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

Advertisement

The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

what is going on? why are so many people paying a fortune to follow one of the many routes to Santiago?

Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#1
Reading through some of the threads, and those with statistics, I am asking the question that makes the title of this thread. I will be pedantic for a moment, and repeat what is often quoted: each person has her/his own motivation for walking to Santiago, from whichever starting point. I am just wondering aloud, really. The number of people has increased over the last umpteen years. While I am happy for people that there is such a useful infrastructure, making the experience economically feasible, what is it that draws people with right reason or none to set on such a journey? Some reject/deny any religious motivations. Their privilege. Some state it is for the physical challenge. Also, their privilege. Some are following an urge because of having talked with someone who has 'done' it, or perhaps having watched a film/ read a book about "The Camino". Some are walking in the footsteps of countless pilgrims who have gone before. Some are hoping, for what? There are other Pilgrim journeys in other parts of the world. So, why, the Camino to Santiago?
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
#2
The Caminos have been heavily marketed world wide for years and the efforts are starting to pay off. And this forum is making it easier too ... take a taxi... use the app... start in Pamplona if you are worried about the Pyrenees ... you can find enough food if you are a vegetarian ... IMHO the era of the early adapters, the pioneers, is long past.
 

SYates

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

Now: http://egeria.house/
#3
First of all I would argue with "paying a fortune", especially if you are from a nearby country and travel to the Camino isn't too expensive. As for the rest, I think you answered your own question already ;-) Buen Camino, SY
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#4
@kirkie, "paying a fortune" can mean different things to different people and it's often also seen in a (perceived) value for money context. But the title surprises me a little. Are you mainly thinking of people who travel from the States, Korea, Australia, Canada, Brazil (see list of top non-EU countries in 2017)? Because for the majority of the people on the Camino to Santiago, it's dirt cheap to travel there and stay there for a few weeks. And the weather is often better - at least warmer - than at home, with the exception of those from Italy perhaps. :)

PS: @SYates, we wrote at the same time. :)

Edited to add link.
 
Last edited:

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#6
Some are walking in the footsteps of countless pilgrims who have gone before. Some are hoping, for what? There are other Pilgrim journeys in other parts of the world. So, why, the Camino to Santiago?
I think part of the answer to that last question is that it was the first pilgrim route to be very deliberately revived and actively promoted. And the Caminos are easily accessible and comparatively cheap for many Europeans. And the knock-on effect of the Camino revival is that more and more people every year are actively seeking out other pilgrim routes in Europe and further afield: the Via Francigena and the Shikoku and Kumano Kodo routes in Japan spring to mind. No longer confined to Spain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#8
IMHO the era of the early adapters, the pioneers, is long past.
Too true - and a pity, that.

I sometimes also wonder - why some people spend literally many thousands of dollars to sort-of-walk the Camino in a posh guided tour like this one. I suppose for the cocktail party bragging rights, I don't know.
That part of the world is not my 'habitat,' fortunately.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Santiago to Finisterre to Muxia 2013
Camino Frances May 2015
Camino Frances July 2017
#9
Sorry Kirkie, must agree with @SYates and @Kathar1na . As a way of taking a one month holiday in Western Europe I can't think of anything much cheaper than the Camino especially for those living in all but the remotest areas of Europe.

It seems, looking at the Pilgrim Office statistics, that the proportion of people walking for religious/spiritual reasons has only dropped by about 5% over the last 13 years they have numbers for (I am not counting 2004 as it was a holy year), though it is now a shade under 50%.

Beyond that when considering why so many people are doing the Camino, the mere fact that they are aware it exists must be a major factor, I must confess I didn't until a cousin told me about it in 2012. I gather the Inca Trail has evolved similarly, I walked it sometime around the millenium and by all accounts, despite a limit on numbers, the trail is unrecognisable today.

More anecdotally I suspect the number of repeat pilgrims is considerable influence on the numbers.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
----
#10
The official figures and individual reports don't tell us much about whether people are on their first or subsequent walk/pilgrimage or whether they are on a short or longer term walk/pilgrimage. I know this is just anecdotal but at a recent dinner table of 8 people somewhere in Castilla/Leon, there were the following:
  • 2 on a SJPP-Santiago trip
  • 1 on his 7th camino (lasting only 2 weeks; takes time out from busy life every year for a camino)
  • 2 on a 10 days to 2 weeks first experience and the fact that it was cheap played a big role
  • 2 on a 1 week stage (intention to continue at a later date)
  • 1 on a long trip (Switzerland-Santiago)
Second and subsequent caminos and short-distance caminos not ending in Santiago may play a considerable role for the more recent increases in numbers.
 
Last edited:

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Bits of Le Puy /Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2108 Francés
#13
Too true - and a pity, that.

I sometimes also wonder - why some people spend literally many thousands of dollars to sort-of-walk the Camino in a posh guided tour like this one. I suppose for the cocktail party bragging rights, I don't know.
That part of the world is not my 'habitat,' fortunately.
That guided tour... hahaha!! Dear Lord, a full Camino Frances from St Jean in ten days with luxury accommodation for only $6,695!! You couldn't make this stuff up.
 

H Richards

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2017 Francés
Oct 2017 Bits of Le Puy /Francés
June/July 2018 Norte
Oct/Nov 2108 Francés
#15
Only $6,695.
A bargain.:cool:
But that doesn't include airfare. Or maybe these people will be using their own private jets.
Haha, yeah, I expect so. I was especially amused to see that they don't ever do two full stages back-to-back. They're always skipping ahead in a bus. Can you imagine paying all that money and then having such a clipped, uninvolved experience of the Camino? If that was me, on day two I'd have left the bus behind and gone on under my own steam. You can't even say it's that way for less capable walkers because they do the full Napolean pass on day one. Just bizarre.
 
Camino(s) past & future
----
#16
Are the $6,695 tour participants - as fascinating a topic as they are - the ones that are the major reason or even a main reason for the increase of the numbers of people on the caminos in Spain? My guess is that they are a tiny tiny blip in the pilgrim numbers. :cool:
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#17
My initial thoughts regarding the title was going to be about tour companies. I agree that there are a lot of nice walks in our own countries, but unlike Spain a 2 week pilgrimage in the UK will cost as much as a 5 week pilgrimage in Spain. I also think to really get the pilgrimage experience, there is nowhere like the camino in Spain.
So I don't see any clear cut answer as to why people travel so far to experience the journey of a lifetime. For me its all about the religious experience.
 

Bradypus

Antediluvian
Camino(s) past & future
Too many and too often!
#18
Can you imagine paying all that money and then having such a clipped, uninvolved experience of the Camino?
One of the reasons I would never consider such a tour. I walk the Caminos and other pilgrim routes for lots of reasons: history, culture, food, drink, religious tradition and so on. But probably mostly because I simply like to walk. I like to walk a lot. I can't imagine paying vast sums in order to be deprived of the chance to do so or to have someone else decide for me where, when and how far I should walk.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#19
Are the $6,695 tour participants - as fascinating a topic as they are - the ones that are the major reason for the increase of the numbers of people on the caminos in Spain? :cool:
Welllll...given that other companies offer such 'exclusive journeys,' too, we may be surprised how many there are, especially after Sarria.
But you're right, @Kathar1na . Likely not.;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 04-16
Norte/Primitivo 09-16
VdlP/ Sanabres 02/3-17
Levante 09/17
#20
For what it is worth.
Since finishing a career where I saw enough of life to feel the need for some space both in spiritual and more down to earth terms. Walking a Camino was suggested to me, 2015 aged 54 I had never even heard of the Camino de Santiago. Like many others I chose the Frances as I felt it was the most accessible for me and just to see how I got on. I am not religious although I was christened. I do have views on organised religion but can take quiet moments sitting in an empty church and that is where, for me, the essence of Camino can be found. To paraphrase Supertramp "it's in the quietest moment's". That is why it does not really matter why anyone starts a Camino, if you go with an open mind how can you not be altered in some positive way along the path. Act's of kindness remembered and passed on, stories told and heard, people met and views exchanged. It is all positive and reinforces our humanity irrespective of what our beliefs are or where are starting point is.
Since retiring I have walked several long distance footpaths in the UK, travelling in much the same way as I walk my Camino's. There is a difference. It may be subtle but it is significant. There is a real sense of "belonging" to a Camino, you become part of the path and the path gives back in what ever form. I see a painted yellow arrow and feel like I am amongst friends, reassured. Long distance walking on other non-Camino routes are great but lack an "X" factor. That is not to say that they are not worth walking it is just that they are an "A" to "B" route with no overtones or common bond. Maybe I am wrong but that is just my take on it.
Completing the Primitivo some months after the Frances I noticed that the final concrete post's had been well and truly covered with graffiti. Nothing meaningful or deep just an aggressive variation of "Kilroy was here". Asked I may have said that the Camino Frances has now become to many what InterRail was to my generation.
But that is the Frances. The Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres took me nearly 7 weeks and I hardly saw anyone. On the Levante I reckon I saw 8 pilgrims up to the point I reached Zamora. In late August I will walk the Ruta de la Lana and expect I will see even less people on the path. Original experiences are therefore still available but not if you expect crowds and albergues at every stop.
Money. A cheap holiday ? The commitment and effort needed is a long way away from sitting back on a beach for a month. Surely anyone expecting that is going to be going home quite soon after starting. Some may see it as a cheap holiday but as long as they complete the Camino they will have gained something positive from the experience and hopefully pass the light on in whatever way. Does it really matter if that light is a flicker or the full beam of a lighthouse ?
I am grateful to the Camino's I have walked. For the people I have met, the places I have seen, the quiet moment's and the experiences I have had. Maybe it is a generational thing, people do change and times move on, that will be as true for the spirit and direction of Camino as for everyone else reading this.
Buen Camino,
Don.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#22
My rambling thoughts:

The Camino was originally a religious journey.
Then it became a religious/spiritual journey.
Then movies and books, and more movies and books, came out and now it is a fad.
If you ask 10 walkers why they are doing the Camino, I believe a minority will say "for spiritual reasons."

I lead small groups of 7-8 people on the Camino.
I do this to pay for my OWN long distance walking, the ONLY prescription that helps my MCS.

Many who book with me are people who either
1) cannot get 6 weeks off of work, or
2) are disabled and can't carry a backpack, or
3) do not want to sleep in crowded albergues or race for a bed.
4) haven't traveled to another country and are afraid to go walk alone

All have different reasons for walking, but a minority are Catholic and walk to have their sins forgiven.
However, I HAVE had very wonderful spiritual or religious people in my groups, and at least a few who made every Mass in every village every day.

I ask questions these days before I take people into my small group, and I do my best to educate my walkers and encourage them to be good guests while on the Camino.

I have also had a few rotten tomatoes in my groups; people who were rude to taxi drivers and elderly hotel owners; people who didn't respect the property of others; people who drank themselves into oblivion; people who were "ugly Americans" but from other countries too. It's been a mixed bag.

I've heard different opinions from hospitaleros.
Some LOVE the pilgrims and the money they bring in.
Others feel they're like destroying locusts and wish they'd all go away, especially toward the tail end of the season.

I've learned a lot.
For one thing, I've learned (shockingly) that is it WOMEN who leave most of the nasty toilet paper and feminine product trash along the route. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that one. I often wonder what these women would do if I squatted to take a break in THEIR front yard, leaving behind my dirty paper and menstrual pads? They'd probably be out there screaming and calling the police. But they seem to have no problems doing it in someone else's yard. It's crazy.

Myself, I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to walk the Camino BEFORE it became a zoo. To walk when there were days we saw no other pilgrims. Just a few short years ago, 2004, that was the case for Joe and I, and I'm SO very grateful. There was a comradery that often no longer exists. We were grateful to have a bed and a piece of bread at the end of the day. We were grateful to meet other pilgrims. We were grateful for peace and quiet and any small consideration. Nobody demanded anything.

It's different now.
And to me, it's sad. :confused:

Every year I say, "This will be my last Camino" and my children and friends laugh.
Because then after a month or two, I'm longing for the trail again...

But I, for one, will be happy when nobody else writes a book or makes a movie or a youtube video, and people find something else to challenge them, far, far away from the Camino. And it returns to its original purpose - a pilgrimage, not a cheap vacation.

I shut down my Facebook Group yesterday - the one meant to help new pilgrims plan their Camino. I put a "donativo" button on my website for a month just to see if anyone was willing to give back.

Nada.

So I decided I was willing to help PILGRIMS by sharing information freely, but if tourists wanted it, they could pay for it.

I guess I'll write a book! :::cackling:::eek:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#24
Only $6,695.
A bargain.:cool:
But that doesn't include airfare. Or maybe these people will be using their own private jets.

(@kirkie, is this the kind of thing you meant in your OP?)
Actually, no. I think aloud, and then I just might know what I want to say! The wonderful contributions on the thread tell the story I was trying to ask about. There is surely something deep beyond us all, and when I referred to the fortune spent, I meant by those who travel from the ends of the earth to walk and be pilgrims. I did not intend to be looking for argument or agreement. I just was wondering why, just why, the Camino is such a magnet...and so thanks to those who have shared their thoughts.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May 2018
#25
First of all I would argue with "paying a fortune", especially if you are from a nearby country and travel to the Camino isn't too expensive. As for the rest, I think you answered your own question already ;-) Buen Camino, SY
I heard about the Camino by Paulo Coelho long time ago and now it is my turn. Leaving from St.George,Utah USA and starting in SJPP on May 24. Wish me luck.
 
Camino(s) past & future
June (2015) & June/July (2018)
#28
Pilgrim A: What's your daily allowance?
Pilgrim B: I'm trying to keep it below $669.
:p
Pilgrim C: Only $669? How will you manage.

I'm taking a little 16oz ziploc twist and lock container to cold soak some food along the way this year along with instant coffee for the mornings. I plan on saving the cafe con leche for around lunch time. Trying to do this on a cheep budget.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#29
What is the draw?
Honestly, I was only going to walk once. It was a lark because I was invited and love to walk, and of course I enjoy a meditative walk. Not being Catholic, I thought..."Hmmm...well, whatever."
And the 'whatever' was a huge surprise.
So I keep coming back, to feel into what good this brings out in me and in all of us.

I had a much longer answer, but this is the essence of it.
 

onwayhome

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Ponferrada-Santiago,(c1986)
Frances SJPP-Santiago (2011)
Portuguese Porto- Finisterre (2016)
St Michaels Way (2016)
#30
Compared to some other medieval pilgrimage routes, the main Spanish Caminos have had recognition, support and infrastructure for a very long time. Plus there's the sun, wine and often good company too.
Try a pilgrimage to a comparative medieval centre like Canterbury and the difference is immediately recognisable. I'm hoping the contemporary pilgrimage revival will result in the reawakening of more of these old ways for both inner and outer journeying.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#32
The arrival statistics indicate a quite large increase in the number of Americans. So let me address a few reasons for that. The Caminos are more accessible, and less strenuous, than the American long-distance scenic trails, such as the Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail. One can sleep in buildings, eat real food, and drink real drinks, all while carrying half (or less) the weight of AT or PCT backpackers. The Camino Frances takes about 5 weeks, while the AT is around 5 months. I think the spiritual/meditative quality becomes apparent on the first Camino experience, and is then responsible for the successive revisits.

I should point out that the Appalachian Trail is experiencing a similar increase in traffic; in fact they've had to initiate a registration (ie, rationing) system.
 
Last edited:

Sailor

Donante Vitalicio
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Infinito
#33
I heard about the Camino by Paulo Coelho long time ago and now it is my turn. Leaving from St.George,Utah USA and starting in SJPP on May 24. Wish me luck.
Mister Nelson, welcome aboard, your first post. We are currently in the same gorgeous city in the best looking state. You will do fine. No pares de caminar.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#34
For what it is worth.
Since finishing a career where I saw enough of life to feel the need for some space both in spiritual and more down to earth terms. Walking a Camino was suggested to me, 2015 aged 54 I had never even heard of the Camino de Santiago. Like many others I chose the Frances as I felt it was the most accessible for me and just to see how I got on. I am not religious although I was christened. I do have views on organised religion but can take quiet moments sitting in an empty church and that is where, for me, the essence of Camino can be found. To paraphrase Supertramp "it's in the quietest moment's". That is why it does not really matter why anyone starts a Camino, if you go with an open mind how can you not be altered in some positive way along the path. Act's of kindness remembered and passed on, stories told and heard, people met and views exchanged. It is all positive and reinforces our humanity irrespective of what our beliefs are or where are starting point is.
Since retiring I have walked several long distance footpaths in the UK, travelling in much the same way as I walk my Camino's. There is a difference. It may be subtle but it is significant. There is a real sense of "belonging" to a Camino, you become part of the path and the path gives back in what ever form. I see a painted yellow arrow and feel like I am amongst friends, reassured. Long distance walking on other non-Camino routes are great but lack an "X" factor. That is not to say that they are not worth walking it is just that they are an "A" to "B" route with no overtones or common bond. Maybe I am wrong but that is just my take on it.
Completing the Primitivo some months after the Frances I noticed that the final concrete post's had been well and truly covered with graffiti. Nothing meaningful or deep just an aggressive variation of "Kilroy was here". Asked I may have said that the Camino Frances has now become to many what InterRail was to my generation.
But that is the Frances. The Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres took me nearly 7 weeks and I hardly saw anyone. On the Levante I reckon I saw 8 pilgrims up to the point I reached Zamora. In late August I will walk the Ruta de la Lana and expect I will see even less people on the path. Original experiences are therefore still available but not if you expect crowds and albergues at every stop.
Money. A cheap holiday ? The commitment and effort needed is a long way away from sitting back on a beach for a month. Surely anyone expecting that is going to be going home quite soon after starting. Some may see it as a cheap holiday but as long as they complete the Camino they will have gained something positive from the experience and hopefully pass the light on in whatever way. Does it really matter if that light is a flicker or the full beam of a lighthouse ?
I am grateful to the Camino's I have walked. For the people I have met, the places I have seen, the quiet moment's and the experiences I have had. Maybe it is a generational thing, people do change and times move on, that will be as true for the spirit and direction of Camino as for everyone else reading this.
Buen Camino,
Don.
Beautifully written. However one starts a Camino, I expect the end is much different.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#38
I was asked a similar question yesterday -- how much does it "cost" to go to Santiago ? It's a bizarre question, almost to the point of puzzlement.

Crikey, I abandoned thinking about such things in the 1990s, and all I can see is : how much does it cost to live day-to-day ? This does not change from where you are or what you might be doing.

As for travel expenses, well, putting one foot in front of the other is not expensive.
How much is a pair of socks ?

OK so sue me, I live right on top of the Rome <<--->> Santiago Camino by the Italian border ; but even so, for people who need to fly in, what's the cost of an air fare ?

I certainly do NOT "pay a fortune" -- just for starters cos I ain't got one.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#39
IMHO the era of the early adapters, the pioneers, is long past.
Sorry dear -- we're going nowhere, except perhaps to Compostela.

The touristification of it all does create some strangeness, but that's no big deal when you've got your inflatable mattress and sleeping bag against all those commercial tourist albergues demanding cash but not genuinity.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Seven Compostelas in Three years and counting......
#41
Its cheaper to sublet my flat in the UK (they pay the bills while I am gone) and walk in Spain than it is to stay at home and pay the bills.

That's not the reason I keep coming back, but it sure helps!

Davey
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cami Sant Jaume (2017)
#42
I walked my mini Cami Sant Jaume for the romance of it. I'm not catholic, not spiritual, not an art historian, not a Spainophile or oenophile or gourmet. My photos reveal my interests: ancient bridges, tilework, plants, water fountains, small architectural details. I walked 50 miles in 5 days, got very hot, hungry, stronger, happy, liberated. That was my greatest feeling: liberated from obligations to my family until I got home again. So free!

I'm American, and my trip cost me about $100 per day, all told. I stayed with friends sometimes, and chose the cheapest hostel or hotel I could find near my route. I could not find any albergs in Catalunya, although I did later, after I got home. I also went shopping in Barcelona before going home: fabric and chocolate and wooden spoons.

I have a friend heading out tomorrow morning for a few weeks alone on The Long Trail in New England, but it doesn't go through any towns, and she is worried about food and water, and weight, and equipment; and she is a small woman walking alone. I hope she goes as far as she wants to, whatever that is.

The Camino infrastructure makes the expense and distance from home worthwhile.

That's what I think.
 

Derrybiketours

Go Further, See More!
Camino(s) past & future
Leaving from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port (09/09/18) and not worried about the destination:)
#43
My rambling thoughts

If you ask 10 walkers why they are doing the Camino, I believe a minority will say "for spiritual reasons

But I, for one, will be happy when nobody else writes a book or makes a movie

I guess I'll write a book! :::cackling:::eek:
Interesting reading Annie but have a look at a most recent survey which could restore your faith in peoples reason's for doing the Camino and by the way I must warn you I am writing a book, partly about my Camino experience but more about my spiritual awakening and apologies again but I'm taking my video and following up with a short film and I look forward to reading your book someday For results of survey please click on link below:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...in-reason-to-participate-on-the-camino.57765/
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#44
I walked my mini Cami Sant Jaume for the romance of it. I'm not catholic, not spiritual, not an art historian, not a Spainophile or oenophile or gourmet. My photos reveal my interests: ancient bridges, tilework, plants, water fountains, small architectural details. I walked 50 miles in 5 days, got very hot, hungry, stronger, happy, liberated. That was my greatest feeling: liberated from obligations to my family until I got home again. So free!

I'm American, and my trip cost me about $100 per day, all told. I stayed with friends sometimes, and chose the cheapest hostel or hotel I could find near my route. I could not find any albergs in Catalunya, although I did later, after I got home. I also went shopping in Barcelona before going home: fabric and chocolate and wooden spoons.

I have a friend heading out tomorrow morning for a few weeks alone on The Long Trail in New England, but it doesn't go through any towns, and she is worried about food and water, and weight, and equipment; and she is a small woman walking alone. I hope she goes as far as she wants to, whatever that is.

The Camino infrastructure makes the expense and distance from home worthwhile.

That's what I think.
Exactly. The long distance trails in the US, while beautiful, have almost no infrastructure. You must carry tent, cooking supplies and food, often for a week at a time before resupply is available, and then you may have to hike off trail to get them. Being older, that's all too much hardship for me. While I love the outdoors, I want a roof over my head at the end of the day, and the lovely caminos provide that AND a hot meal, too!
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#45
My rambling thoughts:

The Camino was originally a religious journey.
Then it became a religious/spiritual journey.
Then movies and books, and more movies and books, came out and now it is a fad.
If you ask 10 walkers why they are doing the Camino, I believe a minority will say "for spiritual reasons."

I lead small groups of 7-8 people on the Camino.
I do this to pay for my OWN long distance walking, the ONLY prescription that helps my MCS.

Many who book with me are people who either
1) cannot get 6 weeks off of work, or
2) are disabled and can't carry a backpack, or
3) do not want to sleep in crowded albergues or race for a bed.
4) haven't traveled to another country and are afraid to go walk alone

All have different reasons for walking, but a minority are Catholic and walk to have their sins forgiven.
However, I HAVE had very wonderful spiritual or religious people in my groups, and at least a few who made every Mass in every village every day.

I ask questions these days before I take people into my small group, and I do my best to educate my walkers and encourage them to be good guests while on the Camino.

I have also had a few rotten tomatoes in my groups; people who were rude to taxi drivers and elderly hotel owners; people who didn't respect the property of others; people who drank themselves into oblivion; people who were "ugly Americans" but from other countries too. It's been a mixed bag.

I've heard different opinions from hospitaleros.
Some LOVE the pilgrims and the money they bring in.
Others feel they're like destroying locusts and wish they'd all go away, especially toward the tail end of the season.

I've learned a lot.
For one thing, I've learned (shockingly) that is it WOMEN who leave most of the nasty toilet paper and feminine product trash along the route. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that one. I often wonder what these women would do if I squatted to take a break in THEIR front yard, leaving behind my dirty paper and menstrual pads? They'd probably be out there screaming and calling the police. But they seem to have no problems doing it in someone else's yard. It's crazy.

Myself, I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to walk the Camino BEFORE it became a zoo. To walk when there were days we saw no other pilgrims. Just a few short years ago, 2004, that was the case for Joe and I, and I'm SO very grateful. There was a comradery that often no longer exists. We were grateful to have a bed and a piece of bread at the end of the day. We were grateful to meet other pilgrims. We were grateful for peace and quiet and any small consideration. Nobody demanded anything.

It's different now.
And to me, it's sad. :confused:

Every year I say, "This will be my last Camino" and my children and friends laugh.
Because then after a month or two, I'm longing for the trail again...

But I, for one, will be happy when nobody else writes a book or makes a movie or a youtube video, and people find something else to challenge them, far, far away from the Camino. And it returns to its original purpose - a pilgrimage, not a cheap vacation.

I shut down my Facebook Group yesterday - the one meant to help new pilgrims plan their Camino. I put a "donativo" button on my website for a month just to see if anyone was willing to give back.

Nada.

So I decided I was willing to help PILGRIMS by sharing information freely, but if tourists wanted it, they could pay for it.

I guess I'll write a book! :::cackling:::eek:
This post seems to me to be at times teetering on the debate about what a "real" pilgrim is and what a fraud pilgrim is, with the ones who are religious or "spiritual" getting more points. (But you walk because it is the only thing that helps with your MCS.) Anyway.... well, I won't go into the rest of what I was going to write. Live and let live.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
#47
This is an old post. The title was confusing, or deceiving. For a far superior thread, go to @ Purky - An attempt at a secular Grand Camino Theory of Everything. There are others, one referred to above. Whatever the reasons, buen camino folks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route. 2018 was Camino #14
#48
This post seems to me to be at times teetering on the debate about what a "real" pilgrim is and what a fraud pilgrim is, with the ones who are religious or "spiritual" getting more points. (But you walk because it is the only thing that helps with your MCS.) Anyway.... well, I won't go into the rest of what I was going to write. Live and let live.
Debating what a real pilgrim is was not my intention at all - my intent was to defend people's right to pay to go in a group.

I don't think I used the word 'religious' at all, did I?
I'm not religious at all, so to say the Camino is only for religious people would be quite odd for me.
I have, however, found religious people on the Camino to be more respectful in general, in my own experience with groups.

The dictionary defines "spiritual" as relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. It really has nothing to do with religion, but rather with respect.

The ones I give more points to are the ones who are NOT rude, not abusive, aren't demanding Ritz treatment when they give a donativo of zero, and don't leave their sanitary napkins, tampons, and dirty toilet paper and other trash along the trail. This holds true for me, whether they are religious or not.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#49
This post seems to me to be at times teetering on the debate about what a "real" pilgrim is and what a fraud pilgrim is
That's nearly always a false debate.

The only actual "fraud pilgrims" are people who are pure and simple not pilgrims, but pretending to be so for fraudulent purposes, such as thievery, con-artistry, etc.

A "real pilgrim" in my view is basically one who has achieved a certain deeper understanding of his or her own Camino and to have internalised that understanding as a form of personal insight, communicable to others, even just as a personal Camino story. It has nothing to do with any lists of rules that one must follow nor boxes that have to be ticked ; except those that one might demand of oneself alone.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#50
My rambling thoughts:

The Camino was originally a religious journey.
Then it became a religious/spiritual journey.
Then movies and books, and more movies and books, came out and now it is a fad.
If you ask 10 walkers why they are doing the Camino, I believe a minority will say "for spiritual reasons."

I lead small groups of 7-8 people on the Camino.
I do this to pay for my OWN long distance walking, the ONLY prescription that helps my MCS.

Many who book with me are people who either
1) cannot get 6 weeks off of work, or
2) are disabled and can't carry a backpack, or
3) do not want to sleep in crowded albergues or race for a bed.
4) haven't traveled to another country and are afraid to go walk alone

All have different reasons for walking, but a minority are Catholic and walk to have their sins forgiven.
However, I HAVE had very wonderful spiritual or religious people in my groups, and at least a few who made every Mass in every village every day.

I ask questions these days before I take people into my small group, and I do my best to educate my walkers and encourage them to be good guests while on the Camino.

I have also had a few rotten tomatoes in my groups; people who were rude to taxi drivers and elderly hotel owners; people who didn't respect the property of others; people who drank themselves into oblivion; people who were "ugly Americans" but from other countries too. It's been a mixed bag.

I've heard different opinions from hospitaleros.
Some LOVE the pilgrims and the money they bring in.
Others feel they're like destroying locusts and wish they'd all go away, especially toward the tail end of the season.

I've learned a lot.
For one thing, I've learned (shockingly) that is it WOMEN who leave most of the nasty toilet paper and feminine product trash along the route. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that one. I often wonder what these women would do if I squatted to take a break in THEIR front yard, leaving behind my dirty paper and menstrual pads? They'd probably be out there screaming and calling the police. But they seem to have no problems doing it in someone else's yard. It's crazy.

Myself, I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to walk the Camino BEFORE it became a zoo. To walk when there were days we saw no other pilgrims. Just a few short years ago, 2004, that was the case for Joe and I, and I'm SO very grateful. There was a comradery that often no longer exists. We were grateful to have a bed and a piece of bread at the end of the day. We were grateful to meet other pilgrims. We were grateful for peace and quiet and any small consideration. Nobody demanded anything.

It's different now.
And to me, it's sad. :confused:

Every year I say, "This will be my last Camino" and my children and friends laugh.
Because then after a month or two, I'm longing for the trail again...

But I, for one, will be happy when nobody else writes a book or makes a movie or a youtube video, and people find something else to challenge them, far, far away from the Camino. And it returns to its original purpose - a pilgrimage, not a cheap vacation.

I shut down my Facebook Group yesterday - the one meant to help new pilgrims plan their Camino. I put a "donativo" button on my website for a month just to see if anyone was willing to give back.

Nada.

So I decided I was willing to help PILGRIMS by sharing information freely, but if tourists wanted it, they could pay for it.

I guess I'll write a book! :::cackling:::eek:
Annie, the CF in February and March is much like you described in your earlier experience. There are fewer stores and albergues open and sometimes one can go for a couple of hours without seeing anyone else! Pilgrims spent time talking and listening to one another along the way...
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#51
No general answer @kirkie I think.
Only personal ones. I remember PO in SJPdpP (and SdC) and in Roncesvalles asking about (and offering of course just) three options of reasons for Caminoing. I don't see it reasonable. There sure are more than just three but they are very personal.
Anyway, very hard to answer. I have multiple of them but would add one: escapism. Yes, indeed! ;)

Take care!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
#52
Society, world society, is chronically sick - people taking part in this sickness have the same illness. Wealth is relative - I see people setting out with very little resources and money, and others of the opposite extreme. One way or another, I believe the Camino is a call to everyone and will challenge people in the ways relative to them, and hopefully they will learn from their experience, one way or another. And I believe that it is there to wake us up to societies sickness, to contemplate change and improving our society. It has changed me, and I know others have been changed too. I've seen the effect along the way, how people change and forget about their cars and widescreens and big important jobs blah blah. I hope everyone is effected in some way, for the better, and don't begrudge the wealthy or not so the experiences. Love, Light & Nature Keith ps these are personal opinions based on my experiences - I'm not suggesting anyone is 'begrudging' of others taking the caminos, or being critical. I find this an interesting thread, and one that has prompted equally-so replies.
 
Last edited:

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#53
For what it is worth.
Since finishing a career where I saw enough of life to feel the need for some space both in spiritual and more down to earth terms. Walking a Camino was suggested to me, 2015 aged 54 I had never even heard of the Camino de Santiago. Like many others I chose the Frances as I felt it was the most accessible for me and just to see how I got on. I am not religious although I was christened. I do have views on organised religion but can take quiet moments sitting in an empty church and that is where, for me, the essence of Camino can be found. To paraphrase Supertramp "it's in the quietest moment's". That is why it does not really matter why anyone starts a Camino, if you go with an open mind how can you not be altered in some positive way along the path. Act's of kindness remembered and passed on, stories told and heard, people met and views exchanged. It is all positive and reinforces our humanity irrespective of what our beliefs are or where are starting point is.
Since retiring I have walked several long distance footpaths in the UK, travelling in much the same way as I walk my Camino's. There is a difference. It may be subtle but it is significant. There is a real sense of "belonging" to a Camino, you become part of the path and the path gives back in what ever form. I see a painted yellow arrow and feel like I am amongst friends, reassured. Long distance walking on other non-Camino routes are great but lack an "X" factor. That is not to say that they are not worth walking it is just that they are an "A" to "B" route with no overtones or common bond. Maybe I am wrong but that is just my take on it.
Completing the Primitivo some months after the Frances I noticed that the final concrete post's had been well and truly covered with graffiti. Nothing meaningful or deep just an aggressive variation of "Kilroy was here". Asked I may have said that the Camino Frances has now become to many what InterRail was to my generation.
But that is the Frances. The Via de la Plata and Camino Sanabres took me nearly 7 weeks and I hardly saw anyone. On the Levante I reckon I saw 8 pilgrims up to the point I reached Zamora. In late August I will walk the Ruta de la Lana and expect I will see even less people on the path. Original experiences are therefore still available but not if you expect crowds and albergues at every stop.
Money. A cheap holiday ? The commitment and effort needed is a long way away from sitting back on a beach for a month. Surely anyone expecting that is going to be going home quite soon after starting. Some may see it as a cheap holiday but as long as they complete the Camino they will have gained something positive from the experience and hopefully pass the light on in whatever way. Does it really matter if that light is a flicker or the full beam of a lighthouse ?
I am grateful to the Camino's I have walked. For the people I have met, the places I have seen, the quiet moment's and the experiences I have had. Maybe it is a generational thing, people do change and times move on, that will be as true for the spirit and direction of Camino as for everyone else reading this.
Buen Camino,
Don.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#55
My rambling thoughts:

The Camino was originally a religious journey.
Then it became a religious/spiritual journey.
Then movies and books, and more movies and books, came out and now it is a fad.
If you ask 10 walkers why they are doing the Camino, I believe a minority will say "for spiritual reasons."

I lead small groups of 7-8 people on the Camino.
I do this to pay for my OWN long distance walking, the ONLY prescription that helps my MCS.

Many who book with me are people who either
1) cannot get 6 weeks off of work, or
2) are disabled and can't carry a backpack, or
3) do not want to sleep in crowded albergues or race for a bed.
4) haven't traveled to another country and are afraid to go walk alone

All have different reasons for walking, but a minority are Catholic and walk to have their sins forgiven.
However, I HAVE had very wonderful spiritual or religious people in my groups, and at least a few who made every Mass in every village every day.

I ask questions these days before I take people into my small group, and I do my best to educate my walkers and encourage them to be good guests while on the Camino.

I have also had a few rotten tomatoes in my groups; people who were rude to taxi drivers and elderly hotel owners; people who didn't respect the property of others; people who drank themselves into oblivion; people who were "ugly Americans" but from other countries too. It's been a mixed bag.

I've heard different opinions from hospitaleros.
Some LOVE the pilgrims and the money they bring in.
Others feel they're like destroying locusts and wish they'd all go away, especially toward the tail end of the season.

I've learned a lot.
For one thing, I've learned (shockingly) that is it WOMEN who leave most of the nasty toilet paper and feminine product trash along the route. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around that one. I often wonder what these women would do if I squatted to take a break in THEIR front yard, leaving behind my dirty paper and menstrual pads? They'd probably be out there screaming and calling the police. But they seem to have no problems doing it in someone else's yard. It's crazy.

Myself, I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to walk the Camino BEFORE it became a zoo. To walk when there were days we saw no other pilgrims. Just a few short years ago, 2004, that was the case for Joe and I, and I'm SO very grateful. There was a comradery that often no longer exists. We were grateful to have a bed and a piece of bread at the end of the day. We were grateful to meet other pilgrims. We were grateful for peace and quiet and any small consideration. Nobody demanded anything.

It's different now.
And to me, it's sad. :confused:

Every year I say, "This will be my last Camino" and my children and friends laugh.
Because then after a month or two, I'm longing for the trail again...

But I, for one, will be happy when nobody else writes a book or makes a movie or a youtube video, and people find something else to challenge them, far, far away from the Camino. And it returns to its original purpose - a pilgrimage, not a cheap vacation.

I shut down my Facebook Group yesterday - the one meant to help new pilgrims plan their Camino. I put a "donativo" button on my website for a month just to see if anyone was willing to give back.

Nada.

So I decided I was willing to help PILGRIMS by sharing information freely, but if tourists wanted it, they could pay for it.

I guess I'll write a book! :::cackling:::eek:
No surprise about it being mostly women leaving TP on the Camino. Guys usually just give a little shake. There’s not very often TO at urinals from what I’ve seen.
So here’s a couple thought. So TP is /was intended to wiping noses and fell out of pockets or didn’t get stuffed back in carefully after use. It’s not easy to find those packets with all the straps and belts etc. Make sure tissue goes in and they’re zipped up.
Ifor actual pee stops, try the left pick/right pocket method. Clean in the left (I keep three stops worth), dirty in the right. I kept a small doggie poop bag for the tissue to go into. Then use a wet wipe or hand sanitizer and a touch of water. It’s not too hard. At your next stop, shake out your baggie into the trash. Do be freaked out by holding onto the tissue long enough to put it in the baggie. It’s just pee, your pee. Won’t kill you.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#56
The Caminos have been heavily marketed world wide for years and the efforts are starting to pay off. IMHO the era of the early adapters, the pioneers, is long past.
This is true the world around. Many people globally discovering best kept secrets. Not only because of films, but because of global marketing via the internet, travel sites (touting, best secret beaches...where to go on a budget, traveling solo...). Also, on the Camino, you are a member, “a pilgrim”, for which this pathway provides every service needed. It’s offered up here. The Camino provides. It takes a whole lot of fear out of the risk. Same with the guided tours to Galapagos, Nepal treks where your Sherpa does it all, rent a boat and crew for 10 day sail etc. and it’s easy and cheap to get to Spain for most people. There aren’t many places in the world that you can’t see via Nat. Geographic on instagram, and research on YouTube. It will never go back. If you have a secret place, keep it that way.
 

OLDER threads on this topic



Most read today


A few items available from the Camino Forum Store



Advertisement

Booking.com

Latest posts

Most read today

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter

Forum Donation

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

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • February

    Votes: 5 0.6%
  • March

    Votes: 35 4.4%
  • April

    Votes: 114 14.5%
  • May

    Votes: 192 24.4%
  • June

    Votes: 55 7.0%
  • July

    Votes: 15 1.9%
  • August

    Votes: 12 1.5%
  • September

    Votes: 236 30.0%
  • October

    Votes: 96 12.2%
  • November

    Votes: 11 1.4%
  • December

    Votes: 5 0.6%
Top