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Paulo Coelho didn´t complete his Camino

Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
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#1
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/notici...antiago/00031426769585160919485.htm#viewmedia

Paulo Coelho, probably the most famous pilgrim in current times, has revealed that he didn´t complete his Camino in 1986, He ended in O Cebreiro and arrived in Santiago by bus.
He is now in Santiago celebrating Saint Joseph with 120 friends from all over the world.
I think that walking from SJPP to O Cebreiro in 1986 and writing a book that widely promoted the Camino is anyway very important.
 

evanlow

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#4
I realized it when I read the ebook on my second camino and in the albergue when I finished exclaimed "what? That's it'..... :)
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#5
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#6
http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/notici...antiago/00031426769585160919485.htm#viewmedia

Paulo Coelho, probably the most famous pilgrim in current times, has revealed that he didn´t complete his Camino in 1986, He ended in O Cebreiro and arrived in Santiago by bus.
He is now in Santiago celebrating Saint Joseph with 120 friends from all over the world.
I think that walking from SJPP to O Cebreiro in 1986 and writing a book that widely promoted the Camino is anyway very important.
In 2011 I choosed to stay in Viloria de la Rioja at Accacio and Orietta's Albergue. There were only me and an Austrian lady (injured - ankle) and at the dinner Accacio told me that P.Coelho never walked the Camino. And he was the "godfather" of this albergue! Accacio is Argentinian and Coelho is his friend, so I guess I have to believe him.
That don't bother me because Coelho's books means nothing at all to me. It would make whole lots of diference in case of some other authors/writers, but surely not Paulo :oops:
 

evanlow

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#8
It could be since Coelho's writing is focused on the mystical and locations along camino are vague at best.

Some of his other writings are very Zen influenced and along the same track he probably didn't have the training in that either. He a writer.
 
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A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#9
Never did he claim this was an autobiography - he's a novelist. He does not need to have walked an inch of the Camino. This being said, he did, walk enough to know what he wanted to write, and made the world aware of the Camino. Did anyone believe the bit about going in circle at the start? (How on earth could you walk in a circle on that 1 way road?) or the bit about Foncebadon and the wolves? Really!

But he has helped with the albergue in the birth place of Sto Domingo de la Calzada. I had the pleasure of staying there, with 3 other peregrinos. Everybody else just walked by, missing on a moment of Camino essence. When I got there, the other 2 peregrinos were there. He was curing her feet. Blood and all. They had never met before. When Acacio got home, the incents were burning, the fire place was on, and the meal was simple but lovely, the conversation memorable.

This moment would have been impossible without Coelho. Good enough for me. After all.... he's a novalist!
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
#10
and made the world aware of the Camino.
... I dare say the "world" was aware of the camino before pauloC... (many people I came across when growing up in europe knew of the camino as one of the grand pilgrimages of the world. and until recently i did not know about him at all and haven't read any of his book, only saw video clips about him. i.e. in my experience, people i know knew about the camino long before they heard about pauloC)
saluti -
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#11
... I dare say the "world" was aware of the camino before pauloC... (many people I came across when growing up in europe knew of the camino as one of the grand pilgrimages of the world. and until recently i did not know about him at all and haven't read any of his book, only saw video clips about him. i.e. in my experience, people i know knew about the camino long before they heard about pauloC)
saluti -
Even my own family living in Spain has little knowledge, nor interest, in the Caminos - as most of the people's whose villages we walked throgh. Regaring Coelho, The Pilgrim was one of his first major novel. Since then many works know around the world have been published. Here is a wikin link on his work: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paulo_Coelho
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#12
Maybe not him personally, but his publisher surely sold much more of his books with info that Paulo really had walked the (whole) Camino.

Which he didn't as his friend Accacio told me (see post #6)... :(
 

evanlow

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#14
This mirrors the movie 'The Way'.

1. Martin Sheen drove along the camino with his grandson (son of Emilio Estevez).
2. Emilio Estevez who produces and directed the film never walked the Camino.

Yet he was very inspired by it and make the movie with his dad.
 

Kerstinh47

Active Member
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Camino Frances 16 May - 29 June, 2014
#15
I got his book before I walked the camino and struggled to read through it. I walked past a
 

rometimed

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#16
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
Well I'm doing 7 (at least) long distance walks this year starting in May. I might write a book about the experience. I'm not much of a writer so maybe i'll just write it when I get back and post it on here. ;)
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
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#17
... I dare say the "world" was aware of the camino before pauloC... (many people I came across when growing up in europe knew of the camino as one of the grand pilgrimages of the world. and until recently i did not know about him at all and haven't read any of his book, only saw video clips about him. i.e. in my experience, people i know knew about the camino long before they heard about pauloC)
saluti -
Hear hear Amorfati...I know some people who walked in the sixties and seventies to Compostela....Never heard of Coelho of course but they had a broad interest of themselves in all things religious, cultural and spiritual.
Even now most pilgrims I know haven't heard from Coelho. Not here in Europe anyway...

Personally : I don't like his writing at all...little bits of this and that but no coherent style or content.
 
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CISSA69

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
I have walked the Camino de Santiago many many times, volunteered as a hospitalaro and at the CSJ offices in London and have presented on "Camino and Equipment" .
#18
Maybe they should establish a Paulo Cuelho Camino, starting in SJPP, spending 5 days getting very lost in the Pyrennes .... etc. and then finishing at O'Ceberrio ... might help eleviate some of the congestion and bring more money into the Camino as he stayed in hotels ... ha ha

Regardless he can certainly assert to the transformative power of the Camino as it kick started his career as an internationally famous best selling author and he still has a connection with at least one albergue, which he supports and is best mates with the owner of Ave Phoenix, one the Camino Characters. He is in Santiago this week, bringing attention to the city which is pretty devoid of pilgrims and tourists ... at the moment.

I saw him in Santiago standing outside the Paradora, holding court among the adoring media etc. I only recognised him because a friend had retweeted one of his messages about being back in Spain. 100m away and in the centre of the square were 30 or so teenages, shouting and dancing in celebration of their Camino completion. They all ran to high five and hug their teacher. So much excitment, joy, love etc but it was ignored by the media. It would have been nice if the media had showed equal interest in both happenings.
 
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#19
Maybe they should establish a Paulo Cuelho Camino, starting in SJPP, spending 5 days getting very lost in the Pyrennes .... etc. and then finishing at O'Ceberrio ... might help eleviate some of the congestion and bring more money into the Camino as he stayed in hotels ... ha ha

Regardless he can certainly assert to the transformative power of the Camino as it kick started his career as an internationally famous best selling author and he still has a connection with at least one albergue, which he supports and is best mates with the owner of Ave Phoenix, one the Camino Characters. He is in Santiago this week, bringing attention to the city which is pretty devoid of pilgrims and tourists ... at the moment.

I saw him in Santiago standing outside the Paradora, holding court among the adoring media etc. I only recognised him because a friend had retweeted one of his messages about being back in Spain. 100m away and in the centre of the square were 30 or so teenages, shouting and dancing in celebration of their Camino completion. They all ran to high five and hug their teacher. So much excitment, joy, love etc but it was ignored by the media. It would have been nice if the media had showed equal interest in both happenings.
I'll volunteer to start that tour group in the Pyrenees. I know exactly how to walk someone around in circles in Pays Basque, it usually starts with our normal wine infused lunches.
I have read many of his books and I agree, he has nailed the transformational power of the Camino. Takes his book for what it was, not a literal travelogues just a metaphor about going on "a pilgrimage" it just happened to be the Camino de Santiago.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#20
C'mon. The dude's a writer. A writer writes in order to make a living. I'd make up all kind of crazy stuff too to put in print if you waved enough cash at me. How he became some sort of sage to some puzzles me.
Look at it at face value. Walking the Camino to get a sword from some kind of secret society? Was Frodo and Bilbo there, too? Maybe that was the effects of dropping too much acid when he was younger. Also in interviews he talks about black masses. Really, dude? I was only able to stomach a couple of chapters before I put the book down.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
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#25
Bill Bryson didn't walk the entire Appalachian Trail either, but I still laughed at almost every page of "A Walk in the Woods".
AH yes, that was another one I just read where the writer didn't finish!
 

newfydog

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#27
Jame Michener wrote that the Camino
Is one of the great journeys of the world......and drove every bit of it
 
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M

Mark Lee

Guest
#29
AH yes, that was another one I just read where the writer didn't finish!
Yeah, I read that book. Mildly amusing, but yet another example where the writer finds an activity like the AP, or the CF that is extremely popular and decides that would be a good subject matter that will get them published and sell books. Rather disappointing when you realize the author didn't complete the journey and just experienced enough of it to put on paper. You got to wonder if the author even really enjoyed the experience and just how much of what they wrote is truth? The old "poetic license" bit.
I've always believed it's better to go make your own adventures and stories and not live vicariously through some wannabe guru hack, who can spin a good yarn.
 
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#30
Yeah, I read that book. Mildly amusing, but yet another example where the writer finds an activity like the AP, or the CF that is extremely popular and decides that would be a good subject matter that will get them published and sell books. Rather disappointing when you realize the author didn't complete the journey and just experienced enough of it to put on paper. You got to wonder if the author even really enjoyed the experience and just how much of what they wrote is truth? The old "poetic license" bit.
I've always believed it's better to go make your own adventures and stories and not live vicariously through some wannabe guru hack, who can spin a good yarn.
Whoa, not to go too far off topic, but Bryson did claim to hike most of the AT. Granted it was for the purposes of writing about it but that's what the man does for a living. So he section hiked and took a taxi from TN to VA. This was hardly the book that established him as a best-selling writer and there's enough fact in the book to make it credible.

I don't know about anybody else, but I read a lot of travel books and appreciate a good story. The fact that the author embelishes for the sake of the story isn't going to put me off. Just as each of us walks his own camino, I'll give anyone permission to hike their own Appalachian Trail without feeling the need to criticize it.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
#31
Whoa, not to go too far off topic, but Bryson did claim to hike most of the AT. Granted it was for the purposes of writing about it but that's what the man does for a living. So he section hiked and took a taxi from TN to VA. This was hardly the book that established him as a best-selling writer and there's enough fact in the book to make it credible.

I don't know about anybody else, but I read a lot of travel books and appreciate a good story. The fact that the author embelishes for the sake of the story isn't going to put me off. Just as each of us walks his own camino, I'll give anyone permission to hike their own Appalachian Trail without feeling the need to criticize it.
Bryson's OK. I bought his book and added to his bank account, but I never assume there is 100% any fact in any book. Books are entertainment. He wasn't who I was referring to as a wannabe guru hack...ha ha :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés five times, Madrid two days, Ingles once.
#33
I read P Coelho's book before I walked the Camino and had a difficult time understanding it. It was difficult for me, also, to find out if it was a novel or biography - and I looked at many "sources". Then between my 1st and 2nd Caminos, I re-read The Pilgrimage, and decided that (from MY perspective) it was part bio, part fiction - and didn't care - It was a GOOD story - the 2nd time.

I tend to be just a bit skeptical, so don't necessarily believe all I read - newspapers, blogs, books (whether they are listed as fiction or non-), anything on-line, well you get the point, I think. Actually, anything that leads me to start thinking about something new and different, and gets me moving outside my usual zone, I find worthwhile.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning our first for May (2016)
#34
Bryson's OK. I bought his book and added to his bank account, but I never assume there is 100% any fact in any book. Books are entertainment. He wasn't who I was referring to as a wannabe guru hack...ha ha :D
As much as I like to argue, I wasn't trying to start an argument. I don't think it was 100% fact-free but agree that licenses are taken in even those books that are presented as non-fiction. I have gladly added to Bryson's bank account as I find him very entertaining.
 

indyrem

Active Member
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Camino Frances June-July (2013) Camino Ingles (2015)
#36
Bill Bryson didn't walk the entire Appalachian Trail either, but I still laughed at almost every page of "A Walk in the Woods".
Yes, " A Walk in the Woods" made me laugh so hard. To this day if I want to laugh I'd pull Bryson's book & read it again.
 
C

Con Palos

Guest
#38
Does this mean that he is not real, or that he is unreal?
I note your avatar looks like the cover from the Alchemist?

I like all Paulo's novels, well the ones I have read, may have missed a few.

The Alchemist is my favourite
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
#39
This thread has made me realise that my favourite books are all journeys - and funny ones too. Three Men in a Boat, A Walk in the Woods and Spanish Steps... Maybe it's the masochist in me or the pilgrim? I just love to read about how bloomin' awful and difficult other peoples travels have been!
I would of listed Patrick Leigh Fermor (any book) but the only thing his writing lacks is humour which I find it so important. Although you can gain an entire education about geography, history and anthropology from his writing (bless his cottons)
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
#40
oops - meant to say I love all the Coelho books I have read - didn't understand all but enjoyed them all the same. I don't feel someone has to undergo an experience to write about it - like actors can act a life they have not lived, it depends whether they can convey the experience adequately/thoroughly/amazingly - surely?!
 

Natbee

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2019)
#41
hecate105, you are absolutely right. I do not read Coelho -- I think he's a hack. But he can write about anything he wants without having done what he's writing about. One does not have to murder someone to write about what it's like to be a murderer. In fiction, anyway. I don't really know what Coelho's books are.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
#43
In 2011 I choosed to stay in Viloria de la Rioja at Accacio and Orietta's Albergue. There were only me and an Austrian lady (injured - ankle) and at the dinner Accacio told me that P.Coelho never walked the Camino. And he was the "godfather" of this albergue! Accacio is Argentinian and Coelho is his friend, so I guess I have to believe him.
That don't bother me because Coelho's books means nothing at all to me. It would make whole lots of diference in case of some other authors/writers, but surely not Paulo :oops:
Wait I don't get it. Did he walk to O Cebreiro, or did he not walk at all??
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
#45
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
Well... I haven't done half of the Caminos that I am writing about on this Forum either, so...

*joking*
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
#46
It's a novel .. he's a writer ..he uses his imagination to make a living & that's his job .. much of his writing involves exploring the big mythical elements of inner and outer worlds.it worked well for introducing many people to the Camino de Santiago . In my opinion It's irrelevant whether he walked the whole thing or not . He used the Camino to tell a grand story . His book was actually my first introduction to the Camino and it led me to seek more information .. even though it was a bit flakey here and there .. but it inspired me . The first of his books I ever read was the Alchemist in the early 90's and I liked the style and themes . They were very Jungian and profound .
 

TatiLie

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning for first Camino (2019)
#48
As a Brazilian, I always get surprised by Paulo Coelho's fame outside of Brazil. He's more of a joke to us, like how English speakers make fun of Fifty Shades and Twilight. I suppose translators are doing a good job when transporting it to another language. In its original language, it's not worth the trees that died for the print.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#49
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
This reminds me of a man whom we met on the Camino this past winter whose name rhymes with trucker! He is a jovial, affable, chubby soul who is doing his Camino in 4 or 5 sections and writing a book about it. Last winter he started in Leon and made it as far as O’Cebriero. What we soon discovered is that he took taxis and buses most of the way...took a Taxi from Acebo to Ponferrada, bus from Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo, Taxi from Trabadelo to LaFaba, and taxi again from there to OCebriero. At one point we met him again, as he loudly pronounced in an albergue that he was about to walk back (not) and find us because we had not arrived yet!! We were three walking in two foot of snow and it took much longer to get to our destination than it normally would. Hey, I sincerely think it is fine for someone to do the Camino in whatever fashion they decide to. I do not know what his issues are? However, It is quite another to misrepresent one’s accomplishment, especially when publishing it!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Far too many...
#50
As a Brazilian, I always get surprised by Paulo Coelho's fame outside of Brazil. He's more of a joke to us, like how English speakers make fun of Fifty Shades and Twilight. I suppose translators are doing a good job when transporting it to another language. In its original language, it's not worth the trees that died for the print.
I almost didn't want to say this but I agree (I am not from Brazil though)... I have read one of his books (The alchemist) and will not read a second one. I was baffled how someone can steel "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (a french book from the 40's) and then put his name on it. The two books are too similar for it to be a coincident.

Oh yeah, every author borrows from someone else. But some authors borrow a little too much...

Not to derail the thread. I am sure his book about the Camino is good then. I wasn't impressed with my first encounter with his books though.

BP
 
Camino(s) past & future
29/02/2017
#51
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
Try -A Walk in the Woods. , very nice !!
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times, but soon again I hope....
#52
I have read a few chapters from those popular books about long walks. The one's from Coelho, Shirley MaClaine, and the two about the American AT and PCT trails. I must say, personally I found them uninteresting and after a few chapters put them down and was done. Then I found out the authors of all those books never even walked the entire routes. That too was disappointing, but not surprising. Writers write to make money. To actually document the walking of any of those routes and print it without embellishment is dull. Nobody is going to want to read (and spend money on your book) about waking up, going to the toilet, washing up, start walking, get some coffee, eat lunch, stop at an albergue, wash clothes, eat dinner, go to sleep and repeat. Same goes for the ones about the actual wilderness hikes, except you put in tent set up and cooking on a small stove.
Like I said, boring. So you embellish, add fantasy and mysticism and at times plagiarize. Writers need to eat and the masses need to live vicariously through others, even if what the others wrote that they did is pure horse excrement.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#54
@RJM I tend to agree with you - I find most of the “popular” books on this topic either boring or irritating for those very reasons you cite.
What I have enjoyed are the likes of Samuel Johnson, James Boswell and James Michener with their avid descriptions of people and place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2015 -SJPP- Santiago .Oct/Nov
2017 -Porto to Santiago.Oct
2017- Santiago- Finesterre. Nov
#55
Perhaps The greatest thing about walking the Camino is that it surpasses any book we may possibly read because it is a truly magnificent journey and an experience that WE ourselves make -surpassing the words of any writer to do it justice . The story of It is written in our own feet , body , mind and heart and its a true story and it's our story . Words in a book by someone else can bring up a feeling or inspire us but it cannot ever beat the feeling of actually doing something grand like the Camino by ourselves . The imprint on our souls is strong and enduring .
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#56
I met and walked 5km of Camino between Vianna and Logrono with Paulo Coelho in 2014
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#57
I met and walked 5km of Camino between Vianna and Logrono with Paulo Coelho in 2014
Oh, so I made a huge injustice to him because I've met Accacio and Orietta in 2011 ;)

And? How was it walking with Paulo Coelho?
 
D

Deleted member 12253

Guest
#58
Oh, so I made a huge injustice to him because I've met Accacio and Orietta in 2011 ;)

And? How was it walking with Paulo Coelho?
Like walking on air all the way to Santiago. My daughter refused to talk to me for a week as she missed him she bussed into Logrono
 
Camino(s) past & future
2017
#59
What it bothers me is that he lies. In multiple interviews he stated that he walked El Camino. I know that novelists embellish and “create”, caes in point John Steinbeck who did not travel in his truck Rocinante around the USA. Michener, Shirley MacLaine and others were clear about the extent of their pilgrimage and a Pilgrim doesn’ t need to walk El Camino, but lying about it when he answer to the press is another issue
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#61
What it bothers me is that he lies. In multiple interviews he stated that he walked El Camino
I don't know what he told journalists before March 2015 when this thread was started but since then, for more than three and a half years at least, journalists have been told by him that he walked from SJPP to O Cebreiro in 1986 and then took a bus to Santiago because he had found the answer to his question (I think it was about which way to turn in his professional life?).

I sort of envy him for having walked in 1986 - long before the rise of the internet and before people were telling themselves and other people how to walk "El Camino". :cool:
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#62
I read Paulo Coelho before I ever heard of the Camino. I have been a fan of his writing for years. He is a fictional writer. I have a friend who writes detective novels and has never been a police officer, much less a detective. I like James Michener's books, but most of his stories are done from research not experience. even though he has visited many of the areas he writes about.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#63
Worst book I ever read about the Camino. Worse than Shirley's.... Bought a copy in SdeC at the end of one of my CF walks, to read on the airplane.... Threw it in the trash upon landing.
If you read it all the way through, I admire your perseverance, but I suppose that you had nothing else to read on the plane. The Pilgrimage was the first book that I read, or attempted to read, about the camino. After the first chapter, I added it to my short list of books so boring that I could not continue to read them. Fortunately, it did not at all influence my view of the camino. It was not the genre which offended me. About half of my fiction library is fantasy and I have read Lord of the Rings about 17 times. I read many books about the camino later, before walking my first camino. Some were boring, but no others were hopelessly stupid. Thanks to comments on this forum, I have avoided Shirley Maclaine so far. Life is too short and books too many to waste time reading the really bad ones. (My opinion, of course)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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#64
I read Paulo Coelho before I ever heard of the Camino. I have been a fan of his writing for years. He is a fictional writer. I have a friend who writes detective novels and has never been a police officer, much less a detective.
I read "The Alchemist" and that was ok but I knew then that Coelho wasn't the kind of author of fiction books that I would enjoy. So I never read "The Pilgrimage". Some people seem to confuse his fiction with his autobiography.

I discovered today that a journalist, Juan Arias, did a series of interviews with him in 1998. They were later turned into a book, and either the whole book or a shorter version is actually available on the web, in Spanish. It deals with Coelho's life, and his experience in Spain in 1986 is mentioned. It's not easy for me to read in Spanish. There's a sentence where it says that he walked from France in 55 days los setecientos kilómetros del camino de SdC, como los viejos peregrinos medievales (NOTE: it's not a direct quote but how the journalist presents it). So whether he or the journalist didn't know that it's actually 800 km and not 700 km or whether that includes the fact that he took the bus for something like a little over 100 km is anyone's guess.

What I detect, however, from fleetingly looking through it, is that what matters is the change and spiritual enrichment this experience brought for him. For example, that he "tried everything, Hare-Krishna, Buddhism, yoga philosophy, everything. I started to go regularly to [Catholic] mass again only after I did the camino de Santiago".

My guess is that the obsession with "every step of the way on foot with my backpack on my back from the bridge in SJPP to the Obradoiro square in SdC" was less pronounced in 1986 than it is now, 30 years later.
 
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Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#65
Worst book I ever read about the Camino. Worse than Shirley's.... Bought a copy in SdeC at the end of one of my CF walks, to read on the airplane.... Threw it in the trash upon landing.
I met him in Puenta La Reina in September 2001.

I say "met him" he physically shoved me and another pilgrim out of the way so his Korean TV crew could enter the Iglesia del Crucifijo :rolleyes:
 

hecate105

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2009 Portuguese Estellas 2014 Aurelia 2016 St Davids 2017 Via Augusta/V dl P. 2018 Michael Mary Way
#66
I enjoyed many of his books, but then i have enjoyed pretty much every Camino book i have read as well.... even Shirley Mclains...!
So many books, or films can be really enjoyable and you can get entertainment, education or satisfaction...but the author might be a person you would hate - I really enjoyed the Mad Max films... a case in point! :rolleyes::eek:;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#67
Erm ... why is The Alchemist considered a camino book? If my memory does not fail me completely, the hero lives in Andalusia, travels to Morocco and Egypt, goes home again. It's a kind of standard "quest" story about someone who seeks treasure abroad and finds it at home?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#68
Erm ... why is The Alchemist considered a camino book? If my memory does not fail me completely, the hero lives in Andalusia, travels to Morocco and Egypt, goes home again. It's a kind of standard "quest" story about someone who seeks treasure abroad and finds it at home?
@Kathar1na
My bad. Having only read one chapter of The Pilgrimage, I saw several references to The Alchemist above and momentarily could not remember the title of the his book on the camino, of which I had read only one chapter. I had corrected my post before your post appeared.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#70
I had corrected my post before your post appeared.
@Albertagirl, what do we do now? Do I delete my question and you delete your reply, or do we leave things as they are so that future readers of Paulo Coelho's oeuvre know that there are two famous books and can decide which one - if not both - to read and/or to avoid? ;)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#71
@Albertagirl, what do we do now? Do I delete my question and you delete your reply, or do we leave things as they are so that future readers of Paulo Coelho's oeuvre know that there are two famous books and which one(s) to read and/or avoid? ;)
@Kathar1na
Are you saying that you are recommending that people read The Alchemist? I suppose it is caveat emptor when choosing reading material. I have personally put Paulo Coelho's oeuvre off my reading list.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#72
@Kathar1na
Are you saying that you are recommending that people read The Alchemist?
Nope. But I won't diss it either as many people obviously enjoyed it for various reasons. I read it a really long time ago. I may be totally wrong but I remember it as a page turner that got a bit boring towards the end but that didn't stop me from finishing it. However, one Paulo Coelho was enough for me. ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#73
I met him in Puenta La Reina in September 2001.

I say "met him" he physically shoved me and another pilgrim out of the way so his Korean TV crew could enter the Iglesia del Crucifijo :rolleyes:
Proof, if it's needed, that he hasn't yet completed his camino. Or perhaps even started it.

There is pilgrimage and there us hype.
I think most of us know the difference.;)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#76
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
The writer did finish but his French companion stopped in istanbul I think (can’t remember exactly) but his family came to get him.
However, I did read his blog (found by chance on a French pilgrimage website) and it bore little resemblance to what was related in the book.... :D Always 2 sides to a story ;)

I read the story of a Frenchman also walking to Jerusalem and I was horrified as to the risks he was taking (that was before I walked it myself).... Scared me witless!
Turns out he didn’t really want to come back alive :rolleyes: Fortunately he must have as his book was published - I don’t think I ever finished it.

To go back to topic,( sorry), I never thought Coelho had finished the Camino! :p His book did nothing for me but it seems to have inspired many people...
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#77
Are you saying that you are recommending that people read The Alchemist?
Postscriptum: I've managed to read a bit more of the series of interviews / conversations mentioned earlier that the journalist Juan Arias conducted with Coelho in the 1990s. I think Arias still writes for El Pais. Coelho cites lines from a poem by J.P. Cavafy entitled Ithaca. I had never heard of it before and, obviously, I can't read it in the Greek original. I don't remember having seen a reference to it on the forum. Now that is something I do recommend, in English or another translated version.
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#78
Postscriptum: I've managed to read a bit more of the series of interviews / conversations mentioned earlier that the journalist Juan Arias conducted with Coelho in the 1990s. I think Arias still writes for El Pais. Coelho cites lines from a poem by J.P. Cavafy entitled Ithaca. I had never heard of it before and, obviously, I can't read it in the Greek original. I don't remember having seen a reference to it on the forum. Now that is something I do recommend, in English or another translated version.
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/ithaca.50356/

‘Hope your journey is a long one’ :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#79
What it bothers me is that he lies. In multiple interviews he stated that he walked El Camino
March 13, 2010 by Paulo Coelho:

[My first sacred pilgrimage], the Road to Santiago (1986) takes place in space , meaning that you have to cover a physical distance between two points. In my case, I walked from the border of France to O Cebreiro (Galicia), close to 600 kms.
http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2010/03/13/my-new-book/

That's what the man himself wrote on his website in 2010. I don't think he made a secret of it!
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#81
Perhaps I had not yet made up my mind whether it is Itaca, Ithaca, Itaka or Ithaka in English. :cool:
Quite. Not easy when not first language. I am fluent in English (like you!) but even so, sometimes my response is just ‘What?’ :D
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#82
Cavafy's "Ithaca" illustrates with reference to the Odyssey what many pilgrims to Santiago understand as the meaning of their pilgrimage, not the physical goal (to visit the bones of Santiago in Compostela) but the journey, the progress from who you are to who you are becoming as you walk pilgrim roads. For me this is also true. But I remember from my reading of the Odyssey that the literal meaning of Ithaca in the poem is that of home, the goal to which the traveler is journeying. I leave it to each of you to identify this for yourself. On a literal level I am grateful to have a physical home and family to return to after each camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#83
That's what the man himself wrote on his website in 2010. I don't think he made a secret of it!
And it's what journalists wrote already in 2008 in several Spanish newspapers: "ya que salió de la localidad francesa de Saint Jean Pied de Port hasta O Cebreiro (Lugo), y que desde allí cogió un autobús hacia Santiago. Which translates as: "[he said and pointed out that he did not do it more than once and that he did not complete it either,] since he started in the French town of Saint Jean Pied de Port and when he had reached O Cebreiro, he took a bus to Santiago.

Why is this important to me? Coehlo did not lie to journalists, as a poster assumes and is bothered by it, and journalists did not fake the news. News reports get shortened, details deemed as minor details for the core of the story in question are left out, edited, copied and re-edited, and then often even unwittingly distorted in this process. If you really want to know the whole story, you need to invest time and ideally go back to the very sources.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
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#84
I leave it to each of you to identify this for yourself.
Thank you for sharing your interpretation and thoughts on this, much appreciated.

When I read the poem yesterday the fact that Ithaca was the destination of a return journey had completely gone from my mind ... Currently, these lines in particular speak to me:


But also several other lines. The poem goes beyond the line that the way is the goal which I have read perhaps a few times too many by now. :cool:

PS: Another version of the translation of the poem into English is here.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
2015
#85
I just read a book Planetwalker and was all excited to read about a man who walked right around the world.....by the end of the book he hadn't even left America;-)
Then there was the Kiwi bloke who set out to walk Te Araroa, NZ's long distance waking trail - he didn't finish either, but did write a book about it.
Along The Templar Trail did somewhat better - one of the two guys who started did actually finish.

I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
Some of us do :)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#86
Speaking of Ithaca and travel you may want to read Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem Ulysses about an aged Ulysses yearning to travel again. The last lines of the poem are often quoted:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
One equal-temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.


http://www.famousliteraryworks.com/tennyson_ulysses.htm
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, 2015
#87
I was starting to think writers do not actually achieve long distance walks!
Cheryl Strayed wrote about her hike on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in Wild and Bill Bryson wrote about his hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in A Walk in the Woods. Neither did the whole trail but they said they didn't. Both books have been made into Hollywood films.
 


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