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Saga Holidays - Camino de Santiago Tour

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#1
Well, how the world moves and changes. Saga (for non-Brits they are a company that specialise is selling things such as insurance and holidays and so on to senior citizens - I have my car insurance with them!)

I have just found this - one of their new holiday tours packages, the Camino de Santiago - Gulpp!!!

"Discovering the Way of Spain - 12 nights - form £999"

Visit ancient towns, cities and villages on the 'Way of St James'
For centuries pilgrims have followed the ancient Camino de Santiago, from the scenic French Pyrenees to the iconic cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and the route still bustles with devotees from all over the world. This tour visits the ancient towns, cities and villages along the Way, each with their own culture, dialect, heritage and gastronomy, proving that it’s not just the destination but the journey too that’s special.

INCLUDING...
12 nights in hotels

22 meals: 12 breakfasts and 10 dinners

  • Optional travel insurance and additional cancellation rights, or a discount if not required
  • Return flights and transfers
  • Saga tour manager
  • Porterage at all hotels
  • House wine at dinner
Excursions and visits
  • Pamplona sightseeing tour
  • Leyre Monastery and Sanguesa town visit
  • St Jean Pied-de-Port town visit
  • Logroño town visit
  • Rioja winery tour and tasting
  • Santo Domingo de la Calzada visit
  • Tour of Burgos
  • Léon orientation tour
  • Santiago de Compostela cathedral tour

http://travel.saga.co.uk/destinations/europe/spain/discovering-the-way-of-st-james.aspx

Not quite certain what I feel about this ...... o_O
 

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Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#2
Ah SAGA, Send All Grannies Away or lately Sell Anything Grannies' Acquire. Renowned for having been established by a couple of highly regarded actuaries who noticed long before many "specialist" companies did that the grey pound was generously available and that spending the kids' inheritance was becoming a gleeful part of the Boomer generations' final rebellion.

I don't suppose most of us will notice a few more wrinklies on the road and this is not a company that would market the 'authentic' pilgrim experience. Don't expect to see a SAGA lout (@sagalouts excepted) cluttering up your local parroquial.
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#3
My parents would love this. There's no way my Mum could walk it, so it's the only way she would see the places I rattle on about. My Dad, on the other hand, was caught looking at a map of the 100km routes the other day...
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#4
Friends of ours were taken to Santiago as part of a cruise package, and were actually there the day before we arrived on foot. They could never have walked at all. We too first visited as tourists. The SAGA experience of Spain won't detract or even interact with the pilgrimage as such, and Spain needs the tourists' open purses to maintain many of these places. We don't have a monopoly as pilgrims and I don't see any need to worry David, the tourist money will probably help the Camino in the long term. Looking at the costs - it doesn't seem a bad price either for what is offered. As you so often say 'All will be well' :):)
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Mar 2010, May/Jun 2016, Sep 2011, 2012, Apr 2014, St Olav's Way 2018
#5
@David, if you are not certain about it, why publish their advertising on this forum? It doesn't make it any less a piece of advertising to top and tail it with your own comments.
 

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David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#6
Good morning, Dougfitz - and a Joyful and Merry Christmas to you too. I see that even Christmas Day hasn't stopped your habit of taking the opportunity to have a dig at me.

Well, Doug, I think that one cannot start a discussion without posting the information - what do you think? As for my not being certain about it - well, how can I explain? Oh, I know; that is a position of not being certain about it - I am neither for nor against (simple really).

As for putting the "advertising" info up - well, what else was I suppose to put up, considering my subject is the Saga Tour?

This is a forum about pilgrims and the Camino isn't it? So anything to do with the Camino can be shared? Or do I have that wrong somehow?

Having thought about it I think it is rather a nice tour. Those interested will go and may return to walk the Way. Those too infirm to walk the Way will be able to get a Camino experience.

I am tempted to say "Bah Humbug" to you DougFtiz but I won't - actually, yes I will, BAH HUMBUG Doug

Merry Christmas.
 
#7
Good morning, Dougfitz - and a Joyful and Merry Christmas to you too. I see that even Christmas Day hasn't stopped your habit of taking the opportunity to have a dig at me.

Well, Doug, I think that one cannot start a discussion without posting the information - what do you think? As for my not being certain about it - well, how can I explain? Oh, I know; that is a position of not being certain about it - I am neither for nor against (simple really).

As for putting the "advertising" info up - well, what else was I suppose to put up, considering my subject is the Saga Tour?

This is a forum about pilgrims and the Camino isn't it? So anything to do with the Camino can be shared? Or do I have that wrong somehow?

Having thought about it I think it is rather a nice tour. Those interested will go and may return to walk the Way. Those too infirm to walk the Way will be able to get a Camino experience.

I am tempted to say "Bah Humbug" to you DougFtiz but I won't - actually, yes I will, BAH HUMBUG Doug

Merry Christmas.
Dave, It's been awhile since I've posted, so first off Merry Christmas on this most special day! After all, when one stops to think about it, the Camino was born on this day.... Thank you for your gift of information on Saga; your well measured reply to Doug. In this brave and strange world we must all deal with today, is it not wonderful that such as the Camino exists at all?
Peace love walks by your side~~~~
Thank you,
Charles Gibilterra
Gibilterra@comcast.net
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#9
Interesting to see how the camino is marketed abroad, just what it is that foreign tourists look for -- what makes the Camino special to them? I am glad David shared the listing, I do not see it as advertising. It's commentary.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-SDC 2012, Hospitalera Rabanal 2014, First Aid 2015, Burgos-Rabanal 2017, Part VF 2017
#10
Hi David and everyone who is reading (and contributing to) this excellent thread -

This tour is probably not dissimilar to the various Camino tours organised by church groups all over the world. I think it would appeal to a wide variety of people -

* to those interested in pilgrimage but who aren't regular church-goers themselves and therefore wouldn't have access to a tour organised by a church group
* to those who are regular church-goers but who don't have access to a church-run tour
* to those interested in architecture and in history
* to those who love everything that Spain has to offer - stunning scenery, culture and of course delicious food and wine

There are a ton of other reasons too, for example, as tyrrek said, this would be a great tour for his Mum, who's not in a position to be able to consider a pilgrimage on foot.

I support the majority of the posts - particularly Rebekah's - so well said - thank you Rebekah. I also support and say thank you to David for starting the thread, which I certainly don't view as advertising in any way, shape or form.

Cheers, Jenny
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#11
I hope my relative enthusiasm for this tour didn't imply that I was going to recommend it to my parents. Oh, no. I'm too seasoned a traveller for that! I would organise it for them myself at a fraction of the cost, and amend certain features to make it a more authentic experience. These would include:
1) Having to leave the hotel by 8am and a curfew at 10pm.
2) Limiting menus to 3 options for each course.
3) Replacing the porter service with wheeled suitcases and a 10% weight limit.
4) Not booking hotels in advance to introduce a sense of 'winging it'.
5) A ban on tea in favour of cafe con leche.
6) An insistence that they hang damp underwear from their suitcases with nappy pins every other day.
7) No souvenirs to be purchased until arrival in Santiago (except pin badges).
The money saved would, of course, be used to pay for ME to go with them as tour guide/rule enforcer. (Naturally, as I would be there in a professional capacity, some of the rules for the 'pilgrims' wouldn't apply to me.)
 

David

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
#12
Nice one Tyrrek!
8) two Germans to enter their room at 5am each morning wearing head torches, which they shine in their faces, and scrunching plastic bags, who then leave noisily.
9) every meal to be an unidentified piece of thin meat, machine cut chips (fries) with tinned veg, dessert to be something frozen in a plastic pot with a stick sticking out of it.
10) keep the hotel closed until 4.30 and the only waiting area the pavement outside the door, where they must sit in the heat, fearful that if they leave for any reason someone else might take their bed.
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#13
And assuming they would have walked a bit slower than younger, quicker peregrinos

11) Two top bunks waiting for them both, with the ladder rungs at unusual distances from each other.

And to make it more of an authentic experience

12) An additional person staying in the room, whose 1st language they cannot quite understand, and refuses to open the window even though the room is in slow cook mode.
 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#15
My parents would love this. There's no way my Mum could walk it, so it's the only way she would see the places I rattle on about. My Dad, on the other hand, was caught looking at a map of the 100km routes the other day...
My parents would probably like this as well, to have the Camino made "accessible" to them. Companies like this give tourists a taste of the Camino, and then who knows - maybe the clients will catch the bug and want to come back one day to walk a pilgrimage. Our journeys on the Camino all have to start somewhere, right? :) Thanks for sharing, David - it is interesting to see what tour companies like to highlight and feature.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
#16
Nice one Tyrrek!
8) two Germans to enter their room at 5am each morning wearing head torches, which they shine in their faces, and scrunching plastic bags, who then leave noisily.
My those Germans do get up early, don't they! I met a young lady there, just a nice as you can imagine, but she did get up very early to start her day! She was very quiet though, I was never once woken by her!
9) every meal to be an unidentified piece of thin meat, machine cut chips (fries) with tinned veg, dessert to be something frozen in a plastic pot with a stick sticking out of it.
Don't forget the pasta, which can be summed up like this!

 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#17
My favorite thing about the people on Camino tours is how many experts there are on each bus. While pilgrim-ing, I can't tell you how many times kindly tourists (from all different countries) at the next table enlightened me on exactly what I was doing. (For some reason, it usually happens at plaza terraces in Galicia, after a long lunch.)
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#18
My favorite thing about the people on Camino tours is how many experts there are on each bus. While pilgrim-ing, I can't tell you how many times kindly tourists (from all different countries) at the next table enlightened me on exactly what I was doing. (For some reason, it usually happens at plaza terraces in Galicia, after a long lunch.)
Too funny!
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-SDC 2012, Hospitalera Rabanal 2014, First Aid 2015, Burgos-Rabanal 2017, Part VF 2017
#19
Hi tyrrek -

Your Mum and Dad are going to need a 'tyrrek's tours' welcome pack! Here's one which contains several Camino 'creature comfort essentials'!

tyrrek's tours welcome pack.jpg

Going clockwise from the top :

Electric coil - so they can have a cuppa anytime ;
Pegless clothesline to string across a hotel bathroom, or to share at any albergue ;
Universal sink plug for any kind of washing, whether it be clothes or dishes ('hope for their sake it's not dishes! 'Sounds a bit too much like singing for your supper!) ;
Waymarker star bumper sticker (actually, this is for the tour bus!) ;
'Bounce' energy ball for a protein-filled snack attack ;
and, finally, drum roll please! The One Luxury Item ... of course, it's The Buff! :)
 

tyrrek

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SdC (4-5/2011), Ferrol-SdC (9/2011), Pamplona-SdC (3-4/2012), Camino Finisterre (10/2012), Ourense-SdC (5/2014)
#21
Hi tyrrek -

Your Mum and Dad are going to need a 'tyrrek's tours' welcome pack! Here's one which contains several Camino 'creature comfort essentials'!

View attachment 15474

Going clockwise from the top :

Electric coil - so they can have a cuppa anytime ;
Pegless clothesline to string across a hotel bathroom, or to share at any albergue ;
Universal sink plug for any kind of washing, whether it be clothes or dishes ('hope for their sake it's not dishes! 'Sounds a bit too much like singing for your supper!) ;
Waymarker star bumper sticker (actually, this is for the tour bus!) ;
'Bounce' energy ball for a protein-filled snack attack ;
and, finally, drum roll please! The One Luxury Item ... of course, it's The Buff! :)
Ha ha! Poor things.
The thing is, although my post about banning tea etc was tongue in cheek, they genuinely would want to have some 'pilgrim disciplines' as part of the tour, my Mum especially. Things like early nights, fairly simple food and accommodation and regular mass etc would help to make it a pilgrimage if not a Camino. I guess they'd be a different type of tourist and a different type of pilgrim.
 

richeyboy

Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP-SdeC: Oct 2011; SJPP-Leon, Oct 14; Tomar (PO)/SJPP Oct 15
#23
I am not sure that there is that much difference between those indulging themselves in the Saga holiday deal and about half the people, maybe more, I met doing the CF last October. That is to say they were staying in booked accommodation usually hotels, carrying the lightest of backpacks, often avoiding the difficult/ less attractive parts of the trail, using taxis/buses at the drop of a hat and being supported by RVs for food and medical help and so on. Some made no pretence that they were on a pilgrimage as such. And that is the way it is and we all know it: at least it brings money to a poor part of Spain and therefore keeps some of the facilities going for the rest of us 'penniless' pilgrims. As for me, I found that whatever 'objectives' I may have had when I started my first CF 3 years ago, ultimately the pilgrimage became a journey into the mind, in effect a profound form of meditation. So for me, to do it properly, it is essential to reduce life to the most basic level with the minimum of needs and to accept no excuses on account of physical fitness, age, special needs, personal safety and so on. We all know that the example that has been set by many desperately ill pilgrims, amongst other afflictions, renders such arguments as mere special pleading at best. On the camino there are pilgrims and tourists, but, however you wish to do it and whatever you call yourself, you cannot be a tourist to the innermost workings of the mind.
 

JennyH94

Pilgrim in progress
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Leon-SDC 2012, Hospitalera Rabanal 2014, First Aid 2015, Burgos-Rabanal 2017, Part VF 2017
#25
Ha ha! Poor things.
The thing is, although my post about banning tea etc was tongue in cheek, they genuinely would want to have some 'pilgrim disciplines' as part of the tour, my Mum especially. Things like early nights, fairly simple food and accommodation and regular mass etc would help to make it a pilgrimage if not a Camino. I guess they'd be a different type of tourist and a different type of pilgrim.
Hi tyrrek -
Jokes aside, I think if you were to have a Camino with your parents, you would do a fine job in making it a profound and enriching experience for them, and also for yourself.
My Late Dad, Jim, would have LOVED the Camino - he was a POW in Japan in WWII which presented problems to him for the rest of his life - and for him to have peace and solitude while walking those ancient paths, together with the community of other pilgrims at albergues and hotels - it would have been wonderfully healing for him. I would have loved to experience the Camino with him - my brothers and sister also.
I hope that you all have a family Camino in the not too distant future -
Best wishes - Jenny
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP - Logrono (2013) Logrono - Leon (2014) Leon to Santiago (2015)
#26
A Saga trip, eh?

Interesting, but not for me. ;)

However, some may like what is on offer - if they do, great; if not, it will disappear from the schedules! And, if it continues, it may well help to support the areas in question.

But it sounds to me more like a trip through northern Spain - sightseeing some of what is on offer (major cities, landmarks, wine, etc) - with the Camino as a loose link.

Not really designed as a pilgrimage, or a substitute.
 

SEB

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#27
It's still on the schedules this month according to the Saga pullout I found in a newspaper and it features a photograph of gen-u-ine pilgrim crossing Puenta La Reine. There you have it now, not pilgrim as tourist but pilgrim as tourist attraction.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#29
It's still on the schedules this month according to the Saga pullout I found in a newspaper and it features a photograph of gen-u-ine pilgrim crossing Puenta La Reine. There you have it now, not pilgrim as tourist but pilgrim as tourist attraction.
That happened to us at Santiago and was most disconcerting and intrusive. Tour guide pointing to us sitting on the stones outside the cathedral after walking in to Santiago, as genuine tourists and encouraging the tour group to take photos! Maybe if they hadnt spoken in English we would not have understood. We did, and promptly left to find accommodation, feeling like an exhibit. Weird to think we will turn up as tourist souvenir photos somewhere.
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017
#30
Just returned from Burgos-Santiago,tourists tourists and yep you've guessed it more tourists,the smell of aftershave/perfume was overpowering,it was difficult to smell the nature around me,I was craving for the smell of cow poo !!!!! :)
 

SEB

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#31
Just returned from Burgos-Santiago,tourists tourists and yep you've guessed it more tourists,the smell of aftershave/perfume was overpowering,it was difficult to smell the nature around me,I was craving for the smell of cow poo !!!!! :)
Hi @Irish Bernie if it's the smell of cow poo you're after then Galloway in SW Scotland is the place to be - think of Galicia but with more rain. When we moved here many years ago from London I had the fantasy of sitting outside on a sunny evening here in the countryside and sharing a bottle of wine - but of course a fine evening is considered just perfect by local farmers who rush to get out the muck spreader and ensure that the bouquet of a fragrant chardonnay is overlaid with that of nicely matured manure. Mmm.!
 

Irish Bernie

Active Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francis 2013-2014-2015,16 and June 2017
#32
Hi @Irish Bernie if it's the smell of cow poo you're after then Galloway in SW Scotland is the place to be - think of Galicia but with more rain. When we moved here many years ago from London I had the fantasy of sitting outside on a sunny evening here in the countryside and sharing a bottle of wine - but of course a fine evening is considered just perfect by local farmers who rush to get out the muck spreader and ensure that the bouquet of a fragrant chardonnay is overlaid with that of nicely matured manure. Mmm.!
I am from Derry in the North of Ireland,I had the smell of cow poo in my nose before the smell of breast milk :)

PS No I wasn't born in a field :)
 

SEB

Veteran Member
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
April (2015) SJPdP to SdC; Porto to SdC April (2016)
#33
and probably experienced even more rain there than Galloway and Galicia put together.
 

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