In the middle of winter everyone is freezing, walking around in overcoats and scarfs, while the shops are full of next summer's bikinis. Some of the news about pilgrims returning now to walk the camino feels similar to me - sitting here in Australia.
„Only 50,000 walked it last year“ refers to the year 2020 when, from March onwards, those who make up the overwhelming majority of walkers, namely Spaniards and other Europeans, were in lockdown for much of the year and could not travel or even walk anywhere.
Last year, namely in 2021, the total number was already an astonishing 180,000.
That was as many as in 2012, btw, and some people even think that 180,000-200,000 is more than enough.
I doubt it. Although travel restrictions are being eased a lot of people are still cautious about committing themselves to foreign travel when the situation can change at short notice. I think that 2022 will be much busier than 2021 but still a long way short of 340,000. I am planning to walk the Via de la Plata quite soon. The relatively low numbers just now almost persuaded me to try the Frances again - a route I have mostly avoided in recent years.
I walked my second Camino in 2002. I was amazed at the increase in numbers since my first walk and thought that it must be getting close to the upper limit then. There were 68,952 Compostelas issued that year. No one has ever offered me a job as a racing tipster or a political pollster