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What is a Pilgrim/What is a Pilgrimage?

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lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#1
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respect

I would like to address an issue that has bothered me from my very first Camino. But before I begin I would like to say I have made friends through this site. I respect what all of us are trying to accomplish here. I have gained useful information and have felt very good when I as well as when I see others give back to the Camino but imparting and soothing fears and misgivings of new Pilgrims and giving information that is needed by all. We always learn from each walk we take. I know that this forum strives to respect everyone and is tolerant to each persons ideas and as people say we all walk our own Camino. I have done 4 Caminos and have traveled over 4,000 kilometers. I have had great pain, great joy, great tranquility, met the greatest people on earth and had experiences that range from the mundane to the ridiculous to the profound.
I cannot tell you how much the Camino means to me and how much I respect its sacred space. I am writing this on the CF Forum as this path to Santiago has given me great happiness and now causes me great concern.

I have absolutely no problem with people who because of personal or physical concerns or have time constraints, ship backpacks, or take some bus rides, or walk shorter distances. I have no problem with people who have been lucky enough to find a way to take their love of the Camino and make it their home by opening Albergue or pensions, restaurants, or have Camino related businesses or podcasts. What Brendon Burke does or the Pilgrim House or Dan Mullins songs. ( I don't even know if he earns money from his music but I hope he does and I hope everyone who takes that Camino plunge is successful. I know no one is going to get rich materially but I am sure the spiritual rewards are tremendous.

But I think it is possible for all of us to express concerns without having to incur the wrath of others because a controversial topic that is heartfelt and but may not be perceived as tolerant by some. It is time for a learning experience for all of this when this happens. I know some may say this is your issue not the Camino, that you need to be more open and less judgmental. Well we are all walking around all day carrying judgements and issues no matter how hard we try not too. It is the human experience. So yes this is my issue. That is because of the following:

The Camino is a sacred place to me and to many others. I have met people who were making profound changes or decisions in their lives. I have met a man who had terminal cancer and was trying to make sense of the time left and how to spend it. I met a woman who lost her husband and 3 small children in a car accident and had attempted suicide more than once. Her friend took her on the Camino hoping she would find something to help to allow her to go on.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.

A friend who I wrote to about this, who is on our forum feels the same frustration that I do, but advised me to say nothing. But I can't help myself. I speak out to voice a concern but also I am always hoping to hear an argument that may change my mind and bring me some peace.

On my first Camino I met wonderful people. People who were walking with purpose (even though many like myself had no idea what that purpose was. We just knew we had to be there). They struggled with the full spectrum of pain from the physical to the spiritual. There were days even then almost 10 years ago that it was a little hard to find an albergue. But then we reached Sarria. My experience there is something I have never forgotten or gotten over. I usually leave early because I love walking in the early morning dawn. I arrived in Sarria early at my albergue (it was a private one) and was struck by seeing at least 20 backpacks neatly stacked against a wall. All brand new. About 20 minutes later Pilgrims started coming in. We were located on the west side of town and this albergue might have been the last in town at the time. Someone told me all the other places were already full. A little while after that I saw a few people coming in who were hobbled with blisters and other assorted ailments without a place to stay. I called two friends who both had injuries and offered my bed but they said they were staying at a hotel off the camino and would taxi there and back. About 7PM the people started coming in who had reservations and had their backpacks against that wall. Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people and it made me question what is the meaning and definition of a Peregrino.

I recently walked the Norte and for a couple of nights met a few older women who stayed in the same albergues that I did. I was walking with another American and a Swede at the time. We all talked the first morning at breakfast and I mentioned to them how much I respected them walking the Norte as the hills are really intense. Very steep and very long. One laughed and said the hills are not bad at all. It turns out that we found out after a few days that they took taxis up every single big hill on the Camino. I told my friends that night as a half/joke, what have Pilgrims become. The word is losing its meaning. My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.

A few weeks ago I heard a podcast with a "Pilgrim" that had walked 10 days on the Camino. He was on a luxury tour of the Camino. He talked about what the Camino did for him and I do not doubt his words or his sincerity. He wrote an article entitled "A day in the life of an Authentic Journeys Pilgrim:
"Fast forward to present day and you’ll find contemporary pilgrims from all walks of life and from every corner of the world traveling along this same storied path however, while some walk in the traditional way carrying their worldly possessions in their backpacks, bunk down in community albergues and dine from the pilgrim’s menu; there are others who opt for a more luxurious and convenient pace that includes deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining, plus the convenience of having luggage transported from place to place. And at the end of the day, the promise of a little pampering from your personal massage therapist beckons." This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this. I am not begrudging this trip for those who want or can afford it.
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort? Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is? Yes I know Kings and noblemen walked. Yes I know people were paid to walk for them to have their sins absolved. Yes I know the hundreds of other arguments about tolerance and inclusion. No although my personal opinion is these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon. Yes you can't deny people the ability to make a living. You cannot exclude anyone from walking no matter what form their walk takes. Please I am not an idiot, I know! But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim) It is sacred and most be continued in all its forms that include compassion, love and yes sacrifice. You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
These companies are not giving you a pilgrim experience. Larger and larger numbers of people walking are tourists and looking for a cheap vacation.
TOURGRIMS
Please all I ask is that we look at this before the Camino becomes a spiritual Rodeo Drive.
I love the Camino and I love all Pilgrims.
Hope you all understand what I am trying to say. I probably could have said it in a lot less space but I have such a big damn mouth!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#2
Members will be minded that this is a topic that has led, often, to the closure of the thread.

@lt56ny 's post is heartfelt and passionate.

I'll posit a slightly different view; offered to me by Chico, a volunteer Hospitalero at Albergue parroquial San Nicolás de Flüe. "There are no tourists on the Caminos, just some pilgrims who have not yet found their Way".
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#3
That is a very compelling essay. Much of it I agree or at least sympathize with, but the strict definition which depends on religious motivation is a bit of a problem for me. I am not motivated by religious beliefs, but I tend to call myself a Pilgrim on the Camino because I walk with respect and commitment to the tradition. I wouldn't mind if people said that I'm not a "real" pilgrim, but I prefer not have a situation where people are labelled by their degree of religious motivation. Thus, I use the term "pilgrim" for myself and others who walk with an attitude of respect.

As far as the others (non-respectful walkers) go, I don't think there is much we can do except lament and work around them. The church could change rules about compostellas, or there could be a qualification test to stay in pilgrim albergues, or we could bar anyone who has had a massage in the last 30 days, but that's about it. That wouldn't affect me much, although I would then miss the exposure to "real" pilgrims in the albergues. I would regret that but respect it.

I have only walked Sarria to Santiago in November and March, when crowds were not a problem. I consider that section to be no longer very suitable for my caminos. Leave it for the tour groups and others who choose to walk it, and be happy for them to have that opportunity, rather like what @Tincatinker said above.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Zwolle - Rome 2013
Jacobsweg Austria 2018
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Portugues 2018
Finisterre 2018
#4
What you describe here is one of the main reasons I walked my first pilgrimage to Rome and not Santiago.
I think it is best to try and focus on your own pilgrimage and to try to be the pilgrim you need to be for yourself.
It took me 800 km to think of myself as a pilgrim when I had another 1200 km to go. It's different for everyone I guess..
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#6
I don't think I've read a single description of "the true pilgrim" posted on these forums, with the general sense that "in the past the pilgrimage was pure and now it is becoming debased" that would have applied to Chaucer's pilgrims and what is probably the greatest account of a medieval pilgrimage written in the English language (the language we use on these forums). While I may occasionally speak in a jocular fashion about "tourigrinos", that is just joking around. When speaking seriously, I would say that one becomes a pilgrim, not by one's mode of transit, not by what one chooses to carry, not even by one's choice of destination (are those who have walked from SJPP to Santiago still pilgrims if they come back and walk from Le Puy to SJPP with no intention of continuing to Santiago again?), but simply by declaring themselves pilgrims. If you think of yourself as a pilgrim and relate to people and your surroundings as one, however you travel and whatever your destination, that's all it takes to make you one in my books.

YMMV, of course.
 

Purky

The Dutch guy
Camino(s) past & future
Breathe properly.
Stay curious.
And walk a camino.
#7
First off: I understand your concerns, born out of love and passion for the camino. As someone who has been set straight by this ancient path, I get that you can feel offended by those who do not treat it with at least some semblance of respect and maybe even reverence. But when all is said and done, the only thing I feel is: "Their loss. But there is still time."

I will find other roads to wander, where I can sense the grace I have uncovered for the first time on my walk to Santiago. For that discovery I will be forever grateful to the Way. And as to how the Way is twisting and turning at this point in time, Rebekah Scott, a prophet if ever there was one, has already foretold it: the Camino will survive us.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#8
That is a very compelling essay. Much of it I agree with, but the strict definition which depends on religious motivation is a bit of a problem for me. I am not motivated by religious beliefs, but I tend to call myself a Pilgrim on the Camino because I walk with respect and commitment to the tradition. I wouldn't mind if people said that I'm not a "real" pilgrim, but I prefer not have a situation where people are labelled by their degree of religious motivation. Thus, I use the term "pilgrim" for myself and others who walk with an attitude of respect.

As far as the others (non-respectful walkers) go, I don't think there is much we can do except lament and work around them. The church could change rules about compostellas, or there could be a qualification test to stay in pilgrim albergues, or we could bar anyone who has had a massage in the last 30 days, but that's about it. Those three factors won't affect me much, although I would then miss the exposure to "real" pilgrims in the albergues. I would regret that but respect it.

I have only walked Sarria to Santiago in November and March, when crowds were not a problem. I consider that section to be damaged and no longer very suitable for my caminos. Leave it for the tour groups and others who choose to walk it, and be happy for them to have that opportunity, rather like what @Tincatinker said above.
I want to say that you are 100% correct about the definition. I am definitely not a religious person. I believe it is a choice for all of us. If religion and a church works for you that is fantastic. I was just using the definition as a point of reference. But one does not need to be religious in a traditional sense to be a pilgrim. Whatever your spiritual path to enlightenment or just for peace is just as much a religion as any.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#9
Members will be minded that this is a topic that has led, often, to the closure of the thread.

@lt56ny 's post is heartfelt and passionate.

I'll posit a slightly different view; offered to me by Chico, a volunteer Hospitalero at Albergue parroquial San Nicolás de Flüe. "There are no tourists on the Caminos, just some pilgrims who have not yet found their Way".
I love that quote because it gives me lots of hope. I also think it aligns very well with what a friend said is sacred and wonderful responsibility of experienced pilgrims. To help guide and support new pilgrims on their journey and maybe to help those who haven't found their way yet to see the fork in the road that is right just for them. Thanks for this quote!
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#10
I have been walking many parts of the Camino since 2011. God only know how many k's I've done. It is a very personal spiritual journey for me and it does not require that I reach SdC each time. Does that make me less of a pilgrim?
Of course it does not. You know better than most. It is the journey not the destination. I only mentioned my caminos not to brag but to know that my experience comes from many months of walking. Where you start and where you end is absolutely meaningless.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#11
What you describe here is one of the main reasons I walked my first pilgrimage to Rome and not Santiago.
I think it is best to try and focus on your own pilgrimage and to try to be the pilgrim you need to be for yourself.
It took me 800 km to think of myself as a pilgrim when I had another 1200 km to go. It's different for everyone I guess..
Hi Celine, I really know what you mean about walking and thinking of myself as a pilgrim or at least getting into that frame of mind of emptiness that I love to experience. It takes a long time for me to get there. Now at least 400K or so.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#12
I don't think I've read a single description of "the true pilgrim" posted on these forums, with the general sense that "in the past the pilgrimage was pure and now it is becoming debased" that would have applied to Chaucer's pilgrims and what is probably the greatest account of a medieval pilgrimage written in the English language (the language we use on these forums). While I may occasionally speak in a jocular fashion about "tourigrinos", that is just joking around. When speaking seriously, I would say that one becomes a pilgrim, not by one's mode of transit, not by what one chooses to carry, not even by one's choice of destination (are those who have walked from SJPP to Santiago still pilgrims if they come back and walk from Le Puy to SJPP with no intention of continuing to Santiago again?), but simply by declaring themselves pilgrims. If you think of yourself as a pilgrim and relate to people and your surroundings as one, however you travel and whatever your destination, that's all it takes to make you one in my books.

YMMV, of course.
As I said before, I do not question when someone feels themselves a pilgrim. I question the commercialization, the monetizing, the lack of respect, and I have to disagree. There are most definately just tourigrinos in my mind and in my experience. This worries me greatly.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#13
First off: I understand your concerns, born out of love and passion for the camino. As someone who has been set straight by this ancient path, I get that you can feel offended by those who do not treat it with at least some semblance of respect and maybe even reverence. But when all is said and done, the only thing I feel is: "Their loss. But there is still time."

I will find other roads to wander, where I can sense the grace I have uncovered for the first time on my walk to Santiago. For that discovery I will be forever grateful to the Way. And as to how the Way is twisting and turning at this point in time, Rebekah Scott, a prophet if ever there was one, has already foretold it: the Camino will survive us.
Thank you and these are more words for me to remember. I appreciate you and your words a lot!
 
Camino(s) past & future
VdlP Salamanca - Finisterre Apr 16
Primitivo Apr 17
Zamora - SdC April 18
Porto - SdC Oct 18
#14
Everything that is popular is so for one or more reasons. The Camino offers a lot and it is inevitable that travel companies will seek to exploit this.

I had my own small epiphany (even as a non-believer) in these matters at Mycenae many years ago. I arrived on the public bus from Napflion and was surprised (doh!) and appalled to see a car park full of tour buses. but as I walked up to the Lion Gate all the annoyance faded away and I was just happy to be somewhere I wanted to visit for as long as I could remember.

So as long as you focus on why you are walking the motives and comforts or luxuries of others are ultimately irrelevant.

On a helpful note I walked from Zamora through Braganza and I can promise that if you take that way there will be no Tourogrinos!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo
#15
Many of us feel “the call of the camino”, yet we have no idea why. After walking towards Santiago for a month or so, we suddenly stop in our tracks, and realise that this isn’t a long distance hike any more, or a cheap holiday, we are on a pilgrimage. And the mindset changes. We grew up when religion didn’t seem important any more; when people stopped going to church on Sundays. And yet we have a great respect for the churches that we tiptoe into. I sit quietly in them, wondering why I am doing this, and trying to work out what it is I am looking for. I guess I am looking for God. I haven’t found Him yet, so I think it’s OK to call myself a pilgrim while I keep on looking, but I now prefer the quieter routes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#16
As I said before, I do not question when someone feels themselves a pilgrim. I question the commercialization, the monetizing, the lack of respect, and I have to disagree. There are most definately just tourigrinos in my mind and in my experience. This worries me greatly.
I am not psychic or omniscient. If someone calls themselves a pilgrim, I accept that is how they see themselves and how they feel. Even if they are on a $10,000 tour staying at five star hotels. Seeing themselves as a pilgrim is all it takes in my book. The commercialization has always accompanied pilgrimage routes (cf. The Canterbury Tales) and doesn't affect my idea of what is and isn't a pilgrim. But that is how I see things. Others are entitled to their own opinion.

I am not saying that there are no tourists on the Camino, people who would not describe themselves as a pilgrim. But the title of the thread asks "what is a pilgrim?" and I am providing my personal answer.
 
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lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#17
Buen camino for you as well. Apparently my post upsetted you. I have deleted my post because it was not my intention to insult you, and you seem a little insulted and upset.
I was not insulted I was just answering your legitimate question. I am from the Bronx I have spent a lifetime of getting and giving abuse to and from family and friends. There is very little these days that insult me so no worries whatsoever.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#18
Everything that is popular is so for one or more reasons. The Camino offers a lot and it is inevitable that travel companies will seek to exploit this.

I had my own small epiphany (even as a non-believer) in these matters at Mycenae many years ago. I arrived on the public bus from Napflion and was surprised (doh!) and appalled to see a car park full of tour buses. but as I walked up to the Lion Gate all the annoyance faded away and I was just happy to be somewhere I wanted to visit for as long as I could remember.

So as long as you focus on why you are walking the motives and comforts or luxuries of others are ultimately irrelevant.

On a helpful note I walked from Zamora through Braganza and I can promise that if you take that way there will be no Tourogrinos!
VIa de la Plata may be next for me so I think the same may be true on that route. These things do not have any bearing whatsoever on my Caminos. Bu ti do look around the world and I see what wealth has turned into and what it creates. All one has to do is walk around the city that I grew up in, New York. Manhattan was a vibrant place full of rich and poor. 3 Star Michelin restaurants and great pizza on the street. There were 21 different ethnics restaurants f you walked one square block around my apartment. There were great young artists as well as timeless masters hanging in museums, playing in clubs etc. This has nothing to do with nostalgia or the good old days. It has to do when Wealth and power take hold in a society. They are able to create a world that suits their worldview and choke any semblance of spirit, creativity, warmth and love. This in a nutshell is my issue. The Touregrino is the symptom not the disease.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#19
From Wikipedia, "The Rules of Golf":
...
The rules of golf consist of a standard set of regulations and procedures by which the sport of golf should be played and prescribe penalties for rule infractions. They are jointly written and administered by the R&A (spun off from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews) the governing body of golf worldwide except in the United States and Mexico, which are the responsibility of the United States Golf Association (USGA). The rule book, entitled Rules of Golf, is published on a regular basis and also includes rules governing amateur status.

A central principle, although not one of the numbered rules, is found in the R&A rule book's inside front cover:[1] "Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair. But to do what is fair, you need to know the Rules of Golf."
 

Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
#20
It56: 3k or 4k after Sarria is Barbadelo, a spread out community that has lodging. Serves 2 purposes ... 1 is you do not spend the night in Sarria and 2 is you now have a head start from the masses in the morning. Just an idea which has worked well for me twice.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#22
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and frustrations @lt56ny

I think many of us at times may have shared some of your frustrations. I certainly did on my first Camino.

Now I don't let it bother me. Why? Because I realised that I cannot see into the hearts of those 'Tourigrinos' or know their backgrounds or circumstances. Sure there are the loud tour groups, but I found myself being too quick to judge them.

On that first Camino I set out to prove myself wrong about them.........

I stopped to talk to two middle aged ladies who were carrying tiny day packs. Their husbands were waiting for them at the next village with the 'support car'.

One of the husbands was blind and had dreamed of walking the Camino for so long, they went as a Group. His wife led him by the hand over the Pyrenees! The other husband drove the support car to pick up the blind man when he could go no further each day, and they would wait for their wives down the path somewhere.

That group were truer Pilgrims than me..........

Or the Bus Group, laughing and joking along the path. And there up ahead was their bus at the cafe! With their Cheerleader, an 85 old Nun who could not walk far but had organised the trip for them. I made a point of stopping to talk to some of them along the way. Delightful and devout people.........

Am I true Pilgrim? Who knows. I try to be. The Camino for me is a spiritual and sacred journey that I thank God each day for being able to undertake. I visit almost every church I pass and stop at every road side cross.

But......

I stay in private accommodations (I snore a lot)
I have massages (I carry injuries from training for my first Camino)
I visit a physio whenever I can (same reason)
A couple of times I might have to take a taxi ride, as walking a long distance on roads aggravates my injuries so much that it can end my Camino.
And I have been know to send my bag ahead because my Achilles Tendonitis got so bad I could barely walk that day...........

But in my heart I'm a pilgrim. And I think God shares that view as I have felt him urging me on at the times I felt like giving up........... I have shared one of those stories here.

Don't be too harsh on those Tourigrinos............ Maybe I'm one :eek: ;);)
 
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Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#23
Even if they are on a $10,000 tour staying at five star hotels
It's less than 4,000 € for 11 days/10 nights and I found it quite interesting to read about the owner. https://www.authentic-journeys.com/why-choose-us/about-us/ .

For whatever reason, I often feel compelled to defend these people's right to travel along something that is actually called a European Cultural Route. In particular when the trip is not marketed as a pilgrimage experience.
 

falcon269

no commercial interests
Camino(s) past & future
yes
#24
There is a 1981 documentary on Amazon Prime called Pilgrimages of Europe: Santiago de Compostela Spain. It begins with a pilgrim saying "walking this path automatically makes you a pilgrim." The historian narrator says that 8,000 persons walk the route each year according to records. We Johnny-come-latelies should be a bit humbler than to define a pilgrim.:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#26
This has nothing to do with nostalgia or the good old days. It has to do when Wealth and power take hold in a society. They are able to create a world that suits their worldview and choke any semblance of spirit, creativity, warmth and love. This in a nutshell is my issue. The Touregrino is the symptom not the disease.
Ah. Maybe the Tourigrinos are just a manifestation of or a target for your sense of injustice ?

In my younger days I would often get incensed at the injustice of this or that. I have learned that the World is often not fair or just. All I can do is try to play my part as best I can and maybe......influence my small part of it...........

I hope you find what you are seeking on your next Camino ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#28
I have never chosen to call myself a true pilgrim, nor a pilgrim at all even though I love walking the Caminos. Although I am a Christian, I am not Catholic, and I have not walked my caminos for religious purposes. I have a high respect for what I "think" in my mind a pilgrim is, so do not choose to identify myself as one because for me I would would feel hypocritical to what I perceive pilgrimage is about. When walking in Europe, most pilgrimages are steeped in the Catholic faith and its many traditions. As such, the paths we walk are usually directed towards many simple churches and lovely cathedrals along the way, which I respect and enjoy, however I do not attend mass.

On my first camino, my inspiration was the movie "The Way", so I knew no different than to walk every step, stay exclusively in albergues and eat only pilgrim meals. But doing that did not make me a true pilgrim because there was no spiritual reason why I was walking, although I was often touched in a spiritual way. To me, a pilgrim is whatever is sincerely going on in the heart of the individual who choses to call themselves one
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#31
I never really posed a question. I stated an opinion and a concern.
Aah, I see. I was confused by the title of the thread which seemed to be inviting answers from others. If next time you title the thread with a statement (e.g. "What I think a pilgrim/pilgrimage really is") it will be clearer to others that you are not posing a question.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#32
Ah. Maybe the Tourigrinos are just a manifestation of or a target for your sense of injustice ?

In my younger days I would often get incensed at the injustice of this or that. I have learned that the World is often not fair or just. All I can do is try to play my part as best I can and maybe......influence my small part of it...........

I hope you find what you are seeking on your next Camino ;)
Of course they are a manifestation of what is happening all around. I do not believe it is a sense of injustice at all. It is a very small commentary of what is incredibly evident everywhere.
In regards to being incensed in your younger days, what I understand is that you are now trying to channel that rage into something positive and local as you can only influence what is in front of you day to day. I think now more then ever we have to have a sense of rage that needs to be changed into action and engagement. The words are semantics the actions have the meaning.
I appreciate you saying that you hope I find what I am seeking on my next Camino. I have never had any idea why I wanted to walk in the first place and I still don't. I just know I need to walk. Whatever happens happens. Some camino shit happens and get stirred up and some of it gets vomited out. (Pretty lousy metaphor). Other times I am just reminded and I practice having a little, and I mean little, more patience and life and camino are one step at a time. Cause all we got is the step we are taking. But every time I walk I meet more than one friend for life so that alone is more than worth the price of admission.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#33
Aah, I see. I was confused by the title of the thread which seemed to be inviting answers from others. If next time you title the thread with a statement (e.g. "What I think a pilgrim/pilgrimage really is") it will be clearer to others that you are not posing a question.
You should have been my English teacher in high school. LOL gracias
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#34
It sounds like you have answered your own question.
I don't think so. It's not about the definition of pilgrimage and pilgrim. The definitions given at the beginning are irrelevant, as we have quickly seen as soon as the discussion progressed.

The issue, IMO, is the idea of the caminos being a sacred space, a holy path - but not belonging to a defined religion - and all actors have to comply with a set of rules - but there is no authority who sets the rules or enforces them. I can understand the desire to protect and preserve this space, this construct, as one has experienced it, and, to a lesser extent, the wish that others experience it in the same way. Change is perceived as a threat, probably rightly so, but I can offer no solution.

I come from the historical feeder areas: the Low Countries, all of France, the Rhineland, Switzerland. Much as I try, I just don't see a holy path, a sacred corridor leading from my front door to the Cathedral of Compostela. Whether I hike or make pilgrimage, my behaviour towards the environment and all I meet or who walk with me is the same: I try to be as respectful as I can or as I feel appropriate.

I actually thought quite a bit about whether I am a pilgrim or not, and changed my mind repeatedly. I myself regard the religious element as a defining factor but I've now reached a point where the labels "pilgrim", "not a pilgrim" and what else there is, don't matter much anymore. I do not use terms like tourigrino, bicigrino etc.

I wonder: If it is "absolutely meaningless where you start and where you end" ... why do you have to walk in Spain?
 
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lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#35
Thanks for that little video. Those are the Pilgrims we can all learn from. I would love to share a few hours a day or meals in the evening speaking with those men. Although our spiritual beliefs are definitely different. I am sure there is much wisdom to gain from them and friendship to be found.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#36
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
@lt56ny having read your post I went to look at the website of the tour company which seems to have led to your starting this thread. As far as I can tell from reading the site, at no point does the company itself describe its tours as pilgrimages, or its customers as pilgrims. It uses the words "tour", and "trip". It also provides some historical information about the Camino, and the background of the couple who own the company, which they seem to have started after many years of walking the Camino themselves. The word pilgrimage is used by individuals who have been on the company's tours - and reading the entire article to which your first post links (which is not actually the one you quote from), it is clear that the person writing it felt deeply about the experience and to them it was a pilgrimage, whatever the cost or accommodation. The "Day in the Life" article which you quote is by a different person who took the company's tour, and despite the language used in your quote (which seems to have so upset you), this person also seems to have been deeply affected by their journey.

I understand that what you find offensive is the cost and the apparent commercialisation of the Camino by such companies. But to make such a sweeping statement as "They are not pilgrims" - perhaps when you have time to re-read those people's descriptions of their experience and have calmed down a little, you might see that sometimes pilgrims do choose to go on expensive tours, and that despite the cost and type of accommodation, to them it is still a pilgrimage.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#37
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respec
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
When I let my religious self out of "box", I certainly can and accept completely and fully this definition. In fact, I think it is impossible to define a pilgrim any other way. However, when the context is the Camino my perspective changes. It is not about others; it is solely about me and God.
I am pained when I see examples of disrespect along the Way. My response is to pray for them and treat them with compassion and understanding. Often, the words, "they know not what they do" come to mind and calm the this type of negative passion.
The Camino is changing due to its notoreity. I cannot stop it or change it; nor can anyone else. But, it was never about "them", it remains about me and serving God and obaining a stronger, deeper relationship with him.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#38
I don't think so. It's not about the definition of pilgrimage and pilgrim. The definitions given at the beginning are irrelevant, as we have quickly seen as soon as the discussion progressed.

The issue, IMO, is the idea of the caminos being a sacred space, a holy path - but not belonging to a defined religion - and all actors have to comply with a set of rules - but there is no authority who sets the rules or enforces them. I can understand the desire to protect and preserve this space, this construct, as one has experienced it, and, to a lesser extent, the wish that others experience it in the same way. Change is perceived as a threat, probably rightly so, but I can offer no solution.

I come from the historical feeder areas: the Low Countries, all of France, the Rhineland, Switzerland. I just don't see a holy path, a sacred corridor leading from my front door to the Cathedral of Compostela. Whether I hike or make pilgrimage, my behaviour towards the environment and all I meet or who walk with me is the same: I try to be as respectful as I can or feel appropriate.

I actually thought quite a bit about whether I am a pilgrim or not, and changed my mind repeatedly. I myself regard the religious element as an important factor but I've now reached a point where the labels "pilgrim", "not a pilgrim" and what else there is, don't matter much anymore. I do not use terms like tourigrino, bicigrino etc.

I wonder: If it is absolutely meaningless where you start and where you end ... why does it have to be in Spain?
I have tried to answer every response. I do think there is no meaning where one starts or finishes. I could care less. I am on of the least authoritarian people you could meet. My life has been proof of that as chaos has often abounded. I don't want to set or enforce any rules. I do think any space that has been traveled by hundreds of thousands of souls through the ages has some sense, feeling and aura of, for lack of a better word, spirituality and is a power place. I am sure we have all experienced places like this in our lives. They are sacred spaces and they can be found anywhere. I think without respecting this space can lessen its power. My opinion only.
One of may main objectives of writing this was to challenge myself (as I wrote) to hear other ideas. Some have been excellent others have been pablum to me. Often we spend so much time worrying that we are not respecting other opinions and bending over backwards to be tolerant when no intolerance is intended, we lose the ability to open our minds to other opinions and new ways to see and old issue.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#39
@lt56ny having read your post I went to look at the website of the tour company which seems to have led to your starting this thread. As far as I can tell from reading the site, at no point does the company itself describe its tours as pilgrimages, or its customers as pilgrims. It uses the words "tour", and "trip". It also provides some historical information about the Camino, and the background of the couple who own the company, which they seem to have started after many years of walking the Camino themselves. The word pilgrimage is used by individuals who have been on the company's tours - and reading the entire article to which your first post links (which is not actually the one you quote from), it is clear that the person writing it felt deeply about the experience and to them it was a pilgrimage, whatever the cost or accommodation. The "Day in the Life" article which you quote is by a different person who took the company's tour, and despite the language used in your quote (which seems to have so upset you), this person also seems to have been deeply affected by their journey.

I understand that what you find offensive is the cost and the apparent commercialisation of the Camino by such companies. But to make such a sweeping statement as "They are not pilgrims" - perhaps when you have time to re-read those people's descriptions of their experience and have calmed down a little, you might see that sometimes pilgrims do choose to go on expensive tours, and that despite the cost and type of accommodation, to them it is still a pilgrimage.
I read the website and as I said in my post my reaction to it was based on someone who referred to themselves as a pilgrim and on pilgrimage in the podcast that I listened to. I never said they referred to themselves as catering to pilgrims. It is the mere fact that you could charge 4,000 Euros for this "tour" that is on the camino is what I have objected to. If you read my responses to everyone else, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, you may see more clearly what I am talking about.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#40
When I let my religious self out of "box", I certainly can and accept completely and fully this definition. In fact, I think it is impossible to define a pilgrim any other way. However, when the context is the Camino my perspective changes. It is not about others; it is solely about me and God.
I am pained when I see examples of disrespect along the Way. My response is to pray for them and treat them with compassion and understanding. Often, the words, "they know not what they do" come to mind and calm the this type of negative passion.
The Camino is changing due to its notoreity. I cannot stop it or change it; nor can anyone else. But, it was never about "them", it remains about me and serving God and obaining a stronger, deeper relationship with him.
Now this is an answer I learn from! Thank you so much.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Roncesvalles-SdC Apr-Jun 2015
Roncesvalles-Sarria Sep-Oct 2017
(2019: Planning to return!)
#42
I read the website and as I said in my post my reaction to it was based on someone who referred to themselves as a pilgrim and on pilgrimage in the podcast that I listened to. I never said they referred to themselves as catering to pilgrims. It is the mere fact that you could charge 4,000 Euros for this "tour" that is on the camino is what I have objected to. If you read my responses to everyone else, I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, you may see more clearly what I am talking about.
Yes, I have read all the posts on this thread. You are clearly thinking deeply about this issue. My reply was specifically to your statement - in upper case, "shouted" as you say from the mountaintops - that the people who go on these tours are "not pilgrims". You are of course entitled to your opinion (although you didn't say "in my opinion they are not pilgrims") - in my opinion, none of us are in a position to judge the motivations, reasons or beliefs of others simply on the basis of what they pay for a tour.

Your later posts refer to disrespect. Going on a costly tour is not in itself disrespectful, any more than travelling cheaply and staying in albergues makes someone respectful (as we know, there are plenty of rude and disrespectful people in that category, and many of them also describe themselves as pilgrims!). I would never personally use the term "tourigrino", as I consider it a snide and superior term (dare I say disrespectful!) that lumps a whole lot of very different people into one category without knowing anything about them as individuals. Whether running a tour company is inherently disrespectful I couldn't say - I don't use tour companies myself and never have, but they have existed for a long time and will continue to exist where people are willing to pay, all over the world. Like some others who have responded above, I have met some very respectful, amazing people on the Camino who happened to be using a tour company for whatever reason. And have also encountered those who operate tours, including some members of this forum, who are deeply respectful and most definitely pilgrims themselves. And I've met some disrespectful, unpleasant people who are not in tour groups.

Respect (or disrespect) has very little to do with wealth or power. It has everything to do with giving people the benefit of the doubt, listening, and having compassion for those who choose to do things differently, whether that's using a tour company or starting one up (often as a way to keep spending time on the Camino while making a living). Misuse of wealth and power is real, and you're right about "a sense of rage that needs to be changed into action and engagement", but little tour companies like Duperier's are not the big bad guys.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#44
I do think any space that has been traveled by hundreds of thousands of souls through the ages has some sense, feeling and aura of, for lack of a better word, spirituality and is a power place.
That's the point I find hard to understand.
I am sure we have all experienced places like this in our lives.
I've experienced plenty of such places, medieval Christian, early Christian, other world religions, classical Roman, classical Greek, neolithic, others. Mostly without walking hundreds of kilometers on foot though. Once a large group from a cruise ship marched through the site. They were soon gone and I've nearly forgotten about them. Maybe I got annoyed about them or I pitied them, I don't remember. But sitting for a long time in that Isis temple near the sea - I remember it well. I wish you well.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sept. - Oct. 2012
#45
If I may, I would like to add my 2 cents worth, though as a Canadian, it may be my 1.5 cents worth - :)

I am going to bypass the whole who is a legitimate "pilgrim" debate and go right to my central thesis.

One of the obvious recurring themes of the Camino for the people posting here is it's transformative impact. I have myself commented on this.

I have no intention of judging how or in what manner you or anyone else does the Camino. It is a personal decision based on means, opportunity and need.

I do recognize that somehow the Camino seems to provide a form of redemption, a sense of self forgiveness and for some, an opportunity to re-establish personal values and self image that has been lost in the flotsam and responsibilities of our lives.

Whether you take this as guidance from "God" or through some philosophical pursuit of "progressive humanism", the end result is positive and worth pursuing.

We don't need any more guilt in the world - :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela
#46
These definitions are from the Cambridge Dictionary. When I went to get my Certificate to teach English as a Second Language, Cambridge University and their dictionary was referred to as the "keeper of the English Language"
PILGRIM - a person who travels to a holy place as a religious act.
a person who makes a journey, often a long and difficult one, to a special place for religious reasons
PILGRIMAGE - a trip, often a long one, made to a holy place for religious reasons
a special journey made by a pilgrim
a visit to a place that is considered special, where you go to show your respect

I would like to address an issue that has bothered me from my very first Camino. But before I begin I would like to say I have made friends through this site. I respect what all of us are trying to accomplish here. I have gained useful information and have felt very good when I as well as when I see others give back to the Camino but imparting and soothing fears and misgivings of new Pilgrims and giving information that is needed by all. We always learn from each walk we take. I know that this forum strives to respect everyone and is tolerant to each persons ideas and as people say we all walk our own Camino. I have done 4 Caminos and have traveled over 4,000 kilometers. I have had great pain, great joy, great tranquility, met the greatest people on earth and had experiences that range from the mundane to the ridiculous to the profound.
I cannot tell you how much the Camino means to me and how much I respect its sacred space. I am writing this on the CF Forum as this path to Santiago has given me great happiness and now causes me great concern.

I have absolutely no problem with people who because of personal or physical concerns or have time constraints, ship backpacks, or take some bus rides, or walk shorter distances. I have no problem with people who have been lucky enough to find a way to take their love of the Camino and make it their home by opening Albergue or pensions, restaurants, or have Camino related businesses or podcasts. What Brendon Burke does or the Pilgrim House or Dan Mullins songs. ( I don't even know if he earns money from his music but I hope he does and I hope everyone who takes that Camino plunge is successful. I know no one is going to get rich materially but I am sure the spiritual rewards are tremendous.

But I think it is possible for all of us to express concerns without having to incur the wrath of others because a controversial topic that is heartfelt and but may not be perceived as tolerant by some. It is time for a learning experience for all of this when this happens. I know some may say this is your issue not the Camino, that you need to be more open and less judgmental. Well we are all walking around all day carrying judgements and issues no matter how hard we try not too. It is the human experience. So yes this is my issue. That is because of the following:

The Camino is a sacred place to me and to many others. I have met people who were making profound changes or decisions in their lives. I have met a man who had terminal cancer and was trying to make sense of the time left and how to spend it. I met a woman who lost her husband and 3 small children in a car accident and had attempted suicide more than once. Her friend took her on the Camino hoping she would find something to help to allow her to go on.

The Camino IS a sacred place and to call yourself Pilgrim and to say you are on Pilgrimage have meaning and responsibility. There may be new aspects to draw on that encompass the meanings but the basics should never change.

A friend who I wrote to about this, who is on our forum feels the same frustration that I do, but advised me to say nothing. But I can't help myself. I speak out to voice a concern but also I am always hoping to hear an argument that may change my mind and bring me some peace.

On my first Camino I met wonderful people. People who were walking with purpose (even though many like myself had no idea what that purpose was. We just knew we had to be there). They struggled with the full spectrum of pain from the physical to the spiritual. There were days even then almost 10 years ago that it was a little hard to find an albergue. But then we reached Sarria. My experience there is something I have never forgotten or gotten over. I usually leave early because I love walking in the early morning dawn. I arrived in Sarria early at my albergue (it was a private one) and was struck by seeing at least 20 backpacks neatly stacked against a wall. All brand new. About 20 minutes later Pilgrims started coming in. We were located on the west side of town and this albergue might have been the last in town at the time. Someone told me all the other places were already full. A little while after that I saw a few people coming in who were hobbled with blisters and other assorted ailments without a place to stay. I called two friends who both had injuries and offered my bed but they said they were staying at a hotel off the camino and would taxi there and back. About 7PM the people started coming in who had reservations and had their backpacks against that wall. Many were very loud and very drunk. I had never encountered this before. Obviously the rest of the way into Santiago I encountered these people and it made me question what is the meaning and definition of a Peregrino.

I recently walked the Norte and for a couple of nights met a few older women who stayed in the same albergues that I did. I was walking with another American and a Swede at the time. We all talked the first morning at breakfast and I mentioned to them how much I respected them walking the Norte as the hills are really intense. Very steep and very long. One laughed and said the hills are not bad at all. It turns out that we found out after a few days that they took taxis up every single big hill on the Camino. I told my friends that night as a half/joke, what have Pilgrims become. The word is losing its meaning. My young Swedish friend said they are NOT pilgrims they are Tourgrims and they are all over the place. We then had a very good discussion about what it really means to be a pilgrim and what pilgrimage is.

A few weeks ago I heard a podcast with a "Pilgrim" that had walked 10 days on the Camino. He was on a luxury tour of the Camino. He talked about what the Camino did for him and I do not doubt his words or his sincerity. He wrote an article entitled "A day in the life of an Authentic Journeys Pilgrim:
"Fast forward to present day and you’ll find contemporary pilgrims from all walks of life and from every corner of the world traveling along this same storied path however, while some walk in the traditional way carrying their worldly possessions in their backpacks, bunk down in community albergues and dine from the pilgrim’s menu; there are others who opt for a more luxurious and convenient pace that includes deluxe accommodations and gourmet dining, plus the convenience of having luggage transported from place to place. And at the end of the day, the promise of a little pampering from your personal massage therapist beckons." This ten day journey costs 3,950 Euros. I was completely and utterly offended by this. I am not begrudging this trip for those who want or can afford it.
The only thing I will shout from the mountaintops is that THEY ARE NOT PILGRIMS/THIS IS NOT A PILGRIMAGE!
Must everything today be completely and utterly monetized and taken over by wealth and comfort? Can nothing be left to the simplicity of what the meaning of Pilgrim,/Pilgrimage is? Yes I know Kings and noblemen walked. Yes I know people were paid to walk for them to have their sins absolved. Yes I know the hundreds of other arguments about tolerance and inclusion. No although my personal opinion is these people should find somewhere else to vacation. Like he said the Grand Canyon. Yes you can't deny people the ability to make a living. You cannot exclude anyone from walking no matter what form their walk takes. Please I am not an idiot, I know! But as my friend so eloquently wrote to me and I say again there is a responsibility and a spirit of a TRUE Pilgrim. (yes I said it, True Pilgrim) It is sacred and most be continued in all its forms that include compassion, love and yes sacrifice. You know what, without sacrifice and knowing the true nature of sacrifice can you have the compassion and love for other Pilgrims when you are walking.
These companies are not giving you a pilgrim experience. Larger and larger numbers of people walking are tourists and looking for a cheap vacation.
TOURGRIMS
Please all I ask is that we look at this before the Camino becomes a spiritual Rodeo Drive.
I love the Camino and I love all Pilgrims.
Hope you all understand what I am trying to say. I probably could have said it in a lot less space but I have such a big damn mouth!
Buen Camino (I am too lazy to reread everything for typos).
You actually articulated what all other true pilgrims think!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
#47
Lyle, I do share your concerns. My frustration wells up when I read posts in which the writer is clearly treating the Camino as a bucket list item to be checked off. The Camino tours seem geared toward such clientele. The frustration comes from the fact that, to me, walking the Camino is anything but a bucket list item. I am fed up with posts asking what are the must-see sights on the Camino, or what is the most scenic two week stretch, and on and on. I am tired of replying that it’s about the people, not the sights, so I usually don’t bother replying. It’s as if we are on a completely different stream of consciousness. It’s not that mine is a more worthy, it’s just that our motivations are so completely different that we have no basis for communication. It’s as if we are speaking completely different languages. I can’t possibly think of the Camino as something to check off a list and I suspect those that do think of it that way cannot connect with my spirituality and human connection mumbo jumbo.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#48
There are other definitions of pilgrim

From dictionary.com -
  1. a traveler or wanderer, especially in a foreign place.
And from Merriam-Webster -

one who journeys in foreign lands : WAYFARER

You actually articulated what all other true pilgrims think!
I reject the idea that all true pilgrims think and act alike.

We don't need any more guilt in the world - :)
Or suffering. Many people think that they need to suffer to be a "true pilgrim". I think it's better to add joy to the world.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#49
It's threads like these that gave me the only cause to worry before my first Camino. I felt a powerful attraction to walk the Camino, but was worried that as a non-believer I would be judged and rejected, because I wasn't walking for religious or spiritual reasons. Fortunately, I found that not to be true, and now I am hopelessly in love with the Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#50
It's threads like these that gave me the only cause to worry before my first Camino. I felt a powerful attraction to walk the Camino, but was worried that as a non-believer I would be judged and rejected, because I wasn't walking for religious or spiritual reasons. Fortunately, I found that not to be true, and now I am hopelessly in love with the Camino.
I totally get that.
Indeed there is something magical out there, isn't there?
I am not 'religious' in the traditional sense. I'm the product of a Catholic Father and a Protestant Mother (both Irish) so that in itself meant that religion was intentionally played down in our family. Long story......

So I think of myself more as 'Spiritual' but still a Christian. Which I often thought of as a 'cop out' but a Minister friend of mine pointed me in the right direction a few years ago. Another long story.

My point?

For me the Camino is really the only place and time I feel truly at 'home'. OK sounds weird.
It's the solitude, being part of nature all day, just being and thinking......... I love it. Maybe I'm a secret hermit!

It's where I find myself, but more importantly, it's where I find God. Out there on the hills and amongst the fields..... Sometimes in the quiet churches too.

If walking the Camino brings me closer to Him and closer to being my true self.......then I'll keep walking the Camino. Others will do so for a raft of other reasons. Others go to Mass. I don't. I'm not a Catholic and don't really understand it anyway.

I do not judge them and I hope they do not judge me. Though it doesn't really bother me if they do........ :p

I'm rambling...............so I'll stop......... :oops:

Interesting thread though ;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
#51
For me the Camino is really the only place and time I feel truly at 'home'. OK sounds weird.
Doesn't sound weird to me at all!
My first Camino was totally out of my comfort zone. I had never backpacked or stayed in hostels before. I had never gone a more than a month wearing the same two outfits, or not using makeup or a hair dryer. About half way through my second Camino I realized that the Camino is my comfort zone.
Last night while I was all nice and cozy on my sofa watching a mystery on TV I suddenly wished that I was in a bunk bed in an albergue.😊
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#52
Doesn't sound weird to me at all!
My first Camino was totally out of my comfort zone. I had never backpacked or stayed in hostels before. I had never gone a more than a month wearing the same two outfits, or not using makeup or a hair dryer. About half way through my second Camino I realized that the Camino is my comfort zone.
Last night while I was all nice and cozy on my sofa watching a mystery on TV I suddenly wished that I was in a bunk bed in an albergue.😊
I think perhaps, for some of us, the Camino just feels more 'real' than our day to day lives.........
Or it feels like, how life should be lived......
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
#53
Last night while I was all nice and cozy on my sofa watching a mystery on TV I suddenly wished that I was in a bunk bed in an albergue.😊
Isn’t it just amazing that we look back longingly on those experiences. Those who don’t get it will never understand why you’d want to be back in such a place.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Planning Italy to Finisterre and back (20xx)
#54
I think that the key word in the pilgrims vs. tourists debate is “respect”.

My opinion is that who chooses to walk as a "pilgrim" tends be more aware of the significance of the road walked and tends to respect everything on and around it. A "pilgrim" will have a connection with its pilgrimage. Whereas for tourist being on the Camino or in cheap holiday location won’t make any difference, therefore their behavior may become inconsiderate towards whom walk with a different motivation and towards the places they pass through. Tourists tend to live in their own “bubble” and what they visit is just “something else” which they can use and abuse as their like without consequences. They won’t feel any connection to the place they visit. (In the first draft of this post I wrote some examples of what happens in Italy, but it was too much "wall of text").

I’m a confident person and not confrontational by nature, so I don’t really care if someone calls himself a pilgrim on an organized tour or if brags to have walked for X amount of Km, but in reality he got a taxi all the way, nor I care for the money he has spent on luxury services. I care for what I do. For my “pilgrimage” it won’t be acceptable getting a taxi or a bus unless I’m forced to, luxury doesn’t meet my taste in my normal day to day life, so on my “pilgrimage” it would be out of place. For me being a "pilgrim" it's more a mental state that is reflected in my actions rather than a label.

As long as people behave in a considerate way and do no harm they can call themselves whatever they want, but when people behave purposely in a disrespectful way, because they feel they are “more than” , they should be considered in a less “politically correct” way, in my opinion.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances from Astorga (2018)
Frances/Invierno from SJPP (2019)
#55
My first Camino was totally out of my comfort zone. I had never backpacked or stayed in hostels before. I had never gone a more than a month wearing the same two outfits, or not using makeup or a hair dryer. About half way through my second Camino I realized that the Camino is my comfort zone.
You’ve articulated exactly how I felt!
 

CAJohn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Sept/Oct 2019
#56
I will not carry my backpack. I will not explain my injuries or concerns that carrying more than my daypack could mean no camino for me in order to justify my actions to others as if I need to carry a card or make an excuse. I am old enough to no longer worry what others who don't know me at all think of me.I will not be doing my camino for anyone but myself.

I will stop in churches and light candles for my mother, father and brother. I am not the most religious person in the world. My mother was very religious, but never, ever called attention to her religiousness. I have always viewed her example as an inspiration. I have always viewed calling attention to my positive actions as cheapening them in some way.

I will try to treat those that I meet with respect and kindness. I won't tolerate abusive behavior, but I won't otherwise bother myself with what other people do. I won't litter (I understand it is a significant problem). I will try to live by the Golden Rule. I hope to learn something about myself on the camino (what exactly, I don't know just yet). It is a pilgrimage for me, but it isn't really about others. It is about me, my own experience, my own growth and what I learn about myself.
 

Oravasaari

Helsinki, Finland
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
#57
Oops! I just posted a thread about running the camino before I noticed this one! I must be a Runnerino or Joggerino?

My next camino will be my 5th. I've never felt like a pilgrim mainly because those I've met on camino who have identified strongly as pilgrims made me realise I was so completely different to them, with different, non religeous motivations. For me, at first, I was an adventurer, then on subsequent caminos I felt more in touch with nature and my body/mind, like a hermit or philosopher. The urge to run the camino has sprung directly from the camino being the initial impetus to improve my fitness, the walking led to running. Transformational for me at least in that sense.

I do recall having some uncharitable thoughts concerning Sarria starting tourinos after having walked from SJPdP the first time, but I think that was mainly because they had bright new CLEAN expensive hiking gear! I've missed out Sarria-SdC on some caminos mainly due to it being the least awesome section for me for many reasons, not just the Tourinos, crowds and changed vibe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago de Compostela
#58
I have been walking many parts of the Camino since 2011. God only know how many k's I've done. It is a very personal spiritual journey for me and it does not require that I reach SdC each time. Does that make me less of a pilgrim?
Absolutely not. It’s your Camino. Love it as you do
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2012, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011
#59
When walking in Europe, pilgrimages are steeped in the Catholic faith and its many traditions.
You might be interested in the St Olav's Ways - Christian pilgrimage routes re-created with the support of the very Lutheran Norse and Swedish Churches. Not all European pilgrimages are Catholic, nor necessarily religious.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#60
You might be interested in the St Olav's Ways - Christian pilgrimage routes re-created with the support of the very Lutheran Norse and Swedish Churches. Not all European pilgrimages are Catholic, nor necessarily religious.
In a similar vein: http://www.lutherweg.de/ - "Luther Way: Walk, Look, Pray, Slow Down. The Luther Way is a joint project of the Churches, tourism associations, municipalities and other institutions and addresses pilgrims, hikers and visitors who are interested in the Reformation and its effects." They have a Luther quote about pilgrims on the site that is not one of the negative ones that get always quoted in connection with pilgrimage in the 15th century.

"Slow down" is actually not a good translation for "Zur Ruhe kommen" but I could not find a better one. I think it is exactly what many people also seek on the Caminos, namely time out from a busy OR a monotonous life or any other, to find inner peace and tranquility or renewed strength for the future. Incidentally the same that many people look for during their annual holidays.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#61
When walking in Europe, pilgrimages are steeped in the Catholic faith and its many traditions.
You might be interested in the St Olav's Ways - Christian pilgrimage routes re-created with the support of the very Lutheran Norse and Swedish Churches. Not all European pilgrimages are Catholic, nor necessarily religious.
The Caminos are steeped in the Catholic faith but they have their origins in pre-Reformation Christianity and so are part of the historical background and shared heritage of all the Christian denominations of western Europe and their offspring, not just the modern Roman Catholic church.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#62
Most of you know far more of European history than I do, but all the churches I have been in on the caminos in Spain and France have been Roman Catholic. Have I wrongfully assumed that? I always see many statues of Jesus' mother, Mary, in every church.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#64
There is a 1981 documentary on Amazon Prime called Pilgrimages of Europe: Santiago de Compostela Spain.
Thanks for mentioning this. It's a pity that I cannot stream it as Amazon.com requires a credit card with a US address, which I don't have, and Amazon.co.uk offers only viewing of 2 out of the 12 videos and Compostela is not among them.

Interesting collection: Iona, Croagh Patrick, Lourdes, Les-Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Amsterdam, Fatima, Kalwaria Zebrzydowska, Scherpenheuvel, Kevelaer, Medjugorje, Santiago, El Rocio. I knew that all of these are active European pilgrimage sites with the exception of Iona and Amsterdam. Amsterdam???
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#65
Most of you know far more of European history than I do, but all the churches I have been in on the caminos in Spain and France have been Roman Catholic. Have I wrongfully assumed that? I always see many statues of Jesus' mother, Mary, in every church.
You are correct that churches along the Caminos in Spain and France are almost all Catholic. Protestant churches in those countries are a tiny minority. But as @dougfitz pointed out not all European pilgrimages are in predominantly Catholic countries. Much of northern Europe has been largely Protestant for several centuries. In recent years there has been a strong recovery of interest in pilgrimage and the recreation of pilgrimage routes in countries with a historic Protestant majority such as Germany, Sweden and Norway. Often inspired by the success of the Caminos but also drawing on ever-increasing cooperation and mutual respect between the various Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic church. As an Anglican I am very aware that my own denomination's history, theology and practice did not spring into existence fully-formed in the 16th century but that it shares much of its DNA with the modern Roman Catholic church. There is a great deal of common heritage to be shared and celebrated while remaining sensitive to the very real issues which still divide the churches. The Caminos are one area in which we can all share that joint heritage with comparative ease.
 
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Marc S.

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012-2018 Frances, Norte, Salvador, Aragones, Portuguese, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakibspaad.
#66
Amsterdam, indeed. In the late 16th century Amsterdam became a protestant city and all catholic procession became forbidden. Nowadays there is still the annual "stille omgang" (silent walk).There is website about the silent walk (in Dutch) here: https://www.stille-omgang.nl/

I copied some background information which you may find interesting:

Every year thousands of people flock in mid-March at night silently, without loud prayers, songs or clerical attributes, through the old center of Amsterdam. This Silent Walk commemorates the Blessed Sacrament, also called the Miracle of Amsterdam.

The Silent Walk celebrates a Eucharistic Miracle that took place on March 15, 1345. In Amsterdam was a very sick man administered the last rites. However, after eating the consecrated Host, the man had to vomit and he threw the host up in the burning fire in his room. It turned out that not only the host had remained intact, despite the vomiting, but also that the bread was not affected by the fire.

Already in 1346 pilgrims flocked towards the Holy Place and a chapel was built on the site of the miracle, the ‘Kapel ter Heilige Stede,’ which became the center of a flourishing devotion. Amsterdam became an important place of pilgrimage and people came from far and wide to take part in the annual procession.
After the ‘Alteratie’ in 1578, when Amsterdam became a Protestant city, all this disappeared. Catholic worship was forbidden, at least in public, and thus the processions. Nevertheless, the devotion continued on a more modest scale in a hidden church of the Beguine during the 17th and 18th century.

The Catholic revival of the 19th century showed also a revival in public of the worship of the Miracle by means of a procession that walked the original medieval route through the center of Amsterdam. Since Catholic processions were still banned from public life this happened early in the morning in silence. This grew into the Silent Walk as it is still held today. The commemoration of the Miracle starts on the Wednesday after the 12th of March. The Silent Walk itself is done on Sunday morning between midnight and four o’clock.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#68
I read this entire thread with great interest. I agree that it needs to be keep open for replies as long as those replies are respectful of others.

Passion for the Camino, its origins, history, development, and use bring passionate replies here in the forum. Many of us share this heightened degree of passion for the Camino writ large. I share this passion.

My only contribution to all the very thoughtful submissions above is to point out, somewhat wrly, that if you 'loved' the Camino up until now, fasten your seat belts and hang on! The ride is going to get more interesting from here...

Each and every Holy Year (occurs when Saint James' Feast Day falls on a Sunday) there is a dramatic spike in the number of pilgrim arrivals at Santiago for the entire year. On some previous years, the spike over the previous non-Holy Year was remarkable and almost incredible. Try a 10x increase over the previous year from 1992 to 1993!

There will be plenty of tourigrinos and 'true pilgrims' out there in 2021. So, either adjust your attitude and pray / seek more patience and understanding of others who may think differently than you, or plan to be somewhere else during 2021. 'nuff said on this point

Hope this helps.
 
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walkingstu

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino SJPP to SDC 2007 Frances
Camino Aragon Pau Fr. to Pamplona 2010
Camino Burgos to SDC 2012
Camino Porto to SDC 2015
Camino VDLP Seville to SDC March 2016
#70
I think David Tallan, has the right of it. You can't externalize the pilgrim's experience.
The heat, cold, rain, mud, hills, blisters, tourgrims, muscle strain, etc. etc. are all distractions to our personal delving.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#71
I am not harsh to anyone. I do not care how anyone chooses to travel. I am not judging them as human beings. The quality of you or me or anyone is irrelevant to my point. So don’t worry about that.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#72
Oops! I just posted a thread about running the camino before I noticed this one! I must be a Runnerino or Joggerino?

My next camino will be my 5th. I've never felt like a pilgrim mainly because those I've met on camino who have identified strongly as pilgrims made me realise I was so completely different to them, with different, non religeous motivations. For me, at first, I was an adventurer, then on subsequent caminos I felt more in touch with nature and my body/mind, like a hermit or philosopher. The urge to run the camino has sprung directly from the camino being the initial impetus to improve my fitness, the walking led to running. Transformational for me at least in that sense.

I do recall having some uncharitable thoughts concerning Sarria starting tourinos after having walked from SJPdP the first time, but I think that was mainly because they had bright new CLEAN expensive hiking gear! I've missed out Sarria-SdC on some caminos mainly due to it being the least awesome section for me for many reasons, not just the Tourinos, crowds and changed vibe.
I too do not have an ounce of religiosity in my body. If you check the definition I wrote of a pilgrim it pretty well fits you as much as it fits me. I would agree though if you are choosing to run across Spain maybe you are more of a runagrino lol. But then again your goal is a test of body, mind and spirit just as it is for a pilgrim. Motivation is irrelevant. As with just about anything we do that can be challenging. Motivation is unique to the person.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#73
I will not carry my backpack. I will not explain my injuries or concerns that carrying more than my daypack could mean no camino for me in order to justify my actions to others as if I need to carry a card or make an excuse. I am old enough to no longer worry what others who don't know me at all think of me.I will not be doing my camino for anyone but myself.

I will stop in churches and light candles for my mother, father and brother. I am not the most religious person in the world. My mother was very religious, but never, ever called attention to her religiousness. I have always viewed her example as an inspiration. I have always viewed calling attention to my positive actions as cheapening them in some way.

I will try to treat those that I meet with respect and kindness. I won't tolerate abusive behavior, but I won't otherwise bother myself with what other people do. I won't litter (I understand it is a significant problem). I will try to live by the Golden Rule. I hope to learn something about myself on the camino (what exactly, I don't know just yet). It is a pilgrimage for me, but it isn't really about others. It is about me, my own experience, my own growth and what I learn about myself.
See you get what I am saying. Thanks
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#74
Lyle, I do share your concerns. My frustration wells up when I read posts in which the writer is clearly treating the Camino as a bucket list item to be checked off. The Camino tours seem geared toward such clientele. The frustration comes from the fact that, to me, walking the Camino is anything but a bucket list item. I am fed up with posts asking what are the must-see sights on the Camino, or what is the most scenic two week stretch, and on and on. I am tired of replying that it’s about the people, not the sights, so I usually don’t bother replying. It’s as if we are on a completely different stream of consciousness. It’s not that mine is a more worthy, it’s just that our motivations are so completely different that we have no basis for communication. It’s as if we are speaking completely different languages. I can’t possibly think of the Camino as something to check off a list and I suspect those that do think of it that way cannot connect with my spirituality and human connection mumbo jumbo.
Gracias my good friend. I think maybe I should have had you write my post. You know me. You know I tried to be as politically correct, caring and inclusive as possible. But it hard to hide what I really am. An opinionated, judgemental, obnoxious jerk who if I was talking about this with you and write it here I would be shot at dawn. That’s why I have you my Pilgrim amigo for life.
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
#75
Having enjoyed and endured a variety of Caminos,I have never called them anything else than a Camino. I am of a Catholic background,personally and professionally, though in that time have met few people or “ pilgrims I should regard to be Christlike. But I am tolerant of others,will bristle at abuse and boorishness, and continue to enjoy the company of all those I meet on the Camino. It would no more occur to me to ask anyone if they were a “pilgrim”, than ask a lady her age!
I walk my Camino and they walk theirs. NB, I always avoid Sarria onwards for reasons heartfeltly described above.
Paz a todos y que disfruten sus caminos.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#76
You are correct that churches along the Caminos in Spain and France are almost all Catholic. Protestant churches in those countries are a tiny minority. But as @dougfitz pointed out not all European pilgrimages are in predominantly Catholic countries. Much of northern Europe has been largely Protestant for several centuries. In recent years there has been a strong recovery of interest in pilgrimage and the recreation of pilgrimage routes in countries with a historic Protestant majority such as Germany, Sweden and Norway. Often inspired by the success of the Caminos but also drawing on ever-increasing cooperation and mutual respect between the various Protestant churches and the Roman Catholic church. As an Anglican I am very aware that my own denomination's history, theology and practice did not spring into existence fully-formed in the 16th century but that it shares much of its DNA with the modern Roman Catholic church. There is a great deal of common heritage to be shared and celebrated while remaining sensitive to the very real issues which still divide the churches. The Caminos are one area in which we can all share that joint heritage with comparative ease.
@Bradypus
As an Anglican Christian I am interested in how my own tradition is connected with the Roman Catholic tradition, with respect to the pilgrim routes in Spain and the availability of pastoral services. I suspect that the liturgical focus of Anglicanism is one reason why we Anglican pilgrims wish for opportunities to participate in eucharist while spending months on camino. I am familiar with the Anglican Chaplaincy in Santiago, but was not able to utilize its services much, as I did not go on camino in 2018. As I am planning to walk the Camino de Madrid in Spain, I have looked into this issue and have discovered the services to pilgrims in the Anglican Cathedral in Madrid. I plan on receiving my pilgrim's blessing from that cathedral before beginning my pilgrimage in the autumn. This does not mean that I consider myself to be an "Anglican Catholic", or at least, only when around strongly Protestant Anglicans, and ditto for not considering myself to be a Protestant Anglican. As a Christian on pilgrimage, I need to participate in liturgical worship and am grateful for the Anglican Cathedral in Madrid and the Anglican Chaplaincy in Santiago for offering us that service.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#77
All the churches I have been in on the caminos in Spain and France have been Roman Catholic. Have I wrongfully assumed that? I always see many statues of Jesus' mother, Mary, in every church.
You are right of course and your question has already been answered. Perhaps you will enjoy or be surprised by the images below: A Protestant church. Still called Church of St James. Photo of main altar and details - the second detailed image shows the transfer of St James' body in a cart pulled by two oxen. The last photo shows the Coronation of Mary altar.

The church was a pilgrimage destination and it was and has become again a halt on pilgrimage routes including roads to Santiago and Rome. It welcomes all of course 🙂, pilgrims, the faithful, tourists, walkers. I think it is this image in my head of pilgrimage routes and pilgrimage sites being all over the place that makes me a little allergic to the modern claim of a physical sacred corridor to SdC ... while I sympathise with efforts and calls to keep this (recreational?) space at least as intact as it is. I personally would like to see it return to what it must have been like before say the year 2004 but that's illusionary. Recreational space would be a good term, I think, but I suspect this word has (again!) negative connotations for too many people. I looked up its etymology 🙃.

Saint James church.jpeg
Saint James 1.jpeg Saint James 2.jpeg Mary Coronation.jpg
 
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Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#78
I personally would like to see it return to what it must have been like before say the year 2004 but that's illusionary.
What happened around 2004 and what changes did it make? Racking my brain to think of something significant then!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#79
Kath, these pictures are very interesting to note! In the US, at least to my limited knowledge, only the catholic churches show Jesus hanging on the cross behind the altar in death. Protestant churches (and I have been in many) show an empty cross as they prefer to focus on the miracle of his resurrection.
I admire your keen interest and knowledge of history as it relates to the camino on many threads.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#80
What happened around 2004 and what changes did it make? Racking my brain to think of something significant then!
I had to pick a number. 2004 was a Holy Year. It was around the time when I first considered walking all the way. I imagine that there was already some comfort like albergues within my kind of daily walking distance. I would not have wanted to rough it quite like those who walked during earlier decades. 2004 was the year this forum got started. I'd love to find the forum I joined at the time but it is gone. There was no talk about who was a pilgrim and who wasn't. I think they didn't even discuss backpacks. Just very basic practical questions and requests to find someone to walk with.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Sept 16/ 2016. Leon to Santiago . SJPDP to Santiago. (Sept/ Oct 2019 ).
#81
May we respectfully ask you to look and read your own writings from the Cambridge University Dictionary " Keeper of the English Language " We feel that if you read that carefully you would not have penned this post. Sincerely Ian
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#82
I had to pick a number. 2004 was a Holy Year. It was around the time when I first considered walking all the way. I imagine there was already some comfort like albergues within my kind of walking distance.
Thanks - now I understand. I walked my first Camino in 1990 and my second in 2002 so I do remember roughly the period you mention. There had already been a huge change in the feel of the Camino over those 12 years. Numbers walking in 2002 were already much larger and albergues fairly similar to those of today had already replaced the earlier small and far more basic refugios. There had also been a significant move by local and provincial governments to promote the Caminos as a tourism resource. The 1993 Holy Year was probably the key point of change in which the Camino moved from being a low-key and volunteer-led project to a major professionally-driven phenomenon. I remember thinking in 2002 that numbers walking were uncomfortably large and perhaps reaching capacity. That year ended with a total of 68,952 Compostelas issued. More than 16x the number for the year I first walked but only about one-fifth of last year's total.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#83
I'm sure it's been much harder for those of you who started your caminos so much earlier, seeing all the changes of more recent years and look back a little wistfully at how it used to be. Those of us newer to the camino paths "don't miss what we don't know".
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2014

Camino Frances Sept/Oct/Nov 2019 ( Hopefully )
#84
I watched this a few years ago and have read some earlier accounts of walking the Camino that go back to the 1970's. Having walked myself in 2014, the contrast of what I experienced as compared to the descriptions of 20, 30 and 40 years previous is stark. Folks that I encountered described a much less commercialized Camino even just five or ten years before

In 1995 I was laid off from a job with a package that included six months pay and health insurance. It would have been the perfect time to take this pilgrimage had I known about it. I was younger, stronger and the walk may have had a more profound and positive influence on how I was to pursue the rest of my working life.

I'll always wonder what I missed on that simpler path

There is a 1981 documentary on Amazon Prime called Pilgrimages of Europe: Santiago de Compostela Spain. It begins with a pilgrim saying "walking this path automatically makes you a pilgrim." The historian narrator says that 8,000 persons walk the route each year according to records. We Johnny-come-latelies should be a bit humbler than to define a pilgrim.:)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015); February/March (2020)
#85
Gracias my good friend. I think maybe I should have had you write my post. You know me. You know I tried to be as politically correct, caring and inclusive as possible. But it hard to hide what I really am. An opinionated, judgemental, obnoxious jerk who if I was talking about this with you and write it here I would be shot at dawn. That’s why I have you my Pilgrim amigo for life.
You forgot to add “with a heart of gold” when describing yourself.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
#86
You’ve raised some very valid points to consider, but in the end they are questions we may ask only of ourselves. I treated my one Camino (so far) as a deeply personal, spiritual experience; so much so, that I was moved to tears along the Way and when finally reaching SdC. Some pearls discovered along the way: everyone each walks their own Camino; it is yours and no one else’s; You will find what you need on the Camino. As a spiritual, religious guy, let me offer that we each have our own Way to go. I really like what another poster said that perhaps the “tourgrinos” are actually pilgrims who haven’t found their way yet. Bottom line: Heaven knows I’ve got my own issues to work on to become a better version of myself. Maybe just maybe the Camino will provide the spark to inspire others to find their Way.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#87
I have a friend who is a professional hiker and blogger. Has their Triple Crown in the U.S. after completing the Appalachian, the Pacific Crest and the Continental Divide trails. When talked about their trail lists they mentioned the Camino. When I asked, 'Why the Camino', the answer was 'because it is there'. They did not understand a religious Pilgrimage concept. When they asked me why I walk the Camino, I answered my wife didn't want to walk alone . That is the way it started I did it for my wife. During the walk it became spiritual pilgrimage for me and I discovered a different me with different priorities in life. I now look at life as a pilgrimage from my front door to work, on walk-a bouts locally and in my relationships I develop along the way. Next fall we walk the Portuguese and 2 years the plan after retirement is to walk fro Rome to Santiago. Pilgrimage for me in movement physically, and spiritually and I have devoted my life to that simplicity by the grace of God. And I love staying Albergues and hostels.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
#88
The Camino has always been to me a religious experience, first and foremost. Religious and the spirituality that goes with it. If it were not for the religious aspect I would have no real desire to walk it. I do not see it to be in the least bit secular, just as do not see the Hajj or Shikoku as being secular. If I were to walk either of those, I would not consider myself to be a pilgrim as I am not Muslim or Buddhist. I would consider myself to be a tourist who just happens to be walking a religious pilgrimage of a religion not my own.
 
#89
I'll posit a slightly different view; offered to me by Chico, a volunteer Hospitalero at Albergue parroquial San Nicolás de Flüe. "There are no tourists on the Caminos, just some pilgrims who have not yet found their Way".
Thanks for posting this quote, it is quite timely, especially since I am now a hospitalera in the same albergue in Ponferrada and had a "discussion" about this very subject with my fellow Spanish hospitalero!

He has (in my view) quite a strong opinion of who should and should not be allowed to sleep in pilgrim albergues - those who are only doing the Camino as a "sport" should not be permitted. My rebuttal was much like that which you quoted: "some may start out as 'tourists' or 'hikers' but arrive as pilgrims".
As some have posted, I can't see what's in the heart and mind of others and actually, it is none of my business. I am here to welcome all those who enter this albergue, full stop.

I guess I've never been hung up on the word pilgrim or pilgrimage. If one feels called to walk the Camino then that is sufficient for me, whatever you wish to call yourself or how you choose to do it. Maybe I've mellowed over the 9 years walking and serving along the Camino.

Just this morning (after closing time when I should have been cleaning) I spent an hour listening to a Spanish woman unload her heart. If I had brushed her off because she arrived here by taxi avoiding the downhill from Foncebadón than I am not doing my job properly.
 
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tpmchugh

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
Camino Frances (2015)
#90
A few years ago, I met a group of Irish girls leaving Sarria. They were not on pilgrimage, they were on a hen party. They were great company and a bit of a laugh. But maybe not a pilgrimage but at least their rather unusual idea of a hen party was better than a drinking session that has one purpose, get stinking drunk and behaving badly. I enjoyed my time in restaurants and walking for a while with them. They were doing something out of the ordinary so maybe, they were on a pilgrimage but just didnt know it. They certainly made a lot of friends
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
#91
@LTfit thank you for your service. 'Chico' made a big impression on me that night. I'd walked that beautiful stretch from Riego down to Molinaseca picking litter and had run out of bags, hands and heart. I walked into the yard angry and sad and angry again. And he put me straight, gently but firmly. Please tell your companero, from this old pagan, we are all on a journey.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
#92
May we respectfully ask you to look and read your own writings from the Cambridge University Dictionary " Keeper of the English Language " We feel that if you read that carefully you would not have penned this post. Sincerely Ian
*Bites his tongue to avoid starting a whole "Which is the best/most authoritative dictionary of the English language" digression because everyone knows it is the OED.*

oops.
 

lt56ny

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013-Frances SJP-Finisterre, 2015 Camino Le Puy-Santiago, 2017 Portugues Lisbon-Santiago 2018 Norte
#94
It sounds like you have answered your own question.
I already have that part figured out. You are right, just walk. When I am walking I couldn’t give a rat’s you know what about any of this except when I see people who are disrespectful to nature, to their fellow man who are trying to sleep, who don’t show kindness or generosity. But then it becomes a test for me to allow it to pass through me and not let that crap get stuck in my mind. It’s poison. Unless of course it is in the middle of the night and people come in loud and drunk then I tell the. To shut the F#~<k
If walking were all that was required, there would be no dilemma. What is in my heart, mind and soul are just as important to me.
I just figured that is a given. Why else would we be walking?????
 

Yctoo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino ingles (2018)
#95
Ah. Maybe the Tourigrinos are just a manifestation of or a target for your sense of injustice ?

In my younger days I would often get incensed at the injustice of this or that. I have learned that the World is often not fair or just. All I can do is try to play my part as best I can and maybe......influence my small part of it...........

I hope you find what you are seeking on your next Camino ;)
My dear oldest son once said to me. “Mum, life isn’t fair that’s why we have to be”. Words that comfort me and give my life direction
 

Martyduc

Hunter Valley,Australia
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 15,Portuguese 16,Finisterre Muxia 16,Ingles16,, Almeria to Muxia,Finesterre 18,,Camino 19 ??
#96
Many of us feel “the call of the camino”, yet we have no idea why. After walking towards Santiago for a month or so, we suddenly stop in our tracks, and realise that this isn’t a long distance hike any more, or a cheap holiday, we are on a pilgrimage. And the mindset changes. We grew up when religion didn’t seem important any more; when people stopped going to church on Sundays. And yet we have a great respect for the churches that we tiptoe into. I sit quietly in them, wondering why I am doing this, and trying to work out what it is I am looking for. I guess I am looking for God. I haven’t found Him yet, so I think it’s OK to call myself a pilgrim while I keep on looking, but I now prefer the quieter routes.
Thank you jsalt,,,, better said than i could ever do,, i totally agree !!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Hice el camino francés hace 20 años (1999). Ahora quiero cruzar el del norte. (2019)
#98
It56ny, "Non semper eliges finem. Interdum, finis te eligit." [You don't always choose the mission, Sometimes the mission chooses you.] And, from Chaucer's The Prologe: "So priketh hem Nature in hir corages, Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages, The holy blissful martir for to seke, That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke."
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
#99
I admire your keen interest
Sigh, my keen interest ... I start to hope that it will wane one day. It all started one day between Tours and Bordeaux when I got acquainted with Romanesque sculpture that you can also see so often along the Camino Frances. I've seen Romanesque churches before but never something like this. Never been in areas where it's in such abundance. I wanted to understand the meaning of what I saw, not just admire the art and beauty and that it's so old and gives me a cozy feeling (all that spiritual power 🙄), and I also wanted to understand the mindset of the people who lived in those days. And then came SJPP and I wanted to give up in horror. So many people. Who are they? What drives them? So that became another point of interest for a while but that interest is definitely waning now ... 🙃.

I learnt more about what I saw on the portals, the façades and inside the churches. I'm really happy that I can "read" so much more now. But it also made me think about what I was taught so many years ago or what I recite without much thinking in a church service. Well ... not a topic to discuss here. But for me it's an unexpected by-product of the whole enterprise.
 
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago (a combination of own way, voie de Tours and Camino Frances)
In the US, at least to my limited knowledge, only the catholic churches show Jesus hanging on the cross behind the altar in death. Protestant churches (and I have been in many) show an empty cross as they prefer to focus on the miracle of his resurrection.
I think you are right, there is a difference in the use of crucifixes/crosses between Protestants and Catholics but, without researching it further, here in Europe - with its great diversity anyway - it concerns more the small crucifixes/crosses, I'd say, that you see in homes and other buildings. You definitely see images of Jesus hanging on the cross as the central image in Protestant churches behind/above the altar in Europe. I have to admit that I have never paid enough attention to it to be able to say how frequent it is.
 
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