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Support brigades?


Resting my poor feet in Pamplona and think I need to let this out of my chest.
Have you notice a support brigades - mostly ladies of mature age - who drive their group from point to point on the camino, dropping them off and race over to the day's destination to secure accommodation (not the albergue - I am talking the private accom where I desire). Yesterday from Ron to Zubiri, the going got a bit tough because of the rain so most of us were quite relieved to get out of the forest and hit the hill before the down hill drop to Zubiri. A lady in impeccable walking gears (tracksuit, raincoat, walking boots, etc) was busy on her cell phone directing her husband who's still slogging in the mud back there where to go and where she has his lunch waited and his gear ready. Another group of French walkers has their lunch set up and waited at a half way village complete with table cloth. Naturally all these walkers travel light so they can make good time.
What annoys me is the support brigades snatch all the accom away from the real walkers who have to get there on our own steam. If I walk too slow and I get there too late to get my choice accom, I don't complain. It's just tough luck. But to be beaten by the support brigades is a bit much and totally unfair. I don't know how to retaliate except calling Francisco in Pamplona and engage his taxi as my one man brigade.
Or should I give it up and go home?
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Yes, give it up and go home, home being Compostela :!: Don't get hung up over that stuff, they're only hurdles that suck up energies and concentration from ur Road. Nix retaliation. So many times things like that happen to us in our lives that take our minds away from what is really important, that we lose track of our objective(s)... Keep going wichanee, live ur Camino, choose to disallow to be distracted over negativities like these, worse will be coming up, better too. How you will react to them depends entirely on u. Animo. Buen Camino peregrina, xm 8)


Mr. XM


Are you a moderator of this message board? I find it a little annoying that you respond to so many posts with inane comments. :cry:


Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2006)
I remember the sermon of our Irish parish priest once, concerning trespassing and trespassers:

"You only get offended if you choose to be offended."

Whoever said life was fair? It isn't. That's one lesson we can take from the camino, which is a microcosm of life. How we respond is ours to control.

So, as the Johnny Walker advert says, "Keep Walking".



Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2006, Camino Portuguese 2009
I didn't find xm's reply inane at all. I found it encouraging and very true. You can choose at every moment how you react to things that come up. I remember one particularly hot and trying day when I was exhausted. A group of people whizzed by me looking as fresh as a daisy. They had clothes on that looked as though they had just been freshly laundered and pressed with perfect creases in their pants and were wearing small daypacks only big enough for a camera and some water. I was thinking judgemental thoughts about them and then realized that I could do the same thing they were doing if I chose to. Nothing was stopping me from joining a group and being dropped off and picked up and having my backpack transported but I had chosen to do it my way just like they had chosen to do it their way. I realized that I could just as easily be judged by someone else who walked faster or further everyday and they in turn could be judged by someone who started farther away. There would be no end to judging. I decided that it wasn't my concern how someone else decided to do their camino. I only needed to enjoy mine.
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I don't think support groups should be able to take over accommodation above the needs of others. I'm sure they need a place to stay, but surely the accommodation in the form of refugios and albergues is there for those walking or riding the Camino, rather than those who simply hop in a van and go from place to place.

That's my opinion and I'm happy to stick with it. The Camino is for those who choose to take the path under their own steam, not by motorised transport.
Year 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
Indeed, I ran into a group of German businessmen in a similar situation with their little van, and we kept the same pace over the meseta until Astorga. However, they were very civilized about it and bought me drinks from time to time and we had a pleasant dinner in Hospital de Orbigon.

As well, I encountered several groups of picnicers with their cloths spread out and the support wagon carrying their food. Most of these seemed to be organized commercial tour groups-- an elderly friend took one of these, as she was unable to walk for long periods. However, I found that the Spanish picnic groups were very friendly, and I was twice invited to share their meals, entertaining them with my bizarre and surrealistic command of their language.

I sympathize with your position as it can be very annoying at times. However, facing accommodation discomfort is the experience of much of humanity, including millions of refugees, and I was never left without a bed on the Camino. I was furious when a Brazilian pilgrim said to me: "Don't worry, there will be a place to sleep; there will be enough to eat and it will be all right," but he was right. As well as the albergues, there are always rooms above bars and cafés, spartan but comfortable, and people often rent rooms in their houses to pilgrims.


Hi larryflo, affirmative, am one of the moderators. However, that has nothing to do with your opinion re: my posts being "inane." I appreciate your observation and will, to the best of my ability, do better, that's a promise! Please keep me posted on my progress. Buen Camino, my friend. xm 8)


Active Member
Re: XM - This gentleman has offered an exceedingly high number of very useful comments to newbie pilgrims... I think he's probably regarded quite highly, rather than considered inane.

Anyway, back on topic, no? Good.
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Veteran Member
Year 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:

Hey Larry - go with the flo and be kind to our moderators. They are the guys who sort out all our mis-posting under incorrect subject headings and help out new pilgrims 24/7.
If you have a personal comment to make - whether it is to a moderator or another member of the forum - please use the PM button and send it directly to the person you want to grumble at. Saves a lot of embarrassment for both parties.

(PS: No dear pilgrim, I am not a moderator.)


What a wonderful world!

Hi all,
Today I am right with the world, day trippers, support brigades and all.
The weather changes from rainly to brilliant sunny day and my route march song of "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains. Where is this blasted rain? In Spain, in Spain, on the plains, on the plains,etc" has to be changed to Monday morning, up with the lark (in fact it is Beautiful Sunday but then again Sunday was rainy and Monday is fantastic).

Today I forgive all of them and even offer my Buen Camino to bikers who flew pass me left right and center for the first part of the walk from Pamplona up to Alto Perdon. If you guys out there were on the walk today, what a beautiful day and what a beautiful world we are living in.
I walked slowly and stop often to enjoy the sea green wheat fields swaying in the breeze. The ascent is full of yellow broomes and purple heathers. When we stopped for lunch somewhere off the stone river (how painful tumbling down this descent) the hawthorne perfumed air made me feel so happy to be alive, fit and sane enough to carry on.

So I take it back my comment about the suport brigades and I will make friends with the French day trippers we keep bumping into each other along the route. I will leave more tips for the harassed waiters in teh next bar/restaurants we dine in and will send more postcards to friends who still think I am mad to do this trip.

By the way the hotel El Peregrino in Peunte la Reina is out of this world. For a Chateaux and Relais hotel, the rate is quite a steal.


Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
wichanee, I have spent quite a bit of time on walking tracks in various parts of Europe, and often there are many people on them. They have different amounts of time to walk and different motives. But I think their walks are every bit as valid for them as a pilgrimage is to a pilgrim.

In Cahors, which happens to lie on the route from Le Puy that forms part of the Camino, I met lots of pilgrims, even though I was staying in an ordinary youth hostel. And in some ways they were not all that friendly. I understand that when you are sharing the same kind of experience, it draws you closer together (eg I bonded well with other cyclists in the Loire camping grounds.) But it seemed that quite a few pilgrims seemed to think their way of doing things was somehow 'superior' to the tourist way. It made conversation more difficult.

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