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Try this!

We would like to share our experiance. This summer we did the camino with a tent, and cooked only by ourselves. The thing is that we planned to do it as much cheaper as possible, so we took an extra light tent (1,7kg) and during the camino slept only there and albergues "for donations" (about 8 times) not spending money on albergues - it`s really very cheap! (the most beautiful thing about it is that we didn`t sleep in campings, but put a tent wherever we wanted- on the top of the hills, in the woods, fields - views are really wonderfull!!) About cooking - we bought all the products (mostly in supermarkets) and cooked on a small oven (cooking on fire food is much more tasty=)) and time after time asked for kitchen (offcourse for free) in albergues. So the whole camino from Latvia to Finisterra and back home (with plane tickets ) for two persons cost only 750euro. THIS is real camino! Try this!
 
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Annette

Member
Well sounds like you had a journey spending very little money.

...Please excuse me for saying this... sleeping in albergues(donations) does not mean it is free... if you paid nothing it does not mean it was cheap... in only means you were being cheap...
Imagine if everybody avoided leaving a donation in those albergues, just to save money... - then there wouldn't be any of those albergues...

Glad you had a wonderful journey... but please next time... stay in your tent only or please do leave a donation when you stay in the albergues... OK!?
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
The Camino is walked for all types of reasons, but primarily it remains a pilgrimage and thus is walked by the majority for spiritual reasons. If the sole reason to walk is to do so as cheaply as possible, one must not forget what is morally or ethically correct. To receive the charity of others when you can afford to pay is not honest and it is not in keeping with being a pilgrim. It comes very close, if not exemplifies, swindling from good people along the way.

If one cannot afford to pay because of a poor financial situation, then talk to the hospitaleros and let them know before you sleep there you cannot pay. Ask if you can provide a service to them to compensate for your inability to pay. Should they agree and allow you to work, work as hard as you can, be honorable in your efforts, and go beyond their request if at all possible. In doing so, you bless those that assist you and you bless yourself for gaining a greater understanding of being pure in spirit.

I must agree with Annette and go further, this is not something to be emulated by others. It is sad when one walks the Camino with these objectives because of the harm they cause others and the harm they cause their own soul.

I know that may sound sanctimonious and I apologize in advance, but this is not acceptable. A donativo is not a place where you pay nothing or the least you can pay, but it is a place where we should pay what we can afford i.e. if we can pay 20 euros a night, do so for no other reason than to assist other pilgrims who cannot pay much or those freeloaders who abuse them.

Michael
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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I agree with Annie and Michael,
There is a difference. I tried to explain this to a pilgrim who thought that donativo meant free.
I asked him:
"Who do you think will pay for the water you use, and the electricity you use or the rental on the building, cleaning materials to scrub the toilets after you have been to them, or the floors after you have walked on them? Who pays to have the sheets on your bed washed?"
If every pilgrim gives a small donation the albergues can keep offering a bed to pilgrims. If you encourage other pilgrims to stay for free, there won't be any donativo albergues in future.
DONATIVO = donation.
GRATIS = Free.
There is a difference. This is not 'real' camino - it is 'cheap' camino.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Two quick thoughts.

1) Spain has a high forest fire hazard in the summer.
I hope you were extremely careful with your "oven" and didn't light any campfires.

2) The fellowship of pilgrims has been a very important aspect of my caminos.
Sharing a meal and wine with strangers on the same journey each day is wonderful.
It culminates in the Cathedral in Santiago when you greet each other and say "We did it!"

David, Victoria, Canada
 
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FatmaG

Active Member
I just try to imagine all those pilgrims with all their tents along the camino...
flattening the grass, flowers and vegetation, 'toiletting' everywhere (with or without paper), plenty of fireplaces leaving burnt areas on the earth...
How would the camino look like after lets say just one month....?
 
mmm...yes offcourse you are right (all of you), we think that you didn`t get our idea right, we mean "cheapest'" as "not commercial". Camino is spiritual experiance (you are absolutly right) and should be as less commercial as possible. That what we liked about albergues donativos, is that there we felt that hospitaleros don`t think about earning, but try to share their own experiance, to help and give inspiration to continue the camino and there we are ready to share all what we have - money, help in cooking supper for all the pilgrims, to do some housework, buying food for all the pilgrims, etc. So the atmosphere there is different.

Sleėping in a tent, being so close to nature developes responsibility for all the actions, we start to appreciate all what nature gives us, we start to think how to save it, keep it clean , because we depend on it and it makes us care more obout environment. And taking into consideration toilet paper on each step of the camino, we don`t think, taht all the pilgrims is not "toileting" during the day and only use toilets in albergues =) So we don`t think, that those who make the camino with a tent damage environment more then other pilgrims during some hours walking.
Many pilgrims said, that there is some kind of "racing" on the camino because there are many pilgrims and not enaugh beds, so startimg early in the morning everybody runs to get faster to the albergue, and after 2-3 o`clock nobody walks, we think that every step should be done "with a spirit", without hurry and rush, at 2 o`clock when everybody already finished walking, we had dinner and continued walking in the evening, and it was the most beautiful time for walking, we could feel the spirit of the camino exactly in the evenings, finishing walking with a sunset or even with a stars. For us the philosopy and spirit of the camino is in moving forward being in hormony with all what surrounds you, and we really got that feeling of hormony.
We also think, that pilgrimage doesn`t mean "travelling with comfort", sleeping in comfortable albergues, eating in restaurants, camino should be some kind of "suffering" without that comfort we have in our everyday life. For us that is real camino.
 

Annette

Member
Well Cheapest pilgrims...

It still does not make it right to stay for free in albergues donotivos... - You see, everybody has to help out in those albergues. That you do the dishes... or clean the toilets... does not pay the rent, electricity, water etc. Unless you have as Michael mentioned spoken to the hospitalero, and told them "We are not able to pay"... - you shouldn't stay for free... it is freeloading.

You see... everytime you are camping in the woods, on a field etc... you are camping on someone land/property. EVERY piece on land here in Spain is owned by someone... and you have camped without permission as from what I read in you posting you have not asked the landowner wheter they will allow you to camp there or not. Though all land is owned by someone the law states that if you need to cross this land to get from A to B you can cross it... but the law does not mention... "if you feel like camping - you can".

So I still stay with my words... you are just being cheap.

Avoiding campings where you have to pay (very little money to stay) and to avoid leaving donations at albergues... is simply freeloading. It is not pilgrimage. You can actually compare it to stealing. Pilgrims does not steal.

100 years ago, 300 years ago... etc. pilgrims were given shelter. - today in our moderen society you pay for shelter on a journey like this. You pay little money and get a roof over your head... the comfort you find in hotels... not in albergues.
 

Frank1

New Member
Hi,

I have done the camino several times. More and more people see it as a cheap form of tourism. Or they take now and then busses or taxis.... and take the beds in the albergues of those who are walking.

If you want to use a tent, why don't you go to a camping. You never asked any one if it was allowed to set up your tent. You never asked permission. I wondered that the guardia civil didn't penalized you. Can you do this in your country, camping without asking permission. Can I come to your garden and set up my tent like that without asking you ?

You didn't want to follow any rules and you just want to do what you like. Is that the spirit of pilgramage ?

Greetings
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
oh lighten up - they've had a good experience on their pilgrimage. It wouldn't work if everyone did it this way and it wouldn't work for everyone doing it this way. There's room for everyone.
 
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:) Well...we see that you still didn`t get the idea...it`s ok, different people, different experiance, we are glad that you enjoyed your camino, for us it for sure was something special.

Greetings
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
Dear Cheapest,
There may be a language problem and some of Cheapest statements may be misunderstood. I think I understand what you intended to say and what your objectives were...a pure experience that you felt was more akin to the experience of several hundred years ago. It made me think of some of the principles taught by St. Francis. However, your problem was in your explanation of how you walked.

As you can tell, many of us have a deep respect for the albergues and the manner in which the system works. We feel strongly donativo albergues, in particular, are abused by some pilgrims. There is a wide chasm between doing the Camino simply and doing the Camino as cheaply as possible.

If I understand you more correctly, I would encourage you to change your name. You are not a cheap pilgrim, but a simple pilgrim. When you encourage others to walk the Camino, please do describe in ways the show your respect for Donativos and the system itself. Many people camp, you are not alone, but care should be made to always seek permission where possible. The fact that really care for the environment should also be emphasized. Does this make sense to you?

We who are committed to the Camino seek to honor it. I think you do also and thank you for sharing.

Michael
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I am trying to renew my views on this subject, as I´ve been pretty noisy about cheap pilgrims in the past. Cheapos are, thankfully, quite rare, and the vast majority of generous pilgrims more than make up for them. But the few I have met are remarkable!

Example: Tonight I have a houseful of people who arrived late and had a big dinner... we made a single roast chicken stretch to feed seven by using tomorrow´s soup supplies and this afternoon´s salad. These pilgrims obviously cannot pay money for the resources they are using. They don´t have any money. No proper hospitalero will turn away a pilgrim just because he is poor.

But cheap is another thing. These are very nice, polite people, mind you. They arrived and asked to stay, and we said yes. And so they sat in the shade and drank the wine and smoked and chatted about how "horribly commercial" the Camino is while we prepared the dinner. They ate heartily, washed their laundry, etc. But they did not offer to help cut up vegetables or wash up the dishes or wipe the table or sing a song or say grace, even.

Most of these kinds of pilgrims say "thank-you" politely, but that is all. They do not help out -- I think they see themselves as a sort of Guest at a free hotel, not as fellow workers in a shared charitable enterprise. I should not have to give you a job to do. You should step up. Even if you are tired!

If we´re lucky they will finish their eggs in the morning and put their plate in the sink before they leave. Maybe they will think we are nice people, or "camino angels" dedicated to "the Camino spirit," whatever that is... But I am not thinking saintly thoughts about them. I am thinking they are,( whether rich or poor), cheap bastards who´ve taken advantage of me.

These people are the real cheapskates, pikers, skinflints, and lowlifes of the camino. They consume what the camino has to offer, satisfy their own needs, and leave behind nothing to benefit anyone.

One of my neighbors calls pilgrims "locusts." I think he´s referring to these particular few.
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
A thousand years ago, no one collected a salary, no one had savings, and life was low-tech (no heating bills, no truck deliveries, no telephone, etc.). To use the "charity" offered at that time to justify freeloading today is a perversion of logic. All the pretext of being ecological, experiencing the Camino as did the ancients, and avoiding commercialism cannot disguise the very obvious fact that someone has taken advantage of someone else. As to the implication that private property rights are exploitation, I would point out that the nobility of yore would have summarily executed a peasant who violated his property. Today, the Guardia Civil probably would just issue a warning. There are some benefits to moving out of the dark ages it would seem, but one of them is not a free vacation on the Camino.
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Rebecca,
add "bloodsuckers", "parasites" "body lice" to your list of descriptions.
These are people who are taking more than they give. (if they give anything at all.)
This is not a sustainable system.
 
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KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
cheapest pilgrims said:
we think that every step should be done "with a spirit", without hurry and rush, at 2 o`clock when everybody already finished walking, we had dinner and continued walking in the evening, and it was the most beautiful time for walking, we could feel the spirit of the camino exactly in the evenings, finishing walking with a sunset or even with a stars. For us the philosopy and spirit of the camino is in moving forward being in hormony with all what surrounds you, and we really got that feeling of hormony.

I have a friend from France who walked from Burgos to Santiago as a young person with some friends way back in the early 70s. Then there weren't many places to stay along the way, and her group slept out under the stars most nights. (One of the issues with staying in modern albergues, that tend to have 10pm curfews, is of course that we are walking to the 'field of stars' but most of us rarely get to see the stars.) My friend has many special memories of her very simple Camino, that are quite different from my ones full of much more modern comfort.

People have become upset on this thread about the way you didn't pay anything for the donativo albergues. But you have said a lot of other things about simplicity that we could all usefully ponder.
Margaret
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Interesting and righteous responses towards those whose economy is not as wealthy as Western Europe's, and towards those whose first language is not English. It seems that this was not taken into account - mercilessly so. Their comments on albergues have been carelessly misread; they didn't say they avoided donations, which would have been wrong.

To those who have never tried "wild camping", it's highly recommended; if a medieval pilgrim couldn't find a roof, that's precisely what he/she did -slept by the track or in the nearest bit of woodland, seeing a sunset or the starry sky, if lucky. You can't buy that experience, and nowadays if you can't pay for it, it must be unacceptable. Notions of the sanctity of property rule supreme today, in a bizarre distortion of values. It's chillingly clear how some say we must be mindful of land ownership, and be careful not to encroach there, for this is sacrilege. Carlyle or Marx spoke of a dreadful "cash nexus" between people, where everything is reduced to the level of commerce - even sleeping.

No, I'm not excusing cheapskates. Someone else above has well defined the difference between broke and cheap.

A long time ago, I met a lovely bloke in Santiago, an older man, an Englishman who had almost nothing by way of resources. But he didn't tell us that, as he was ashamed; we had to work it out, and with that understanding, the "cheapskate" jibe did not apply. Terry was supported by his fellow pilgrims, and rightly so. He'd made it through Spain on a pittance, which comfortable people could never have done; it was utterly beyond their understanding. They would have preferred that he stagnate in a bleak English town, not walk the Camino, not have his experience. An experience which was not to be bought.

Some of the responses above have made me fearful of what we have become; hard as nails, stony hearted, insular. The Good Samaratin is long dead of starvation and lack of money; or imprisoned for sleeping in a hedge.



:arrow:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I recently returned from some weeks out on the Camino with my van offering first aid, English (!) tea, coffee and lemonade .. sometimes little cakes as well. The main offering of the ministry was laughter - at least, there was a lot of laughter. There were occasionally tears as well - some people were very emotional ... the whole thing was done 'donativo' and if anyone ever asked 'how much' I would either say 'nothing' or 'your tiniest small coin' or similar.
Some people put in a lot, some put in little or nothing at all - to me it didn't matter (how could it matter?) as I knew that there would always be enough to allow me to continue.

You can call it trusting in God - you could also say that it is merely statistics - known as Napoleon's Hat because of the graph shape of the spread of responses - with Donations .. 72% will give an 'average' amount, 12% will give more, 12% will give less, and 2% will give much too much and 2% will give nothing in a selfish way. You cannot move the percentages in such a way that the 'bad' 2% disappear .. this is the case for anything and everything that you look at with humans, so it is pointless becoming angry about these things (though, of course, someone has to be in the utterly negative 2% expected)

What perhaps is more important here is that what happens with threads such as these is not that people offer their opinions but that people reveal their inner selves for others to see, the usually hidden person that they really are.

As for sunsets - how many sunsets did you watch on your Camino?

Beautiful aren't they ............
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
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I found a few things a bit off-sides when I first read the post.
1) They call themselves 'cheapest pilgrims'
2) They only slept in albergues 'for donations' and not spending money on albergues was really cheap - implying that they didn't leave any donations.
3) They put up their tent wherever they wanted. They don't mention ever asking for permission?
4) They bought products and 'time after time' asked to use the kitchens in albergues - 'for free of course'. Why should they use the kitchen for free? Could they not have left a small donation for the water, electricity, etc.?
5) The title of the post was 'Try this!"

What are they telling other pilgrims to try?

Try sleeping in the donativo albergues for nothing, use the kitchens for nothing, pitch a tent wherever you want to. Then you too can have a true camino experience.

Mmmmm??? I'm not so sure about that.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
There's a thread from last year called "Sleeping Outside" - very interesting.

The downside is that you miss the pilgrim culture in the refugios etc. But then again, you dont hear others snore and bang doors and switch on lights at 5am. "Yes, make my day".

I suppose the quieter routes are best; tho' I found the VDP punishing.

:arrow:
 
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ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Caminando said:
There's a thread from last year called "Sleeping Outside" - very interesting.

The downside is that you miss the pilgrim culture in the refugios etc. But then again, you dont hear others snore and bang doors and switch on lights at 5am. "Yes, make my day".

I suppose the quieter routes are best; tho' I found the VDP punishing.

:arrow:
Did you mean this thread?
el-camino-frances/topic3912.html

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar
 

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