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Plans Cancelled!!!

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docdiamond

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
summer 2023
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
 
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There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night.
Well, you do what is best for you. But - if the fear of bed bugs, bland food, and finding a bed is too much for you - you might not ever go. Do bed bugs exist? Of course they do - but most people don't encounter them. Bland food? Well - you don't have to stick to the pilgrim's menu - you are welcome to eat at any bar or restaurant and chose from any menu item you wish - but overall - the food isn't suddenly going to get "less bland" over time. Personally - I wouldn't consider it to be too bland myself in the first place. And that bed race? It is over-exaggerated. It is rare to not be able to find a bed - there is always a bed a walk a little further down the road or taxi ride away if you want it. Even in the busy months. And there are always ways to get away from the crowds - whether it be to stay "off stage" or take another route or travel in a less busy month. And you could always "pre-book" if you are fearful of not finding a bed. And avoid departing on peak travel weekends such as a holiday weekend.

But sure - we can thank you for being one less pilgrim on the trail. Good luck to you.
 
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Thank you for choosing a different "hike".

The Camino de Santiago is mainly a pilgrimage path, not a scenic hike nor culinary trip. Many people do not choose to walk it by ticking boxes in a rational manner.

Many feel called to walk it and enjoy it even with crowds, bed bugs, sleeping on park benches and horrible food. Thieves, also, robbers everywhere that will steal your dirty clothes and stinky backpack while you sleep, and packs of wild dogs waiting for you in the bushes along the trail, that will try to maul you when you pass by. Almost forgot to add that!

Or maybe it's not as bad as the internet says? But if you do not try, you will never find out...

Perfect solution to keep the trail empty - spread horrible stories about the Camino online...!

On a more serious note - if you're an avid hiker and looking for a more solitary walk with beautiful landscape and great food, that is a pilgrimage path at the same time, maybe choose the GR65/via podiensis in France (or you could even start in Cluny and stop in Conques). The via podiensis from Le Puy is more of a classic hiking path and has great food to offer (book your beds in advance and use demi pension for the full package of "scenic walk with great food and always a bed waiting for you"). You might even meet a few pilgrims among the french weekend hikers on their culinary trip.

Everybody will be speaking french, though.
 
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I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
If you want better food, eat the lunchtime Menu del Dia with the locals, not the pilgrim menu.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
a more solitary walk with beautiful landscape and great food, that is a pilgrimage path at the same time, maybe choose the GR65/via podiensis in France (or you could even start in Cluny and stop in Conques). The via podiensis from Le Puy is more of a classic hiking path and has great food to offer (book your beds in advance and use demi pension for the full package of "scenic walk with great food and always a bed waiting for you"). You might even meet a few pilgrims among the french weekend hikers on their culinary trip.

Everybody will be speaking french, though.

Not everyone! While still predominantly French people walking the Le Puy Way (whether pilgrims or hikers enjoying their long weekends and holidays - and why wouldn't they, it's a glorious path), in recent years there are more nationalities walking.

We are living in Lectoure on the Le Puy Way (I'm not French, though my husband is). In the last 10 days or so we are starting to see more pilgrims in the town - as they make their way from Le Puy. I'm always accosting pilgrims when I see them - and love to chat and exchange stories. Just in the last week I've had conversations with pilgrims from France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand and Canada. 😎
 
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Not everyone! While still predominantly French people walking the Le Puy Way (whether pilgrims or hikers enjoying their long weekends and holidays - and why wouldn't they, it's a glorious path), in recent years there are more nationalities walking.

We are living in Lectoure on the Le Puy Way (I'm not French, though my husband is). In the last 10 days or so we are starting to see more pilgrims in the town - as they make their way from Le Puy. I'm always accosting pilgrims when I see them - and love to chat and exchange stories. Just in the last week I've had conversations with pilgrims from France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand and Canada.

Of course you're right. It was a little exaggerated, a hyperbole!

I've walked from Le Puy twice and always met different nationalities. It's a wonderful route with nice locals, and friendly hikers as well as pilgrims.

But I think it is important to know that the majority of walkers there are french or at least french speaking, and that it will be the main language there. I've heard some complaints from people who felt excluded when everyone around the dinner table was speaking french and they didn't understand anything. I think that's rare, though, I've always found that people tried to include everyone, trying to communicate with hands and feet if necessary!

You're lucky to live in that area!
 
I've heard some complaints from people who felt excluded when everyone around the dinner table was speaking french and they didn't understand anything. I think that's rare, though, I've always found that people tried to include everyone, trying to communicate with hands and feet if necessary!
Completely agree. 😍. When I walked the Le Puy Way in 2014 I spoke v little French and I wasn’t married to a Frenchman. I had a few basic words and I think my efforts were appreciated - same in many countries where you don’t speak the language. Around the dinner table i understood very little. But I always felt very welcome and was happy to listen. 😎
 
“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” -James Michener

If that doesn't apply, just go and forget about the scare stories and stick to your plans. The reason so many go and go again will become evident. Don't be put off if it's what you want to do.
 
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Hike?
Is that what you are looking for?
Why travel?
My guess is you have zillions of options in your own country.
I have been reading or skimming a few threads recently.
Dismay is a frequent sensation.
Long before my awareness of this forum, on the new-fangled thing known as the internet, I came across what I needed in the way of guiding stars to the Camino.
Since then, oh my goodness, I learned some more. (Pat Ingoldsby, Irish poet)
The Camino to Santiago is a complex notion.
It is not a hike.
Enjoy whichever hike you choose meantime, till the time is right for you.
 
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You will hear and read a lot of things about the Camino Frances because a lot of people walk the route. Each person, depending on who they are, will experience it differently and highlight what most impressed them, good or bad or both. Yes, of course there are very ordinary things along the way, sometimes hard things and bad things and mishaps too. It’s not always a picnic, that’s true. And yet, I can tell you so many things that are good, even great, about it. In the 33 days it will take you to walk it, you will feel like you’ve lived and experienced 33 months of a different life, different to what you would find anywhere else. But you’ll never know unfortunately because you never opened the book to see, for yourself, what is inside. That’s a pity. I’ve yet to meet someone who has done it and not spoken of it in glowing terms.
 
I’ll thank you.

Thank you for realizing that this is a pilgrimage route complete with unknowns and challenges and not a five-star tourist jaunt with celebrity chefs and feather beds. Thank you for expressing your displeasure here before you went rather than on the trail in a daily litany of complaining. Thank you for making a little more room for some pilgrim who doesn’t mind these challenges, but whose bed you would have taken.

In short, thank you for leaving this pilgrimage to pilgrims.
 
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And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!!
Sorry, I didn’t know this was a once in a lifetime only type deal.

I find this comment quite offensive. If it’s not for you then don’t do it but please don’t vent on others who go, it’s a pilgrimage/hike to be shared by all. That’s one of the things that drew me to these Caminos in the first place.
 
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jammed with people
There are many, many routes, variations and Spain has four seasons!
you can't really enjoy it.
It very much depends on what we enjoy. That can change from person to person or day to day, hour to hour for individuals.
I found the intangible notion of sharing a route with so, so many people heading to the same destination, following in the path of people going back centuries to be very inspiring.

maybe not being able to find a bed every night
I'm probably a bit odd, but a journey like a Camino is about doing something different. In a different way.
By doing this I can kickstart my head into looking at things in a different way.
By seeing things in a different way I can aspire to be different.

The idea of being without a bed to sleep in is such an alien concept to so many of us (but very common for far too many) it begs the question of just why would we risk it?*
I'd switch that round and ask what would I learn about myself and the world if I exposed myself to that risk - in an incredibly safe, controlled and hospitable environment?

In other words, The Camino can be exceptional; it should be treated exceptionally.
bland food
As an incredibly fussy eater, food has always been a source of anxiety on foreign travels.
But as things turn out, after a long, hard day (on a bike in my case) I have learned the great pleasure that simple food can bring. A glass of water can beat a vintage wine on most days.
At the risk of repeating myself, exposing myself to something that I wouldn't normally choose to has a way of broadening my mind.

I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years.
So.....
Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now?
You've been thinking about this for years. Only you know your reasons. Have they suddenly disappeared?
Every point you have raised as an issue is easily solved.
A Camino other than the Frances. A less popular season. Buy (and carry) your own, tasty food. Avoid Albergues and eat later, with the locals. Spray for bugs.
I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world
Ah. But the Camino can be so much more than a hike!

It's like walking into the only restaurant in town, failing to notice that it's got three Michellin Stars and asking for a burger and chips. I'm sure it'll be a good burger, but by not looking around, seeing what's on the menu, there's a whole world of experience that's not just lost, it's not even noticed!

There are folk here who have walked into that restaurant ready to get their tastebuds blown away, others who slowly, very slowly dipped into the tasting menu and others who just got the burger. Well done, of course.
Some have loved the restaurant experience so much they have come back again and again. Others have thought that once was enough and have sought out similar restaurants in other places. Others just didn't like the place. At all. And a few complained about the outrageous prices for a hamburger!

Honestly, it's surprising to me that someone with experience of famous hikes all over the world is anxious about food, bugs and a bed. My anxieties in foreign parts veer towards diseases, wild animals, communication and freak weather in isolated locations.

The fact is that "the" Camino can be so much more than a hike.
But if it's a hike you're after Spain has got lots of them!

*For anyone genuinely worried about a bed for the night there are usually taxis or buses and almost an entire population who are used to foreigners wandering their country. It's Spain, not some extreme, inhospitable and barren lunar landscape. Perhaps sleeping under the porch of a full albergue sounds horrifying sitting at home but it's eminently survivable. It's a great experience, a great story to tell and it just might change your perspectives on some things.
 
It's no surprise that most folks on this forum adamantly defended the Camino Frances, unable to realize that what I said about the Camino is (based on what I have read) totally true. I am a Christian, and hoped that the Camino would be a true pilgrimage that would enable me to meet a lot of interesting people and have a different experience. But the Camino appears to be so over hyped and overcrowded that there are better alternatives for me. While I am sure that the path and the experience are wonderful, it sounds like it is severely overcrowded and not for everyone. Some have said that as many as 500,000 people will walk the Camino this year. This may or may not be an exaggeration, I don't know, but it IS overcrowded. I would encourage you to take the blinders off and try something new. There are so many great alternatives with great terrain, great views and great food! And thanks so much for the constructive responses and suggestions, which I will carefully consider. As for the other folks who were offended by my post, please understand that just because I criticized the Camino doesn't mean I am a bad person.
 
Again, I respectfully ask those not currently walking to refrain from commenting. The situation at the moment is different from that in
which you’ve walked in the past, as have I. Tour groups of thirty or forty is close succession are filling the beds in small villages causing concern for pilgrims and proprietors alike. Higher numbers in general are being experienced on top. Staff are exhausted, sad to be turning pilgrims away. This is a serious concern for discussion, not an excuse for pious opinions…
 
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It's no surprise that most folks on this forum adamantly defended the Camino Frances, unable to realize that what I said about the Camino is (based on what I have read) totally true. I am a Christian, and hoped that the Camino would be a true pilgrimage that would enable me to meet a lot of interesting people and have a different experience. But the Camino appears to be so over hyped and overcrowded that there are better alternatives for me. While I am sure that the path and the experience are wonderful, it sounds like it is severely overcrowded and not for everyone. Some have said that as many as 500,000 people will walk the Camino this year. This may or may not be an exaggeration, I don't know, but it IS overcrowded. I would encourage you to take the blinders off and try something new. There are so many great alternatives with great terrain, great views and great food! And thanks so much for the constructive responses and suggestions, which I will carefully consider. As for the other folks who were offended by my post, please understand that just because I criticized the Camino doesn't mean I am a bad person.
A true pilgrimage.
It is not waiting there, already designed.
It will become your pilgrimage if that is how you approach it.
I sincerely hope that you can do that with the mindset of a pilgrim, if that is your heart's desire.
 
t's no surprise that most folks on this forum adamantly defended the Camino Frances, unable to realize that what I said about the Camino is (based on what I have read) totally true.
I think your opinion on the Camino would carry more weight if it was based on actual personal experience rather than second-hand reports. I walked my first Camino Frances at a time when there were less than 5,000 Compostelas issued in the entire year. A number easily passed on just 3 days this month. I walked my most recent Camino Frances this January in a year when it appears likely there will be over 500,000 Compostelas handed out. A 100x increase in numbers. Despite that explosive growth my January walk was for the most part beautifully quiet and solitary - little different in essence from my first Camino in 1990. The current extremely high numbers are largely a predictable seasonal problem for the Camino Frances. There are still alternative routes and quieter seasons for those who prefer a more solitary journey.
 
After my first Camino in 2002 I said, "Never again!" Stony, dusty paths day after day, endless dilapidated villages with mangy dogs and skinny chickens skulking around the alleys; grumpy home owners selling past the sell-by-date products from their back doors; slept on concrete floors, in an attic, in a barn or cramped and crowded dormitories with rickety 3 tiered bunks often locked from the outside so pilgrims couldn't escape before 7am; inadequate ablutions with doorless showers and no hot water; locked churches covered in stork and pigeon poop: pilgrim menus serving those skinny chickens, or macaroni and flan for desert, ditto, ditto, ditto in the next 5 places. Sinus inducing fluff from trees outside Burgos and pilgrims housed in drafty cabins in the woods; at San Bol the rasta hippies smoked grass all night: in Castrojeriz slept on concrete slabs in a disused meat house: at Manjarin slept in the attic of a ramshackle structure with a goose and a dog on guard downstairs. I got blisters, bursitis, sunburn, shinsplints, tendinitis and vasculitis. Do it again? Why??? Why would anyone do it again? It's a bit like childbirth! You soon forget the negatives and only remember the , the zen zones, the euphoria and absolute joy of arriving in the city of the Saint. So you walk it again, and again, again.
 
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I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
Since you’ve hiked lots of famous hikes, why don’t you consider the El Norte or Via de la Plata? They each end in Santiago. You should be able for it. I’ve just finished 3 weeks on the Via.. lots of fab food along the way and no bed bugs Or you can read other stories and allow them to provide you with excuses not to walk. I think you would enjoy any of the less crowded alternatives.
 

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In my experience, the best pilgrims are those who WANT to be there. They understand the challenges. They CHOOSE to undertake this pilgrimage.

In past generations, many pilgrims perished just in the effort to reach Santiago. Over the millennia thousands of nameless pilgrims who died on the journey, are buried all along the main pilgrim routes. Contemporary pilgrims have it relatively “cushy” in comparison.

If you - anyone - cannot accept the occasional challenges and frustrations that come with being a pilgrim, then perhaps the Camino De Santiago - or at least the Camino Frances is not for you. There are many other hiking outlets to choose from.

Besides, and IMHO, if the most popular Camino routes were any more “user friendly,” they would be theme parks. Let’s not even think about going there.

The unofficial, “official” Rule One of the Camino De Santiago is that: “No one has the standing or authority to tell anyone else how to accomplish their Camino.” In the end, it is between each person and their conscience, God, or whatever guides their thoughts and actions.

Hope this helps the dialog.

Tom
 
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Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
It's no surprise that most folks on this forum adamantly defended the Camino Frances, unable to realize that what I said about the Camino is (based on what I have read) totally true. I am a Christian, and hoped that the Camino would be a true pilgrimage that would enable me to meet a lot of interesting people and have a different experience. But the Camino appears to be so over hyped and overcrowded that there are better alternatives for me. While I am sure that the path and the experience are wonderful, it sounds like it is severely overcrowded and not for everyone. Some have said that as many as 500,000 people will walk the Camino this year. This may or may not be an exaggeration, I don't know, but it IS overcrowded. I would encourage you to take the blinders off and try something new. There are so many great alternatives with great terrain, great views and great food! And thanks so much for the constructive responses and suggestions, which I will carefully consider. As for the other folks who were offended by my post, please understand that just because I criticized the Camino doesn't mean I am a bad person.
Godspeed wherever you choose to hike. Every pilgrimage on my list of those I'm interested in is overbooked this year (one (requiring guides and advance booking) was sold out for the 2022 season before March 15th). The COVID enforced travel restrictions are now fully off and people are itching to go somewhere and do something. This itch to travel may wane, but don't count on it, as more than 2 million USA workers and countless others from various EU countries took early retirement during COVID and some of them will show up on pilgrimage routes that they have long planned on doing (not so different than yourself).
Being a fortunate fellow who has hiked a few of the Camino routes in earlier years, I've foregone a return to the CF as a way of allowing others some space and getting myself the time alone that has enriched my various caminos. I'm doing a different route than I had planned this year, and looking forward to it.
Gracias & Buen Camino
 
Sorry, I didn’t know this was a once in a lifetime only type deal.

I find this comment quite offensive. If it’s not for you then don’t do it but please don’t vent on others who go, it’s a pilgrimage/hike to be shared by all. That’s one of the things that drew me to these Caminos in the first place.
You are offended because someone voiced an opinion other than your own? Just curious.
 
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I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
Hi Doc,
We had the same fears just before starting from St Jean on April 20th. Just walked into Najera this afternoon. Nothing but bliss. Don't trust everything you read, and don't let yourself be scared off. We saw less than 30 pilgrims in 20km. It ain't bad out here.
 
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
I started in SJPD last October 19 (2022). There was very little crowd at all. No complications getting beds. I finished in Santiago on November 24 and only 166 pilgrims picked up compostellas that day. Consider going a little later in the year.
Orrison closed the week before I started but Borda was open.
 
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I am new to this forum and am dismayed that it mirrors most other social media which I avoid. If one decides to do something or not do something, why share their feelings with complete strangers. Unless you are just looking for attention, why not just make other plans and avoid the drama.
I signed up because I am walking the CF in September. I understand it may be crowded and that I cannot control everything while I walk 500 miles. But I will meet new people, some who I might not like, lose sleep because people snore and have an occasional bad meal.
I'm excited for this opportunity to explore Spain at a walking pace. I've lived and traveled in Spain and love the people, the cultures, food and history. If I need to, I will "embrace the suck".
Buen Camino y'all
 
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Again, I respectfully ask those not currently walking to refrain from commenting. The situation at the moment is different from that in
which you’ve walked in the past, as have I. Tour groups of thirty or forty is close succession are filling the beds in small villages causing concern for pilgrims and proprietors alike. Higher numbers in general are being experienced on top. Staff are exhausted, sad to be turning pilgrims away. This is a serious concern for discussion, not an excuse for pious opinions…
This forum is for people to comment, and sometimes disagree. This is discussion, not pious opinion. And you basically just acknowledged that what I said is true.
 
@docdiamond, have you considered an alternative camino than the Francés? It's obviously very crowded right now. But there are many ways to Santiago.
Yes, I am considering the alternatives. But I am guessing that they are all busier than usual this year. I still want to experience the Camino, but want it to be a positive experience. Any suggestions are most welcome!
 
Since you’ve hiked lots of famous hikes, why don’t you consider the El Norte or Via de la Plata? They each end in Santiago. You should be able for it. I’ve just finished 3 weeks on the Via.. lots of fab food along the way and no bed bugs Or you can read other stories and allow them to provide you with excuses not to walk. I think you would enjoy any of the less crowded alternatives.
Thanks so much for the suggestions. I will do more research. I really want to do the Camino.
 
A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
I am new to this forum and am dismayed that it mirrors most other social media which I avoid. If one decides to do something or not do something, why share their feelings with complete strangers. Unless you are just looking for attention, why not just make other plans and avoid the drama.
I signed up because I am walking the CF in September. I understand it may be crowded and that I cannot control everything while I walk 500 miles. But I will meet new people, some who I might not like, lose sleep because people snore and have an occasional bad meal.
I'm excited for this opportunity to explore Spain at a walking pace. I've lived and traveled in Spain and love the people, the cultures, food and history. If I need to, I will "embrace the suck".
Buen Camino y'all
That's the purpose of a forum, to share feelings. Each to his own I guess. Enjoy your walk!
 
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
To each his own. Don't walk I doubt it will have an effect on anyone other than yourself. But I do believe your reasoning for the most part is flawed. Bed Bugs are a problem in found in beds from Donativos to the Four Seasons Hotels. There are many, many articles relaying this fact and preventative steps have been taken from Donativos to the Four Seasons to alleviate this problem.
Bland food? Of course there is lots of bland food on the camino. There is lots of bland food in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, Dakar, you name the place and if will not be tough to find mediocre cooking. There is also unreal food at all price points in all cities and towns around the world. I have had bad meals that I have cooked and payed for. I have had far more memorable meals in some very inexpensive restaurants along many Caminos in 3 countries. I have also walked at times with wonderful chefs who prepared dinners in albergues for us. In 2019 I walked the last 10 days in December and there were not many albergues open and I joined a group of young pilgrims every night for dinner in the albergue. Among the young people were 2 chefs from Italy and 1 from Spain. We all had responsibilities from shopping to cleaning up to helping with food prep. We had meals every night that would have been expensive in a restaurant. They were delicious and I never paid more than 3 or 4 Euros. Great food and great people every single night. On my first camino something similar happened when a young married couple cooked paella and other Spanish dishes every night for a large group of us. Again food cost was next to nothing and food quality was through the roof. The husband's family owned a famous paella restaurant in Barcelona that went back 4 or 5 generations. They. were amazingly creative and used whatever the albergue had to prepare dishes for at least a week. Food was great in both instances but the people and the laughs and stories will last a lifetime. I have also eaten countless small little meals with other pilgrims that had a wide variety of culinary delights from great to not so good but the people and the conversation and love was of Michelin 3 star quality. As others have said finding a bed is easily fixable if you put a little effort or walk at a far less crowded time of year.
I am sorry you do not want to walk and experience what may be a life changing event. I think for so many of us the camino has a calling and such a strong pull it overwhelms the senses. There are wants and needs. The camino give us what we need not what we want. Maybe you never really needed to walk, you just wanted to walk. So hopefully you have made the correct decision for yourself. Don't be hostile or defensive it is what you want and we respect that.
P.S. You know what after reflecting for a moment on what I wrote I should add most definitely that the only purpose for your post was to create a strong reaction. There is absolutely nothing constructive in what you wrote. It comes from a place of speculation and innuendo based on how you wanted to find a negative construct to justify your post and your decision not to walk. You have no experiential knowledge to base anything that you wrote. It was totally written for reactive purposes. You do not have to worry about being martyred and burned at the stake for heresy un worry about excommunication. No one knows who you are so no ones lives will be effected in the least. Why am I even posting? Because other potential or excited new pilgrims but put a grain of salt into what you have written. I want them to know they have a great adventure ahead and should not be put off in the least by someone who speaks in absolutes without having any truth to back up their assumptions. Buen Camino buen vida
 
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Train for your next pilgrimage on Santa Catalina Island, March 17-20
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
I walked the Camino last October, ending in the first week of November. I had a great time, the crowds were not bad, but some places were closed after Nov 1. Go for it, Buen Camino
 
Yes, I am considering the alternatives. But I am guessing that they are all busier than usual this year. I still want to experience the Camino, but want it to be a positive experience. Any suggestions are most welcome!
Change your starting date from "summer 2023" to a date between the middle of September and the beginning of October. Stop reading Camino related discussions on social media from around the beginning of September onwards at the latest. Choose the Camino Francés from SJPP - it was, is and will always be THE Camino de Santiago. Buen Camino! :cool:
 
To each his own. Don't walk I doubt it will have an effect on anyone other than yourself. But I do believe your reasoning for the most part is flawed. Bed Bugs are a problem in found in beds from Donativos to the Four Seasons Hotels. There are many, many articles relaying this fact and preventative steps have been taken from Donativos to the Four Seasons to alleviate this problem.
Bland food? Of course there is lots of bland food on the camino. There is lots of bland food in New York, Paris, Tokyo, Madrid, Dakar, you name the place and if will not be tough to find mediocre cooking. There is also unreal food at all price points in all cities and towns around the world. I have had bad meals that I have cooked and payed for. I have had far more memorable meals in some very inexpensive restaurants along many Caminos in 3 countries. I have also walked at times with wonderful chefs who prepared dinners in albergues for us. In 2019 I walked the last 10 days in December and there were not many albergues open and I joined a group of young pilgrims every night for dinner in the albergue. Among the young people were 2 chefs from Italy and 1 from Spain. We all had responsibilities from shopping to cleaning up to helping with food prep. We had meals every night that would have been expensive in a restaurant. They were delicious and I never paid more than 3 or 4 Euros. Great food and great people every single night. On my first camino something similar happened when a young married couple cooked paella and other Spanish dishes every night for a large group of us. Again food cost was next to nothing and food quality was through the roof. The husband's family owned a famous paella restaurant in Barcelona that went back 4 or 5 generations. They. were amazingly creative and used whatever the albergue had to prepare dishes for at least a week. Food was great in both instances but the people and the laughs and stories will last a lifetime. I have also eaten countless small little meals with other pilgrims that had a wide variety of culinary delights from great to not so good but the people and the conversation and love was of Michelin 3 star quality. As others have said finding a bed is easily fixable if you put a little effort or walk at a far less crowded time of year.
I am sorry you do not want to walk and experience what may be a life changing event. I think for so many of us the camino has a calling and such a strong pull it overwhelms the senses. There are wants and needs. The camino give us what we need not what we want. Maybe you never really needed to walk, you just wanted to walk. So hopefully you have made the correct decision for yourself. Don't be hostile or defensive it is what you want and we respect that.
Sorry, I didn't mean to be hostile. I did rant a bit, but I am more disappointed than you will ever know. I realize that you have had great experiences on the Camino. But it seems like things have changed over the past few years, maybe due to COVID I don't know. Enjoy the Camino, but you really should consider some alternatives. Whatever you choose, I wish you well.
 
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Change your starting date from "summer 2023" to a date between the middle of September and the beginning of October. Stop reading Camino related discussions on social media from around the beginning of September onwards at the latest. Choose the Camino Francés from SJPP - it was, is and will always be THE Camino de Santiago. Buen Camino! :cool:
Sounds like good advice. Thanks!
 
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
enjoy
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I walked CF last year during the height of the madness (Sep-Oct) and had a splendid time. I leave again for another route in about a week. My suggestion is to book your first couple nights as you get adjusted and over jet lag, then let your spirit be your guide. Experienced pilgrims and hostelers will give you plenty of guidance on where to lodge and eat.
 
what I said about the Camino is (based on what I have read) totally true.
How can you know this if you haven't set foot on the path?
One person's overcrowded is another person's sparse.

Many, many posters on here encourage folks considering a Camino to drop their expectations and just to be. To accept, without judgement, all that happens for good or ill. For many, this is the key, life-changing aspect to a Camino. Something that can be brought home and into daily life.

A well resourced, well travelled route, like the Frances, is the perfect location to test out and embrace such an attitude for the simple reason that it is so secure. Not necessarily comfortable. But secure.

hoped that the Camino would be a true pilgrimage that would enable me to meet a lot of interesting people and have a different experience
Ah! Lots of people. Not too many people. A different experience, but not too much of a different experience.

It all seems a bit confused. Assuming your genuine intentions in starting the thread are you really sure your reasons for cancellation are true?
I have often found myself dilly dallying about starting something and the excuses I used for myself didn't actually hold up to a bit of scrutiny.
I am a Christian
I'm bemused that someone who hasn't set foot on a Camino thinks it's acceptable to come onto a Camino forum and tell folks what's wrong with it. Christian isn't the adjective I'd apply.
 
Sorry, I didn't mean to be hostile. I did rant a bit, but I am more disappointed than you will ever know. I realize that you have had great experiences on the Camino. But it seems like things have changed over the past few years, maybe due to COVID I don't know. Enjoy the Camino, but you really should consider some alternatives. Whatever you choose, I wish you well.
I do choose alternatives. Lately I have walked the VDLP, the Norte before it was popular, the Aragones, Le Puy in 2015 and for the entirety of the camino I didn't meet more than 5 pilgrims or (hikers) during the day. This year I will walk on the Vasco and have plans for the Mozarabe/VDLP again and the Madrid. I just mention this as there are so many caminos that offer so many experiences. All offer experiences you can expect and some you can't. I want to stay on the camino for one simple reason. No matter which one it is the Camino is home. Hope you continue to or soon find your happiness too. I don't know where I am going next but I know which way I will go. So many caminos so little time.
 

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I do choose alternatives. Lately I have walked the VDLP, the Norte before it was popular, the Aragones, Le Puy in 2015 and for the entirety of the camino I didn't meet more than 5 pilgrims or (hikers) during the day. This year I will walk on the Vasco and have plans for the Mozarabe?VDLP again and the Madrid. I just mention this as there are so many caminos that offer so many experiences. All offer experiences you can expect and some you can't. I want to stay on the camino for one simple reason. No matter which one it is the Camino is home. Hope you continue to or soon find your happiness too. I don't know where I am going next but I know which way I will go. So many caminos so little time.
Thanks for the thoughtful, and constructive, post!
 
You just beat me to it @lt56ny I was just about to post the same map. I appreciate your sentiments. I've walked quite a few Camino paths but sometimes feel I've barely scratched the surface. 😎

How wonderful you have plans for the Mozarabe and the Madrid - loved them both. ❤️
 
You just beat me to it @lt56ny I was just about to post the same map. I appreciate your sentiments. I've walked quite a few Camino paths but sometimes feel I've barely scratched the surface. 😎

How wonderful you have plans for the Mozarabe and the Madrid - loved them both. ❤️
You have walked on some pretty special paths!
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

€46,-
I have been wanting to walk the Camino Frances for years. I recently retired from work and was planning to go, but then there was COVID. I was planning on going this September, but now it sounds like the Camino is so jammed with people that you can't really enjoy it. There are bed bugs and bland food, in addition to maybe not being able to find a bed every night. Why would I want to hike the Camino, at least for now? And so many of you hike it over, and over, and over! Some more than ten times!!! Before you criticize me, think about thanking me. One less person to compete for a bed. And don't call me a temperamental novice, I have hiked lots of famous hikes all over the world. I am just a rational person who is acting rationally. Maybe things will improve in the future and I will be able to go, but for now, I will plan on doing another less congested hike.
 
Thank you for choosing a different "hike".

The Camino de Santiago is mainly a pilgrimage path, not a scenic hike nor culinary trip. Many people do not choose to walk it by ticking boxes in a rational manner.

Many feel called to walk it and enjoy it even with crowds, bed bugs, sleeping on park benches and horrible food. Thieves, also, robbers everywhere that will steal your dirty clothes and stinky backpack while you sleep, and packs of wild dogs waiting for you in the bushes along the trail, that will try to maul you when you pass by. Almost forgot to add that!

Or maybe it's not as bad as the internet says? But if you do not try, you will never find out...

Perfect solution to keep the trail empty - spread horrible stories about the Camino online...!

On a more serious note - if you're an avid hiker and looking for a more solitary walk with beautiful landscape and great food, that is a pilgrimage path at the same time, maybe choose the GR65/via podiensis in France (or you could even start in Cluny and stop in Conques). The via podiensis from Le Puy is more of a classic hiking path and has great food to offer (book your beds in advance and use demi pension for the full package of "scenic walk with great food and always a bed waiting for you"). You might even meet a few pilgrims among the french weekend hikers on their culinary trip.

Everybody will be speaking french, though.
I walked this route in 2015 and your description is right on. I speak no French. No one spoke English. I had a sheet of paper that I gave to Gite owners asking to call ahead to reserve a bed and board in the next place. I had no real guidebook as the Michelin guide is barely worth the paper it was written on. But it is beautiful, the food was wowwwww and besides my friend and I, we only met one other person who called themselves pilgrims. It was made up entirely of almost all French, a couple of Italian friends hiking together for a week or so. I do not think I saw more than two or three people on the camino during the day. Only met people at night. Still I think it is a wonderful experience.
 
Thanks so much for the suggestions. I will do more research. I really want to do the Camino.
I believe if you want to do “the Camino”, you should do the Primitivo! It’s quiet, beautiful, and supposedly the first!
It’s also shorter, so if you discover it’s just not for you, you’ll be able to finish faster!
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
The OP has made their decision and the Camino itself doesn't need defending. I don't see any reason for this thread to continue, as it is becoming inflammatory.

Edit: Apparently @peregrino_tom was attempting to post just as I was closing this thread, and requested that we add this:

@docdiamond - credit to you for coming back on the thread after a few us displayed some unsympathetic opinions! Looks like we can dialogue this to a better outcome... best wishes, tom
 
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