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Luggage Transfer Correos

Jesus and the Money Lenders

2020 Camino Guides

PeterM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (2017)
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.
And your point is? The Pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago is a Pilgrimage. The ways to Santiago are many and various. Those who make pilgrimage to the shrine are supported by those who provide shelter, food, and occasionally the Tshirt. I'm wondering whether you think that the providers should have done so without regard to their own comfort and survival or whether your own pilgrimage would have been improved if everything you got was for free?
 
Camino(s) past & future
somewhere between "not enough" and "way too many"
@PeterM -

I say with completely kindly intent that while you have all of my sympathy, I cannot offer you any support.

A late and very pious (in the good sense) friend of many years took me to task on my expression of the same sentiment one day in Burgos.

"B... if they tried to run this infrastructure on goodwill and Hail Marys alone it probably would have crumbled to rubble well before we were born."

It is food for thought.

B

[Edit: I see that @Tincatinker gave a fuller account while I was typing.]
 

kazrobbo

Tassie Kaz
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012)
CP(2015)
St Olavs Way Norway(2016)
88 Temples Japan(2017)
PWC & VF(2019)
Israel (2020)
Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
You could always 'turn the other cheek' if it offends thee so... 🙈 😇 🤭
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
If you were looking for a non-commercialised Camino I think you are nearly 30 years too late. When I walked my first Camino there were no private albergues, no luggage services, mostly donativo or entirely free refugios, and no Camino-themed souvenir shops outside of Santiago itself. And little or no Camino branding of bars, menus, road signs and the like. On a number of occasions bar and restaurant owners even refused to accept any payment for the food and drink I had ordered. No one expected to make a living from the Camino in 1990 as numbers were still tiny by today's standards. Almost all the Camino infrastructure was volunteer-run and managed at a local level by churches, confraternities or local town councils. That was possible when a village or a bar might see a bare handful of pilgrims on any given day but not with the massive numbers walking now. I understand that a large service industry must now exist to support the vast numbers currently walking -especially with their greatly inflated notion of what constitutes a minimum acceptable standard in accommodation, food and support services. However I do share some reservations about the tacky and garish presentation of some of today's provision.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.
Of course. It's a tourist destination and we're all tourists, though perhaps also with spiritual or religious intent.
If there were no tourists wanting to buy stuff to take home, those shops wouldn't be there.
a large service industry must now exist to support the vast numbers currently walking -especially with their greatly inflated notion of what constitutes a minimum acceptable standard in accommodation, food and support services.
And that includes shops selling souvenirs to share with Aunt Mary (or whomever).

That this is the way it's always been, note this:
Where it says, "The jet was relevant industry in the Middle Ages valued for its ornamental beauty and the magical powers attributed to him. In Santiago were located most important workshops in the pilgrims had their best customers."

Hence Rua Azabache.

(And since when were souvenir shops equivalent to moneylenders? In my experience loan sharks and tee-shirt vendors are two utterly different species.) ;)
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
Congrats on finishing the walk! Dont let the bad memories over arch the good ones you have of your time well spent.
I usually just pointedly ignore the unpleasant sights...they know i am ignoring them because my Sennheisers are over my ear and if they persist on demanding my attention..i insist on turning up the volume...on my Melodic Death Metal playlist..so a person knows what kind of mood they have drawn from me...HAAA!
then i switch back to my mood seeking behavior which enhances my photograph seeking nature by being a synchronous moment attributted by fatigue,effort used and emptyness of thoughts from having reached a point of emptyness within and throughout.
People will always capitalize on other peoples vulnerabilities on journeys..fear,anticipation,a sense of expectation that is aided or hindered by time amd place..and those who know how to capitalize on said mental states.
Advantages are and will always be taken on the new kids in town and it doesn't matter the circumstances.
People will be people and can tend to piss on a transcendent experience..turning it into a big steaming pile of protein enhanced stink stuff.
I am guilty of letting people get to me
I like having moments
Transcendent moments are transient and ohh so fleeting.i am a momento-memento-phile...a picture will bring back the 5 senses along with the emotions attached to it
So when some random ruins it by action,deed or word..it tends to be ruined evermore depending on my effort to reach that state.

There is high road
Low road
Any..road...
And i will divert from the Way to re establish my connection to the Way.

I cant say overlook what was unpleasant because you put in the effort to create and experience your Way..your way...but dont let the experience ruin the overall path you are on...crossing pastures isnt not without the dangers of getting unpleasantness on the boots.but time,distance and the dust of other roads tend to cover the evidence.
 

Telboyo

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I intend to leave the UK the day Before Brexit and walkMarch -April 2019 Camino Frances
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
If you think SDC is bad, don't ever go to Lourdes.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
If you think SDC is bad, don't ever go to Lourdes.
Exactly. The OP’s message is not only about the Camino kitsch, it’s also, maybe even more so, about the devotional paraphernalia that you inevitably find near wherever there is religious tourism, and I mean religious tourism and not Camino tourism. I must admit, when I read the first post, I looked where the OP is from ... aha, that explains it, I thought, he is not from the more Catholic parts of Europe. 😇
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Forgive me Peter but I think you are making an error here. There is a difference between the teachings of a religion and what humans do around it .... humans create and develop things in certain ways ... and where there is demand there is always supply.
A church .. churches .. are almost all built to the same cruciform design ... most older ones face Jerusalem .. the Cross or crucifix is prominent, they all use the same book, the Bible, so services are almost identical in each .. the litany is the same "peace be with you" - "and also with you" and you will hear it in every church .. so in a sense each church is a franchise, based upon and keeping to an essential and successful model.

Now look at, say, McDonalds ... almost all are built to the same design ... the M sign is prominent, they all use the same company book, which McDonalds employees call their 'Bible', so services are almost identical in each .. the litany is the same and you will hear it in all outlets - "do you want large fries with that" .. so each outlet is based upon and keeping to an essential and successful model.

But - you have to see through this, they are not the same, it is just that this is how humans make, create, and develop things ... so this is why I think you are making an error - you are looking at the external and seeing only commerce ... your opportunity on Camino was to ponder the internal ....
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
People love buying crap, especially cheap crap..
You don’t have to like it, let alone buy it, but it can be meaningful for the buyers who, btw, may never be able to afford a plane ticket to travel halfway around the world every once in a while, to then practice the simple and asketic life for a while. Cheap flights are also an aspect of “capitalism” and the “money lenders“. Are only tasteful and expensive souvenirs good souvenirs? Let me see, I bought a St James shell necklace for about €200 once, how would we classify this? 😇
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I will admit to buying a fridge magnet from the Cathedral shop. And a friend I see who has not been able to walk a camino in 5 years has a standing order for the crazily expensivo soap they sell there.
Tasteful shell keychains are hits as gifts. I received one several years ago from @CaminoDebrita when I met her in Santiago and goes with me everwhere. And the there are all those little bracelets fellow pilgrims give each other as tokens of comeraderie and connection.

Stuff like this brings a small puff of joy to the mind, remembering Santiago, and the long walk to get there, and the connection with the person we give to or get something from.

That's all good, because it inclines the heart to good. So I'm loathe to look down on the endless stalls of tasteless stuff.

And at the same time @PeterM, you're right: there is also a vivid contrast between the marketplace and what happens in the sacred space of the cathedral, and in the heart. The vividness of that just is. And there will always be that contrast. But the thing is - right? - you know in the end what really matters, and what really has substance. And it's not the stuff.

Your post has been with me this afternoon, and what shines through the superficial aversion is how you deeply value the sacred. The trick is not using that to separate, but instead to bring together. And that's what we all have to learn. We all 'piled on,' agreeing in our disagreement. But I think there is something deeper here than that....
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
(And since when were souvenir shops equivalent to moneylenders? In my experience loan sharks and tee-shirt vendors are two utterly different species.) ;)
And it’s always good to look things up and not rely on memories from childhood. They were not moneylenders in the courtyard of the Jerusalem Temple, they were moneychangers. How lucky we are today because we have the € and Charles Schwab! ;)
 
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Dogbreath

Doug Johnson, Indiana, USA
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP --> SdC) Sep/Oct 2019
BRAVO! The title of the thread caught my eye. The overwhelming schlock vendors along the Frances route did not disgust me, and I did load up my backpack with a few trinkets and books. But having also visited Fatima while I was in Europe, it was incredible -- and disappointing -- how commercial the town was once you crossed the street from the Sanctuary area. I was on my Camino for Spiritual reasons, it was a Pilgrimage. I focused on the umpteen Churches along the Camino; while in Fatima the Via Sacra path in Aljustrel was my personal highlight.

I had to smile at the 'irony' of the first comment to the original posting coming from Fr. Jeff! He is certainly qualified to play the part of Jesus in my imagined Passion Play.

Thanks to all for their comments -- as I was prepping for my Sept/Oct Camino and for 'entertainment' and possible use purposes since I've been back to the 'real' world.
 

NYSE

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
The Camino is anything you want to make it. Never in my life have I had the freedom to make my life whatever I wanted as I did on the Camino.
 

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
I find paying to enter a sacred place (cathedral) more disturbing. The stall holders etc leave a choice to buy or not. Paying to enter a place of worship sadly keeps people out ( reference here to the UK, not Santiago) and the 'commercial' aspect has altered the atmosphere subtly, there is no longer a sense of the numinous.
One of the things we have loved about the Camino is the churches and cathedrals and their open doors; and yes I know some places now charge, which IMO is not helpful. A shop or stall nearby would be preferable to me personally
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
I guess there will always be a snake in Paradise. Looking at the bright side, IMO the commercial aspects seems in a strange way to amplify ‘the better’ experiences: Dropping into a small chapel for a quiet moment, receiving a nod, a smile and a ‘Buen Camino’ from a local or a greeting from a fellow pilgrim that you met just the day before. There are still lots of those small things going on – and the rest just disappears in the background.

P.S: I too got a shell-keychain that I purchased in Santiago 🙂
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Our reactions are not only formed by what we regard as ideal scenarios but also by what we are used to. I still find it a bit weird when the official gift shop is within the religious space of a Gothic cathedral, without much of a visual or physical barrier as I remember it from a visit to Notre Dame de Paris where I purchased a small round money purse made of hard leather, the kind that medieval pilgrims on the way to Santiago are said to have carried. I had of course suffered a sudden attack of romanticism and momentary lapse of reason, I never used the purse as it is impractical for the modern pilgrim and it's now floating around the house somewhere, without purpose or immense meaningfulness.

On the other hand, I am used to seeing commercial shops built right into the walls of Gothic masterpieces, and of seeing markets and commerce flourishing on all sides around them, and special market days with all kinds of cheapo stuff taking place around the feast of the patron saint or around the All Saints holiday. That's why I perceive photos of the physical environment of the Santiago Cathedral, ie the Praza do Obradoiro, often as sterile, and when I walk across the square when there's some kind of event going on that has nothing to do with religious devotion, I think quietly to myself: quite right, that's the way it should be, it's all part of living. 😇
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
Churches that impose an entry fee typically do so to employ lay people to maintain the property, or simple to keep the lights on.
The cathedrals of Burgos and Leon have entry fees. Both also have mass four to five times a day on weekdays with obviously no entry fee. Leon has a sacred space where you can pray mornings and afternoons without having to pay, with an entrance separate from the entrance for paying visitors. Burgos have a similar arrangement. Burgos also have one afternoon per week where entry to the whole cathedral is free. Entry fees in large cathedrals are not something that bother me personally. But then I’m not used to churches being open for me all day anyway.

And I paid an entry fee of course to see the Portico de la Gloria in the Cathedral of Santiago. I wish it would be possible to view it without having to join a guided tour but I understand the organisational difficulties of this now so narrow space.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2017)
Santiago-Muxia-Fisterra (2017)
Porto-Santiago (2018)
Ferrol-Santiago (2019
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
Hi Peter, agree with your point of view. But, personally, only so far. Once you have worked out the smallest and lightest kit you can get away with, why would you want to buy anything extra to carry. Except maybe on your last day in Santiago. Even then I have bought the odd book and small badge.
The people I really ADMIRE are those who run cafes, bars etc along the way. Also those that have stalls in places that are between bars and cafes. Farmer’s wives who bake little scones. The farmer then provide pilgrims with drinks and scones in return for a donation!
Most of the souvenirs I feel are aimed at tourists rather than pilgrims! 😇😇🙏
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
Go to Bethlehem and Jerusalem you'll see exactly the same thing, materialism and capitalism go hand in hand.

People love buying crap, especially cheap crap..
Oh dear,

I must be the only one who loves looking at the "cheap tat/crap...and buying it!
However I don't see it as cheap tat but as tokens to take home to my friends, family and great neighbours....nd myself!

Sometimes a magnet, other times a key ring...and those yellow arrows plaques that are glued on to the front of the house!!

Now whilst I hate shopping in any form, the minute I settle into Santiago I hit those shops....even after buying bits and pieces along the way....once carrying a "Camino shopping bag" from SJPDP the whole way to Santiago....it was a "must have"

Mea culpa..this has gone on for years I'm afraid

This year, I was spoils for choice and bought 2 of the same pendants on a string...just in case one broke!
In fact it's been a topic of conversation on a few occasions....."what's that pendent with the yellow arrow"?
Of course I'm more than happy to enlighten them!

I wear this no matter what...never take it off...even with my overly expensive designer clobber at all the posh events I go to!
Finished off of course with a Camino key ring for the Porsche...and the husband also sports one for the Rolls Royce!!!

Won't be any different next time ...maybe I'll set up my own stall at the boot sale!!
Best wishes
Annette image.jpegimage.jpeg
 

roving_rufus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013-2015) Camino Portugues from Lisbon (2017-2019) Via Francigena (2018-??)
I am probably going to start breaking forum rules ...but Jesus throwing the money changers out seems more about the fact they had taken over a space in the temple that was actually reserved for prayer - a space that was open to non-Jews to pray -so the businesses (even if there were accusations of cheating business practices) were actually preventing people from prayer & worship and engaging with God.
While I get frustrated with the absolute mass of touristy tat which is were the conversation started...in many cases the churches now have to find ways to keep the spaces created for prayer actually open. And while there needs to be a sensitivity in how churches raise funds to keep buildings open and functionning, it is a reality that they need money. I am personally unhappy at charging entrance fees for cathedrals and other significant churches but I am also aware that for many this is the reality of keeping those places open so people can come in and it can be an easy way of raising money as so many visit them as firstly as tourist attractions (though they may find something else when they do visit)
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Totally different religious context, same thing:
The view looking down one of the four covered stairways leading up to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon - it's a huge place of pilgrimage for millions of people...and these stairways are lined cheek by jowl with shops selling nice stuff, horribly tacky stuff and everything in between. No one is so precious as to think they shouldn't be there.
@Kathar1na , yes, sterile is the perfect description. It would be lifeless, without all that - as would Santiago without all the souvenir shops and trolleys.

Holiness never means lifeless in any religion.
Faith is nested in the entirety of life, with all its warts and plastic kitch.
 

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peterbells

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2018 (Sarria to Santiago), repeating Sept 2019
Between Sarria and SDC (sorry, cannot remember where exactly) we found in a small village a souvenir shop selling pendants on a string at the silly price of 1 euro each. Tat perhaps, but my fellow pilgrim and I felt we could indulge and buy a few each as gives us variety to wear and memories of our pilgrimage and supports the economy. We also bought little distance markers when getting our Compostelas, again cheap souvenirs but great to look at and think about our next Camino and can one have too many Camino reminders!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
A young man from a past stage of my life was wont to say: indeed, indeed, in response to whatever comment. Indeed, indeed, I say now. When was there never an opportunity missed to profit? Or, to speak more clearly: would you miss a chance to turn something to your benefit? I was aghast when I went to Lourdes some years ago, dragged there by friends. As ever was, as the first reply to this thread indicated. Walk away from it, as a politician recently said: get over it! Pay attention to your own inner moment, your own process, your own journey, your own camino. And be gracious to those who have another way. I hope my reply, some days in the pondering, does not offend the op.
edit: felt like days, but just checked...it has been a long day!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
(2015) Frances
(2018) Portuguese
(2019) VdP Seville to Salamanca
(2020) VdP Salamanca to Santiago
It's all part of the human circus. You are given a ticket, but you do get to choose which acts you view.

You have to remember also that many of the shops, while selling Camino oriented stuff, are not necessarily geared towards the Camino pilgrims. There are a lot of just plain old tourists who want to buy something from the local attraction - and a Camino certainly fills that definition.

And, as someone pointed out, this has been going on for hundreds of years. I picture in my mind a tired, bedraggled, clothes torn pilgrim in about 1600 complaining to the innkeeper about the bed bugs and the shop next door that was making too much noise selling food and articles for the walk.
 

NYSE

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances & Camino Finisterre/Muxia April 2019
You don’t have to like it, let alone buy it, but it can be meaningful for the buyers who, btw, may never be able to afford a plane ticket to travel halfway around the world every once in a while, to then practice the simple and asketic life for a while. Cheap flights are also an aspect of “capitalism” and the “money lenders“. Are only tasteful and expensive souvenirs good souvenirs? Let me see, I bought a St James shell necklace for about €200 once, how would we classify this? 😇
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.
My wife and I have always brought home souvenirs from our travels. However, the Camino was a different kind of trip. There was no intention of bringing home a souvenir, that is, until I found this piece in a small boutique in Santiago. I must have looked in the window a dozen times. Maybe more. I left for the coast without it. After reaching Finesterre and Muxia, I grabbed a bus to ACoruna. Finally, I returned to Santiago a few days later and, once again, found myself looking through the wwindow at this piece. "Sterling silver " they said. 14 euros. Thought about it a long time and now it's on my lapel. If no one ever notices, I don't care! I'm so proud of it😊
20191208_124455.jpg20191208_124455.jpgI
 
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked part of the Camino Frances and plan to start over in April 2018.
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
The Spanish economy is in serious trouble. I am in favor of the people working to earn money from the tourist trade in order to support themselves and to pay for maintenance of the trails which take a terrible beating from the peregrinos. Be generous to local people while you are a guest in their country!
 
Camino(s) past & future
First: 1977 (by train)... Next One of Many by Foot: As Soon As I Can Put the Pieces Together!
About those admission fees....

It’s December at my little parish, and that means it’s Pledge Time! Of course, it’s the Vestry that’s charged with maintenance of the physical church plant. But the Vestry looks to me for leadership, so I must necessarily concern myself with parish finances.

My parish has no endowment. It receives no financial support from the diocese, or from the province. It is entirely self-supporting.

My parish operates on a razors-edge budget. And it’s not the one-time, passing-through visitors who make that budget work. It’s the faithful regular worshippers, who submit annual pledges. The treasurer compiles all those pledges, and issues a budget based upon those pledges. And in reliance upon those pledges the electric bill, the lawn mowing, the supply of wine and hosts in the Sacristy, all get paid for…. Money is quietly funneled to the parish poor, and to foreign missions….

That’s why I sympathize with the clergy at the vast, magnificent, ancient churches I encounter along the Way. It’s hard enough for me to responsibly “operate” a modest eighty-year-old Virginia country church. How much harder must it be to “operate” Burgos Cathedral, where most of the many thousands who enter it are one-time visitors, people passing through, tourigrinos, people who do not pledge a cent to the church’s “operational” budget!

When as a passing-through pilgrim I enter Pamplona Cathedral, or Burgos Cathedral, or Leon Cathedral, I consider it an honor and a duty to contribute a few euros to its support. I know how much those euros accomplish.
 
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Jeff Mayor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French route (04,05,06,18) Portugues (07) VDLP (09,10,11) Aragon (4,13) Levante (16) Ebro (19)
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
Like the tiny ant one must learn to discriminate the grain of sugar from the grain of sand.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
My wife and I have always brought home souvenirs from our travels. However, the Camino was a different kind of trip. There was no intention of bringing home a souvenir, that is, until I found this piece in a small boutique in Santiago. I must have looked in the window a dozen times. Maybe more. I left for the coast without it. After reaching Finesterre and Muxia, I grabbed a bus to ACoruna. Finally, I returned to Santiago a few days later and, once again, found myself looking through the wwindow at this piece. "Sterling silver " they said. 14 euros. Thought about it a long time and now it's on my lapel. If no one ever notices, I don't care! I'm so proud of it😊
View attachment 67595View attachment 67595I
I'm pretty sure that I know which shop you bought that in. Their designs are a bit different than any others in Santiago.
 

davebugg

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2017)
Frances(2018)
Ingles(2019)
Aragones(2020)
Portuguese(2020)
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
The analogy really doesn't work for me. :)

The issue of Jesus versus the Temple money lenders had nothing to do with profit making by free market entrepreneurs and merchants selling goods and services outside of the Temple.

Jesus was angry because of the interference of worship at the Temple, ie the requirement by Temple authorities which forced worshipers to buy specific goods in order to gain access to worship their God and to conduct other practices.

I, too, find the inundation of souvenir shops and such annoying, I doubt that Jesus would take personal umbrage. In some ways, He might even be amused :)
 

Jeff Mayor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
French route (04,05,06,18) Portugues (07) VDLP (09,10,11) Aragon (4,13) Levante (16) Ebro (19)
Over the years I’ve bought knifes for the camino not wanting the hassle of TSA on my way over to Spain so over time I’ve collected a number of souvenir knifes from Zamora, Segovia, Valencia, Burgos, Zaragoza, Sevilla and Santiago all with the name of the city on the handle and/or blade. All of them would be considered low priced souvenir knifes but they did the trick and they have become a fun collection for the grandkids to look at. These days I look for them wherever I’m walking.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
The analogy really doesn't work for me. :)

The issue of Jesus versus the Temple money lenders had nothing to do with profit making by free market entrepreneurs and merchants selling goods and services outside of the Temple.

Jesus was angry because of the interference of worship at the Temple, ie the requirement by Temple authorities which forced worshipers to buy specific goods in order to gain access to worship their God and to conduct other practices.

I, too, find the inundation of souvenir shops and such annoying, I doubt that Jesus would take personal umbrage. In some ways, He might even be amused :)
The outer temple was the limit of where non Jewish (and all female) worshippers could go and where the money changers also were, but it was still ancient holy ground. Coins could not be tendered to buy sacrifice animals (sacrificial because Yahweh enjoyed the fumes of their being burned - see OT) if they depicted anything such as a person - Roman coins depicted faces, so these had to be changed for Jewish coins as they were considered profane .. forget for a moment the daily wholesale slaughter of innocent animals for sacrifice to God here , this was their time and ours is now .... the money changers made a good profit on exchanging the Roman (and Greek) coins for 'acceptable' ones .....

... also .. moderators, I am doing Christian history here (as written in the NT), not religious belief but please do delete this section if it contravenes... Yeshua's plan was to sacrifice himself at Passover as a totally pure and innocent one, his belief being that through this act of total surrender to bring in the reign of God on earth - the annual Jewish pure and innocent lamb sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins of the Jewish people - writ large and according to messianic prophecy within the OT - the sacrificial 'lamb of God' ... but he could only do that if he were arrested, so he needed to do things that would set the temple priests against him and cause them to act - when he had finished with the whip of cords he made he left before arrest .... then the passover meal ... his instructing Judas to go and do what he had to do, and then later leaving his safe sanctuary to go and wait at the Mount of Olives for his arrest - which can Only mean that Yeshua and Judas had arranged where he would be later that evening.

If you are a non-believer it all seems a little odd, if you are a thoughtful Christian who actually reads their NT you can see that for the conclusion it could have been no other way - so - what is the biggest attack and insult that Yeshua could make just before the traditionally jittery Passover (the Romans were always worried at this time as riots had happened previously at Passover against them)? Be as public as possible and attack the temple in some way ...... so his action in the outer temple .... a righteous anger but planned.
 
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Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
... also .. moderators, I am doing Christian history here (as written in the NT), not religious belief ...
The lines are easily crossed, though ... I'm waiting with bated breath for a future post where someone picks this up to go "full religion" ... but I agree in principle with your comment.

It's not even necessarily Christian history, it's part of European / Western culture. I, like presumably some others, was ready to accept that the well-known reference to "Jesus and the money lenders" where he "cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple" means what the first poster implied and that it may be relevant for the souvenir hucksters along the Camino and in Santiago because it is often quoted in a similar context. It's only when you look it up and read a bit about the background or when your knowledgeable friendly forum neighbour explains it to everyone who cares to read it that one sees clearly that context and meaning are totally different and that it has nothing to do with profit making by free market entrepreneurs and "capitalist" merchants, as also explained earlier by @davebugg.
 
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Duane

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Camino Frances
Peter: Much about humankind has remained the same over the last 2000 years. Surprised? As has been pointed out already, enterprise along the Camino bears little resemblance to Jesus' compliant with the money changers but kudos for a post that received a lot of mostly good natured and thoughtful responses in a short time. It's a good read and gave me a few chuckles. It also reminded me to look for my Camino keychain. Thanks. 😊
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
My two cents . . .

The key thing is to respect sacred spaces as such (even if not of the faith), and let the money changing be outside those bounds.

As to the unfortunate reality of needing to charge admittance to defray maintenance of priceless historical architecture, even Jesus saw the reality of it and praised the poor widow for her two small coins given out of need to support rebuilding of the temple.

@wayfarer, thanks for bringing this one back on topic.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999, now living in Santiago de C
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Some, not all!, UK cathedral have implemented a good system, imo. Entrance is free BUT if you want to take photos you have to buy a 'photo permit', which is normally a sticker you wear. So, those who want to enter the cathedral for prayer/meditation can do so for free. Those who want to do so for more 'photogenic sightseeing reasons' (or both!) can buy the permit. Win-Win imo.
BC SY
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
The photo permit is a great idea, so long as it's not during Mass. There are far worse things than a person snapping pics of the statues and retablo during the Mass (either out of ignorance or a refusal to wait), but it ranks high of my list of irksome moments.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013 Camino Frances SJPP / 2014 Camino Portugues / 2015 Camino Ingles / 2015 Hospitalero Training
2016 (fall) Camino Sanabre / Hospitalero?
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
Isn't it great not to be tempted to buy anything extra to add to ones burden. Somewhere there is a warehouse of unsold tourist junk looking for a documentary film.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
I understand your surprise at the commercialisation of the Camino. However it has always been thus. The Camino Frances was the main economic artery of post-Visigothic Spanish Kingdoms and to this day there are numerous villages in Navarra, La Rioja, Burgos, Leon, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia who would join the sad list of depopulated towns in this country without the income that they receive from peregrinos. Without the commercialisation a lot of the new or resurrected caminos would not exist and so while it might seem regrettable, it is something that an offended peregrino can easily ignore.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2020)
I live in a place that is extremely touristy in the summer, in the northeast of the US in the state of Maine. Many people who live here are grateful for the tourism dollars that add or even totally support their livelihood. I’m sure the people that live near the Camino feel the same way. it’s incidental that the tourism is religious-based. It’s sad that so many peoples taste run to ugly kitsch, but unfortunately you can't easily legislate good taste or sophisticated presentation.

I agree with you that the tourist shops are often ugly, but instead look past that to see a child that doesn’t have to leave their town to find a job, and the infrastructure that is there because they are supported by the locals who have money. Makes it a little easier to bear.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances,(Sarria to Santiago) 2016, 2017 April, SJPdP TO Logrono, Sept.-Oct. Logrono to Sarria
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
It was money changers,
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
I will admit to buying a fridge magnet from the Cathedral shop. And a friend I see who has not been able to walk a camino in 5 years has a standing order for the crazily expensivo soap they sell there.
Tasteful shell keychains are hits as gifts. I received one several years ago from @CaminoDebrita when I met her in Santiago and goes with me everwhere. And the there are all those little bracelets fellow pilgrims give each other as tokens of comeraderie and connection.

Stuff like this brings a small puff of joy to the mind, remembering Santiago, and the long walk to get there, and the connection with the person we give to or get something from.

That's all good, because it inclines the heart to good. So I'm loathe to look down on the endless stalls of tasteless stuff.

And at the same time @PeterM, you're right: there is also a vivid contrast between the marketplace and what happens in the sacred space of the cathedral, and in the heart. The vividness of that just is. And there will always be that contrast. But the thing is - right? - you know in the end what really matters, and what really has substance. And it's not the stuff.

Your post has been with me this afternoon, and what shines through the superficial aversion is how you deeply value the sacred. The trick is not using that to separate, but instead to bring together. And that's what we all have to learn. We all 'piled on,' agreeing in our disagreement. But I think there is something deeper here than that....
Thank you!
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte Plata
Hmmm, finished the CP earlier this year, my first Camino, from Lisbon to SDC and one thing that resonated with me was the profit making efforts of many and various along the way particularly in SDC not to mention the numerous books, maps, equipment and so on available to a potential pilgrim prior to setting out.

Am not overly religious and didn't do the CP for religious reasons however was certainly exposed to the bible in my school days and as my Camino unfolded and most certainly in SDC I was reminded of Jesus chasing the money lenders from the temple. along the CP I diverged to Fatima and 'boy o boy' I don't think I have seen so much stuff for sale depicting the 3 children and St Mary and so many attempts to lighten the pilgrim's, any anyone else's for that matter, wallets. Was talking with a German pilgrim as I wandered along and he told me a story about a small town not far from where he lived who attempted to manufacture a miracle or two as a tourist drawcard, regrettably to the town's disappointment it didn't work but hey, full marks for effort.

Whereas I enjoyed doing the Camino I was just a bit disappointed some might say disillusioned at the rampant efforts of the numerous entrepreneurs. No problem with people making a $ particularly in the small villages but have a real problem with row after row of shops selling everything possibly related to the Camino and religion in general. Suffice to say the 'money lenders' are alive and well. My overarching impression is the Camino is big business.

Cheers
I agree within part the money lenders were essential in Temple time because they had to make an exchange from roman coinage to Temple money and there was somewhat of a great profit for money lenders. However, we pilgrims on the Camino are also providing some benefit for the way. I do not begrudge in some of these poor villages to make a decent living and they do a great job in proving for us. Am grateful to the people in these villages and city who put up with us. Buen Camino
 

Nick B

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - May/June 2018
Portugese - (2019)
Norte - (2020)
I live in a place that is extremely touristy in the summer, in the northeast of the US in the state of Maine. Many people who live here are grateful for the tourism dollars that add or even totally support their livelihood. I’m sure the people that live near the Camino feel the same way. it’s incidental that the tourism is religious-based. It’s sad that so many peoples taste run to ugly kitsch, but unfortunately you can't easily legislate good taste or sophisticated presentation.

I agree with you that the tourist shops are often ugly, but instead look past that to see a child that doesn’t have to leave their town to find a job, and the infrastructure that is there because they are supported by the locals who have money. Makes it a little easier to bear.
Not Portland by chance ?
 

poogeyejr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, May 2011
Norte, Sept 2013
Start of the Frances, 2017
If you were looking for a non-commercialised Camino I think you are nearly 30 years too late.
I was talking about this in 2012 with a traveller and scholar and he said there are writings from hundreds of years ago where Pilgrims were complaining about the commercialization of the Camino.

The more things change the more they stay the same. 😳😊
 

DyanTX

DyanTX
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept 22 - Nov 3, 2016
It seems inevitable and expected as those folks make their livelihood from those walking the Way. What bothers me more is that we are already hearing that for the Holy Year of 2021 the prices of albergues are already planned to be increased. A bargain still at 12 euro instead of 10 or 10 instead of 8 - but it reminds me of how US hotels inflate their prices on Friday-Saturday nights or triple the rates for football weekends! :)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
It seems inevitable and expected as those folks make their livelihood from those walking the Way. What bothers me more is that we are already hearing that for the Holy Year of 2021 the prices of albergues are already planned to be increased. A bargain still at 12 euro instead of 10 or 10 instead of 8 - but it reminds me of how US hotels inflate their prices on Friday-Saturday nights or triple the rates for football weekends! :)
Have you considered that we are lucky they are giving us such a good deal during the slow times? 🤔😀

Also it is not peculiar to US hotels. One fiesta weekend I paid €40 for a bed in a 6-bed dorm in Córdoba! I considered myself lucky to find it.
 
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Nick B

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances - May/June 2018
Portugese - (2019)
Norte - (2020)
It seems inevitable and expected as those folks make their livelihood from those walking the Way. What bothers me more is that we are already hearing that for the Holy Year of 2021 the prices of albergues are already planned to be increased. A bargain still at 12 euro instead of 10 or 10 instead of 8 - but it reminds me of how US hotels inflate their prices on Friday-Saturday nights or triple the rates for football weekends! :)
First world problem, well not really a problem...
 

jmaltais

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2020)
And your point is? The Pilgrimage to the shrine of Santiago is a Pilgrimage. The ways to Santiago are many and various. Those who make pilgrimage to the shrine are supported by those who provide shelter, food, and occasionally the Tshirt. I'm wondering whether you think that the providers should have done so without regard to their own comfort and survival or whether your own pilgrimage would have been improved if everything you got was for free?
I don't think the price of things was the point he was trying to make. I suspect he was disappointed at the seeming crassness of the mementos (not the essentials).
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; lisboa-muxia; norte+bayonne; vdlp; le puy; voie d'arles+aragones; geneva to ales
I find paying to enter a sacred place (cathedral) more disturbing. The stall holders etc leave a choice to buy or not. Paying to enter a place of worship sadly keeps people out ( reference here to the UK, not Santiago) and the 'commercial' aspect has altered the atmosphere subtly, there is no longer a sense of the numinous.
One of the things we have loved about the Camino is the churches and cathedrals and their open doors; and yes I know some places now charge, which IMO is not helpful. A shop or stall nearby would be preferable to me personally
The church/chapel doors are far more open along the Chemin St Jacques in France than has lately been the case on many of the caminos in Spain. My understanding is that it has to do with an increase in thefts, but I may be mistaken.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
Let me see....as I peck this out I'm wearing a shell on a cord around my neck I bought from that blacksmith near Irache I believe. I love it. It's really cool. Then there's the multiple postcards I have mailed to relatives while walking the Camino. The t-shirts and shot glasses I bought for friends. Replacement shoes in Sarria. Replacement sunglasses in Logrono. Trekking poles in Pamplona. Etc....
I'm sure we pilgrims been buying necessities as well as "stuff" along the Camino since it began.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ?
Well, this is a lovely topic, isn't it?

Walking the CF for me held no more "tourist trinket" terrors than any city break I have been on recently. Your choice is to embrace it or ignore it as it won't suddenly vanish. For my part, I take it as I find it. I'm not particularly religious, but my wife is a bit more than I am. I don't normally attend mass but the Pilgrim mass in Roncevalles was particularly apt after the long walk from SJPP, something made me want to do something different that day.

Similarly, I don't give to street beggars in the UK as a lot of that is organised begging. However, when leaving Puente La Reina early one morning in September I crossed the old Pilgrim bridge to exit the town and get back on the trail I passed a beggar, whom I promptly ignored. But, by the time I got to the other end of the bridge the look of disappointment on his face registered with me, I went back, put a couple of Euro's in his cap and made his day. My biggest joy was realising that somehow, slowly, I was changing some of my attitudes on this darn walk.

Later in the walk, I'd pass people selling cold drinks, and again, I'd ordinarily walk by, but a combination of walking in the heat and wishing I had stopped to buy something, and a realisation that the CF is doing something for the local economy made me want to do a tiny bit more.

I'm sure I will still walk past what I think are organised tourist traps, but I do think there is something very therapeutic about this walk.👣
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
Similarly, I don't give to street beggars in the UK as a lot of that is organised begging. However, when leaving Puente La Reina early one morning in September I crossed the old Pilgrim bridge to exit the town and get back on the trail I passed a beggar, whom I promptly ignored. But, by the time I got to the other end of the bridge the look of disappointment on his face registered with me, I went back, put a couple of Euro's in his cap and made his day. My biggest joy was realising that somehow, slowly, I was changing some of my attitudes on this darn walk.
When I went on Camino in 2016 I made a conscious decision at the beginning to give to all who asked for charity. It seemed to me to be in the spirit of the holy trek I was undertaking. I think I managed to stick with it and I did the same in 2018. I also try and keep some change to provide to those who ask for it now that I am back, but I must admit that my success rate is not as good.

I was later much saddened to read that some of the people begging in Santiago were forced to do so by organized criminals.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
A few times, I dropped a coin into the hat when I passed the bagpipe player under the arches next to the plaza del Obradoiro, fully aware that he or she was there to get a small share of the manna coming from Santiago's tourists and pilgrim-tourists, and for no other reason. The sound of the music didn't fill my heart with joy, I didn't feel personally welcomed or congratulated upon my arrival, I just thought, oh what the heck, I'll give them something. ☺

The beggars around the Cathedral area in these immobile positions ... I checked some very recent news reports. It is apparently what I thought it was ... ☹. If what I read is accurate, yes, there is poverty in Santiago but the street beggars have come to Santiago or have been brought to Santiago because of us, because we, and so many other tourists, are coming to Santiago.
 
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nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte Plata
The church/chapel doors are far more open along the Chemin St Jacques in France than has lately been the case on many of the caminos in Spain. My understanding is that it has to do with an increase in thefts, but I may be mistaken.
it's called help for maintenance of building!!!!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015)
Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (2019)
Isn't it natural that anything that attracts some sort of human attention also brings all the merchandise with it?

Visit a place like Rio de Janeiro, and the souvenirs of Christ the Redeemer and Sugar Loaf are everywhere.
Attend ManU versus Barcelona and there will be all sorts of shirts, scarves and flags for sale.
Go to an art exhibition, there will be catalogs, bookmarks,prints, cushions for sale.
I just came back from a work trip in India, and although different, the temples merchandise was there as well - so many Ganeshas and Vishnus!

Maybe the secret is finding your inner peace with it, if that bothers you. I initially thought I was indifferent to (or even against) those shops and trinkets, until I lost my yellow camino pin. I was crying in a train stop in the middle of the Australian capital because of the little thing. Thankfully this forum helped me find another one.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte Plata
When I went on Camino in 2016 I made a conscious decision at the beginning to give to all who asked for charity. It seemed to me to be in the spirit of the holy trek I was undertaking. I think I managed to stick with it and I did the same in 2018. I also try and keep some change to provide to those who ask for it now that I am back, but I must admit that my success rate is not as good.

I was later much saddened to read that some of the people begging in Santiago were forced to do so by organized criminals.
I could never and will never understand how they can kneel there for hours on end when they could find some sort of work; now understand when say they are forced by organized criminals. Very sad situation. Thanks for this enlightenment.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago and beyond (own way - voie de Tours - camino francés - Biskaya - Manche)
I could never and will never understand how they can kneel there for hours on end when they could find some sort of work; now understand when say they are forced by organized criminals.
That is easily said: they could find some sort of work. And not all of them are forced to beg by organised criminals, by the so-called beggar mafia. And just in case not everyone is aware of what we are talking here as there is a tendency to beat around the bush: Roma people from Southeastern Europe who travel to Spain and other countries to beg there for a while. I came across a well made recent ARTE program. It's a report that is 33 minutes long and slow moving. Worth watching to better understand the situation of these people we see so often in major cities throughout Spain and France and Germany and similar countries. ARTE reports are always available in German or French, either original in French and dubbed in German or the other way round, and there is an option to have English subtitles and the translation is good. Recommended.

The cheapo souvenirs along the Spanish Camino, btw, may well have been produced by people who really need this work. Not easy, everything, is it for the discerning pilgrim who can afford a plane ticket and a lot of leisure time to go on Camino.

 
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gerip

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, Lourdes to Burgos, Oct 2018
CF, Burgos to Santiago, May 2019
Ingles, Sep - Oct 2019
That is easily said: they could find some sort of work. And not all of them are forced to beg by organised criminals, by the so-called beggar mafia. And just in case not everyone is aware of what we are talking here as there is a tendency to beat around the bush: Roma people from Southeastern Europe who travel to Spain and other countries to beg there for a while. I came across a well made recent ARTE program. It's a report that is 33 minutes long and slow moving. Worth watching to better understand the situation of these people we see so often in major cities throughout Spain and France and Germany and similar countries. ARTE reports are always available in German or French, either original in French and dubbed in German or the other way round, and there is an option to have English subtitles and the translation is good. Recommended.

The cheapo souvenirs along the Spanish Camino, btw, may well have been produced by people who really need this work. Not easy, everything, is it for the discerning pilgrim who can afford a plane ticket and a lot of leisure time to go on Camino.

Anyone else having trouble viewing this video?
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Before the Camino boom there were souvenir shops, bars and reataurants in rua do Franco and beggars near the Cathedral.
Before 1993, I think that people used to buy much more "Recuerdos" than now.
On a thread (that I can't find) with photos about Santiago in the 1920s, one of them showed four women standing at a door wearing old and worn traditional dresses and barefoot, that in my opinion were beggars.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte Plata
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
All in all with this thread is a statement I once saw I believe on this site which stated. " A pilgrimage is always grateful ". And surely we should be grateful to who all make the Camino happen.
 

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