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Some random Camino observations

2020 Camino Guides

Ekelund

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
“It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.” Rumi
Your thoughts from the Camino made me smile big time. And you are right, people should just spend their time walking instead of making graffiti along the Camino. And I can only agree, the Frances is turning into a Disneycamino.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
And you're right, people must buy the marker pens especially with tagging in mind
 

Sharonih

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (SJPdP to Santiago) March 15, 2018
I have to agree completely about the graffiti, that is the only thing that truly upset me on the Camino. I abhor vandalism where I live so why would I like it anywhere else? I Personally I saw no benefit out of it though my husband read "you are capable of more than you think and you need less than you think. " and that has stuck with him. I was saddened on behalf of the Spanish people that have to repair this ugly mess regularly at a cost to them.

Now I did laugh about the hills, I am one of these people that did not want to know elevations before hand as I would think you would have to be crazy to do one hill after the other. The realization came after I returned home on the Camino there are hills at home they are called mountains :D We are capable of more than we think.
 

Rj7797

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017
"How many more pilgrims can the Camino Frances sustain before it becomes a Disneyfied charicature of a pilgrimage? "

I'm not sure why as I have only been once but I find myself thinking about this a lot. I wonder what the camino will be in 5 years? Will popularity continue to grow or will it taper back some. If it continues to grow..hmm
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
It seems the pilgrim numbers have experienced growth and decline for many centuries, so experiencing large numbers of pilgrims is not just a 21st century thing. Many pilgrim footsteps echo down the last thousand or so years..

Copied from another site - "In the 11th and 12th centuries, millions of people from all over Europe made pilgrimages to Santiago. It has been estimated that in the 12th century 10 percent of the population of Europe was involved in making or in some way supporting the pilgrimage to Santiago. In the 12th Century there were so many pilgrims traveling to Santiago that a Moorish emissary traveling to Santiago complained of the delays on the road. "

There are many people on the forum with extensive knowledge on the historical numbers, who can give you info and reference material. I'm sure the behavior of those medieval pilgrims varied as well, just as it does today - (and the hygiene would definitely have been a bit dodgy by today's standards).

.
 

Yoyo

Carpe viam!
Camino(s) past & future
2017: CF 800 km
2019: CF 180 km
Just wondering: Would medieval pilgrims make more than one pilgrimage in a lifetime?
The thing is, many modern day pilgrims do, thus contributing themselves to the ever growing numbers on the Camino they complain about. (Are there any satistics on first timers vs. repeat pilgrims?)
So far, I have walked the CF only once and I am longing to go back, but still I am wondering:
Should we who have enjoyed our pilgrimage and obtained our Compostela refrain from walking again and again for the sake of the next generation of pilgrims so that they can have a less crowded and more meaningful Camino experience?
 

Victoria65

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's SJ to Sahagun 2015, Sahagun to Santiago 2016, Le Puy Route, SJPDP to Santiago (2018)
Patrick well said! Well said! Camino- Disney, even exiting the Cathedral in Santiago through the forced upon you gift shop is reminiscent of Disneyland. Graffiti is rampant on the Camino. Is this actually done by "spiritual" perigrinos? Cruz de Ferro has become a joke, colorful banners, unwanted sediments plastered all over the pole, graffiti on ever single square inch of the chapel which is now triple chained closed I guess to prevent further decimation. I don't even want to mention the numerous tears caused by the bed battle. The battle between bars to get camino business with the yellow arrows blackened out, repainted and blackened again is just what I want to see to confuse me after trudging through ten kilometers of pouring rain! So very many books and films have been produced about the Camino which have unfortunately added to this now very popular tourist attraction including BBC's three part special and now a reality TV show in the works! So. Probably needless to say here but, I will always cherish my first Camino of several years ago but have chosen to make this one, just completed, my last. There are so many incredible spiritual experiences out there just waiting to be explored. Perhaps in 10, 20 or more years all the hub-bub will die down and the Camino will return to what it once was.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Just wondering: Would medieval pilgrims make more than one pilgrimage in a lifetime?
The thing is, many modern day pilgrims do, thus contributing themselves to the ever growing numbers on the Camino they complain about. (Are there any satistics on first timers vs. repeat pilgrims?)
So far, I have walked the CF only once and I am longing to go back, but still I am wondering:
Should we who have enjoyed our pilgrimage and obtained our Compostela refrain from walking again and again for the sake of the next generation of pilgrims so that they can have a less crowded and more meaningful Camino experience?
I dont know enough about the history, but given travel is easier these days, I would assume the medieval pilgrims traveled from their front door all over Europe, so the spread of pilgrims would probably have been much wider across Europe. With many people flying/busing/training to SJPDP/Pamploma etc today's pilgrims are confined more to a specific area. It would be interesting to jump back in time and see what it was like to be a pilgrim then. I guess all male pilgrims.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I dont know enough about the history, but given travel is easier these days, I would assume the medieval pilgrims traveled from their front door all over Europe.... It would be interesting to jump back in time and see what it was like to be a pilgrim then. I guess all male pilgrims.
Saint Brigid of Sweden walked the Camino in 1341. It took her 3 years. And yes, from her front door. Who knew!
20180420_183519.jpg
 

Bob from L.A. !

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis 2012, 2014, 2016. Camino Norte 2018. Many more to come in my future God willing !
I would hate to see any Camino, especially the Frances, become so overpopulated that the country would have too go to a lottery permit system to reduce the wear and tear on the countryside and the surrounding infrastructure.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
I think the danger of a "Disneyfied charicature of a pilgrimage" applies only to parts of the well-known Caminos.

If one looks for a lonely Camino it is probably not so difficult... if you choose a less-populated timeframe or a less-populated Camino than e.g. the Camino Frances.
 

Richard Ray

Not What He Once Was
Camino(s) past & future
September-October (2016), May-June (2019)
Just wondering: Would medieval pilgrims make more than one pilgrimage in a lifetime?
The thing is, many modern day pilgrims do, thus contributing themselves to the ever growing numbers on the Camino they complain about. (Are there any satistics on first timers vs. repeat pilgrims?)
So far, I have walked the CF only once and I am longing to go back, but still I am wondering:
Should we who have enjoyed our pilgrimage and obtained our Compostela refrain from walking again and again for the sake of the next generation of pilgrims so that they can have a less crowded and more meaningful Camino experience?
From my 2016 pilgrimage journal on this question:

The villages on the Meseta typically don't appear until you're right on top of them, as they are tucked into valleys where the rivers flow. We found ourselves asking "Where is that village anyway?" And then there it would be. This was the case as Hornillos del Camino
popped up like a Jack-in-the-Box. It seemed that we would have to walk off the edge of the horizon, declare our guidebook and its multicolored maps a fraud when the town finally showed up. As we walked down the cuesta matamulas (mule-killing incline) into the valley we ran into Veronica - an older woman walking the wrong way for a pilgrim. We see so few people walking against the grain that when we do we reflexively stop for a chat to ensure that the person is not lost, confused, or just plain cuckoo. Veronica was perhaps 70. OK, that’s generous. She was 75 if she was a day. She was attired in flowing full length earth-toned robes. Except for the cowl and wimple, she could have been one of the Felician sisters burdened by God to serve as one of my teachers at Our Lady of Refuge parish school. She informed us that she’d walked the Camino six times. This is her last. Indeed, her record of pilgrimage is at least the equal of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath - she of The Canterbury Tales - who logged pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome, Bologna, Santiago de Compostela, and Cologne. In addition to Veronica’s Camino addiction, she’s also done pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Rome, Assisi, and several other places I can't recall now. To be fair to the Wife of Bath, she walked her pilgrimages - when she wasn’t losing her lunch over the side of a Venetian ship. Veronica had the benefit of airplanes. Still, her record is impressive. She wears a brooch from which hangs a badge for each of her pilgrimages. It was an impressive bit of hardware, and gave an almost military impression - not unlike a general’s chest full of campaign ribbons. Joe made a gentle inquiry as to her views on how the Camino has changed since her first experience so many decades earlier. With this invitation Veronica informed us in a rather strident tone that she is disappointed - bitterly so - with how crowded the Camino has become. The shameless increase in the number of hospitality establishments that have sprung up to support the pilgrims has stripped The Way of its original sense of rugged spiritual struggle and striving. Speaking of The Way, she railed against Martin Sheen and his film The Way like a woman truly and utterly scorned. That movie, she declared, is the single greatest impetus for all of these tourists on walking holidays that now desecrate the pilgrimage to St. James. Terrible. Just as she got really cranked up she seemed to deflate a bit as if accepting the inevitable and her original calm reasserted itself. She wished us buen camino, pointed her wrinkled face toward the East, and tottered away up the path. While Veronica’s six Caminos may sound like a lot - and it certainly is - she is by no means the world record holder in this. A 13th century peregrino - the goldsmith Blessed Fazio of Cremona - made pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela and Rome an amazing 18 times each. One wonders when he had time for goldsmithing.
 

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