A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

Camino Forum Donation

Villafranca Manifesto: Camino Future?

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Important things happened this weekend at Villafranca de Bierzo, where the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago met for its first big forum. About 100 people who live and/or work on the Camino -- some of them the original arrow-painters -- gathered to discuss the biggest problems facing the camino today, and to agree on some possible ways to preserve the pilgrimage path and experience while the path continues to be commodified and sold as a "tourism product."
Here is the outcome, a rough draft for sure, ideas and plans we will follow up in coming months. It is hitting the fan pretty hard here in Spain, and we are distributing it widely via pilgrim forums, websites, etc. to get as much comment as possible. Please have a read (it is attached here, in English and original Spanish.
Have at it!
 

Attachments

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
I love, and live for , these moments of doo-doo / fan interaction. I also live and hope that the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago can help to make a difference.

Perhaps the next time this forum is asked to recommend the "best" Albergues, we should suggest " its the one you are sleeping in tonight", and the "best" Meson is the one that is open on a dark evening in the *£$€hole of nowhere and that "why doesn't somebody?" is because nobody did, and how come you didn't?

I wish the FISC well, I offer it the eternal hope of the dispossessed and those of us who never owned anything but the road.
 

hampshire!tim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Ingles (2014), Finisterre (2015)
There's lots of good stuff and the intent is strong - I agree the camino should be 'protected' and supported.

I am not sure about identifying the 100km pilgrims as touristic/lightweight/less serious vs a more dedicated variant. Having just returned from walking the Ingles route from Ferrol, with a strong intent and seriousness, and accompanied by someone doing their first Camino with a strong religious/personal agenda, it is clear that distance is not the issue. If someone only has 1 week available, walking from Ferrol or Sarria or elsewhere should not mark their experience or devotion as lesser.

Equally having trudged the Frances last year and considering the Via de la Plata for next year, I understand the feelings of the longer distance pilgrim on this issue.

I don't know the answer, but it would seem to be in elevating and recognising the commitment of the long distance pilgrimages, not undermining the achievement of the shorter ones. But judging the purity of anyone's endeavour is a dangerous and slippery slope.
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
Perhaps the next time this forum is asked to recommend the "best" Albergues, we should suggest " its the one you are sleeping in tonight", and the "best" Meson is the one that is open on a dark evening in the *£$€hole of nowhere and that "why doesn't somebody?" is because nobody did, and how come you didn't?
YES!!!
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
@Rebekah Scott, I can almost sense the frustration the authors were feeling. That and a level of parochialism seep through the text. While I think I understand the motivations behind some of the broad themes, I don't think the detailed proposals are all workable and sensible. For example, it is one thing to have pilgrims sign an agreement to respect the values of the camino, but it appears meaningless when there is no practical way of enforcing that agreement.

Similarly, increasing the distance on the basis of what seems to be merely anti-Galician sentiment seems to be an emotional response, and will be treated as such. More constructive measures to promote the full Camino Frances or other longer routes might have been more valuable and acceptable proposals.

It appears to me that some more thought could have been put into the questions 'How will we make this work?'and 'Who is going to make this happen?' before putting some of these ideas into a manifesto.

Perhaps some of this comes from the way the document has been translated. My Spanish skills are not good enough to see if the meaning in the Spanish text is carried forward, but turns of phrase like 'Credentials shall not be issued indiscriminately without ...' imply that credentials can be indiscriminately issued if the conditions that follow are met, don't they?' I know that won't have been the intent, but it is the logical outcome of the words!
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (2013/2014)
Via Podiensis, Camino Francés (2015)
Camino del Norte (2017)
Very good that people got together to discuss the modern issues on our beloved Camino. I wonder if changing the distance to obtain a Compostela would help though. People are cheating already, they will probably only cheat more. Next to that, for some of us walking 'only' the last 100 km is a real challenge. Why not encourage and reward 'true' pilgrims? For example:

- By adding the point of departure (good idea)
- By making alternatives to the crowded last part of the Francés official (the Camino de Invierno for example)
- By not applying the rule of 'two stamps a day' on the last 100 km to pilgrims who came from far
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Aren't two issues getting confused? One is maintaining the Camino as a pilgrimage route in a way that supports weary pilgrims. The other is getting a Compostela. I get a sense that some people feel that their own Compostela is diminished by ones received by others. Honestly, that is a personal problem, and no one can help you with it.;)

Maintaining a support structure that is becoming overburdened may mean limiting the use of some facilities. Government and church can do that, but organizing private support components to exclude classes of pilgrims seems a bit extreme to me. Providers should be able to individually decide who they will accommodate. If they want to accept backpacks, vegans, reservations, tourigrinos, or only devoutly religious Christians, perhaps they should be allowed to. There is plenty of infrastructure for travel agencies to book tourist pilgrims in hostales, hoteles, and pensiones. There is almost plenty of infrastructure for sweaty pilgrims looking for snorers. If that segment needs to be shored up, that may be a worthy enterprise for collective effort. Messing with the Compostela is just too arcane for me to care; it is a scorecard of very little importance. I would be OK with charging 50E for one, and offer it to anyone who shows up the the vicinity of the Cathedral. It could become quite profitable, if that is the goal.:)
 

cher99840

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2017 Camino Frances SJPP-Santiago
2015 St. Olav's Way Oslo-Trondheim
2017 VdlP Seville-Merida
I understand the motivation and applaud the effort, but I believe that stemming the tide of tourism on the Frances is nigh impossible. Hollywood has spoken and people have listened. Perhaps in time, the legions will move on to a new "accomplishment".
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I thought the section on signs was interesting. Currently signs are a real dog's dinner. All those large EU signs at the edge of towns or where a road is crossed. All those 2m high signs warning cyclists that in 50m the path crosses a road. So obtrusive. Then there are the times when there are yellow arrows all over everything, even painted on the ancient tree in Triacastel. It's a fine balance - enough but not overkill. But the last thing I would want is uniformity.

Maybe the route is too easy now. Maybe there should be fewer signs so that pilgrims have to interact with local people and ask the way more often?
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
So some of us who can only walk 100kms for whatever reason and who use private accomodation to enable our pilgrimage are somehow second class. Thankfully we will walk a final Camino next year before some of this actually is implemented.
I thought that the Certificate of Distance was aimed at recognising those who wanted the actual distance recorded. The religious Compostela depends on the recipients attitude and fulfilling that 100kms, which happens to be in Galicia - not any particular branch of the Camino. Concentrating on the nature of 'pilgrimage' rather than' hike' might be better if trying to counteract the 'tourism' mentality.
Who are we to judge who is a pilgrim and who is a tourist?
Thanks for publicising this Reb, but it makes me sad.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
Rebekah -- First -- thank you! I am a relative newby getting ready to make my second pilgrimage this coming summer, and am so glad to see that this effort is underway. I agree with many of the comments so far -- those that propose or comment on specific ideas as well as those that worry about the workability of the plans.

I do not like the idea of limiting compostelas. I walked into Santiago on Ascension Eve in 2013 without realizing what a big deal that would be! (Dumb American!) Anyway, I went from walking a relatively peaceful April Camino to walking with hordes of tourists into the city. To make mattes worse, I contracted a severe stomach flu and was very sick at Ribadiso and Arzua. As I weakly pushed on to Santiago, I often felt totally overwhelmed by the other walkers and like they would happily push me off the path to get by me! But also in the group starting in Sarria were the German daughter and her 80 year old father walking to realize his dream of a compostela. We met them in the albergue in Barbadelo and walked with them to Santiago. I don't know how you sort things out. My compostela is mine. I know what it means. That is all that matters for me.

Luka points out the developing and making official some of the historic alternate routes for the last 100 k would help. I love this idea. I have been following posts by peregrina2000 and others as they write about some of these alternate routes.

Finally and most importantly, Falcon269 suggests more concerted efforts to organize private financial support for maintaining the infrastructure of the camino. I want to underscore this. I would love to financially support the Camino. Right now I do this through my donation to this forum and my contributions to American Pilgrims on the Camino and the Confraternity of St. James. I would give more. The camino was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I want it to be there for others.

Thanks so much for your work on this project.

Liz
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Thanks, guys.
A couple of comments:
This is a bunch of ideas, a guideline. It does not purport to answer all the questions. It is the statement of which questions we want to handle first, and a few ideas on how to get started. It may not meet the classic definition of a Manifesto, but if you could see the people who put it together at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, you would see why.
No one in any way says pilgrims coming from Sarria are second-class.
The point is, people walking from Poland should not have a Disneyland on Saturday experience on their way in to the city of St. James -- and neither should the people walking from Sarria! Getting rid of the mileage requirement, and adding the place of departure would recognize everyone for their achievements, small or large.
If parts of the doc are judgmental, so be it. You gotta stand for something, or you will fall for anything.
 

Houlet

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2014
Via de la Plata 2015
Camino Sanabres 2015
Camino Norde 2017
I cannot argue with any of the content.

My only comment on qualifying distance is that maybe a persons ability should be considered.

I walked from SJPdP this year fairly easily but for someone less fortunate than myself Sarria to Santiago could represent a much greater achievement.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
You gotta stand for something
La “Compostela” se concede sólo a quien hace la peregrinación con sentido cristiano: devotionis affectu, vel voti pietatis causa (motivada por la devoción, el voto o la piedad)

I am not sure that is the current criterion/attitude!
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
I understand that the essence of Manifesto is preservation the Camino and cultural heritage and "
proper behavior and cooperation on the trail and in the pilgrim albergues ",
, and not so much in Compostela (who, when, and why it gets ....), preservation of "the spirit of Camino".
Does it really matter how many kilometers? each pilgrim, effort to do its best, when they have already decided on this route
for the majority of pilgrims is Compostela probably important, but if not before, but on the way grasped that other things on Camino are more important - beauty, peace, freedom, meditation, cooperation, meeting yourself and meeting others, feel the universe,......This is the "internal" Compostela. "external", on paper it may contain a starting point - for those for whom this is very important.
But the essence of Camino is not a race - for kilometers, for bed ....
it is necessary to make sense of form, which will NOT promote competition
 
Last edited:

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
That is the subject of the Compostela, and you are quite right; the only judgement that counts is the Pilgrim Office/Cathedral which issues it. Quite different is maintaining an infrastructure for the struggling pilgrim. The two do not have to be intertwined.:)
In reality, for the religious pilgrim, Judgment belongs to God.
 

david g

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
A lot of questions but not a lot of easy answers. As for myself, I don't really care if someone did less miles than me but still gets a Compestela. I know I did the entire route and that should be all that matters. I have more of a problem with catering to those who don't want to face the struggles, but instead want an easy walk with nothing required of them. (They are the ones you won't see posting on the forum simply because the Camino will have meant nothing to them. Their loss.) Most likely what will happen is the Camino will continue to overcrowd and become so popular that it will lose some of it's novelty, which in turn will result in negative feedback about it. When this happens the "non-traditional " pilgrims will move on to the next cool thing and those of us who like the quiet, the introspection, the camaraderie and the walking will get it back.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
But we hear from Him so rarely
Without omniscience it might not be possible to know if you are the only one not hearing from God;)
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(10,11,17), Vasco(12), Salvador(13), CP(13), CN(14), Madrid (16), Mozarabe (18), VdlP(19)
First, I would applaud the group for taking the time to address the needs of the Camino.

Section 1. Your well intentioned desire to clearly explain the passport to everyone prior to the beginning of their Camino’s, imo, will be difficult and immeasurable. There are just too many starting points and means to get your passport.

I like some others have mentioned, believe your group would also be best served separating the Compostela issue from these other items.

Section 2. The ten bullet points are all wonderful ideas. I would also believe the group has given thought to the difficulty of achieving these values (how, who, funds, political aspect, time to accomplish etc). If you are just looking for comments on the work product, the document is fine,imo, with the one noted exception above regarding the Compostela. That said, I would suggest you prioritize these items (difficulty to achieve) based on criteria similar to those mentioned above. After prioritization (most to least difficult), I suggest you attempt to implement the least difficult item. I have always found that accomplishing, even something small, adds energy to the overall process.

The same would apply to Historic legal designation and way-marking

Section 3. “Tourism and Pilgrimage” How do you intend to Urge, Initiate and support these values outlined? How will you measure your successes/failures?

Section 4. “Hospitality and Welcoming Pilgrims” I see your attempt at a certain level of standardization in the process. To be successful, you will need a process and also a means to measure your success.


This document was put together by a group of well intentioned folks who love the Camino. The goals you intend to achieve here are worthwhile. That said, the tough part of any plan is the implementation. There is an old saying that I am sure you have all heard. “When all is said and done, there is usually more said than done”.

I wish you well in your endeavor and if there is some way I can participate and help, please ask and I will attempt to oblige.

Ultreia,

Joe
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Perhaps I would be less disturbed if the 'manifesto' was addressing the needs of all the routes, which actually have similar problems, and not just the Camino Francés. Leaving the Compostela requirement out and including all routes for so many of the other points would make a huge difference to attitudes and maintenance of historic places everywhere the Caminos pass.
Otherwise it could become like the various requests to re-route the Camino for local financial gain and disregarding the historic (and modern) input already in place to support pilgrims without profit. Not the intention, but a possible outcome.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
I would be interested to know who has signed the manifesto. I trailed around the web site and found some names of participants but not all and the pdf copies of it contain only the text but not the signatures. SY
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
No one signed. It was a manifesto, not a declaration. It's a policy document for FICS, and the people who are part of it.
Membership is open. Check out the website (link above) and see if it is something you would like to be a part of.
Thank you, everybody, for your input. I am collecting all the ideas and suggestions for presentation at the next meeting.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
The West Coast Trail is a world famous hiking trail on Vancouver Island. It got so famous and so busy that the wilderness experience was lost. A reservation system and a limit on the number of hikers who could start from either end was imposed. A number of spots were held on first come first serve basis for those who can't plan ahead that far. A user fee was introduced and much needed infrastructure, particularly outhouses, were built.

The result is a much improved wilderness experience. People who would have hiked the West Coast Trail went hiking elsewhere, in essence, spreading the wealth.

I don't know why the only place that issues a compostela is Santiago. The experience of the camino has little to do with obtaining a compostela; its the experience of walking on the land, meeting other people, and immersion in the culture. If the intent is to get people walking to religious sites ... why can there not be compostelas de Burgos, Granada, Cordoba, etcetera? Spread the wealth and improve the experience for everyone who is now 'racing and queuing up at 9 AM in order to get a bed.'

I was lucky in that I went during the shoulder season. There were 6 of us who arrived in Santiago on the 6th of December 2012. I saw the huge complex at Monte de Gozo and could only shake my head and was glad I didn't have to contend with crowds that would fill such a facility.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/

ChuckE

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 1993 (again in 2021?)
First of all, I need to thank you for posting this. I think it is appropriate that the world community is gathering to address the future of the camino. The camino is after all a world heritage site. We need to see it around for generations to come.

I'll have to admit , it took me three, maybe four times to read past the top of the second page of the document.

There are subjects I love about the forum and subjects I just hate. The subject of the pilgrims on the last 100 km and their motives top the list. Nothing screams out how little we understand the culture of the camino than this very subject.

I traveled the camino, well, a long time ago. It was a banner year with almost 10 to 20 times more pilgrims reaching Santiago than the average year to that point. Still I can't help but believe that the camino was NOT preserved as a heritage site for the 260 pilgrims from the US, 800 pilgrims from the Americas, 4,000 worldwide pilgrims or even the 8,000 global pilgrims who traveled more the 100 km that year, but for the 95,000 Spaniards or nearly 90,000 pilgrims who only traveled the last 100 km.

There used to be long term traditions involving traveling the last 100 km (....one I truely loved), traditions that probably kept the camino in existence long before the rest of the world realized it was still around. We should say thanks for that. Every time I see a picture of school kids or young people marching into service, I get nostalgic. I have pictures of them doing it 20 years ago. I'm sure they were doing it long before then.

It kind of speaks to our shame. We come to this beautiful part of a country that isn't ours, get treated lavishly by people who don't even know us, are allowed to trespass through lands that are owned by someone else ........ the list goes on. And yet we complain about the "vulgar" crowds on the last 100 km. If the numbers from this report are any indication of the historical trend for this section of the camino, then I find it interesting that there are no more physical pilgrims traveling only this last 100 km this year than there were 20 years ago. But there are a whole lot more of "us".

Who am I to set the rules in someone else's house. Are a few days of my comfort more important than generations of tradition? Are my motives more loftier than the next person's because I've walked further?
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
May I suggest you read up on the translation of the Latin original of the Compostela? That might answer your question. Link to translated text here: http://peregrinossantiago.es/eng/pilgrimage/the-compostela/

Buen Camino, SY
I guess I am missing the point. As far as I can tell the Compostela is given to people who have made a pilgrimage to the (alleged) tomb of St James. I'm not Catholic so perhaps the significance of beatitude is lost on me but it seems to me there are a lot of saints buried all over Spain ... even if they are not one of the original dozen.

Saint Teresa de Avila (Salamanca) for instance was once considered a more appropriate patron saint of Spain than Santiago Matamoros.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
The ideas in the manifesto can solve a few individual problems, but there is nothing they can do about the general chaos that has become the Camino. Resentment of that chaos is what binds the interests together. I suggest that they paint some arrows, add some words to the credential, and learn to live with what has evolved. Red Albergues brought about as much order to the disorder of private albergues as is possible, and it has a very high turnover of participants. Its voluntary standards have made for a lot of very pleasant places to stay.
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
For me this is a good document, a good starting point, but then I try not to over think things, I find that if you try to over think an idea you sometimes end up with a camel instead of a horse.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
For me this is a good document, a good starting point, but then I try not to over think things, I find that if you try to over think an idea you sometimes end up with a camel instead of a horse.
And if the aim is to cross the desert that isn't a bad thing.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
I had the privilege of attending this forum last weekend, and as Rebekah says, the manifesto is a good starting point even though it isn't able to address all the details of implementation. We had one full day of debate and discussion on Saturday and the manifesto was written by Sunday morning. There were about 100 attendees, a mix of hospitaleros, albergue owners, Camino historians, journalists, pilgrims, association representatives, and Camino tour operators. There was a wide range of perspectives presented between all of us, and we had some fiery debate at times. But please rest assured that the people at the forum valued every pilgrim, whether that pilgrim walked 100km or 1000km. I was struck by how much they cared that the Camino routes remained safe and clearly-marked (instead of confusingly- or deceptively-marked), enabling pilgrims to focus on the inward journey, and how concerned they were that a culture of rest could grow in the albergues so that pilgrims would stop waking up at 4am and race, anxiety-filled, to the next town to make sure they got a bed.

The manifesto brings together some of the most important themes and solutions that we discussed. I can't say I agree with every single idea that's included here - and the other attendees may feel the same way - but overall I see some strong proposals. In Jaca in 1987 there was a similar forum and apparently it set the trajectory for how the Asociaciones del Amigos del Camino de Santiago would care for and protect the Camino in the years to come. To hear some of the older attendees talk about Jaca 1987, it seemed like not all of the proposals could be adopted overnight, but the direction was there. Painting yellow arrows on the trail was one of the initiatives that arose from it, as well as the creation of more albergues to house pilgrims (Rebekah, correct me if I'm wrong). So we have a starting point again in this manifesto - and we'll see how the rest of the story unfolds!
Buen Camino,
Faith
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I was intrigued by what I read here. I'm not sure how I feel about it though. I had an odd experience somewhere out on the Meseta. Hard to believe I know, something weird never happens out there. I walked into a very small village with very little accommodation. There were a number of people hanging around inside and outside of a little market. I bought the usual bread, cheese a Fanta. You get the idea. I sat down on the curb in the shade and there was this small group of folks (I won't identify the country) who were saying in very exasperated tones that they had decided to bail and go home because as one said, "This is ridiculous, we're leaving". I asked them what they meant by "This". Same one responded with, "There is no where to stay and every day it's the same. We try to make reservations..." Etc.
I responded with, "Wow, sounds like you are having a pilgrim experience".
"But we're not pilgrims".
"Oh" I said, "Then what are you doing here"?
"We're on a walking tour".
"Really? Theres got to be better places than this for a walking tour. I think I would have gone for the Welsh Coastal path myself".
The upshot of it for me was that by the time I had reached that far into the walk, I just didn't care anymore. I never worried about where I might sleep but clearly other folks do and did. I was one of the few walking without phone or device.
Maybe The Way is taking care of itself. Even by Triacastela and Sarria, I still did not concern myself much with crowding etc. I always found what I needed. And it was bucketing down rain the last few days of my walk into Santiago. And a funny little metaphor for me was that I was already so wet 2 hours into walking, I stopped avoiding puddles and just splashed and wallowed right through them.
Now, I do understand and respect folks wanting to preserve the cultural integrity of the Camino and I do believe that the spiritual integrity will take care of itself. At least for the remainder of my lifetime. I don't foresee any major upheavals in the way many of us choose to believe and worship in the coming decades. Perhaps we need to accept that the French Route across northern Spain will be the novice guide to pilgrimage and it will inspire and encourage people to step further into the richness the world and the myriad belief systems on offer. Maybe I'm over simplifying it and turning it into a sacrificial lamb of sorts.
I know one thing that is true for me. I don't want to argue and bicker over telling someone else how to do it. I don't suggest ANYBODY do it the way I did, with a tent and camping gear. And I consider myself a very lazy mystic. But it was incredible!
I certainly welcome further discourse on the topic of Pilgrimage in general and am always open and willing to serve.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
Applaud your efforts @Rebekah Scott. Keep that passion burning.

I was thinking that phrase "walking tour" summed up many of the issues, but maybe not. In another thread there is an appeal for help to organise a school group. While I loved the enthusiastic youngsters I meet between Sarria and Santiago, organised groups in general don't add much to the Camino. I understand the desire to give everyone, even the most disabled, even the indolent and self indulgent, a "Camino experience". But how realistic is it while still preserving its essential nature - which is, after all, physically and emotionally challenging? Would getting rid of groups solve half the problems? Those on the ground might know.

I'd like a return to the days when no-one could reserve places, not even for the companion who was half an hour behind.

I'd also like to see an end to buses and pack caring services. And have some of the yellow arrows go missing or point the wrong way....:rolleyes::);)...just to provide a bit of a challenge. At this stage I'm prepared to concede that hair shirts and approaching the Cathedral on bent knees should not be obligatory. Unless the Camino's popularity keeps growing.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Maybe "walking tour" does sum up some of the problems! Even here on the forum there have been extreme reactions when it has been suggested that the Camino is, in essence, a "Christian Pilgrimage"!
I must admit to a strong reaction against removing the (essential for some) bag transfer and again the (essential for some) reservation of accommodation.
The comment on distances:-
"Disingenuous promotions identifying only these last (Galician) kilometers as “The Camino de Santiago” means that now more than 35% of pilgrims walk the least number of kilometers required, while the thousands of pilgrims who have come much longer distances are disenchanted and disheartened when given the same recognition. "
Having walked from home to Santiago in 2009 (some 650k) I was delighted to share a 100k pilgrimage in 2011 with someone who could never have considered a "long walk" and whose Compostela was earned in the same way as my long distance one. One-up-manship is NOT the essence of the Camino!

Maybe some restriction on official credentials is the way to go? It is easy at present to walk into the tourist office in Santander and pick up one of their credentials and use it in the albergue system.

I am not sure how far prospective walkers would keep to any signed declaration!

Again I am not sure how far we "extranjeros" can, or should, be telling our Spanish hosts how to run the show and how to behave!

Galicia does after all hold the trump card! If we go on pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, we go to Galicia! The gripes have been around since the shrine was first promoted. Hence the mediaeval cult of relics. Requests can be made and advice can be given but at the end of the day the Cathedral authorities have the final word.
Finally, it may be better to set some easily achievable objectives to do with the general ambience of the Way (all the Caminos!). There are some noted in the document.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
..... I'd also like to see an end to buses and pack caring services.....
And banquets on wheels.

I remember one day rounding a corner and finding a nice clearing with a table & bench seats provided for the weary pilgrim to enjoy some lunch.
Then noticed the "transit" type van parked nearby, the table set with cloth & napkins, plates of fruit, cheese & meats, bottles of wine and goblets, looked a bit like a feast from an old Roman movie.
No people other than the one woman stationed on guard duty.
Helen & I "pulled up a rock" to happily eat our 1Euro slab of cheese, bread & water.
Helen joked, "Well why wouldn't you do that?"
At which point, the group of diners arrived from around the corner, accomapanied by loud blasts from (what I think was a) Bavarian Flügelhorn Horn, procedeed by a man in Lederhosen, carrying a huge banner.
I said, "that's why".
:rolleyes:
Buen Camino.
 

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Camino(s) past & future
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
Stop telling tourists that they are pilgrims "doing it their way"??;):p
In Carrion de los Condes the Prioress at the evening mass asked us whether we were "touristas" or "Caministas" to stress this point.
- The answer was given, of course....
 

teda

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Camino Portugues
Via la Plata
I've read it and I think it is a good document, may be it isn't perfect but this is a first version... We should help improve it.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Another comment: FICS, the Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago, is based in Spain. Its membership is drawn from all over the world, but is mostly Spanish for now -- but it is an international group. The camino is an international phenomenon. It does not belong to Spain or the Spanish. No "outsiders" are telling anyone how to do their business. So please, comment as you like. We all are together in this, hopefully all working toward the same ends.
If you would like to see who is behind FICS, have a look at the website above. No one is hiding.
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
The West Coast Trail is a world famous hiking trail on Vancouver Island. It got so famous and so busy that the wilderness experience was lost. A reservation system and a limit on the number of hikers who could start from either end was imposed. A number of spots were held on first come first serve basis for those who can't plan ahead that far. A user fee was introduced and much needed infrastructure, particularly outhouses, were built.

The result is a much improved wilderness experience. People who would have hiked the West Coast Trail went hiking elsewhere, in essence, spreading the wealth.

I don't know why the only place that issues a compostela is Santiago. The experience of the camino has little to do with obtaining a compostela; its the experience of walking on the land, meeting other people, and immersion in the culture. If the intent is to get people walking to religious sites ... why can there not be compostelas de Burgos, Granada, Cordoba, etcetera? Spread the wealth and improve the experience for everyone who is now 'racing and queuing up at 9 AM in order to get a bed.'

I was lucky in that I went during the shoulder season. There were 6 of us who arrived in Santiago on the 6th of December 2012. I saw the huge complex at Monte de Gozo and could only shake my head and was glad I didn't have to contend with crowds that would fill such a facility.
I would suggest that the Camino is not about "the experience of walking on land, meeting other people and immersion in culture' but arriving in Santiago to worship Santiago. Walking on land, meeting people and immersion in culture is not about a pilgrimage but about walking, and can be done anywhere. Hence why Santiago is the place to issue a Compostala.

This being said, I have to wonder if the numbers wouldn't drop significantly if the Compostela was no longer issued: no proof of glory to frame and display for others to admire our strength and determination. It would be about you, your feet and your heart, noone else.
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
I would suggest that the Camino is not about "the experience of walking on land, meeting other people and immersion in culture' but arriving in Santiago to worship Santiago. Walking on land, meeting people and immersion in culture is not about a pilgrimage but about walking, and can be done anywhere. Hence why Santiago is the place to issue a Compostala.

This being said, I have to wonder if the numbers wouldn't drop significantly if the Compostela was no longer issued: no proof of glory to frame and display for others to admire our strength and determination. It would be about you, your feet and your heart, noone else.
Two problems with this:

Why would anyone worship Santiago? He is not now and never was a deity. He was just this guy, a fisherman, who got called to witness Christ's time on earth.

and, no one really knows if it is Santiago's bones that lie in the Cathedral.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Two problems with this:

Why would anyone worship Santiago? He is not now and never was a deity. He was just this guy, a fisherman, who got called to witness Christ's time on earth.

and, no one really knows if it is Santiago's bones that lie in the Cathedral.
I was raised in kind of "good old Christian" tradition (although in former Socialist Yugoslavia), but can hardly describe myself as a (Catholic) believer. And I can only ditto your post, but you're on very slippery ground about it on this forum I think :eek:;):rolleyes:
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I love slippery ground!
If someone's gotta say it, I will. The Compostela has become fetishized on one hand, and cheapened on the other. Instead of making a prayerful journey to pray at the tomb of a saint, the travelers make an exhausting, life-changing trek through all kinds of weather and scenery and characters. "More Camino, Less Compostela," they say. To the secular pilgrim, Santiago de Compostela is often a disappointment, an anticlimax. You stand in line, check the right box and get a nice certificate, and see a flying incense show. Nothing else like it in the world. And none of that distasteful old-fashioned religion business, not really. Then it's off to Finisterre for some closure.

The cathedral in its generosity and wisdom sells boxloads of credentials to just about anyplace, and hands out compostelas like candy ... everyone knows about some kind of lie or cheat, someone who got a Compostela under false pretenses. The words printed on them mean little or nothing to (I daresay) many people who move heaven and earth to get one. Finishing the pilgrimage once was a major, once-in-a-lifetime achievement -- and few of the people who made it bothered with paperwork, as most of them were illiterates, from illiterate places. Most made due with scallop-shaped lead badges, or actual scallop shells they wore on their clothes for the rest of their lives and had buried with them when they died.
Now the Compostela is issued to hundreds of thousands of people as a souvenir, beloved by some, and left behind by others by the hundreds in hostels and airport lounges. The Compostela belongs to the cathedral, and only the cathedral can decided who gets one, and why.

Maybe it's time to design a secular compostela, or a "spiritual but not Catholic" one. And make them as pretty and desirable as the present one. Make it so non-Christians don't have to tell a lie to get their souvenir. Eliminate the bed-race by taking away the 100-kilometer rule, and put the traveler's mileage and/or starting point on his certificate, if that is what is so important to him. Charge a fee for it, so you can afford to pay people to do the extra work required. Perhaps lighten up on the whole focus on the Compostela. The point is not the paper, after all.

I dug into this at length on the blog: www.moratinoslife.blogspot.com. I welcome your opinions.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
I love slippery ground!
... Finishing the pilgrimage once was a major, once-in-a-lifetime achievement -- and few of the people who made it bothered with paperwork, as most of them were illiterates, from illiterate places. Most made due with scallop-shaped lead badges, or actual scallop shells they wore on their clothes for the rest of their lives and had buried with them when they died....
... I welcome your opinions.
Catholics.... (join the dots ;))
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
The pilgrimage to the assumed burial place of St James the Apostle started in the 10th century. The first chapel at Santiago (and even the first cathedral) were built long before Luther and the Protestant reformation (1517). So of course everyone was Catholic. But that does not mean Protestants don't also share that history, and the meaningful act of walking a pilgrimage. John Bunyan, who wrote "The Pilgrim's Progress" was a non-conformist, a protestant.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
.... But that does not mean Protestants don't also share that history, and the meaningful act of walking a pilgrimage.
No, not suggesting that for a moment, just that the long list of early pilgrim "descriptors" omitted this important reality. The "joining the dots" quip was really pointing back to earlier theological disertations, leading to the quote.
Sorry for being a bit cryptic. :(
Absolutley, no issues with anyone making a pilgrimage to Santiago.:) I think it is absolutely wonderful for so many protestants to be on the camino. However, my experience has been that the reverse is often the case, Protestants being, let's say, critical of Catholics, which is quite funny when you think of it.
Still, doesn't phase me, actually thought likewise myself until a few years back. (666 lol)
Buen Camino Protestants, All Faiths, No Faiths & Catholics
 

Geoff Stewart

New Member
There's lots of good stuff and the intent is strong - I agree the camino should be 'protected' and supported.

I am not sure about identifying the 100km pilgrims as touristic/lightweight/less serious vs a more dedicated variant. Having just returned from walking the Ingles route from Ferrol, with a strong intent and seriousness, and accompanied by someone doing their first Camino with a strong religious/personal agenda, it is clear that distance is not the issue. If someone only has 1 week available, walking from Ferrol or Sarria or elsewhere should not mark their experience or devotion as lesser.

Equally having trudged the Frances last year and considering the Via de la Plata for next year, I understand the feelings of the longer distance pilgrim on this issue.

I don't know the answer, but it would seem to be in elevating and recognising the commitment of the long distance pilgrimages, not undermining the achievement of the shorter ones. But judging the purity of anyone's endeavour is a dangerous and slippery slope.
Well said.
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
I love slippery ground!
If someone's gotta say it, I will.

Maybe it's time to design a secular compostela, or a "spiritual but not Catholic" one. And make them as pretty and desirable as the present one. Make it so non-Christians don't have to tell a lie to get their souvenir. Eliminate the bed-race by taking away the 100-kilometer rule, and put the traveler's mileage and/or starting point on his certificate, if that is what is so important to him. Charge a fee for it, so you can afford to pay people to do the extra work required. Perhaps lighten up on the whole focus on the Compostela. The point is not the paper, after all.

I dug into this at length on the blog: www.moratinoslife.blogspot.com. I welcome your opinions.
I gave my "like" Rebecca, but I have to write: my respect! Look for common ground, what unites us and not insist so much on the separation and differences - with all due respect to history and original meaning of Camino. Certainly for me (which I am not an active Catholic), the Camino implies respect for the majesty of faith of those who follow this path to walk, those who have built a beautiful church, those in whom are still pray ....In one Mass in Carrion de los Condes the priest said, "I know you are here for different reasons, but would be glad if I could bless each of you - come". Then the tears came to my eyes and I'm still touched. I got a lot more than the then blessing.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Camino Inglés 2018

Now: http://egeria.house/
... Maybe it's time to design a secular compostela, or a "spiritual but not Catholic" one. And make them as pretty and desirable as the present one. Make it so non-Christians don't have to tell a lie to get their souvenir. ...
Actually it already exists, at the moment there are three certificates available from the pilgrims office in Santiago. The 'classic' compostela, the 'simplex' as it was once called (not sure what they call it now) and a distance certificate. The two compostelas look very much alike, see picture here on this German web site: http://www.jakobus-info.de/jakobuspilger/urkunde.htm and I doubt many pilgrims will note the difference. The two compostelas are free, but donations are so strongly encouraged that many pilgrims I met were actually convinced that they had to pay to get one, the distance certificate costs 2 or 3 Euro. All three documents look very pretty now ;-)

I agree that the compostela causes more problems than it solves, so perhaps the cathedral should just stop issuing any documents or certificates. At least the Pilgrim's Welcome Office could then concentrate more on the actual pilgrim arriving instead of issuing certificates.

Buen Camino para tod@s, SY
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
I never think initiating motives are too important; the Camino can work its magic on anyone.

When I first walked 14 years ago, the albergues were strictly reserved for solo walk up pilgrims carrying their own packs. If a hospitalero suspected someone had caught a bus, or had vehicle support, or was in an organised group, then entry was refused.

Albergues were very Spartan places - refugios - and that's what they were, simple refuges. Hot water in the showers was an unexpected luxury. Bunks beds were old and saggy and very uncomfortable.

I simply can't imagine anyone then mistaking the Camino for a "walking tour"!
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I agree with Kanga, initiating motives are not important, one persons reason is not more important than anothers, the Camino will sort it out. The important thing is not to judge IMO.
As I said before this is a good document and credit to the people who took their time to formulate it, time now to see how we can make it work rather than dissecting it.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
no proof of glory to frame and display for others to admire our strength and determination
I got my first compostela because I could not find a suitable souvenir in Santiago, so I don't think it was about admiration from someone else! It was a memento to me, but a t-shirt might been sufficient. I honestly do not see what non-Catholics get from the wording of the compostela. If I were the Cathedral, I would not give one to anybody but a card-carrying Catholic. Other recognition of accomplishment could be provided to others. None of them would be free.

Some accommodations along the way seem to be intended for the Catholic faithful (find the Protestant church in Spain, if you can). Others seem to be for hikers. Even others seem to be for tourists. If each one would post a sign, pilgrims would abide by the stated rule. Pilgrimage in Spain is somewhat less secular than in France. In France, the pilgrimage routes are just a small part of a vast GR network. The entire network is supported by accommodations for walkers. They may be Catholic accommodations along the four major routes to Santiago, but most have nothing to do with the Catholic church. No desirable certificate is given anywhere along those routes, so they have not discussion about who is naughty and who is nice. They just have a good time. And, yes, it is very crowded at times, and reservations are advisable.

It might make them apoplectic, but the Spanish might want to be a bit more like the French on the pilgrimage thing! I get the sense from the Manifesto that many service providers are not having fun anymore. They should be doing things that put the joy back in the Camino, and forget about a bunch of new rules, regulations, attitudes, and criteria.

I could be wrong...:):)
 
Re. "I love slippery ground.." My comments are somewhat random.
I read this post by Rebekah and thought that, as so often, she has expressed my own views (and better!). A secular certificate is a good idea.
I have read the "manifesto" and agree with it.
One problem,as I see it, is that of the providing good pilgrim accommodation knowing that it will attract any "hiker" who only wants a cheap/free (??) place to stay. Those of us who knew the caminos a while ago accepted that a mat on a floor was often all a village could offer. We were grateful for such generosity. On some of the caminos I walked with my husband we were alone or met very few pilgrims. A pilgrimage is not just a long walk, although covering a distance gives us time for contemplation. I have worked as hospitaliera to serve other pilgrims. I have seen numbers rise and expectations change.

I have enjoyed walking holidays in Spain and elsewhere. These were not pilgrimages. I do not wish to deter those who want to walk for other reasons on the Camino but it is different.

Anyone who has walked a long way will tell you that the atmosphere is different on the last 100kms. It does not encourage contemplation. I have sometimes warned pilgrims who have been on the camino for a distance that they need to prepare themselves mentally/spiritually.

A friend has walked many long pilgrim routes, Santiago, Rome, Jerusalem etc.etc. Someone said what a wonderful walker she was and I heard her say, "I am not a walker. I am a pilgrim but walking is the way I do it." I say, Amen to that.
My thanks to Rebekah. She has spent much of her life in practical pilgrimage. She speaks from knowledge and experience.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
.................
Anyone who has walked a long way will tell you that the atmosphere is different on the last 100kms. It does not encourage contemplation. I have sometimes warned pilgrims who have been on the camino for a distance that they need to prepare themselves mentally/spiritually................
I think this is a problem specific to the Francés as the Primitivo is still contemplative in the last 100kms after Lugo, until you join the Francés. It is still possible to be contemplative, but harder. The Inglés is different again as it never joins the Francés as so can be contemplative right through.
There are problems that need addressing, but extending the 100kms requirement will only push the problem further back and also discriminate against those less able pilgrims, or those who walk a short pilgrimage before undertaking a longer one. As one who walked the Inglés as a first pilgrimage I have to say that any longer distance, at that time, would have meant never walking at all. So let us keep the current 100kms, but address some of the other issues regarding attitude(s) and the meaning of pilgrimage.
I can see this running and running......... but as I have said above we will be making a final pilgrimage next year (DV) and it will be the Inglés. :)
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
I think this is a problem specific to the Francés as the Primitivo is still contemplative in the last 100kms after Lugo, until you join the Francés. It is still possible to be contemplative, but harder. The Inglés is different again as it never joins the Francés as so can be contemplative right through.
The same on the Camino Portugues the last 100 km.
My experience on the Camino Portugues is from May 2014 and September 2014.


(Compared to the last 100 km on the Camino Frances April 2011, April 2012 and August 2013).
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
The same on the Camino Portugues the last 100 km.
My experience is from May 2014 and September 2014.
The problem therefore would seem to be how to make it easier to be contemplative in the final 100kms.
Can the various churches and also accomodations make more 'quiet space'? (We make time to sit in open churches for quiet prayer)
Do groups actually have an advantage here if they have a spiritual leader with them?
Can the individual pilgrim prepare better for the situation? (eg We carry a set of readings for each day)
Is it also a problem of folk seeking a 'Camino family' rather than a spiritual/contemplative group? (Which depends on what the individual needs or is seeking)
More questions than answers, but it still comes down to attitudes and expectations.
Buen Camino folk
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
I have laughed and joined in the jokes about 'touregrinos' even heard John Paul II referred to as the 'greatest touregrino of them all' but at the end of the day, who am I to judge those who only walk the last 100k. I do not know what is in their hearts, nor do those in the office at Santiago. I know how far I walked, my friends know and most importantly God knows. I do not feel that my Compostela is devalued nor should anyone feel like theirs is a 'second class honours'. So leave the '100k' limit as it is, at least the long distance pilgrim can get that far before the race begins.
As to waymarking, yes please, rationalise it. The horrible mess outside Virgen de Camino is an absolute disgrace. I would suggest that if bar owners want to direct me slightly of course they should maybe use a different colour.
Finally, I did see another post that mentioned the two stamp rule from Sarria on. I dont know what to make of it. I asked in the office as I did not have two stamps per day for the last 100 and they told me it is only for those starting in Sarria. My Irish Society issued credentials said only one stamp and as it is a booklet, I was kind of running out of space. Can anyone clear that one up
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
There is already a secular certificate that is very attractive and much desired by the non-spiritual, perhaps non-Catholic pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. It is called the Certificate of Distance.

This certificate is written in a combination of Latin and Spanish and contains the pilgrim's identification, a statement attesting to the accomplishment, and clearly establishes their starting point, as well as the "official" number of kilometers they walked to get to the Cathedral. Unless I am missing something, this is what many posting above are suggesting.

During 2014, this optional certificate was available on request to all eligible pilgrims at a cost of only €3,00.

Did I miss something?
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
Can anyone clear that one up
From the Cathedral website:
Se deben reunir sellos de los lugares por los que se va pasando en la “Credencial del Peregrino”, que es la certificación de paso. Se prefieren los sellos de iglesias, albergues, monasterios, catedrales y todos los lugares relacionados con el Camino, pero ante la ausencia de éstos, también se puede sellar en otras instituciones: ayuntamientos, cafés, etc. Hay que sellar la credencial dos veces por día al menos en los últimos 100 Km. ( para los peregrinos a pie o a caballo) o en los últimos 200 Km. (para los peregrinos ciclistas).

Seals should meet the places to be happening in the "Pilgrim's", which is the certification step. Seals churches, shelters, monasteries, cathedrals and all the places related to the Way, but in the absence of these are also preferred sealable other institutions: municipalities, cafés, etc. We must seal the credential twice a day at least the last 100 Km. (For pilgrims on foot or horseback) or in the last 200 Km. (For cyclists pilgrims).
 

danielc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SEPT '13 CF - SJPP to Santiago
OCT '14 Porto to Santiago
There is already a secular certificate that is very attractive and much desired by the non-spiritual, perhaps non-Catholic pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago. It is called the Certificate of Distance.

This certificate is written in a combination of Latin and Spanish and contains the pilgrim's identification, a statement attesting to the accomplishment, and clearly establishes their starting point, as well as the "official" number of kilometers they walked to get to the Cathedral. Unless I am missing something, this is what many posting above are suggesting.

During 2014, this optional certificate was available on request to all eligible pilgrims at a cost of only €3,00.

Did I miss something?
Speaking to a pilgrim in Oct in Santiago who had just completed the CF, we discussed the ‘bed’ race. I had completed the Portuguese Camino from Porto having no problem with accommodation. The previous Oct 2013, I experienced this problem on the CF. She stated that some pilgrims were getting taxis to jump ahead in order to get accommodation.
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
From the Cathedral website:
Se deben reunir sellos de los lugares por los que se va pasando en la “Credencial del Peregrino”, que es la certificación de paso. Se prefieren los sellos de iglesias, albergues, monasterios, catedrales y todos los lugares relacionados con el Camino, pero ante la ausencia de éstos, también se puede sellar en otras instituciones: ayuntamientos, cafés, etc. Hay que sellar la credencial dos veces por día al menos en los últimos 100 Km. ( para los peregrinos a pie o a caballo) o en los últimos 200 Km. (para los peregrinos ciclistas).

Seals should meet the places to be happening in the "Pilgrim's", which is the certification step. Seals churches, shelters, monasteries, cathedrals and all the places related to the Way, but in the absence of these are also preferred sealable other institutions: municipalities, cafés, etc. We must seal the credential twice a day at least the last 100 Km. (For pilgrims on foot or horseback) or in the last 200 Km. (For cyclists pilgrims).
Thanks Falcon but it still does not clear it up. Is it for all or only for those walking last 100. As I said, I was told in the office that it was only for those walking only the 100. It is somewhat ambiguous or maybe loses something in translation. I did ask at the Irish society and they too think it is only for those walking the last 100. All I know for sure is that I did not have two stamps per day and it was not an issue when I collected my compostela
 

tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
Speaking to a pilgrim in Oct in Santiago who had just completed the CF, we discussed the ‘bed’ race. I had completed the Portuguese Camino from Porto having no problem with accommodation. The previous Oct 2013, I experienced this problem on the CF. She stated that some pilgrims were getting taxis to jump ahead in order to get accommodation.
I finished Oct 3rd 2013 and I must have missed something. I have heard a number of people complain about the 'bed race' but it must have passed me by. Of course, I was not following the 'Brierley days'. I was generally walking from his mid point to the next. I did however meet pilgrims who were using taxis after they got their lunchtime sello but that was just a couple of times and one of the days was so wet, there were rumours that Noah had returned. On that day I must admit I was tempted to join them but resisted it lol :)
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
I was told in the office that it was only for those walking only the 100.
That is the practical application. I suspect they had one too many arguments with long distance pilgrims, so quickly bent the rule when it was obvious that the pilgrim had walked the last 100km after walking the first 650km with only one sello per day.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
It is interesting how much of this thread has focussed on the Compostella and the "entitlements". The 1ook and the 1000k pilgrim can, perhaps, look with outrage, horror or contempt on those who taxi or tour-bus their way to certification. The path to redemption is, perhaps, a little more challenging requiring both confession and absolution and attendance at mass. As I seek little of this for me it is the act of pilgrimage, the offering of my time, my pain and my joy that is "camino". My arrival, at Santiago / Fisterra / Muxia concludes my pilgrimage. Sometimes the sight of 10 bags of detritus stacked in the back of a van mark my service. I don't need a document, I don't need a prize and I don't need a certificate to tell me how far I have come. That is a journey that is not measurable in kilometres or miles.

My understanding of what this manifesto offers, so far, is a challenge to the commodification of the Camino, particularly of the Camino Frances. Half-an-hours surfing might lead many to conclude that the Camino is one of the cheapest and best linear parties on the planet (Koh Samui is old-hat and dangerous these days). Its a great, cheap, holiday and soon with FREE WIFI. People set out now from an arbitrary point in southern France perfectly dressed for the perfect camino, booked in to the "best" albergues and pre-booked into hostales and hotels whenever the available mattresses are reputed to be dodgy. Small family run places find themselves criticised for not providing "ketchup", gluten-free or steamed fish. Hospitaleros take the grief from those who feel they are entitled and for whom privileged is a concept to far. Farmers watch their Camino-side crops disappear and their by-ways, sheds and even spring-houses slowly fill with excrement and tissue paper. And a few harvest pilgrims for their pennies and devize ways to turn their harvest into pounds.

We contribute, without ill intent, to that commodification on this blessed forum. We squabble and promote the "best" boots, the "best" trousers / skirts, the "best" albergue and the "best" menu, the "best" routes and the "best" bits to skip. Now we have an opportunity to contribute to the "best" manifesto for change. A couple of years ago I made a light-hearted suggestion that it was time for the Pagans to re-claim the Camino, perhaps it is time for the Pilgrim to re-claim the Camino. Or one day we may all be Pilgrims in a strange land.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
@Tincatinker, I have separately PM'd Rebekah with my thoughts on the credential, and in that I avoid the use of the words about rights given by it, and replace these with words about privileges potentially available. I also try and introduce ideas about core obligations (related to behaviour in the albergues) and extended obligations (related to behaviour on the trail to other pilgrims, the trail itself, the people whose country we pass through, and the country itself as a state). It doesn't address the issue of commodification, but I think your point about the best crowding out the acceptable or even the good is particularly apt.

Two things worry me. We are all too late to make a difference, and commercial interests, either in exploiting pilgrims on the camino or in developing along the pathways, will continue without recognising the cultural importance of the various camino pathways. The other is that we only reach the already committed and dedicated 'true believers' and will be ignored. I don't know where the right balance lies. Clearly some form of activism is required to convince authorities that changes are needed, but how much and by whom, and how can those of us dispersed around the world help?
 

Silverton

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2003-2004, 2006-2011, 2013-2016), Portugués from Porto (2012), from Tui (2014), Sanabres (2010), Aragon (2007) Carríon de los Condes to ?? (April 2016)
I commend the Villafranca Manifesto, and it's good that action is being considered--albeit with much debate from the varying interests. I was much relieved, however, that recidivists like me (and many others here) weren't mentioned--we are, after all, responsible for a good percentage of the bulging numbers! My first Camino ten years ago was a genuine pilgrimage; subsequent ones have become refreshment, physical and spiritual, for which I deserve neither eternal reward nor Compostela. Next time I’ll sneak past the Camino Office without claiming another, and I promise instead to carry plastic bags for basura along the way.

I have found that private albergues give very good service for their modest fees, and I often prefer them, but I hope their increase has not endangered the survival of the admirable voluntary municipal/parochial albergues. I have mixed feelings (ahem, 'superior' feelings!) about commercial interests that organise pilgrim-tours, but I've become slightly less of a purist about that too. Camino routes and protocols have surely changed again and again over the centuries, and while the speed of change in the past twenty years is indeed a concern, St James will continue to inspire the best in those who look after the routes for all pilgrims, and we owe them great thanks and respect. I particularly agree with the comments here acknowledging that the Camino is primarily a religious and cultural tradition of the Spanish people, who have first claim on its paths, while generously sharing them with so many others. And, Tincatinker, that was bravely said, and I agree with you!
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
Marking The Way: I think unscrupulous business owners who make their own "Camino" to their business should face penalties, especially if it leads someone a significant way off the path. In order to help pilgrims stay on course and to help businesses attract customers, perhaps they could use a color besides yellow. Maybe blaze orange or neon pink, something that would also catch a person's eye.

Hospitality, Point #2: I have much to say about this.
Perhaps the way to go about this would be to have some sort of committee or council that would come up with a set of standards a place must meet. If those standards are met, then the facility could rightly call itself an "Albergue."
Here are some standards that I would propose:
1. Any facility operating as "donativo" would be automatically earn the title of "Albergue," so long as they met basic sanitary conditions such as proper toilets and showers.
2. For facilities that charge a set amount, that price would be capped by a committee. The price could be evaluated yearly, but I would propose that albergue or hostel owners could not sit on the committee, since there would be a conflict of interest.
3. If a facility provides certain services for a donation, such as meals, laundry, or some other service that directly serves the pilgrim, they would receive extra consideration.
4. To be considered an Albergue, certain requirements for the facility would have to be met. I would propose that an Albergue should have a kitchen, with a stove and microwave at minimum, and basic cooking utensils like pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. My personal feeling is that cooking and sharing food is part of a pilgrim experience. I think that an Albergue should also provide laundry facilities for pilgrims. At the very least, laundry sinks and a sheltered area to dry clothes. If a place does have washing machines and dryers, there should be a cap on what they can charge a pilgrim. Three times I payed over 10 euros to have my clothes cleaned! This is far too high! Especially during the cold and rainy times when line drying is out of the question.

These are just a few rough ideas I have on what an "Albergue" should be. I think it should be a place that is there in service of the pilgrims.

Hospitality, Point #3: There was only one time I moved on because of a full albergue, (but then again, I walked in March and April) and that was Palas De Rei. My walking companion and I arrived at the "Pavillon" albergue. The caretaker said they had just taken in several groups of students and we would be in for a noisy night if we stayed there. We continued on down the road to the other Xunta albergue instead.

I didn't begrudge those students. I can't say I would have acted any differently if I had walked the Camino when I was their age! But I did question the signage I saw at Xunta albergues in Galicia. If I recall correctly, it was something along the lines of "Preference will be given to walkers and then to cyclists. Those with support vehicles will be the last to receive beds." Most of the student groups I saw had support vehicles bringing them lunch and sometimes carrying their bags. We stopped at this particular albergue before 3pm, so it's not like we arrived super late, expecting a bed. But yes, I do think unsupported walkers should be given preference when it comes to doling out beds.

Hospitality, Point #5: Spain is famous for their odd hours. "They don't each supper until 10pm!" That's why I found it odd that most albergues had a curfew around 10pm. I do understand the need for quiet hours, but it's hard to soak up the culture and nightlife when there is the danger of getting locked out of your albergue!

I do have a lot more to add on other points in the manifesto, but that's enough for now!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
Marking The Way: I think unscrupulous business owners who make their own "Camino" to their business should face penalties, especially if it leads someone a significant way off the path. In order to help pilgrims stay on course and to help businesses attract customers, perhaps they could use a color besides yellow. Maybe blaze orange or neon pink, something that would also catch a person's eye.

Hospitality, Point #2: I have much to say about this.
Perhaps the way to go about this would be to have some sort of committee or council that would come up with a set of standards a place must meet. If those standards are met, then the facility could rightly call itself an "Albergue."
Here are some standards that I would propose:
1. Any facility operating as "donativo" would be automatically earn the title of "Albergue," so long as they met basic sanitary conditions such as proper toilets and showers.
2. For facilities that charge a set amount, that price would be capped by a committee. The price could be evaluated yearly, but I would propose that albergue or hostel owners could not sit on the committee, since there would be a conflict of interest.
3. If a facility provides certain services for a donation, such as meals, laundry, or some other service that directly serves the pilgrim, they would receive extra consideration.
4. To be considered an Albergue, certain requirements for the facility would have to be met. I would propose that an Albergue should have a kitchen, with a stove and microwave at minimum, and basic cooking utensils like pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. My personal feeling is that cooking and sharing food is part of a pilgrim experience. I think that an Albergue should also provide laundry facilities for pilgrims. At the very least, laundry sinks and a sheltered area to dry clothes. If a place does have washing machines and dryers, there should be a cap on what they can charge a pilgrim. Three times I payed over 10 euros to have my clothes cleaned! This is far too high! Especially during the cold and rainy times when line drying is out of the question.

These are just a few rough ideas I have on what an "Albergue" should be. I think it should be a place that is there in service of the pilgrims.

Hospitality, Point #3: There was only one time I moved on because of a full albergue, (but then again, I walked in March and April) and that was Palas De Rei. My walking companion and I arrived at the "Pavillon" albergue. The caretaker said they had just taken in several groups of students and we would be in for a noisy night if we stayed there. We continued on down the road to the other Xunta albergue instead.

I didn't begrudge those students. I can't say I would have acted any differently if I had walked the Camino when I was their age! But I did question the signage I saw at Xunta albergues in Galicia. If I recall correctly, it was something along the lines of "Preference will be given to walkers and then to cyclists. Those with support vehicles will be the last to receive beds." Most of the student groups I saw had support vehicles bringing them lunch and sometimes carrying their bags. We stopped at this particular albergue before 3pm, so it's not like we arrived super late, expecting a bed. But yes, I do think unsupported walkers should be given preference when it comes to doling out beds.

Hospitality, Point #5: Spain is famous for their odd hours. "They don't each supper until 10pm!" That's why I found it odd that most albergues had a curfew around 10pm. I do understand the need for quiet hours, but it's hard to soak up the culture and nightlife when there is the danger of getting locked out of your albergue!

I do have a lot more to add on other points in the manifesto, but that's enough for now!

Reading Jefnd I cannot help but think that the Camino should be privatized, villages 'nationalized" by the corporation running the Camino and we should all get our day, week or montly pass to be able to "enjoy the ride" trouble free.

Then perhaps the concept could then be franchised around the world. That way the world would be able to offer free, or just about free tourism (and certainly subsidised by EU funds for foreigners to truly be able to enjoy themselves thanks to EU taxes), for all in complete disconnect with the local culture, and citizens, through whose land we walk through.

Oh, but it wouldn't be their land, fields, forests any more, el Gran Hermano (Big Brother) would expropriate them for our comfort. To complete our comfort, hamburger, fries and pizza would be served at 6pm, with an XL Coca Cola. I can already see the hundreds Spaniards rush in to invest in this humanly rewarding venture.

I would rather suggest that "pilgrims" be put to work in the albergues where they chose to spend the night: help to peel the potatoes, set the table, care for the grounds, prepare the morning coffee, clean bathrooms and put clean sheets on the beds again in the am - watch the numbers dwindle.

And keep a few free beds open for those in real need of a good deal - interview them on their motives if you must. If we can afford 250$ rucksacks, 100$ walking poles, 200 $ shoes, merino sweaters and sockes, while not earning a salary while walking, surely we can offset the cost of doing laundry, hot water, taxes, cleaning products, amortization of furniture so it can be replaced when needed, all this while giving thanks to those who make all this possible for us.
 

colinPeter

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-SDC (2009) Somport-Jaca, Burgos-SDC, Cee-Muxia (2012) Le Puy - Aumont-Aubrac (2014) SJPP-SDC (Oct 2015)
... A couple of years ago I made a light-hearted suggestion that it was time for the Pagans to re-claim the Camino, perhaps it is time for the Pilgrim to re-claim the Camino....
I thought Tincatinker's post regarding entitlements etc. was pretty "close to the money", only I think the problem is not just the light-hearted suggestion re: Pilgrim v Pagan (all should and are welcome), but is about the underlying humanity/behaviour of the Pilgrim/Pagan.
Unfortunately, no Manifesto, however well worded, has a great deal to offer in making adjustments in that area.
For instance, the last 100k's (or the 50 or 20 whatever) crowded with people who have a consideration for others is not a problem. Sure lot's of people, but the real problem is peoples attitude to others, like "let's get a taxi to get the bed first", unbelievable!, still many of us have probably done similar if not the same.
I think the main aim of the Manifesto (and this forum, again as Tincatinker pointed out) should be to promote "the Spirit of the Camino", it doesn't matter if you walk 100 or 1000klms or if you sleep in Albergues or Paradors but it is the way you conduct yourself during the walk, that is what is most important.
Maybe a campaign that promotes "unselfishness" (ie "Spirit of the Camino"), with posters in the Albergues & Bars might be worth investigating, I know it's hard to produce manners & consideration when people don't give a "rats ....", but it might just have some positive effect.
Buen Camino
Colin
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
yes, certainly it would be right that we are dealing (except those with what belongs to us, what we want to have, what conditions should be, ......), dealing with the kind of behavior is acceptable and what is not, how respect the locals and their property (fruit along the way is NOT a supermarket) ....
a little self-reflection will not be redundant
except "get" there is a "given". And if our only currency is money ("what can I get for my money"), then this is really Tourism. And it is a normal consequence of this - commercialism. Kindness, help, sensitivity, compassion, ..... the "currency" which circulates, does not function on the principle of direct exchange. Cultivate this "currency" would be likely to reduce the race for "kilometers per day" and the race to bed. Sports competitions have other polygons.
I personally would not have mind if every small community (or Albergue) had a to-do list, which you can join for at least 1 hour and would help the community. Thus, my "inner Compostela" had a few extra shiny rubber stamps!
 
Last edited:

hieudovan

DoVanHieu
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2012), VdLP (2014), CF (2017), Rota Vincentina (2018), Cammino di Assisi (2019)
Thank you Rebekah for bringing this to the forum. I am impressed with the internationality of the participants. Also, thank you for putting your energy into the Camino.

I realize that the Compostela means different things to different people. I know that as a runner, I appreciate receiving a "medal" as a memento for finishing a marathon (even though I have no idea where mine is at the moment). I have walked the CF and VdLP and received Compostelas for them (probably in the same place as my medal). But my motive is different for the Compostela as compared to my medal. Similar to some sentiments that have already been expressed, I don't need a Compostela to know what I have done. However, I wanted the Cathedral to have statistics of walkers/pilgrims. I find some of these statistics useful and interesting, like 35% walk the last 100 km. I also enjoy looking up the starting points, nationalities, time of year etc...

I have no constructive comments, except to say that I do hope those who walk get some kind of Compostelas (religious or otherwise) so "the authority" can have accurate statistics to make plans for the Camino (even if you personally don't need the Compostela).
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I have no constructive comments, except to say that I do hope those who walk get some kind of Compostelas (religious or otherwise) so "the authority" can have accurate statistics to make plans for the Camino (even if you personally don't need the Compostela).
Except that Cathedral authorities don't want to put you in their statistics if you don't need the Compostela :confused:
Happened to me this year althought I went to the Office and wanted to just "check in". This means that the statistics are made upon issued Compostelas only.
Sorry for slightly off-topic...
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Except that Cathedral authorities don't want to put you in their statistics if you don't need the Compostela :confused:
Happened to me this year althought I went to the Office and wanted to just "check in". This means that the statistics are made upon issued Compostelas only.
Sorry for slightly off-topic...
The statistics provided by the Pilgrim Office include pilgrims who have claim to walk for cultural reasons, so there must be some recording of those who aren't issued with a Compostela, but with the alternative certificate. Perhaps if you don't receive any certificate at all, you would go unrecorded.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
The statistics provided by the Pilgrim Office include pilgrims who have claim to walk for cultural reasons, so there must be some recording of those who aren't issued with a Compostela, but with the alternative certificate. Perhaps if you don't receive any certificate at all, you would go unrecorded.
Exactly!
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
And who is behind FICS?
SY
Having tried to find out it seems that there is no record of people. The nearest is the list of countries (10) which were represented.
Diario de Leon said:
Según daba ayer a conocer Paula de la Riera, representante de la organización, expertos de Corea del Sur, Japón, Estados Unidos, Alemania, México, Bélgica, Francia, Italia, Portugal y España se darán cita a partir de este viernes en el Teatro Villafranquino en el denominado II Foro Internacional del Camino de Santiago.
You can read the article here Diario de Leon.
It raises some questions in my mind.
Where are the representatives for the Confraternities of the UK, South Africa, Ireland etc? who have much expertise and have contributed so much to hospitality (albergues and hospitalero training) as well as pilgrim preparation (practical and spiritual) and the Amigos Welcome system in Santiago itself.
Would not a single delegate from each 100 countries be more representative of the world wide pilgrim population if this is meant to reflect the world wide heritage of the Camino rather than from just 10, with no-one from so many other places?
 
Last edited:

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
If a place does have washing machines and dryers, there should be a cap on what they can charge a pilgrim. Three times I payed over 10 euros to have my clothes cleaned! This is far too high! Especially during the cold and rainy times when line drying is out of the question.
This seems a little unfair as it is what it actually costs to wash and properly dry the clothes and maintain the machines. If you want to keep the cost down then it can be done by sharing the machines as the cost is incurred whether the machine is full or part loaded. We thought 9€ for washing our clothes was actually quite reasonable, but the cost was shared by 2 of us.
In the same way the private accomodations have regulations which incur costs and they are not running a charity but trying to make a living, often during part of the year. Perhaps this is something which the manifesto can make clear to walkers..... The Camino is not cheap to run, nor therefore to walk in this 21st Century - was it ever?
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
This seems a little unfair as it is what it actually costs to wash and properly dry the clothes and maintain the machines. If you want to keep the cost down then it can be done by sharing the machines as the cost is incurred whether the machine is full or part loaded. We thought 9€ for washing our clothes was actually quite reasonable, but the cost was shared by 2 of us.
In the same way the private accomodations have regulations which incur costs and they are not running a charity but trying to make a living, often during part of the year. Perhaps this is something which the manifesto can make clear to walkers..... The Camino is not cheap to run, nor therefore to walk in this 21st Century - was it ever?
Several places I stayed at did not allow sharing of machines. You gave them your clothes, they took them to machines somewhere, washed and dryed them, and gave them back to you. I kept my dirty clothes in a separate stuff-sack from my clean clothes. In Leon, I handed them the sack, which they had simply tossed in the machine without unpacking it. In Foncebadon, I paid around 12 euros to have my laundry done. The clothes were handed back to damp, and I question whether they even saw the dryer. Both times when I complained, the staff suddenly didn't speak English all that well. And does it honestly cost 10 euros to do a load of laundry? Are washers and dryers made of gold in Spain? Do they run only on special glacial melt water? Is power that expensive? It can't be, because there are several places that only charged a few euros for a load to be washed and dried. For as much as folks complain about the Xunta albergues in Galicia, at least they had working washers and dryers for reasonable prices. Heck, the washer was FREE to use in the Valcarlos albergue!

And no, I'm not someone who thinks my laundry should be done for me. I hand-washed as much as I could, but this was not always practical. Sure, you can wash outside in the sinks year-round, but drying is a different story. I walked in spring, and even if a person stopped walking around 3pm, there often just wasn't enough heat or daylight left to line-dry your clothes. Or it was raining. Or you could run into a situation like this...


Oh, what a treat that day was! Waking up to frosted undies!

The unofficial motto of the Camino is, "The tourist demands, the pilgrim thanks." Well, it's hard to be thankful when you're getting ripped off or fleeced because they are the only game in town and if you don't like it, well too bad, because what are you going to do about it?

That's why I think there needs to be some type of governing body to set standards for pilgrim hostels.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
Marking The Way: I think unscrupulous business owners who make their own "Camino" to their business should face penalties, especially if it leads someone a significant way off the path. In order to help pilgrims stay on course and to help businesses attract customers, perhaps they could use a color besides yellow. Maybe blaze orange or neon pink, something that would also catch a person's eye.

Hospitality, Point #2: I have much to say about this.
Perhaps the way to go about this would be to have some sort of committee or council that would come up with a set of standards a place must meet. If those standards are met, then the facility could rightly call itself an "Albergue."
Here are some standards that I would propose:
1. Any facility operating as "donativo" would be automatically earn the title of "Albergue," so long as they met basic sanitary conditions such as proper toilets and showers.
2. For facilities that charge a set amount, that price would be capped by a committee. The price could be evaluated yearly, but I would propose that albergue or hostel owners could not sit on the committee, since there would be a conflict of interest.
3. If a facility provides certain services for a donation, such as meals, laundry, or some other service that directly serves the pilgrim, they would receive extra consideration.
4. To be considered an Albergue, certain requirements for the facility would have to be met. I would propose that an Albergue should have a kitchen, with a stove and microwave at minimum, and basic cooking utensils like pots, pans, dishes, and silverware. My personal feeling is that cooking and sharing food is part of a pilgrim experience. I think that an Albergue should also provide laundry facilities for pilgrims. At the very least, laundry sinks and a sheltered area to dry clothes. If a place does have washing machines and dryers, there should be a cap on what they can charge a pilgrim. Three times I payed over 10 euros to have my clothes cleaned! This is far too high! Especially during the cold and rainy times when line drying is out of the question.

These are just a few rough ideas I have on what an "Albergue" should be. I think it should be a place that is there in service of the pilgrims.

Hospitality, Point #3: There was only one time I moved on because of a full albergue, (but then again, I walked in March and April) and that was Palas De Rei. My walking companion and I arrived at the "Pavillon" albergue. The caretaker said they had just taken in several groups of students and we would be in for a noisy night if we stayed there. We continued on down the road to the other Xunta albergue instead.

I didn't begrudge those students. I can't say I would have acted any differently if I had walked the Camino when I was their age! But I did question the signage I saw at Xunta albergues in Galicia. If I recall correctly, it was something along the lines of "Preference will be given to walkers and then to cyclists. Those with support vehicles will be the last to receive beds." Most of the student groups I saw had support vehicles bringing them lunch and sometimes carrying their bags. We stopped at this particular albergue before 3pm, so it's not like we arrived super late, expecting a bed. But yes, I do think unsupported walkers should be given preference when it comes to doling out beds.

Hospitality, Point #5: Spain is famous for their odd hours. "They don't each supper until 10pm!" That's why I found it odd that most albergues had a curfew around 10pm. I do understand the need for quiet hours, but it's hard to soak up the culture and nightlife when there is the danger of getting locked out of your albergue!

I do have a lot more to add on other points in the manifesto, but that's enough for now!
@jeffnd, I'm trying to work out whether this is serious, or a joke. I cannot imagine what the cost of running the bureaucratic arrangements for price controls and cost caps might be, but it won't be free, and ultimately add to everyone's costs. As for some of the other issues raised:
  • if you moved on to another albergue because you were warned that it might be noisy, it doesn't appear as though you were refused a bed, you made a choice not to stay. I didn't see any large groups in that stretch of the CF in 2010, and I don't recall those that I saw around Easter around Pamplona having any support vehicles. In any case, I would think one has to trust the hospitaleros to apply the rules.
  • I recall getting laundry done was expensive in a couple of places, but it would have been relatively cheaper if it had not been just my gear being done. The price clearly wasn't too high to deter you!
  • At places where I felt that I might have wanted to enjoy a later meal, etc, I stayed in hostels or hotels. In the one place I stayed where it was impractical to enforce a curfew, those that returned later disrupted the whole dormitory with the noise they made. I am all in favour of a reasonable curfew. Besides, volunteer hospitaleros need their beauty sleep too.
 

jeffnd

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2014
@jeffnd, I'm trying to work out whether this is serious, or a joke. I cannot imagine what the cost of running the bureaucratic arrangements for price controls and cost caps might be, but it won't be free, and ultimately add to everyone's costs. As for some of the other issues raised:
  • if you moved on to another albergue because you were warned that it might be noisy, it doesn't appear as though you were refused a bed, you made a choice not to stay. I didn't see any large groups in that stretch of the CF in 2010, and I don't recall those that I saw around Easter around Pamplona having any support vehicles. In any case, I would think one has to trust the hospitaleros to apply the rules.
  • I recall getting laundry done was expensive in a couple of places, but it would have been relatively cheaper if it had not been just my gear being done. The price clearly wasn't too high to deter you!
  • At places where I felt that I might have wanted to enjoy a later meal, etc, I stayed in hostels or hotels. In the one place I stayed where it was impractical to enforce a curfew, those that returned later disrupted the whole dormitory with the noise they made. I am all in favour of a reasonable curfew. Besides, volunteer hospitaleros need their beauty sleep too.
It's just me thinking out-loud about a few issues that stuck in my craw during my walk. And I'm just brainstorming possible solutions!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
After reading through the posts I say get rid of the Compostela document completely. Anyone who genuinely walks with the right attitude does not need one. The Credential could become a document given at the start of the pilgrimage to charge the bearer with responsibilities, Instead of primarily for the purpose of getting the Compostela.

On the subject of responsibilities, of course albergues and the Camino associations and the voluntary helpers and private owners and local landholders and villagers should serve me. Take-away fruit and produce along the way, public toilets every few kilometers, rest areas properly serviced, albergue kitchens fully stocked, wi-fi, pleasant lounge rooms to rest in, lots of electrical sockets to charge my devices, washing machines and dryers - spa bathes every now and then, to ease my aching limbs. What is wrong with Spain, that it can't get its act together! After all, it is a privilege to serve me, for I am a pilgrim. I am just astonished that anyone would have the temerity to price gauge me, a pilgrim. :eek:
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
After reading through the posts I say get rid of the Compostela document completely. Anyone who genuinely walks with the right attitude does not need one. The Credential could become a document given at the start of the pilgrimage to charge the bearer with responsibilities, Instead of primarily for the purpose of getting the Compostela.

On the subject of responsibilities, of course albergues and the Camino associations and the voluntary helpers and private owners and local landholders and villagers should serve me. Take-away fruit and produce along the way, public toilets every few kilometers, rest areas properly serviced, albergue kitchens fully stocked, wi-fi, pleasant lounge rooms to rest in, lots of electrical sockets to charge my devices, washing machines and dryers - spa bathes every now and then, to ease my aching limbs. What is wrong with Spain, that it can't get its act together! After all, it is a privilege to serve me, for I am a pilgrim. I am just astonished that anyone would have the temerity to price gauge me, a pilgrim. :eek:
:D:):D exactly! It could not be better said!
(and no, I do NOT plan to add the beans in my shoes every morning before walking. I have nothing against comfort - but do not expect it on Camino. Sometimes it is necessary to withdraw from their own " comfort zone" if you want to get a new experience, insight)
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2013), Primitivo (2015), Muxia/Fisterra (2015), Haervejen (2017)
After reading through the posts I say get rid of the Compostela document completely. Anyone who genuinely walks with the right attitude does not need one. The Credential could become a document given at the start of the pilgrimage to charge the bearer with responsibilities, Instead of primarily for the purpose of getting the Compostela.

On the subject of responsibilities, of course albergues and the Camino associations and the voluntary helpers and private owners and local landholders and villagers should serve me. Take-away fruit and produce along the way, public toilets every few kilometers, rest areas properly serviced, albergue kitchens fully stocked, wi-fi, pleasant lounge rooms to rest in, lots of electrical sockets to charge my devices, washing machines and dryers - spa bathes every now and then, to ease my aching limbs. What is wrong with Spain, that it can't get its act together! After all, it is a privilege to serve me, for I am a pilgrim. I am just astonished that anyone would have the temerity to price gauge me, a pilgrim. :eek:
Frankly I was amazed there was so little price gouging on the Camino. I was astounded at how reasonable most things were and kept thinking that these little towns and villages were missing economic opportunities by not charging us more!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
True that, Falcon. Having read the things pilgrims feel entitled to (worldwide representation and lists of names and nationality, clean dry laundry, cookware, hot water, all at a low low price) I repeat something I wrote elsewhere on the forum last night:

One reason I like winter pilgrims so well is they are used to going without. By the time they get here, they are glad to find anything to eat and anyplace soft to lie down...heat is a heaven-sent blessing! They let the camino be exactly what it is.

All that said, the Fraternidad doesn't expect to become another regulatory body where albergues are concerned. We hope to lean on authorities to simply enforce the rules that are on the books already.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
This is a VERY interesting dialog. I perceive that there is a very intriguing pattern emerging. Among the veteran members there seems to be two camps, the "whatever" inclusive folks, and the "purist" folks. The purists fall into two groups, more tolerant and relatively intolerant. Remember, this is an observation, not a judgement.

It is similar to most political discourse. If you ask four persons their opinion on an issue they actually know something about, you will get more than four opinions. One thing is for certain, opinions are like ears, everyone usually has at least one of them.

My take is that the dialog is positive, but that we ought keep the discussion within the paradigm of the Camino's raison d'etre, or purpose. Yes, all are welcome, regardless of motivation, extant or non-extant religious tradition, nationality, language, race, etc. It is not for outsiders to redirect what has been for more than a millennia.

However, and this is my take on it, we are all guests in Spain, Portugal, or another Camino host-nation when we are there, simply passing through as it were. As guests, it is our obligation to be culturally and linguistically sensitive to the prevailing situation. Also, and this is my OPINION, while we may harbor personal thoughts about what should be done differently; as guests, it would be boorish to seek to impose our (outside) values, language, opinions and beliefs on the host peoples.

That said, if you DO want to see change regarding the Camino, BE THE CHANGE! Become active, very active, in your national, Camino-supporting, pilgrim affiliate organization. Work for positive change through that organization if that is what you seek. Become a volunteer! Try to serve as an Amigo at the Pilgrim Office. Become a hospitalero(a). Learn what this Camino stuff is all about, on the ground, first-hand.

This is all quite different from being on the other side of the rucksack, so to speak. As a pilgrim walking through the tableau of history, art, architecture, culture, politics, religion and faith that has been the Camino for upwards of one thousand years, one sees all things from the "customer" side of the counter. I am simply advocating getting on the other side of the counter, to "walk a mile in that person's moccasins (so to speak)" BEFORE forming a considered opinion. In saying this, I DO NOT intend to discount or diminish any post above. All opinions are part of the civil discourse.

I know, in my experience, that my volunteer service taught me heaps about many aspects of the Camino that I had never considered during my two Camino Frances treks as a pilgrim in 2013 and 2014. NO ONE knows everything. But one can be more informed than one was previously.

Thus, I believe that my future Camino pilgrimages will have an improved context. I hope to be more considerate and accepting of what is. In future, I intent and will strive to learn more to observe, question, read, research, and participate BEFORE I offer an opinion on how things should be done. One can only try...

Buddhism teaches that change is a constant. I have found that over my six decades of presence on this mortal coil, that is absolutely true. I will seek to be the change I desire.

Will you join me?
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
the "purist" folks
The Manifesto is from service providers, not the Forum, and they seem to be saying that they now are providing something that they did not sign up for. The Camino has become a tourist destination, and it is not their intention to provide cheap hospitality for tourists. I hear them, and respect their position.

Comments in the Forum may fall into the two camps of "everyone" and "purist." That is a noble discussion, but is tangential to what the Manifesto is addressing. No one in Spain is under any obligation to provide for the Camino anything that they do not want. Tourists always will be able to sign up for tour groups that use the Camino.

The Cathedral already has stated the general purpose of the Credencial, and lists some of the "rules" in the Manifesto:
  • This Credencial is only intended for use by those pilgrims who will walk, go on horseback or cycle and who desire to make the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation or at least in the spirit of searching. It is intended to identify the pilgrim. Therefore the issuing organisation must be a parish, a confraternity, Association of the Amigos of the Camino to Santiago and the like. The Credencial bestows no rights on the pilgrim. It has two practical purposes: admission to those albergues which offer Christian hospitality along the way; and to obtain the Compostela from the Cathedral in Santiago which certifies the pilgrimage has been completed.
  • The Compostela is only issued to those who have made the pilgrimage with a Christian motivation: devotonis affectul vel voti pietatis causa – motivated by devotion, a vow or piety.
  • The Compostela is also only issued to those who arrive at the Tomb of the Apostle having travelled on foot or on horseback the last 100kms, or 200kms by bicycle.
  • The Pilgrim Credencial can only be issued by the Church through its own structures: Dioceses, parishes, confraternities or other bodies authorised by the Church. This is the only way the Credencial can be obtained from the S.A.M.I. Cathedral of Santiago (Jornadas sobre el Año Santo: noviembre 1993).
  • Albergues provide simple accommodation. They do not receive grants for their upkeep and need to be sustained, cleaned and maintained. This is achieved through the contributions of pilgrims.
  • Organised groups with a support vehicle or on bicycles are asked to find alternative accommodation from the pilgrim albergues.
  • The bearer of the Credencial accepts these conditions.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
I've read the thread and re-read it... I'm still completely confused. It's a PILGRIMAGE! Which we choose to do on foot. It was never meant to be an 'all inclusive holiday', was it? I.e If there is a washing machine available, it's great, it's a luxury! But if we can't afford it, well, how about just not using it?
As for the Compostela, why on earth would it matter that so-and-so got it having walked fewer kms? Or heaven forbid, having used a bag carrying service? Who cares?
I won't be surprised if you all tell me I've missed the point completely.

I think the Camino will sort itself out, people who expect things it cannot give will not come back and will probably deter others from coming. And so, it will go on.... And on.... :)
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
Well said Falcon, I answered before reading your post.
 

OLDER threads on this topic


Book your lodging here

Booking.com


Advertisement

Booking.com

Latest posts

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 12 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 37 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 132 15.5%
  • May

    Votes: 204 24.0%
  • June

    Votes: 60 7.1%
  • July

    Votes: 17 2.0%
  • August

    Votes: 13 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 252 29.7%
  • October

    Votes: 100 11.8%
  • November

    Votes: 12 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top