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The Camino rush

Hola !

I just got back from my first week on the Camino, just a teaser for my five next week in September, going to Santiago.

The start was kind of hard until I said good-bye to my dear friends, finally realising that I had to walk in my own pace and tempo. Then I loved it. I think that is a key thing for enduring all those days of walking, walking in the tempo, pace and length you feel like, and not feeling like you HAVE to get as far as fast as all the others.

In fact, the one thing that dissapointed me at the Camino, was what I soon came to call "the Camino rush". "Everybody" getting up at four, being the first to pack their bags, the first on the road, the first to the next albergue, the first in the shower, the first to wash clothes, and the first to sleep. Isn't that the same stress as we have in our busy daily lives ? Where is the time to reflection, meditation, religious thinking or whatever else spiritual experiance people are looking for ? Or is the Camino to many people just another form for marathon ?

Hopefully, noone gets offended by my prior words in this post, but I hope to get some respons about what my fellow pilgrims think about this.

For whatever reason and way people are walking the Camino, I wish you all a buen Camino, and I wish to send my best wishes and love to the people I met along my way, that touched my heart in so many and different good ways.
And thank you for the good advices I got from reading all the posts on this forum.



I havent started the camino yet (aug/sept this year) but i can offer what i know. I have backpacked throughout usa and seen many folks in wilderness settings. What i believe to be happening is the Pack Mentality. Put a bunch of relatively anxious humans, anxious for food shelter and cleanliness, and watch them walk the trail. Its only a matter of time before groups are formed friends are made and people hike faster or slower if someone is not liked. I bet its a combination of all these things plus more reasons i dont know of. People walk in large groups/packs to cope with the pressure they put on themselves. When in reality most people dont know what to do with such "freedom" so they impose stipulations on themselves. When all one really needs to do is follow the little inspiration in their mind to lead them. Over in the US a big big phrase is "Hike your own Hike!" HYOH ;) Go forward and do it they way you want! go ahead and take a year to hike the camino.. go 1km a day... whatever you want. you dont get a cookie for being fast and you wont get reprimanded for taking your time. Just enjoy it while you can!

Just go at your own pace and try to enjoy the experience. I walked with my husband and the slow pace gave us quality time together that we would never get back home. We treasured that.
You'll probably only do this once, so make the most of it and don't get caught up in the 'rush'.



New Member
Hi Liv-Marit;

I absolutely agree with you: Walk the Camino the way YOU want! I did the same a week ago, making time for reflections, observing the nature, smells, sounds etc. No need rushing along the paths missing the Magic of the Camino. In Pamplona, passing through the University area, a teacher asked if the Magic of the Camino had hit us (he was surprised Norwegians were walking the Camino). It is magic - but you have to let it come to you, and that includes a "don't rush along the path" dimension.

Understand you will return in September. I will return myself to continue my walk but have not yet decided when.


PS: Send meg en e-mail, via denne siden, vi kan utveksle noen erfaringer DS
(All you other peregrinos - sorry this for this particular language)
Interesting Post. The kind of mad rush you describe every morning, is what I've spent my working life doing - NOT - what I want - for a hoped for quasi spiritual / relaxing experience.
I'm tentatively planning to go April/May next year but even with a relatively early departure such as this wondering which route to choose. THe Camino Frances clearly being the MOST popular.
On the other hand I do want to meet "Some" other pilgrims - but not to be engaged in the type of mad rush every morning you describe!



Active Member
Mad Rush

Joe and I have already made a pact that we will NOT get caught up in the Mad Rush you describe on our Camino starting September.

We have loosely planned our trip, going so far as to identify those towns/cities where we believe we'd like to spend more than one night. Other than that, we've allowed 2 extra weeks at the end to account for "whatever" might inspire us. If we finish early, we'll simply drop into Portugal as tourists, or maybe we'll even walk.

We're carrying lightweight sleeping bags, lightweight pads, and a small bag of dried fruit/nuts just in case we don't get beds, so there's no stress to make it to the next refugio.

If we have to sleep outdoors, so what?
If we don't get a shower one night... so what?
If we don't eat one day, so what?

We'll fast and pray and eat a feast next day.

More than anything, I want to experience the peace and quiet and slower pace of this pilgrimage.I want to pay attention to sights and sounds and smells and feelings that get lost in the Mad Rush of modern life in the United States. I want to hear frogs and birds and rippling water and wind through the trees. I want to smell the heat off of the berry bushes, the cool air when you cross a river, and good strong Spanish cafe! I want to see nature, history, and how other people live. I want to meet pilgrims from other countries, kindred spirits, and adventurers. I hope to hear Gregorian chant and to practice my Spanish.

I'm hoping NOT to have to hear a lot of traffic, radios, television, Bush war drums, or cell phones ringing.

And for those 4 am, bag-shuffling, loud whispering, unthoughtful, self-centered waker-upers.... I'm bringing a slingshot!

:::cackling maniacally as she runs down the halls:::: :twisted:


Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
Liv..and others,

It's not easy NOT to get caught by the ratrace because you don't know what to expect that day and everybody has the books with the amount of beds in the several refugios.
My experience was to make a etappe-schedule which was different from the stages in the book: there are so many places to sleep at the CF!
So don't sleep in the "normal" places which are in the guide-books but skip the great cities (and refugios!). I still have some "bad' memories of the refugio in Astorga as an example ( I now know there's also a little one in Astorga when entering the city but I took the "building").

Best solution IMO: take the Route del Norte: much more challenging,heavier, beautiful and....very few pelgrims in May! No problems with the ratrace :D



Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany since 2003. 2018: Finish Levante + Zamora - Verin
The last one out the door

Hello! I have been one of the last people leaving the Albergue most of the mornings the four springs I have been walking the Caminos, usually between half past seven and a quarter past eight. This because I want to walk my own Camino. This year on Via de la Plata we also brought a sleeping mat. Beeing the last one out of the Albergue and bringing this mat, helped me calm down. Few people behind and few to reach and your "bed" with you, if necessary ... and ear plugs! And Paulus advice is a good one.

All good wishes for your Camino. ... og en liten hilsen fra Vestlandet. Bjørg


Active Member
As I've said before I'm kind of dreading the 'camino rush' too. It would be a pity if the whole experience would more or less result in the same stress we've got in our usual life. But luckily there seem to be alternatives, as others have pointed out here: skipping the best-known albergues, sleeping outside, etc. So I try not to worry too much and just let the things come ...

10 more months to go! :)

Buen camino,



Active Member
My first few days on the Camino, I went like a bull at a gate, much to my regret. It's a physically demanding thing to do and if you set off quickly, you'll either hurt yourself or miss the bits that make the Camino what it is.

I love it because I get to meet some great people, bonds are created with people of all nationalities, you get to see another country from a totally different perspective... and it's considerably less fraught.

Yes, there's a chance you mightn't be able to stay where you intended, that's a downside. However, when this happened to by walking partner for the day and myself, we struggled on through the heat, up a heck of a hill and onto the next town, it hurt, I was dehydrated, I was getting grumpy, but... The reward came when we found ourselves a nice little place to stay which was cool, clean, had a lovely bar and some fantastic locals.... We'd not have seen this or even stayed there had we been the early morning sprinters!

There are always positives from the negatives :)
Camino Rush

I'm leaving for the Camino tomorrow - walked Roncesvalles to Burgos last summer, and am walking Burgos to Santiago from now until early August.

I think the key to avoiding the Camino rush is staying of the big cities. Instead of staying in places like Zubiri, Najera, Burgos, go to the smaller towns. These albergues may have fewer beds, but there will be a very small number of people going to these towns. This will get you off the "main rush" and you will then be hitting different towns than most of the other people are.

A second thing that can help is to go earlier in the summer, or before or after the summer. The Camino really picks up in July, but it is much slower in May/early June (and not as hot) and in September/October. Finally, a non-Holy Year is invariably going to be less crowded than a Holy Year.
Hello Liv,
I was so relieved to read your words. I haven't even begun my walk and one of my major concerns is being caught up in a potential "community competition" of "getting to the end" rather than enjoying the journey. I know I tend to have competitive tendencies and in this case I hope to rally against my tendencies. I am seeking the opportunity to meander when I feel like it. I hope to travel alone - smell the smells, feel the road, feel my blisters and above all else not look beyond the tip of my nose. I agree with you when you say that setting "paces" is too much of what we all tend to do in our daily lives.

However, for some individuals, I can understand that being first - and setting a pace, is their challenge. I can respect that. But, for me .. this journey is all about surrendering to the road. It's not something that comes naturally to me but, I am going to give it the best that I can.

Enjoy the rest of your journey!

I walked Frances this past fall, and the race was there. But I just had to choose not to be a part of it. Some people raced to get a bed, but in doing so, they were creating a competition. Miguel wants a bed at Javier's expense. I reminded myself that i Was NOT there for a bed. I had not come to the Camino for a bed, so i was not going to sacrifice enjoying the beauty, pausing to pray and reflect, etc. in order to sleep. About 6 times I slept on the floor. 4 of which in an albergue, once at a Parish building the local priest let us stay in. once in a municipal gym they opened for us. I reallly think you have the right menality Liv. One of the lessons I learned from the Camino was the importance of pausing, taking things slowly, soaking things in. I also think your extra two weeks is great. You will not have to rush. and if you find that you make it to SdC early, of course--you can travel! Buen Camino, peregrinob
camino rush

Hi Liv

I noticed your comment regarding people getting up at 4 and the general marathon approach to thej pilgrimage. In your own experience is it really that bad/competitive?
I agree with you completely re. time for reflection/relaxation etc...and i for one don't relish the idea of having to rush or get up so early in the morning to start walking.
I shall be arriving in sdc on 4 th aug, travelling to sarria the next day and begin to walk back from there.
I can't wait !
Buen Camino

the rush

hi, i can only speak when i did the trail may/june. I don't consider getting up at 4 or 5 a "rush". People get up early for many reasons, some wanted to cover 35-40km a day because of limited time, others wanted to beat the heat. i loved watching the sunrise in the morning, so i was usually on the road between 6-6:30am.Very FEW people Ran for BEDS.
Perhaps in july and august one may need to stop earlier to get a bed, but hey if they are full, then consider staying in a hostal.

Nately i disagree with your statement about very few people staying in the smaller places. At the end of the day, these smaller places were full too.
I chose to get off the beaten path (big towns) to enjoy a culture experience. i wanted to stay in the churches and monasteries , also the smaller places usually have dinner where we would all sit together.
Hi there

Judging from my experience a few years back, I think different people will always approach things differently. There are some people who approach the camino and getting shelter for the night competitively. But I think it's fair to say that not everyone treats it like this so perhaps to describe the experience as a "rush" is a little exaggerated.

I totally agree that getting up at 4am or 5am is not always a sign of competition but just common sense as it really is hard walking in the heat.

However, I do believe it's an accurate description of the last 100 km stretch, which many people seemed to treat as a tourist excursion more than anything else. A lot of the good spirit I'd experienced among pilgrims I'd met earlier on the walk seemed to be lacking. Maybe it just takes more than 100km to get into the spirit and leave our daily ratrace behind.

One thing's for sure, you make your own camino. You go at your own pace and you go as far as you can. I'm an anxious soul by nature, but I found that when I stuck to these principles, everything else took care of itself (including a place to bed down for the night).

Whatever your pace or style, buen camino!!
Hi all pilgrims

I am glad to see that so many of you have posted your meaning on this topic ! I can't wait to get back on track - one month left !!!!!!

If getting up early will mean better time to think and take in the environment along the way, I'm all for it. Of course it is also wise to stay out of the hottest hours of the day.

And I don't think that everyone that gets up at 4 in the morning does it to win the competition of the beds in the next albergue.

Still, the "rush-hour"-factor was present, and it was a topic that was discussed along the way. I think that the most important thing is that everyone is "for themselves" on this trip, and must make it their camino. As long as you are true to what you feel that is right for you.

I spend all this years vacation (5 weeks) on this trip. That means that I cannot afford to get home exhausted, because I have worked all year prior to my trip, and will work the rest of the year when I get back. I need this trip to be mentally relaxing, and to me it is very important to not get caught up in any rush, either it's there or just in my own imagination.

Take care, all past, current and future pilgrims.

Liv :)


Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
The rush

Well, here's the thing - you really don't want to get caught up in the 0400 rush. On the other hand, if you've met wonderful friends that you want to stay with, you have to make certain plans to start off at the same time along the way. It makes for a little bit of an anxiety-provoking dilemma.

We walked the Frances last year with the most wonderful, dear friends (that we met at day 2!, and stayed with all the way to Santiago, and afterwards to this day). Some of us were slower, but we generally all kept the same pace and ended up at the same alberques every night.

It was stressful, however, to have those folks up at 0400 with their headlamps on, rustling through their packs, getting ready and heading out into the pitch black of night! They were anxious for a bed at the next stop!
We really tried hard to understand and accommodate them and not be irritated. We tried very hard to just keep our own pace, concentrate on each little miracle along the way (there were millions!), and basically take in the entire experience.

It is really hard to avoid participating in this dynamic. You have to make peace with yourself and accept that yes, you may not get a bed at the alberque you want. What's the worst thing that can happen? You get a space on the floor of the church, or some other building.... We never had to go back or forward when there weren't any beds. There was always some other alternative available for us if we were open to it.

So I guess that's my message. Be open to every single opportunity that comes your way. You have no idea what treasures and miracles that may lie behind it.

Buen camino

lynne and john
Dear Lynne and John

That was a truly beautiful post. It seems things have become much more competitive since I walked the camino in 2003.

I'm going to print your post and keep it with me as I travel to remind me if things begin to get a little too "rushed".

I'm determined to do this at my own pace and I think you're absolutely right - the worst that can happen is that you sleep on the floor (or outdoors).

And as for the miracles and the acts of human kindness I experienced along the way, I cannot even begin to count them...

Buen camino

I'm planning to walk the Camino next Sring and had thought of walking at least 15 miles (about 25kms) a day, but after reading all of the wise words in the attached replies I am now going to take each day as it comes! If I want to put my feet up one day and watch the world go by - I will.
Thanks to you all. :D :D
Hola Liv
I totaly understand where you are coming from on this.
I am goind the Camino (SJPP to Santiago) in September/October and intend to take my time and take a rest day here and there. Granted I have the luxury of time cos I won't have a job or anyother commitments to go back to, but even so I think it is really important to savour the experience. I see people up on the Downs near where I live - they're all rushing about, powere walking, jogging and mountain biking etc. - there is no way they can possibly appreciate the environment and the landsscape. Do they even realise what they are missing out on? I just love to walk and take my time and enjoy the countryside for what it is - a quiet, levelling place away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Buen camino
Sarah :)
fast track

Deborah, you mentioned you hope people didn't have cell phones. when i did the trail in may, it was a rush to plug in digital cameras or cell phones. many people do text messaging. i found this to be most disuptive.
Don't forgot, some people only have a small amount of time for holidays , therefore they are up early to cover as much ground as possible. i met some that did between 35 and 40km per day. i found 25 just right for me.
to each his own.dawn

I met a Spaniard my third day on the Camino and he told me to "Despathio". Take my time on the path. I couldn't get better advice as I really had not left my busy life behind, I took it with me. Several days later I came to a city and while walking "despathio" thru the city I realized that ,I walked differently than the city people, I had become a Pilgrim.
i agree with you, take your time

I totally agree with what you say. I just take my time with everything. Never worry or panic. I think nothing of stopping on the way to work to feed the ducks. You look at all the mad rush and wonder what it is all about.

The Camino not only slows you down but changes your outlook on life. Things are just not worth getting stressed over.

the more laid back the more capable one is of better reasoning, understanding of life.

When I was on the Camino, and I'm going back to Spain to finish end of the month, I just got up when I awoke and never planned anything. Just had a general destination but as previously said, just savoured the beautiful scenery and wildlife, beauty and stillness. Something that stands in my memory was watching 2 giant storks take off from a field and fly around each other in counter circles. I spent an age just watching this, just me, the heat the beauty of my surroundings. Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
O Cebreiro-Santiago (2006)
SJPP-Logrono (2008)
Logrono-Burgos (2009)
Burgos-Leon (2010)
Ponferrada-Santiago (2013)
Hi Liv, you make a very good point indeed! I am setting off from O Cebreiro in less than 2 weeks with a group of friends and some of us have been reading a book in preparation. It is “Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life lessons from the Camino” (Orbis, 2005) by Joyce Rupp. She makes just the point you make and much more besides.

I recommend this book to anyone: it is a truly profound read, and very moving. It's written in short chapters, filled with anecdotes and wise reflections on her 38 day walk with a soul friend which she did for her 60th birthday 2 years ago. I feel much better prepared for having read it.

Best wishes! Simon

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