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Is there any experience significance to changing the Camino route?

Kevin Whitten

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sept. - Oct. 2012
Most of us that have done more than one Camino have seen the route of the Camino Frances change in a relatively short period of time.

Some of this has been because of modern development through highway expansion, etc, while other changes are through commercial opportunism, i.e. bringing the route through communities and their pilgrim and hospitality facilities.

I appreciate that we know that the route of the Camino was never cast in stone and in fact may be a projection of the fantasy of the journey.

Does it matter?

I know there is going to be a lot of discussion of how the "journey" is the route but in a traditional sense, should there be some historical integrity?

Just asking - :)
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
Certainly there have been a few changes, but I can't say it bothers me as long as the 'feel' of the route does not change too much.

Though I am not a great fan of the 'Pilgrim Highways' (Senda) that have been developed in Palencia? such as prior to Boadilla nd Fromista.
 

TMcA

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
My impression is that the CF has not physically changed at all since I hiked most of it it with my wife in 2013. But in early May 2017 I sensed that from SJdPP to Pamplona the number of people on it appeared to be at the limit of, or maybe over, the number of beds available. I was not affected by this because I walked with a French group of six that had reserved space for my wife and me. So my only experience with what has been described as a "bed race" comes from watching people arrive in Zubiri and struggling to find a place to sleep. Yes, they found somewhere to sleep away from the CF or, I was told, on the floor somwhere. So this would be the change I have observed: more people and maybe more crowding.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Does it matter?
... should there be some historical integrity?
It all depends on the criteria you assign and how you measure the Camino. Is it just the end points (your home and the cathedral in Santiago) that matter? Or the number of blisters? Attitude? Prayers said? Does the change in vegetation and land use over 1000 years matter? Which part is the "historical integrity"?

The exact GPS track that we imagine some particular medieval pilgrim walked doesn't seem to provide historical integrity to me. What is that, anyway?
 

GettingThere

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
Most of us that have done more than one Camino have seen the route of the Camino Frances change in a relatively short period of time.

Some of this has been because of modern development through highway expansion, etc, while other changes are through commercial opportunism, i.e. bringing the route through communities and their pilgrim and hospitality facilities.

I appreciate that we know that the route of the Camino was never cast in stone and in fact may be a projection of the fantasy of the journey.

Does it matter?

I know there is going to be a lot of discussion of how the "journey" is the route but in a traditional sense, should there be some historical integrity?

Just asking - :)
Can you give some examples of where you feel the Camino Frances route has changed significantly? I'm aware of places where there are alternative routes available (sometimes more than one in one area), and a couple of minor re-routing instances (eg before and after Portomarin), but have there really been significant route changes within a short period of time? I would be interested in hearing where this has happened.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Most of us that have done more than one Camino have seen the route of the Camino Frances change in a relatively short period of time.

Some of this has been because of modern development through highway expansion, etc, while other changes are through commercial opportunism, i.e. bringing the route through communities and their pilgrim and hospitality facilities.

I appreciate that we know that the route of the Camino was never cast in stone and in fact may be a projection of the fantasy of the journey.

Does it matter?

I know there is going to be a lot of discussion of how the "journey" is the route but in a traditional sense, should there be some historical integrity?

Just asking - :)
Some of it has also been to lessen the amount of walking along the highways.

I think we have to accept that we are not completely walking the route that was walked in the middle ages. A bunch of that route is now directly under those highways that the cars speed along. For me, it is enough to walk along a path that connects the villages that the pilgrims of yore passed through, alongside the pilgrims of today.

It was kind of neat on the Camino Frances to walk along the literal Roman roads. On the other hand, those were some of the most challenging on my feet. I suspect they had a better surface in Roman times. Otherwise, any legions that marched along them would have been in no condition to fight when they arrived.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Can you give some examples of where you feel the Camino Frances route has changed significantly? I'm aware of places where there are alternative routes available (sometimes more than one in one area), and a couple of minor re-routing instances (eg before and after Portomarin), but have there really been significant route changes within a short period of time? I would be interested in hearing where this has happened.
I dont know what it was prior to, but when I stayed in an albergue in Navarette, the owner asked us all to sign a petition to put the arrows back the way they once were. Apparently some business owners had painted new arrows to take people past their shops.
Which probably explains why it took us some time to find his place. We had to backtrack a bit.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
The modern Camino Frances is mostly a creation of the 1980s. Don Elias and the other pioneers chose what they saw as the best walking routes to connect the towns and villages that make up the principal historic way to Santiago. Many of the paths which medieval pilgrims used will have been lost or covered by modern roads. And it is probably anachronistic to think of the medieval Camino Frances as being a single waymarked and closely defined footpath in the modern sense anyway. My own view is that a pilgrimage should be defined far more by its destination than by its precise route. So when walking to Rome I felt free to ignore the official Via Francigena much of the time and walk an alternative route. I find it sad that the Santiago cathedral has now followed the recent trend in deciding that it is the path itself and not the destination which matters and will only grant a Compostela to those who walk an officially sanctioned path.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
English isn't my first language and I don't quite understand the title or what "historical integrity" entails. I guess "historical integrity" is different from "historical authenticity" and by "changes" you mean mainly the changes to the physical route in recent decades, i.e. the yellow arrows aren't where they used to be, but not changes like more modern road surfacing, more commercialisation directed at pilgrims such as ads and offers for accommodation, taxis, backpack transfer, or, dare I say it, the sight of litter? Because as we know from many threads, this matters to people and influences their experience.

I've had a look at a Camino Frances guide from the 1990s and got the impression that the tracing of the marked trail as such has changed very little during the last 25 years.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
I've had a look at a Camino Frances guide from the 1990s and got the impression that the tracing of the marked trail as such has changed very little during the last 25 years.
Thinking back to my walks in 1990, 2002 and 2016 I did see quite a lot of changes in the marked route over time but they were mostly relatively minor ones to accommodate new roads, railways and the expansion of towns. Or to divert the old route off-road and on to safer and arguably more pleasant paths. If the precise routing of the Camino had some vital historical or spiritual significance how would one account for the sections where it branches into alternative paths? - I have the divergence in Triacastela where one can opt to walk via Samos in mind as an example. Are those who choose the wrong option traitors, heretics or apostates? I think as a pilgrim the issue boils down to a fairly simple question of personal priorities: are you walking a sacred path or walking to a sacred place?
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
If the precise routing of the Camino had some vital historical or spiritual significance how would one account for the sections where it branches into alternative paths? - I have the divergence in Triacastela where one can opt to walk via Samos in mind as an example. Are those who choose the wrong option traitors, heretics or apostates? ?
Or just lost? ;)
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Most of us that have done more than one Camino have seen the route of the Camino Frances change in a relatively short period of time.

Some of this has been because of modern development through highway expansion, etc, while other changes are through commercial opportunism, i.e. bringing the route through communities and their pilgrim and hospitality facilities.

I appreciate that we know that the route of the Camino was never cast in stone and in fact may be a projection of the fantasy of the journey.

Does it matter?

I know there is going to be a lot of discussion of how the "journey" is the route but in a traditional sense, should there be some historical integrity?

Just asking - :)
The one change that got me was at Villavante. They say the change was to avoid crossing a railroad track but was it. The town now has an albergue and some thriving bars that did not exist in 2013. It did not bother me but took me by surprise as I was for walking straight on and everyone else spotted the new arrows and turned right
 

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