, those stupid peregrino cartoon figures for sale on shirts, etc. -- I remember being surprised at seeing people walking without packs, with make-up on!-- It's difficult to convey the difference in outlook. Walking for days is humbling, it puts one in a different place and gives one different eyes. --- My older sister tells me she would like to walk the Camino-- she has her eyes on a tour that will carry her pack, that will reserve a bed, that will cook her food, will give her a lift if her feet or knees hurt. She asked me if I would join her, and I think "No, I can't." I haven't said that to her, I want to be supportive. I don't want to be a snob, but it just wouldn't be a pilgrimage for me, and I can't quite get my head around not being part of the longer flow. --
     
  94. SEB

    SEB Veteran Member Donating Member

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    With regard to the Compostela being a certificate awarded by the Catholic Church for those who walked the Camino for religious/spiritual reasons, just check out - I just did - the websites of Camino tour companies. All those I looked at made a point of saying that those walking with them will qualify for the Compostela when they reach SdC. No mention was made that the Compostela is in recognition of having walked the Way as a religious pilgrimage or the possibility of receiving the alternative distance certificate for those who walk for non-religious reasons. This is misleading and wrong in so many ways. :(
     
  95. Tom Leonard

    Tom Leonard Boston Strong

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    Dropping the certificate and having your stamped passport works for me and good idea . The SARRIA starting point for me was more about trying out the Camino , time , and health after coming from USA and not about any certificate . Having visited all our national parks , which are truly awesome , the "parks for the people " are being restricted which hopefully will not be the case for any part of the Camino .
    Moving to SPAIN next winter and not for any certificate !
     
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  96. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    What? Some people are currently sent on the party trail as a substitute to jail time? Really? So they bus and taxi 100 km for 4 days, stand in line for an hour or so to get their Compostela and voila? Surely no corectional institution of some sort really believes this will teach anyone a lesson or get the culprit thinking and seeing the light...

    Sorry, back to the regular talk.
     
  97. LesBrass

    LesBrass Likes Walking

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    Looking at this from the outside I would say how great that your sister has been inspired to walk... because of you.. that's wonderful! Maybe this time she needs the security of her plans but in the future she may choose differently. My sister has also asked to walk with me a bit and the idea of the albergues horrifies her (and my husband actually) but I'll compromise a little on the group accommodation if it means I get to walk a while with my nearest and dearest... and share the camino with them... and maybe there's a bit of a camino lesson in there for me too?
     
  98. Walker 123

    Walker 123 New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    I will be doing my fist Camino starting April 27,2016 from SJPP to Santiago. I agree that it should be longer than 100k or in my eyes 62 miles.... That is nothing compared to 500 miles... Maybe they should get some other kind of certificate for doing 100k. I too am worried about getting to Sarria and having the same feelings as mentioned above...I will try and keep an open mind. I appreciate all the info and experiences posted on this forum as it will help me to achieve my goal of finishing a very long journey. I cannot wait for the experience to begin. It will be the biggest journey of my life and will allow me the time to reflect on my life both past, present and future. And to test myself physically Hope to see you on the trail! Buen Camino
    Patty
     
    lessonslearnedabroad and Kanga like this.
  99. jozero

    jozero Oh... That's what the shell is for... Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Nanoose Bay, BC, Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    CF January 2013
    CF April 2016
    CI June 2018
    "Historically, many countries have provided criminals with the choice to either serve prison time, or do the Camino. Even today, Belgium will sometimes allow minor crimes to be pardoned by completing the pilgrimage. While, in these cases, the Camino was used as a form of punishment, its impact upon a pilgrim’s connection with themselves and their world community could instead be regarded as an unconventional form of rehabilitation."

    The source of this text is from the Camino Documentary website (http://caminodocumentary.org/the-camino-de-santiago/). The Belgian person I knew of who chaperoned these youth walked with them from Brussels, Belgium to SDC (1,550 mile, 4 month walk) and all were required to camp in tents that they carried on their back so hardly a "100km bus and taxi party for 4 days...".
     
  100. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Camino addict

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    Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Some, and more.
    If they are walking for 4 months and with a chaperone, surely they don't need the Compostela as proof of having walked.
     
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