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

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kelleymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
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?
Yes, you are right. I need to look at her more, and include her in the Camino in my heart.-- Perhaps we could meet in Sarria and we could walk from there together, or perhaps the Ingles Camino.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
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. :(
I run a small company that takes groups on the Camino. We don't ask people about their religion when they join our groups. We do tell them that to qualify for a Compostela they have to walk the last 100km. Its up to them to decide whether or not they want one. You'd be surprised at how many people don't.

When you arrive at the pilgrim's office, they will ask if you have walked for religious or spiritual reasons, cultural or Sport. It is up to the individual to be honest about their reasons. At the end of my first Camino I was sure that I wouldn't be given one because I am a Buddhist. I so badly wanted one that I ticked all the boxes to make sure I got one!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
You keep using the word 'surely' but I don't think it means what you think it means.
Well, if I google the definition I see "with firm belief" "with assurance or confidence" ... If I gogle further Oxford dictionary says "used to show you are almost certain of what you are saying and want other people to agree with you". Also "used with a negative to show that something surprises you and you do not want to believe it"

Surely I know how to use the word. Thank you.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino(s) past & future
Leon - Santiago (2015); Ingles (2016); Baiona - Santiago (2018)
I think the real solution was buried - it's not the 100 km that's the issue, but that the Tourism Dept runs Camino things in Galicia rather than the Culture & Heritage. A change in focus on the part of the Xunta would create other changes. Last year was my first Camino, and I walked from Leon to Santiago. Yes, it got more crowded past Sarria, and yes, I got a little judgey at a couple points, but we're all walking our own paths and I do believe that part of that path is learning that it simply doesn't matter what others are doing, all that matters is what is in our own hearts.
 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
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
I walked from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago in 2014 and loved every moment of it. But I doubt that I would have done it had I not done the final 100 km some years before that. I am sure that like me, many people are attracted to the camino after doing the shorter walk. As a non-Catholic and agnostic, I am also a little worried about a proposal which seems to suggest that there be some distinction between the real pilgrim and the mere hiker. The charm of the camino is that it treats all walkers as equal and provides what they need - for some that might be religion, for others, like me, an opportunity for peace and thought. Discrimination between groups of walkers may weaken the wonder of the way.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015) SJPdP (2016) Burgos (2017) SJPdP (2018)
I did my first Camino in 2015 from Sarria to SDC. Please don't take the negative attitudes about the 'crowds' to heart. I loved every second of my time on the Camino and at NO TIME did I feel it was crowded. I did it Mid-Sept when the crowds are supposed to be 'suffocating' - they weren't.

Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
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
I completely agree . Why make preparation and train for months to achieve something significant both physically and spiritually when thousands of walkers,many of whom even have luggage transported take all the rooms for what is basically a short weeks holiday and something to put on their CV. It is my view that should this change happen then a signicant drop in what are really tourists will happen and The Way will resume its true meaning.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
then a signicant [sic] drop in what are really tourists will happen and The Way will resume its true meaning.
The difficulty with this analysis, and it occurs throughout this thread, is that we are all tourists, inasmuch as we are traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture, or visiting a number of places for our objects of interest (paraphrased from the OED). Or one could use the UNWTO definitions, but they have similar effect.

The debate amounts to creating a distinction between different classes of tourist - walkers, riders of various forms, and vehicle passengers, all of whom might or might not be pilgrims.

So positioning the debate about reducing the numbers of a particular class of tourist is pure elitism, nothing more complicated. It appears to me that if there is a real case to be made for this, it needs to be founded on something other than discriminatory behaviour, and in the couple of times this has been discussed in my time here, FICS have not been able to do that. Until they do, I think they are bound to fail.
 

Barbara

Active Member
k. 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

Why shouldn't she do that? You choose to walk, she chooses to walk with help. The reason people walked in the middle ages was that walking was free. The rich went on horseback and stayed in relative comfort.
I choose to walk or cycle, but I defend the right of others to travel as they choose. Just will they please not use the places provided for those who walk, ride a bicycle or a horse (which with the changing infrastructure is not an easy option! )
I avoid the Frances because I prefer a quiet time. Fortunately there are other ways to visit Saint James. The Compostella is meaningful for me, and last year I was able to have the name of a very good friend put on it, as he is now too ill to walk himself. His joy was humbling to me.
As it happens it had been a long Camino, over four years and three sections. I began at Finisterre in France with my lovely donkey, and after she was no longer able to continue, I cycled the French coastal route and the Norte (slowly, with a lot of pushing the bike up the hills) If I had walked from Sarria l don't think he would have been any less happy.
Can we please respect everyone's beliefs and needs, and not treat those who do a short Pilgrimage as somehow inferior? Because in that case we should insist on walking from our front door, and then returning on foot (using boats as required :) of course)
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
The Doctor is IN: There are several themes that permeate this thread…Receiving the Compostela is a Catholic thing, a spiritual thing…a reward at the end of the tunnel…er, Camino.


For others, it’s a “surprise”…had the pilgrim not known there is such a thing as the Compostela when they set off along the Way, this bonus will now reside in their hold baggage among the forty unmentionables they refused to wash. That’s what moms are for…right?


So, let’s tackle the “Catholic” thing first.


Regardless of whether the route to the end of the world (Finisterre) passed through what is now Santiago presages the revelation that the remains of St James resides there, the Apostle is Catholic, the cathedral is Catholic, the pilgrim’s Mass is Catholic, and the Compostela is Catholic.


Let’s for the moment disregard the whys and the wherefores that the Compostela can be received by lapsed, or never was Catholics…these pilgrims may indicate their sojourn was “spiritual”. They were lost, but now are found.


Or, none of the above, been there, done that…got the Compostela!


To assuage the disappointment of many that set off with the intent of walking a great distance to Santiago and because of one malady or another…get to Santiago without the necessary continuous 100 km into it’s environs (isn’t that what this thread is about)…they can now get a “distance traveled” certificate.


Here’s my point: Men and women with the power to shape, or skew a popular (read religious or cheap vacation) undertaking, or habit (bottled drinking water) into a revenue generating stream will do so.


It’s for each of us to exercise our free will as we set out to walk the Way for whatever reason and against whatever odds.


When the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus, he responds by asking for a coin.

Examining it he says, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” When his enemies say “Caesar’s,” he tells them to render it to Caesar. In other words, that which bears the image of Caesar belongs to Caesar.


The key word in Christ’s answer is “image.”


This has consequences for our own lives because those of us that walk the Way as Catholics, and many other Christians, believe we’re made in the image of God.


Once we accept this, the impact of Christ’s response to his enemies becomes clear. Jesus isn’t being clever. He’s not offering a politically correct (my thought) commentary. He’s making a claim on every human being Christian or not.


He’s saying, “render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar’s image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God’s image” -- in other words, you and me. All of us!


In the time of the Caesars, there was no more powerful nation in that known world.


Today, what took the Roman legions months of walking to enforce that which was “Caesars”, we of the Forum can accomplish in mere days, with a bit of walking added in.


Many of us will find ourselves different from the person that started out, while others will return again and again seeking, ever seeking. In the final analysis, all of us are fortunate to meet others that choose, for whatever reason, to walk along the Milky Way with us. God Bless you all!


Arn
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
The difficulty with this analysis, and it occurs throughout this thread, is that we are all tourists, inasmuch as we are traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture, or visiting a number of places for our objects of interest (paraphrased from the OED). Or one could use the UNWTO definitions, but they have similar effect.

The debate amounts to creating a distinction between different classes of tourist - walkers, riders of various forms, and vehicle passengers, all of whom might or might not be pilgrims.

So positioning the debate about reducing the numbers of a particular class of tourist is pure elitism, nothing more complicated. It appears to me that if there is a real case to be made for this, it needs to be founded on something other than discriminatory behaviour, and in the couple of times this has been discussed in my time here, FICS have not been able to do that. Until they do, I think they are bound to fail.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I can't see that the FICS proposal makes any attempt to distinguish the motives of people walking. It merely wants the 100km rule changed to 300km.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2016) Portuguese 2017
Sorry I do not agree. This is a pilgrimage and you keep referring to tourists. The major problem is the attraction to many people of getting a certificate for fairly minimal effort and in many cases no effort as luggage and bookings are taken care of. If this was not the case far fewer people would do it and instead of after 700 ks finding all of the accomodation booked pilgrims would be able to find somewhere to sleep. For many this is something to tick off or put on their CV and the true spirit of The Camino is lost.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I can't see that the FICS proposal makes any attempt to distinguish the motives of people walking. It merely wants the 100km rule changed to 300km.
Really, I think this quote is telling:
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.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Yes, @dougfitz you may be right in that it is part of this person's reasoning, but the actual proposal does not suggest any changes except for the distance.
 
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Barbara

Active Member
You don't have to walk to go on a pilgrimage. You only have to walk to get a Compostella. You can get on an aeroplane and go direct to Santiago, pray at the tomb of the Saint. That makes you a Pilgrim.
Just like going to any other pilgrimage site. The walking is optional.
It doesn't have to involve effort or be painful.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Yes, @dougfitz you are right in that it is part of this perso's reasoning, but the actual proposal does not suggest any changes except for the distance.
It is clearly a purpose of the proposal to reduce the numbers of what are referred to as tourists. Given we are all tourists, by both common English usage and the UNWTO definitions, it is essentially saying something about a class of tourists that are unattractive to FICS. As it stands, I see that as elitist and discriminatory.
 

Urban Trekker

Happy Trails
Camino(s) past & future
English Camino (2013)
Portuguese Camino (2014)
French Camino (2016)
Way of Saint Francis April 2017
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 !
I chose the English to "wet my feet", the Portuguese to make sure I liked "wet Feet". I wanted to save the entire French way if I liked walking the caminos. :)
 

Dickwilbur

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2011, Primitivo, 2013, Via Francigena 2014, 2015 VDLP, 2016 Via de la Costa and Via San Francesco
If I have understood this correctly, one of the main reasons for the suggestion is to try and reduce the crush of folk that commences at Sarria at certain times of the year

If the aim is to reduce traffic on the Way over the last 100km, perhaps it would be better to deny credentials to those who start in Sarria. That way if somebody were walking just to receive a credential they would be forced to start in Ourense or Ferrol and thus boost the numbers on those routes. Can't recall meeting anyone on the Sanabres last year who had started in Ourense, the alburgues I stayed in were large and modern and could cope with an increase in numbers.

If the motivation is other than the receipt of a credencial, crack on. Start in Sarria?

I was under the impression that the vast majority of those who do the last 100 are mainly Spanish. My recollection is certainly of that, therefore I assume that they would not be unduly penalised by starting in a different location if they are looking to augment their CV with a Compostela?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Sorry I do not agree. This is a pilgrimage and you keep referring to tourists. The major problem is the attraction to many people of getting a certificate for fairly minimal effort and in many cases no effort as luggage and bookings are taken care of. If this was not the case far fewer people would do it and instead of after 700 ks finding all of the accomodation (sic) booked pilgrims would be able to find somewhere to sleep. For many this is something to tick off or put on their CV and the true spirit of The Camino is lost.
@Richard A Stead, if what you claim to be the problem is people who aren't walkers or riders of bikes and horses etc, and the current mechanisms are not working to your satisfaction, what other mechanism would you propose. Running the rhetoric around a distinction that isn't real - tourists vs pilgrims - just makes FICS appear elitist to me.

BTW, I don't pretend to be able to detect the motivations of others, and wouldn't know whether they are on a CV ticking exercise or have some other motivation for their endeavours.
 

Old Koot

Member
Camino(s) past & future
(09/2013)
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.
Yeah!! For that reason alone, the change to 300k or more should be made. Perhaps it just might discourage all the loud and obnoxious partying drunks who make the last few days of walking a real ordeal.
 
A

AJ

Guest
You don't have to walk to go on a pilgrimage. You only have to walk to get a Compostella. You can get on an aeroplane and go direct to Santiago, pray at the tomb of the Saint. That makes you a Pilgrim.
Just like going to any other pilgrimage site. The walking is optional.
It doesn't have to involve effort or be painful.
I completely agree. I expect that most of the pilgrims to Lourdes, Fatima, Rome, Mecca etc. would agree too.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese
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.
I will start the Portuguese Route in September starting from Lisbon. What are the odds of us coming across each other in Santiago!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I don't know as I have an opinion on this, or have a right to an opinion, except that people who do not fulfill whatever requirements the albergues have should not be staying in them. But I don't wish personally to police this. However, on my pilgrimage last fall I met a fascinating young woman who was walking only from Sarria. She had five year old twins at home, so this was the maximum time away that she could manage. Because she had arrived in Sarria on a Sunday and had a problem with getting a credencial (or getting hers stamped, I don't remember the details), she walked with no expectation of a compostella at the end of her walk, only a hurried flight home to her obligations, the girls and the job - a very responsible one with the Bank of England. I would hate for her to have been excluded by new regulations, but then, she could have and probably would have, walked the same distance in any case. There may be many people who walk a short pilgrimage because the responsibilities which they have at home exclude a longer one. I wouldn't like to suggest that they do not carry their weight. I wish them to walk in joy and arrive with the satisfaction of having walked their way as best they could, as we all do.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I see that as elitist and discriminatory
I said this earlier, and on reflection, it may well be that to implement any changes, there will need to be new rules that discriminate against a certain class of people. Currently, the rules discriminate between those who walk 100km and those who don't. That is a reasonable factual observation, although there are possible abuses of the evidentiary requirements. Using albergues is also subject to a similar test, with the same potential for abuse. It is not a perfect system, but then I doubt any rules based system would be, and any system that relies on detecting the motivation of the individual is just nonsense. Is there another approach? There must be, but let's not make its design motivation be to deter those we somehow deem unworthy based on our assessments of their intentions.

In this, I also think we should consider how any proposal might affect those who currently walk the minimum distance with a sincere religious or spiritual purpose. When I walked, the road from Sarria seemed to be full of people about whom there was no reason to make any other assessment. I recall that when I walked in 2014, I really only had 12 days, and chose to do a slightly extended CI and then to walk to Muxia and Finisterre. I can imagine many others facing similar time constraints that the current proposal would effectively preclude.
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
The difficulty with this analysis, and it occurs throughout this thread, is that we are all tourists, inasmuch as we are traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture, or visiting a number of places for our objects of interest (paraphrased from the OED). Or one could use the UNWTO definitions, but they have similar effect.

The debate amounts to creating a distinction between different classes of tourist - walkers, riders of various forms, and vehicle passengers, all of whom might or might not be pilgrims.

So positioning the debate about reducing the numbers of a particular class of tourist is pure elitism, nothing more complicated. It appears to me that if there is a real case to be made for this, it needs to be founded on something other than discriminatory behaviour, and in the couple of times this has been discussed in my time here, FICS have not been able to do that. Until they do, I think they are bound to fail.
This is a difficult thread to keep a grip on because it connects to so many recurring themes on the forum. You are right dougfitz to draw attention to the need to make clear the parameters of the debate but I disagree with about elitism. While I appreciate the usefulness of definitions, in a later post you quite rightly say that it is not in your gift - and I assume anyone else's - to know someone else's motivation (if I have misrepresented your actual words or gist or your argument, please excuse me, they are not in front of me as I write because I don't know how to paste two quotes into one post:eek:). But the thing is, no matter what the OED might state, I was not a tourist (traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture) when I walked the Camino. Last year I walked out of sadness because of the loss of my partner, but also to give thanks for the blessings of that loving relationship. It was prayers and tears that characterised the early stages of my walking and an unwillingness on my part to forge friendships. No doubt next time I walk, the experience will be different, if only because the grief will not be so raw, but those long stretches of walking in solitude were for me the beginning of an emotional and spiritual healing - and yes it is still possible to walk the CF for long stretches with no-one in front or behind you. I live in a beautiful part of the world with ample opportunity for walking, but the Camino makes physical, emotional and (for me), spiritual demands unlike any other route. The knowledge that the Camino has had a long historical and religious meaning for thousands of people may, I acknowledge, have little significance for many folk - that is an observation not a judgement btw - but for me it meant a great deal. and made the Way something more than a very long walk. I am not elitist but neither am I a fundamentalist relativist either. It matters to me that goodwill might be eroded by economic opportunism and that those who choose to walk for religious/spiritual reasons may find it increasingly difficult to access that dimension of their Camino because there is not as much money to be made from them as there is from untrammelled tourism and my fear is that the former's needs will be trivialised or silenced at the shrine of laissez-faire.

Arn, I welcomed the overall content of your post, but surely Christ's reaction to the money-changers in the Temple might be the more apt example here, he was most definitely not a supporter of laissez-faire attitudes in matters religious.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
But the thing is, no matter what the OED might state, I was not a tourist (traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture) when I walked the Camino.
Are you suggesting that you had no interest in visiting St James' tomb, the Cathedral, Santiago or any of the major cultural and religious sites along the way. Even if you don't think of your journey as being to see the cultural phenomena of the Camino de Santiago, you appear to be ignoring that part of the meaning that includes
or visiting a number of places for our objects of interest.
 

Louise G

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Tour de Mt Blanc 2010
Cycle Loire 2011
Gr 20 Corsica 2012
West Highland Way 2012
Coast to Coast 2014
Cinque Terre & Amalfi Coast 2015
Camino Le Puy - Santiago(April 17th 2016)
Having read all of the above, & experienced a few "Pilgrimage" destinations of different beliefs around the world; I have come to the conclusion that (unfortunately) commercialisation will win out ever
We each have our own religious/spiritual/bucket list reasons to embark on these "expeditions" & should respect each others rights to do so in what ever form they choose to do it. Looking at the state of the planet from a safe haven in the southern hemisphere, I feel that we all need a bit more tolerance and respect for differing views and beliefs.
As to what constitutes a "Pilgrimage" in this instance? The Certificate is issued by the Catholic Church to pilgrims who have completed at least 100kms travel & as such, should be awarded to pilgrims who have undertaken the journey in order to awaken or deepen their personal spiritual awareness. This should not preclude non-Christians. The fact that the last 100kms is crowded with people who seem to be having a jolly time should be irrelevant. It may be annoying for people who are undertaking a longer journey to find that there are people who appear to be trivialising the Pilgrimage ethos. (Maybe by the time one reaches the last 100kms, tiredness can make one a little techy) As has been suggested, those of us who are undertaking the Pilgrimage for religious reasons cannot afford to have an elitist attitude towards others who have not travelled a long distance in the original form of the medieval pilgrimage.
Is the FICS suggesting that there be two separate Certificates? One for those who have completed the 100kms "Short Pilgrimage" (commercial/tourist) and another reserved for those who have completed a longer spiritual/religious journey/belong to a Confraternity. Is that is the reason behind the current thread?
If it were a requirement for a pilgrim to obtain a certificate from their home church to qualify for the final Certificate at Santiago - I doubt that would change anything - the tour operators could easily arrange that!!
As I am starting my Pilgrimage in Le Puy in three weeks time, this will all become clear to me over the next 4 months. Getting a Certificate to say that I completed the journey will be an anti climax for me; as the journey itself is why I am travelling halfway around the globe. I am not the fastest walker, so will no doubt also find myself at the end of the queues in July in the last 100kms; but will trust that my needs will be provided for. I haven't been left out in the cold yet.
 

psychoticparrot

psychoticparrot
Camino(s) past & future
April, May (2017)
Chaucer's pilgrims included a vulgar miller, a gluttonous monk, a less-than-chaste friar, a bawdy woman, a snooty knight, a greedy merchant, an air-headed squire, etc., etc. These pilgrims, although fictional, represented a very believable cross-section of pilgrims in medieval time, when pilgrimages were made for ostensibly religious reasons only.

The Canterbury bunch doesn't sound a whole lot different from today's pilgrims -- everyone has a different reason for undertaking a pilgrimage. People are the same now as they were then -- party-lovers side-by-side with the humble supplicants. Changing the length of the pilgrimage route won't change people, but it might help manage the physical load of the Camino and distribute the traffic more equitably.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I want to say something on behalf of the owners of private accommodation who make their livings along the last section of the camino frances. About a day's walk short of Santiago, myself and two sisters met by chance (?) on the path while searching for a place to spend a rainy night. The three albergues in the neighbourhood had just closed for the season, including the Xunta albergue, which was supposed to be open all year. The owner of a private hostal/albergue decided to take us in, as well as three male pilgrims who likewise had nowhere to go. He provided us with comfortable 3 bedded rooms for 10 euros each (0ne hostal room for the women and another for the men, as the albergue was closed). He cooked us a delicious meal with wine for another 10 euros, and a special meal for me as I eat vegetarian. He was very friendly and confided that he had walked pilgrim routes himself. Not all those who make their livings housing pilgrims in the last 100 k. of the camino are solely motivated by greed. Good people are everywhere and, as we learned once again that night, the camino provides.
 
D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
Are you suggesting that you had no interest in visiting St James' tomb, the Cathedral, Santiago or any of the major cultural and religious sites along the way. Even if you don't think of your journey as being to see the cultural phenomena of the Camino de Santiago, you appear to be ignoring that part of the meaning that includes
The answer to your question dougfitz is that I did not travel for sightseeing purposes, especially the visiting of 'religious sites' for non-religious purposes. I never entered a church without lighting a candle and leaving a prayer. Your response to my post is one that apparently endeavours to 'win' the argument rather than to respect or understand the nuances of what I had written, this is a shame as I respect your many, and often wise contributions to this forum. No-one here on the forum has a monopoly of truth or righteousness, we all express opinions shaped by experience, and sometimes tempered by analysis and all of us learn. Our debates here should never be reduced to a case of 'I am right and you are wrong - and I will prove it!' Frequently on the forum there are statements - with which I agree - that all people are free to walk the Camino for whatever reason. But the mention of walking for a religious/spiritual purpose seems to bring a rush of blood to the head for some who walk for recreational reasons. Often these posts are unnecessarily defensive; seeking to preserve the religious/spiritual dimension of the Way for those to whom it is important is just that. It matters only to those to whom it matters. It is not a barb aimed at those who do not share such inclinations, neither is it elitist or trying to guilt trip the non-religious pilgrim. Walking for religious reasons is not synonymous with hair-shirt asceticism; wine will be drunk, laughter will be loud, embraces will be shared and the rare luxury of stays in private rooms or non-albergues will be pleasurable and guilt-free. Walking the distance possible in the time available with given resources but with a good heart is surely what we all do. but, in the light of Rebekah's original post, there are difficulties regarding the increasing pressure on the pilgrim infrastructure in a country suffering an economic depression and this merits serious attention.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
The answer to your question dougfitz is that I did not travel for sightseeing purposes, especially the visiting of 'religious sites' for non-religious purposes. I never entered a church without lighting a candle and leaving a prayer.
@SEB, thank you for your response. Let me make it clear that I don't see any need to invest the words 'tourist' and 'sightseeing' with any more than their ordinary meanings. I am happy to be called a tourist and a sightseer. I cannot see how one could undertake a Camino without wanting to visit or see the places and sights of interest to me as a pilgrim. If I am also allowed to spend a few moments of quiet reflection in a church because I happen to be passing at the same time as the parish priest has the building open, or I am silently watching the Botafumeiro swing as part of the Mass, those add to my experience as a pilgrim, but do not make me any less a tourist and sightseer. Put another way, I see my experience as a pilgrim built on my experiences as both a sightseer and tourist, not different from them.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
Sorry I do not agree. This is a pilgrimage and you keep referring to tourists. The major problem is the attraction to many people of getting a certificate for fairly minimal effort and in many cases no effort as luggage and bookings are taken care of. If this was not the case far fewer people would do it and instead of after 700 ks finding all of the accomodation booked pilgrims would be able to find somewhere to sleep. For many this is something to tick off or put on their CV and the true spirit of The Camino is lost.
Richard , you indicate you are going in 2016,
How about you go and walk and then comment on what you have seen and experienced live on the Camino.
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Ok, I'm sorry as this will seem like I'm making light of this very imporant matter... I'm really not... maybe I'm bringing a little light?

We talk about how busy the last 10okms are, and for some it's a culture shock... when I walked, the last few days did feel like the camino was celebrating our arrival.

It made me think of this video... of a little girl who thought she had to sing really really well in her nativity... I watched an interview with her (now as an adult) and she said she thought she was just singing loud and clear so folks could hear. Either way it's joyous... and maybe all the noise and bussle of the last 100kms is joy too?


 

Hurry Krishna

Indian on the Way
Camino(s) past & future
2009 (from Sarria), 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port, 2016 from Porto, 2018 from Le Puy to Santiago.
I did my first camino in 2009 - just the last 100 k and loved it so much that I went back and did it again in 2014 from St Jean Pied de Port. And am going back on 7 May to walk from Porto. I would not have done the longer walks with the first short one. I don't think it matters how one starts the Camino. What matters is that the Camino provides each of us with what we need. I would be very concerned if we started to discriminate between the 'tourists', the religious, the spiritual and so on.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles 2016
Camino Portuguese 2017
We will walk our first camino with 5 of our children this August. We are walking the Camino Ingles as it is a distance we can do as a family and the fact that it is a complete camino. At 120 km it qualifies for the compostella but if it didn't we wouldn't care. Its about the journey and the experience, what we will discover about ourselves and each other, not about a piece of paper. I think our photos and pilgrim passport will be a nice physical reminder of the pilgrimage but how we are changed by the experience will be the ultimate thing we take with us.
 

PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
Well, if I google the definition I see "with firm belief" "with assurance or confidence" ... If I gogle further Oxford dictionary says "used to show you are almost certain of what you are saying and want other people to agree with you". Also "used with a negative to show that something surprises you and you do not want to believe it"

Surely I know how to use the word. Thank you.
I think Jozero was pulling your leg, Anemone. He was quoting from a much loved movie, The Princess Bride (pretty well word for word), and I will think (hope) was not doing so to antagonize you. :)
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
This is a difficult thread to keep a grip on because it connects to so many recurring themes on the forum. You are right dougfitz to draw attention to the need to make clear the parameters of the debate but I disagree with about elitism. While I appreciate the usefulness of definitions, in a later post you quite rightly say that it is not in your gift - and I assume anyone else's - to know someone else's motivation (if I have misrepresented your actual words or gist or your argument, please excuse me, they are not in front of me as I write because I don't know how to paste two quotes into one post:eek:). But the thing is, no matter what the OED might state, I was not a tourist (traveling for recreation, pleasure or culture) when I walked the Camino. Last year I walked out of sadness because of the loss of my partner, but also to give thanks for the blessings of that loving relationship. It was prayers and tears that characterised the early stages of my walking and an unwillingness on my part to forge friendships. No doubt next time I walk, the experience will be different, if only because the grief will not be so raw, but those long stretches of walking in solitude were for me the beginning of an emotional and spiritual healing - and yes it is still possible to walk the CF for long stretches with no-one in front or behind you. I live in a beautiful part of the world with ample opportunity for walking, but the Camino makes physical, emotional and (for me), spiritual demands unlike any other route. The knowledge that the Camino has had a long historical and religious meaning for thousands of people may, I acknowledge, have little significance for many folk - that is an observation not a judgement btw - but for me it meant a great deal. and made the Way something more than a very long walk. I am not elitist but neither am I a fundamentalist relativist either. It matters to me that goodwill might be eroded by economic opportunism and that those who choose to walk for religious/spiritual reasons may find it increasingly difficult to access that dimension of their Camino because there is not as much money to be made from them as there is from untrammelled tourism and my fear is that the former's needs will be trivialised or silenced at the shrine of laissez-faire.

Arn, I welcomed the overall content of your post, but surely Christ's reaction to the money-changers in the Temple might be the more apt example here, he was most definitely not a supporter of laissez-faire attitudes in matters religious.
Thank you.
At some point, Christ rebelled against "consumerism" in the temple courtyard and hoped to return the courtyard to a place of reflection. Understand this, the presence of pervayers of doves and money lenders was regulated by the Temple itself to their own grandizement and profit.
Walking the Way can, and should, be for the greater glory of God.
For any other reason, that is your reason and your choice.
I've encountered many a non, or lapsed Catholic, walking the Way in step with their own drummer who at the Pilgrim's Mass find God...or better yet, find true worth in themselves.
I hope to run into many of you as you Camino to Santiago.
Happy Easter!!!
Arn
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
I understand that this thread is about making the Santiago archdiocese change the conditions for awarding the Compostela and not so much about the Compostela as such. However, I have just discovered the Xunta's Xacopedia (in Spanish). The entries I have read so far are excellent and appear to be well researched to me. Some of you may be interested in the entry on the Compostela .

PS: I searched the forum for the word "Xacopedia" without succes. How come? Is this something new?
PPS: Anton Pombo and Carmen Pugliese belong to the group of editors of the Xacopedia.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
I think Jozero was pulling your leg, Anemone. He was quoting from a much loved movie, The Princess Bride (pretty well word for word), and I will think (hope) was not doing so to antagonize you. :)
Thank you PEI Heather. Thing is, where would this idea come from based on my use of the word "surely"? Because the original quote in the movie does not refer to "surely" but inconcivable. It may have been a witty way on his part to criticise my use of theword, the problem is that the way I use it is correct and does mean what I think it means. o_O
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Concerning the entry for Compostela in the Xacopedia (in Spanish) mentioned earlier: the first photo on the top of the entry are not yet filled in compostelas from the 1650s. The text is fundamentally different from today's text, it confirms that the recipient, as a pilgrim, went to confession, received absolution and took communion, which was of course in those days an absolute necessity for it to be a pilgrimage.



EDITED to insert link to image of first compostelas (1600s).
 
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PEI_Heather

Canadian Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016 - Voie de la Nive
2012, 2016 - Frances
2013 - Portuguese
2012, 2013 - Finesterre & Muxia
Thank you PEI Heather. Thing is, where would this idea come from based on my use of the word "surely"? Because the original quote in the movie does not refer to "surely" but inconcivable. It may have been a witty way on his part to criticise my use of theword, the problem is that the way I use it is correct and does mean what I think it means. o_O
You're right, 'inconceivable' is the word that Vizzini uses and that Inigo Montoya catches him on (in the Princess Bride): "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
He could have been watching the movie when he wrote his comment; the much quoted remarks may be ingrained in his memory; your comment might have tweeked his memory and the line from the movie came up. I think he was not criticizing your use of the word 'surely' but just possibly trying to inject some humour to keep the conversation from going south--too serious. My take on it; only he can tell you. Hey Jordan in BC? Care to join in?!

The use of the word 'surely', if someone really wants to make a joke about it, is used in the movie Airplane (and yes, I am also trying to inject a little humour to keep the conversation not serious!):
Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?
Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.
Rumack: I am serious...and don't call me Shirley.

:D:p:D:p:D:p:D:p:D:p:D

(Happy Easter, Anemone!)
 

Arn

Moderator
Staff member
Concerning the entry for Compostela in the Xacopedia (in Spanish) mentioned earlier: the first photo on the top of the entry are not yet filled in compostelas from the 1650s. The text is fundamentally different from today's text, it confirms that the recipient, as a pilgrim, went to confession, received absolution and took communion, which was of course in those days an absolute necessity for it to be a pilgrimage.
Kathar1na you have hit an "historical" nail on the head as to the why the Way was and IS important today.
"The recipient (read pilgrim) of an indulgence must perform an action to receive it. This is most often the saying (once, or many times) of a specified prayer, but may also include the visiting of a particular place (Santiago), or the performance of specific good works."
It was, among others, the wholesale granting of indulgences that heralded the Reformation.
Let's lay this at the feet of where it belongs...Gutenburg for the Xerox of his time and the Jesuits for the many schools of learning they established. Had man, privileged or not, been illiterate, the need for the Compostela would not exist.
The multitudes of pilgrims of that time were not literate and they did not have room in their "hold baggage" for the cylindrical repository of a Compostela. Hence, they traveled on and collected a scallop shell to signify the completion of their pilgrimage.
The Compostela of today is biodegradable; the scallop shell is for the ages.
 

Shelley862

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
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
Hi

I see this proposal has only just been published. What happens next? And if there is to be a change in the rule when will it happen? And will a period of notice be given? Thanks
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Jeez, everyone is a critic!
A pilgrim is a person set apart by a holy purpose. If that's elitist and exclusive and hurts someone's feelings, well. So be it.
There is an ongoing confusion between the Holy Year indulgence and the Compostela.
The Compostela as we know it today is just acknowledgement that a person has visited the cathedral in Santiago, having made a journey for "pious reasons." It doesn't give anyone a "get out of hell free" card, it makes no statement about mileage covered or personal righteousness. It just says you were there in response to a promise made or a pious desire. The 100 km. covered is implied, but not expressed. A Compostela has no price tag, but a donation is suggested to cover costs.
The mileage certificate, an innovation of a couple of years ago, is the big money-maker these days for the pilgrim office. It is pretty, it acknowledges the "long-haul" achievement, it costs little. Producing it -- as well as selling postal tubes and souvenirs -- has slowed down the lines at the pilgrim office significantly, but it rakes in well over 100,000 Euro per year, tax free, so what's not to like?
The actual Compostela indulgence requires a walk through the Holy Door, confession, absolution, prayers for the pope, and attendance at a religious service in the cathedral. It doesn't cost any thing, but you don't get any certificate or souvenir or anything to take home and show your friends. You get nothing but Blessed Assurance.

IMHO, A Camino well-walked with compassion for fellows on the trail, finished-up at the Cathedral with thankfulness, cuts through all the rigmarole and rules. A pilgrimage is between you and God. The rest is noise.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
IMHO, A Camino well-walked with compassion for fellows on the trail, finished-up at the Cathedral with thankfulness, cuts through all the rigmarole and rules. A pilgrimage is between you and God. The rest is noise.
In that case why keep on about changing the distance and not just leave well alone! Those who want to walk more can, those who don't have no need of being told to walk further etc.......
 

Pato777

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2015 and 2018 October >
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
Good idea in theory, so many people have reasons for only completing 100km's, often it has to do with poor health, or a lack of time. I have heard some heart warming stories about people completing the Camino before passing on. So any decision, on giving out recognition for those who walk under 300 km's needs to be taken with great sensitivity and understanding. In my opinion, it will not affect how I feel or how motivated I am when I walk. It's irrelevant if the person walking next to me has travelled 10km's or 10000km's. Patrick
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
The 100 km. covered is implied, but not expressed.
Unless I am mistaken, the 100 km are stated explicitly in the current (2015 / 2016) version of the Compostela which contains the lines perfecto itinere sive pedibus sive equitando post postrema centum milia metrorum, birota vero post ducenta pietatis causa, devote visitasse.

Which means more or less literally: on foot or riding after one hundred thousand meters, by bicycle however after two hundred thousand meters, for religious reasons, as a devout visitor.

One hundred thousand meters = 100 km
 
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alarvatu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
First important aspect about Camino is: it's not the destination that matters but the Journey !
The longer, more meaningful it becomes.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Having logged in to read a PM I will respond and then go again....
First important aspect about Camino is: it's not the destination that matters but the Journey !
The longer, more meaningful it becomes.
No, sorry, it is the pilgrimage to Santiago and the Cathedral that is meant to be meaningful, the distance is not what matters most. As has already been said it is possible to walk a short pilgrimage with a pilgrim's attitude just as well as a longer one. Time taken can add to the whole, but some of us take 9 or 10 days to walk the distance others can cover in 5...partly because of speed and ability and partly because we are stopping at the various churches etc along the route in preparation for our arrival in Santiago itself.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
Having logged in to read a PM I will respond and then go again....

No, sorry, it is the pilgrimage to Santiago and the Cathedral that is meant to be meaningful, the distance is not what matters most. As has already been said it is possible to walk a short pilgrimage with a pilgrim's attitude just as well as a longer one. Time taken can add to the whole, but some of us take 9 or 10 days to walk the distance others can cover in 5...partly because of speed and ability and partly because we are stopping at the various churches etc along the route in preparation for our arrival in Santiago itself.
I am not sure how to say this, but I cannot surely be the only pilgrim who felt nothing on arrival in Santiago and was relatively indifferent to the Cathedral. I went on pilgrimage because of a strong sense of a divine calling, and when I claimed my compostela I noticed that I was the only one on the page who had marked that I was walking for a religious reason, but the goal of the pilgrimage did not touch me when I arrived. I was much blessed in the course of my pilgrimage and I believe that Tia Valeria is correct that traditionally "it is the pilgrimage to Santiago and the Cathedral that is meant to be meaningful." But I went on pilgrimage knowing that I had to go but with no specific expectations. I received blessings beyond anything that I anticipated, but none was associated with the geographical goal of the route. For me, it was the end of something, not really a culmination. I suspect that I am not alone in this.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
IMHO, A Camino well-walked with compassion for fellows on the trail, finished-up at the Cathedral with thankfulness, cuts through all the rigmarole and rules. A pilgrimage is between you and God. The rest is noise.
Hey Reb, is it ok if I still keep on going to Finis Terre with the same heart? ;)
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Unless I am mistaken, the 100 km are stated explicitly in the current (2015 / 2016) version of the Compostela which contains the lines perfecto itinere sive pedibus sive equitando post postrema centum milia metrorum, birota vero post ducenta pietatis causa, devote visitasse.

Which means more or less literally: on foot or riding after one hundred thousand meters, by bicycle however after two hundred thousand meters, for religious reasons, as a devout visitor.

One hundred thousand meters = 100 km
I stand corrected.

Dear Tia, I am not telling you or anyone else how to walk the camino. Nothing is being taken away from anyone.
I am a member of FICS, but I am also a free-thinking individual, entitled to my own opinions. I can post a FICS study, but still express opinions of my own -- that is one nice thing about that group, and about the Forum.
Besides, "leaving well enough alone" is how Paradise is paved and turned into a parking lot.
 

alarvatu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016
Having logged in to read a PM I will respond and then go again....

No, sorry, it is the pilgrimage to Santiago and the Cathedral that is meant to be meaningful, the distance is not what matters most. As has already been said it is possible to walk a short pilgrimage with a pilgrim's attitude just as well as a longer one. Time taken can add to the whole, but some of us take 9 or 10 days to walk the distance others can cover in 5...partly because of speed and ability and partly because we are stopping at the various churches etc along the route in preparation for our arrival in Santiago itself.
Dear Valeria, I meant that an experience of 6-8 weeks on the Road will have a deeper impact on yourself,physically and spiritually, than a 1-2 weeks journey. Or, you you do not need 6,7,8 weeks to cover 100 km !!! When I wrote longer, I meant MORE TIME !!!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
A pilgrim is a person set apart by a holy purpose.
This is not what concerns me when I suggest that the proposal is elitist. What worries me is the treatment of tourists and tourism. The pejorative language that is used include referring to tourists as illiterate, abusive and without any idea of pilgrimage and their views are antagonistic to the pilgrim tradition. I can only presume that these ideas have been translated accurately enough so that they retain the basic meanings intended. If they do, they paint tourists as some lower order compared to 'true pilgrims'. That is what is elitist.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Dougfitz, I believe the camino de santiago is a holy place, and pilgrims are holy people taking part in a special activity.
We all know there are other people on the Way who use its facilities and functions for less-than noble purposes. They have no awareness of what the pilgrimage is about, they apparently have no interest in finding out -- a form of illiteracy. They are taking an extraordinary thing and treating it as a common convenience -- which is a definition for "desecration." If pointing that out makes me an elitist, well. I'll take it. People who are not interested in being pilgrims, or at least being respectful of the pilgrimage, should go have their fun someplace else that is not a holy site.
 

jirit

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Dougfitz, I believe the camino de santiago is a holy place, and pilgrims are holy people taking part in a special activity.
We all know there are other people on the Way who use its facilities and functions for less-than noble purposes. They have no awareness of what the pilgrimage is about, they apparently have no interest in finding out -- a form of illiteracy. They are taking an extraordinary thing and treating it as a common convenience -- which is a definition for "desecration." If pointing that out makes me an elitist, well. I'll take it. People who are not interested in being pilgrims, or at least being respectful of the pilgrimage, should go have their fun someplace else that is not a holy site.
I agree too.

I have traveled some of this world, not all, but enough. It would be nice if some of these special places (cultural, environmental, holy or spiritual, etc) would remain so, so that future generations can appreciate them. And if it means new rules to stem the flow and some days, rush of travelers, tourists, pilgrims, whatever you wish to call them, so be it.

Remove the "requirements" and remove the "reward" and then let's see what happens next. I sense authorities in Galicia will protest loudly, while many others won't care
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
Ok, I'm sorry as this will seem like I'm making light of this very imporant matter... I'm really not... maybe I'm bringing a little light?

We talk about how busy the last 10okms are, and for some it's a culture shock... when I walked, the last few days did feel like the camino was celebrating our arrival.

It made me think of this video... of a little girl who thought she had to sing really really well in her nativity... I watched an interview with her (now as an adult) and she said she thought she was just singing loud and clear so folks could hear. Either way it's joyous... and maybe all the noise and bussle of the last 100kms is joy too?


Thank you for that lovely posting!
 

Rambler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2008 Camino Frances with Daughter, 2014 Camino Frances with Son
Being a practicing Catholic, it is intriguing that so much is being made out of a document that has no direct meaning to people that are not Christians. If the paper is not an issue for so many people, set a stack of Compostelas in front of the pilgrim office and let anyone that walks by have one and fill it in themselves. If, as a Christian, you want to get a formal document from the Church to evidence you have come to Santiago on pilgrimage, let the Pilgrim Office provide that separately.

But, as has been discussed before, if the real issue is large, organized groups of pilgrims traveling together, not carrying their own belongings, address those issues.
Outlaw the pack transport services if you like. Or don't allow group reservations/holding of beds in any municipal or donativo albergues.

Having said that, our church is considering taking a group of teens on a Camino, which could become logistically challenging...

But Spain has had a very difficult last decade, and it is hard to see that Galicia and other parts of the Way have not gotten much needed revenue from pilgrims/tourists. If a private individual wants to renovate a building in Galicia and open a refugio, it seems that they are providing more needed jobs and income into the Spanish economy. There is so much unemployment in Galicia, it seems wrong to stifle the little money coming from the party peregrinos.

Personally, I don't think the Compostela is the driver of the crowds as much as it is of the limited time people have to go on pilgrimage. Make the piece of paper easily obtainable and see what happens to the crowds.

Rambler
 

Devon Mike

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018), Primitivo & Ingles (2017)
This is not what concerns me when I suggest that the proposal is elitist. What worries me is the treatment of tourists and tourism. The pejorative language that is used include referring to tourists as illiterate, abusive and without any idea of pilgrimage and their views are antagonistic to the pilgrim tradition. I can only presume that these ideas have been translated accurately enough so that they retain the basic meanings intended. If they do, they paint tourists as some lower order compared to 'true pilgrims'. That is what is elitist.
Hi Dougfitz,

Throughout my life I have undertaken many long walks. I found my first Camino in 2014 so unique, I wrote this piece when I got home.

"To me there is a difference between a traveller and a tourist. A tourist travels to 'see the sights', often as many as possible in a given time. A traveller tries to find an interesting way to get from one point to another, engaging with people and places along the way. I try generally to avoid tourist crowded places when I travel, and rarely make a point to 'see the sights'. Things encountered along the way may be noted, photographed and appreciated, but I have no agenda to seek out anything in particular, nor do I make side trips away from the route of my journey. The value to me is to walk in a scenic and enjoyable way, connecting with the people, wildlife and landscapes I encounter, and whatever else I see on my journey.

Long walks teach patience above all. Patience to walk for hours, sometimes over strenuous terrain, knowing the next day will be the same. Patience to finish each day, each section and eventually the entire walk. Over time on the journey, the final goal can lose importance relative to the process and the minute-by-minute experiences to the extent that the final arrival can be something of an anti-climax, with sadness that the deeply felt experience has reached an end.

Life on such journeys becomes much simpler, focussed on basic needs of shelter, food, water and bodily well-being. Life is always different after such experiences, so as soon as I am back home I find myself starting to think about my next adventure."

I think this sums up how I feel that tourists are different to travellers/pilgrims, but I do not think of tourists as lesser folks. We are all free to undertake life in whatever way we desire.

Mike
 
A

AJ

Guest
"To me there is a difference between a traveller and a tourist.
A traveller is a tourist with lots of time and not too much money. This was my conclusion in the 70s when time rich young people touring in various parts of the world were very keen to distinguish themselves from mere tourists.

Nowadays I tend to think that Travellers are Romanies following their traditional lifestyle. The rest of us are tourists.

Anyway, who cares?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
"To me there is a difference between a traveller and a tourist. A tourist travels to 'see the sights', often as many as possible in a given time. A traveller tries to find an interesting way to get from one point to another, engaging with people and places along the way
@Devon Mike, I said earlier
Let me make it clear that I don't see any need to invest the words 'tourist' and 'sightseeing' with any more than their ordinary meanings. I am happy to be called a tourist and a sightseer.
My position hasn't changed. If you feel the need to change the ordinary meanings of words like traveler or tourist, then any discussion will result in something less than full communication.
 

Devon Mike

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Finisterre & Muxia (2014, 2015, 2016 & 2018), Primitivo & Ingles (2017)
@Devon Mike, I said earlier

My position hasn't changed. If you feel the need to change the ordinary meanings of words like traveler or tourist, then any discussion will result in something less than full communication.
If you check the Oxford English Dictionary definitions of pilgrim, traveller and tourist, there are differences, although some people may walk for a combination of these things.

Maybe we should just agree to disagree....
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
If you check the Oxford English Dictionary definitions of pilgrim, traveller and tourist, there are differences, although some people may walk for a combination of these things.

Maybe we should just agree to disagree....
Sorry Mike, but I must have missed something here. I didn't realize that someone had suggested these words had identical meanings, although I cannot find where right now. I agree that the words have different meanings, I just think it makes conversation easier if we don't give them more meanings than they already have.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Dougfitz, I believe the camino de santiago is a holy place, and pilgrims are holy people taking part in a special activity.
We all know there are other people on the Way who use its facilities and functions for less-than noble purposes. They have no awareness of what the pilgrimage is about, they apparently have no interest in finding out -- a form of illiteracy. They are taking an extraordinary thing and treating it as a common convenience -- which is a definition for "desecration." If pointing that out makes me an elitist, well. I'll take it. People who are not interested in being pilgrims, or at least being respectful of the pilgrimage, should go have their fun someplace else that is not a holy site.
I gotta agree, and no it doesn't smack of elitism.
One thing that rubbed me the wrong way, and maybe it's because I'm a lifelong Catholic, is the behavior of so many people in the cathedral in Santiago. Acting like silly tourists. Lack of respect towards a place that is holy to so many people. You don't have to be Catholic to understand that. I have worked and traveled overseas for several years. A lot of time spent in Muslim countries. I have been around mosques, but always treated them with utmost respect even though Islam is not my faith. Same goes for my time in Buddhist countries. I have been to their temples, but the thought of doing anything in the least disrespectful never crossed my mind.
If I were to be able to do the Islamic Haj (as a non-Muslim I cannot) or ever did the Buddhist Shikoku 88 in Japan, I would do them fully aware that they are not secular and that I am a guest to something that is far older than anything I know. I am also sure that even as a non-Muslim or non-Buddhist the journey would teach me something and I'd come away from it a better person.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
One thing that rubbed me the wrong way, and maybe it's because I'm a lifelong Catholic, is the behavior of so many people in the cathedral in Santiago. Acting like silly tourists.
@Mark Lee it is nice to see that, at least in part, you are basing your objection upon observable attributes. The sooner we stop both stereotyping people and pretending that we have some general or particular insight that allows us to determine the state of their mind, the easier I think it will be to move forward on proposals like this.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
We all know there are other people on the Way who use its facilities and functions for less-than noble purposes.
The thing is, Rebekah, that I don't know that, and I don't think that FICS has adequately demonstrated its truth either. If there were well founded research that demonstrated the truth of this, I would expect that it would have been made available by now. If it is there, we haven't been told about it, and contrarians like me will continue to challenge the validity of premises such as this in any argument.
 

npak907

New Member
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 ;)

Hey there! I'm on the CP now and started on the 23rd! The first four days are a lot of sidewalk and road walking so be careful. It does get much better though! Be careful in Santarém to not take a LEFT out of town. It it marked for both Santiago (as an alternate route) and Fatima. I walked about 15 miles in the wrong direction! Sitting in Coimbra drinking a beer. I've only met four pilgrims so far but I'm having the time of my life!

My friends Matt and Jackie from Oxford England have a blog that they update daily if you're interested in reading about their experience.

Jackiemattadventures.com

I hope you have a great experience!

Chris
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I love the last 140km from Samos to Santiago.

I suppose having walked to Santiago 9 times, I just get excited when I start to smell the Eucalyptus forests!

By the time I get there I don’t mind the groups of singing Catholic youth and church groups. I don’t mind the crowds. It must’ve been just like this in the middle-ages with joyful pilgrims singing and shouting encouragement to each other.

In the 12th century there were vendors lining the route selling all kinds of souvenirs, and touts trying to entice pilgrims to pay upfront to stay in their inns and hostales. Nothing much has changed!

There is so much competition on the last 100 km stretch that I have found prices, for the most part, to be lower than in the rest of the Camino.

Pensiones are cheaper, the albergues are all mostly €6, luggage transfers available at €3 per bag, and drinks are cheaper.

If you know that you are going to encounter a large rise in the numbers of pilgrims once you reach Sarria, embrace them! Otherwise, choose to walk the final 100 km from a different route such as from Tui, el Ferrol or Ourense.
That way you won’t be adding to the overcrowding!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
The thing is, Rebekah, that I don't know that, and I don't think that FICS has adequately demonstrated its truth either. If there were well founded research that demonstrated the truth of this, I would expect that it would have been made available by now. If it is there, we haven't been told about it, and contrarians like me will continue to challenge the validity of premises such as this in any argument.
I don't need a scientific study to tell me there's a whole lot more vending machines, empty cans, wrappers, advertisements, toilet paper, poo, noise, over-loud music, overstimulated children, overcooked Menus, packed buses, "no vacancy" signs, Xunta de Galicia trivia, trail erosion, rip-off prices, and harried faces along the final 100 km. of trail in the high season than have been there in the past 20 years or so.
I live here. I travel the caminos during low season and high season. If you did, you would see what I see, too.
It may not be "proof" enough for a contrarian, but proving things to contrarians is not something I waste much time on.

I do not know what lurks in the hearts of men. But I know what I see on the trail. It's got nothing to do with the fisherman from Galilee, or even pilgrimage.
 

compliance51

member 2013
Camino(s) past & future
april (2013) SJPP to SDC.
MAY (2015 )Via Podensis
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!
too many books..and 99% say nothing. And The Way is the only movie I've enjoyed...others not so much.
 

compliance51

member 2013
Camino(s) past & future
april (2013) SJPP to SDC.
MAY (2015 )Via Podensis
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
A pilgrim's journey is personal...one can't judge another..be in 100 km or 784km..
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Could people please read the original post before hijacking the thread! I have moved the discussion about the cost of bag transport to a new thread. It was not at all what was intended by the OP.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Lots of personal testimonials and a few opinions from associations - what is the take of the Church and in particular the Santiago Cathedral on long-distance foot pilgrimage, international or otherwise, does anyone know? I have the impression that they (as well as non-Catholic Churches) look benevolently on the current modern revival of foot pilgrimage but don't care about distances. As long as the flock and the lost sheep find their destination, all is well.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Kathar1na, It was the church who made the 100-km. distance requirement, with much input from the Galician tourist authorities.
Maybe I should have given a definition for long distance foot pilgrimage :). 100 km is 5 days on average, that is not very long. I was just idly wondering whether it is of any importance, from the Church's point of view, how short or long a pilgrimage is these days.
 

soozansings

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2nd (2016)
I am a reasonable human being but, oh my goodness. There are those of us who choose the journey, not the carrot dangled. I, sadly, am weary of the condescension and "snarky" attitude of some posters. Everyone's Camino is their own. Not yours. The same holds for the chosen few of APOC. In some instances, even Camigas. If you all profess that the Compostela is not the reward but the journey, then don't worry about the rest who don't have time, or the money, or the health to do the Holy Grail of SJPdP to SdC. I think I'll step back for awhile and concentrate on my own Camino. Buen Camino to you all. I will continue to enjoy your photos.
 

RobertS26

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, (2013)
Camino Frances, (2014)
Camino Frances, (2015)
I am somewhat perplexed by the saying, "It's my Camino" or "It's your Camino" as a response to people who are offering advice to others on how to get the most out of their Camino.

If I said I was flying into Paris, staying at IBIS hotel at the airport, taking a taxi to Louvre, walking inside, looking at the Mona Lisa, returning to the IBIS, and remaining there for seven days in my room eating room service and watching CNN, I would hope that someone would say, "You know, there is more to Paris than staying at the airport IBIS and visiting the Louvre for an hour. There's are wonderful Impressionist collections at the Orsay, Marmonttan, and the Orangerie. The Eiffel Tower is great. A walk down the Champs Elysees is fun . . . "
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
And who would ever have thought I would have "liked" a RobertS26 post ;).

But this individualistic "it's my way," sorry Camino!, business just irritates me. It irritates me because it takes advantage of all the volunteers and yes, investors, who open their homes, inveatments, to receive little next to nothing, if perhaps, andoften, nothing.

It irritates me because the few who fall in the truly aching or dimished capacity people are being confused with those looking for a tourist experience for a fraction of the cost of their regular holidays, to the benefit of the tourigrinos.

Ask yourself : would you be walking the Camino if you were being charged the 80Us$ or so dismal US motels in the middle of nowhere charge for a night? Would walking the Camino warant this for you?

If not, start thinking you may be a tourigrino, and that perhaps paying the 80$ a night in a donativo is the right thing to do, remember that the only thing the Cathedral asks you to do is to walk ALL of the last 100K, and that, just perhaps, it might make it more "your Camino" if you gave up your bed for those walking from much further than you, much more tired and blistered and shinsplint than you.

Afterall, if your goal is to pray over Santiago's bones, and not get a certificate to put on your wall , you don't need to walk. The Cathedral doesn't say praying over the remains with walking is wrong, it does ask that if your pilgrimage is about walking, that you abide by a few rules.

Problem kicks in when people "see the light" after walking, which opens up the whole thing to the mess we are seeing today.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I am somewhat perplexed by the saying, "It's my Camino" or "It's your Camino" as a response to people who are offering advice to others on how to get the most out of their Camino.

If I said I was flying into Paris, staying at IBIS hotel at the airport, taking a taxi to Louvre, walking inside, looking at the Mona Lisa, returning to the IBIS, and remaining there for seven days in my room eating room service and watching CNN, I would hope that someone would say, "You know, there is more to Paris than staying at the airport IBIS and visiting the Louvre for an hour. There's are wonderful Impressionist collections at the Orsay, Marmonttan, and the Orangerie. The Eiffel Tower is great. A walk down the Champs Elysees is fun . . . "
@RobertS26:
Your posting gives me the perfect opportunity to say "thank you" to the many veteran forum members whose sharing of information made it possible for me to enjoy some of the special places along the camino. I might have figured out how to get to the beginning of my camino on my own, but I would never have know what to look for along the Way. I would never have made an afternoon detour to Eunate or a three day retreat in Santo Domingo de Silos. I would never have stopped at Granon (too close to where I spent my previous night at Santo Domingo de la Calzada). I probably would not have sought out the many wonderful parish albergues along the Way, and I would not have known to avoid the few albergues that forum members found inadequate, for whatever reason. Yes, I took Brierley, but the real information about the camino: who is especially hospitable, what is especially beautiful, came from you folks. I thank you for the wonderful gift that you give all those who visit this forum, that of a look into the heart of the camino from those who love it.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles 2016
Camino Portuguese 2017
Your posting gives me the perfect opportunity to say "thank you" to the many veteran forum members whose sharing of information made it possible for me to enjoy some of the special places along the camino.
I'd like to second that "thank you". We won't walk the Camino Ingles until August but everyone has been so helpful and encouraging on this forum, it has made our preparations easier.

Albertagirl - we are also from Alberta:)
 

soozansings

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2nd (2016)
Chaucer's pilgrims included a vulgar miller, a gluttonous monk, a less-than-chaste friar, a bawdy woman, a snooty knight, a greedy merchant, an air-headed squire, etc., etc. These pilgrims, although fictional, represented a very believable cross-section of pilgrims in medieval time, when pilgrimages were made for ostensibly religious reasons only.

The Canterbury bunch doesn't sound a whole lot different from today's pilgrims -- everyone has a different reason for undertaking a pilgrimage. People are the same now as they were then -- party-lovers side-by-side with the humble supplicants. Changing the length of the pilgrimage route won't change people, but it might help manage the physical load of the Camino and distribute the traffic more equitably.
Oh my! Perfectly succinct!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
And who would ever have thought I would have "liked" a RobertS26 post ;).

But this individualistic "it's my way," sorry Camino!, business just irritates me. It irritates me because it takes advantage of all the volunteers and yes, investors, who open their homes, inveatments, to receive little next to nothing, if perhaps, andoften, nothing.

It irritates me because the few who fall in the truly aching or dimished capacity people are being confused with those looking for a tourist experience for a fraction of the cost of their regular holidays, to the benefit of the tourigrinos.

Ask yourself : would you be walking the Camino if you were being charged the 80Us$ or so dismal US motels in the middle of nowhere charge for a night? Would walking the Camino warant this for you?

If not, start thinking you may be a tourigrino, and that perhaps paying the 80$ a night in a donativo is the right thing to do, remember that the only thing the Cathedral asks you to do is to walk ALL of the last 100K, and that, just perhaps, it might make it more "your Camino" if you gave up your bed for those walking from much further than you, much more tired and blistered and shinsplint than you.

Afterall, if your goal is to pray over Santiago's bones, and not get a certificate to put on your wall , you don't need to walk. The Cathedral doesn't say praying over the remains with walking is wrong, it does ask that if your pilgrimage is about walking, that you abide by a few rules.

Problem kicks in when people "see the light" after walking, which opens up the whole thing to the mess we are seeing today.
I'm a bit fearful to say this and I certainly dont wish to appear rude or silly... I've read this thread with interest from the start... but I'm not really sure what point you're making? I'm guessing most people would not be able to afford 80$ a night for their trip... for a shared dorm with no facilities. This would prevent people from walking for sure... but is this really what is wanted?

I'm getting more confused as we progress here as to what the problem is? Is it the number of pilgrims? Is it the attititude and behaviour of some pilgrims? Is it the faith of the pilgrim? Is it the distance travelled? Is it the busy 100km only on the CF?
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
I'm guessing most people would not be able to afford 80$ a night for their trip... for a shared dorm with no facilities.
As far as I understand it, initially the net of publicly funded albergues was intended for those people who really do not have enough money. I do think that the overwhelming majority of people walking today can afford $80 per night but would not be prepared to pay that for their pilgrimage experience. This, of course, would really be in the spirit of pilgrimage (à la Middle Ages) where you were also supposed, as a pilgrim, to financially support poor moneyless pilgrims, ie those without sufficient financial means on the way and at home. The modern pilgrim wants to live a simple life, at least temporarily, but doesn't want to be poor or become poor.

However, in my opinion, while comparisons to the Middle Ages are very interesting they are of little relevance for the core of the issues on the last stretch of the Camino Frances such too many people, wrong kind of people (a bit like BR's wrong kind of leaves on the track), danger of destroying the spirit of The Way, role of the issuer of the Compostela, because the meaning of modern foot pilgrimage is fundamentally different from that in the past.
 
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LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
As far as I understand it, initially the net of publicly funded albergues was intended for those people who really do not have enough money. I do think that the overwhelming majority of people walking today can afford $80 per night but would not be prepared to pay.
I dont know why the albergues were started so you'll hear no argument from me. I think I stayed 40% muni albergues, 40% private albergues and 20% private rooms... so not all of these were public funded (unless there are grants?)

But I do know that I could not afford to spend 70€/80$ per night on a room. If my average spend is say 10€ on a bed for 35 days that's 350€... if I had to spend 70€ for 35 nights I would have to spend 2,450€... that would put the camino out of reach for a great many people.

I sing in a band and we travel around France... we usually spend around 35-40€ a night on a private room (each) with a private bathroom, wifi, restaurant... and if we can get it they'll have secure parking as we have a van full of gear. OK, they are usually edge of town big chain motels but they're great... 70€ a night is not a cheap hotel.

The modern pilgrim wants to live a simple life, at least temporarily, but doesn't want to be poor or become poor.
I'm not sure I know what the modern pilgrim wants, but I wanted to celebrate life... and it seemed that everyone I walked with had a different reason. I'm not trying to be difficult (it's difficult to convey that with written text) ... but I dont think I agree this statement.

However, in my opinion, while comparisons to the Middle Ages are very interesting they are of little relevance for the core of the issues on the last stretch of the Camino Frances
I 100% agree with this. I would imagine that the folks that walked say in 900... were very different than the pilgrims who walked in 1200... and with the purest of hearts and the best of intention there is really very little chance that we can ever experience a 'middle ages' pilgrimage.

All we can do is try to be good people. My husband has no faith, even after all these years together he still says he's surprised by mine (I'm pretty down to earth and I sing rock songs)... but he is a good man... and I pray for him... and even without his faith... he will be a good pilgrim.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
I'm getting more confused as we progress here as to what the problem is? Is it the number of pilgrims? Is it the attititude and behaviour of some pilgrims? Is it the faith of the pilgrim? Is it the distance travelled? Is it the busy 100km only on the CF?
This is just one of the problems with the FICS proposal. While the general issue of the minimum distance required for the receipt of a compostela might not be a classical public policy debate, it appears it needs similar elements for success. But there is no agreement about the nature of the problem, there appears to be a reluctance to provide evidence that could go to the building of consensus, and FICS seem fixated on a single, immutable solution. Under those circumstances, it seems to me that there is little prospect of generating the motivation and momentum for change amongst the other actors.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
I'm not sure I know what the modern pilgrim wants, but I wanted to celebrate life... and it seemed that everyone I walked with had a different reason. I'm not trying to be difficult (it's difficult to convey that with written text) ... but I dont think I agree this statement.
For me, the point of a discussion is to hear and to understand different views (as well as facts) :). I understand that people have different reasons for being a peregrino/a and I understand also how an experience like walking the Camino de Santiago, on foot and in particular over a long distance, can answer modern spiritual needs. Sometimes I wonder whether that could not also be achieved equally well elsewhere than in Northern Spain but I, too, don't want to be difficult and I am aware how easy one can be misunderstood in this kind of written exchanges of opinions.

Simplicity, it seems to me, is an essential element of what is meant by "pilgrim spirit", see this quote from the FICS proposal posted at the beginning of this thread: 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.
 

Lmsundaze

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2016), CP (2017)
Reading this discussion made me think about this parable:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o'clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, "You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right." So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o'clock, he did the same. And about five o'clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, "Why are you standing here idle all day?" They said to him, "Because no one has hired us." He said to them, "You also go into the vineyard." When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, "Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first." When those hired about five o'clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, "These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat." But he replied to one of them, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?" So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20: 1- 16 NRSV)
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
Reading again through the proposal, I remember that I wanted to ask this before:
[Santiago de Compostela] 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.
Documentation and history say that Santiago de Compostela was never a place of worship for the Galicians, who had their own shrines and pilgrimages.
Is this really correct?
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
And this made me smile:
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.
For many others nowadays, the pilgrimage is understood only as starting near the Pyrenees and ending in Santiago de Compostela. However, the great European pilgrimage age encompassed innumerous long and shorter pilgrimages criss-crossing Europe in all directions. People living along what is now called Camino Frances even undertook pilgrimages to the shrine of St Martin in Tours, for example.

Tours is in France and in the opposite direction to Santiago. I don't recall the source but remember having read that the success of the pilgrimages to Tours inspired Santiago archbishop Diego Gelmírez, a driving force in Galicia in the 1100s, to turn Santiago into a major pilgrimage destination.
 
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D

Deleted member 36903

Guest
But I do know that I could not afford to spend 70€/80$ per night on a room. If my average spend is say 10€ on a bed for 35 days that's 350€... if I had to spend 70€ for 35 nights I would have to spend 2,450€... that would put the camino out of reach for a great many people.

I sing in a band and we travel around France... we usually spend around 35-40€ a night on a private room (each) with a private bathroom, wifi, restaurant... and if we can get it they'll have secure parking as we have a van full of gear. OK, they are usually edge of town big chain motels but they're great... 70€ a night is not a cheap hotel. ...
A very pertinent point Les Brass. The cost of accommodation in France was the reason I had to abandon my plans to walk from Le Puy to SdC. Being on a low income I could not afford to walk the Camino again if rooms were at this rate but 6 euros for a bed, disposable sheet & pillowcase, hot showers etc., seems low to me and I would certainly be willing to pay more to ensure the survival of public albergues, and to pay for a bed for another pilgrim if they lacked the money.

Perhaps there is another aspect that we have not considered here and that is that (to my knowledge) medieval pilgrims made this journey only once (including the return home) in their lifetime, but many of us - that includes me - now want to repeat the experience. So I offer up a proposal :p which no doubt will prompt a whole new area of controversy and opportunity for guilt-inducing: No-one can walk the same Camino route more than once UNLESS they agree to pay 80 euros to stay at public albergues and make a large donation for the swinging of the botofumeiro so that new pilgrims will be able to enjoy the spectacle.:D
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
A very pertinent point Les Brass. The cost of accommodation in France was the reason I had to abandon my plans to walk from Le Puy to SdC. Being on a low income I could not afford to walk the Camino again if rooms were at this rate but 6 euros for a bed, disposable sheet & pillowcase, hot showers etc., seems low to me and I would certainly be willing to pay more to ensure the survival of public albergues, and to pay for a bed for another pilgrim if they lacked the money.

Perhaps there is another aspect that we have not considered here and that is that (to my knowledge) medieval pilgrims made this journey only once (including the return home) in their lifetime, but many of us - that includes me - now want to repeat the experience. So I offer up a proposal :p which no doubt will prompt a whole new area of controversy and opportunity for guilt-inducing: No-one can walk the same Camino route more than once UNLESS they agree to pay 80 euros to stay at public albergues and make a large donation for the swinging of the botofumeiro so that new pilgrims will be able to enjoy the spectacle.:D
Bingo! Bravo @SEB , that is exactly the point I was trying to make.

People are walking these routes in Spain because it is so inexpensive. Not all, but a huge percentage.

Pilgrims in the middle ages sacrificed to walk to Santiago. People still sacrifice to go to The Haj. And the requirement is that they go once in their life, not year after year. And yet we want our annual walk in the spring or fall, when temperatures are pleasant, not making financial sacrifices, not putting our lives on hold to do this pilgrimage, not over exerting ourselves, etc.

Would we still be "feel the Camino calling" if it called with a much higher cost? What if 3, 4, whatever number of weeks on our "pilgrimage" cost the same as the same number of weeks in other tourist destinations? Would we still "feel the call" and claim we are really walking in Spain for "religious and/or spiritual reasons"?

I remember a past thread askind if we considered ourselves as pilgrims. I answered no, that I am a tourist, but one who respects the ethos of these routes who were created by and for pilgrims and still walked by pilgrimss today.
 
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soozansings

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2nd (2016)
The Doctor is IN: There are several themes that permeate this thread…Receiving the Compostela is a Catholic thing, a spiritual thing…a reward at the end of the tunnel…er, Camino.


For others, it’s a “surprise”…had the pilgrim not known there is such a thing as the Compostela when they set off along the Way, this bonus will now reside in their hold baggage among the forty unmentionables they refused to wash. That’s what moms are for…right?


So, let’s tackle the “Catholic” thing first.


Regardless of whether the route to the end of the world (Finisterre) passed through what is now Santiago presages the revelation that the remains of St James resides there, the Apostle is Catholic, the cathedral is Catholic, the pilgrim’s Mass is Catholic, and the Compostela is Catholic.


Let’s for the moment disregard the whys and the wherefores that the Compostela can be received by lapsed, or never was Catholics…these pilgrims may indicate their sojourn was “spiritual”. They were lost, but now are found.


Or, none of the above, been there, done that…got the Compostela!


To assuage the disappointment of many that set off with the intent of walking a great distance to Santiago and because of one malady or another…get to Santiago without the necessary continuous 100 km into it’s environs (isn’t that what this thread is about)…they can now get a “distance traveled” certificate.


Here’s my point: Men and women with the power to shape, or skew a popular (read religious or cheap vacation) undertaking, or habit (bottled drinking water) into a revenue generating stream will do so.


It’s for each of us to exercise our free will as we set out to walk the Way for whatever reason and against whatever odds.


When the Pharisees and Herodians try to trap Jesus, he responds by asking for a coin.

Examining it he says, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” When his enemies say “Caesar’s,” he tells them to render it to Caesar. In other words, that which bears the image of Caesar belongs to Caesar.


The key word in Christ’s answer is “image.”


This has consequences for our own lives because those of us that walk the Way as Catholics, and many other Christians, believe we’re made in the image of God.


Once we accept this, the impact of Christ’s response to his enemies becomes clear. Jesus isn’t being clever. He’s not offering a politically correct (my thought) commentary. He’s making a claim on every human being Christian or not.


He’s saying, “render unto Caesar those things that bear Caesar’s image, but more importantly, render unto God that which bears God’s image” -- in other words, you and me. All of us!


In the time of the Caesars, there was no more powerful nation in that known world.


Today, what took the Roman legions months of walking to enforce that which was “Caesars”, we of the Forum can accomplish in mere days, with a bit of walking added in.


Many of us will find ourselves different from the person that started out, while others will return again and again seeking, ever seeking. In the final analysis, all of us are fortunate to meet others that choose, for whatever reason, to walk along the Milky Way with us. God Bless you all!


Arn
Wow. Thank you!
 

Stephen F.

carpintero de Colorado
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Português 2015
Via de la Plata 2016
I have been following this thread since its inception. I was vaguely troubled by it in the beginning and have become more troubled as the many posts have followed. I have been hesitant to post myself, because I have only limited experience walking the Camino (the Portuguese from Barcelos). Still, I thought that the attitude expressed in the FICS proposal was judgemental and did not square with my experience with others I met while walking. When I crossed into Spain, the numbers on the Way did increase dramatically, with the new walkers mostly Spanish, with many 60ish couples. No one that I met or talked to seemed to me to be a tourist. I met many people seeking an answer for something in their lives. In fact, one of the most abiding takeaways from my Camino was the experience of talking with young people who were questioning the meaning of life, which, it seems to me, is the essence of the pilgrim adventure.

I am an engineer, and hence, when people talk about fixing something I want immediately to know what exactly is the problem and then to assess whether the proposal will solve the stated problem. I take the problem expressed in the FICS document to be 1. Too many people on the last 100 km of the Camino. 2. Too many people on the Camino with the wrong motivation. 3. As a consequence of 1 and 2, the Compostela is devalued.

As to the efficacy of increasing the requirements for the Compostela I have serious doubts. I think that many people walk less than long distances on the Camino because of time constraints and ordinary obligations in their everyday lives. I walked 8 days last year because that was what I had and it fit into the flights that I could find and because I needed to walk the Camino. Among the many pilgrims I talked to was a young New York woman walking from Tui who, when I asked her why she was walking said she was to be married soon. She lost her mother, who had always wanted to walk the Camino, some 5 years ago, and now, about to marry, she felt she might not get another opportunity. She began to cry as she told me. I am sure the Compostela was far from her thoughts when she decided to walk.
I also walked some way with a German couple who, if their reasons were not as poignant as the NY young lady, were just as sincere.

I honestly can't say much about people's motivations in walking the Camino apart from what people I have asked have told me. It seems a dubious proposition to me that cheap tourism is a big driver. Among young people I am sure that it is an adventure that they choose at least in part because it is affordable, but that in no way implies that their desire to do the Camino is not driven by a longing in their hearts or an impulse to consider their lives.

In choosing a starting place, I think most people want to arrive in Santiago. That implies a choice of starting place based on the time available, be it Sarria, Tui, or Barcelos. I am planning to start this year on the VdlP in Puebla de Sanabria, 260km from Santiago. Why? Because that's how much time I have. I would walk that whether the Compostela were granted for 100km or 300km.

Anyhow, to return to the effect of changing the distance requirement for the Compostela I see no reason to believe that such a move would have the slightest impact on the problems stated in the FICS proposal. I think the parts of the Camino more proximate to Santiago would continue to have much more traffic, because of time limitations. And, if people have the wrong motivation for walking, why on earth would getting or not getting a Compostela alter their thinking.
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria (2015) SJPdP (2016) Burgos (2017) SJPdP (2018)
For many this is something to tick off or put on their CV and the true spirit of The Camino is lost.
I'm not sure where the idea that the Compostela is a 'tick off' for a CV comes from. Who, other than highly religious Spaniards, would use this on a CV?

If the problem is Spaniards then change the required distance for Spaniards only.

Who's idea of 'the true spirit' do we listen too? There are as many 'true meanings' of the Camino as there are people walking the route.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
If the problem is Spaniards then change the required distance for Spaniards only.
How about for Australians?? ;)

The Spanish are half the pilgrims, so any change will be with a lot of their input; foreigner input, not so much. Commercial interests will make the most impact on the decision. Over the decades they have argued endlessly on the exact routing because everyone wants the revenue in their village. Since any change would upset the status quo, there will be a lot of inertia of rest. Between the lines of the discussion, I think there really are only two issues: 1) crowds in the last 100 km, 2) lots of Compostelas. Sarria will vigorously oppose anything that changes its status as the main commercial starting point (Tui is making a run at that status; it was number 2 last month). The Pilgrim Office can boost its revenues by charging for the Compostela. Any other changes will reduce revenues, which will never happen! Passionately held opinions (as illustrated in the discussion in the Forum) will be extensively expressed, but will have very little effect. Too many of them are more about the hubris of legitimacy in being a pilgrim than any real problem. The Cathedral loves the millions of pilgrims who arrive in cars, and embraces them as true pilgrims as much as the walkers and bikers (and horses and wheelchairs {and unicyles, skateboards, and barefeet}). They won't do anything to scare off the minority of pilgrims that want a Compostela, but they will cater primarily to the vast majority for whom the backpack is just an archaic novelty. :)
 
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