Search 62305 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Replies to my post "Did it!"


New Member
Hello all,

It seems that a minor Forum "polemic" has been recently unleashed regarding my post. Being its original author, I feel that I must reply and set things straight.

I want to thank all the contributing members for their insight.
Ivar, many thanks for unlocking the post and also for helping me add my Cruz de Ferro photo.

I did edit the text several times since its original posting, as I have been going through my notes and memories and moments come flooding back.

Yes, Gareth has made some harsh remarks. I suppose he meant well, I am a big boy and can take it. But he has caused me such emotional damage that I am now looking at years of psychotherapy and alcoholism!

When I go over my text again, I can find three negative comments for a 5-week journey, that's not too bad, is it? The weather comment was not meant as a complaint.

This Camino was an overwhelmingly positive and enlightening experience, and that is what I wanted to share with other Forum members, especially the ones who have yet to do the walk.

I have some specific points:

The RENFE train delay of 20 min was not in itself a major issue, although for a premium express service ticket you expect punctuality. What irked me was the staff's total disinterest and ignorance and yes, on the day I took the train no one knew or cared. I should mention that MONOCLE magazine recently featured an interview with the RENFE director, and he was waxing lyrical about his trains running no more than 3 minutes late. After I returned home, I contacted RENFE and 2 emails have remained unanswered. Is this Customer Service? I am a serious person, not some hysterical whining busybody, so kindly spare me your lectures.

Yes, the Monte de Gozo monument is really ugly, will anyone argue? That's all I said. One hopes for some sort of inspiration on the final climb before Santiago, telling you it's almost over, and doesn't feel it. I did not stay in Gozo, could certainly walk the final 5km to the city center.

Yes, the Pilgrim Office in Santiago was an anticlimax. I arrived exhausted, drenched to the bone and bearing my precious Credencial, expecting some joyful validation for the physical and spiritual journey, and got a bored young girl who chucked the "Compostela" at me without even addressing a single word in my direction.

Yes, I WAS threatened by a man with a rifle in Calzadilla de la Cueza. (you want to know how I reacted? I whipped my c--k out and waved it at him. But that's another story). Cesar, who runs the Camino Real hostel, was there that night.
I do not appreciate being called a liar by someone I do not know.

The rest of my post was full of happy, positive memories about friends, beautiful landscapes, memorable places, and advice on practical issues and recommended detours. I had a great time interracting with Spanish people, tried to remain open-minded and friendly, was grateful for the services I received, spoke Castellano and virtually nothing else for a month, happen to love Spain, and Barcelona happens to be my favorite city in the entire world. How can someone who never met me on the Camino opine that I "failed" to engage with Spaniards?

Finally, thank you Gareth for the "verdict" that I am not a pilgrim and that I should stay home and not do the Camino again. Correct me if I am wrong, but in order to obtain the "Compostela" you need to walk the last 100km. What you do before that is nobody else's business. I started in Roncesvalles and have been completely honest about the two "cheating" stages, ie the bus from Estella to Najera and the train from Sahagun to Leon.
Have I failed?
I am a busy cardiologist who works round the clock. If I were retired and could take a million months to do the journey then yes, I would have walked the whole way from SJPDP. In order to be able to take five consecutive weeks off and walk the Camino this year I took no summer vacation, no Easter break, and will take no Christmas holiday.
I trained hard for two months, telling nobody about my plans in case I collapsed or were injured during the trip and were obliged to turn back.
Have I failed?

I suggest that you be more gracious in your critiques.

So, kids, everybody lighten up, let us learn from each other so that we can be better people, have happy journeys, and a Merry Christmas!

Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Philip: I for one greatly appreciated your initial posting 'Did it'. It is not possible that during 5 weeks of walking one does not have some negative moments. You were probably walking about 10 days behind us and we also 'cheated' by taking the bus into Leon, actually from Villarente, partly due to a gigantic thunderstorm and partly because, having experienced the final stretch into Leon the previous year, we had no desire to repeat this very dangerous stretch of road. Our intention was to pick up the bus at Arcaheuca, 6 kms nearer Leon, but the torrential rain gave us an 'excuse' to take the bus earlier. If we were all honest about our experiences on the Camino, on this Forum, I'm sure there would be a lot of input here! For me, the most important part of this fantastic Journey is the incredible day to day personal happenings: experiences that will remain with me forever. Anne

Deleted member 3000

Brierley "suggests" taking a bus into Burgos and a bus out of Leon!! Most who do so do not confess it. He does not like the soulless senda, either. While I can get my fill of the gravel paths, they sure are nice in the rain. The purists will just have to look the other way as they maintain their own purity.


I didn't meet anyone on the Norte who walked from Bilbao to Portugalete. Everyone caught the metro.
Anything up to Sarria is fair game. After that, you'd better hide your face as you zip by in a taxi. (And yes, I spotted this a few times, including a couple of people who actually got out at a bar & had the audacity to complain about having to buy a drink in order to get the sello!

How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Hi Philip,

I am sorry that you did not enjoy the experience in the Cathedral office when you received your compostela. Last year when I fronted the office and passed over my Credential it was to a young lady who was thorough, polite and competent, and she added to the experience by being so "professional". This year I went to ask for my compostela while the pilgrim mass was on. There was nobody else there so I was called to the desk immediately. Once the compostela was granted the young man who had interviewed me asked about Australia, what to see there, cheapest flights etc. After about 15 minutes of animated conversation he stood up, shook my hand, and thanked me for giving him my time. Wonderful!

And to "aj', Victor and I walked beside the river from Bilbao to Potugalette. Dead flat, and dead boring. And 5 euro to cross over the bridge once we got there! I must admit we used the escalator in the middle of the street to help us get out of town once we crossed over.


Be brave. Life is joyous.


Nunca se camina solo
A word about the poor Pilgrims' Office. The Pilgrims' Office is run by the Cathedral in the person of Don Jenaro one of the Canons of the Cathedral, They recieve a grant from the Xunta to emloy staff but they are only allowed to do so on a temporary basis so that there is no permanent liability. The staff are mostly young people,employed on temporary contracts and they are paid a pittance. This year in the season they were seeing 1500 pilgrims per day. This involves not only checking credenciales and issuing Compostelas but storing rucksacks in Left Luggage, helping Pilgrims find accommodation, taking messages from relatives phoning looking for pilgrms, giving out maps of Santiago etc.

They work two shifts to cover the opening hours of 9am - 9pm - there are no coffee breaks when it is busy. People take coffee at their desks. Lunch is a hurriedly eaten sandwich in the room where the ruckacks are stored.

There are now 23 members of staff with a lot of new people in training for the onslaught the Holy Year will bring. Even then for every one it can be a little mind numbing at times - a group of 68 scouts or guides all with the same stamps in the same credenciales stepping forward at the front of the queue which stretches around the corner and up the street so long it takes 3 hours to get from the end to the office. Relentless.

Of course everyone should be pilgrim friendly and give every single pilgrim the same warm welcome to Santiago with a smile and a handshake of congratulation but please forgive them if they don't always do that. The work is exhausting at times.


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
99% of pilgrims who walk the camino Frances cheat - BIG TIME!!! :evil:
That includes nearly this whole Forum.

How do I know?

Because two 'experts' (Walter Starkie and Edwin Mullins) claim that the Camino Frances starts in Paris.

So, all of you cheating wimps (weakly interacting massive particles) who start at St Jean or Roncesvalles, or anywhere else in Spain are DIRTY, ROTTEN CHEATS! :twisted:

And - compared with our traditional, medieval, REAL pilgrims - you all cheat because you wear gortex boots, polyproylene socks, dry-tech clothes, carry Nordic poles, credit cards, cell phones, iPods, and - horror of horrors!!! use the Internet!!! :mrgreen:

And - (I hope I'm wrong???) You don't all have a return ticket home - do you, do YOU???

I think I'll just go and slit my throat!!


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
JohnnieWalker said:
Starkie....a "real" pilgrim ....humfff...he got the bus too.

lol and I have read the book by Edwin Mullins- The Pilgrimage to Santiago- a fascinating read- and he.....took the car most of the way!!!-
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.


Nunca se camina solo
ah ha - so it isn't the mode of transport that makes the pilgrim! I published a wee contriubtion to this debate on my blog which I have now on deeper reflection amended:

It doesn’t matter if you…
Walk on a route where you won’t meet anyone else
Walk on the Camino Frances and meet everyone else

Sleep in hotels and hostals during your journey
Share accommodation with other pilgrims in albergues

Take every detour to the holy places traditionally visited by the medieval pilgrims
Walk straight to Santiago in the shortest time possible

Carry every item of kit on your back each day
Arrange to have your luggage carried forward to your next destination

Eat from the a la carte menu in restaurants and enjoy good wine
Eat the Menu del Dia with three courses, bread and a bottle of luminescent red wine for 8 Euros

Get one or two sellos per day
Spend your time collecting many sellos as a memento of your journey

Give according to your means in albergues and churches
Give a minimum donativo

Journey in reflective silence eschewing modern technology
Take your IPod, IPhone, Netbook and other gadgets

Follow the yellow arrows
Use a GPS positioning device

Simply follow the path marked by others
Use a guidebook with maps, directions and local history

Buy designer walking clothes and top of the range kit
Spend the minimum equipping yourself

Train for months walking every day with a full rucksack
Pack your rucksack and go

Get blisters, tendonitis and muscle strain
Enjoy a pain free pilgrimage

Pray every day, visit every church you can find opened and go to Mass every evening
You don’t believe in God and wouldn’t be found dead in church

Use forms of transport other than walking and don't get a Compostela
Walk all the way and get a Compostela

The only thing that matters is…
That YOU consider you've made the pilgrimage to Santiago.

As we are all different, so too are our Caminos. But there is power in walking these old paths. The effect is individual. For some deeply religious. Others are amazed to think about spiritual things for the first time. Some pilgrims enjoy encounters with others. Some don’t. But the cumulative effect of making step after step for many kilometres through a strange country is very real. And it happens to everyone in their own way.


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
.............. and!!! The Three Wise Men rode camels to visit the Christ child! Scandalous!

.............. and, what about that CHEAT, Aimery Picaud who rode a horse!! Disgraceful!

.......... and, Georgiana - you devious, cheating wench! You rode a donkey!!


  • King.jpg
    2.4 KB · Views: 1,379
Time of past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I might note that I have encountered all sorts of welcome at the Pilgrims’ Office in Santiago. The first time was with a pleasant and business-like reception as they wrote out my compostela, and another time I had to interrupt the officer’s lengthy flirtation with another officer beside her, by suggesting that I was far better-looking than he was and was much more elegant (eliciting mirth from her colleagues, blushes from the flirtee, and a greatly increased level of grumpiness from the officer). On my third Camino, the officer summoned her colleagues to have a look at the curious sellos from the Camino out of Montserrat, interrupting their work for a minute and annoying other impatient pilgrims.


Veteran Member
Hi P

Glad you had a mostly positive experience...

I see that those who define pigrimage for others are still with us! Theyre a minority, with adolescent ideas, but can be annoying. Ever since I walked the caminos, there have been those who complain about the caminos of others. I'm beginning to think that they are there to test us, to see if we can keep cool when they inflict their ideas and values on us! I hate to say it, but maybe I'm mellowing in my later years - eeek! I hope not :shock:

Deleted member 3000

I enjoy reading pilgrims' description of their own Camino rather than someone else's. The latter seems to be what sets off controversy.
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.


Nunca se camina solo
As I've said before a good principle is to keep our noses out of other people's pilgrimages :) And I also think in this Pilgrims' Forum we ought to avoid personal criticism and never use insulting language.


Active Member
Hi Phillip and others who have posted,
at the end of the day- how we travel through life is only up to us.
Whether its a camino, a relationship, a career, a we conduct ourselves, how we relate to others, our expectations, our accomplishments.....we get back what we put out. And sometimes we give out good, but get back bad. That's life.

I agree with you all about what you have posted. Not having read the deleted post by Gareth, I still feel sometimes this forum gets so tied up in what is politically correct that we just need to step back and remember why we read the posts - to learn from each other, to listen to someone else's experience of the camino, and then to take that information and do with it what we want. Everyone has the right to say it how they saw it. Some people get a bit too precious about the camino - at the end of the day, it's in a country of people who are like the rest of the world - some are wonderfully kind, some indifferent, some rude.

I also didn't have a positive experience at the pilgrim office, but saw it for what it was. I really didn't mind - I may have thought I was the best thing since sliced bread completing the camino, but the young woman giving me my credential didn't have to think that too. :) (I know you didn't feel she should have been bowing to you Phillip and support your honest post of saying it how you experienced it) It's like any office at home - bored employees, watching the clock so they can knock off or keen, enthusiastic workers who love their job and the public they deal with. Just like home!

Note to Phillip - 'never say never'. I said that after my first camino back in 2008. I'm now heading off again next year :)
cheers, Jane

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Janeh said:
I still feel sometimes this forum gets so tied up ... that we just need to step back

Amen, Jane.

Anyway, I'm so taken with the Desert Fathers at the moment that I have to quote some more advice from them which I think any pilgrim would think wise (and humorous)...

Abba Peoman asked Abba Anthony: What should I do?
The old man said: Do not be confident in your own righteousness, do not worry about a thing once it's done and control your tongue and your stomach.

A brother asked an old man: What is humility?
And the old man said: To do good to those who hurt you.
The brother said: If you cannot go that far, what should you do?
The old man replied: Get away from them and keep your mouth shut.

( ... desert.htm
I found this through Google, I expect there are lots more sites)


Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Janeh said:
Note to Phillip - 'never say never'. I said that after my first camino back in 2008. I'm now heading off again next year :)
cheers, Jane

Jane, I look forward to hearing more of your exploits when you walk. And I wish you a much more boring, unadventurous affair than the one you had last time!!!!

If you happen to look in at "the Albergue" I have started an Anzac Corner there..

Most read last week in this forum

My husband and I are currently on the Camino Frances and just finished our walk for today into Logrono. A Peregrina ran up to us right after Viana visibly shaken. An elderly white haired man with...
The Camino needs pilgrims. Scare stories of a crowded Camino Frances are not helpfull. For a few days at the end of May and end of August there is pressure on accomodation for a few days after St...
It's been more than a week on the Camino for me so far, and while I've met amazingly kind-hearted pilgrims, amidst all the aches, pains and joys of the Camino, I had a negative experience at the...

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2022 Camino Guides