Search 62305 Camino Questions

The Hot Air Balloon!


Veteran Member
Hi Folks,

Early on I found that there are a number of folks on this fantastic site that are knowledgeable, deeply religious, secularist, humanist…the descriptors abound! Some folks come on line each day in search of more information, say hi to old friends, meet new friends…or just view the happenings since they were last on. Just as often, there are those (myself included) that leap into a topic that “stirs the pot” or pushes one person or another’s hot buttons. Insight becomes Instruction and experience becomes exposition. In a word, the initial thread becomes hijacked!

Now, when viewing a TV program, if the show swings toward a topic I have no interest in, or it may rekindle an ember I’d rather leave smoldering…I just change the channel. If I’m reading a book, that on the face of it was say fantasy/science fiction, and the author decides to introduce a major character who’s personal habits are anathema to my beliefs…I stop reading. Sure, I might gain additional “insight”, but that’s not why I bought the book or turned on the TV. My sole intent was to be entertained. At a later date my mood might change and I’ll decide to take another stab at the book; but that’s MY choice to make.

My intent in starting this thread is to provide a place for the deeply concerned, righteously offended, highly opinionated, to go! That allows birds of a feather to flap all they want, while those that “want” to observe the train wreck can look in…or not look at all!

My suggestion is that when we feel the need to: support/defend/explain an opinion strongly held, i.e Sarkozy’s a drunk, God is a fabrication and religion an opiate, Bush is arrogant, the All-Blacks are finished in Rugby, etc…we will have a place to go. This isn’t censorship, but a choice! If you look at most threads the number of contributors are easily outnumbered by the “viewers”. So, if you feel a need to be recognized as a pundit here’s your place to go and, I’m sure plenty will follow…if only to observe.

A suggestion as to how one might advertise:

Arn wrote: continue to use the “quote” function in the original thread, followed by

THAB (The Hot Air Balloon).

If folks want to listen to you lecture they will know where to find you.

Buen Camino
Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
Arn wrote:

My suggestion is that when we feel the need to: support/defend/explain an opinion strongly held, i.e Sarkozy’s a drunk, God is a fabrication and religion an opiate, Bush is arrogant, the All-Blacks are finished in Rugby, etc…we will have a place to go. This isn’t censorship, but a choice! If you look at most threads the number of contributors are easily outnumbered by the “viewers”. So, if you feel a need to be recognized as a pundit here’s your place to go and, I’m sure plenty will follow…if only to observe.

My problem with this is that this forum is for pilgrims interested in gathering information about their future pilgrimage, reliving their past pilgrimage or following other people on their pilgrimage. I look forward to coming here for relaxing updates on Camino de Santiago, looking at newly posted photos or finding links to blogs NOT comments about Rugby or Bush. I have really enjoyed this forum just the way it is and Ivar has always kept it purely Camino related.
Arn might find that he will not get many viewers. There are plenty of other fora about for such discussions-- this one has tended to be a place for exchanging views and practical information on the Camino, one of the very few such venues in English.

In any case, I find that my views on the topics he mentions are so definitive, that I see no need to worry about anyone else's

Exactly my point! You both have hit on "why you're on the site and why you're not".

oursonpolaire wrote: Arn might find that he will not get many viewers

1. Well, there are already two!
2. It's not my site...just another Misc. thread on a fantastic forum.

He also wrote: I find that my views on the topics he mentions are so definitive, that I see no need to worry about anyone else's

So what you're saying is...that you're so closed minded...facts to the contrary can't move you off your position. Correct?

Incorrect. We are not referring to facts, but to opinions. In any case, I'll not be returning to this thread.
Best pocket guides for the Camino
Best lightweight guides for before and after your Camino, just 1.4 oz (40 grams)!

Just had to come back to check...didn't you!

Of course there are opinions here: which pack is best, which is the best refugio/hostel to stay at, what is the best way to travel in and out of Spain...all these are...opinions. That the Cathedral in Santiago was built and consecrated to St James is a fact...that more pilgrims traverse the Milky Way along the Camino Frances' is a fact...that water is better for your body than vino is a fact, depends who you're citing!

Again, welcome!
I'm sorry Arn, but I have to agree with the others above - I come to this site to gather information for my upcoming camino. I want to read information on the camino- some of the history, lots of information on how to prepare, what to take, where to stay, what to do or not to do etc. Direct personal opinions on the pilgrimmage to Santiago (as the forum names suggests)

This forum isn't really the place for "off the topic chatter" - there are countless forums on the web for 'social chit chat', or there is the PM button any of us can use if we want to swap personal chit chat with others. (Br David will back me up here - I have had several PM exchanges with him about things that are really between him and me and so I don't want to post for all to read - not because they are private, but I don't want to jam up the forum topics with our chit chat.)

I have found over the last few weeks that I'm not visiting this site as often because most of what is being posted is really nothing that is 'on topic'. (not all, but most)

I hope this doesn't offend you, I really do. :oops: but feel I need to voice my opinion seeing as it was brought up. I suspect others may feel the same as the board has gone quiet with the usual posters being part of an enquiring, informative discussion.

I understand the excitement and enthusiasm we all have for preparing for our camino. Perhaps, so that all readers have relevant info to read with new postings we could all use the PM button when we want more 'chit chat' with a fellow poster and perhaps realise that what we're chatting about may not be relevant to all the others.
Please every one, take this in the manner it is intended - kindly and supportive, it isn't meant to be a personal attack on anyone, just a gentle observation, Buen camino, Jane

I'm not offended...and you and those above have made my point.

The focus of the forum is about the Camino!

The how to's, the why one way or another...this piece of equipment..or that.

My thought was other threads...some folks (my self included) got off target. We spent a good amount of time...bringing other topics into play that had little to do with the Camino, nor the topic of that particular thread...rather we got caught up more our "personal" prejudices, fixations, et al.

THAB is a place to get that all out...without running away on another thread!

Janeh said:
This forum isn't really the place for "off the topic chatter"

Well, the Camino is a microcosm of life, so what is really "off-topic?" Check out any communal dinner at an albergue, or a discussion between a couple pilgrims on the Way? We didn't always talk about our packs, or our feet, or the menu del dia.

Instead, we talked about stuff like, "Which Lord of the Rings/Star Wars character do you identify with?" "Bush is: (enter your negative European comment here)," "What do you do back home?" "Why are you here?" "Do you have a family?" "What do you think of Beckham being in LA?" And so on.

If you want to find out Camino nuts and bolts, then one thread that plumbs the depths of pilgrim thoughts on other subjects shouldn't blow your mind. Like we say in the US, "if you don't like what's on TV, then change the channel!" :wink: But I'm sure Arn hopes you will stick around and contribute.

Arn said:
that water is better for your body than vino is a fact

That's sick, man - now you've gone over the edge of reason!! :mrgreen:

Although, it IS a fact that water is better for you...since when have either you or I done what's good for us...just because!

As a young lad...I grew up in an Italian house that believed children under the age of 7 drank water or milk. At 7 we began to get a 7 oz glass 1/2 water and 1/2 vino. Each year the vino was increased until at about 14 we had a full glass with a meal. Sadly, da law and society got into the picture and, should a youngster let it slip they get alcohol at home, and their parents give it to them, they could end up arrested. Drat!

Yes, water might be good for us...but vino IS the drink of the Gods.

Camino Way markers in Bronze
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk. Discount is taken at check out, only by using this link.
Arn said:
I grew up in an Italian house

That's funny! Chianti was the first wine - indeed the first alcohol - I ever drank, back in the summer of 2001. You see, I never touched a drop of alcohol until that point in my life (I was 34, I believe). My family has a history of problems with booze, so I stayed away from it, even while I was in the Corps. Being a Christian only strengthened my resolve, at least until that fateful day in June.

My initial brush with vino came at an authentic Italian restaurant in Portland's Pearl District. Two close friends had taken me out to celebrate, and after a great meal I decided I wanted to finally try some wine. So I asked the owner, a portly Italian man who could've popped right out of Central Casting, for a glass of red wine. "What kind do you want?" he asked. "You choose," I replied, and he disappeared into the kitchen.

A couple minutes later, he returned with a tumbler glass filled with Chianti. I sipped, found it good, and slowly finished off the glass. I was on cloud nine when we left the restaurant, and I've been into wine ever since. And even though I love Spanish vino tinto (it taught me my limits, the hard way, in 2003), Italian wine has a special place in my heart. After all, who ever forgets their first love?

Ah - you may ask, what were we celebrating? Well, earlier that day I had attended my evangelical Christian grad school's commencement ceremony, where I walked to get my 1st year Biblical Studies certificate (I went for another year to get my MA). So, I like to tell people that I didn't start drinking until I went to seminary... ;-)
Vinotinto wrote: I didn't start drinking until I went to seminary...

You were that close...I was a whisper away from going to seminary.

My buddy and I convinced each other we would become priests. Part of the drill, was that prospective seminarians visit one or two monastery's to see what it was like. We were to enter Quigley at the age of 14. Our trip was to the Franciscan Monastery. In the car was my buddie's dad, mom and between us both...his sister!

We were ushered into the refectory for a light lunch with the friars and then encouraged to walk the grounds to get in the mood. I went off as far as I could so I could be alone and really get into it. I loved the green rolling meadows, babbling brooks, lofty heavy branched pines...I was into it! As I passed one enormous pine...I heard a whisper...ppsssssssttt...Arn...psssssst Arn. I looked up thinking this was really my calling...when I heard...not up there ...down here! It was my buddie's sister. She convinced me celibacy was not for me!

Later in years...I was assigned to an aircraft carrier...(I'm trying to get back to the thread)...the priest and I were great friends and I was the lay server. As you know...alcohol is not permitted aboard US Navy ships. That said, the chaplain had a sizable stock of sacramental wine. A bottle was open for each mass, and when consecrated had to be drunk. There were times when the mass was lightly attended and, being the good lay server I was, I helped the good Father with the remnants.

Hi Folks,

Arn wrote: It's my understanding that while "commercial" lodging do take reservations…
as a matter of course..."refugios/albergue/hostels"
- do not take reservations,
- do take walking folks...before cyclists, horseback
- do not allow for "relay" reservations, i.e., someone who drives ahead to reserve a spot for a walker

One of the reasons I and, most likely, others contemplating/planning to do the Camino get involved in forums, purchase/research books, etc…is to find out not only the “ground” rules but the “practical” experiences of those that have gone before. This is not only wise, but downright critical to a successful and fulfilling experience. Some examples of research of credible resources:

- Refugios provided by monesteries, parish, town hall or Amigo del Camino organization…tend toward “true” pilgrims traveling on foot or by bicycle. Some refuges, including Refugio Gaucelmo at Rabanal do not accept large groups and do not accept bookings made in advance by leaders who arrive early with a vehicle.At busy times is given to walkers because it’s easier for cyclists to go on to the next refugio.(Source: A village to Village Guide To the Camino Santiago)
- As you get closer to Santiago…Cyclists will find particular problems as walkers are usually given precedence.(Source: CJS…Pilgrim Guides to Spain 1 Camino Frances)
- Very rough translation: No reservations at refugios (shelters), with preference given to those on foot. you're in order to wear proprietary of the pilgrim at the style traditional ( afoot , at bike or on horseback ) and which portan accreditation of pilgrim. Not itself admits reserves previas and the square standby itself they'll occupy as per van arriving the pilgrim. At function of the square standby , in the shelters itself da preference at the age of pilgrim afoot.(Source: Española de Asociaciones de Amigos del Camino de Santiago.)

Additionally, validation of a preconceived/researched “understanding” by a Camino veteran is reassuring:
Sil wrote: Your understandings are correct for state, municipal, church and some private sponsored albergues/refuges.
However, there are many privately run pilgrim refuges/refugios that do take bookings, will accept baggage arriving in a taxi and pilgrims arriving by bus.
When we were in Portomarin and realised that Finn was going to have to walk to Palas do Rei the next day (26kms) we phoned one of the Red de Albergues pilgrim refuges (Albergue Buen Camino) and reserved a room for four people.

VT wrote: Keep in mind that there are quite a few along the way - there's no way you can stay in them all on a single trip. But good ones make great memories, while bad ones can spawn interesting tales...

Cecelia wrote: I chose to walk on to Granon (another 8-10 km I believe which I knew was always a delight). There you sleep in the bell tower of the church,

Arn wrote: My sense is that the more "commercialized" albergues/hostels probably aren't my cup of tea in any case. I like the idea of sleeping in a bell tower.

O.K., so there are instances (or should I say “opportunities”) to broaden my experiences along the Camino by making a Shandy when I’m served up lemons.

Very philosophical on my part, but anecdotal references are just that…they may be valid THAT day, hour or week, but not next time. Consequently, in order to plan (is that a bad word) one needs to seek clarification.

Cecelia wrote: Maybe it's all about this: we tend to live in a rule bound society where things generally go better for us if we learn (and obey) the rules. So we hear that the rules are "such and such" and go along assuming that is the rule and everybody knows it. In fact - it may be that no such rule exists.

Therein is the problem, and it’s My problem, if there’s no rule, or even an accepted practice, then it’s a crap shoot. Fine, if you’ve unlimited time, strength or monetary resources.

Cecelia wrote: I'm not a biker but in support of them - they put on far greater distances each day than any walker and they frequently have a bit longer day than most walkers.

Yes they do, but as previously mentioned, it’s much easier for a cyclist to go another 10km after a long day, than for a walker to be told, as they arrive after a tough trek of nearly 25-30 km, that they must press on the same distance…or stay in an expensive hotel…if that’s even available.

Cecelia, if the Camino was considered equal for walking or cycling pilgrims, then the rules for receiving the Compostela would also be the same.

“To receive the Compostela walkers must go at least 100 km and cyclists 200 km. If both started from SJPP, walkers, depending on their pace, stamina, desire for rest days take 4 -6 weeks, while cyclists will need about 2 weeks on average.”

As I said earlier, I will plan as best I can those areas that I know I have control over: tickets, arrival/departure, equipment, physical fitness, etc. That’s the best I can do. When I take that first step after getting my first sello at SJPP…it’s God’s Will from then on out. And, I’m OK with that!

OH, for all you cyclists out there:

CJS wrote: And a special warning: the Spanish police are now enforcing the law introduced a few years ago, obliging cyclists to wear helmets. One cyclist (not on the Camino, as it happens) had his front wheel confiscated when he couldn't pay the €90 fine.

Always good to know the rules before you start Your Camino!

Buen Camino,

Hi Arn,
I'm throwing in my dos centavos here...

I walked at the "height" of the Camino season. I begain daily at 5;30 or 6 - my choice, I loved the early morning quiet, sunrises and walking into the day. I generally walked between 23 - 33 km per day (with a few notable exceptions - see my post on Biking the Camino Frances. I usually stopped between 13h and 15h each day. Mostly because of the heat, but also because I learned that "every km walked after noon feels like 2". Never once was I turned away from an albergue. I was traveling "alone" meaning that I began my Camino alone and although I made friends and we sometimes arrived together, that wasn't always the case. I will admit, that towards the end when I began traveling with a particular group (of whom I was the "grand dame") (read: oldest) they did often tell the hospitalero that they had a traveling companion who would be arriving shortly and would a bed be available...

The only time I ran into a problem was in Melide where hundreds of pilgrims queued waiting for the albergue to open at 13h. I sat for a few minutes and then told my companions that I refused to do this and that I was continuing on was early in the day and I was feeling pretty good... felt like walking. They decided to accompany me... and I felt guilty as sin when we got to Ribadiso and there was no room at the albergue. However, they gave us free space on the floor and other pilgrims found mats that we borrowed from cyclists who had beds. We actually got an extra mat and I gave it to another pilgrim who was making a makeshift mat of cardboard on the hard, cold stone floor.

The amazing thing is that while I could no more sleep on a floor at home than fly to the moon, I slept just fine on the floor, and woke with no back pain or any pain for that matter (save the feet). It was my own little Camino miracle.

But Ribadiso was so memorable...there was a wonderful stream, the site was phenomenal, the bar spectacular and the food scrumptious. So while I still feel guilty that Erin and Alex had to sleep on the floor when they surely would have gotten a bed in Melide, I am selfishly glad that we went to Ribadiso. And once again, I simply refused to allow it dampen my enthusiasm for the Camino - it was all part of the adventure , the ambience, if you will.

So my suggestion would be: don't plan too much... in very short order your body will tell you where to stop, where to continue. In part, your Way may be dictated by the people you meet, the friends you make or the Spirit that guided you to the Camino in the first place. Buen Camino.

Deirdre wrote:(of whom I was the "grand dame") (read: oldest)

Deirdre, I couldn't agree with you more...things happen that can't be planned for. That said, for good or for ill, I am a strategic planner with a tactical mind set (VT would jump on this). I sincerely believe, and train my folks to: "Expect what you Inspect"

I don't want to get caught up in all the minutia, honest. I've taken to heart the fantastic insight and valuable information I've gleaned at this forum. I've made great strides in trusting folks, that I don't even know, but would like to.

You can tell when you read an entry, whether what the person is saying or advocating, if the info is gleaned from personal experience, well researched, or BS. I don't mean to belittle, or discount others, but since day one, I've enjoyed reading, agreeing and, yes, sometimes "getting into it" with folks such as: Sil, VT, Johnny Walker, Cecelia and yourself.

I am becoming a living testimony that one can truly "teach an old dog...a new trick"!

Thanks everyone!

Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Arn said:
"teach an old dog...a new trick"!

Even an old devil dog! Ooh Rah! :mrgreen: Happy New Year, m'man - your Camino will be here faster than you think! :lol:

Arn said:
I am a strategic planner with a tactical mind set

So you know that any plan tends to go out the window once the first shot is I found on the first day's walk. That's the beauty of it, though...the Camino is bigger than we are. :wink:

Arn said:
I don't want to get caught up in all the minutia, honest.

In the end, all you need is a light pack, some good boots, a hot cafe con leche, a pilgrim menu with good vino, and other peregrinos. Everything else will work itself out from there... :arrow:
Continued from SELLOS

Over the past weeks, I’ve found and been a part of a remarkable number of contributors that “question” what makes a REAL pilgrimage. We cover where to start, how to walk/cycle/ride, checking in and finding no room, checking out and finding no camera and, what's our frame of mind and commitment to…something.

For the CliffsNotes crowd, here are some key observations by Laurie Dennett.

Unless indicated otherwise, the following quotes are attributed to Laurie Dennett, past Chairman of the Confraternity of St James, London, in a paper written as Bulletin no. 59, in May 1997.

although he or she may start out with no such expectation, the walker or cyclist whose aim is 'merely' to have a cheap, boozy and reasonably, comfortable outdoor holiday may be challenged more than most. In other words, people with no particular spiritual orientation, attracted by the publicity surrounding the Camino and deciding to walk or cycle for purely recreational reasons, often undergo a transformation of personal values that has a lasting effect on their lives.

Over and over, we say that's it's YOUR Camino that's important and, what YOU take from he Camino experience is all that's most important.

Motorised travellers, however sincere, are less challenged by circumstances, less
likely to arrive at that acceptance of dependence and inter-dependence that is one of the Camino's gifts to the walker or cyclist in exchange for physical effort.

There are those who may, because of circumstances send equipment ahead, that, I believe is part of the experience. As Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry, "A man's got to know his limitations".

There is also the meaningful sense of commonality that develops among people who meet by chance as pilgrims on the Camino, exhilaratingly free of the usual judgmental preliminaries. Rapid, motorised travel, and travel in large groups which are self sufficient and have their own social dynamic, usually preclude these kinds of sustained experience.

Consider how neighborhoods have even changed back home. When I grew up, everyone knew everyone. I had 25 Moms to keep me out of trouble and, another 25 Dad's that would give me a kick in the butt for being stupid. Today, we hardly know the folks next door. We live in our self contained houses which have everything. Why go outside to play, or hang over the fence and speak to the neighbor's wife. We don't hang laundry outside any more, unless it''s "dirty laundry".

(On the wall of the refugio at Mansilla de las Mulas is a notice which ends: 'And don't forget: the tourist says "Give me ..."; the pilgrim says "thank-you"'.)

When I arrive after a long wet/dry/hot day, I'm happy to have a place to clean up and lay my head. If you've paid for your experience with other than sweat, it's just not the same.

One veteran hospitalero commented after the onslaught of 1993 that the best thing the jacobean associations could do for the Camino would be to stop sending pilgrims down it.

When in 1996, I thru-hiked the entire 2164 miles of the Appalachian Trail in the US, there was growing concern that too many folks were on the trail and that we had to find a way to "limit" the experience to the "true" hikers and limit, or severely restrict access by day hikers and week enders. Well, that hasn't happened on the AT, nor on the Camino. It's 2008 and, 2010 is coming. The numbers keep growing and both the AT and the Camino retains their resilience.

We are the Camino, both at its best and worst. Let's continue to move along Km after Km, making Our Camino the best possible for us and those to come after!

Buen Camino

Arn said:

Well, it was certainly a lot boozier than I thought it would be, especially when I discovered orujo de hierbas, drank Beck's (Bock's?) beer with some Germans (I'm not normally a beer drinker), and sipped white wine with a group of Spaniards over an excellent meal of seafood (normally I stick to red). So for me, "boozy" and "Camino" will forever be linked in my mind, heart, and stomach... :wink:

Arn said:
There is also the meaningful sense of commonality that develops among people who meet by chance as pilgrims on the Camino, exhilaratingly free of the usual judgmental preliminaries.

That was the best part of the Camino for me, especially when it came to meeting ladies (at home, I'm more reserved when it comes to the fairer sex). I didn't have any torrid romances, but it was nice to have some great conversations and fun times with European women. I also met a lot of good guys that would probably be comrades if we lived near each other. In either case, it was our common status as pilgrims that greased the wheels of relationship, vs. the dividing categories of "tourist" and "native." :arrow:
Arn (and other interested parties):

Dunno how long you plan on stopping in Leon, but if you have the time and are interested in a cultural experience, you might wish to visit my Spanish friend's church. My friend's name is David Robles (he's kind of the assistant pastor), and his father-in-law is the senior pastor. Here's the website with location, photos, service times, and so on:

NOTE: I'm not trying to proselytize or anything like that, especially since I'm basically a lapsed Xian at this point. In addition, my friend's theology is more conservative than mine ever was. But he's a great guy (and his wife Loida is very nice as well). Indeed, he was the catalyst for my walking the Camino, and even for my first trip to Europe (for his wedding). The evangelical church movement is quite small in Spain, so it's a unique opportunity to see something we take for granted in the US.

Anyway, if you do happen to visit the church and meet David, say "hola" to him from his old Multnomah Seminary roomie, Erik... :arrow:
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Just a comment to no one in particular regarding what constitutes a "pilgrim". I could be mistaken, but I don't think that any of us is capable of understanding the workings of the "Spirit" (and that spirit can be any one you choose). Through reading, research and listening it is clear that people have been making the "peregrinación" to Santiago de Compostela for over a 1000 years for a variety of personal reasons. It occurs to me, that if during the Middle Ages, a sinner was told to undertake the Pilgrimage as a penance, he might not have been in the greatest frame of mind since it would not necessarily have been his choice to undertake such a venture. So did that make him less a pilgrim than say, another sinner who undertook the Pilgrimage by choice to atone, or a person who chose to make the pilgrimage in supplication or thanksgiving for a gift?

I mentioned in another thread (and in a few PMs) that I was not the most forthcoming Pilgrim when it came to answering the "why" question that so often comes up in Camino conversation. I hedged, fibbed and skirted the question primarily because the answer was not simple and I didn't want to bother other Pilgrims with a long and involved story. I also wanted to "vacate" my "normal" life for awhile and allow my mind to rest from all the decisions, worry and thinking that goes on on a regular basis. And so, I chose to appear to be a "secular" walker out for a jaunt.

I would imagine that those who came to know me more intimately on my Pilgrimage may have guessed that there was more to it than I let on...simply by the number of Churches I visited, the Masses I attended and the time I spent alone in quiet prayer. But they were gracious enough to be discreet and didn't press the issue.

I was frequently peeved when I encountered bad pilgrim behaviour on the Camino. But I'll return to how I started... who among us knows how the Spirit works? To me this forum is a perfect example... we have those who are dreaming, actively planning, currently walking, recently completed, distantly completed, and many times completed the Camino. We continue to share a comraderie and an experience that is/was meaningful on a variety of levels. To quote the hospitalero in Tostantos - whose name regrettably I have forgotten, but whose sage advice I have not - "arriving in Santiago is not the end, but only the beginning."

Buen Camino,
To quote the hospitalero in Tostantos - whose name regrettably I have forgotten, but whose sage advice I have not - "arriving in Santiago is not the end, but only the beginning."

I see this quote as drawing attention to the pilgrimage as the commencement of a process of transformation of the pilgrim. On arrival in Santiago this process has started and is far from complete, but the pilgrim may have acquired the necessary nourishment to continue the process.

Just a thought

I believe you have the right of it!

Finishing in Santiago, or even Finisterre isn't like finishing a race; but more like arriving at the top of a hill you've toiled up for hours and finding another in the distance, just as tall, or taller. Instead of becoming dejected, you realize you've just succeeded in getting up this hill, you dig deeper and move on to the next challenge.

Buen Camino,

Hi AJ,
The hospitalero at Tosantos, a wonderful, kind and gentle man, is José Luiz. This photograph was taken at the dinner table in Tosantos with José - in the blue jacket - singing the French Ultreia song. You might also recognize the hospitalera from Granon (I think her name was Meli) in the yellow jacket. They came over to visit and spent the evening with us. I also have a short video clip of this scene and the singing.
It is here, in the small attic chapel in Tosantos, where pilgrims are asked to read from a piece of paper with a request for prayers left by other pilgrims. Very moving.


  • Jose Luiz Tosantos.JPG
    Jose Luiz Tosantos.JPG
    51.8 KB · Views: 788
Great picture, Sil!

Yes, that is he. I remember sitting around that table having a wonderful conversation with my compañeros. José had everyone singing, as I recall! The singers practiced all day - right through dinner preparation! :) for the prayer service that evening. He also arranged for us to go up to the Ermita that evening and we were able to spend as much time in the chapel as we wanted. It was a spectacular structure unlike any I had ever seen!

We had a different hospitalero in Grañon. His name was Roger and he was from near Ponferrada. He was wonderful as well.

Thanks for the photo - and the name to jog my memory!
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Let's put the Templars in perspective. They answered the call not so much to regain Jerusalem but rather to push the invading Moslems out of Europe and back to the Arabian Peninsula and, by the way, resting control of the Holy City from them. No, the Templars didn't fight the Moslems in Austria, but the Crusades did force the Moslem armies to withdraw back into the Middle East. The Templars, originated from the best families in Europe, usually the son that wouldn't inherit, and was caught between becoming a Knight or a priest. They had the best of both worlds. As knights they had the ability to fight and as a warrior monk the education to understand writing and banking. In a nut shell...they were damn good at what they did.

OK, enough on that. The author uses the Templars as his route march from Europe to the Middle East...sowing flower petals of peace as he goes along. He's bought into the theory that the world would be a better place if we could just get along. Now, that would be a great accomplishment, if it were possible and, he didn't blame the West and, more particularly President Bush for all the world's ills. His reception along the way by some very shady characters is fairly funny, if it weren't so tragic. He's been reduced to a poster child for a radicalized form of Islam that's hell bent on making the world totally Islamic and bent to their will. Oh, they'll speak of God as the real center of their belief, but that's only pablum for the masses. Power is what they seek and the sword the desire to hold over our head.

Back to the letter from the military guy to the pacifist. And, oh by the's the politicians that start wars...not the army.

The letter basically divides folks into three groups: the Sheep, the Sheep Dog and the Wolf. The sheep won't do anything to help themselves but gather in a nice tight group where they feel safe. They don't like the sheep dog, because he runs around barking and forcing them to go where they don't want to go. They just want to eat grass and shit.The sheep run when the Wolf comes around and bleat and bleat and bleat. The sheep dog will sacrifice itself for the flock and sometimes it does just that. The sheep that survive, continue to bleat, eat and shit and, if it weren't for the sheep dog...they would die! But they don't care...that's why they're sheep.

Arn said:
The letter basically divides folks into three groups: the Sheep, the Sheep Dog and the Wolf.

You should watch Team America: World Police for a somewhat different angle on these categories... :wink: :arrow:
Vinotinto wrote:You should watch Team America: World Police

Saw it when it first came out. What a hoot!

I met the little bug eyed dictators father many years back. Gave me goose bumps. From other sources close to the current rat..he's more insane than his dad and scary to be around. You never know if you're invited to dinner...or are dinner!

I liked the scene where Blondi and...oh well you know!


Most read last week in this forum

Heads UP ON A SCAM. Joe got an email this morning that appeared to be from one of his reservations on booking dot com. It looked quite official. It was asking him to confirm his name, phone number...
A pet peeve, particularly as a regular Camino walker who starts early and goes to bed early. Increasingly, walkers are packing their gear in crinkly plastic bags and both packing their bags late...
Per Sky News France and particularly Paris is in the throws of a massive bed bug infestation. The country is trying unsuccessfully to bring the situation under control prior to large sporting...
I’m an Alaskan girl who’s most comfortable in 55-60 degree weather, and I have been excitedly planning my Camino for October-November, thinking that I would be able to stand the temps in Spain...
It seems to me that I am seeing more and more posts lately from people who have “lost” various items, from the crucial like credencials to the peripheral such as hats. We have seen posts about...
Hi all - I don't know where else to post this, but this looks like as good as any forum to do so - So, now that I have my EU passport, I'm curious to know whether there are any 'perks' (other...

How to ask a question

How to post a new question on the Camino Forum.

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2023 Camino Guides