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In defense of early risers

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#1
Hello everyone,

I feel compelled to write a few thoughts on the criticism I see and hear sometimes of those who rise early (and admittedly, some noisily) in order to get on the road.

I went on my first Camino in August 2005 departing from Toulouse. At that time it was very hot, and so I got into the habit of leaving before sunrise most days. This had two advantages one being that it was much cooler at this time of the day and the other was that I could stop and watch (and enjoy) the often spectacular sunrises. The further I travelled into Spain the more I enjoyed this aspect of the Camino - starting in the last of the starlight, seeing the rosie glow of the sunrise reflected in the west, and then turning to the East and seeing the brilliant pinks and crimsons.

This is a magical time to walk and one of my treasured memories is walking in the Meseta and coming across a field of crocus blooming, with the sun coming up behind - it was like the sun had come down and painted the field.

Another time I stopped, on a hill not far from Rabanal, to watch the sunrise. Here, I felt compelled to sing (Amazing Grace and a few other Spirituals that came to mind). I thought I was alone - as I had followed the path and could see no-one behind me, but unbeknowst to me people had come along the road just above where I was sitting singing, and I heard a few days later that I stopped the "traffic" as they tried to work out who the mystery soprano was!

Anyway - back to the early risers. I was always careful that every night I put my clothes in a neat pile on my Pack so that I could quickly pick them up, always going to the bathroom to get dressed - to reduce rustling. I would then, as quietly as possible pick up my pack and my speeping bag etc and adjourn to another part of the albergue where I would not disturb any one as I continued my packing. Also, in order that sounds were kept to a minimum, I walked in socks only until I was out of the dormitory.

Once on the road I would stop frequently - to rest, to think, to talk to others, and to admire my surroundings. A number of times I was one of the last into the Albergue, and never once did I have difficulty finding somewhere to sleep. I did not take an alarm (or a mobile phone!!) with me and do not intend to do so on my next Camino in 5 weeks time - the racers will wake me!

My plea is that you don't dismiss or those who depart early as people racing for beds because some of us have other reasons for an early departure - and I hope are considerte of our fellow pilgrims when they do leave early. As my next Camino begins (from Le Puy) in five weeks time (August 4th) when it will be very hot I again intend to continue with the pattern that I adopted last time.

Buen Camino, Janet
 

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:
#2
Early to bed- early to rise

Janet, I too am an earlier riser by habit. I walk on the Durban beach front twice a week (5h45 in summer and 6h30 in winter) and walk inland twice a week (same times). There is nothing more spectacular that a glorious sun rising over the sea, or from behind a Spanish hilltop. The camino is also known as "Camino de las estrellas" - the Way of the Stars. As I go to bed early I would never see the stars on el camino if I didn't get up early enough in the morning!
Pilgrim hugs,
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
#3
There are few experiences more agreeable or elemental than watching the sun rise over the pueblo one has just left (especially if one can manage to walk backwards without injury!). My objection to early risers were the snarling, swearing rustlers of plastic bags and this practice so annoyed me that I took special care to pack everything before I went to sleep, and place my pack in the corridor, so that I would not disturb anyone on rising and cause them to curse me for early rising.

There is, of course, the unfortunate phenomenon of those who rise early, not to enjoy the clarity of that extraordinary time of stillness, but to get a head start on the sprint to the next stop, but there's nothing one can do about them. Like the person who swallows their food without tasting, they miss out on something valuable which is there for the taking.
 
#4
early birds

Janet,
what you describe as your habit, however, is a very respectful and nice way of treating others who do not get up so early.
From our experience, many people had no problem ringing an alarm at 5:30 a.m., jumping out of bed, switching on the lights in the entire dorm and rustling and bustling away like they were alone.
I admit that we got up particularly late, because as bikers we were able to leave later than walkers. But still...
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#5
New pilgrims should be aware of the friction between those who stay up late and those who rise early. Bicyclers are not allowed into most government albergues before 6 p.m. on the theory that, if they are shut out, 5 km is just a few minutes on a bicycle, but over an hour on foot. As a result, they are doing laundry and eating later than the walkers.

Restaurants in Spain rarely open before 7 p.m., and even that hour is a concession to pilgrims. Non-pilgrim restaurants often open at 9 p.m. or later. Some pilgrims like to join the natives!

In the summer it can become quite hot by noon, so some pilgrims will start early to avoid the heat, arriving at their destination seven hours later at 1 p.m. Many albergues do not open until 1500 or 1600, so lines begin to form in the early afternoon, causing anxiety among passing pilgrims that the bed race is on.

You are likely to discover on the Camino how little control you REALLY have over your life. Beyond controlling yourself and your attitudes, I suggest that you control almost nothing. So, to me, your choice in managing the day/night conflict is to be irritated or not irritated! Be as little burden to others as you can; do not let them burden you by affecting your attitude. Go placidly.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#6
I don't have so much a problem with people rising and getting on the road early as I do their inconsiderate behavior when doing so.

I did meet successful early risers.
They generally had sorted out their clothes the night before so they could literally get out of bed, grab their bag, go into the next room, dress, and leave quietly without waking up everyone .

I think if you enjoy watching the sunrise, that's fine, if you can do it gently and without antagonizing those who are not in a hurry.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#7
It is dangerous to ascribe motives to others, but I became certain that some pilgrims intentionally were loud in the morning. When one turns on the lights in a dormitory that sleeps a hundred, what other interpretation is there?

Total silence is not possible even by the pilgrims who pre-pack in the evening, so if you want to sleep in, wear earplugs. If light peeks through your eyelids, wear a sleep mask. Or be massively irritated every day of your Camino; it's your choice, I suppose.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#8
I'm one of those astounded by the boorish behaviour of some in the mornings (more like the middle of the night to me!).Why are some so inconsiderate of others? And you DON'T NEED THOSE BLOODY PLASTIC BAGS!!!
By the way if you are walking west how do see the sunrise in the east?
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#10
I must confess that I, too am an early riser. At home, I get up between 4:30 and 5 am every day (even weekends) without an alarm. The early morning ( la madrugada) is my favourite time of day so it was natural for me to be up early on the Camino - but I was never the first or only one up, and always tried to be as quiet as possible. When you're with a large group of people it is simply impossible for everyone to be the same...I must admit there were some mornings where I just got up because I counldn't sleep due to snoring and so it was just as easy to get on the road.

There is alot of complaint regarding noise in the early morning, but what about noise late at night? When I would go to bed around 10 (usually) there were always people who were sound asleep at that hour... and I often wondered how they felt about the people coming in, repacking their packs and talking while they were trying to sleep....

Also, when I would arrive at an albergue in the afternoon, chatting and laughing sometimes with companions, often there were people trying to nap. I know I inadvertently disturbed more than one sleeping pilgrim. I guess the key is to realize that we are not the only person there and to try always to be as considerate as possible. We all make errors sometimes ... it is human nature... so I suppose that while at times we are annoyed that we are distubed, perhaps we need to realize that at other times we are doing the disturbing...

Buen Camino,
 
#11
Deirdre said:
When you're with a large group of people it is simply impossible for everyone to be the same...
And isn't this one of the great lessons and experience of the pilgrimage? I need to accept that others will behave differently, some more selfishly, some just according to their daily routine or else I'll just fester with resentment which will affect me and not them! And I'm easily prone to that to be honest: I was once invited to a breakfast meeting and I thought it was the most unnatural thing I'd ever witnessed - people dressed in suits and talking business at 7.30 in the morning! What astonished me most was that there were actually other people on the Metro at that time...and in the streets.

Nowadays I'm not a great great user of albergues but when I have done so they have been great for my self control if not tolerance :)
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#12
How do you watch the sunrise when walking west?
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
#13
Hi Omar,
Wolverine already answered that: Turn around. :lol: I often walk backwards for a short stretch... it uses different muscles in the legs, gives one a bit of a stretch and relieves tension... and allows you to see the sunrise. Besides, sometimes on the Francés you're walking south and sometimes north... there are all manner of ways to see the sunrise...

Buen Camino,
 

jl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
#14
......or simply stop! Sit down and enjoy the wonderful kaleidoscope of colour that passes before your eyes! A solitary and peaceful time of the day - a great time for reflection.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
#15
One of my most precious memories of the Camino was being on top of O'Cebreiro and seeing sunrise.
Margaret
 

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