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Got limited Camino time? Leave out the last 110km!

H Richards

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In Finisterre I met a young Malaysian pilgrim-to-be, who hadn't begun yet. She only had about ten days and was going to walk the last nine stages of the Camino, bussing it to her start point. I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.

For me walking those last 110km was a rude awakening to school party and tour group hell, and was really jarring after such a beautiful previous four weeks. Much of the community spirit seemed to evaporate overnight on leaving Sarria. No-one greeted each other with "Bon Camino" any more, cause there's so many people you'd never stop saying it. We arrived in a Portomarin that had been booked out by school groups who weren't even doing the full Camino, just a two-day hike, but still causing the city to have to open overflow shelters for everyone else.

My point is, when you can experience this sort of crowded touristic hiking anywhere else in the world, why choose to spend half or a third or your limited Camino time doing this bit, just so you can get a certificate? Forgo the compostela and get stuck into the earlier stages, I say, where you're far more likely to have profound personal and spiritual experiences. If you're not doing it for Catholic reasons, I see no reason to see the last 100km as obligatory.

I'm pleased to say she took the advice and had a great time, reporting back that she definitely made the right choice, so I'd like to offer up the idea here to any other future pilgrims who are on a tight time budget :)
 

H Richards

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The post was aimed at first-timers really, so most of those are probably going to be looking at doing it in any season other than winter :)

Full as in distance or full as in the way is full of people?
 

H Richards

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How long is a bit of string? ;-)

I think once you've done a Camino you know what you want to undertake next time. But if you've not done one before and don't have time to complete a typical route, I would say put the compromise at the *end* of your journey and leave out Sarria->Santiago, rather than try to steal days from the middle of the journey as many people choose to do.
 

H Richards

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Hehe, the rain and school crowds certainly help that along ;-)
Yes, for sure if you're doing it for religious reasons there's no alternative than doing that last stretch. Probably it has a different meaning to you then too and maybe you'll get more from it than I did.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
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some and then more. see my signature.
In Finisterre I met a young Malaysian pilgrim-to-be, who hadn't begun yet. She only had about ten days and was going to walk the last nine stages of the Camino, bussing it to her start point. I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.

For me walking those last 110km was a rude awakening to school party and tour group hell, and was really jarring after such a beautiful previous four weeks. Much of the community spirit seemed to evaporate overnight on leaving Sarria. No-one greeted each other with "Bon Camino" any more, cause there's so many people you'd never stop saying it. We arrived in a Portomarin that had been booked out by school groups who weren't even doing the full Camino, just a two-day hike, but still causing the city to have to open overflow shelters for everyone else.

My point is, when you can experience this sort of crowded touristic hiking anywhere else in the world, why choose to spend half or a third or your limited Camino time doing this bit, just so you can get a certificate? Forgo the compostela and get stuck into the earlier stages, I say, where you're far more likely to have profound personal and spiritual experiences. If you're not doing it for Catholic reasons, I see no reason to see the last 100km as obligatory.

I'm pleased to say she took the advice and had a great time, reporting back that she definitely made the right choice, so I'd like to offer up the idea here to any other future pilgrims who are on a tight time budget :)

Well as with everything in life luckily it is not so black and white.

1. Why would Spanish schoolgroups not walk a couple of days on the Camino ? It is in their backgarden after all.
2. Profound experiences are not limited to the " earlier ' stages...wherever they might start... Is a pilgrim that started in Roncesvalles truer than one that only started in Sarria? So the pilgrim that started from Paris is even more true than the one from Roncesvalles etc etc...
3. Walk in winter, early spring and late autumn if you do not like the crowds.
 
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dougfitz

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What strange advice to give when there are several ways of walking a quieter road and ending at the resting place of St James. For many of us, that destination is as important as the time spent undertaking the pilgrimage. As public proof of what the pilgrim has achieved, the Compostela is important too - but it certainly wasn't the purpose of my pilgrimage.

As for your other quaint notions, like the thought that you 'steal days' from the middle of the journey and that the journey from Sarria to Santiago is somehow going to lead to a less profound personal and spiritual experience, I can tell you that this is not my experience, and not the experience of others that I know. The experience might change during the last 100 km, but that didn't make it any less profound for me. I found myself in quite different company - full of joy and life, and rather a welcome contrast as company over those final days.

Personally, I wouldn't ever suggest that anyone turn their pilgrimage into a tourist walk like this.
 

H Richards

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Think you're steering the thread off in a different direction here. My comments aren't about who is the true pilgrim, or even the fact that I disliked the crowds. I had all the time I needed to do my Camino, so it wasn't much of an issue, but if I only had ten days it would have been a shame to have spent half of them on the Sarria route.

The schoolgroup I was talking about were Americans, btw. Can't fault their behaviour or politeness.
 

H Richards

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Doug, strange to think that you think that just shifting the destination from Santiago to Sarria suddenly makes it into a "tourist walk". Again, I'll say, if the symbolism of the destination is important to you for religious reasons then you'll want to do those last stages for sure. But if not, why follow those paths in the high season when earlier down the road would be more rewarding (which I understand you dispute, but is still my firm opinion!)
 

H Richards

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Oh I misread... thought he meant doing it en invierno ;-)
 

H Richards

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But would you really advise someone who's never done a camino before to start on one of the lesser known routes to avoid the crowds?
 
A

Anemone del Camino

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But would you really advise someone who's never done a camino before to start on one of the lesser known routes to avoid the crowds?
Absolutely. Why not? Many are walking VDLP, the Norte, English, Sanabre or Primitivo as their first Camino. Perhaps not the Olvidado, Lebaniego, those with very little information about them and greater distances to walk feom bed to bed.
 
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dougfitz

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Doug, strange to think that you think that just shifting the destination from Santiago to Sarria suddenly makes it into a "tourist walk". Again, I'll say, if the symbolism of the destination is important to you for religious reasons then you'll want to do those last stages for sure. But if not, why follow those paths in the high season when earlier down the road would be more rewarding (which I understand you dispute, but is still my firm opinion!)
Not strange in any way. The Camino de Santiago has a single, quite clear, destination - the tomb of St James in the cathedral at Santiago. Whether it is done for religious or any other reason, done in one journey or many, and whether you walk afterwards to Finisterre or Muxia to acknowledge the existence of earlier spiritual traditions is unimportant. If you are not going to Santiago, you are not a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago.

But would you really advise someone who's never done a camino before to start on one of the lesser known routes to avoid the crowds?
Absolutely, and it is done regularly and frequently by those who understand that this is a far better option for most people than what you have been suggesting.
 

H Richards

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Yeah, I guess why not.

For me the journey was the point. The destination just set the direction I would walk in each day. I felt no great joy, achievement or relief upon reaching Santiago cathedral - at least no more than I had felt daily over the previous five weeks.

Obviously for Doug it's sacrilege to consider leaving out the last 100km under time pressure, but I still offer up the idea to those it is less likely to offend. This late June those last five days were unpleasantly overcrowded and it makes me a little sad to think that people might come from half the way round the world to do those last stages and come away with the impression that the whole Camino was that way, but obviously your mileage will vary.
 

H Richards

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No, but perhaps there is the whole Camino ... the whole network of different paths that lead to Santiago. That was my meaning.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

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I have to say I agree with the OP's description of the last 100km on the Frances, and I have often recommended here on the Forum that people should avoid that stretch like the plague.

This is especially true if receiving a Compostela is not important to the walker. And even if it is, the Invierno, English, Portuguese and Sanabres allow you to walk the last 100km without the mayhem.

I think he could have also suggested any of these to the youg Malaysian he met and sent off to Astorga.
 

Theatregal

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Hi @ H Richards I believe you're well meaning and feel the importance of sharing what you've experienced but it's important to be careful with advice based on a very personal experience. You can share your experience of course but I would be careful in "advising" someone you don't know in a direction based on your experience. Of course exceptions to this would be something related to danger or safety. The Malaysian pilgrim you steered in a certain direction reported back that she enjoyed the experience and made the right choice. But how is she to know that for certain since she didn't have the experience of those final 100km, which actually have some lovely walking days, along with, in my personal opinion, the important arrival and walk into Santiago to the Cathedral. I don't package the camino into "good stages" and "bad stages". It just is. It changes constantly and for me the beautiful, the difficult, the inspiring, the irritating, are all part of every camino route.
 

H Richards

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Personally, I wouldn't have advised her to do those other routes because I had no experience of them, but having walked the rest of the Frances in Spain I suggested what I knew. :)
 

H Richards

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@Theatregal, point taken. I certainly hope she didn't take my suggestion as the be-all and end-all, but just in the spirit it was offered. I don't doubt people have profound experiences on the last 100km too. Trust that God brings the right advice to you at the right time. Doing Astorga->Sarria was right for her at that time. She intends to come back another time and do a longer Camino, ending in Santiago. Had she had had bad experiences on that last 100km instead, which although far from universal, seems from many people's reports to at least be a bit more *likely*, then maybe she wouldn't ever have wanted to return..?
 

H Richards

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@Theatregal I was thinking, when it comes to managing your reactions to the sudden change in nature and number of camino traffic from Sarria, it was something I was best positioned to handle from being in a peaceful place from the previous weeks. I agree the irritations and challenges of the last bit of the Frances are to be embraced and transformed internally, but doing that is much easier with some momentum behind you than from a standing start. Someone coming from a hectic job directly to a hectic Sarria with a hectic five-day or bust schedule might just never get over that starting hump of finding a peaceful place within. That's the reasoning behind what I'm saying here, if that makes any sense..?
 

H Richards

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And by "someone", I mean *me* ;-)
 

Theatregal

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@H Richards. It doesn’t sound like it was easy for you to handle though, given your camino experience up to that point. You found it challenging to deal with the intensity of the crowds because of that. As have I for sure but have also found my way through because I feel the camino ups and downs are a part of the whole. In that sense it may be easier for those who start in Sarria because that is all they know. I have to say that despite the crowds (in parts) of the last 100 k, I have always found quiet solitary time in each day. Like most of the Camino Frances, at certain times of year, there are pockets of intensity but stretches where things quiet down in each day. I have a friend who just walked Sarria to Santiago a couple of weeks ago and she told me it was a very profound experience for her. I asked if it was ever overwhelming and crowded and she reported what I’ve said above. You can find your peace.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Well as with everything in life luckily it is not so black and white.

1. Why wouldn't Spanish schoolgroups not walk a couple of days on the Camino ? It is in their backgarden after all.
Maybe these school groups should be the ones to occupy the overflow accommodation rather that consign the "mainstream pilgrims" to these lesser places, especially when they are only walking two or three days. If Spain would relax its rules on camping, or allow camping grounds to be established the students might get a better understanding of what the 9-10-12-12th C pilgrims went through.

As an aside, when and more specifically WHY was this 100km requirement introduced?? Surely someone who walks from Burgos to Leon (more than twice the minimum) is no lesser a pilgrim than some "touristi-pilgrim" who arrives in Sarria (by whatever means) and then walks the 100 km carrying nothing but a water bottle (backpack transported) qualifies for their compostela! (Yes I know this will attract adverse comments - sorry not interested!)
 

H Richards

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@Theatregal It wasn't too hard in the end, just a big jolt. The jolt awakens you and at some point you have to choose whether you want to let the different circumstances keep bothering you or just accept it. After Portomarin I did a half day, just to put myself out of phase with the masses. Perhaps that's "cheating" but it made all the difference for me.
 

fraluchi

RIP 2019
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One every year since 2007
[...]Someone coming from a hectic job directly to a hectic Sarria with a hectic five-day or bust schedule might just never get over that starting hump of finding a peaceful place within. That's the reasoning behind what I'm saying here, if that makes any sense..?
Yes, it makes sense. But one shouldn't jump uninformed on an over-popular journey at certain times and on certain routes. Like the wrong spot at the wrong time, etc.:rolleyes: Be it a lesson to others who become fascinated by "the media" to avoid the road to hell which is paved on good intentions.:cool: I feel sorry for you that your journey's last days' experience were so negative. As others mentioned above, with a bit of research there could have been alternatives at the time of your Camino, which now is like crying over spilled milk I suppose.:(
 

H Richards

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@Saint Mike II, I have to go with my first reaction when I spoke to the tour leader of the two-day-hike school group, and that was: Oh, how lovely. Maybe it will plant a seed and those schoolkids will want to complete a camino when they're adults. Only later did I realise that this meant that we were sleeping on hostel sofabeds and overflow because they'd filled up the albergues! I don't resent having to slum it on a sofabed for one night ;-) The kids had a good experience, I'm sure. I offer the incident as an example of how overcrowded those last few days get on the Frances, which works against getting into a reflective mood if you're like me.
 

H Richards

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Yes, it makes sense. But one shouldn't jump uninformed on an over-popular journey at certain times and on certain routes. Like the wrong spot at the wrong time, etc.:rolleyes: Be it a lesson to others who become fascinated by "the media" to avoid the road to hell which is paved on good intentions.:cool: I feel sorry for you that your journey's last days' experience were so negative. As others mentioned above, with a bit of research there could have been alternatives at the time of your Camino, which now is like crying over spilled milk I suppose.:(
Fraluchi, they really weren't so negative. They were fine. I had plenty of time and could do it at my own pace and out of phase with the groups. It was only a small fraction of my Camino, and still also valuable as contrast to the earlier, quieter stages.

I wasn't posting to really complain about those last few days, just to say, if you have only ten days (or whatever) I wouldn't pick those last five to be part of them.
 

Theatregal

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@Theatregal It wasn't too hard in the end, just a big jolt. The jolt awakens you and at some point you have to choose whether you want to let the different circumstances keep bothering you or just accept it. After Portomarin I did a half day, just to put myself out of phase with the masses. Perhaps that's "cheating" but it made all the difference for me.
"Cheating" does not apply here :) "Adjusting" is more apt.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
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...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
In Finisterre I met a young Malaysian pilgrim-to-be, who hadn't begun yet. She only had about ten days and was going to walk the last nine stages of the Camino, bussing it to her start point. I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.

For me walking those last 110km was a rude awakening to school party and tour group hell, and was really jarring after such a beautiful previous four weeks. Much of the community spirit seemed to evaporate overnight on leaving Sarria. No-one greeted each other with "Bon Camino" any more, cause there's so many people you'd never stop saying it. We arrived in a Portomarin that had been booked out by school groups who weren't even doing the full Camino, just a two-day hike, but still causing the city to have to open overflow shelters for everyone else.

My point is, when you can experience this sort of crowded touristic hiking anywhere else in the world, why choose to spend half or a third or your limited Camino time doing this bit, just so you can get a certificate? Forgo the compostela and get stuck into the earlier stages, I say, where you're far more likely to have profound personal and spiritual experiences. If you're not doing it for Catholic reasons, I see no reason to see the last 100km as obligatory.

I'm pleased to say she took the advice and had a great time, reporting back that she definitely made the right choice, so I'd like to offer up the idea here to any other future pilgrims who are on a tight time budget :)
For some of us, me included, it is actually important to arrive in Santiago, at the cathedral and yes, pray at the tomb. And yes, that includes, at least for me, walking the last 100km to Santiago. And no, the Compostela is not important to me. Buen Camino, SY
 

H Richards

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For some of us, me included, it is actually important to arrive in Santiago, at the cathedral and yes, pray at the tomb. And yes, that includes, at least for me, walking the last 100km to Santiago. And no, the Compostela is not important to me. Buen Camino, SY
Cool. Peace.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
As an aside, when and more specifically WHY was this 100km requirement introduced?? Surely someone who walks from Burgos to Leon (more than twice the minimum) is no lesser a pilgrim than ...
Answer to your question about why: "The appearance of motor vehicles and, in this century, the popularisation of tourism, represented somewhat of a crisis for pilgrimage: it was feared that the effort and sacrifice in the expiation of sins embraced in the pilgrimage on foot would be exchanged by a pleasant and enjoyable activity for the holidays".

https://oficinadelperegrino.com/en/pilgrimage/the-compostela/

As to when they started this, no idea.

Regarding arriving in Santiago after 100k vs not arrivingbut walking more ... well, isn't the whole point of this Pilgrimage praying over the bones of St-James?

Good news: there has been talk, discussed here about 18 months ago, to increase the minimal requirement to 300km, or the distance from Oviedo, where the first pilgrim left from after the relics were found. But pigs might fly before it happens.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
As an aside, when and more specifically WHY was this 100km requirement introduced?? Surely someone who walks from Burgos to Leon (more than twice the minimum) is no lesser a pilgrim than some "touristi-pilgrim" who arrives in Sarria (by whatever means) and then walks the 100 km carrying nothing but a water bottle (backpack transported) qualifies for their compostela! (Yes I know this will attract adverse comments - sorry not interested!)
The point of a pilgrimage, instead of a hike, and yes, both are valid activities, is to arrive at a place that is sacred to the pilgrim. It is a pilgrimage to a special place and not a hike somewhere along a route. As far as I know the 100km rule has been implemented just before or for the Holy Year of 1993. Buen Camino, SY
 

H Richards

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Surely someone who walks from Burgos to Leon (more than twice the minimum) is no lesser a pilgrim than some "touristi-pilgrim" who arrives in Sarria (by whatever means) ...
In my eyes, agreed, but not in the eyes of the Church :)

Whatever distance they set is always going to be rather arbitrary and upset some people. If there has to be a qualifier at all, why not make it the number of days walked instead of the distance?
 

falcon269

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yes
In my eyes, agreed, but not in the eyes of the Church :)

Whatever distance they set is always going to be rather arbitrary and upset some people. If there has to be a qualifier at all, why not make it the number of days walked instead of the distance?
You are confusing being a pilgrim and qualifying for a compostela, and the Catholic church with the Pilgrim Office.

You are a pilgrim if you walk to Mecca (and a lot of other places).

You qualify for a compostela if you walk the last 100km to the tomb of St. James on any route, primarily the five routes into Santiago.

The Pilgrim Office set the standard for the compostela, not the Catholic church (but with a lot of church input). The Catholic church welcomes all pilgrims to the tomb, including the ones who arrive on a bus. The Office came up with the Certificate of Distance for some fairly vague reasons. It is unrelated to the Tomb, but vaguely related to Santiago. You can get one even if you skip stages including in the last 100km.

I have met dozens of youth groups, all walking the last 100km, and all Spanish. A shorter section would be an American invention for the social media sub-group that prefers the easy and convenient. A lot of the Spanish students struggle, but they don't give up or ask for a two-day pilgrimage.
 

H Richards

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You are confusing being a pilgrim and qualifying for a compostela, and the Catholic church with the Pilgrim Office.

You are a pilgrim if you walk to Mecca (and a lot of other places).

You qualify for a compostela if you walk the last 100km to the tomb of St. James on any route, primarily the five routes into Santiago.

The Pilgrim Office set the standard for the compostela, not the Catholic church (but with a lot of church input). The Catholic church welcomes all pilgrims to the tomb, including the ones who arrive on a bus. The Office came up with the Certificate of Distance for some fairly vague reasons. It is unrelated to the Tomb, but vaguely related to Santiago. You can get one even if you skip stages including in the last 100km.

I have met dozens of youth groups, all walking the last 100km, and all Spanish. A shorter section would be an American invention for the social media sub-group that prefers the easy and convenient. A lot of the Spanish students struggle, but they don't give up or ask for a two-day pilgrimage.
Cool. Thanks for the good info. St Mike II, listen to falcon not me ;-)
 

fraluchi

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[...] why not make it the number of days walked instead of the distance?
From Roncesvalles to Santiago @ leasure, with the pinches, Rioja and other culinary attractions (Astorga amongst other places comes to mind) it'll take me months to "do" the Frances.:p
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
The Office came up with the Certificate of Distance for some fairly vague reasons. It is unrelated to the Tomb, but vaguely related to Santiago. You can get one even if you skip stages including in the last 100km.
When I posted about thos I was corrected and told that the distancecertificate is only an ade on to the Compostela. And the PO's website is not clear on the matter.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
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...
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Now: http://egeria.house/
Whilst I agree with a lot you have written, there are some factual mistakes in your post ...

The Pilgrim Office set the standard for the compostela, not the Catholic church (but with a lot of church input).

...

The Office came up with the Certificate of Distance for some fairly vague reasons. It is unrelated to the Tomb, but vaguely related to Santiago. You can get one even if you skip stages including in the last 100km.

...
The pilgrims office depends directly on the cathedral and is part of it, its head is the canon in charge of pilgrimage, a member of the archbishops staff.

You only get a distance certificate if you qualify for the Compostela/welcome certificate meaning having done the minimum distance. So, you can't get the distance certificate if you have skipped a stage during your last 100km on foot.

Buen Camino, SY
 

falcon269

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Camino(s) past & future
yes
So, you can't get the distance certificate if you have skipped a stage during your last 100km on foot.
I have never asked for one, so my information is anecdotal from other pilgrims who have. Several did not qualify for a compostela. The Pilgrim Office says:

Accreditation of the number of km covered

In addition to the Compostela, the Pilgrim’s Reception Office offers pilgrims the Certificate of Distance, a document issued by the Chapter of the Cathedral of Santiago certifying the number of kilometres they have travelled, whatever the starting point of their pilgrimage. This new document reflects the desire that many pilgrims have expressed for several years to have an official record of more details of their pilgrimage. It indicates the day and the starting point of the pilgrimage, the kilometres covered, as well as the day of arrival and the route of the pilgrimage. It can also be requested by those who have made the pilgrimage before.

This certificate of distance costs 3 €, it is slightly larger than the Compostela and is printed on parchment paper. It is decorated with a phrase in Latin and a thumbnail, both from the Codex Calixtinus.

Both the pilgrim’s reception service and the issuing of the Compostela are completely free, so the sale of these certificates helps to continue providing this service to the pilgrimage from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Request your certificate of distance at certificadodedistancia@catedraldesantiago.es
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Yes, I had been on the website, which is why I said it was not very clear. For instance, it says "in addition to the compostela" - is that in addition to those who have earned a compostela, or in addition in terms of products/serviced offered. It also says it gives the number of km walked, but if it is given to those who have skipped stages, I doubt the volunteers sit there counting km walked based on the stamps in the credencial. They just ask you where you started and write the pre-established distance.
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
In Finisterre I met a young Malaysian pilgrim-to-be, who hadn't begun yet. She only had about ten days and was going to walk the last nine stages of the Camino, bussing it to her start point. I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.

For me walking those last 110km was a rude awakening to school party and tour group hell, and was really jarring after such a beautiful previous four weeks. Much of the community spirit seemed to evaporate overnight on leaving Sarria. No-one greeted each other with "Bon Camino" any more, cause there's so many people you'd never stop saying it. We arrived in a Portomarin that had been booked out by school groups who weren't even doing the full Camino, just a two-day hike, but still causing the city to have to open overflow shelters for everyone else.

My point is, when you can experience this sort of crowded touristic hiking anywhere else in the world, why choose to spend half or a third or your limited Camino time doing this bit, just so you can get a certificate? Forgo the compostela and get stuck into the earlier stages, I say, where you're far more likely to have profound personal and spiritual experiences. If you're not doing it for Catholic reasons, I see no reason to see the last 100km as obligatory.

I'm pleased to say she took the advice and had a great time, reporting back that she definitely made the right choice, so I'd like to offer up the idea here to any other future pilgrims who are on a tight time budget :)
I could not agree with you more and I've just come to that realization the past few days. I'm leaving next Friday for Madrid. The plan is to walk Leon to Santiago. I'll have 20 days to walk before my wife meets me for a months vacation in Spain. I'm in good shape but fighting a hip impingement. I finally decided if I'm having trouble I'll just take my time and enjoy the country. If I don't finish so be it. I will be in Spain next year for 3 months. I'll find the time to walk the Ingles way.
 

IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
Yes, I had been on the website, which is why I said it was not very clear. For instance, it says "in addition to the compostela" - is that in addition to those who have earned a compostela, or in addition in terms of products/serviced offered. It also says it gives the number of km walked, but if it is given to those who have skipped stages, I doubt the volunteers sit there counting km walked based on the stamps in the credencial. They just ask you where you started and write the pre-established distance.
Actually we do work out the kms if you have skipped some stage. ..not of course if you haven't walked the last 100.

Some pilgrims come from very far away starting points as well as sometimes spanning years... they present the many credentials tattered by age and I am in awe.
Others are just as emotional with the 118 kms distance from Sarria, because to them it was as important as any other distance.
There is no place for judgment on any distance or the motives why one walks a Camino.
If ever there is a lesson we all should have learned on our own Camino, is the lesson of tolerance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 Pamplona to burgos
Interesting how the Camino is perceived While not religious myself I certainly appreciate the religious side of the Camino for without I would have missed a wonderful spiritual experience
But that experience happened along the walk and not at Santiago and in the company of fellow travelers not in the churches (some of those fellow travelers were very religious)
Am I taking advantage of a religious pilgramidge for selfish reasons ? I don't know maybe the first time I was taking too much this time I tried to give back as much as I could .
But if I had to pick a section that meant the most to me it would be from SJDP to Burgos where relationships form in the "Tribe" and where people discover kindness and empathy anew .
This is just me and every pilgrim has their own special journey some public and some private but all unique .
All I know is that I could not stop smiling as I walked again last time and ever step was a happy one !
 

kelleymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2015, Late April 2016, Sept/Oct 2017, April 2019.
The last time my son and I walked, because of time constraints we walked from SJPP to Burgos. From there we took the train to Santiago de Compostela. While not optimal, it was was we could fit in with the time we had. Of course we did not receive a compostela, but we did get to pray at St. James' tomb, and attend the pilgrims's mass.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Thanks SY and others for your (soft) replies to my, as usual rants. As for praying at the tomb of St James, I did it back in 2015, but too many adverse events, at the Cruz de Fero and after Sarria all but destroyed the spirituality of this pilgrimage. The tourists taking flash pictures, during the Pilgrim's Mass no less, made me just want to get out into the clean fresh air.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Yes, I had been on the website, which is why I said it was not very clear. For instance, it says "in addition to the compostela" - is that in addition to those who have earned a compostela, or in addition in terms of products/serviced offered. It also says it gives the number of km walked, but if it is given to those who have skipped stages, I doubt the volunteers sit there counting km walked based on the stamps in the credencial. They just ask you where you started and write the pre-established distance.
I agree, Anemone. This past Spring I walked each and every step of the Camino Frances, from SJPdP to Santiago and decided to get the Certificate of Distance. Two years ago I wasn't aware it was offered when I walked the same route. I'd skipped the meseta due to time constraints as I walked a little slower than I'd anticipated. Had I been aware at that time that there was a certificate of distance from starting point to ending point, I NEVER would have purchased one, knowing I hadn't walked the full 800 kilometers...actually 799 as that what was written on my certificate. So, for anyone skipping sections for whatever reason, it doesn't seem appropriate to be issued the certificate, and as you say, the PO is not going to spend the time to figure out your own personal kilometers walked. Maybe all pilgrims/walkers should be required to wear a fitbit and display their "steps" to the Pilgrim Office. Then they could issue "Certificates of Steps" instead of distance. Lol. :);)o_O
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
@Camino Chris, see @IngridF post above, quote:

Actually we do work out the kms if you have skipped some stage. ..not of course if you haven't walked the last 100....
Ingrid has just finished her stint as a volunteer in the pilgrims office, so that is first hand information ;-)
Buen Camino, SY
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Le Puy / Francés (parts)
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
Walking from Astorga to Sarria and then taking the bus to Santiago sounds as much pilgrimage to me as walking the last stretch to Santiago - it's not a pilgrimage on foot "every step of the way" but a pilgrimage none the less.
?
Yes, that's exactly what she did. So it's not like she didn't reach the Cathedral at Santiago. She did did her walking from Astorga instead of from Sarria.
 

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
But would you really advise someone who's never done a camino before to start on one of the lesser known routes to avoid the crowds?
First Camino - The Ingles (2011), next the Primitivo (2012) - so on the Frances from Palas de Rei that year. Why walk the Frances when there are so many other beautiful choices of Camino to walk into Santiago?
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Le Puy / Francés (parts)
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
Why walk the Frances when there are so many other beautiful choices of Camino to walk into Santiago?
For first-time pilgrims who want the assurance of enough other pilgrims around them and albergues and tiendas every 3km, the Frances seems to be pretty much the default choice. Not saying that's best but it seems to be a common attitude, especially among those who came to find out about the camino via a certain American film.
 

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
For first-time pilgrims who want the assurance of enough other pilgrims around them and albergues and tiendas every 3km, the Frances seems to be pretty much the default choice. Not saying that's best but it seems to be a common attitude, especially among those who came to find out about the camino via a certain American film.
True. But as your original post was about the crowds etc then the quieter routes would seem to be an obvious alternative, even for first-timers. :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
,Maybe all pilgrims/walkers should be required to wear a fitbit and display their "steps" to the Pilgrim Office. Then they could issue "Certificates of Steps" instead of distance. Lol. :);)o_O
I say put everyone on a GPS type of device that shows distance travelled in the amount of time and speed: bus, taxi in the last 100km : busted! :p
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Actually we do work out the kms if you have skipped some stage. ..
.
You are telling me that you sit there at the desk looking at the stamps over 800km figuring out where someone may have skipped half "an etapa", or a full etapa?

With all the stamps out there, from every random bar and kiosk along there is no way you can figure this out. And how can you tell if I took a taxi for 10-15 km from the place I got a stamp to the next?

And even if you could, it would take a very long time to analyse these and come up with a number. Mind you, that would explain the time queuing. Perhaps there should be a queue for Compostelas, one for certificates of distance.

But tell me, do you have to have earned the Compostela to buy a certificate of distance, or not?
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Many today embrace the idea that their (or other's) foot pilgrimage has to include an element of suffering but from what I read and hear the majority of them interprets this as a means to some kind of secular-spiritual transformational experience to be a better and stronger person, independent of religious doctrine. Come to think of it, walking 100 km from Astorga should be as valuable as walking 100 km from Sarria in terms of effort and sacrifice in the expiation of sins, no?
Hey, the question was "why was the minimal distance rule created". And that is what the Pilgrim Office website says: suffering for your sins. But yes, these days vaccationers walk these routes for many other reasons, but those are not the ones behind the minimal distance required.

As for 100km from anywhere to anywhere, well, then that is not a pilgrimage, but good excercise. Visiting the relics is what it is all about after all. You don't make a pilgrimage to the Mecca without going to the Mecca either.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
For first-time pilgrims who want the assurance of enough other pilgrims around them and albergues and tiendas every 3km, the Frances seems to be pretty much the default choice. Not saying that's best but it seems to be a common attitude, especially among those who came to find out about the camino via a certain American film.
So... because they believe a peice of fiction is real they should cheat themselves from a different, perhaps more authentic, traditional, "what is was like before the movie", call ot what you want, experience?

Having a shop every 3 km has actually taken away from the experience, it is not something I would want for anyone.
 

mdelag

Member
Camino(s) past & future
**CAMINO FRANCES: LEON-SANTIAGO sept. (2015)
**CAMINO FRANCES SJPP-SANTIAGO 2017
Not strange in any way. The Camino de Santiago has a single, quite clear, destination - the tomb of St James in the cathedral at Santiago. Whether it is done for religious or any other reason, done in one journey or many, and whether you walk afterwards to Finisterre or Muxia to acknowledge the existence of earlier spiritual traditions is unimportant. If you are not going to Santiago, you are not a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago.


Absolutely, and it is done regularly and frequently by those who understand that this is a far better option for most people than what you have been suggesting.
I have done the Camino from Leon to Santiago, and became totally devoted to it, looking forward to the day we come back and walk from SJPP to SANTIAGO. Can't imagine doing it and closing at Sarria. We walked in September, so our walk wasn't as busy as it is durinf the summer time. From Sarria on, yes it was a different "air" because the last 100 km are more crouded and you find lots of turists, but you are in your meditative mood and that is part of rhe Camino, dealing with different atmospheres, and enjoying every part of it, at least it was for me. The Camino de Santiago has the most amazing closure when entering Santiago, the emotion that you feel of getting closer and closer to the Obradorio, has been ONE OF THE GREATEST FEELINGS of my entire LIFE.
So my advice is, do the Camino and don't let anything change your mood, if it happens just work a bit harder to return to your purpose, ENJOY YOUR SILENCE, YOUR PEACE, YOUR TROUBLES AND, MOST OF ALL, DON'T LIVE ANYONE ELSE'S JOURNEY, LIVE AND LOVE YOUR JOURNEY TO THE FULLEST.
BUEN CAMINO DE SANTIAGO !!!!!
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking.
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
@Camino Chris, see @IngridF post above, quote:
Thank you, SY. Good to know and I'm sure your info is correct. However, it sure would hold up the lines of pilgrims waiting for their compostelas if individuals had bussed or taxied many little sections along the way and then it all had to be calculated by the volunteer issuing the certificate of distance.


Ingrid has just finished her stint as a volunteer in the pilgrims office, so that is first hand information ;-)
Buen Camino, SY
 

Carmen L. Padron

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2016
The Camino is 1st a pilgrimage, lets not forget that. We can argue that those walking for "the challenge" or other personal reasons are just as much "tourist" as the school kids on a 2 day walk and and not pilgrims. I walked last June and walking into Santiago was all I could think off. My only disappointment was the "tourist" hugging the Saint while Mass was going on. :(
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... My only disappointment was the "tourist" hugging the Saint while Mass was going on. :(
Actually medieval architecture allows/was created for just that. Pilgrimage churches, not only Santiago btw, used to be build with a layout that allowed visits to the tomb (or other important parts) whilst the, often continuous and multiple, masses were going on.
Nothing new under the sun, Buen Camino, SY
 

Sarah Olson

Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017, Portugues
In Finisterre I met a young Malaysian pilgrim-to-be, who hadn't begun yet. She only had about ten days and was going to walk the last nine stages of the Camino, bussing it to her start point. I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.

For me walking those last 110km was a rude awakening to school party and tour group hell, and was really jarring after such a beautiful previous four weeks. Much of the community spirit seemed to evaporate overnight on leaving Sarria. No-one greeted each other with "Bon Camino" any more, cause there's so many people you'd never stop saying it. We arrived in a Portomarin that had been booked out by school groups who weren't even doing the full Camino, just a two-day hike, but still causing the city to have to open overflow shelters for everyone else.

My point is, when you can experience this sort of crowded touristic hiking anywhere else in the world, why choose to spend half or a third or your limited Camino time doing this bit, just so you can get a certificate? Forgo the compostela and get stuck into the earlier stages, I say, where you're far more likely to have profound personal and spiritual experiences. If you're not doing it for Catholic reasons, I see no reason to see the last 100km as obligatory.

I'm pleased to say she took the advice and had a great time, reporting back that she definitely made the right choice, so I'd like to offer up the idea here to any other future pilgrims who are on a tight time budget :)
I just walked my first camino, solo, in May, the central Portugues route. Although it was a lovely experience, it was NOT the life-changing, friend-bonding thing that so many people on the Frances seem to find. It was freaking lonely a good portion of the time, and cafes and services were spread quite far apart, so options were few for making shorter days. I toyed with the idea of doing part of the Frances instead, as I was on limited time, and opted for the less-traveled but still popular Portugues. In retrospect, for my first camino, doing the first segment of the Frances would probably left me with more warm, fuzzy feelings about the camino in general, and wanting to do it again. At this point, I think I'm going to check out other walks as I feel no great attachment to the Way of Saint James.
I'm not surprised, H Richards, that you have been under polite attack for your advice, and you have handled it gracefully. I totally understand what you said, and you did nothing wrong. :)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I advised her to avoid Sarria to Santiago and instead do Astorga to Sarria.
We have had many threads about the pros and cons of the Sarria-Santiago portion, so there's nothing new here in that regard.

My concern with the original post was that it seemed to involve a piece of "advice" or recommendation based only on the crowd aspect. As this thread shows, everybody approaches their pilgrimage differently, and reacts differently to the various challenges. That is why I never recommend or "advise" anyone to even start the Camino. They need to want to do it enough. As far as bussing here or there, or other logistics, I would help them understand the options and only advise/recommend one option if health or safety were at risk.

Perhaps that's what the OP did, in fact, but the wording of the post presented it as a one-dimensional question and answer.
 

IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
You are telling me that you sit there at the desk looking at the stamps over 800km figuring out where someone may have skipped half "an etapa", or a full etapa?

With all the stamps out there, from every random bar and kiosk along there is no way you can figure this out. And how can you tell if I took a taxi for 10-15 km from the place I got a stamp to the next?

And even if you could, it would take a very long time to analyse these and come up with a number. Mind you, that would explain the time queuing. Perhaps there should be a queue for Compostelas, one for certificates of distance.

But tell me, do you have to have earned the Compostela to buy a certificate of distance, or not?
Yes we take the time... every pilgrim deserveso that.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Yes we take the time... every pilgrim deserveso that.
Didn't happen when I got one post Primitivo. I was quickly out of there and noone calculated where I had been or not. And I still don't understand how you can tell whar was walked, and what was not. Sorry, but I don't buy it. I'm willing to bet a vast majority of people have the standard distance based kn starting point, that's it, that's all.

Finally, is the distance certificate granted to anyone, or only to those who have qualified for a compostela?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Didn't happen when I got one post Primitivo. I was quickly out of there and noone calculated where I had been or not. And I still don't understand how you can tell whar was walked, and what was not. Sorry, but I don't buy it. I'm willing to bet a vast majority of people have the standard distance based kn starting point, that's it, that's all.
When my wife and I arrived in 2016 and asked for the certificate of distance, we told the woman attending to us that we had broken our walk. Our individual distances were then calculated for our certificates based on where we had each started and stopped. The same thing happened in 2014 when I walked from Covas rather than starting the CI in Ferrol.

I think it is a reasonable expectation that the volunteers don't have to be psychic, and you have to let them know if you have done something other than walk or ride continually from where you started.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
As Bobby Charles nearly wrote and as Fats Domino nearly sang "I'm walking to Santiago, I'm walking to Santiago, Its a long long way, but I'll get there one day. I'm walking to Santiago". Any other walk is just a walk.

You don't like the crowds from Sarria? You want your own perfect, peaceful peregrination? The school groups get up your nose and the bus tours upside your sensibilities? Other peoples' adventures are interfering with yours? Lush. You really need to walk to Santiago.

(For those who like ear-worms check out "Walking to New Orleans" on your favourite internet resource)
 

IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
Didn't happen when I got one post Primitivo. I was quickly out of there and noone calculated where I had been or not. And I still don't understand how you can tell whar was walked, and what was not. Sorry, but I don't buy it. I'm willing to bet a vast majority of people have the standard distance based kn starting point, that's it, that's all.

Finally, is the distance certificate granted to anyone, or only to those who have qualified for a compostela?
Only pilgrims withe a composteLA or certificate of completion (non religious etc).
BTW the distance calcuLatin is via a computer app. It also helps if you have walked multiple caminos and recognize the varies sellos.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Having recently walked Irun to Santo Domingo de la Calzada to Leon to Oviedo to Lugo to Sobrado dos Monxes to Santiago I really appreciated the efforts of the amigo who tried to calculate the distance to be recorded on my certificate. I'd tried hard to work it out and had come to several conclusions.

@IngridF thank you for your service, and thank you to the amigo who agreed that I had indeed walked a long long way.
 

gypsy9

Active Member
Hey H Richards. I am sure you didn't expect such responses to your well meaning advice (which as "free" human beings we can give).
People have the choice to take advice. or not.

Seems the angle of your post was for first time pilgrims to consider other options with their limited timeframe.

You said this Malaysian Pilgrim intended to return...so perhaps (like many) she will walk the Way to Santiago de Compostela in stages.. So all good as far as I can see. There is no "one" formula. This is the magic for our unique Way.

You also met her in Finesterre, correct?
Seems she most likely had already visited the (very beautiful) town of Santiago de Compostela.
So....
each to their own
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Only pilgrims withe a composteLA or certificate of completion (non religious etc).
BTW the distance calcuLatin is via a computer app. It also helps if you have walked multiple caminos and recognize the varies sellos.
Thank you for the info regarding needing the Compostela or Certificate of completion to purchase a Distance certificate.

Ok, now I'm intrigued. How does that app work?
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Every time I walk into Santiago de Compostela I am moved. Even today, after many visits, I am usually in tears somewhere along the pavement of the old town, as the cathedral comes into sight. Is my experience not just as valid as that of the person who is unmoved and finds it "just another day"?

I love the Sarria to SDC section; I love the party atmosphere, I love the soft Galician paths, I love the joy of those who are newly arrived on the path. After a solitary camino I welcome the change in atmosphere - to me it signifies getting close to the beloved destination.

I do not expect everyone to feel the way I do. But some will.
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'Portuguese,Frances,Norte,Salvador/primitivo,Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, VDLP spring19
Hi @H Richards
I found your post interesting and thought 'good on you' for offering your experience to someone who wanted it.
We all have a right to comment and one persons'. 'Perfect' response isn't going to automatically come from another.
I read your post as you having met someone who was in Finistere., who has more than likely researched a little to end up there !. Being friendly we all swap stories etc.
I'd say though., that she probably asked more people than just yourself what their experience was., with 10 days in mind ., then made a decision herself.
We can't always chew back our thoughts when asked and think first ' now how would mr or mrs x respond to this?' YOUR thoughts were asked - Thanks for sharing.
Buen camino
Annie
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
We can't always chew back our thoughts when asked and think first ' now how would mr or mrs x respond to this?' YOUR thoughts were asked - Thanks for sharing.
Good reminder!
 

Jetgirl

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-Santiago (2014), SJPdP - Logroño (planned spring 2016)
AMEN! Kanga!

While I too experienced significant crowds from Sarría, my reaction was to NOT be put out by it. It gave me a chance to reconnect with the beginner's mind that I had in my first few days and, the enthusiasm, energy, and talkativeness of my new pilgrim friends chiseled off my old timer veneer. All in all, new friends met in St Jean or Sarría are still new friends.


JG
 

IngridF

Intrepid Peregrina
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2015 ,2017, 2019
Well,
Thank you for the info regarding needing the Compostela or Certificate of completion to purchase a Distance certificate.

Ok, now I'm intrigued. How does that app work?
I think the best way to find out is to volunteer at the office. I think you would do a great job since you know the Caminos so well. Buen Camino!
 

Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
Every time I walk into Santiago de Compostela I am moved. Even today, after many visits, I am usually in tears somewhere along the pavement of the old town, as the cathedral comes into sight. Is my experience not just as valid as that of the person who is unmoved and finds it "just another day"?

I love the Sarria to SDC section; I love the party atmosphere, I love the soft Galician paths, I love the joy of those who are newly arrived on the path. After a solitary camino I welcome the change in atmosphere - to me it signifies getting close to the beloved destination.

I do not expect everyone to feel the way I do. But some will.
Yes :)
 

Jersey

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
July 2017
AMEN! Kanga!

While I too experienced significant crowds from Sarría, my reaction was to NOT be put out by it. It gave me a chance to reconnect with the beginner's mind that I had in my first few days and, the enthusiasm, energy, and talkativeness of my new pilgrim friends chiseled off my old timer veneer. All in all, new friends met in St Jean or Sarría are still new friends.
I live right next to NYC. I can't imagine the crowds being that bad lol

JG
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Although it was a lovely experience, it was NOT the life-changing, friend-bonding thing that so many people on the Frances seem to find.
Potential pilgrims learn of the camaraderie found by many while walking the Camino Frances. They watch "The Way" and see the bonding between divergent personalities and nationalities. Then they read about snoring and crowds, and choose a less traveled camino. They don't meet people, walk longer stages, and feel isolated. It really is not that surprising, when you think about it. :)
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Le Puy / Francés (parts)
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
Hey H Richards. I am sure you didn't expect such responses to your well meaning advice (which as "free" human beings we can give).
People have the choice to take advice. or not.

Seems the angle of your post was for first time pilgrims to consider other options with their limited timeframe.

You said this Malaysian Pilgrim intended to return...so perhaps (like many) she will walk the Way to Santiago de Compostela in stages.. So all good as far as I can see. There is no "one" formula. This is the magic for our unique Way.

You also met her in Finesterre, correct?
Seems she most likely had already visited the (very beautiful) town of Santiago de Compostela.
So....
each to their own
Yes, I met her in Finisterre. She'd already arrived by bus in Santiago and would fly out of Santiago in ten days time.

Judging from the responses many people have misunderstood my original post as an unqualified "don't bother with the last 100km, it's too busy", which it absolutely wasn't. It was presented with several qualifications, namely...

- If you have only ten days or similar limited schedule
- If the compostela isn't important to you
- If completing the pilgrimage by foot (this time round) isn't important to you
- If this is your first time and had already decided to walk the Camino Frances

Perhaps I wasn't totally clear on all these points in my OP ;-)

In the case of the pilgrim I spoke to she'd already been to Santiago as this was her arrival point, and she would return to Santiago from Sarria via bus. This also didn't preclude her returning another time and picking the pilgrimage up from Sarria.

I still found my Sarria->Santiago days a valuable part of the Camino and would never recommend leaving them out unequivocally just because of crowds. One of my favourite evenings of the whole camino happened that penultimate night, and I wouldn't have missed the bird pooping on my head immediately upon arrival in Santiago for anything. Yeah that happened.
 
P

pilgr

Guest
Has this post 'gone viral'?!?!

I think I get where @H Richards is coming from. That said, I don't think I would advise anyone around it. The camino is a very personal experience, different for every pilgrim.

For me, the most valuable part of the camino is connection: with other pilgrims and local Spaniards. Those 'friendly experiences' seem to diminish the closer you get to Santiago. I chock it up to the Malthusian Effect (on the camino): specifically as more and more people enter a given space, people become less and less friendly to each other. This generalizations most obvious example is the experience of big cities vs. smaller towns.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Le Puy / Francés (parts)
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
For me, the most valuable part of the camino is connection: with other pilgrims and local Spaniards. Those 'friendly experiences' seem to diminish the closer you get to Santiago. I chock it up to the Malthusian Effect (on the camino): specifically as more and more people enter a given space, people become less and less friendly to each other. This generalizations most obvious example is the experience of big cities vs. smaller towns.
This was certainly my experience too. Seeing how many people come on the camino exactly to find those kind of communal experiences, it seemed sensible to me to suggest sticking to the bits where they were more common. Cue everyone else's personal stories about how this absolutely isn't the case... ;-)
 
P

pilgr

Guest
This was certainly my experience too. Seeing how many people come on the camino exactly to find those kind of communal experiences, it seemed sensible to me to suggest sticking to the bits where they were more common. Cue everyone else's personal stories about how this absolutely isn't the case... ;-)
I am guessing you got the response you did because you "advised" someone on something which is generally considered a pretty personal experience, different for everyone. Folks can get a little defensive around that.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May/June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Le Puy / Francés (parts)
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2018 Francés
I am guessing you got the response you did because you "advised" someone on something which is generally considered a pretty personal experience, different for everyone. Folks can get a little defensive around that.
Yes, I get that, and it's fine of course. Wouldn't be much of a forum if everyone just agreed with each other. I still stand by my advice for the non-religiously motivated with little time.
 

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