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LIVE from the Camino Norte vs Frances - Yikes!

Past OR future Camino
2019
We started the Camino del Norte on August 5th. We were spoiled to mostly have the trails to ourselves for 30 days. There were batches of pilgrims at certain points. Many Spaniards walked for a week or 10 days from Bilbao, Santander or Gijon. In general though there were not that many walking most days. That changed in Ribadeo. There were relatively more pilgrims, though still not crowded by any means.

We arrived to a whole new world in Arzua yesterday. There are suddenly a lot of pilgrims from the Frances. Not as many as when we walked in 2019, but still enough that cafes and restaurants are busy. Private albergues in Arzua priced around €15 or €20 per bunk bed still had vacancies but the town was busy.

Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it seems like a higher proportion of pilgrims are sending their bags ahead this year rather than carrying them. Maybe there is a different demographic on the Camino this year? Or maybe our memories are blurred by too much Rioja!

Santiago tomorrow!
 

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amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Lots of Spaniards are doing their first camino experience, given the uncertainties, never do many arranged everything through agencies that book everything for them, including luggage transport. And it will only get worse!
 
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Glamgrrl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Travel318
We started the Camino del Norte on August 5th. We were spoiled to mostly have the trails to ourselves for 30 days. There were batches of pilgrims at certain points. Many Spaniards walked for a week or 10 days from Bilbao, Santander or Gijon. In general though there were not that many walking most days. That changed in Ribadeo. There were relatively more pilgrims, though still not crowded by any means.

We arrived to a whole new world in Arzua yesterday. There are suddenly a lot of pilgrims from the Frances. Not as many as when we walked in 2019, but still enough that cafes and restaurants are busy. Private albergues in Arzua priced around €15 or €20 per bunk bed still had vacancies but the town was busy.

Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it seems like a higher proportion of pilgrims are sending their bags ahead this year rather than carrying them. Maybe there is a different demographic on the Camino this year? Or maybe our memories are blurred by too much Rioja!

Santiago tomorro

liked your post until the last judgy paragraph. Who cares how they walk their Camino. Hope you give them grace.
 
Last edited:

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
We started the Camino del Norte on August 5th. We were spoiled to mostly have the trails to ourselves for 30 days. There were batches of pilgrims at certain points. Many Spaniards walked for a week or 10 days from Bilbao, Santander or Gijon. In general though there were not that many walking most days. That changed in Ribadeo. There were relatively more pilgrims, though still not crowded by any means.

We arrived to a whole new world in Arzua yesterday. There are suddenly a lot of pilgrims from the Frances. Not as many as when we walked in 2019, but still enough that cafes and restaurants are busy. Private albergues in Arzua priced around €15 or €20 per bunk bed still had vacancies but the town was busy.

Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it seems like a higher proportion of pilgrims are sending their bags ahead this year rather than carrying them. Maybe there is a different demographic on the Camino this year? Or maybe our memories are blurred by too much Rioja!

Santiago tomorrow!
I walked the Norte in October/November 2018. The traffic of pilgrims was different as it seemed that as we got to major cities Bilboa, Santander, Gijon that pilgrims seemed to leave the camino. But what was so different than the CF was that on the CF in Pamplona, Lagrono, Burgos, Leon and of course Sarria people who left at some of those cities were replaced by new pilgrims. When the Norte split with the Primitivo I barely saw more than a few pilgrims and sometimes none the whole day and some nights I was alone in albergues. I really didn't see a change until I slept in the pilgrim hostel in Baamonde. It was a little crowded in the world's coldest albergue that night but there were still plenty of beds. (You could see your breath in our room). It was a shock to the system in Arzua but it was cool because I saw some friends I had walked with earlier who switched to the Primitivo. I also met some great people who had walked the CF. So the next day to avoid the big crowds of pilgrims who would stay in O Pedrouzo I walked to Lavacolla. It made for a 29K day but after 800k or so on the Norte it was really a pretty easy walk. The next day I got up and started about 7:00. Took a break for a coffee and a tortilla and had a very pleasant and peaceful walk to Santiago. Even though I arrived in Santiago about 10:30 in the Pilgrim office I still got the free Pilgrim lunch at the Parador!!
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Why is that worse? Who cares if they ship bags?
In my view, the last 100 km are being sold as a holiday package, which has nothing to do with the experience of a pilgrim. People book accommodation, they bring their suitcases from one place to another, they have everything arranged for them, it is just another holiday package at the end of the day.
In my view, learning to live with very little is an important part of the pilgrimage, realizing you do not need so much to keep moving forward, learning to live with whatever you may be able to carry on your back.
Yes, I understand some people may have medical conditions that prevent them from carrying weight, but that is an extremely low percentage of people. What you see among so many "Sarriers" is just nothing related to the Camino, just an expensive walk, longer than they are used to, but just a stroll. A holiday package, they are asked to prepare two pieces of luggage, a suitcase of any size which the bus will bring from one albergue to the next, and a small pack to carry some water and food along the way. Peope bring 5 different sets of "plain clothes", one for each evening. Hair dryers. you name it!
 
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Glamgrrl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Travel318
In my view, the last 100 km are being sold as a holiday package, which has nothing to do with the experience of a pilgrim. People book accommodation, they bring their suitcases from one place to another, they have everything arranged for them, it is just another holiday package at the end of the day.
In my view, learning to live with very little is an important part of the pilgrimage, realizing you do not need so much to keep moving forward, learning to live with whatever you may be able to carry on your back.
Yes, I understand some people may have medical conditions that prevent them from carrying weight, but that is an extremely low percentage of people. What you see among so many "Sarriers" is just nothing related to the Camino, just an expensive walk, longer than they are used to, but just a stroll. A holiday package, they are asked to prepare two pieces of luggage, a suitcase of any size which the bus will bring from one albergue to the next, and a small pack to carry some water and food along the way. Peope bring 5 different sets of "plain clothes", one for each evening. Hair dryers. you name it!
This for some isn’t any different than going to xyz National parks, or traveling to every continent. For some it’s a bucket list, for others this “Way” may be the only way they would accomplish walking 100km. Let’s not disparage those that can accomplish this journey.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
We started the Camino del Norte on August 5th. We were spoiled to mostly have the trails to ourselves for 30 days. There were batches of pilgrims at certain points. Many Spaniards walked for a week or 10 days from Bilbao, Santander or Gijon. In general though there were not that many walking most days. That changed in Ribadeo. There were relatively more pilgrims, though still not crowded by any means.

We arrived to a whole new world in Arzua yesterday. There are suddenly a lot of pilgrims from the Frances. Not as many as when we walked in 2019, but still enough that cafes and restaurants are busy. Private albergues in Arzua priced around €15 or €20 per bunk bed still had vacancies but the town was busy.

Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it seems like a higher proportion of pilgrims are sending their bags ahead this year rather than carrying them. Maybe there is a different demographic on the Camino this year? Or maybe our memories are blurred by too much Rioja!

Santiago tomorrow!
In 2019 we noticed giant piles of suitcases and large bags in reception areas from Sarria onwards, prior to that just small amounts of packs. The luggage itself was different; more suitcases, less packs. We laughed at Lestedo to find large cosmetic cases amongst the pile of luggage.

Our grandson was really amused especially as my 'beauty routine' consisted of sunscreen - regularly applied.
 
Last edited:

AlpacaArte

New Member
Past OR future Camino
St James “2020”
In 2019 we noticed giant piles of suitcases and large bags in reception areas from Sarria onwards, prior to that just small amounts of packs. The luggage itself was different; more suitcases, less packs. We laughed at Lestedo to find large cosmetic cases amongst the pile of luggage.

Out grandson was really amused especially as my 'beauty routine' consisted of sunscreen - regularly applied.
Why be so disparaging about the way others want to do their camino. Your way isn’t necessarily other peoples way.
 
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Anamiri

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
Why be so disparaging about the way others want to do their camino. Your way isn’t necessarily other peoples way.
Yes you're right - each to his own, and its good that the local luggage companies get the work.

Actually I was quite flattered that my 13 year old grandson thought I didnt need to 'improve' the way I look.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Yes you're right - each to his own, and its good that the local luggage companies get the work.

Actually I was quite flattered that my 13 year old grandson thought I didnt need to 'improve' the way I look.
Ah, I hate to say it, but love is blind! So lovely that your grandson was walking with you. I'm very envious.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
In my view, the last 100 km are being sold as a holiday package, which has nothing to do with the experience of a pilgrim. People book accommodation, they bring their suitcases from one place to another, they have everything arranged for them, it is just another holiday package at the end of the day.

Many of those shipping their luggage ahead are Spaniards walking the Camino as part of their own cultural heritage in their own country.
I noticed a bunch of "new" peregrinos on the Norte starting around Vilalba. They were all Spaniards walking with friends and family, and yes, using luggage transport.
I actually looked forward to joining the wave of pilgrims on the Frances (except when one of them got the last chocolate croissant in a bar one morning 😆)
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
It was so awesome to take him, old enough to walk and make memories, but still young enough to want to hang out with us.
Am training my 6 and 8 year old for Camino next year. They can already walk 12/15 Km here in our tough mountains. Meanwhile taking off this evening for Camino del Norte from Seattle. See ya.
 

timore88

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
In my view, the last 100 km are being sold as a holiday package, which has nothing to do with the experience of a pilgrim. People book accommodation, they bring their suitcases from one place to another, they have everything arranged for them, it is just another holiday package at the end of the day.
In my view, learning to live with very little is an important part of the pilgrimage, realizing you do not need so much to keep moving forward, learning to live with whatever you may be able to carry on your back.
Yes, I understand some people may have medical conditions that prevent them from carrying weight, but that is an extremely low percentage of people. What you see among so many "Sarriers" is just nothing related to the Camino, just an expensive walk, longer than they are used to, but just a stroll. A holiday package, they are asked to prepare two pieces of luggage, a suitcase of any size which the bus will bring from one albergue to the next, and a small pack to carry some water and food along the way. Peope bring 5 different sets of "plain clothes", one for each evening. Hair dryers. you name it!
Buen 'Glamino' 😊
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
In my view, the last 100 km are being sold as a holiday package, which has nothing to do with the experience of a pilgrim. People book accommodation, they bring their suitcases from one place to another, they have everything arranged for them, it is just another holiday package at the end of the day.
In my view, learning to live with very little is an important part of the pilgrimage, realizing you do not need so much to keep moving forward, learning to live with whatever you may be able to carry on your back.
Yes, I understand some people may have medical conditions that prevent them from carrying weight, but that is an extremely low percentage of people. What you see among so many "Sarriers" is just nothing related to the Camino, just an expensive walk, longer than they are used to, but just a stroll. A holiday package, they are asked to prepare two pieces of luggage, a suitcase of any size which the bus will bring from one albergue to the next, and a small pack to carry some water and food along the way. Peope bring 5 different sets of "plain clothes", one for each evening. Hair dryers. you name it!
OTOH IMO being a pilgrim means self examination not examination and judgment of others. Anyone with enough energy to inventory what others have packed or how their packs have traveled may want to walk a few extra km
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Dragging the thread back to topic, I agree it was a shock to the system walking Norte to Primitivo to OMG-where-did-all-these-people-come-from!!??!! OTOH all of a sudden food and beds were mere Km from each other and I spent only two nights with the crowd (Arzua and Monte de Gozo, and could have just spent Arzua except I wanted to arrive in SdC in the am). And the food was very good. I think everyone on the Norte and Primitivo dreads the merge with CF. We may be laughing “hey it’s flat and only 40 km to the next stopping point” but the veterans of CF since Sarria are saying “what crowds?”. Each Camino breeds (selects) its own skill set.
 
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Past OR future Camino
2018
We started the Camino del Norte on August 5th. We were spoiled to mostly have the trails to ourselves for 30 days. There were batches of pilgrims at certain points. Many Spaniards walked for a week or 10 days from Bilbao, Santander or Gijon. In general though there were not that many walking most days. That changed in Ribadeo. There were relatively more pilgrims, though still not crowded by any means.

We arrived to a whole new world in Arzua yesterday. There are suddenly a lot of pilgrims from the Frances. Not as many as when we walked in 2019, but still enough that cafes and restaurants are busy. Private albergues in Arzua priced around €15 or €20 per bunk bed still had vacancies but the town was busy.

Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it seems like a higher proportion of pilgrims are sending their bags ahead this year rather than carrying them. Maybe there is a different demographic on the Camino this year? Or maybe our memories are blurred by too much Rioja!

Santiago tomorrow!
Got to irun finally. Today after a long trip. Glad to be in Spain. Where can I get my credential.
 

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