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'The Spanish Route' - A New Route from Sarria?

Do you think an alternative route is needed from Sarria to Santiago?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 66.7%
  • No

    Votes: 5 33.3%

  • Total voters
    15

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
Checking the forum I have noticed that a number of people comment on the dramatic jump in numbers starting at Sarria.

Almost every year the number of pilgrims/hikers that start in Sarria dominate those from any other location on the Camino Frances and this, I believe, causes the problems which are brought about by a lack of sufficient facilities needed to service these walkers.

Is there any support for a new route, that starts in Sarria, to ease the congestion and to offer a different walking experience from the existing route?

Not looking for volunteers but would like to see if there is any support for the idea at this stage.
 
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C

Castilian

Guest
The Xunta de Galicia has signalized something like 30 (small) variants of the French Way in Galicia that may help some way to low congestion. But they are just small variants, not full stages.

Is there any support for a new route, that starts in Sarria, to ease the congestion and to offer a different walking experience from the existing route?

Some food for thought: Why do people start in Sarria (and not so much at towns/cities like Ourense, Tui or Ferrol that also qualify to get a Compostela but are located on caminos other than the French Way)? Are people interested in having a different walking experience? Will people be willing to walk a brand new route or will most people be willing to walk the traditional route? In Ponferrada, any pilgrim (specially those concerned with the Sarria crowds) can leave the French Way and continue to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno and the last part of the Camino Sanabrés but that option is used by very few pilgrims... Could it happen the same with a new route from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela if it was created? What would think the camino towns and villages located between Sarria and Santiago de Compostela if a new route was created bypassing most of their towns/villages?
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
Or start in Lugo, which is such an interesting town, that you could easily spend one whole day taking it all in before walking.
Unfortunately the trail picks up the Francés in Melide for the last two days walk before Santiago. A possible by pass to arrive in Santiago without touching the Francés would be the answer! I must check this idea out in google earth!
 

soozansings

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
June 2nd (2016)
Or start in Lugo, which is such an interesting town, that you could easily spend one whole day taking it all in before walking.
Unfortunately the trail picks up the Francés in Melide for the last two days walk before Santiago. A possible by pass to arrive in Santiago without touching the Francés would be the answer! I must check this idea out in google earth!
Good ideas for a first-timer? Walking from Ponferrada.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I suspect, from direct observation and experience, that Sarria is preferred because:
  1. It has a complete support services, shopping, and everything a just-starting pilgrim could desire. The economy thrives on this.
  2. Sarria has rather good train and bus connections, at least to the rest of central Spain.
  3. It is literally 111 kilometers from the Plaza Obradoiro in Santiago, the huge plaza in front of the Cathedral with the formal mileage marker. This is measured from mojone, just before the convent at the top of the long steps. Someone removed the long-extant marker there. I have a photo of where the 111 km "mojone" (mileage marker) USED TO BE. You can see where the concrete mojone was ground down to the surrounding base.
As such, Sarria, even if it is only one or two kilometers less than another route, is the nearest you can get to the destination, still have all the support you need, the transport you need, and still qualify for the Compostela. Human nature being what it is, and this being literally the path of least resistance or effort to accomplish receiving the Compostela, this town is the logical starting point for a large tranche of pilgrims. It is simply convenient.

For those starting in France, Pamplona, or otherwise "down the line," arriving at Sarria is anti-climatic. It is just another place on the longer, more traditional route to get to Santiago. The soiled and weary pilgrims who have walked weeks to get to Sarria are in strict contrast to the fresh, new, just starting-out pilgrims who arrived at Sarria to walk the final 111 km to Santiago. Sometimes, the interactions are humorous when the "newbies" engage in conversation with the long distance pilgrims.

I have no doubt that if Ferrol, Ourense, Tui, or Lugo had the combination of infrastructure and transportation options that Sarria has developed over the decades, that these towns might be more popular starting points as well.

The final point I would like to make on this question is that the final stretch from Sarria is also a rather moderate hike, as Caminos go. There are no dangerous or particularly challenging sections. The hills are low. The route markings are perhaps the best anywhere. The daily distances are comfortable. Lodging and meal options all along the route abound and are convenient. There is just a general absence of the hardships that pilgrims experience BEFORE arriving at Sarria, or on other routes. So, and again, human nature being what it is, the Sarria to Santiago route is the relatively "easy-peasy" route to get to Santiago. THAT I believe, is why it is so popular. If it was any easier, it would be an amusement park attraction...

I hope this helps.
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
Why do so many start in Sarria?

I think the answer is that most of them are Spaniards who want to do the minimum required to get a Compostela and they want to walk on the 'real' Camino route.

To highly religious Spaniards the Compostela is a remission of sin and some apparently believe that it offers them a ticket into heaven. If you believe that then I think the congestion on the Sarria - Santiago section is understandable.

Some numbers: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/2013-statistics-for-the-camino-de-santiago/

The page also shows that 70% take the French Way and that 49% of all pilgrims are Spaniards and around 26% of Spaniards just do Sarria - Santiago. That's a massive influx starting in Sarria.
 
N

nathanael

Guest
Why do so many start in Sarria?

I think the answer is that most of them are Spaniards who want to do the minimum required to get a Compostela and they want to walk on the 'real' Camino route.

To highly religious Spaniards the Compostela is a remission of sin and some apparently believe that it offers them a ticket into heaven. If you believe that then I think the congestion on the Sarria - Santiago section is understandable.

Some numbers: https://www.caminodesantiago.me/2013-statistics-for-the-camino-de-santiago/

The page also shows that 70% take the French Way and that 49% of all pilgrims are Spaniards and around 26% of Spaniards just do Sarria - Santiago. That's a massive influx starting in Sarria.
Lance, I guess the possibility of me going to heaven is a no since I do not go for a compostela. I haven't for the past 3-4 years. For me the Camino is an experience each time even though have done some routes a number of times. Plus I think the Spaniards notion of receiving a compostela is bad theology at most.
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Lance, I guess the possibility of me going to heaven is a no since I do not go for a compostela. I haven't for the past 3-4 years. For me the Camino is an experience each time even though have done some routes a number of times. Plus I think the Spaniards notion of receiving a compostela is bad theology at most.

Would you please elaborate " bad theology " regarding the Spaniards notion of a Compostela?
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
nathanael - I agree completely. I am not religious but am a student of Christian theology and agree that there is no piece of paper that will supply remission of all sins committed over ones life.

SabineP - I hope this helps answer nathanael's point

There were, in the distant past such things. There were called 'indulgences' and could be purchased from your local priest or the traveling catholic circus's that would travel around the country selling indulgences to religious but gullible people. The more you could afford the less time you would spend in purgatory. Hand over a lot of money and you didn't even have to go to purgatory: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indulgence#Late_medieval_abuses
 
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C

Castilian

Guest
Why do so many start in Sarria?

I think the answer is that most of them are Spaniards who want to do the minimum required to get a Compostela and they want to walk on the 'real' Camino route.

If you really believe the above quote, I think you've answered your own question. If people want to walk the real route, they won't be interested in walking and alternative one.

To highly religious Spaniards the Compostela is a remission of sin and some apparently believe that it offers them a ticket into heaven.

I'd like to know the source of such statement (if there's any). The Compostela isn't a remission of sin(s) and there's no Spanish Catholic with a decent knowledge of Catholic doctrine that would say such thing and, of course, a Spanish Catholic who is highly religious is supposed to have a decent knowledge of Catholic doctrine...

If you believe that then I think the congestion on the Sarria - Santiago section is understandable.

Who (how many people) believes that?

Anyway, regardless of what you believe about the Compostela, in order to be congestion due to a believe about the Compostela, it has to be many people with the same believe and, definitely, most people in Spain don't believe getting a Compostela means a remission of sins. BTW, I'm yet to find a Spaniard who believes that getting a Compostela means a remission of sin(s).

FWIW, some figures: in Spain, less than 15% of the people that believes in one religion (Christian or other) go every week to a temple (take a look at http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religión_en_España for some data) and roughly 25% of people says they are Atheist or unbelievers.

Plus I think the Spaniards notion of receiving a compostela is bad theology at most.

There isn't a Spaniards notion of receiving a Compostela.
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
I'd like to know the source of such statement (if there's any). The Compostela isn't a remission of sin(s) and there's no Spanish Catholic with a decent knowledge of Catholic doctrine that would say such thing and, of course, someone who is highly religious is supposed to have a decent knowledge of Catholic doctrine...

Who (how many people) believes that?

Anyway, regardless of what you believe about the Compostela, in order to be congestion due to a believe about the Compostela, it has to be many people with the same believe and, definitely, most people in Spain don't believe getting a Compostela means a remission of sins. BTW, I'm yet to find a Spaniard who believes that getting a Compostela means a remission of sin(s).

There isn't a Spaniards notion of receiving a Compostela.

It seems the Catholic Church will disagree and tell you that doing the Camino will give you remission of sin: http://santiagodecompostela.co.uk/papal-indulgences/ https://caminotosantiago.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/on-jubilee-years-indulgences-and-the-compostela/ https://www.virtualtourist.com/trav...Do-Santiago_de_Compostela-Cathedral-BR-1.html to quote: "The Holy Years are the years when the Saint James Day, July 25, falls on Sunday. Now you have to wait until 2021 to get another chance. And that chance is worth to use it because Puerta Santa sometimes also referred to as the Puerta del Perdon or Doors of Pardon. That means all pilgrims who have passed through these gates would received remission of sins."

You also say: "If you really believe the above quote, I think you've answered your own question. If people want to walk the real route, they won't be interested in walking and alternative one." The alternate route could be for those who are not that bothered traveling the 'real route' because we/they are not there for the remission of sin?
 
C

Castilian

Guest
It seems the Catholic Church will disagree and tell you that doing the Camino will give you remission of sin

You stated:

To highly religious Spaniards the Compostela is a remission of sin

and I replied that the Compostela isn't a remission of sin(s).

Now, you talk about a different thing: to do the camino. One thing is to get a Compostela and a different one is to do the Camino. To get a compostela doesn't mean remission of sin(s) (as I already said on my previous post (number 11) and as it's stated on the second link you provided on post number 12). To do the camino by itself doesn't give you remission of your sin(s) (either), you have to meet other requirements too (and to get a Compostela isn't among those requirements).

https://www.virtualtourist.com/trav...Do-Santiago_de_Compostela-Cathedral-BR-1.html to quote: "The Holy Years are the years when the Saint James Day, July 25, falls on Sunday. Now you have to wait until 2021 to get another chance. And that chance is worth to use it because Puerta Santa sometimes also referred to as the Puerta del Perdon or Doors of Pardon. That means all pilgrims who have passed through these gates would received remission of sins."

That's just a comment that someone made on that page. Sadly, that person isn't properly informed. To pass through de Puerta del Perdón doesn't provide by itself remission of sins. In fact, remission of sins can be gotten without passing through the Puerta del Perdón.

The alternate route could be for those who are not that bothered traveling the 'real route' because we/they are not there for the remission of sin?

You are assuming that everyone who wants to walk the real route wants to make it because they are interested in getting the remission of sin(s). I think reality is way different. People are interested in walking the real route for a variety of personal reasons.

People that walk the camino to get remission of sin(s) (BTW, I'd like to know how many people is that if you could provide the figures) are (or should be) aware of the rules to get remission of sin(s) and there's no rule stating you have to walk out of Sarria (in fact, there's no rule stating you have to walk the camino). In other words, walking out of Sarria is as valid as walking out of, for example, Ourense or Ferrol. Therefore if they walk out of Sarria is due to another reason(s).
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Careful brethren, let us not lead ourselves into a breach of Rule 2.

Meanwhile, there is no such thing a real route to Santiago (though there may be remnants of the Caminos Real to be found). The Pilgrimage is to Santiago, there is no requirement to follow a designated route. There are routes marked by little yellow arrows, the presence of Albergues and, usually, a linear rubbish tip. This is for the convenience of Pilgrims not their slavish adherence.
 
C

Castilian

Guest
And the sources of these three links are: someone called Neil; an expat living in Spain who works as a language teacher; and people writing on www.virtualtourist.com. Please note: bloggers, even pilgrim bloggers, as well as writers of magazine articles and guidebooks are not the Catholic Church. Even movies may lead you up the wrong path.

And here it is what the oficial web of the Vatican says about indulgences, just in case @Lance Chambers was interested:

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/tribunals/apost_penit/documents/rc_trib_appen_pro_20000129_indulgence_en.html
www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P3I.HTM
www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c2a4.htm (if you don't want to read it all,read from 1471 to 1479)
 
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Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
I stand corrected - getting a Compostela does not give remission of sin. It is then the completion of the Camino.

That changes nothing that I have said about why the Camino is what gives the remission. The consequences are the same I'm guessing.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
Careful brethren, let us not lead ourselves into a breach of Rule 2.

Meanwhile, there is no such thing a real route to Santiago (though there may be remnants of the Caminos Real to be found). The Pilgrimage is to Santiago, there is no requirement to follow a designated route. There are routes marked by little yellow arrows, the presence of Albergues and, usually, a linear rubbish tip. This is for the convenience of Pilgrims not their slavish adherence.

I think we all understand this but for a lot of people I believe that they feel that the current 'Camino' is the 'real' pilgrim route or as close as they can get to it.
 

Lance Chambers

Lance Chambers
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria (2015), SJPdP (2016), Burgos (2017), SJPdP (2018), Burgos (2019), SJPdP (2020?).
I asked if anyone was interested in a new route from Sarria to Santiago to help reduce congestion. But this post has gone in a direction that, it seems to me, is veering well away from that purpose and it starting to tread on a lot of toes.

Can we leave it now?
 
C

Castilian

Guest
I stand corrected - getting a Compostela does not give remission of sin. It is then the completion of the Camino.

Read again the first link I provided on post number 17 because you didn't read it properly.

I think we all understand this but for a lot of people I believe that they feel that the current 'Camino' is the 'real' pilgrim route or as close as they can get to it.

How many people walking out of Sarria because they feel that's the real pilgrim route (whatever that means) will be interested in walking an alternative route? If there's a lot of people that walk out of Sarria because they feel that's the real pilgrim route as you (seem to) suggest, that would be the key question to know if an alternative route would really reduce congestion on the real one. But, maybe, the first step should be to check how many people is really walking out of Sarria because they think that's the real pilgrim route (whatever that means).

BTW, There isn't a current Camino. There are several caminos (Francés, Primitivo, Norte, Inglés et cetera). If you want to read it from an official Catholic source, take a look, for example, at the web of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela: www.catedraldesantiago.es/en/node/484

I asked if anyone was interested in a new route from Sarria to Santiago to help reduce congestion. But this post has gone in a direction that, it seems to me, is veering well away from that purpose and it starting to tread on a lot of toes.

Can we leave it now?

Yes but let me suggest you to not make comments based on prejudices and/or personal believes about what others believe/think/say when facts are available.
 
C

Castilian

Guest
I'm referring to point 8 in the link you provided on "Works of piety or religion". It is my understanding that, in this context, a "pious pilgrimage" does not have to be done on foot and it does not matter how long it is or where it is started, is that correct?

I'm going to give an answer because you asked me directly and I think I can provide you some useful info but, please, let's respect the OP's request on post number 20 and don't make any further questions and/or comments about subjects unrelated with the OP's question about support for a new route starting in Sarria. For any other/further questions, let's open a new thread or use the PM feature.

My apologies to @Lance Chambers for this off topic post. Please, excuse me and understand I'm just trying to being helpful with other poster who addressed a question (see paragraph above).

Read:

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/migrants/documents/rc_pc_migrants_doc_19980425_pilgrimage_en.htm

www.vatican.va/jubilee_2000/docs/documents/hf_jp-ii_doc_30111998_bolla-jubilee_en.html (mainly point 7)

www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/oessh/ad/oessh-pellegrinaggio-misericordia_en.pdf

http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-p...cuments/hf_jp-ii_let_30061999_pilgrimage.html

http://w2.vatican.va/content/france...esco_bolla_20150411_misericordiae-vultus.html

and draw you own conclusions.
 
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cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Well what an interesting conversation! I think the answer to "Why start at Sarria?" is that its "on" the traditional Camino and yes it is that "easy-peasy" walking.

Last year I rode my bike and I have to say I was "blown away" by the crowd as I rejoined the Camino, a few km east of Sarria, after riding from Pamplona-Triacastela via Samos. It was like I was riding in down-town Madrid. Next year I will walk the France and I will be looking at an alternate Camino route from O'Cebreiro and I am indebted to Anna and a number of others who have suggested alternate trails. Thanks Lance for starting this thread (I will ignore the religious aspects). Cheers
 
C

Castilian

Guest
Next year I will walk the France and I will be looking at an alternate Camino route from O'Cebreiro and I am indebted to Anna and a number of others who have suggested alternate trails.

May I ask what's your alternative camino route from O Cebreiro?

I know about the new variants signalized by the Xunta that I quoted on post number 2 but they are just more or less short variants so not really an alternative camino because most of the route doesn't have a signalized variant. Biking pilgrims can always design their own route using minor roads but for walking pilgrims it isn't that easy.

An alternative to reach Santiago de Compostela would be to walk the Camino de Invierno from Ponferrada. However, few pilgrims use that alternative what could be an evidence showing that the existence of an alternative route doesn't necessarily mean a (significative) lower congestion on the most well-known route.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
May I ask what's your alternative camino route from O Cebreiro?
Still to be worked out - more research. Yes I am aware of the route out of Ponferrada, but I would like to walk this section via Villafranca to O'Cerbeiro. If it means taking a bus; back tracking then that's ok. So I guess its a case of "watch this space".
 
C

Castilian

Guest
Still to be worked out - more research.

Ok, keep us posted, please!

Yes I am aware of the route out of Ponferrada, but I would like to walk this section via Villafranca to O'Cerbeiro. If it means taking a bus; back tracking then that's ok.

That's an option. You can walk till O Cebreiro and take a bus back from Pedrafita do Cebreiro (roughly 4 or 5 kms away from O Cebreiro, you can walk it, take a taxi or take the morning bus that runs daily except Sundays and public holidays) to Ponferrada.

www.monbus.es for bus from O Cebreiro to Pedrafita do Cebreiro
www.alsa.es/en for buses from Pedrafita do Cebreiro to Ponferrada.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
The Xunta de Galicia has signalized something like 30 (small) variants of the French Way in Galicia that may help some way to low congestion. But they are just small variants, not full stages.



Some food for thought: Why do people start in Sarria (and not so much at towns/cities like Ourense, Tui or Ferrol that also qualify to get a Compostela but are located on caminos other than the French Way)? Are people interested in having a different walking experience? Will people be willing to walk a brand new route or will most people be willing to walk the traditional route? In Ponferrada, any pilgrim (specially those concerned with the Sarria crowds) can leave the French Way and continue to Santiago de Compostela on the Camino de Invierno and the last part of the Camino Sanabrés but that option is used by very few pilgrims... Could it happen the same with a new route from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela if it was created? What would think the camino towns and villages located between Sarria and Santiago de Compostela if a new route was created bypassing most of their towns/villages?


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