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Pilgrim in spirit?

sarahchicago

Trail snail
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2022
There is a real easy answer to why these young men were not allowed to stay in the albergue. The albergue, according to Gronze states that it is for "Pilgrims" only. If they were pilgrims and did not have a credential they could have asked for one. It seems to me that your reply is as full of judgements regarding the actions of @J Willhaus. He and his wife devote a great deal of time and energy to help pilgrims by volunteering in albergues. They were just following the rules of the set down by the albergue. Like it or not there are many people who see a donativo as a free place to stay and to just take and not give. I am sure they used their judgement and the guidance from the rules to make this call. There were lots of other places for these people to stay. You have a right to your opinion but as I said your comments are full of judgements.
You wrote:

I have no idea what you are really trying to say here but I grew up in the 1960's in the Bronx in one of those "grimy" neighborhoods with a few burnt out storefronts and some drug dealing not only on the "regular" but every day of my life where we had lots of moving experiences just playing or running away so we didn't get our butts kicked in or worse. "Grimy" to you was home for me.
Donativos are for pilgrims if that is what the donativo's mission statement is.
Not trolling anyone here but expressing my opinion as you have yours.
Oh my goodness. And now you have judged me quite harshly without any knowledge of my intentions, my knowledge of this albergue’s rules (I knew only what j wilhaus had written about turning away the young men), and call into question, for some reason, my experience, background in life and so forth. Sounds rather troll-y, but I figure you must mean well in some way. I’ll continue reading the interesting responses in this thread, although I might select the “ignore” option to avoid further personal jabs.
 
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Turga

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CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
and have noticed in all my travels here that in general, Europe isn't as good in dealing with people with disabilities as the U.S.

Please don’t make the (regrettably very common) mistake to consider Europe as having uniform rules, regulations and politics about everything. Regarding for instance social security and care there are huge differences among European countries.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Been thinking about this thread overnight, and the word that keeps leaping into my head is "ableist." Now, I moved to Portugal from the US a bit over a year ago, and have noticed in all my travels here that in general, Europe isn't as good in dealing with people with disabilities as the U.S. I know that part of that is that it's awfully hard to re-adapt stone buildings and the like, but in general, there's a different mindset to begin with, and I suspect that's a part of what we're seeing here. The No Support rule in particular is a real shame - I think about that poor woman with the head injury and how no accommodation was made for that, and I think about people who for whatever reason cannot always (or at all) carry their full packs, and I think while of course the hospitaleros need to enforce the rules handed down to them, perhaps those who write and hand down the rules need to look at the message they're sending, and that's that only the able-bodied need apply.
Yes, we are accessible at Canfranc. There is an elevator, accessible shower and toilet.
 
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If my home is close to Spain and even closer to other camino routes in Portugal, does that change the equation?

Plus, I'm not sure distance travelled distinguishes pilgrims from hikers. Hikers will travel far to Nepal/Switzerland/Argentina/wherever to go on a hike and see mountains.
Good question. I'm not sure it does. It's actually not about distance per se but about intention.
Where you live, you could take a dayhike somewhere that is on a camino and have a very different experience than if you were to walk that way as part of a camino, walking to Santiago.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
Please, let's not get mean to each other. I am aware that people have opinions, but let's not get mean. What I am most interested in knowing is whether you feel you are a pilgrim walking a route without the intention to walk to Santiago this year, next year, etc. Or are you just walking an interesting route. Do you still consider yourself a pilgrim?
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
No problem. I just did not want to derail the thread. I took photos of front and back covers. It is not a book I can say I am loving reading, but I am enjoying learning through the information in it. I am sure you would be able to borrow it from your library, but if you are interested in more learned books, it could be something you might want to buy. I got mine in Kenny's of Galway, online, free postage worldwide.
Good luck, and buen camino.
Pelerine, sorry, am using my phone and did not see that it was you who had asked for the information! Now you have it.
75CA4573-D5F8-42B0-85A8-DD5366FA179E.jpeg 02828334-2A0B-4E03-B548-98A293EE4936.jpeg
Hola,

I did a server update this morning and it seems these two pictures were uploaded just as I was finishing up... it seems we can not click on them and see a bigger version. I wonder if you could post them again? I think it should work if you do it again now.

Sorry!
Ivar
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2012
I'm a pilgrim (no Capital P. Its a state of being not a badge). And I make pilgrimage for my own reasons and to my own sacred places.

And I've been a young, skint, hiker. And I've tried to blag my way into anywhere that would provide a cheap, warm, dry, bed. And I've never done anything but smile and head to the nearest next possibility when I've been called-out.

@J Willhaus, for what its worth I think you made the right call in the circumstances that prevail at Canfranc. I'll presume that you are not entirely sure that you did which is why you've raised your question. The reassurance of our peers is always welcome especially when you have a wobble. Believe me, I've had a few over some of my moderator decisions and some of my more waspish responses to the innocent.

Meanwhile it has been sad to see that some members have decided to have a needle match of their own rather than seek to answer your question. My answer to that question is, yes, I always consider myself a pilgrim when I walk toward Santiago and the bones of one who may have touched the divine - even if I'm not going to get there this time. If I'm on the GR10 on the Pyrenees traverse? I'm a hiker ;)
 
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WestKirsty

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CNorte/Prim 2016
CSal 2017
CF 2021/22
CVasco 2022
What I am most interested in knowing is whether you feel you are a pilgrim walking a route without the intention to walk to Santiago this year, next year, etc. Or are you just walking an interesting route. Do you still consider yourself a pilgrim?

Thanks for this question! It's been an interesting thread to read through and I really had to stop and think about your original post.

I am one of those people who've walked several Caminos and my goals/motivations have changed over the years. In 2016, I walked my first Camino, the Norte/Primitivo , and the goal was very clear - to reach Santiago and get my Compostela. I had the shell on my pack, stayed in Albergues, met folks along the way. I appreciate that there are many definitions/opinions on what a pilgrim is, but I never questioned whether or not I was one and I suspect I was a pretty typical "pilgrim" as things go on the Camino nowadays.

Through that journey I discovered that I love long distance walking and more specifically, I love being "on the Camino". I was excited when I realized that there are so many different routes and many that were quieter than my summer on the Norte. And yet, there is still a definite feeling of being "on the Camino" (I don't know how else to word this!).

I'm from Canada but have lived in Spain for 7 years. I was back in Canada just a few weeks ago and went hiking. It's different from the Camino - less history, no albergues, different terrain, and it just feels like an entirely different experience. Interestingly, I often hike (non-Camino trails) in Spain and it too feels different. Of course, again, no albergues, no shell, no arrows to follow etc. but it somehow just feels so different. I was hiking in the Picos on a GR route and saw yellow arrows and felt a kind of nostalgia for the path I crossed over but didn't take. I was in the very same geographic area as a Camino trail but it wasn't time on be on the Camino, this trip was different.

I had never before thought of whether or not I would consider myself a pilgrim on these smaller routes that don't end in Santiago. I never even considered whether or not I should stay in a pilgrim Albergue! I had my credential, was on a Camino route, and it just feels like a Camino - kind of like returning to that first pilgrimage even though it's a different trail, different part of Spain. It just feels right, a definite sense of returning to something familiar, comfortable, homey.

Not sure if this is making any sense but maybe others have had the same feels?!?

From a practical perspective, I've stayed in several albergues alone on these routes so have no guilt about taking away beds from others doing longer walks. The locals have always been welcoming and seemed happy to have a customer :)
 

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
What I am most interested in knowing is whether you feel you are a pilgrim walking a route without the intention to walk to Santiago this year, next year, etc. Or are you just walking an interesting route. Do you still consider yourself a pilgrim?

Raising the question always open ups an interesting can of worms, so it seems..

To answer. I do not consider myself a pilgrim when I am walking towards Santiago (or with the intention of walking there), nor do I consider myself a pilgrim walking any other route. Although there surely is a dictionary definition that suits me (I particularly like one of the Merriam Webster ones that defines a pilgrim as "wayfarer" ..) It is just because the label does not mean that much to me. Being a pilgrim is not reallly my goal in life. Attempting to be a decent human being probably is, this is challenging enough.
 

trecile

Moderator
Staff member
Time of past OR future Camino
PAST - Francés, Norte, Salvador, Portuguese
Thanks for this question! It's been an interesting thread to read through and I really had to stop and think about your original post.

I am one of those people who've walked several Caminos and my goals/motivations have changed over the years. In 2016, I walked my first Camino, the Norte/Primitivo , and the goal was very clear - to reach Santiago and get my Compostela. I had the shell on my pack, stayed in Albergues, met folks along the way. I appreciate that there are many definitions/opinions on what a pilgrim is, but I never questioned whether or not I was one and I suspect I was a pretty typical "pilgrim" as things go on the Camino nowadays.

Through that journey I discovered that I love long distance walking and more specifically, I love being "on the Camino". I was excited when I realized that there are so many different routes and many that were quieter than my summer on the Norte. And yet, there is still a definite feeling of being "on the Camino" (I don't know how else to word this!).

I'm from Canada but have lived in Spain for 7 years. I was back in Canada just a few weeks ago and went hiking. It's different from the Camino - less history, no albergues, different terrain, and it just feels like an entirely different experience. Interestingly, I often hike (non-Camino trails) in Spain and it too feels different. Of course, again, no albergues, no shell, no arrows to follow etc. but it somehow just feels so different. I was hiking in the Picos on a GR route and saw yellow arrows and felt a kind of nostalgia for the path I crossed over but didn't take. I was in the very same geographic area as a Camino trail but it wasn't time on be on the Camino, this trip was different.

I had never before thought of whether or not I would consider myself a pilgrim on these smaller routes that don't end in Santiago. I never even considered whether or not I should stay in a pilgrim Albergue! I had my credential, was on a Camino route, and it just feels like a Camino - kind of like returning to that first pilgrimage even though it's a different trail, different part of Spain. It just feels right, a definite sense of returning to something familiar, comfortable, homey.

Not sure if this is making any sense but maybe others have had the same feels?!?

From a practical perspective, I've stayed in several albergues alone on these routes so have no guilt about taking away beds from others doing longer walks. The locals have always been welcoming and seemed happy to have a customer :)
You make sense to me, because I have the same feelings about being on the Camino. That's why the Wikipedia definition of pilgrimage resonates with me.

A pilgrimage is a journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience. It can lead to a personal transformation, after which the pilgrim returns to their daily life.
 
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Norte
I'm a pilgrim (no Capital P. Its a state of being not a badge). And I make pilgrimage for my own reasons and to my own sacred places.

And I've been a young, skint, hiker. And I've tried to blag my way into anywhere that would provide a cheap, warm, dry, bed. And I've never done anything but smile and head to the nearest next possibility when I've been called-out.

@J Willhaus, for what its worth I think you made the right call in the circumstances that prevail at Canfranc. I'll presume that you are not entirely sure that you did which is why you've raised your question. The reassurance of our peers is always welcome especially when you have a wobble. Believe me, I've had a few over some of my moderator decisions and some of my more waspish responses to the innocent.

Meanwhile it has been sad to see that some members have decided to have a needle match of their own rather than seek to answer your question. My answer to that question is, yes, I always consider myself a pilgrim when I walk toward Santiago and the bones of one who may have touched the divine - even if I'm not going to get there this time. If I'm on the GR10 on the Pyrenees traverse? I'm a hiker ;)
Interesting post and wasn’t going to add any thoughts as the subject matter is very much out of my comfort zone!!

I don’t consider myself to be a pilgrim, as I am an atheist, a non believer, or however people want to position it. I am not spiritual either (although the word can have some very broad meanings!).

I have done 3 Caminos and met so many people but never really felt that anyone was on a pilgrimage as such! At least they never mentioned it. Obv. this forum hugely over indexes in terms of people of faith! It felt mo more or less significant than the other stuff I have done (Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Machu Pichu, for example). As an interesting aside everyone I have met had to do the ‘whole thing’ I.e SJJP to SDC…..staring further down route wasn’t an option! Think that maybe toes in with the mindset!

I have stayed in albergues and at least one donativo, and never considered it not to be ok. Was aware of the need of a credential but didn’t realise that you had to be a ‘proper pilgrim’! No one in the groups I have met even discussed it.

So what does it mean for the masses like me. Should we not seek to stay at an given albergue or donativo? That’s fine as I have no issue with ‘house rules’, being applied to exclude folk of no faith and folks of other faiths but clarity would be good.

Forgive me if any of the above sounds ridiculous. I couldn’t be anymore out of my comfort zone!
 
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J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
I think knowing the guidelines is helpful. A credential is needed for the albergues where we have worked and they are all donativos owned by church, city, or association. Other albergues where we have worked allow pack transfers. This is the first that does not and places greater emphasis on the pilgrim aspect, largely I think because there are a lot of hikers who are not on pilgrimage.
 

David

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
It is an ancient Arab and Jewish tradition that one always gives hospitality when asked - why, the visitor may be an angel in disguise .... unless the beds are going to be fully used .. can one turn away someone who asks for shelter? Can one? .... and if not then does it matter if they are a "real pilgrim" or not?
I would have taken those youngsters in, unless crowded .... I wonder where they ended up sleeping? I wonder how it affected their journey .... I wonder ....
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
@J Willhaus, Janet, I always enjoy your posts and can tell you have a kind, gentle spirit. I'm sure it is sometimes difficult to make decisions based on following the general rules where you are volunteering. In analyzing individual situations our heart may sometimes tell us otherwise and it can be difficult to decide which "route" to take.
I'm sure you are/were doing your very best.
Thank you for all the many times you have volunteered and put yourself willingly into situations where you may be criticized. Your service is appreciated.
 
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Forgive me if any of the above sounds ridiculous. I couldn’t be anymore out of my comfort zone!
Not ridiculous at all.
I don’t consider myself to be a pilgrim, as I am an atheist, a non believer, or however people want to position it. I am not spiritual either (although the word can have some very broad meanings!).

I have done 3 Caminos and met so many people but never really felt that anyone was on a pilgrimage as such! At least they never mentioned it. Obv. this forum hugely over indexes in terms of people of faith! It felt mo more or less significant than the other stuff I have done (Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Machu Pichu, for example).
Maybe, but maybe not. Lots of people who profess no particular faith walk the camino to simply heal, or to get some space for reflection and quiet, away from the busyness of life. Others walk as a meditation. What makes the camino different from, say, the WHW or the AT/PCT is something that's difficult to express in language. but it's there.

That said, religious, spiritual, and 'inner' pilgrims are comingled with many who walk for other reasons, or simply for a good time. We tend to grossly oversimplify that difference by talking about pilgrims versus tourigrinos, but the two overlap a lot in the vast middle between the obvious extremes,. Most of us are some of each - but there is a basically different intention in pilgrimage, still allowing one to be a tourist at the same time.
 
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It is an ancient Arab and Jewish tradition that one always gives hospitality when asked
That rule applies to the 13th Tribe as well ;) The rules of hospitality are remarkably strict in many nomadic or marginalised societies - "do as you would be done by" isn't just one of Charles Kingsley's characters it is a basic philosophy of life and a rule of conduct. Leviticus (19:18) & Mathew (7:12) KJB might hang the flag on it for western christianity but its an old rule, The Golden Rule in some references.

"That some might be angels" is a given, but then so is "beware the thief that comes by night".
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Norte
Not ridiculous at all.

Maybe, but maybe not. Lots of people who profess no particular faith walk the camino to simply heal, or to get some space for reflection and quiet, away from the busyness of life. Others walk as a meditation. What makes the camino different from, say, the WHW or the AT/PCT is something that's difficult to express in language. but it's there.

That said, religious, spiritual, and 'inner' pilgrims are comingled with many who walk for other reasons, or simply for a good time. We tend to grossly oversimplify that difference by talking about pilgrims versus tourigrinos, but the two overlap a lot in the vast middle between the obvious extremes,. Most of us are some of each - but there is a basically different intention in pilgrimage, still allowing one to be a tourist at the same time.
Thank you! That’s really perceptive! . Despite my lack of spirituality I made a life changing decision when doing the CF in 2020. I didn’t walk for that reason, my boss called me out of the blue! I met a chap who assisted me in the thought process and we drank together, talked about football (yes we are English) bit also engaged at a deeper level! I don’t label it as us being pilgrims, or it being ‘fate’ or anything like that but a clear mind and a set of circumstances away from the madness of everyday life was clearly helpful. It a a tough subject!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
Is one a pilgrim by one's own definition or by others', dictionary or otherwise? I was called to my first camino, blessed during it, and always considered myself a pilgrim, when journeying towards Santiago. By at least one definition above, I cannot be a pilgrim, because I am not a member of the Roman Catholic Church. This makes sense to me, partly because I am aware of the historical nature of the pilgrim shrine in Santiago, partly because I have, when arriving in Santiago, never hugged the statue of the apostle, nor gone into the crypt where others went to visit the place where Santiago's bones are believed to be. I guess that we call ourselves "pilgrims" religious or otherwise, as our backgrounds or beliefs seem to make the title fit. I was a Christian who felt called when I walked my first camino, so I called myself a pilgrim. Now, I have found a new reason to accept that title. Several mature ladies who met me as I walked last year asked for my prayers in Santiago. I made a point of spending some quiet time in the cathedral focusing my prayers on each of them. That seemed a justification to call myself a pilgrim.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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(May 2016)
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(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I remember on my first camino a day when an older peregrina was not allowed to stay in Rabanal's Gaucelmo, because that day she'd had her pack transported. The day before she had fallen and injured her head. Despite the injury she continued walking, but still wasn't allowed in, because of the pack.

Now that..........is a really sad story.........
I hope the experience didn't damage her faith in humanity too much :(
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
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Please, let's not get mean to each other. I am aware that people have opinions, but let's not get mean. What I am most interested in knowing is whether you feel you are a pilgrim walking a route without the intention to walk to Santiago this year, next year, etc. Or are you just walking an interesting route. Do you still consider yourself a pilgrim?

I think if I set foot on the Camino, with the intent of 'Pilgrimage' and all that it entails, I am a Pilgrim.
Regardless of how far I walk.

Right now, after 2 1/2 years of zero International travel, if I could walk on the Camino for just a day....

I would walk slow, savouring every step, stop at every roadside cross for reflection, visit every church to offer a prayer of thanks , enjoy every view, and feel enormous gratitude for being able to spend a day on the road. Would I feel like a Pilgrim. Yes. 100%.

I think it comes down to intent not kms. ;)
 
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Now that..........is a really sad story.........
I hope the experience didn't damage her faith in humanity too much :(
She did understand the rule and got a bed at another albergue. If I remember correctly she even came for tea in the afternoon, which the hospis had invited her for (they had been strict about the no backpack rule, but otherwise very warm and welcoming). It was no drama. I guess maybe I was more upset than that peregrina!
 

Barbara

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
What does it mean to walk "unsupported"? I am planning to walk the entire Camino Frances as a pilgrim as I am walking for a spiritual reason. I have bone-on-bone arthritis w/ bone spurs in my foot, and an old rotator cuff injury. (62 years old). I can't carry a full pack so am getting transport help for the pack, but walking the entire route. (God willing!). Does that mean I am not walking unsupported and thereby not welcome in the alberques?
No, it doesn't. Plenty of people use pack transport. You can be a pilgrim if you fly to Santiago. It's only if you want the Compostela that you have to walk the last 100km. You don't have to carry anything at all. You don't have to stay in albergues if you don't want to. The only problem you might have is that some, not many, albergues won't let you have your pack delivered to them, so you either arrange pickup somewhere else or choose to stay in a different place that day. Or take a donkey to carry your bag.
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
No, it doesn't. Plenty of people use pack transport. You can be a pilgrim if you fly to Santiago. It's only if you want the Compostela that you have to walk the last 100km. You don't have to carry anything at all. You don't have to stay in albergues if you don't want to. The only problem you might have is that some, not many, albergues won't let you have your pack delivered to them, so you either arrange pickup somewhere else or choose to stay in a different place that day. Or take a donkey to carry your bag.
Thank you for that succinct summary.
It is the purpose and not the manner, nor even the distance you travel that counts.
 
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dougfitz

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Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
No, it doesn't. Plenty of people use pack transport.

Thank you for that succinct summary.
It is the purpose and not the manner, nor even the distance you travel that counts.

But the question @SantaMonicaPeregrina asked was not whether she would be walking as a pilgrim. I don't think there is any reason to doubt that. She asked three questions:
1. What does it mean to walk "unsupported"?
2. If she is using pack transport 'does that mean I am not walking unsupported'?
3. And if so 'thereby not welcome in albergues?'

In my post #92 above, I referred her to to a discussion we had here that addressed these questions. At over 250 individual posts, there is too much to repeat here to give a reasonable reflection of the discussion. However, @Rebekah Scott's contribution at post #247 is worth reading.

If you want my take on this, the answers for me are:

1. Walk carrying your pack with everything you are taking. Others can ride, I don't.
2. Yes, it does mean that.
3. It depends. But clearly some albergues don't welcome pilgrims supported by some form of motor transport like a pack taxi.
 

David

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
First one in 2005 from Moissac, France.
I don't know .. maybe we have become a little lost here? Seems op had two points, the turning away of two youngster as they may have not been 'pilgrims' and also 'do you have to be finishing in Santiago to be a pilgrim'.
Well, I have my own views, though they may not agree with other views. Seems to me that if one opens and runs a place that offers hospitality and shelter then one offers hospitality and shelter .... Secondly, who are we to decide if that person is or is not a 'pilgrim', essentially we are all pilgrims in this life so to set limiting rules can be (will always be) a problem.

It is like this: there are two trees or Man (species, non gender specific) ... One obeys the inner rules and is free, the other obeys the outer rules and is enslaved ... Let no one set you rules that go against your inbuilt virtues of hospitality, kindness, generosity ... So .. the question is invalid as it is a judgement that will often exclude, not a good thing, don't you think???
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Yes
I have just finished my time as hospitalera at Canfranc's Elias Valina Albergue. This albergue is only for pilgrims with a credential who are walking unsupported. Our last night we had a couple of lads who "claimed" to be pilgrims, however, they were were just boys out hiking one of the popular GR routes and wanted a cheap bed. We didn't allow them to stay, but it did get me to thinking...

Of the pilgrims who stayed with us, only a handful expressed the intent to walk all the way to Santiago. Many were experienced pilgrims wanting to walk a less traveled route and planned to leave the Camino at or before it met with the CF at Puenta la Reina.

Many of us only walk a short segment each year without the intention to go to Santiago, myself included, although some pilgrims walk a short section and then return to finish eventually in Santiago. It does seem like after the first Compostella is earned that the Santiago goal is less important to many.

So, are we pilgrims when we want to walk part of a Camino or are we just hikers? Should we stay in albergues with the pilgrim spirit? I still feel like a pilgrim when I walk the shorter distances and that feeling is different than when I am a hiker at home in the mountains where I live.

I am sure this thread will generate opinions, so please let's be civil to each other. I just want to reflect on what makes us feel different between hiking and pilgrimage.

If I was a hospitalero, I would let the credencial be the dealbreaker. Pondering about peoples intent is interesting but only amounts to speculation about their intent. Yes, we can ask them, but as someone pointed out above: people can lie about their intent. I also know that people who do present a credencial can "lie" and have no real intent of walking a pilgrimige - but that is not my point.

My point is that a "everyone is welcome"-attitude is all cute and inclusive, but there are practical consequences that some of you don't think of. What if there is not 2 but 20 boys showing up without a credential? Will they be allowed to enter as well? And then comes a couple of pilgrims with a credential, and all the beds are taken... "Ooh, let them in too..." = no fire regulations? I wonder where those pilgrims will spend the night? That is not right either.

So where to draw the line? The easiest thing is to do as OP did: draw the line at the credencial. OP did the right thing. It is a rule that treats everyone equal.
 

trecile

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If I was a hospitalero, I would let the credencial be the dealbreaker. Pondering about peoples intent is interesting but only amounts to speculation about their intent. Yes, we can ask them, but as someone pointed out above: people can lie about their intent. I also know that people who do present a credencial can "lie" and have no real intent of walking a pilgrimige - but that is not my point.

My point is that a "everyone is welcome"-attitude is all cute and inclusive, but there are practical consequences that some of you don't think of. What if there is not 2 but 20 boys showing up without a credential? Will they be allowed to enter as well? And then comes a couple of pilgrims with a credential, and all the beds are taken... "Ooh, let them in too..." = no fire regulations? I wonder where those pilgrims will spend the night? That is not right either.

So where to draw the line? The easiest thing is to do as OP did: draw the line at the credencial. OP did the right thing. It is a rule that treats everyone equal.
I agree, but I don't think that @J Willhaus said that the boys didn't have credentials, only that they claimed to be pilgrims.
But I wasn't there, and it wasn't my call to make.
Our last night we had a couple of lads who "claimed" to be pilgrims,
 
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If I was a hospitalero, I would let the credencial be the dealbreaker. Pondering about peoples intent is interesting but only amounts to speculation about their intent. Yes, we can ask them, but as someone pointed out above: people can lie about their intent. I also know that people who do present a credencial can "lie" and have no real intent of walking a pilgrimige - but that is not my point.

My point is that a "everyone is welcome"-attitude is all cute and inclusive, but there are practical consequences that some of you don't think of. What if there is not 2 but 20 boys showing up without a credential? Will they be allowed to enter as well? And then comes a couple of pilgrims with a credential, and all the beds are taken... "Ooh, let them in too..." = no fire regulations? I wonder where those pilgrims will spend the night? That is not right either.

So where to draw the line? The easiest thing is to do as OP did: draw the line at the credencial. OP did the right thing. It is a rule that treats everyone equal.
Your last sentence leads me to share sonething I deleted because I thought - I don't need to add to this... I talked over the situation with the very experienced hospitalero here. He would err on the side of kindness, but would draw the line at being cheated. He agreed with how the situation was dealt with by Janet and Phil.
 

jeanineonthecamino

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This is such a hard question to answer because the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage has evolved and the motives of so many pilgrims have nothing to do with the Catholic Religion. I think it is fine that the Camino has evolved to include more generalized "Spiritual" reasons. This can include people reflecting on their lives as well as those seeking to address some sort of "Spiritual" needs.

That said - the Camino has evolved to include those who are walking for emotional health, physical health, physical fitness, cultural experience, and tourism in general. Participating for Cultural Experiences and Tourism in general definitely do not meet the original intention of a Catholic pilgrimage - but I think many people who walk for cultural experiences and tourism will probably find that they too reflect on their lives - so it often becomes a spiritual journey, even if that wasn't the participants original intention.

I think for the most part - most of us try not to judge the intentions of someone walking the Camino - but inevitably we often do. Especially when it comes to those who show up at the last 100km to get the Compostela. We know that for many people - that is all they can do - so of course we are glad they are able to find a way to participate. But at the same time - when we see people acting like tourists instead of our idea of what a pilgrim should be - we do get judgmental. Should these tourists - or in the OPs original example of hikers - be allowed to stay in albergues? Well - if they are meeting the requirements - then there is no reason why they can't stay in an albergue.

Now - do I wish there were perhaps a few more requirements for municipal albergues? I guess I kind of wish there WERE more requirements. Some of us are hiking for 500 or more miles and try to stay in municipal albergues so we can stick to an affordable budget and it is frustrating when we can't find a bed because some short distance hiker/pilgrim took the beds.

But if those short distance hikers/pilgrims have a credential and that is the only requirement - then of course they should be allowed to stay. I guess I would like to see consistent rules for who can stay in the municipals - have a credential, must be on foot (and sometimes bike), walking unsupported, and heck - even walking a minimum average distance per day (I am thinking about those walking very short distances taking beds). But in the absence of these types or rules - anyone with a credential can stay. Again - I am referring to MUNICIPAL albergues (and perhaps religious albergues) - but private albergues should be available to anyone who has a credential IMO.

(EDITED TO ADD) Of course - even if more rules were in place for municipal and religious albergues - there would of course need to be exceptions made for instances such as disabilities - which is why they probably opted NOT to have more rules in place in the first place lol. I would never want someone with disabilities to be excluded.
 
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Barbara

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Well, that rules out a lot of people. Including people with a disability. I think a lot of pilgrims over the centuries would also have been excluded. Not everyone on pilgrimage in the middle ages was devout, and most of them stayed at monasteries. Some were sent as a punishment, some were even paid to go in place of another person. And many of the pilgrim group Chaucer describes were frankly on holiday. Yes I know it is fiction but it would have been based on real life.
As for a private allergie surely that is up to the owner. Just as the owners of a municipal or religious place make their own rules, which hospitaleros then apply. The credential is quite a recent thing in the history of pilgrimage, the medieval pilgrim would have had at most a letter from his parish priest. But anyway, the OP applied the rules given to them by the people who created the refuge. IMHO that's all they could or should do.
 
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jeanineonthecamino

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Well, that rules out a lot of people. Including people with a disability. I think a lot of pilgrims over the centuries would also have been excluded.
Yes - I do concur that people with disabilities should not be excluded. There will always be that "but in this circumstance" exceptions.

But yes - if any hiker is following the rules of the albergue - then of course they should be able to stay.
 
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I thought it was the Credencial that entitled you to "cheaper" accommodation reserved for Pilgrims but from experience many walkers , cyclists and pack free peregrinos all view each other with suspicion at times hahaha

The judgement is real , hard to leave it at home if we are honest but trying to is key. Why we walk, how we go about it are often very personal questions and as a previous poster mentioned .. at times a way of letting us know their reasons, that they want to discuss.

From memory, the many types of accommodation have different rules, some won't let you book at all, others won't let you have a bed if you are on an assisted trek , no cyclists before 6pm etc etc
This entire notion makes me sad. I am so emotional about my pilgrimage. I am preparing myself spiritually and so looking forward to it. Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack. I won't feel as though I need to explain my physical limitations to anyone, but it still makes me sad. This pilgrimage is no less special or important to me because I am just carrying a day pack. I think I will just try to forget all the rules and judgment stuff. It is just not important. If I am not allowed to stay in a certain Albergue I'll move on to another. This is between me and God anyway.
 

trecile

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This entire notion makes me sad. I am so emotional about my pilgrimage. I am preparing myself spiritually and so looking forward to it. Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack. I won't feel as though I need to explain my physical limitations to anyone, but it still makes me sad. This pilgrimage is no less special or important to me because I am just carrying a day pack. I think I will just try to forget all the rules and judgment stuff. It is just not important. If I am not allowed to stay in a certain Albergue I'll move on to another. This is between me and God anyway.
Please, don't let this conversation affect you before you even start your Camino.
Before my first Camino I was worried that as a non Christian I wouldn't be accepted on the Camino after reading threads like this. In reality, once on the Camino I felt no prejudice, and it was a non issue.
 
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Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack. I won't feel as though I need to explain my physical limitations to anyone, but it still makes me sad. This pilgrimage is no less special or important to me because I am just carrying a day pack. I think I will just try to forget all the rules and judgment stuff. It is just not important. If I am not allowed to stay in a certain Albergue I'll move on to another. This is between me and God anyway.
Let'em, @SantaMonicaPeregrina - that's their bad karma.
Of course it's not less special.
Not everyone can walk the same way. I've walked alongside people who were carrying everything and alongside people who had a small daypack or who had to take taxis. Sometimes the folks with the daypacks are more pilgrims than the ones hauling all their things and walking every step of the way.

Edit:
Before my first Camino I was worried that as a non Christian I wouldn't be accepted on tthe Camino after reading threads like this. In reality, once on the Camino I felt no prejudice, and it was a non issue.
Amen. I am glad that before my first camino I never read about what it takes in some eyes to be a "real pilgrim." It would have given the wrong impression entirely.
 

Bristle Boy

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This entire notion makes me sad. I am so emotional about my pilgrimage. I am preparing myself spiritually and so looking forward to it. Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack. I won't feel as though I need to explain my physical limitations to anyone, but it still makes me sad. This pilgrimage is no less special or important to me because I am just carrying a day pack. I think I will just try to forget all the rules and judgment stuff. It is just not important. If I am not allowed to stay in a certain Albergue I'll move on to another. This is between me and God anyway.
This was my concern also. I was having difficulty adressing the narrative of this thread before I adressed the title.
I have ruminated, cogitated and done a few somersaults and hope these words come as a bit of comfort.
I would consider you more of a "pilgrim" and wish you well as I consider it is the purpose and intent that will define you beyond an albergues rules. Of this you have what is needed.
Your camino is going to be the greatest..I feel it.
 
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This entire notion makes me sad.
Like @VNwalking, before starting to walk towards Santiago, I had never heard about what I sometimes like to label as "Camino ideologies"; or "Camino philosophies" when I am in a more gentle mood 😉. I had read so little about the contemporary pilgrimage to Santiago that for the first third of my way I did not even know that credentials and Compostelas existed or albergues with rules for Camino pilgrims. Ignorance was true bliss!

However, whether you learn about this beforehand or when you are actually walking on the Camino to Santiago, these two things do exist: first, there is a hierarchy among Camino pilgrims. A French author, Jean-Christophe Rufin, described it brilliantly in his book about his own walk to Santiago. It makes me giggle each time I read it: The ones who have walked the farthest, the ones who walk it in one go and not in annual sections, the ones who walk it all the way without ever setting foot in a taxi, the ones who carry all their stuff all the time, maybe even slept under a porch now and then, they are at the top of this unofficial hierarchy. Instead of deploring judgement and feeling sad, accept it and smile about it: we are not all the same, we are different, with different priorities and preferences, but not lesser. Diversity is the keyword.

Second, there are indeed Camino albergues - not many - who have rules that reflect a certain nostalgia or who want to remain "traditionalists". Where I am not certain what the tradition is that they aim for: the one from 400 years ago or the one from 40 years ago. Then, foot pilgrims on the way to Santiago did not have the opportunity to make use of organised backpack transport as it is the case today; the pilgrimage demographic was different: 30-40 years ago, it was predominantly young people who were able to walk long daily distances and carry heavy backpacks with all their gear, while accommodation was sparse and austere.

Instead of being sad, rejoice: You will walk during a period of time where you can walk because you can have your backpack transported, and, thanks to today's excellent infrastructure, there are plenty of beds waiting for you to choose from. Make the best of it for yourself and buen Camino!
 
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Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack.
Definitely do not concern yourself what other people "think" as you walk. I doubt anyone would actually "say" anything negative to you about transporting your pack anyway and there will be a "legion" of others doing it like yourself.
Yes, do yourself that favor of forgetting about the judgements you think others may have. The very few rules you encounter speak for themselves and are what they are.
You definitely sound like a great definition of a pilgrim.🙂
 

WGroleau

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So, are we pilgrims when we want to walk part of a Camino or are we just hikers? Should we stay in albergues with the pilgrim spirit? I still feel like a pilgrim when I walk the shorter distances and that feeling is different than when I am a hiker at home in the mountains where I live.
There are many different reasons for walking the Camino. There are new-agers who want to experience the mystical energy they thought was in the path. There are the bereaved wanting solitude to process their grief. There are those that saw a movie and wanted to do it themselves. There are those that do 200 kilometers and next year will start where they left off. And more. Are they pilgrims if they go all the way to Santiago but don't believe St. James is there and don't care about a certificate? I probably did more than 800 kilometers, but some sections I haven't seen (and some I did many times in the region where I was hospitalero). But I did not need to stand in line for a fancy certificate to figure out how to protect in my pack—my memories and the sellos in my diary (no credencial) were sufficient for me. And for most of those kilometers, I towed my stuff in a bike trailer instead of on my back. Was I a "pilgrim"?
 

Rebekah Scott

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I am one of the people in charge at Albergue Elias Valina in Canfranc.
It was created with lots of public money, and from the start it was intended for pilgrims only. The European Commission, UNESCO, Junta, and local government learned there was a huge gap in pilgrim-dedicated accommodation on the Camino Aragonese on its journey from Somport Pass. Canfranc pueblo was perfectly positioned to break this 50-kilometer shlepp into more manageable walks. And Canfranc pueblo, in the shadow of its more showy neighbor to the north, really could use an economic boost. The pilgrim trail through there from France dates back a thousand years and more. A lot of people would like to see it revive. FICS stepped up to staff the place with volunteer hospitaleros, excited to be part of resurrecting a spectacular, historic trail.
Canfranc Pueblo is in a heavily touristed area of spectacular scenic beauty. The mountains are threaded with trails that attract hikers, campers, youth groups, and vacationers of all kinds. There are lots of hotels, B&Bs, youth albergues, etc. available in the area where non-pilgrims can stay.
Donativo albergues were created to keep the pilgrimage to Santiago within economic reach of anyone who wants to make the trip, even people with little means.
Beds given to people who are not pilgrims are then unavailable when pilgrims do arrive.
An albergue dedicated to "pilgrims only" is not intended to set volunteers up as judges of hikers' legitimacy, or give anyone a fit of conscience. It is meant to preserve clean beds and a warm welcome for hikers who are on a very specific journey to a specific place. It is not meant to provide for anyone who "feels like" a pilgrim, or "anyone who has a need," or anyone who "could be a pilgrim eventually." It is not a homeless shelter, a left-luggage service, or a free backpackers' hostel. It is for people with credentials, backpacks, and a clear goal in mind.

Asking pilgrims to bring a credential is not asking too much. Expecting pilgrims to care for their own belongings is not asking too much. Pilgrims are responsible for their own paperwork, ID, and backpacks. Again, that's not asking too much. (If you are injured or disabled somehow, and can prove it, it's OK to send your pack ahead. But if you just don't feel like carrying it, you should send it to a hotel, not a donativo albergue. If you can afford to ship your bag around, you can afford to pay for a room. And if you're shipping a suitcase around? Please NEVEr send it to a donativo.)

We expect a lot of our volunteers. We leave a lot to their judgement. (and we expect them to use good judgement! Judgement is NOT a dirty word!) A place like Canfranc is going to see a few blaggers and freeloaders, people on the hunt for "something for nothing." That's been an expectation from the start. The hospis will make mistakes sometimes, that's also an expectation.
We have clear rules. Not everybody likes them. But they exist for good reasons.
Albergues and hospis have a lot of responsibility, but pilgrims have to remember they are responsible for their own well-being, belongings, and behaviour.
The Camino/albergues/hospitaleros serve pilgrims, but they do not OWE pilgrims anything.
I stand behind my hospitaleros' decisions.
 
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I am one of the people in charge at Albergue Elias Valina in Canfranc.
It was created with lots of public money, and from the start it was intended for pilgrims only. The European Commission, UNESCO, Junta, and local government learned there was a huge gap in pilgrim-dedicated accommodation on the Camino Aragonese on its journey from Somport Pass. Canfranc pueblo was perfectly positioned to break this 50-kilometer shlepp into more manageable walks. And Canfranc pueblo, in the shadow of its more showy neighbor to the north, really could use an economic boost. The pilgrim trail through there from France dates back a thousand years and more. A lot of people would like to see it revive. FICS stepped up to staff the place with volunteer hospitaleros, excited to be part of resurrecting a spectacular, historic trail.
Canfranc Pueblo is in a heavily touristed area of spectacular scenic beauty. The mountains are threaded with trails that attract hikers, campers, youth groups, and vacationers of all kinds. There are lots of hotels, B&Bs, youth albergues, etc. available in the area where non-pilgrims can stay.
Donativo albergues were created to keep the pilgrimage to Santiago within economic reach of anyone who wants to make the trip, even people with little means.
Beds given to people who are not pilgrims are then unavailable when pilgrims do arrive.
An albergue dedicated to "pilgrims only" is not intended to set volunteers up as judges of hikers' legitimacy, or give anyone a fit of conscience. It is meant to preserve clean beds and a warm welcome for hikers who are on a very specific journey to a specific place. It is not meant to provide for anyone who "feels like" a pilgrim, or "anyone who has a need," or anyone who "could be a pilgrim eventually." It is not a homeless shelter, a left-luggage service, or a free backpackers' hostel. It is for people with credentials, backpacks, and a clear goal in mind.

Asking pilgrims to bring a credential is not asking too much. Expecting pilgrims to care for their own belongings is not asking too much. Pilgrims are responsible for their own paperwork, ID, and backpacks. Again, that's not asking too much. (If you are injured or disabled somehow, and can prove it, it's OK to send your pack ahead. But if you just don't feel like carrying it, you should send it to a hotel, not a donativo albergue. If you can afford to ship your bag around, you can afford to pay for a room. And if you're shipping a suitcase around? Please NEVEr send it to a donativo.)

We expect a lot of our volunteers. We leave a lot to their judgement. (and we expect them to use good judgement! Judgement is NOT a dirty word!) A place like Canfranc is going to see a few blaggers and freeloaders, people on the hunt for "something for nothing." That's been an expectation from the start. The hospis will make mistakes sometimes, that's also an expectation.
We have clear rules. Not everybody likes them. But they exist for good reasons.
Albergues and hospis have a lot of responsibility, but pilgrims have to remember they are responsible for their own well-being, belongings, and behaviour.
The Camino/albergues/hospitaleros serve pilgrims, but they do not OWE pilgrims anything.
I stand behind my hospitaleros' decisions.
I have just walked from Jaca to Puente la Reina. I had my backpack sent ahead by Correos on the days they worked. Based on this post I would have not been permitted at the donativo albergue at Arress. However I am over 72 and broke my leg at Jaca in 2018 after having walked from Lourdes. I walked to complete this camino. Rules are tricky!
 

rojasa

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No problem. I just did not want to derail the thread. I took photos of front and back covers. It is not a book I can say I am loving reading, but I am enjoying learning through the information in it. I am sure you would be able to borrow it from your library, but if you are interested in more learned books, it could be something you might want to buy. I got mine in Kenny's of Galway, online, free postage worldwide.
Good luck, and buen camino.
Pelerine, sorry, am using my phone and did not see that it was you who had asked for the information! Now you have it.
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I love Kenny’s! Thanks for bringing back memories of a wonderful time in Galway a few years ago…;)
 
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FourSeasons

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Our last night we had a couple of lads who "claimed" to be pilgrims, however, they were were just boys out hiking one of the popular GR routes and wanted a cheap bed. We didn't allow them to stay,
How did they “claim” it? And how did you come to the conclusion these boys were just out hiking?

There is no mention in your post about them “not” having a credential or a backpack for that matter. How did you know it was just a hike and not a pilgrimage? Did they express their intentions to you?
 

trecile

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How did they “claim” it? And how did you come to the conclusion these boys were just out hiking?

There is no mention in your post about them “not” having a credential or a backpack for that matter. How did you know it was just a hike and not a pilgrimage? Did they express their intentions to you?
It would have been helpful if this information had been included in the initial post in this thread.

@J Willhaus did elaborate more on the incident in another thread.

Well, we only had it happen a few times. Sometimes people stop and ask, but when they don't have a credential it is pretty easy to weed them out.

These lads were a little smarter and answered my questions with half truths when I opened the door.
"Peregrinos?"
"Si, and we can speak English if you want."
(Clue one: Two teen boys hanging around with some local girls, who know we are Americans.)
"We have all the pilgrim equipment as you see."

I let them in and said "May I see your credentials?"
"Well we have one from last year when we walked from Sarria to Santiago, but right now we only have our phone to show you where we have walked."

Phil and Paco come to the entry and begin questioning in both Spanish and English. (Phil is a retired cop and military officer.)

"What do you mean you don't have a credential with you? You told her you were pilgrims" (Paco in Spanish)

"Yes. We are on the GR 10 which is the same as the Camino de Santiago. The priest at Sarance let us stay. We did not need a credential. We have walked from Pau. (Showing us the phone GPS tracks). Can we buy a credential?"

"I know the priest there and it is not likely he would let you impersonate pilgrims. I am not in charge yet here, but this is only for real pilgrims and not hikers who walked once to Santiago. I would not let you stay."(Paco in Spanish)

"We do have credentials for sale if you are really Pilgrims. How do I know you are not tricking us?" (Me in English, I have a soft spot for stinky boys after having three sons.)

"Yes, we will buy a credential. We have a credit card." (In English)

"No, there are other albergues that accept credit cards, but not this one. There is another one here in town and two in Villanua as well as a Youth hostel." (Phil in English)

"I will run to the ATM and get money. It is only 5 minutes. The other albergue is full and told us to try here." Hmmn do they have a car? No ATM here in our village.

"No, you may not stay here. Lo siento." (Phil in English and Spanish)

With that, Phil showed them out and they left.

(Approximation of the conversation with a lot of hand waving and some begging and shouting, with the aroma of unwashed boy feet permeating the room.)
 

Bad Pilgrim

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Yes
It would have been helpful if this information had been included in the initial post in this thread.

@J Willhaus did elaborate more on the incident in another thread.

With this information it is obvious that Phil & Co did the right thing.

Who embarks on a Camino de Santiago without a credential?? Of course the occasional albergue would let them stay without a credential, just to be nice to them. But I never met a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago who didn't carry one. They will eventually run into problems (as they did in Canfranc) if they think they can walk the Camino de Santiago without a credential if they plan on staying in the albergues.

I am not judging if they are pilgrims in spirit or not. Just pointing out the practical consequences of not carrying a credential.
 
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FourSeasons

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It would have been helpful if this information had been included in the initial post in this thread.

@J Willhaus did elaborate more on the incident in another thread.
Yes, it would have been extremely helpful. Why leave out the meat and potatoes? Unless you’re trying to stir the pot.

Thank you for supplying the added commentary. It makes sense to me now why the decision was made.
 
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GOB

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Kudos to the OP in starting such thought provoking thread. In my later years I consciously try not to pass judgement on others (judge not lest ye be judged ) Rules however have to be followed. The discussion that has developed around what is a pilgrim and when is a pilgrim not a pilgrim I find fascinating. When I undertook my own camino in 2019 I certainly didn't consider myself a pilgrim in any religious sense I had no clear idea why I was walking but walk I did. Hindsight and the Pilgrims office have allowed me some insight into why I walked

How to Qualify For a Compostela​

To qualify for a Compostela, a pilgrim must show proof of fulfilling the following criteria:

The latter "in a attitude of search " give me a label to hand my hat on.
In an abstract way I suggest that intent and the decision to walk is the defining factor for a pilgrim not the first steps on the road. Some of those who want or intend to undertake a camino may never get the chance to set foot on the way because the vagaries of life put obstacles in their way; for me as long as the intent remains then they remain pilgrims.
 

Karl Oz

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Why is it wrong for a young person without much money to want to find somewhere cheap to stay? If there's plenty of room it makes no sense to turn someone away, as long as they follow the rules and respect other pilgrims.
Nothing at all. But, if they take the last beds, and then other pilgrims arrive and must be turned-away....

It's a vexed question.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
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Kudos to the OP in starting such thought provoking thread. In my later years I consciously try not to pass judgement on others (judge not lest ye be judged ) Rules however have to be followed. The discussion that has developed around what is a pilgrim and when is a pilgrim not a pilgrim I find fascinating. When I undertook my own camino in 2019 I certainly didn't consider myself a pilgrim in any religious sense I had no clear idea why I was walking but walk I did. Hindsight and the Pilgrims office have allowed me some insight into why I walked

How to Qualify For a Compostela​

To qualify for a Compostela, a pilgrim must show proof of fulfilling the following criteria:

The latter "in a attitude of search " give me a label to hand my hat on.
In an abstract way I suggest that intent and the decision to walk is the defining factor for a pilgrim not the first steps on the road. Some of those who want or intend to undertake a camino may never get the chance to set foot on the way because the vagaries of life put obstacles in their way; for me as long as the intent remains then they remain pilgrims.
I love that 'attitude of search'...
 
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The latter "in a attitude of search " give me a label to hand my hat on.
That's what it says in the English version of the website of the Pilgrim's Office. The current Spanish version of their website, and also some of the credentials in Spanish and French, are more explicit: Esta credencial es sólo para los peregrinos a pie, bicicleta, caballo o vela, que desean hacer la peregrinación con sentido cristiano, aunque sólo sea en actitud de búsqueda - This credential is only for pilgrims on foot, bicycle, horseback or sailboat, who wish to make the pilgrimage with a Christian perspective, even if only in an attitude of search.

This is often ignored or interpreted rather liberally. My understanding is that the attitude of search is meant as searching to find your way (back) to the Christian faith. Not search of your true self or of your purpose in life or of a change in your job or your relationship ...

I had my (French) credencial in use for weeks if not months before I even noticed this passage ... and of course I ignored it, and I guess that the majority of the holders of Camino credencials do so, too. But it makes me uncomfortable whenever I see it.
 
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Interesting reading the comments on this thread and in particular some comments about people who walk from a 100klm limit.

We kind of like to think that We are the experts and We represent typical Pilgrims but the recent statistics from Santiago de Compostela put into perspective that, really, we are the flees on the dogs back when it comes to Pilgrims.

Of the almost 5000 Compostelas issued in one day this past week, barely 100-120 would have walked from St. Jean and would fit a Pilgrim description that we would recognise.

I doubt many, if any of the 4880ish Pilgrims who didn't walk from St. Jean on that day are on this Forum representing their view of what it is to be a Pilgrim.
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
Perhaps I hold the minority view then.
The credencial supported walk from Sarria to SdC is only the minimum requirement to qualify you to receive the Compostella.
The distance you travel does not make you more or less a pilgrim. For me it is the purpose, intent and spirit in which you travel.
I would not consider that any extra miles I travel make me more of a pilgrim than those walking from Sarria.
There may be many who make the 100km walk do so with physical difficulties that i cannot imagine and this might represent a physical challenge to complete beyond most of us. If i choose to walk from St Jean it may be because I have the time, energy and finances to allow me to. For that I am extremely lucky and an option not open to everyone.
 
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Barbara

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte (twice)and Primitivo, Sureste, In France From home Tours and Vézelay, also Le Puy.
What has walking from St Jean pied de Port got that walking from Sarria hasn't got? Neither the one or the other is home for most of the people who walk to Santiago. If it is accepted that most pilgrims start in a train or car or aeroplane why does it matter where they start putting one foot in front of the other?
Let's have some logical thinking here, people. Either we all start walking or cycling outside our home, taking transport as required to cross oceans, or we accept that distance walked is completely irrelevant and stop feeling superior or inferior. How many people walk to Lourdes or Canterbury? Pilgrim is as pilgrim does.
If you are a pilgrim and want to stay in specifically pilgrim accommodation then you get a credential. If you want a Compostela then ditto. How hard is this to accept?
If you are going for a long walk then ask yourself your motives, and do as your conscience prompts you.
And before you ask, I am a somewhat dodgy Anglican. Yes, I have been to Santiago. No, I don't mind what your religion is, not that I would ask. All I want is for you to try to tolerate my way of thinking, and I will try to tolerate yours. Even if it involves healing with crystals. 😁
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
What has walking from St Jean pied de Port got that walking from Sarria hasn't got? Neither the one or the other is home for most of the people who walk to Santiago. If it is accepted that most pilgrims start in a train or car or aeroplane why does it matter where they start putting one foot in front of the other?
Let's have some logical thinking here, people. Either we all start walking or cycling outside our home, taking transport as required to cross oceans, or we accept that distance walked is completely irrelevant and stop feeling superior or inferior. How many people walk to Lourdes or Canterbury? Pilgrim is as pilgrim does.
If you are a pilgrim and want to stay in specifically pilgrim accommodation then you get a credential. If you want a Compostela then ditto. How hard is this to accept?
If you are going for a long walk then ask yourself your motives, and do as your conscience prompts you.
And before you ask, I am a somewhat dodgy Anglican. Yes, I have been to Santiago. No, I don't mind what your religion is, not that I would ask. All I want is for you to try to tolerate my way of thinking, and I will try to tolerate yours. Even if it involves healing with crystals. 😁
Thank you for that.. it said what I felt and more.
It did also take me back to "Pilgrim in spirit" which gave me a few days of contemplation.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
May to July, 2014
I have just finished my time as hospitalera at Canfranc's Elias Valina Albergue. This albergue is only for pilgrims with a credential who are walking unsupported. Our last night we had a couple of lads who "claimed" to be pilgrims, however, they were were just boys out hiking one of the popular GR routes and wanted a cheap bed. We didn't allow them to stay, but it did get me to thinking...

Of the pilgrims who stayed with us, only a handful expressed the intent to walk all the way to Santiago. Many were experienced pilgrims wanting to walk a less traveled route and planned to leave the Camino at or before it met with the CF at Puenta la Reina.

Many of us only walk a short segment each year without the intention to go to Santiago, myself included, although some pilgrims walk a short section and then return to finish eventually in Santiago. It does seem like after the first Compostella is earned that the Santiago goal is less important to many.

So, are we pilgrims when we want to walk part of a Camino or are we just hikers? Should we stay in albergues with the pilgrim spirit? I still feel like a pilgrim when I walk the shorter distances and that feeling is different than when I am a hiker at home in the mountains where I live.

I am sure this thread will generate opinions, so please let's be civil to each other. I just want to reflect on what makes us feel different between hiking and pilgrimage.
A difficult question. I’ve done two Caminos, and this year’s will be the longest, from Le Puy to Muxía I hope. At 70 I wonder if the knees and ankles will hold up. I’ve been trying to answer for myself what “pilgrimage” means. Best I can do is that it is a journey to a holy place that both symbolizes and participates in the soul’s journey toward God. Who can say what that is for any individual? I do know though that I very much want to walk the whole way—and I hope to have a lot of fun in the process! Nothing wrong with just going on a long, good walk.
 
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GOB

New Member
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Portuguese from Viana do Costello sept 2019
That's what it says in the English version of the website of the Pilgrim's Office. The current Spanish version of their website, and also some of the credentials in Spanish and French, are more explicit: Esta credencial es sólo para los peregrinos a pie, bicicleta, caballo o vela, que desean hacer la peregrinación con sentido cristiano, aunque sólo sea en actitud de búsqueda - This credential is only for pilgrims on foot, bicycle, horseback or sailboat, who wish to make the pilgrimage with a Christian perspective, even if only in an attitude of search.

This is often ignored or interpreted rather liberally. My understanding is that the attitude of search is meant as searching to find your way (back) to the Christian faith. Not search of your true self or of your purpose in life or of a change in your job or your relationship ...

I had my (French) credencial in use for weeks if not months before I even noticed this passage ... and of course I ignored it, and I guess that the majority of the holders of Camino credencials do so, too. But it makes me uncomfortable whenever I see it

Not being able to read Spanish or French without the help of google translate I missed that. Like you I would have ignored it without a moment's thought or concern. I am afraid I cannot agree with your interpretation of of " in an attitude of search " as it excludes the non believer / atheist or someone from another faith from obtaining a credential if applied rigorously.Christianity is not and elitist club all applicants are welcome.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Not being able to read Spanish or French without the help of google translate I missed that. Like you I would have ignored it without a moment's thought or concern. I am afraid I cannot agree with your interpretation of of " in an attitude of search " as it excludes the non believer / atheist or someone from another faith from obtaining a credential if applied rigorously. Christianity is not and elitist club all applicants are welcome.
It is just one of many inconsistencies of the whole thing and of these concepts.

Numerous Camino credentials issued by international Camino associations don't contain this condition.

"Christianity is not an elitist club all applicants are welcome." Hm ... I can't reply to that because it might be against one of the forum rules 😑☺️. BTW, I am actually a paying member of one of these clubs 😇.

But only so much: If you are an applicant - and not just someone who likes to visit churches and to attend pilgrim masses while on Camino - then you'd certainly qualify as being already in search of, no?

PS: The OP asks what makes us feel that we are pilgrims on the Camino to Santiago. We ought to distinguish this from a general definition of "pilgrim on the Camino to Santiago". Because such a general definition simply does not exist.
 
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Peter Fransiscus

Be a Rainbow in someone else's cloud.
Time of past OR future Camino
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
Of the almost 5000 Compostelas issued in one day this past week, barely 100-120 would have walked from St. Jean and would fit a Pilgrim description that we would recognise.
I have a question, why are you a "Pilgrim" if you start in SJPdP and not let's say Sarria.? Perhaps the one who starts in Sarria is more "Pilgrim" than the other one who starts far away. Everyone has their own reason for walking the distance they can or want.
 
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The OP asks what makes us feel that we are pilgrims on the Camino to Santiago. We ought to distinguish this from a general definition of "pilgrim on the Camino to Santiago". Because such a general definition simply does not exist.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, @J Willhaus, but the original question Janet asked was about personal, individual, experience - what is it that creates a sense of pilgrimage?
Not at all about others in general.

The thread got muddied by our reactions to the 'framing story' that for Janet started the enquiry, and by the tired argument about who is a "real pilgrim."

All that aside the question is a good one. Never mind other people, or a general definition. What in your experience most connects you to the spirit of pilgrimage? And what creates distance from that?
 

trecile

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All that aside the question is a good one. Never mind other people, or a general definition. What in your experience most connects you to the spirit of pilgrimage? And what creates distance from that?
Thanks for boiling it down to the essence of the question.
 
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J Willhaus

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2016, 2022
Please correct me if I'm wrong, @J Willhaus, but the original question Janet asked was about personal, individual, experience - what is it that creates a sense of pilgrimage?
Not at all about others in general.

The thread got muddied by our reactions to the 'framing story' that for Janet started the enquiry, and by the tired argument about who is a "real pilgrim."

All that aside the question is a good one. Never mind other people, or a general definition. What in your experience most connects you to the spirit of pilgrimage? And what creates distance from that?
The question is whether we feel we are pilgrims or just hikers when we take a Camino with no real intention to go to Santiago. Was I a pilgrim or a hiker when I walked part of the Aragones looking for information about the route that I could later pass on to pilgrims who stayed with us. I felt like a pilgrim at the time, but now later after the fact I am not sure my intentions were for pilgrimage. I did not intend to go on to Santiago although now I feel I need to go back and start again at Artieda and go on to Santiago. I wanted to know if any others question their own pilgrim intentions or status during or after the fact. If you are walking a few days on an interesting route do you consider yourself a pilgrim or is it just a great budget friendly activity that gets you outside and enjoying the exercise? It is more of a philosophical and emotional question than one about definitions or criteria.
 
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It is more of a philosophical and emotional question than one about definitions or criteria.
Yes. The answer is empirical, based in direct experience - rather than arbitrary external criteria.

Was I a pilgrim or a hiker when I walked part of the Aragones looking for information about the route that I could later pass on to pilgrims who stayed with us. I felt like a pilgrim at the time, but now later after the fact I am not sure my intentions were for pilgrimage.
Posing the question as a black or white duality doesn't leave any room for the immense middle ground: Pilgrim? Yes or no? Strictly speaking based on external criteria, maybe you weren't. But everything you were doing had to do with pilgrimage to Santiago, yours or that of others. And you felt like a pilgrim. So, yes, maybe you were. The confusion stems from the fact that what you are describing doesn't neatly fit in a simple yes/no box.

Externally, pilgrimage is directed travel towards an external destination with religious intent.
Internally, pilgrimage is something else altogether, to do with heart and intention. It is much more nuanced.
The first can be easily by identified in a yes/no way. The later? That's not so easy.
 

Bristle Boy

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2022
The question is whether we feel we are pilgrims or just hikers when we take a Camino with no real intention to go to Santiago. Was I a pilgrim or a hiker when I walked part of the Aragones looking for information about the route that I could later pass on to pilgrims who stayed with us. I felt like a pilgrim at the time, but now later after the fact I am not sure my intentions were for pilgrimage. I did not intend to go on to Santiago although now I feel I need to go back and start again at Artieda and go on to Santiago. I wanted to know if any others question their own pilgrim intentions or status during or after the fact. If you are walking a few days on an interesting route do you consider yourself a pilgrim or is it just a great budget friendly activity that gets you outside and enjoying the exercise? It is more of a philosophical and emotional question than one about definitions or criteria.
Thank you for your original post that has been thought provoking and interesting.
Here are my thoughts, for what they are worth, on what seems to need a binary answer to both questions.
From the outset I attempted to ignore the story you had attached as it had the potential to lead down the rabbit hole of discussion on definition but in a way helps to answer your own questions.
On balance I would consider you to have been a hiker and not pilgrim in the instance you have given. Although there are all the components in spirit there isn't the component of destination. The start and finish line is still the same. Also the objective and the walk is being undertaken in proxy and not for self.
In the same way that a decision that two lads were hikers and did not meet the criteria for being pilgrims (nor on Pilgrimage to Santiago) so the same evidence could be used in this case to determine if a pilgrim or on pilgrimage to the questions you pose.
It is a hard call and there are times I am finely balanced between able to give a yes/no answer either way and can fully understand that others may come to a different conclusion.
 
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MikeyC

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Now I feel that people are going to view me as "less" because I am not able to carry my pack.

I wouldn't give it a moment's thought. From this one instance on the CF there's a lot of people having their packs transported. Not sure I'd want mine to be on the bottom of the pile. (view of the Jacotrans boys hard at work. Everyone's pack is welcome!)
 

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MikeyC

Active Member
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CF - September 2016
CF - April May 2017
Shikoku - October 2017
Kumano Kodo - October 2017
CF - 2019
Was I a pilgrim or a hiker

If I head out to the South West Coastal Path here in Dorset it is a hike no matter that I am wearing the same clothes and pack as I use on the Camino.

In the Ordesa National Park in the Pyrenees, same clothes and pack. Was it hiking? Yes it was, albeit in Spain. (Similar blisters, better coffee)

So far, so clear.

Next, we are in Japan on the Shikoku 88 temples route and later on the Kumano Kodo. Same pack and almost the same clothes but with the addition of a white “henro” jacket, typical of Japanese pilgrims. So, I look the part, more or less.

We are visiting religious sites and we respect the cultural norms, local people offer us alms (ossetai) and we reciprocate from our stock of enamel Union Jack pins. We stay in zenkonyado (host families who make a nominal charge) and are invited without hesitation, complete strangers, into peoples’ homes.

But even then, and more so as I re-examine from afar in distance and time, it did not sit with me that I was a pilgrim. I looked like one, I was treated as one, I walked the same path as thousands before me but the spiritual or religious connection was not the same as on the Camino. There was a feeling rather than a belief, something superficial rather than deep seated. Ostensibly it was a pilgrimage but it didn’t feel like one, or at least not equivalent to being on the Camino. However, it most certainly was more than just a hike and I have a Dual Pilgrim Badge which proves it. Doesn’t it?
 
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If I head out to the South West Coastal Path here in Dorset it is a hike no matter that I am wearing the same clothes and pack as I use on the Camino.

In the Ordesa National Park in the Pyrenees, same clothes and pack. Was it hiking? Yes it was, albeit in Spain. (Similar blisters, better coffee)

So far, so clear.

Next, we are in Japan on the Shikoku 88 temples route and later on the Kumano Kodo. Same pack and almost the same clothes but with the addition of a white “henro” jacket, typical of Japanese pilgrims. So, I look the part, more or less.

We are visiting religious sites and we respect the cultural norms, local people offer us alms (ossetai) and we reciprocate from our stock of enamel Union Jack pins. We stay in zenkonyado (host families who make a nominal charge) and are invited without hesitation, complete strangers, into peoples’ homes.

But even then, and more so as I re-examine from afar in distance and time, it did not sit with me that I was a pilgrim. I looked like one, I was treated as one, I walked the same path as thousands before me but the spiritual or religious connection was not the same as on the Camino. There was a feeling rather than a belief, something superficial rather than deep seated. Ostensibly it was a pilgrimage but it didn’t feel like one, or at least not equivalent to being on the Camino. However, it most certainly was more than just a hike and I have a Dual Pilgrim Badge which proves it. Doesn’t it?
What I love in this thread is the constant return to the original question, and this post shows that it is being treated seriously, thank you.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
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This is a far more interesting thread than usual about the whole "real pilgrim"/"true pilgrim" stuff.

Now, I have basically given up completely on how to define "true pilgrim", though I have had to accept that I am one, but the others are more simply about how you are and how you become a pilgrim, perhaps even a "real" one.

Most of the contributors to the forum are "real pilgrims", but literally all of us, at least the walkers, have undertaken a journey with our feet and in our spirits towards that.

And like the Mediaeval Guilds, there are as three "levels" of fundamental Pilgrim initiation.

Novice ; Pilgrim ; Real Pilgrim.

And all of these are just Pilgrims, each as worthy and dignified as the other, all equal on these silly Camino Ways, but there is nonetheless a differing degree of understanding, portrayed often BTW in talk about the "three stages" of the Camino, one's first one anyway, Physical, Mental, Spiritual.

The Novice is of course the one learning about or just starting his Camino, in the Physical of not just blisters, travel woes, where to sleep, and so on, but more deeply why on Earth am I doing this long and crazy painful thing ?!?? Finding at least some answer to that one leads to the next degree.

Pilgrim. This is linked to the mental stage, because those in this state have understood enough of the answer to that question to realise that the reasons exist, and to think of them, and to start some more personally meaningful conversation about all of these matters, and not just about blisters and how far did you walk today. But still in the mode of a questioning and a self-reflection, and focused on the self, as that often is what's in need of the healing. It's the norm really, but it's quite unhelpful IMO to judge the genuine Novices, some of whom have not the faintest idea of what they're doing, some having no idea even that they are starting to become pilgrims, and for this just think back to the idiotic mistakes that I'm sure all of you have made in the very first days of your first Camino. Just me, took me 5 days to realise that yes, I did need a Credencial. And yes, from time to time before I found one, there was some "you're not really a pilgrim". Then hopefully, after a while, you can work this stuff out. Then :

Real Pilgrim. As far as I am concerned, this is any Pilgrim who has understood his Camino well enough that he can explain it to others. And that includes the ones who have accepted that they have no idea why, but somehow they needed it. Once you can tell others, usefully, about your own Camino, and its whys and wherefores, then you have become a Real Pilgrim.

And yes, there are Pilgrims in the Spirit, always Novices, some who may have not only not the slightest clue of what they are getting themselves into, perhaps even completely by "accident" (hrm ! hrm !!), but who might even be acting directly contrary to the purposes that belong to the various motivations on these Ways of Saint James.

Whereas the actual fake pilgrims are few in number, and those who are hiking some limited section of a Camino with zero intention towards the Sanctuary are not among them, but rather they are a type of Novice. And a Novice is a Pilgrim.

But don't feel bad about sending these young men away - - because the Novices need to learn, and to teach them that there are rules to follow fulfils that purpose. And that to not follow them has negative consequences.

As we all know, and they need learn.
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
.
Just found this thread..
For me, walking in the Pyrenees may be less of a religious experience than walking the camino, but it is equally spiritual. Also the high Pyrenees rarely sees the kind of freeloaders that can be found on the flat lands of the Camino Frances - it's bloomin' hard work! If you walk up there as a young person, you are very much likely to be made of the Right Stuff.
I've not been to Canfranc, but I have stayed higher up, at Candanchu. There, the feeling is very much that the mountains are a constant challenge and it is second nature to offer hospitality to any who are bold enough to explore them. I enjoyed staying (as a hiker) at the Refugio El Aguila and liked the fact that I might cross paths (literally, as I was going West to East) with pilgrims. That we would share the same shelter and hospitality before heading back out into a challenging environment.
The OP made the right decision within the framework they were operating. Yes. But I think that the albergue could consider giving its hospis more freedom to use their discretion, in a way that better reflects the situation of a mountain town. If mountain hikers of any age come and ask to stay the night, and you have a lot of spare room, then for me, it's more important a hospi has the discretion to offer them shelter than whether they have a credential or not. And that discretion flows from an assessment that the situation puts the needs, comforts and requirements of credentialled pilgrims first.
The mountains are not the lowlands. Different terms apply.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
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People do lie from time to time to get what they want. ;)
All I can say is that once on the camino, you can tell freeloaders when you see them.
I have occasionally been forced to treat some donativos as "free", but anyone seeing me and seeing anything other than a pilgrim needs their eyes or their brain checked.

If I need from time to time to sleep outside from consequence of such prejudice, then OK, not much harm done, but this "freeloaders" vocabulary is something from the touristification, not the Camino.

I can remember my first Caminos in 1993 and 1994 - - the unemployed, the students, the vacationers, the retired, the entrepreneurs, the millionnaires all slept in the same places, and sometimes that could be a hastily converted animal barn, and on a dirt floor if all the beds were already taken.

I am not complaining about the improvement of the infrastructures in the name of some ludicrous purist fantasy, and if those with better means can sleep in better conditions then that's most excellent, but I am most certainly incensed when some suggest that the Way of Saint James should be some sort of privilege for the wealthy enough alone.
 

Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
I have occasionally been forced to treat some donativos as "free", but anyone seeing me and seeing anything other than a pilgrim needs their eyes or their brain checked.

If I need from time to time to sleep outside from consequence of such prejudice, then OK, not much harm done, but this "freeloaders" vocabulary is something from the touristification, not the Camino.

I can remember my first Caminos in 1993 and 1994 - - the unemployed, the students, the vacationers, the retired, the entrepreneurs, the millionnaires all slept in the same places, and sometimes that could be a hastily converted animal barn, and on a dirt floor if all the beds were already taken.

I am not complaining about the improvement of the infrastructures in the name of some ludicrous purist fantasy, and if those with better means can sleep in better conditions then that's most excellent, but I am most certainly incensed when some suggest that the Way of Saint James should be some sort of privilege for the wealthy enough alone.
I think almost all the "freeloaders" are pilgrims!

The reason some albergues open their door to backpackers and other tourists is because they pay the bills!
 
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I think almost all the "freeloaders" are pilgrims!
I started this language and will own it. What I was mostly referring to are people with means - who could be staying elsewhere but want a free ride. Or people (often 'young adults') who may have fewer means but who are using infrastructure meant for pilgrims to have a mobile party.
The intention is to fleece. To get something for nothing, without being having any deeper connection or intention of pilgrimage.

@Jabapappa, yes, you sure ain't that! Buen camino, peregrino!
 

Albertagirl

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Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
On my first camino, I stayed at Granon for a night. I knew that I shouldn't be there and was, theoretically at least, not welcome. I had only walked from Santo Domingo and knew that Granon was supposed to be kept for pilgrims who had walked further. I wanted to see them, the "true pilgrims" who answered the call to pilgrimage although their worldly wealth was limited. And I did. They taught me so much about traditional pilgrimage: responding to the call when your financial resources are limited and sometimes you don;t know whether you aching feet will carry you to your next meal, or whether your tiredness will help you to sleep on a mat on the floor. I put what I thought appropriate in the donation box: but I received so much more than i gave. I knew that I was the "freeloader" there. They all seemed content to give me what I needed.
 

J Willhaus

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Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
On my first camino, I stayed at Granon for a night. I knew that I shouldn't be there and was, theoretically at least, not welcome. I had only walked from Santo Domingo and knew that Granon was supposed to be kept for pilgrims who had walked further. I wanted to see them, the "true pilgrims" who answered the call to pilgrimage although their worldly wealth was limited. And I did. They taught me so much about traditional pilgrimage: responding to the call when your financial resources are limited and sometimes you don;t know whether you aching feet will carry you to your next meal, or whether your tiredness will help you to sleep on a mat on the floor. I put what I thought appropriate in the donation box: but I received so much more than i gave. I knew that I was the "freeloader" there. They all seemed content to give me what I needed.
There fewer rules at Grañón. I know as I have volunteered there as well as at other donativos.
 
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FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016, 2019 ---- the next is a mystery.
I stayed at Granon for a night. I knew that I shouldn't be there and was, theoretically at least, not welcome. I had only walked from Santo Domingo and knew that Granon was supposed to be kept for pilgrims who had walked further.
We’re you headed to Santiago? If so, you are welcome. I don’t understand this statement and why you felt you were not welcome, theoretically.
 

J Willhaus

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2016, 2022
We’re you headed to Santiago? If so, you are welcome. I don’t understand this statement and why you felt you were not welcome, theoretically.
Gronze says it is for pilgrims who start before Santo Domingo, but pilgrims are supposed to sign themselves in so that is not really tracked in the moment. There is no stamp so pilgrims who want a stamp must get one elsewhere in town. The stamp is the mark left on your heart when you stay there.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
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And what about non Catholic people walking (or biking, or ...) a Camino?

A potentially dangerous response. I will be careful and inclusive.

This issue is that some contributors classify walkers as either large C catholic or as "non ...". Or even, worst of all, as "Protestant"

My take on Christianity is of two generic groups.

Small c catholic (principal marker being use of the Nicene Creed )
and Small e evangelical. Although there is some overlap, from my observations.

The small c catholic grouping, again from my observations over many years, has two main divisions.

I categorise them as the Eastern churches (mainly Orthodox) and Western churches (such as Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran). These are not rigid classifications - there is some overlap here also.

To suggest, here and elsewhere, that only one of these components knows how to do pilgrimage is somewhat upsetting.

All that was by way of saying the following:

For a forum that set out to be inclusive and considerate to all, inadvertently creating divisions is, for me, less than helpful.

Accordingly, I propose we stop using meaningless quasi religious labels and motivations.

Going forward I commend kia kaha, kia māia, kia mana'wa'nui tatou katoa (may we all take care, be strong, confident and patient).
 

FourSeasons

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2013, 2016, 2019 ---- the next is a mystery.
This is what has made me feel like a pilgrim. I felt like a pilgrim the moment I said yes to my first Camino. It took me a year and a half from the time I said yes until I stepped foot on the Camino in SJPdP. I had to figure out my dates then explain to my manager and supervisors my dream, my purpose. After they granted my leave I scrimped and saved. I worked overtime and couldn’t take any time off from work as I had to save all my PTO, 190 hours in order to get leave from work. Then an additional two weeks leave without pay. The only thing that kept my focus and determination was getting to Santiago de Compostela. As time got closer to my flight, I had everything in order except my backpack which as we know can be rather spendy. I talked to God and asked, how will I afford my last piece of equipment? His answer. Go to REI, sign up as a member, apply for their Visa card so you can get a statement credit on your first purchase and go during their membership sale. I picked out my backpack the Osprey Kestrel 38, went to the counter and purchase it for a whopping $8.36. Yes, I felt like a pilgrim long before I touched down because as we all have heard and some of us truly know, your Camino starts at your front door, in your heart and is sure to provide. My first Camino was so magical and filled with blessings. I could never duplicate it’s purity. I can never be a first time pilgrim again and for that I am truly sad. However, I will still answer the call because I am now forever a pilgrim. God Bless us all, everyone.
❤️🙏🏻😊
 
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Molly Cassidy

Travelling light
Time of past OR future Camino
Starting May 2023 from St Jean Pied de Port
Gronze says it is for pilgrims who start before Santo Domingo, but pilgrims are supposed to sign themselves in so that is not really tracked in the moment. There is no stamp so pilgrims who want a stamp must get one elsewhere in town. The stamp is the mark left on your heart when you stay there.
But how would anybody who doesn't read Gronze know that?
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Donativos only accept pilgrims. We constantly hear of those who stay at donativos and don't pay. These are not some "other" group. They are pilgrims.

I've never met a hiker or a tourist who wouldn't pay for their bed.
As an erstwhile volunteer hospitalero at a donotivo, I accepted walkers with a credential. I did not, and still don't, have the psychic powers to determine if they were pilgrims. Even if I did have such powers, it was not my remit to refuse hospitality on any other basis than not having a credential, and even then I might have exercised my judgement.

@Molly Cassidy, I suggest neither you nor anyone else here can know who are pilgrims in the sense used by the Cathedral of Santiago, and holding suspicions that someone might not be a pilgrim based on outward appearance or their behaviour is fraught with difficulty. It is a pointless and futile thing to even contemplate.
 
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