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Graffiti on the Frances

Camino(s) past & future
2014 - October - StJPP to Santiago
2015 - September - StJPP to Finisterre
(2016 - September - Le Puy to StJPP)
#1
This is probably an old chestnut but why do people (I won’t call them pilgrims) insist on putting stupid graffiti messages on the way markers on the Camino Frances. Having joined the Frances yesterday at Arzua from the ‘unspoilt’ Del Norte I was dismayed at all the graffiti and litter along this way! I walked the Frances twice a few years back and it has disimproved so much! Who gives these so called pilgrims the right to spray paint stupid messages on way markers. I may be old fashioned but I believe if you cannot walk in the spirit of and with respect for the Camino then don’t walk at all! Anyway that’s my Camino rant for 2018!
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
Aragones
Elizabethpfad
#3
With respect, it must be a very recent phenomenon rather than a tradition, since I also saw no graffiti when I walked the CF only a few years ago. Nor much litter either. The explosion in numbers on the CF has included younger folk who I expect are in the main responsible for the graffiti. However, many western societies seem to have had considerable success with the elimination of casual littering, (although graffiti does seem an intractable problem). I wonder whether a public education campaign could render similar successful results on the CF.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#9
In 2007 I passed the same mojone just after the cleaning crew got there, but not before the first graffiti:

1540980732743.png
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2014), Camino Inca (2015), Primitivo (2017), Portugues (2018), Finisterre (2018)
#10
I did not notice as much graffiti when I walked the Frances in 2014, but after coming off the Primitivo last year and joining the Frances, I definitely noticed it, and how many km. signs had been taken (and some broken in an attempt to take them).
"Take only photographs - leave only footprints."
 

sandyecds

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
july 2016
#11
This is probably an old chestnut but why do people (I won’t call them pilgrims) insist on putting stupid graffiti messages on the way markers on the Camino Frances. Having joined the Frances yesterday at Arzua from the ‘unspoilt’ Del Norte I was dismayed at all the graffiti and litter along this way! I walked the Frances twice a few years back and it has disimproved so much! Who gives these so called pilgrims the right to spray paint stupid messages on way markers. I may be old fashioned but I believe if you cannot walk in the spirit of and with respect for the Camino then don’t walk at all! Anyway that’s my Camino rant for 2018!
I agree. When people ask what to take on the camino, I always say a wide sharpie pen to write all over everything serms to be an essential cuz this is what I see everywhere.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(015)Irun to Santiago
(017)Lisboa to S
2018Caminha to Santiago
(2018) Camino English Ferrol Santiago
#12
This phenomenum started the moment the Camino become commercialised. Business class peregrinos and taxi grinos and "pilgrims" carrying daypacks. My honest opinion.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#14
I despise it; everywhere I see it I despise it. I grew up being instructed on how to appreciate art, sculpture, architecture, and beauty. Nothing in my upbringing taught me this kind of activity is good, beautiful, or worthy of appreciation.
I am a very sad pilgrim when I see it and I choose to ignore it if at all possible. There is so much beauty in the world that it is easier to focus on it rather than the defacement of structures meant for the benefit of all.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#15
It probably wouldn't work, but maybe they should put up some kind of structures that are designed for people to leave their "mark".
 

jesper K

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino frances 2013 - Camino Portugues 2014 - Camino frances 2016 -
camino frances 2018
#16
Just human behaviour. Happens when a pilgrim walk turn into a tourist trip.
Happens when people have no respect for their surroundings and the local traditions.
 

Paladina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cycled caminos francés, Finisterre, primitivo & del norte (2017); VdlP/Sanabres, ingles et al (2018)
#17
I kinda like it... (But I don't add to it).
There was evidently no need for Team Tortoise to add their tag to the waymarker photographed by @falcon269. The original tortugas beat you to it by a decade. You must have been caught napping!
 
Camino(s) past & future
26th May 2013
#19
I noticed more of it from Sarria to Santiago than from St Jean to Sarria....what's more I thought there was a different 'kind' of pilgrim walking that route too who seemed to be hell bent on getting in the last 100kms as quickly as possible!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#20
I thought there was a different 'kind' of pilgrim walking that route too who seemed to be hell bent on getting in the last 100kms as quickly as possible!
The Spanish are 44% of the pilgrims. About 60% of the pilgrims walk the Camino Frances. About 30% start in Sarria. I imagine that motivations are myriad, but about 44% walk for "religious" reasons, motivated by the religious nature of the compostela. I personally would not speculate on whether any of them increase their speed in the five days of the last 100km from Sarria; in thousands of miles of walking, I have passed only three pilgrims who were not taking a rest, so I am pretty sure that I am the slowest pilgrim out there! I would speculate that almost no one dawdles, and I have seen pilgrims driven to cover distance early in the 780km, and I have seen pilgrims hobbling slowly on blisters in the last 100km. Both seemed more heaven bent than hell bent!;)
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes please!
#21
What to do if you come across some of these vandals/taggers though? Shortly before Castrojeriz this autumn I saw someone's signature at the back of a traffic sign with the day's date and was hoping I would bump into her (yes, Anneke, you) and wondered what I would say if I did. I suppose I would ask why she needed to sign and date that sign - was her camino not valid unless she had made her mark on it? Was she planning to come back so she could reminisce by her previous tagging? And why on earth could she not just have taken a selfie to prove she was there? Packing a sharpie or can of spray paint seems very premeditated. I have no problem confronting people who litter, but how would you confront someone who is tagging?
 
Camino(s) past & future
2014 - October - StJPP to Santiago
2015 - September - StJPP to Finisterre
(2016 - September - Le Puy to StJPP)
#25
Some cities, Logrono for example, think graffiti is art and encourage it:

View attachment 48329
Some cities, Logrono for example, think graffiti is art and encourage it:

View attachment 48329
I actually agree that some graffiti in cities is extremely artistic - the Berlin Wall would be a typical example! But stupid scrawls like ‘Dylan loves Lisa 2018’ gets up my nose and is pure defacement! And there is so much of this type of stuff on the waymarkers - we all love people but do we need to scribble it in permanent ink - I don’t think so!
 
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2018
#26
Some I do like...depends on what it is and where it's placed. Don't like it on the waymarkers at all - wouldn't dream of doing it myself on any camino (or anywhere else!) but have seen some pretty amazing graffiti art in places. Some beautiful and some very interesting and politicaly provocative. Had a fun walkabout in Bristol searching for Banksy with some dear U.K friends. There are graffiti artists that are also incredibly gifted muralists...though of course, not to be compared with those who are tagging camino waymarkers :)
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
#27
Fortunately, I've only experienced this, really, on the Camino Frances. I may be a grump, but I found the banal, new age-y platitudes (e.g., "don't stop walking" and blah, blah) even more annoying than the other graffiti. Smacks of self-important privileged college kids.

That said, I'll make an exception, though, for L'Alchemiste, whose musings are dotted on small removable signs along a significant portion of the Le Puy trail - at least he is sincere, and shows his sincerity by providing walkers with the best gite by far (and a donativo no less) of any hostel/albergue/gite on any of the trails I've ever walked.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#28
The only graffiti allowed on the way marker should ' Diputacion Provincial Lugo ' which is the government institution that provides funds for the maintenance of 4200 kms of roads and municipal services as garbage collection and lighting for more or less 200000 people. And Lugo is not a rich province.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#30
When asked to name the one thing I didn't like about the CF my immediate answer was the Graffiti, I found it so disrespectful to the Spaniards. I don't like someone spreading trash and spray painting my home so why should we do this to another's country and then say it is acceptable because it's "tradition". the markings I loved were the signs written on stones on the ground or drawn in the dirt not defacing the countryside. Yes, some of the Graffiti is beautiful artwork and has encouraging statements but that still does not make it right.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
#32
This past summer while on the Norte I was touring a beautiful old church (unknown exactly where) and found graffiti crudely engraved into the interior walls near a baptismal area of the church. While leaving I mentioned my findings to one of the priest assigned to the church. When I did he said he was aware of the issue, shrugged and said. "Sometimes some people are like animals who have to mark their territory".
 
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#35
Oh darn ....I need someone to explain to me the political statement.
'Mas futvol por fabor 'is not a political statement , it's a joke.Means More football please but with misspelling. Correct is 'Mas futbol por favor.' So what the writer needs is more culture.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
#38
'Mas futvol por fabor 'is not a political statement , it's a joke.Means More football please but with misspelling. Correct is 'Mas futbol por favor.' So what the writer needs is more culture.

More culture : more awareness , less ignorance.
Less graffiti also.
People who tag graffiti are like internettrolls.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés Sept. 2017
Camino Portugués Apr-May 2019
#39
Thank you for talking about this. We also were disgusted by the amount of graffiti we encountered when we walked the CF in the fall of 2017. We had a name for those that defaced the markers which I cannot repeat on this forum. Also distressing was that someone had removed the km distance plates from most of those beautiful markers in La Rioja. I don’t know if they have been replaced or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
#40
'Mas futvol por fabor 'is not a political statement , it's a joke.Means More football please but with misspelling. Correct is 'Mas futbol por favor.' So what the writer needs is more culture.
:) I understood the misspelling bit, but I'm guessing that was intentional. Hmmmm, I wonder now if the political message @notion900 referred to is in the intentional misspelling. (Am leaving this here, for fear of breaking Rule 2.)
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#41
I know nothing except it's all over Lugo. And I don't think those naughty pilgrims dunnit.

Maybe they did this one in Oviedo?
20170804_180225.jpg

The plot thickens....
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
#42
I think some of those 'pilgrims' are not all that innocent....
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#43
Humans are predictable enough in aggregate that Galicia should have known the plaques and kilometer insets would be targeted by souvenir hunters. The distance etched into the granite worked quite well in the old mojones! That is victim blaming, I know, but tax dollars should be spent with a little bit of common sense.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
#44
Humans are predictable enough in aggregate that Galicia should have known the plaques and kilometer insets would be targeted by souvenir hunters. The distance etched into the granite worked quite well in the old mojones! That is victim blaming, I know, but tax dollars should be spent with a little bit of common sense.
Aesthetics count though!
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#45
Aesthetics count though!
I doubt that aesthetics were the deciding factor. I am betting cost. A brass plaque is much less expensive than carving in granite and can be changed easily in the future as distances change. If you think the tile or the distance marker are highly aesthetic, may I suggest a visit to the Prado!! ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
#46
I'm not condoning it, but I would guess that a fair amount of the graffiti on the Camino is done by Spaniards, since nearly half the Pilgrims are Spanish.
I completely agree with you a lot is done by the Spanish but I feel that regardless how much they have done we should not add to it.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#47
I may be boring but I don’t like graffiti. I feel it is a violation of the space we all share. By graffiti I mean things like ‘so and so was here’ or ‘Jesus didn’t start in ...’.
I think the need to write graffiti must be a residue of a primeval instinct, like my cats pee on things in the garden to make their mark - ‘it’s MY space’.
I thought we humans had evolved :confused: Wrong!
 

YoCo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future: Aug 2018 Frances
#48
This is probably an old chestnut but why do people (I won’t call them pilgrims) insist on putting stupid graffiti messages on the way markers on the Camino Frances. Having joined the Frances yesterday at Arzua from the ‘unspoilt’ Del Norte I was dismayed at all the graffiti and litter along this way! I walked the Frances twice a few years back and it has disimproved so much! Who gives these so called pilgrims the right to spray paint stupid messages on way markers. I may be old fashioned but I believe if you cannot walk in the spirit of and with respect for the Camino then don’t walk at all! Anyway that’s my Camino rant for 2018!
I'm with you. Not appreciating the messages that were positive. Really? A well intentioned message has to be spray painted? I was just on the Frances, Norte, and Primativo and just could not believe all the mess.
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#49
With respect, it must be a very recent phenomenon rather than a tradition, since I also saw no graffiti when I walked the CF only a few years ago. Nor much litter either. The explosion in numbers on the CF has included younger folk who I expect are in the main responsible for the graffiti. However, many western societies seem to have had considerable success with the elimination of casual littering, (although graffiti does seem an intractable problem). I wonder whether a public education campaign could render similar successful results on the CF.
" a few years ago" ? I walked in 2014 & 2015 and was disgusted by all of the graffiti both on markers and on roads, walls, tunnels, statues, crosses, etc... I walked the Portuguese route this past Sept and saw no graffiti at all until entering Spain. Not sure what the solution is, but I find it self centered, disrespectful, and heartbreaking.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
Aragones
Elizabethpfad
#50
" a few years ago" ? I walked in 2014 & 2015 and was disgusted by all of the graffiti both on markers and on roads, walls, tunnels, statues, crosses, etc... I walked the Portuguese route this past Sept and saw no graffiti at all until entering Spain. Not sure what the solution is, but I find it self centered, disrespectful, and heartbreaking.
Specifically it was 2012-14. And I honestly did not see any. However, I have since been thoroughly repudiated by keener-eyed pilgrims than myself. Or maybe it was a matter of timing, in that some cleaning had been done.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#51
Blame the Romans...

graffiti.jpeg
"I admire you, wall, that you haven't fallen down, you who bear so much tedious writing"

From Pompeii
 

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