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stereotyping germans

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zip

New Member
#1
Whilst walking the Camino I must have the term 'typical German' on numerous occaisions.

I would then be told of an episode where a couple of middle-aged German 'tourists' (they were never pilgrims), who had read Hape Kerkerling's book (they've all read it), got up at 5.30am, turned all the lights on, packed and unpacked their rucksacks three times (they always put everything in little bags), left the albergue at 6.15am whilst loudly singing Lily Marlene. etc etc

What is a typical German?

I met heaps of people from Germany. I do not recall anyone behaving in particulary anti-social manner. Spending time with someone from Germany was never a bad experience and it was nearly always good.

I come from Liverpool and within the UK the stereotypical view of scousers is of lazy, violent, drug taking criminals. Personally I find it offensive when people adopt this view and I believe that they often prejudge me.

I believe that stereotyping leads to prejudice.
 

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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#2
I think that the main problem was Hape Kerkeling's portrayal of the camino (which he walked in 2001) and the type of people he inspired to walk in Spain - not necessarily 'to go on a pilgrimage'.

His best-known character, Horst Schlämmer, has been described as "a tiresome, booze-addled reporter for a small-town German paper who snorts when he laughs, revealing a mouthful of nasty dental work, and paws any young woman within reach." (NY Times) Perhaps readers saw Horst Schlammer on the camino instead of the author?

I heard on a podcast interview that he spent few nights in albergues preferring to visit the albergue to get a stamp and then move on to a hotel. He also caught a number of trains and buses when he was tired so that he would not get behind schedule. He speaks many different languages including Dutch, Italian, Spanish and English and the anecdotes in the book that describe pilgrims are often written in these languages. He walked the last part of the camino with two women - one from England and the other from New Zealand. And, for a bit more trivia, he wore Canadian hiking shoes!

Rebekah's comments on the book: "... the book described "free" municipal albergues and described amorous young peregrinas on the hunt for German men. You can imagine the kind of people who felt compelled to head for Spain to get a piece of that kind of action."

So you have a few thousand Horst Schlämmer tourists from Germany looking for a cheap holiday with free accommodation and a bit of cheap (or free!) action on the side.

It must irritate the you-know-what out of all the other German pilgrims.
 

zip

New Member
#3
I find your comment 'so you have a few thousand Horst Schlämmer tourists from Germany looking for a cheap holiday with free accommodation and a bit of cheap (or free!) action on the side' to be quite offensive

Where is your evidence that there are thousands of tiresome, booze addled, womanising Germans on the Camino. When I walked the Camino earlier this year I met over one seventy people from Germany. One or two of them were tiresome, I am sure that a few of them had had a bit too much to drink and there were possibly one or two womanisers. I met heaps of other nationalities who were 'guilty' of behaving in a similar way to the Horst Schlammer character.

I am assuming that you originate from South Africa. A stereotypical view of South Africans held by many people in the UK is based the song "I've never met a nice South African" in which they are portrayed as arrogant, loud mouthed, racists, and talentless murderers.

Is this a fair portrayal of South Africans?
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#4
arrogant, loud mouthed, racists, and talentless murderers.
... from a 22 year-old song.
Yep - a few of those are still here. Many have left South Africa, gone back to the countries of their forefathers.
 

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#6
After walking 25,30 34 38 22 kms per day. day after day I was too tired to even consider "womanising" ... Laugh

Come to think of it some days I was having trouble chewing my food.

Pablo
 
#7
Hi Zip,

I think you may have misinterpreted Sillydol's comments, If you read through some posts here you will find that she is as opposed to sterotyping as much as you are. Have a look at her post in the thread called "No good Pilgrims" recently.
These days 100,000 plus people walk the Camino Frances every year and by your own admission "One or two of them were tiresome, I am sure that a few of them had had a bit too much to drink and there were possibly one or two womanisers."
Now if everybody came across "One or Two" it literally becomes a "few "Thousand" does it not?

As has been mentioned before Sometimes the Germans are more readily identified because in many cases they are walking as part of an organised group and therefore stand out a little more. I came across a few "group" and had no problems at all.

Personally I have a much greter problem with people who wear yellow ponchos and others who dont adjust their backpacks properly and don't get me started on those who don't use their walking poles properly........ :D

Pablo
 

Minkey

Active Member
#8
Unfortunately, bigotry is still rife and for some reasons, people feel it necessary to catagorise people by country. They'd probably be the first to denounce rascism, although other forms of discrimination appear to be, to them, ok.

I met a few Germans over the last few years... I'm even in a relationship with one of them!

Would it be a wise assumption that I drink tea every afternoon, accompanied by a couple of cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off? Don't think so.

My last point would be to highlight what someone on these forums related a few weeks ago - A French pilgrim moaning about "foreigners" on the Camino. In my opinion, nationality has nothing to do with it.

:arrow:
 

ksam

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese '08, Frances '11, del Norte '14, Invierno '16, Ingles '17, Primitivo October 2018
#9
Funny how we do identify people by their nationality...when we did our Camino in May, it wasn't till the Cathedral that I finally got the names of the "The German Girls", and they got mine!! After all to them...we were the Americans! We saw each other every day, although they stayed in small hotels, and we in alburques...but no one could have been sweeter, kinder and more helpful (their Spanish was excellent, mine appallingly bad, my German..so-so!) In fact the only "difficult" pilgrims I met...I brought from home!! And honestly...those were just growing pains in friendships!

Sure nationality is an easy way to identify someone....and there may be some traits a little more pronounced in one country vs another...but I am amazed how much more we all are alike than different.

I think perhaps we all need to skip a beat before we answer, take a breath....and allow a moment, a tiny pause, for a prayer before we answer or judge...a few seconds can make one rethink how you answer or look at someone. Perhaps someone firmly and clearly telling that couple of urban legend fame... to NOT turn on the lights and remind them to be more caring of fellow pilgrims...If no one tells them...then how can they learn?? It is amazing sometimes how people can forget the impact they have on others....sometimes it's simply a matter of "retraining"!

So to Nicole and Doris...My German GIrls! Salud!

Buen Camino All, Karin
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#10
Did you know that from the 15th century the French term bigot had a religious connotation and meant "an excessively devoted or hypocritical person"?
Last year I walked the camino with two friends, one a German nun. Anneliese's main complaint about the German pilgrims was that the men were inclined to walk around in the albergues in tight black underpants! I don't think I would even have noticed (honest) if she hadn't mentioned it.
Once she had complained about it, she made a point of nodding her head disapprovingly at any man in an albergue walking about in black scants!!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
#12
One interesting phenomenon I've noticed, having lived on the Camino for three seasons, is that the loutishness DOES seem to follow national lines. Our first year here the louts were Spanish. Last year they were French. This year they're German. I know this is a function of my own human tendency to classify my fellow humans into distinct groups, and I know it is not always very kind or realistic. But meeting and talking to people every day, and seeing them behave in particular ways, it's only human to lump them all together that way. And besides...

Stay around long enough with your mind open, and the Camino will then offer up shining examples of kind, decent, fun, considerate Spanish, French, German (or whatever) pilgrims, way out of proportion to the number of louts and idiots.

When I start classifying people, I am inevitably confronted very soon with overwhelming evidence that I am WRONG!
 
#13
Hi

Me and my partner met a lot of nationalities, spanish, german, italians, french, french from montreal, hungarian , polish, english, american and maybe other nationalities.
We always enjoyed the diversity and took it in the spirit of the camino, for the record, i am from india and my partner is from the Dutch Antilles, We enjoyed meeting people, had dinner with them in the albergues,

We enjoyed our time and solitude , and never had time to think about loutishness or stereotyping nationalities.

Regards
Bharat
 
#14
Hello Pilgrims,
HaPe Kerkeling's Report is out. Now you should read the report from Bert Simon: http://www.bertsimon.com/2.html.
Bert Simon is a German pilgrim, on the Jakob's way. On foot walk he back in his life, after he has survived 2006 seriously injured a murder attempt.
He starting in April 2008 in Hannover, walking to Basel (CH), Vezelay, St-Jean-Pied-de-Port and the Camino Frances.
He want to go on CF until Astorga, than drive with the train to Sevilla, walking on the Via Plata back to Astorga, and walk to SdC.
Is he an typical German? No! Only an other people of Germany!

regards
Lamothe
 

zip

New Member
#15
My first post has generated a degree of controversy. There are a couple of points I would like to make

I do not share any of the views expressed in the song 'I've never met a nice South African'. I've a few and it nearly always been a pleasure. I mentioned the song to highlight how offensive stereotyping can be.

I originate from Liverpool, a city where the people are portrayed as criminal, work shy, musical and good at football. I am none of the above. I do believe that people have made judgements about me because of where i am from.

I do not accept the point

"Now if everybody came across "One or Two" it literally becomes a "few "Thousand" does it not?"

I stated that i had met one or two Germans that vaguely ressembled the stereotypical German. I met over senventy five people from Germany. This represents less than 3% of the Germans i met. Last year some 12000 Germans completed the Camino. Three per cent of 12000 is 360. I know my methodology is far from scientific. But I haven't seen any evidence from elsewhere that proves there are a few thousand typical Germans.

I have read anti-German graffeti, and heard anti-German comments from fellow pilgrims. There are undoubtedly a number of anti-social pilgrims and many of them do originate from Germany. There is no evidence that i am aware (apart from anecdotal) that demonstrates that this is a major problem.

We rember the person who comes in drunk, who snores, who womanises and who leaves early in the morning. Sometimes we forget about the sober quiet man from Hamburg
 

Minkey

Active Member
#16
I think the moaners are the more anti-social ones. There were a couple walking at the same pace as me and everyday, without fail, their response to my "hola buenas dias" or "buen camino" was a scowl or a grunt. I think they had preconceived ideas of who I was, what I was like etc.

I walk the Camino on my own. last year I walked alone for all but three days, which I spent with a German student, studying in Santiago, and a nice Irish lad. Although I was quiet, respectful, courteous, friendly, I was clearly catagorised before I could do anything. Not quite in the spirit of things, I don't think.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#17
We made friends with a couple from Belgium who many pilgrims avoided - I think because he had studs in his face and Rasta dreadlocks! They were actually a really fun couple and he ended up calling me "Moeder" (mother).
After my husband Finn joined us in Sarria we bumped into Tomas in Arzua and he was quite disconcerted to see this young, silver studded, Rastafarian rushing at us with open arms calling out "Moeder! My moeder!" I introduced Finn to his new 'son' and he said, "I don't even want to know." (Poor old Finn, he has resigned himself to me collecting waifs and strays!)
 

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Minkey

Active Member
#18
Bit like the guy I met on my first Camino, Dennis. He had a little tuft of dreadlocks on the top of his head and looked kinda tough... Although he was actually a lovely, very caring guy who I grew to like and awful lot. He'd make your bad mood disappear within seconds of realising you were in one in the first place!

He was telling us how he would in turn, catagorise other peregrinos - stampagerinos, bag-rustlingerinos etc... All very tongue in cheek.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#19
sillydoll said:
I think that the main problem was Hape Kerkeling's portrayal of the camino (which he walked in 2001) and the type of people he inspired to walk in Spain - not necessarily 'to go on a pilgrimage'.
I expect you´ll catch up with it sooner or later, Sil, but I´ve just posted my first experience of the kommediekamminotourist on my blog, from this afternoon at Burgete. Enjoy.

Gareth
http://whizz-kidz-pilgrim.blogspot.com/ ... urist.html
 
#20
i hope i'am not stereotyping pilgrims too much gareth,but one of herr kerkelings thoughts on the camino was not to spend too much time with the religious pilgrim as he would be no different at the end of his camino than he was at the start.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#21
sagalouts said:
i hope i'am not stereotyping pilgrims too much gareth,but one of herr kerkelings thoughts on the camino was not to spend too much time with the religious pilgrim as he would be no different at the end of his camino than he was at the start.
I´m sure Her Kerkeling's fascinating ideas on this subject are well worth the time he has spent on his analysis and research, but I would suggest that the Catholic pilgrimage has existed for a thousand years and more precisely because people went on this journey to prepare for a change in their lives, and every time you go on a retreat or a pilgrimage (which amount to much the same thing), you are open to the possibility of change. The change is sometimes small, sometimes great.

Only today, as I was walking into Pamplona, I spent some time with a Sacred Heart nun sharing something of the changes we had experienced on the journey.

Gareth
 
#22
gareth
i have a lot of respect for what you are doing, but having read your latest blog somewhere along the way you seem to acquired a high horse, may i respectfully suggest you dismount and continue your walk.
regards Ian
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#23
sagalouts said:
gareth
i have a lot of respect for what you are doing, but having read your latest blog somewhere along the way you seem to acquired a high horse, may i respectfully suggest you dismount and continue your walk.
regards Ian
You may say that. I'm here in Pamplona and I've just come back to the refugio from an evening with various nationalities including the German kommediekamminotourists. The Americans and the Canadians have had a good laugh at Hap Kerkeling's expense, as they tend to express a more direct Catholic viewpoint, and I hardly got a word in edgeways, so the counter position is neither coming exclusively from me nor from my large horse.

The commercialism is here. You can pretend it isn't if you wish. No horses are involved, fellow, high or low ones. Large sums of cash are. You won't stop it and nor will I, but to pretend you don't see it means the horse has got between you and the view of the road ahead.

Gareth
 
#24
"commercialism is here"
if by this you mean the way as become more popular and no more exclusively catholic.well thats a horse of a diffent colour.
in its history the way has been many things to many people-pagen fertility rituals-celtic -pre christian romans and a trade route.
but i believe the real commercialism started with the catholic plenary indulgence ( i beleave the going rate for the swinging of the botafumeiro is 240 euros).
still musn't digress ( changing horses mid stream)
i beleave we mustn,t question the hand that has guided the pilgrim to walk his way to santiago no matter who what or how many, and to show them the hand of friendship.
the latin for ( plenary) indulgence is kindness or favour!!!
take care gareth my thoughts are with you, but my heart is with the german seeking a friendly face and a beer.

Ian
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#25
I think the term "commercialism" is being used in too many ways in this discussion. The ten-fold increase in the number of pilgrims in the last fifteen years has resulted in many new albergues, tree planting projects for shade, enforcement of health codes, and a new prosperity for businesses along the way. The lone bar in San Juan de Ortega served food and beverage at a pace that amazed me. It has gone from an isolated community bar in a dying town to an economic engine! To me, the best part was the "trickle up" prosperity. The ones actually doing the work are getting the money instead of the international banker passing out favors to his well positioned friends. Bad side effects include the abandoned water bottles, graffiti, bed race, and decrease in religiosity.

The latter, the decrease in the emphasis on religion, is bothersome only to those who want others' Camino to conform to their own. Life is a solo journey no matter how much each of us tries to involve others in it. Understanding the meaning of life involves understanding that we each are completely alone. The only thing we control is within the boundary of our skin, so transformation is limited to one's own transformation. No one can truly rule another, so in this context, no one can control another's Camino experience. Force of arms, torture, and murder have been used to coerce religion in others. I do not think it has worked. Certainly, passing judgment on motives is not going to have any lasting effect.

So commercialism cannot ruin your Camino unless you let it!I personally took joy at the new bars with a cafe con leche waiting for me. I loved the Germans who were inspired by Kerkerling. I was having dinner in O Cebreiro with two Germans. One received a call on his cellular phone from his wife. She was listening to a segment narrated by Kerkerling about O Cebreiro! Coincidence or divine intervention? Coincidence, of course, but a little eerie all the same because she did not know exactly where he was on the route.
 
#26
The latter, the decrease in the emphasis on religion, is bothersome only to those who want others' Camino to conform to their own. Life is a solo journey no matter how much each of us tries to involve others in it.
The above comments came in as I was about to post my comments, and after reading it I will let mine stand although I feel I am repeating what was put so ably by falcon.

One of the greatest mysteries, and disappointment, to me and my wife was why the botufumero was not swung when we arrived at the Santiago Cathedral on the Sunday Pilgrim mass. Thanks to Sil, our ever resourceful forum anchor, we now know that there needs to be a Euro 240 payment for the commercial transaction before we can see the thing swung. Whilst the place was crowded with tourists perhaps the tour leader forgot that the Cathedral does have "commercial" requirements for the priests to swing it for the tourist.

The history of the Catholic church, too long to go into this, is steeped in "commercialism". On the other hand there are disparaging comments heaped on those who are doing the Camino their own way, principally by those who believe they are "authentic pilgrims". Yes, let us get off our high horse and be tolerant and generous of our companions walking on the same route, pilgrim or not, we are all on the same road and heading the same Way.

The over-crowding and sometimes less than salubrious conditions of the albergues is a self inflicted phenomenon. One of the causes is the belief that to be a pilgrim one has to join in the crowds at the albergues, sharing and participating in the life in these official places run by volunteers. One tends to forget that the inner self also needs to be soothed and examined: sleeping on the floor and taking cold showers; and now the antagonism shown on our fellow humans, does not make a pilgrim. This state of affairs is compounded the disdain shown by the "authentic pilgrim" to those offering, and accepting, much needed alternative accommodation.

Thanks Ivar for allowing this stimulating forum to proceed, one needs to thank the Comedian from Germany who encouraged so many people from the German speaking country to now pay homage to St James. Please allow them to walk in peace, they are not out to scrounge from the albergues, please bear in mind that most of them are out of their comfort zone. They are struggling perhaps more,and sacrificing more, than those (perhaps less than one in five) who set out on the Camino with the express purpose of claiming the Compostela the "pilgrim" way.
Kwaheri
 
#27
I have been following this thread with great interest and get the feeling that there is a little bit of ‘Camino Snobbery’ going on. Whist on the Camino last year I met the most wonderful German guy and later on a fantastic German girl with whom I walked with from Rabanal to Santiago. I speak very little Spanish and at time the language was a real barrier for me, however, the German guy spoke 4 different languages (Spanish, French, English and Italian) and was able to translate menus, arrange accommodation for us when the Albergues were full, and even help with first problems. They were both very kind, giving and loving people and were walking for their own reasons. I will never forget the Camino or the wonderful people I met there, but without my wonderful German friends, with whom I am still in contact with, I truly believe I would not have enjoyed my experience half as much.
Shell x
 
#28
Dear Gar. I have to take to the "pen" :wink: and write some words, almost personally to You. Please, don't make GROUPS. No ENGLISH - GERMAN. No REAL CATHOLIC - PEGANS. No ME - THEM. Don't You understand, it's the same power sending us there. It's God, no matter, how You call HIM. We are all human. Nobody should think, he (she) is more human, then sombody else. We're all searchers. Different characters, different ways. I just have the impression, You're making some kind of "Me smart - You Idiot" - thing out of it. Yes, what do You think, the german "kommedian" (You don't know nothing about him, and less, when You call him that) thinks about You ? If he thinks the way You seem to do, he will go home and call all english for SNOBS.. Another conflict is MANUFACTURED. Another unnecessary seed of evil (unconsciousness). I don't think, this is the meaning of going to Santiago. I think, it's exactly the opposite. The search for love, understanding, peace (within and outside)... Not looking for conflicts, not for feeling better and smarter, than other people. And if conflicts come (oh YEAH, THEY WILL! :wink: ) ...Then learning something from it. Don't miss this opportunity to look inside Your own heart. No matter, how many unconscious people support Your theory. It's not true. God blees You on Your way! About commercialism.. Yes, it's here. It has always been. But...Making the Santiago all british and kick out the germans will not help, there must be some other, more loving way. No nationality has made the problem. Let's look for solutions, not for guilty nations. Let's look on the only spot, where You can find peace and love...INSIDE. Love to You, and all peace - loving people.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#29
Mocking the Germans (or the French, or the Italians) has always been a Camino sport, and I have even run into Bavarians complaining bitterly about snoring, windbreaking, Germans in the albergues. As I noted in another post, we encounter a wide range of personalities within each national group and, at some point, realize that unpleasant characteristics (and pleasant ones) are not the possession of any ethnic group.

I am not that concerned about the differing motives which people have on entering on to the Camino. I found the mix enlightening and challenging. Rosary rattlers and crystal pyramid-schleppers have their place, as do those who found themselves on the Camino quite by accident and ended up walking a few hundred kilometres. I liked hearing people explore why they had begun, and why they continued, and how they changed en route. Those with religious motives were no narrower than those who had no notion at all--- indeed, I found that the most puritanical attitude I encountered was on the part of a recreational hiker of no perceptible spirituality.

That a pilgrim will speak (and write) of the motives which set him on the trail is natural—what is fascinating is how the Camino draws them further and into unexpected ways. I ran into the first tranche of the Kerkeling-pilgrims and found them overwhelmed by the experience of the Camino, but many were encountering much that was new and formative. To my mind, the real problem of the Kerkelingers was that they often travelled in groups sufficiently large that they did not meet with other pilgrims—but that could also be said of other groups.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#30
shell said:
I will never forget the Camino or the wonderful people I met there, but without my wonderful German friends, with whom I am still in contact with, I truly believe I would not have enjoyed my experience half as much.
Of course, you are obsolutely right, and quite a few people are entirely missing the point in this thread! The simple fact is that a German comedian has written a popular book and many Germans are following a comedian down the Way of St James. If anyone doesn't find that idea funny, I can't for the life of me imagine why!

Gareth
 
#31
About not understanding comedy... 8) . There is nothing wrong about a good laugh. But it's great, if both parts can laugh together. If not, it's mobbing. I know, that the german pilgrims follows this diskussion and i know, it's hurting them. There is nothing, called HAPE KERKELING FOLLOWERS KULT. Of course, there is a book. But... "Show me the way, and i will go it. BY MYSELF". God uses many ways, to show You the light. Why not, using a KOMMEDIAN ! :p . Love und undestanding, Gods blessing from Chris in Sweden. :p
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#32
Humor is an excellent antidote to fatigue, so pilgrims need a sense of humor. Dining with two Germans one evening, we were a few tables away from a group of Austrians with whom the Germans had walked in parallel for days. The Germans told me about how they jokingly blamed the Austrians for everything that went wrong on the Camino, and they did it openly to the Austrians along the way and during dinner. Bad weather, dogs, muddy paths were all the fault of the Austrians. I had not been aware previously about this national competition, and it was very amusing for all involved. Being too serious can be dangerous to enjoying the walk, especially taking oneself too seriously.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
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:
#33
Hemingway wrote exciting stories about Pamplona which resulted in hundreds of tourists flooding the San Fermin fiesta and a small flood of travel writers writing about Spain.

When Paulo Coehlo wrote his book "Pilgrimage" there was a large increase in the number of pilgrims from Brazil. Not all were excited about their experience which they found quite unlike those described by Paulo in his book! Some, however, were sufficiently moved to go back home and start 'el caminho' organisations which are still serving pilgrims today.

There was a smaller influx of pilgrims after Shirley McLaine wrote her book "My Camino". Some New Age adherents set up small albergues along the way offering massage and shiatsu.

Each time a celebrity publishes a book, there are followers who hope to recreate the experiences in their books. Some do - the majority don't - but, I'll guess that many have a profound or even life changing experience whilst walking el camino.

These experiences are inextricably bound to the experience of past, present and future pilgrims. Modern day mendicants identify with the difficulties experienced by penitent pilgrims-past. This is what has contributed the multi-layered tapestry of the camino.
 
#34
Gareth writes in his blog that he is doing:

[*a traditional Catholic pilgrimage following the medieval route to Compostela and at the same time raising funds for the children's mobility charity]

If raising funds is not "commercialism" what is?


He goes further in his post:
[The commercialism is here. You can pretend it isn't if you wish. No horses are involved, fellow, high or low ones. Large sums of cash are. You won't stop it and nor will I, but to pretend you don't see it means the horse has got between you and the view of the road ahead.*]

Three of the most commented, if not the most read books on the Camino, are by an actress, and now by a comedian, and about a donkey. We do not need a horse.

[*many Germans are following a comedian down the Way of St James]

I don't think spending your energy taking pot-shots at our fellow travelers is doing your Walk and Charity any good.

Kwaheri
 

Astizo

New Member
#35
Well well guys and dolls ! - this is an interesting topic "stereo typing germans" on a UK pilgrimage website, I can almost here John Cleese whispering "don't mention the war" in Fawlty Towers :wink: ..............Sorry, couldn't help it.

But seriously.... As a Danish National, living in Germany on his 9th year I may give a (hopefully) new view on this topic. This may only be really understood by Europeans (incl UK), but the big European melting pot is far from beeing coocked, we have not even started the campfire yet :!:

There will always be prejudice within mankind. Germans (and the French) maybe arrogant, the English (and the Scandinavians) may party/drink a bit to much on their holliday, and the Italians and some Eastern Europeans may or has been a bit mafiosi. Well does it matter ? I think not, because I can live with that doing (legaly) 270 km/h on a autobahn, buying chanel no 5 to my girlfriend on Champs Elysse, Longing for the widths of the Scottish Highland, or whatching a footie game in a nice cosey English or Irish pub, turning my head after a blond Estonian girl, enjoying a espresso in Roma, or playing with my nephews on the beach.

I am walking the Camino for the first time this Juli/august and I know that I will love every single hour of it, I am European and proud of it, and if Hape kirklingen or his alter ego comes along I have time for him too :D !!
 

falcon269

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Camino(s) past & future
yes
#37
It's official: Germans are among the best tourists! The French are the worst. (Expedia.fr did the survey, and Time magazine did an article.)

That is why I now agree completely with RocketZ. This is an inane topic (meaning no offense to those who have left comments, which include me). The French easily could have been rated the worst solely because tipping is not the custom in France, so all the U.S. service employees who were surveyed will have down-rated the French because they probably did not tip according to U.S. custom (which tip is now expected to be AT LEAST 20%!!!!!). I loved the French pilgrims on the Chemin de St. Jacques. I did not find a single rude person in France in seven weeks. One local gentleman stopped his car on a country road, backed up a few dozen meters, and gave us several handsful of freshly picked cherries as we lay exhausted on the roadside!

We pilgrims meet enough people to know that there are the good and the bad from every country. Anyone who beats you to the last bed falls into disfavor. Anyone who is tired, or having a bad day, can be rude and ungrateful, yet everyone is capable of enormous compassion,generosity, and goodwill toward a pilgrim in distress, regardless of mood.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#38
falcon269 said:
I now agree completely with RocketZ. This is an inane topic
I have just taken time out for a two night break from the Camino at Moratinos and I have just caught up with the discussion on this thread. You don´t have time for long perusal of the Forum on quick (and expensive) stops in Internet cafes and locutorios.

Falcon269, you call this an ´inane topic´. Well I´m on the Camino at this moment, and I can tell you there are plenty of lightweight and sometimes quite pointless conversations in the albergues every night. That´s what makes the socialising fun, especially when it is all in different languages. And nobody gets too hung up about controversial topics. We all have a good sense of humour about it. If I start waving my arms about like an Italian and someone says I´m talking like an Italian, is that stereotyping? Is it any less stereotyping because the comment came from an Italian? Ah, dangerous territory. If you get too serious.

When I first posted on this thread, it was in recognition that this topic was already being very well-aired in the albergues, particularly by Germans. So don´t get all po-faced about it, folks: you can easily turn something very frivolous, like Mr Kerkeling´s bestseller, into something far too important.

The Germans in the albergues who I have heard occasionally discussing the subject are talking about it more or less in the same terms as the criticisms expressed by some here. If German Catholic pilgrims are expressing disappointment in the growth of the Camino as the new backpackers´fashionable stop-over on their way to the next gap-year destination, does that make them anti-German too?

There are many ways of approaching discussion, but to dismiss the whole discussion as "inane" because you disagree with some people´s comments indicates simply that you need to just switch off to a conversation that doesn´t interest you and go and join another one that does! I think the reason that the conversation has turned so pompous is that we are communicating in just one language, and possibly the most potentially pompous language of all. (Drat: I´m being prejudiced against myself... OK don´t all accuse me at once: I realised it first!)

Gareth
 
#39
gareth.
to call a book that is the german best seller, a frivolous best seller written by a comedian without first reading it , is so stereotypical!!!.
from all accounts this book is whimsical and ultimately very moving as mr kerkeling meets his god on the way. written by a man that speaks german,spanish,italian,french,english and dutch fluently, a film maker,a top ten singer ( all life is a quiz).
also as a director of "aktion courage" a group that fights againts xenophobia (mr kerkeling is gay) it starts to look like he is the most unstereotypical german ever, and i for one can't wait for the english edition of his book,so i can make my own mind up and not jump to conclusions.
also stating that the crowds are caused by backpackers on a fashionable stopover is also a tad large statement. on a slight tongue in cheek comment of my own, i beleave the extra people doing the camino is down to too many people repeating it year after year therefor spoiling for 1st timers like myself.
i hope your shins recover gareth and that you can finish your epic journey in style,a truly great walk and one worthy of respect, i may even have to make my own donation!! and as a yorkshire man that realy would be untypical.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
#40
sagalouts said:
too many people repeating it year after year...
I certainly won´t be repeating this walk, don´t worry! :wink: It´s a once-in-a-lifetime three-month pilgrimage that I can only just about manage once. Certainly never again. Some days, I just do not want to begin walking any longer. But this was they way they did it in medieval times, from home, all the way. Now I´ll know what that really means.

sagalouts said:
i hope your shins recover gareth and that you can finish your epic journey in style,a truly great walk and one worthy of respect
Thank you. That´s kind. I´ll not contribute more to this thread, however, as nobody seems to be providing any happy solutions to resolve the various anxieties on the subject: I certainly can´t, whatever I write! By the way, I suppose you realise you have just assumed I don´t read German? Luckily you´re right, so I don´t need to correct you! But there are Germans on the Camino with copies of the book and I have managed to overcome my obvious and crippling prejudices and actually speak to them... :lol: I hope you enjoy it in English when you have a chance.

Gareth
 
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