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Not everyone 'gets' the camino experience.....

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#1
I'm sure there are many people who walk the camino who just don't get what everyone else raves about.
A South African journalist recently wrote an article in a women's magazine about her camino - or attempt at a camino - complaining about the dusty paths, the grubby villages, the selfish pilgrims, the horrible accommodation and the lackluster food. She caught a bus to Santiago and described the cathedral as 'grotesque'. She ended her article with words to the effect that should she ever get the urge to walk it again, she would pour herself a stiff G&T and lie down until the feeling passed over.

This blog isn't quite as bad as that but he obviously just didn't get it either!
"..any stroll in the Himalayas or the Andes, maybe a dip in the Ganges, was going to leave the mysticism of the Camino way back in the distance, as far as I could tell.

I just wanted to go for a walk, the idea of walking for weeks the appealing thing. A bit of solitude. And you can do that lots of places in the world and not have a pilgrim wake you from a doze in cow field to take a photo of him and his wife. There was something we clearly didn’t get. But one thing was for sure, I wasn’t going to be doing it again.

Galicia, a sparsely populated state of Spain, in the far northwest, had the lowest figures for tourism in the country that gets more tourists than anywhere else in Europe. So the lack of facilities should hardly have been surprising. We could stay however in municipal albergues, brand spanking new for €3 with disposable sheets and pillow cases, expansive ktichens, though no-one in charge realised that kitchens really need saucepans, fry pans, cutlery and plates. And maybe a nearby tienda that sold food. But that of course was part of the charm. Maybe all the charm.

We walked into Santiago. Seven hundred and seventy seven kilometres later, 34 days. Did I feel good? Yes. Different? Fitter. Worth it? If you have nothing better to do.
It was a hike for us, and an achievement for sure."
http://timaxelsen.wordpress.com/2008/07 ... -santiago/
 

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falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#2
Oh, everyone "gets" it, but the experience is so different for each individual that it can be hard to see what each "got."

Most of us have an experience that falls somewhere between Shirley MacLaine (the actress with an expansive imagination) and Tim Axelsen (the above-quoted pilgrim). If you read all of his travelogue, he was rather amazed by a lot of it. I drew different lessons than he from the friction with other pilgrims, but I can understand his thoughts.

Nearly half the pilgrims are Spanish, so Tim's observation that the Camino is mostly foreigners is not correct. He drew a false conclusion from some small snapshot that surrounded him, a classical logical composition fallacy, perhaps a warning to all of us about drawing broad conclusions from microscopic data!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#3
And I thought I was cynical!
I do see how some dislike the whole camino experience but I think some of it has to do with expectations. If you read the ridiculous Shirley Maclaine book your expectations will proably have little to do with the reality. And the food can be monotonous-especially the tasteless ubiquitous white bread-havent the spanish heard of wholemeal?
Some can be mislead by expecting all pilgrims to be considerate and friendly-which is certainly not the case.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#4
This seems like a snobbish title for a thread, but I think it´s a very important consideration for people considering the Camino. There is LOTS of enthusiasm and excitement expressed here, and in other pilgrim gathering places. It´s easy to be caught up in it all. But one thing that will come clear within a few days (sometimes MOMENTS!) of starting out is... The Camino is NOT for everybody.

Some people are just not cut out for it, due to time constraints, temperament, physical limitations, spiritual tendency, maturity, character, or mood. Many people don´t make it the whole way. There´s no shame in that. It´s smart to have a Plan B in the back of your mind, just in case you find out you´re really hating it, it´s hurting your body or breaking your heart, or you just can´t remember what it is you were excited about...

The worst thing about stopping your camino is not "being a quitter," but being made to feel like a failure by others who don´t understand why... or who are too busy judging you to try understanding.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#5
Different strokes for different folks.
There are so many things that others are passionate about that I just don't get. Motor racing, fly fishing, mountain climbing, heavy metal, teddy bear collecting etc etc....
Search for the words – the Call of the Sea – and you will be offered over 13 million pages. Similarly, search for – the Call of the Mountains – and you will be offered another 13 million pages.
I do not ‘get’ the sea - I am afraid of the sea. I vaguely ‘get’ the mountains but I am afraid of them too and prefer hills and dales, fields and woods.
Hundreds of camino pilgrims say that they felt ‘the call’ of the camino and for some it keeps calling them back. Like these folk here – where the fellow says:
“… the call to make the journey happened “very ambiguously.... The hairs stood up on my arms and I had shivers down my back!"

http://www.pasoroblespress.com/V2_news_ ... ry_id=2322

Not everyone who walks the camino felt ‘compelled’ to do so and not everyone who has walked it feels compelled to do it again. Everybody’s experience is different. Sometimes, what you want is what you get. If you just want a nice long hike, that is what you will have – and a great hike it will be too.
Two years ago I walked about 700kms of the Via Francigena – from Switzerland to Rome. The scenery was magnificent: the people were friendly: the food was great: the fortified hilltop villages were fascinating: walking through Tuscany was to inhabit a Von Gogh landscape and arriving at the Vatican was impressive and awe inspiring. But, I didn’t ‘get’ it. I didn’t sense the mystique, the sense of history, feel the presence of pilgrims past or feel that I was part of a medieval tradition as I did on the camino. Others have had deep, meaningful pilgrimages to Rome, not me - I felt like a backpacking tourist. I'm sure many, many camino pilgrims have felt the same about walking the pilgrim roads in Spain.
 

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vjpulver

Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Camino(s) past & future
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
#6
Hello Rebekah and All...

Yes, it seems each person brings something unique to the table and not everyone partakes of the same meal. I guess that is part of the magic.

Rebekah - I dabbled around a bit in your website/blog...great stuff. Your lifestyle reminded me of a poem my mother used to quote frequently (she recited poems all the tiem...my legacy (inside my head)! Perhaps you know it:

"Ginn"
On a Sunny Sunday in Santa Fe
http://www.pulverpages.com
__________________________________________________
House by the Side of the Road
Samual Walter Foss
public domain 1899

THERE are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner's seat
Nor hurl the cynic's ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.

I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone.

Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish - so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner's seat,
Or hurl the cynic's ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man.
XXX
_________________EXCERPT FOLLOWS_________________
Rebekah Scott said:
... The Camino is NOT for everybody.
Some people are just not cut out for it, due to time constraints, temperament, physical limitations, spiritual tendency, maturity, character, or mood. Many people don´t make it the whole way. There´s no shame in that. It´s smart to have a Plan B in the back of your mind, just in case you find out you´re really hating it, it´s hurting your body or breaking your heart, or you just can´t remember what it is you were excited about...

The worst thing about stopping your camino is not "being a quitter," but being made to feel like a failure by others who don´t understand why... or who are too busy judging you to try understanding.
 
#7
omar504 said:
And I thought I was cynical!
... And the food can be monotonous-especially the tasteless ubiquitous white bread-havent the spanish heard of wholemeal?...
It is strange how different folks receive different impressions after a common experience! For my part, I considered the food in Spain to be not just on par with the best of the continent, but far surpassing most of it. And, I also consider their 'ubiquitous white bread' loaves a particularly tasty treat .

'Whole wheat bread is available in about all bakeries and is known as "pan integral".
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#8
Pan integral was NOT available on the via de la plata but the bread in Galicia was better. I thought the view of white bread as being tasteless (and not nutritious) was fairly universal.
 

vjpulver

Crazy Chicken Lady with the Camino on my Mind!
Camino(s) past & future
Apr-Jun 2009 - I solo walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago. I hope to return as a hospitalera in 2016.
#9
My most recent experience with white bread in another culture was in Ukraine. (Spent 27 months there in Peace Corps.) They produce about 70 varieties of fabulous dark bread, but are enamoured of white bread these days. It is kind of a status symbol to have white bread. I had to be forecful to get a loaf of dark bread because the clerks were sure that people from USA only eat white bread!

When I shared photos of a Santa Fe. NM horno (oven) baking plump, hearty whole grain bred, by co-workers were puzzled and asked if Santa Fe was kind of backward!

It is all about perspective I guess!

"Ginn"
In Sunny Santa Fe
_____________EXCERPT FOLLOWS________________

omar504 said:
P.... I thought the view of white bread as being tasteless (and not nutritious) was fairly universal.
 

Janeh

Active Member
#11
Maybe a little vegemite would make the white bread go down better
Ah, falcon 269, did you just give away where you're from. :) :?:
Sadly a tube of vegemite weighs 145gms - don't think I haven't thought of packing one! I tried to justify it by thinking "if you're sweating a lot then you're going to lose a lot of salt so vegemite would be medicinal" but in the end have had to leave it out. :(

I agree with others thoughts, what thrills someone may not thrill someone else. I adore Paris, but am not surprised when others say they found Paris awful. Often it all depends on what is happening in our own lives, what our expectations are, where we are placed mentally and emotionally that determines how we respond to a certain situation and experience. I just hope that I am in the right frame of mind and body to 'get' the camino.
cheers, Jane
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
#12
Ginn - that is one of my favourite poems!! I posted it on my blog a few months ago because, to me, it personifies the camino-people experience - accept them all, the long and the tall and the short!

"The geographic pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out of an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both." ~Thomas Merton. 1964
 
#13
omar504 said:
Pan integral was NOT available on the via de la plata but the bread in Galicia was better.
For those of you who might be sensitive to white (enriched wheat) bread, whole wheat bread is available along the Via de la Plata. As I recall, Pan integral (wholewheat bread) was not available in all the small bakery shops of some of the smaller villages -those without their own bakery and which depended instead upon an early morning delivery truck supplying them from the nearest village still having one. But it was available in all the larger villages and towns where a bakery was still functioning, from Sevilla to Zamora anyway, in November-December 2007. It was even baked in the bakery (downtown)in the small village of Monasterio, because I once waited for it to come out of the oven.

omar504 said:
I thought the view of white bread as being tasteless (and not nutritious) was fairly universal.
Actually, the reverse is true. Once, all bread was made from whole grains, including wheat, and the milling process ground up the whole grains, with the husk and bran, where the nutrients reside, into a powder to make bread. Bread was nutritious then, but not as tasty. To make it so, the milling process later went a step further to remove the coarser husk and bran and left just the fine starchy powder of the interior wheat kernel. Now bread tasted better, but it was devoid of its nutrients. So, nutrients were artificially added back into the flour and it became known as "enriched" wheat, making "white" bread. The problem with "white" bread is that it is digested so much faster when eaten than flour made with whole grains with the harder to digest husk and bran left intact. As such, the 'sugar' spike of over-processed white bread is quite abrupt and contributing to the western world's alarmingly high rate of those contracting type II diabetes and it's attendant maladies. Luckily, whole wheat bread is reappearing as more learn to ask for it.
 

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