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Where are all the Americans???

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Hermanita

Active Member
I just returned from walking the Camino Frances and only met a handful of Americans ( I kept count..I met only 10 in 35 days). I was not surprised , but disappointed.
Most Americans I talk to never heard of the Camino and look at me like I have 3 heads when I mention it.

What is it with us Americans from the USA???

No..we don't speak the language...but neither do the French and they are there in record numbers.
Yes, we are loud and demanding, but so are the Germans, and they are also there in record numbers.

I think we have become a nation of couch potatoes and mindless consumers.

I am seriously trying to figure it out. Not trying to start a war, or an American bashing contest, but any thoughts??
 
I guess it depends upon where you are. I ran into many Americans, including one guy from Texas & 3 different women from Seattle. Many more than I've encountered before too. :)

Kelly
 

MermaidLilli

Active Member
There are a bunch of couch potatoes and mindless consumers in Europe as well. Just because we are not there in record numbers does not mean we are not doing something over here. My trails are full of walkers, the parks full of people picnicing(?) and playing games, the tennis courts have waiting lines, the streets with joggers and walkers..... it's just that we're not Europeans and do not know about the Camino. Some of us do.
No war, just peace
LOVE
Lillian

Not to mention the thousand dollar round trip ticket.
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
It costs a lot more to fly thousands of kms to Spain or France to do a walk.
Many pilrims from European countries walk a section of the camino every year. They can hop on a train or cheap flight and walk for a week or so. It wouldn't be worth it for me to do that - the flight cost is high and the rate of exchange is exhorbitant.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
You're right, Sil. We have to make our time really worthwhile because of the cost of a flights to Spain (we walk every other year). I envy those in Europe who can "hop on / hop off". Wouldn't that be nice! It's easier for those of us who are retired, but the young folks here in Canada who can't get much time off from work find it next to impossible (financially) to do a couple of weeks each year. The cost of flights are hideous.

Not to speak of the "Taxes, Surcharges and Fuel Charges":

Heathrow: $445. CDN
Madrid: $335. CDN
Paris: $335.CDN

It takes me days, every time, to figure out the relative cost of flying to London and then EasyJet or RyanAir, or just flying to Madrid.

lynne
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
I converted 445 CAD to ZAR (South African Rand) and it came to R3 217
This year I paid R8 296 to fly to Toulouse. This is 1 147 CAD.
It is a little cheaper to fly to Madrid or to Pamplona - about R7 500 (1037 CAD)

Our money is Mickey Mouse money compared to the Euro. At today's rate we pay R11.50 for one Euro. That means that things are more than 10 times as costly for us when we travel to Europe.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Actually it's about the same I think (despite the good showing the CDN dollar is making right now - 1 Euro = 1.59 CDN).

Those numbers were just for the surtaxes, airport charges and fuel charges, so these fees plus the actual flight are about what I pay. I never learn - always get excited when I see a flight for 600 bucks or so until I realize the surcharges I'm going to have to add..:

So here are the totals for these destinations - pretty much what you pay:
Madrid $1225 CDN
Paris $1300 CDN
London $1100 CDN

Bear in mind these are prices right now for the lowseason.

I've always walked April to June, but have always paid a lot for the return flight in June, so I'm thinking that maybe September might be lower cost. On the other hand I freeze half the year here so am never anxious to pay money to go to another country to freeze.

Here's hoping the Canadian dollar and the Rand improve!

lynne

Clarification: I didn't mean the exchange was the same -just the relative cost of flights are pretty close.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
All good responses.

I do realize that we as Americans do not have the luxury of 4-6 weeks vacation like most Europeans do, and that it is much further for us to travel to do the Camino.

As far as expense, I don't know...My husbands ticket was $429.US That is pretty cheap considering that Americans pay close to that for a night out to a ball game (including tickets, food and drink and parking... last time I went to Boston for a game it was $50 just to park !!)
 

viajero

Active Member
I am an American. I also met very few Americans on my Caminos. When I was younger, I traveled a lot in SE Asia and I rarely met Americans there either. I think it is the inability to get 4 weeks of vacation time more than anything else.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
American students all go to Costa Rica. Or SE Asia. They don't do the Europe on $5 a day thing so much any more.

Middle aged Americans get a couple weeks of vaction, and since they don't live near their families, they spend their meager time visiting family.

Older Americans finally have some time so they go see Paris and London

If sportiv Americans do go to Europe, they go cheer Lance Armstrong in the Tour. They were all over the place for that, and frankly, it is just fine to me if they stay off the Camino.

Newf (American & Canadian)
 

surlechemin

New Member
I do realize that we as Americans do not have the luxury of 4-6 weeks vacation like most Europeans do, and that it is much further for us to travel to do the Camino.

Although nearly every German is entitled to 30 working days of vacation a year, it is practically impossible to get more than three weeks off at the same time. Most Germans who walk all of the camino do it between jobs, after retirement, after completing a stage of education and/or before starting to work. Others do it in stages, i.e. two to three weeks per holiday. The low cost of transportation - even if you don't fly for ecological reasons - makes it possible.

I was able to get a sabbatical and therefore could walk to Santiago from my home, so I only had the costs of transportation from Santiago back home :D
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
In 2008, the number from the U.S. dropped a little, about 2,200. The number of Canadians grew some to 1,933. The population of Canada is a little more than 10% of the U.S., so Camino participation is much larger from Canada. Catholics are the largest religion in the U.S., but that does not mean there is a tremendous pilgrimage urge! Profit and celebrity drive Americans. No one is likely to find profit in a pilgrimage, but make the Camino a reality show, and thousands of American would follow.
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
On a backpacking trip in Europe in 2006, I met many young American students, especially around the time of 'spring break' and once the college year was over in June. Mostly though you would only meet these young Americans in the 'famous places' like Florence, Paris etc. There are also some young Americans studying for a semester/year somewhere in Europe, and you will tend to find them in all sorts of 'odd' places when they have a few days off. So they are there, but just not on the Camino.
Margaret
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
falcon269 said:
In 2008, the number from the U.S. dropped a little, about 2,200. The number of Canadians grew some to 1,933. The population of Canada is a little more than 10% of the U.S., so Camino participation is much larger from Canada. .


The statistic you don't have in there, is how many of those Canadians are from Quebec. When I started from LePuy, there was a big group from from Les Amis de St Jacques de Quebec. People from towns such as St. Jacques, Saint-Roch-de-l'Achigan, etc... The number of from Canada is simply a reflection of their heritage.
 
I agree about the plane ticket prices point - I know that mine cost me almost $2000 AUD, a return flight from Brisbane to London. Still have to get from London to Roncesvalles!

But on the other hand, I'm still going.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I've only ever met one American and that was on the Le Puy route ansd she referred to herself as German/American as she had German ancestry and lived had lived there many years. I'm envious of how cheap it is to fly from the US! It's normally about double from Australia-maybe even more from NZ (our poor cousins to the east).
I've seen several reports concerning how many Americans own passports.Apparently estimates range from 7%-22% which seems very low.Reasons given vary from the unkind-they think the world is the US to lack of holidays.
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
The problem in the US is complex. There is certainly a distinct lack of vacation time in the US compared to Europe and elsewhere. Often people have at most two weeks vacation per year making international travel the activity of the well-to-do. This is a broad statement and there are exceptions of course.

In addition, the US has only recently began to encourage foreign language studies in schools. This makes many Americans left speaking only English and fearful of being in foreign lands unable to communicate with the locals.

Foreign travel is viewed as being expensive and before even thinking of going they discount their ability. The US does have travel agents that encourage traveling economically such as Rick Steves' Travel through the Back Door. However, Americans are still slow to travel.

Lastly, so many Americans hardly know their own country and seldom travel beyond their own state lines. It is a large country and much to see. Canada and Mexico also beckon US travelers and are much enjoyed.

Pilgrimage is still the choice primarily of the religious minded and those who hear the persistent call to come. Come and tread the same path of those who have gone before.

Michael
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
Hello

I know the Camino is well known in Quebec but not only Quebec in Canada. The small western town I live in (about 8,000 in our town/area) has had at least 15 or so do the Camino at least once with several doing it more than once or intending to. It seems that once one person enjoys the experience they tell their friends and so on.

I wonder if some of the Americans are a bit hesitant not knowing what kind of reception they are going to get in Europe. It is easy to mistake people's dislike for one's government for dislike for individuals especially if you haven't travelled too much. That being said the majority of the Americans I met last year were in two groups rather than individuals. I seem to remember that Rick Steves was doing something about the Camino. He has a wide audience in the states and might encourage more Americans to try the Camino in the future.

John
 
Just a note on passports, until this year, you did not need a passport if you traveled by land to Canada or Mexico, so even those of us who live along the border didn't get them unless we went elsewhere. Now we need passports to go across to Mexico or Canada for dinner (!), so the percentage of Americans with passports or passport cards is already rising substantially.

Kelly
 

Hermanita

Active Member
falcon269 said:
....Profit and celebrity drive Americans. No one is likely to find profit in a pilgrimage, but make the Camino a reality show, and thousands of American would follow.

Good point and sad but so true.

Maybe this new movie that Martin Sheen is making will prod the imagination of Americans.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Caminando said:
Nos somos todos americanos....Hugo Chavez.

And he is absolutely right...but it was Castro who first said that many years ago, and I think he may have stole it from Che.

In the body of my statement I did qualify that by saying "we Americans from the USA"
 

Hermanita

Active Member
WolverineDG said:
I wish I could get a fare that low as your husband did. However, unless you live on the East Coast, air fares to Europe are going to be much higher than $425.

Kelly

Kelly
We got real lucky with that price. It only lasted a few days. There is a thread somewhere here when a bunch of us were watching fares every day. They went from about $900 down to that $429, which I only saw once and grabbed it, then immediately went up again. When my daughter bought her ticket only a few weeks later, the price had gone back up to $789. with a stop in London. Hubby got a direct flight for that low price.

But when I travel I am a hawk for looking for low fairs and keep checking almost daily. Sometimes the airlines sneak a low fare in after the first of the month, for just a day or 2 then they go up again. You have to jump on it right away when you see it.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
There are a number of sites that will alert you to changes in prices of a number of trips you have entered. I use http://www.farecompare.com and find it very useful.

lynne
 

edavis

New Member
My daughter and I walked from Sarria to Santiago in late June. We could only manage 10 days so we had to settle for those last 100 kms. We met several young American students who were on the Way. Most of the many people were European ('English, German, Dutch, French). We had a magnificent experience but it was an expensive trip. Tickets were 770.00 (USD) each. We flew in and out of Madrid and took the train to Leon and then Sarria. Afterwards, train to Madrid from Santiago. It was an adventure that left me wanting more time on the Camino...but money is an issue, esp. since the dollor doesn't match up so well to the Euro.

We met many angels on the way, esp. since neither of us speaks a word of Spanish!

Buon Comino!!

Ellen
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
omar504 said:
I'm envious of how cheap it is to fly from the US! It's normally about double from Australia-maybe even more from NZ (our poor cousins to the east).
Thanks for the sympathy vote omar...... and yes, to us US airfares look relatively cheap as well!! I will refrain from giving an Anzac bite back about the poor cousins!!!
Margaret
 

Hermanita

Active Member
KiwiNomad06 said:
omar504 said:
I'm envious of how cheap it is to fly from the US! It's normally about double from Australia-maybe even more from NZ (our poor cousins to the east).
Thanks for the sympathy vote omar...... and yes, to us US airfares look relatively cheap as well!! I will refrain from giving an Anzac bite back about the poor cousins!!!
Margaret


Perfect example for me that the expense end of it isn't what keeps us away.
I met way more Australians and New Zealanders on the Camino(and if you look at stats versus population, they outnumber us by far), and it seems that it is a longer trip as well as a much more expensive trip for them than us in the USA.
Maybe we are not so adventurous?? not imaginative?? I asked my travel agent, who BTW, never heard of the Camino, and she sells mostly what I call "canned" vacations. All inclusives to the Carribean islands, and cruises. these are the type of things that attract her clients. And they are much more expensive than traveling to and doing the Camino. I guess the draw is, nothing to think about, just grab your bags and go. A feed trough at the buffet 24 hours a day and booze flowing from morning till night.
I guess if you are overworked and only have 2 weeks vacation a year, maybe it is easier to just veg out on a cruise or at an all inclusive.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
edavis said:
My daughter and I walked from Sarria to Santiago in late June. We could only manage 10 days so we had to settle for those last 100 kms.....
Buon Comino!!

Ellen

Hi Ellen, Glad you had that sepcial time with your daughter.
My husband and I walked from Roncesvalles to Santiago and were lucky to have our daughter and a friend join us in Sarria to walk the last 100km. It was a beautiful experience and especially having her join us for the last part, which was all the time she could take away from her 4 kids and her work.
I hope you have a chance to go back in the future.
 

Josecob

New Member
Dear Hermanita,

In your post of 28 Oct 2009, you asked for thoughts so here is mine.

Your first question “Where are all the Americans? A large number of American travelers are vacationing in Costa Rica and Cancun Mexico because TV promotes such destinations as being relatively inexpensive and not too far away from USA. I recently did the Camino and met Americans at various locations. After my recent Camino now six additional American people want to join me next year when I return to redo my Camino.

Your second question “What is it with us Americans from the USA.” You answered your own question by saying “Most Americans I talk to never heard of the Camino”…

The French do not have to get on six airplanes (round trip) like I did to do the Camino. That could be one of the reasons why “they are there in record numbers.”

You included Germans in your categorization of Americans as being “loud and demanding.” I have been to Germany several times and while at my Camino met many of them. My assessment is that Americans and Germans as people are not loud or demanding.

Your second categorization of Americans is of “couch potatoes and mindless consumers.” We the American people for the most part are proactive individuals who are hard working and innovative by nature.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Josecob, Thank you for all your thoughts. Yes we Americans are hard working, maybe that is one reason we don't have time for the Camino, and as has been already mentioned, we usually have only 2 weeks vacation.

As for the "loud and demanding" we didn't get tagged the "Ugly American" because of our quiet, polite and conservative ways when traveling. Americans(for the most part) are demanding..they want things done their way and NOW, sad to say( and it MUST be in English too).
I travel extensively and at times I am apaulled at my fellow Americans behavior in foreign countries.

However I did not see any of the "Ugly American" attitude with the few Americans that I met on the Camino. (thankfully!!!)

Josecob said:
Dear Hermanita,

Your second question “What is it with us Americans from the USA.” You answered your own question by saying “Most Americans I talk to never heard of the Camino”…

.

As for most Americans never having heard of the Camino....hmmm...maybe I should start a thread "What can we do to promote the Camino in the USA"
I tried to locate some organization related to the Camino or at least people who had walked it, in or near New England when I was preparing for the Camino, but couldn't find anything in either catagory.
There are plenty of books available to the public on it.
There are some good documentaries, a little harder to find.
Soon there will be a movie by Martin Sheen, maybe that will help.

After my recent Camino now six additional American people want to join me next year when I return to redo my Camino.

Well that is good to hear. And that can be a clue to having more people knowing about it. Those of us who do it can talk more about it and inspire other Americans to try it.
I had intended to walk alone, but by the time I left last month for the Camino my husband had joined me, and my daughter and her friend joined us in Sarria, all because of my enthusiasm in talking about it and preparing for it.

The French do not have to get on six airplanes (round trip) like I did to do the Camino. That could be one of the reasons why “they are there in record numbers.”
I guess I am lucky to live on the east coast. I had a direct flight which is available from many locations in the USA.
Australians and New Zealanders have to travel even further and possibly with as many flights as you had and they outnumber us on the Camino by far(percentage wise per population of their countires).
 

Josecob

New Member
Dear Hermanita,

If you find yourself frustrated because there were an insuficient number of Americans on your Camino then say so, but bashing Americans is unproductive. On the other side of the coin we see that there are some Amenricans who just simply dislike Americans and even lable them as "Ugly Americans".

I rest my case, and end of story for me.

Buen Camino
 

elzi

Active Member
Um, I don't think this forum is the place to get into generalising about nationalities, everyone is an individual on the camino some are more considerate than others regardless of nationality.

I've met plenty of americans whilst walking, many more than english definately.

I am still reeling from this comment though:
Hermanita said:
I do realize that we as Americans do not have the luxury of 4-6 weeks vacation like most Europeans do

What countries in europe let most people have 4-6 week holidays!!??!! Please let me know because I'm moving there.....! :D
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Surely all of us are embarrassed by some of our compatriots sometimes. The behaviour of some 'brits' in Spain makes me curl up with the shame of it - the beer swilling fish and chip eaters in coastal resorts, the expats who live there for years in english speaking ghettos and never learn the language - of course those are stereotypes but there's enough truth for us to recognise it. Most of us aren't like that at all, but we have to accept that some people in other countries may be very wary of us because of those stereotypes.

I think it was very brave of Hermanita to start that this thread and I'm sure no offence was intended, to her fellow americans or to any other nationality. I'm not brave enough to comment really, except that I did understand what she was getting at. (Hands over head to avoid brickbats)


NB Yes, honestly, when europeans speak disparagingly of 'americans' it is not individual americans who we usually find charming. It's just the Bush factor etc. Please don't worry that anyone will be nasty to you in the street. The very thought of doing anything so rude makes my repressed english nature shrink!

On another note - I am horrified to learn that americans are only generally entitled to two weeks annual leave. IE 10 days over a whole year?

I do a stressful people centred job. I have 28 days per year. I have to beg to get more than 2 weeks off at a time, and there is always a bit of a fight over Christmas because we only have 3 or 4 days when the office is closed and if you want any more you have to take it from annual leave, and of course not everyone can be off a the same time, but that does give us flexibility to have a two week holiday, and probably another shorter one at another time of the year. This is the result of people in the past working together to establish the right for workers to have a decent work/life balance, and would be true for most of Europe I guess. Americans have a different social history . There are pros and cons with both traditions, I'm sure.

Can I point out that I would struggle to do the Appalachian way or other famous and inspirational american delights? I expect there are few british people to be found there!!
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
I was going to echo Bridget and Peter's comments in that each nationality has their own boorish element. Aussies in the 18-30 bracket when overseas seem to feel the need to live up to the loud beer swilling image. I found one such group on the way to Finisterre drinking and swearing in an albergue-I made a hasty ,embarrassed retreat.
As for long flights from US to Europe! It takes over 5 hours just to fly out of australia then a further 8 to the first stopover then a short hop of 10 hours to europe.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
It is sad but true about the vacation. I started my career with a large American corporation and their policy was 10 days a year for your first five years of work. It then jumped to 15 for the years 5-10. After 25 years with the company, you could get four weeks off.

I was invited on a climbing program in Russia and asked for four weeks without pay. It was denied.

I then took a long term consulting contract with a French company. They gave me three days for every month I worked, plus four days travel time, totalling 40 days off, during which I earned four more days of "vacation on vacation".

I did meet a group of American mountain bikers on the Camino once. They were a bit loud, and were bombing down hills past walkers without slowing to offer a Buen Camino!, something I always do. In their defense, their Spanish guide was leading the way, doing the same.

They did show a bit of cultural ignorance and mindless consumerism. They were mostly interested in my bike (ok, it is titanium, but it is ten years old and has served me well through five trips to Europe). They didn't know much about the history and thought the biking was better in Moab, Utah. I am in no hurry to bring more of those Americans over, but it is a big country, and there are many good ones as well. If you visit the country, they bring out there good side and treat foreign guests pretty well.
 

Frogmarch

New Member
elzi said:
What countries in Europe let most people have 4-6 week holidays!!??!! Please let me know because I'm moving there.....! :D

Actually, you've got a pretty wide choice of countries to move to :D - all the Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, the U.K., Belgium, Ireland ... the list goes on....

Finland appears to have the most - 25 days' leave and 14 public holidays for a whopping 39 days off. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=106596
I read somewhere that they are tops for productivity too.

As mentioned before, the combination of long holidays and proximity to the Camino make for more peregrinos.
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Despite horrid boors who can be from anywhere, difficulties getting time off, ridiculously expensive airfare, and other challenges, we continue to return to walk our caminos,either because we choose to, or because we feel called to. To me, these are minor compared to the transformative wonder of walking the camino. I like to remember the wonderful people I've met over the years rather than the jerks. Not to say we should "pretty up" our camino stories and memories, I just don't like to let those uncivil, unthoughtful and uncharitable people that I've encountered take up any more of my time and energy than they already have.

lynne
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Bridget and Peter said:
Can I point out that I would struggle to do the Appalachian way or other famous and inspirational american delights? I expect there are few british people to be found there!!

Bridget and Peter
You made many good points in your response.
I suppose you are right, we all have been embarassed by our compatriots at one time or another in our travels. And if you travel frequently, you see it often, and it makes you cringe. Our jobis to make up for the stereotype image by being a model traveler and having respect for our foreign hosts and their lovely countries by behaving well, appreciating our hosts kindnesses(among other things) and returning kindnesses of our own.

About the Appalachian Trail...it would be a very big stretch to try to compare it with the Camino. They are so totally different.

The Appalachian trial is total wilderness, no neat cafes and little villages every 3 km. :D You must be prepared to carry everything, including food in bear proof containers, tents, cookware, etc. The climbing of huge mountains and the sometimes severe weather can be very challenging too. And it takes about 6 months or more to complete.

There are not only few Brits there, there a few people that can and are willing to take on the great challenge of walking the Applachian Trail.

Since 1930 there have only been 10,668 recorded through walkers of the over 2,000 mile trail.
Each year only about 500 people complete the total milage(as opposed to 100,000+- on the Camino)
And section walkers(those completing it in more than one year) only number about 100 per year.

I would never be brave enough or strong enough to even attempt the Appalachian trail and I admire and respect those who do it. Big accomplishment!! My hat is off to them

But I do know what you mean by using that as an example. It is easier to do something in one's own country than have to pay the expense of traveling to someone else's country.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
lynnejohn said:
Despite horrid boors who can be from anywhere, difficulties getting time off, ridiculously expensive airfare, and other challenges, we continue to return to walk our caminos,either because we choose to, or because we feel called to. To me, these are minor compared to the transformative wonder of walking the camino. I like to remember the wonderful people I've met over the years rather than the jerks. Not to say we should "pretty up" our camino stories and memories, I just don't like to let those uncivil, unthoughtful and uncharitable people that I've encountered take up any more of my time and energy than they already have.

lynne

I never met any of the above mentioned "types" on my Camino.

I am just wondering why there are not more Americans doing it and how to get it better known in the USA so that more can appreciate the beautiful experience that the Camino is( or as you nicely called it "the transformative wonder of walking the camino"....very nice and true image)
 

lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
I too love the idea of the Appalachian Trail, the West Coast Trail, the Cabot Trail, and other fantastic trails in North America. I will never walk them however. Two words:

1. BEARS. 2.COUGARS.

And tragically, on a Nova Scotia trail here this past weekend, a 19-year old woman hiker was killed by two COYOTES. So that's three words. Despite the beauty of our trails here in N.A., I'm just not brave enough.

lynne
 

anniethenurse

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances.Vasco del Interior.Camino Finisterre& Muxia. Camino Portugues. Ruta del Ebro.
Frogmarch said:
elzi said:
What countries in Europe let most people have 4-6 week holidays!!??!! Please let me know because I'm moving there.....! :D

Actually, you've got a pretty wide choice of countries to move to :D - all the Scandinavian countries, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Greece, the U.K., Belgium, Ireland ... the list goes on....

Finland appears to have the most - 25 days' leave and 14 public holidays for a whopping 39 days off. http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=106596
I read somewhere that they are tops for productivity too.

As mentioned before, the combination of long holidays and proximity to the Camino make for more peregrinos.


Talking about the holidays and public holidays (when did this thread go political...)

In Sweden the yearly leave is usually 25 days but if you are older (50 years) you will have 32 days leave every year + some public holidays. BUT you won´t get the public holidays FREE; those days/hours have to be worked in during the year. Our weekly working hours are 40. Means we work more than 40 hours every week. Means that we are never at home. Means that we leave our children in the day care when they are really small etc. The income tax is high...

Every country has pros and cons. I love to fly to the USA as well I love to travel in Europe...
Love to see you all on my next camino!!!

http://www.dn.se/ekonomi/svenskar-har-l ... u-1.921453

annie
 

rachelvi

New Member
We walked from Burgos to Santiago in late Sept./Early October. We met a total of 4 Americans and I saw another guy carrying an American pilgrim credencial, but didn't speak with him. I think most of the reasons have been hashed out but I'll put in my two cents.

Vacation time: We had several conversations with people from the UK, Holland, Germany, Australia, etc. about vacation time Most of these places have mandatory 4 weeks off, where in the US you are not guaranteed anytime off. Also in the US, the time off that you get usually has to be used in a calendar year. Carrying over time isn't usually an option (except maybe a week) and taking unpaid leave also is not usually an option. My husband works for a rather generous company and gets 3 weeks off and can carry over a week, so he could have a total of 4 weeks off (plus holidays) every other year. He carried over a week because I had been working places with far less vacation and we took it this year. It was a pretty big deal for him to take off 2.5 weeks straight. Of the Americans that we met, two were retired, one got laid off, and one quit her job. I personally would not have had the time to even do part of the Camino, except for the fact that I had been laid off.

America is big and there is lots to see: There is plenty of stuff in the U.S. that I want to see and haven't seen yet. Doesn't always make since to travel far away to see stuff, when you haven't fully explored your own backyard.

Cost: Plane tickets to Europe usually aren't cheap. We stumbled upon the sale of a lifetime and flew for $210 round trip each ATL-JFK-Madrid (That is not a typo, it is true. I kept waiting for Delta to send me an email saying they were going to need to charge me more). Also, the exchange rate is not so good. It was $1.40 to $1.50 for 1 Euro when we were there. So technically everything is 50% more. I discovered this to be true when I needed to buy new trail shoes. I could have gotten the same shoes in the U.S. for $40 less, but I needed them then, so what could I do :)

Language: Most Americans can barely speak proper English, much less a second language. We don't even get the chance to start learning in school until high school. In many countries in Europe, they start learning English or other languages as early as kindergarten. I took 4 years of Spanish in school and spent a few weeks in Spain in college, and I struggled to communicate on our trip at times. A lot of people don't want to struggle on their vacation, they want to relax and not have to think or worry.

Your personal idea of fun: When we tell some people that we hiked 400 km for vacation, they sort of look at us and say "that doesn't sound very relaxing." Also, many people ask what sort of group we went with. When we tell them that we went on our own, no guided tour, they are amazed that we could figure out the logistics. And/or they are surprised that we are that adventurous to go somewhere that we don't exactly speak the language and don't have pre-booked accommodations every night.

I actually thought it sort of nice that we didn't meet many Americans. If we had, we would have just talked about American stuff. It was fun to discuss things with people who live in other cultures, and also to have conversations in broken english/broken spanish and try to understand each other. Before bed one night we had a lovely conversation with a Spaniard about what sports we liked and played. We talked about cycling and Alberto Contador/Lance Armstrong, basketball, soccer, etc. It is kind of like talking to a 3 year old when both of you only speak a little of the others language. Lots of hand motions and laughing :)
 

elzi

Active Member
lynnejohn said:
I too love the idea of the Appalachian Trail, the West Coast Trail, the Cabot Trail, and other fantastic trails in North America. I will never walk them however. Two words:

1. BEARS. 2.COUGARS.

You know technically there are BEARS in the PYRENEES! Although you'd be pretty unlucky to come across one on the camino trail!! :wink:

As for holidays, in the UK we have always had 20 days holidays which is 4 weeks if you have a 5 day week not a 7, add to that bank (public) holidays don't count as extra to this, so you're left with about 12 days, take off a couple for Christmas and Easter when most businesses close and you used to be lucky if you got one full week off a year. However the minimum entitlement has now gone up to 28 days, i guess meaning that we are entitled to 4 weeks plus the bank holidays. But still in my experience few people will manage more than a two week full holiday a year. It all depends on your employer and the type of job you do but I imagine most europeans who do a long distance camino are not on holiday but have taken some kind of leave of absence or have retired etc.

I really fancy the Appalachian trail! I met a bear once in the rockies in Canada and it was very placid and friendly, I wasn't the least bit scared of it. I hope they are all like that! Eeek!
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Bears generally will go the other way, but that does not mean they are not dangerous. When they do attack, most of the techniques taught to fend them off DO NOT WORK -- noise, eye contact, etc. The bears on the Appalachian Trail are smaller Eastern black bears and have learned to live with civilization, which means they are not particularly afraid of humans. That makes them more intrusive, and when they go for your food (generally), they are not in the mood to be deterred. So hikers use bear bags to suspend high in the air everything that will attract a bear. Pilgrims sleep indoors, so a Pyrenees bear attack is very unlikely. There have been only 56 documented human deaths by bear attack in the last 100 years in North America. With about 31,000 gun deaths in 2006, Americans have other things to fear than bears!!
 

johnBCCanada

Active Member
Bears? Cougars?

I live in the Canadian Rockies and have been hiking here and on the coast of British Columbia for about 40 years. I have met bears on the trails around the town where I live a couple of times and have never seen a cougar in the wild. I believe that bees kill more people annually than cougars.

Wild animals can be dangerous but realistically the roads are far more dangerous anywhere. Apparent danger can be appear much greater than the real danger, such as the highways that we take for granted.

John
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
Bears - we had a wonderful documentary on BBC2 this week about someone in NE USA who has been studying brown (or maybe black?) bears for over 40 years and was able to sit beside them and put radio collars on them. Several of the study bears got shot during the hunting season. However, when the scientist was interviewed on a radio programme and invited to express his dislike of bear hunting (as he was in the uk) he pointed out that we europeans made our bears and wolves extinct (except for those Pyrenean ones) extinct a long time ago. Fair point, I thought!

Holidays_
anniethenurse said:
In Sweden the yearly leave is usually 25 days but if you are older (50 years) you will have 32 days leave every year + some public holidays. BUT you won´t get the public holidays FREE; those days/hours have to be worked in during the year. Our weekly working hours are 40. Means we work more than 40 hours every week. Means that we are never at home. Means that we leave our children in the day care when they are really small etc. The income tax is high...

we are always told that the swedes have years of parental leave to take when their children are small, to be shared between mother and father. It just shows that our stereotypical ideas about other nations are much more simplistic than the reality.

Exploring ones own country-
Hermanita said:
But I do know what you mean by using that as an example. It is easier to do something in one's own country than have to pay the expense of traveling to someone else's country.
It is my birthday today, so I took one of my 28 days annual leave (or maybe it was TOIL - time off in lieu - for hours worked outside my contracted hours) and we went for a lovely walk in Northamptonshire - where we saw a church with a Saxon tower over 1000 years old, a little narrow packhorse bridge over the river Nene, birds - herons, hawks and swans looking so elegant with their curved necks doubled by reflection in the water and finished up with tea for two with giant slices of delicious cake in a cafe attached to a Pharmacy! Just as lovely as many a days walk on the Camino - though I'm g;lad we can have both!

Language -
rachelvi said:
It was fun to discuss things with people who live in other cultures, and also to have conversations in broken english/broken spanish and try to understand each other
Yes, I agree. We didn't meet any english or american pilgrims on our recent French and Spanish camino - and even the south african was an africaans speaker. So we had lots of those conversations where everybody is using the few words they know in each other's language and managing to converse just fine - sometimes on really serious and philosophical topics! And improving our pronunciation and vocabulary all the time!

rachelvi said:
Your personal idea of fun: When we tell some people that we hiked 400 km for vacation, they sort of look at us and say "that doesn't sound very relaxing." Also, many people ask what sort of group we went with. When we tell them that we went on our own, no guided tour, they are amazed that we could figure out the logistics. And/or they are surprised that we are that adventurous to go somewhere that we don't exactly speak the language and don't have pre-booked accommodations every night.
That's so true too - I try to explain how we felt so nervous to begin with and have discovered how well we manage and how kind are the people we meet along the way, and that that is a big part of what makes the pilgrimage so fulfilling. I guess there will only be a small proportion of any population for whom hiking 400 km or cycling 500 miles in two weeks is an inviting holiday proposition!!!
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Bridget and Peter said:
I guess there will only be a small proportion of any population for whom hiking 400 km or cycling 500 miles in two weeks is an inviting holiday proposition!!!

Well I guess there is a good answer in a nutshell!!

It is so true that it is not for most people.But it is nice to be part of that "select group" that appreciates the Camino.
I am already thinking about next year...even though it is a Holy year and the Camino proably will be slammed with people.
I may volunteer as a hospitalera for a few weeks then just walk from where I am. But I am meeting with 2 women this week who want to hear all about my trip, as they want to do it next year. So who knows, I may walk the whole thing again during the busy year AND volunteer too.

I had heard, (I believe on this forum)that I should beware, that once you walk the Camino, you could be "addicted" :shock:
 
well, im an american, from california, and i met 3 other pilgrims from california when walking the camino francis in 2008..im now going back for my second camino on the portugese...my quess is i will meet a few americans, but i think europe has the close connects, and other than shirley mclains book, (which i just read, and did not really find inspirational at all)...the germans had their famous comedian write a book, and most germans i talked to learned of the camino from him...so maby america just needs some inspirational book to come out about the camino that is good...i heard about it word of mouth from a brother here from mexico, and knew right away, i wanted to experience it, and i have a big mouth, so maby more will come as the year go on.....until then, im glad we are all citizens of the World..and what matters is the love and kindness we can all share...buen camino
 
I believe Martin Sheen is planning a film set against the background of the Camino. It might be the spur that increases the numbers of pilgrims from the USA.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I´m an American who lives on the Camino Frances. I usually enjoy meeting American pilgrims, but I must say I kinda like that we are still in the minority here.
Americans are still rare enough to be considered "exotic" at times, which is a kick. And when we are only one in a great number of nationalities, we lose that obnoxious redneck "We´re Number One" attitude really quick.
I hope there´s no great flood of Americans on the Camino anytime soon.

Rebekah
 

Portia1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2009, Portuguese 2012
Frances 2016, (Frances 2019)
I met eight Americans on the Camino. Of course compared to the number of Germans, Canadians and French, it was a mere drop in the bucket. Most of them were couples who were walking the Camino because they had either recently retired or were celebrating a key wedding anniversary. I did not meet any solitary American pilgrims like myself.

I have hiked over 900 miles on the Appalachian Trail and yes, it is more physically demanding than the Camino. But I found walking in virgin forests, through the "green tunnels", enjoying cold water from piped springs, and walking along the balds to be spiritually nourishing. Sometimes more so than the Camino with its lines of pilgrims walking along the pavement and the constant chatter. For me the AT is like a labyrinth laid out along mountain ridges--lots of solitary time to think, to notice the amazing creation we live in, and then the comraderie of the shelters each evening. And if you complete the AT, you can apply to receive a certifcate. I suggested the AT to some of my Canadian pilgrims--they could walk out their doors and head south. While on the AT, there were several times when I was the only American in the shelter. I was genuinely surprised by non-Americans who wanted to know how to get to Gettysburg and other sites from the AT. They were not limiting themselves to simply hiking. They were curious about how the AT intersected with what else there was to digest. And while you do have to carry more equipment, food, etc. there are also plenty of opportunities to stay the night in small towns. So they have similarities but also stark differences. I am glad I have tasted them both.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Portia, you are the gutsy one, and you make some great points.
I have done only four days of the AT, as I am a wuss who does not sleep well on the ground. And I have this thing about rattlesnakes and copperheads. (which I saw a bit too much of).

For the Appalachian Trail types there ARE Caminos de Santiago... try the San Salvador and onward to the Primitivo. Lots of scenery and challenge, but not nearly so much snake action!
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Portia
I admire you for your courage to do the AT alone.
My son-in-law keeps talking about doing the AT by section, so who knows maybe(and that is a very slight maybe) I will have the opportunity to give it a try.
But I,like Rebekah, am a wuss..not just for sleeping on the ground....lions and tigers and bears...oh my...

About Canadians walking south...we heard while we were in Santiago, from a Canadian pilgrim that there is talk about exploring the possibility of opening up an old trail from Boston to Canada on or near the old post road. I know the old post road, but never heard of a walking trail from Boston to Canada.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Hermanita said:
Caminando said:
Nos somos todos americanos....Hugo Chavez.

And he is absolutely right...but it was Castro who first said that many years ago, and I think he may have stole it from Che.

In the body of my statement I did qualify that by saying "we Americans from the USA"

Well said Hermanita; so it all goes back to El Comandante!

I am astonished and pleased to find around (500 US citz and 250 Canadians on the Camino in a particular period in time, given the distance. I think this is a huge number, tho' more would be always welcome. How few Brits there were!

So keep on coming; I, for one, welcome you all.

Buen camino :arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Rebekah Scott said:
Portia, you are the gutsy one, and you make some great points.
I have done only four days of the AT, as I am a wuss who does not sleep well on the ground.

If you need to sleep on the ground, there is a very light airmattress, costing around 10 euros which makes even stony ground soft. There are selfinflating mats for a lot more money, and which are a disappointment. Heavier and bulkier too.

If I do the Frances again in busy times like summer, I will take the airmat and a goretex bivouac sac, which will free me from crowded refugios. I will miss the interesting people there, of course.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Caminando said:
If I do the Frances again in busy times like summer, I will take the airmat and a goretex bivouac sac, which will free me from crowded refugios. I will miss the interesting people there, of course.

I spent one night in a hotel on the Frances when all the albergues were closed in Najera. Yes, it was nice, private bath, soft towels, no snoring etc, etc; but I missed the camaraderie of the Pilgrims and the whole albergue scene so much.
I think, for me, staying in the albergues is so much a part of the Camino experience that I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else.
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Hermanita said:
Caminando said:
If I do the Frances again in busy times like summer, I will take the airmat and a goretex bivouac sac, which will free me from crowded refugios. I will miss the interesting people there, of course.

I spent one night in a hotel on the Frances when all the albergues were closed in Najera. Yes, it was nice, private bath, soft towels, no snoring etc, etc; but I missed the camaraderie of the Pilgrims and the whole albergue scene so much.
I think, for me, staying in the albergues is so much a part of the Camino experience that I wouldn't want to stay anywhere else.

Yes Hermanita, you've put your finger on the key point; the camaraderie is sorely missed if one opts for a peaceful yet austere, Camino. This gives food for thought - what is the camino? Is it social or spiritual? ......hmmmm
 

Alan Pearce

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aragones 2008, del Norte 2009, VdlP 2011, Ingles 2014, Camino de Madri 2015, Frances 2017
Someone once wrote on a post in this forum that "the albergues are the soul of the camino". And so they are.

Alan Pearce

Be brave. Life is joyous.
 

omar504

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
On the VDLP one year me and the Danish bloke I was with came across a man who quite vehemently,and aggressively, said that unless you stay in Albergues you're not a pilgrim. We both spontaneously laughed in his face. From Granada in 2008 there were many days when hotels/hostals or the floor in a sports stadium were the only option.Such silly dogmatism.
 

newfydog

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona-Santiago, Le Puy- Santiago, Prague- LePuy, Menton- Toulouse, Menton- Rome, Canterbury- Lausanne, Chemin Stevenson, Voie de Vezelay
Nothing like some thread drift......ok, I'm American of sorts so perhaps this is relevent to "where are all of them"
My wife and I have covered 4000 km of caminos/chemins/wegs and have yet to stay in an albergue. We've camped, stayed in Gite d'etapes, hotels, chambre d'hotes etc, but we take the advice of a British-American couple we met along the way on our first trip and had a nice lunch with...."Have you stayed in any of the Albergues?" "No", we replied, "not yet". "Good. DON'T!"

Nothing against them really, we just did enough of that youth hostal thing as students long ago, and now we have enough money and prefer a private room. In France we often go to Chambre d'hotes and enjoy staying in the local people's houses. In Spain we like to stay up late and go to a nice restaurant. Many albergues close before the restaurants open, and everyone leaves so darn early, so it is hard to stay out too late. Then threre is the fact that we are on mountain bikes and they won't let us in until they see if they fill up with foot traffic.

Anyway, I'm glad people enjoy them. They just aren't for me. I probably meet more locals and fewer pilgrims. I get to try more local food and wine, but miss the communal cooking and sharing. If that makes me a lesser Pilgrim in someone's eye's that is fine, I'm happy with my own experiences, and don't need someone else to define what the Ways of St. J should be to me.
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés (2007), Camino Francés (2008), Camino Portugués (2010), Camino Aragonés - from Lourdes (2012)
Hi everyone,

It has been a long time since i posted here - for a variety of reasons. But I found this thread interesting and can't resist adding my little bit.

The first thought that came to me is that the US is a country of 350 million people. The numbers of those who know about the Camino may be deceiving. Relatively speaking those of us who have walked the Way find ourselves in a distinct minority. However, I am constantly encountering more and more people who have walked and have in interest in the Camino. I have met with a few people here in CT prior to their departure and I have one colleague who says that his having completed the Camino del Norte this year was due in no small part to a presentation I have done for a number of my colleagues. And I recently read an article in our local Catholic newspaper about a local parish priest who completed the Camino this summer.

When I lived in Spain in the 1970's, I never heard of the Camino. It is only in relative recent history that it has gained a resurgence in popularity. Much of this has been stated already, and please do not think I am "America bashing" - this is just an observation - it is difficult to avoid generalizations. Many Americans are quite parochial. They stay close to home, prefer traveling in their personal cars and feel that there is plenty to see in this country (a valid point!) without ever leaving her borders.

Americans also tend towards "family vacations". Although I have seen some families on the Camino, I would venture that if I were planning a "family holiday", the Camino would not be my choice. And there are other things. Americans have different "spacial" and "privacy" issues. Good heavens, in this country it is nearly considered a personal affront if an individual even suggests to sit at table with a complete stranger - even it s/he is only one person at a table for 4 or 6 and the other person is also alone! Don't invade my "personal space". When I have mentioned sharing a loo or not having private men's and women's separate facilities, the looks I get are sheer horror! :lol: So I think alot of it is simply cultural. Most people are fascinated, interested and then say, "That's amazing that you did that, but not for me!" Which is fine. I liken it to my profession of teaching language, if I can get one student in a hundred who discovers a love of the language and a desire to pursue it, I have succeeded. I feel the same way about the Camino.

For me, I shall return. My 2009 plans were suddenly and unexpectedly curtailed However, I know I shall be back to Spain and the Camino still calls. And I don't worry about people, Americans or others, finding the Camino. I believe the Camino will find the people.

Buen Camino,
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
So far this year the Pilgrims office had given out 143,284 Compostelas; 2,465 pilgrims were from the USA.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
I will be happy when nationality is not an issue any more, and we can be judged or celebrated for our characters and actions instead of whatever global location we were born into.
Although I will admit that tartan kilts are a lot of fun!
Imagine.
Reb
 
Deirdre wrote :
And I don't worry about people, Americans or others, finding the Camino. I believe the Camino will find the people.


How true this is. I am a Malaysian living in Singapore. There is no promotion of the Camino in this region. And yet there I was, walking the Camino in October.

At the pilgrims office in Santiago, I was told that I was the 5th Malaysian to walk the Camino this year.

Perhaps in time there will be more Malaysians, and more Americans on the Camino.

Buen Camino
Rebecca
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
omar504 said:
On the VDLP one year me and the Danish bloke I was with came across a man who quite vehemently,and aggressively, said that unless you stay in Albergues you're not a pilgrim. We both spontaneously laughed in his face. From Granada in 2008 there were many days when hotels/hostals or the floor in a sports stadium were the only option.Such silly dogmatism.

Omar, the Camino is full of people who like to define pilgrimage for others. It gets funny after a while...... but not too funny.

:arrow:
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
RestlessRose said:
Deirdre wrote :
And I don't worry about people, Americans or others, finding the Camino. I believe the Camino will find the people.


How true this is. I am a Malaysian living in Singapore. There is no promotion of the Camino in this region. And yet there I was, walking the Camino in October.

At the pilgrims office in Santiago, I was told that I was the 5th Malaysian to walk the Camino this year.

Perhaps in time there will be more Malaysians, and more Americans on the Camino.

Buen Camino
Rebecca
And in a few weeks I hope to be in Tiruvanamalai, South India. There is a mountain there, Arunchula, whose circuit is a pilgrimage I want to do. So there is always an East-West exchange....
:arrow:
 

bbz180

New Member
When was the last time Martin Sheen made a good film? Apocolypse now?
jk...I hope the movie does wonders for the Camino and spark an interest for the people in the states.

Anyways, I have to agree with this post. Where are all the Americans? I met one on at SJPP and was super excited to see him and that was it for the next 32 days until I ran into a couple from PA. So total of 3 Americans. We need to represent!

I noticed from my Camino that there were great numbers of pilgrims from Korea. Being an Korean/American myself, I was able to communicate with them and translate any english or spainish to these folks. I asked them why there are so many Koreans on the Camino and they all replied by saying that there was a book by a Korean journalist that became a huge success, which in turn sparked an enormous interest with the Korean population.

I also noticed that the Germans outnumbered most nationalities. When I asked them why there are so many Germans on the Camino, they all replied that a German comedian wrote a book about his journey in a comical way which sparked a huge interest with the Germans.

Perhaps we need someone better than Shirley McLain to write a book to spark an interest here. Well here's to Martin Sheen's movie. I hope it's a box office hit.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
bbz180 said:
Perhaps we need someone better than Shirley McLain to write a book to spark an interest here.

It's been done.

http://www.ceciliasamartin.com/tarnished_beauty.htm

In Norway (Yes, it's translated to Norwegian as well) the title is "Senor Peregrino".

It is a very good book. You can get it at Amazon.com (At the bottom of the book link above there is a link to Amazon).
 

Tximeleta

New Member
Hello everybody!
First of all I apologise for my English, because it is not my mothertongue.
I,m from Bilbao and but spend my holidays in Najera (la Rioja) where I can often see many pilgrims walking the Camino.
I like to send a greet overseas!! saludos a los que venis de tan lejos!
Yes, americans are welcome, don,t worry about that.
And...is it true that you only have 10 days off at work?????
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
The typical starting paid vacation benefit in the U.S. is ten working days plus some sick time plus about 10 holidays. After five to ten years, the vacation time often is increased to fifteen days. Federal government workers get 13 days of vacation for the first three years, increasing to twenty-six days after fifteen years, an amount of vacation that is the envy of most private sector workers! The Federal worker annual sick leave is 13 days, and remains constant until retirement. Federal workers get 11 holidays. Maternity leave is unpaid unless the employee has accumulated vacation or sick leave time.
 

Tximeleta

New Member
ok! Thank you for your answers.
Here by law, you have 30 days of paid vacation /year of work.
People usually takes 15-20 days in July, August or September and save a week for Christmas or Holy Week (that´s in April). And children have their holidays from 21th of june to 15th of september (what doesn´t make parents happy, beacuse they get mad to find someone to look after their children when they are working)
So here is the answer to why there are less Americans in the camino than other nacionalities.
In summer, when I am at my parent´s house in Najera and I see the tired pilgrims looking for the albergue I often feel temped to offer them my house, to have dinner and have a long shower, but never dare to because they may think I am crazy or something.Should I try sometime?
Greetings!!!
Ana.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
Tximeleta said:
ok! Thank you for your answers.
Here by law, you have 30 days of paid vacation /year of work.
People usually takes 15-20 days in July, August or September and save a week for Christmas or Holy Week (that´s in April). And children have their holidays from 21th of june to 15th of september (what doesn´t make parents happy, beacuse they get mad to find someone to look after their children when they are working)
So here is the answer to why there are less Americans in the camino than other nacionalities.
In summer, when I am at my parent´s house in Najera and I see the tired pilgrims looking for the albergue I often feel temped to offer them my house, to have dinner and have a long shower, but never dare to because they may think I am crazy or something.Should I try sometime?
Greetings!!!
Ana.

Welcome to the Forum Ana...your insight is valuable.
I think your offer of dinner (and or shower) would be very, very welcome. Most Pilgrims would welcome the change to visit with local residents. I do not think you would ever get a adverse reaction.
However, I would be pretty selective in my invitation. :wink:
Thanks again for adding to the Forum.

Ed

(This thread is about the lack of Americans on the Camino and we assume your gracious offer would extend to all of the other Pilgrims from around the World :D )
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Tximeleta said:
In summer, when I am at my parent´s house in Najera and I see the tired pilgrims looking for the albergue I often feel temped to offer them my house, to have dinner and have a long shower, but never dare to because they may think I am crazy or something.Should I try sometime?
Greetings!!!
Ana.

Ana I wish I had known of you in September. When I was in Najera all the albergues were closed and all the hotels were full of pilgrims. It would have been a much nicer option than a hotel, to meet a Spanish family and share some stories and time together. Maybe I will be in touch on my next Camino
 

skilsaw

Veteran Member
Tximeleta said:
In summer, when I am at my parent´s house in Najera and I see the tired pilgrims looking for the albergue I often feel temped to offer them my house, to have dinner and have a long shower, but never dare to because they may think I am crazy or something.Should I try sometime?

Ana, I hope that if you risk offering this very generous gift to a peregrino that it will be received with humility and gratefulness so that both you and the pilgrim are blessed.

Via con Deus.
David, Victoria, Canada
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Welcoming people into your home is not so risky as all that. It is a great gift, for the pilgrim as well as the host. People along the camino have been doing it for ages.

Matter of fact, I know of at least one American who lives on the camino and does that.

Rebekah
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
Txi
In my half repaired house in France, on a tributary route to the Camino near Le Puy, I have invited passing pilgrims to have some tea, a rest and a chat. It was nice. I asked if they could send me a postcard from Santiago de Compostella; this was done and it was a nice reminder. :D
:arrow:
 

Tximeleta

New Member
Yes, that would be my idea!
Invite a pilgrim to dinner, have some conversation and if they want to, or there is no place at albergue, sleep that night in my house, but, how can I approach to a pilgrim and propose that? Do you want to sleep in my house sounds "weird" :lol:
I envy all of you!
Its not posible for me to walk the camino because of serious health problems (dyalisis), and that would be a nice aproximation!!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Tx:
Every town on the caminos, with or without albergues, has one or two "casas de acogida," private homes that will take in pilgrims. It´s a word-of-mouth thing. The neighbors bring them over, or the albergue refers them, or you meet them online and invite them to stop, or you meet friendly people while out walking the dogs and invite them back for a coffee or rest or some first aid. Some just have a tea or a beer. Others stay around. Most of the time it works out beautifully.

So long as you make it clear you are a private home and not a free public convenience, you are OK.

Rebekah
 

Hermanita

Active Member
Tximeleta said:
Yes, that would be my idea!
Invite a pilgrim to dinner, have some conversation and if they want to, or there is no place at albergue, sleep that night in my house, but, how can I approach to a pilgrim and propose that? Do you want to sleep in my house sounds "weird

Ana, Rebekah is right. I think word of mouth is probably the easiest way.

I had read Rebekah's comments in this forum and stopped at her place in Moratinos just to say hello and even though she was knee deep in house repairs and a ton of other things I had a wonderful chat, a nice rest, and much appreciated cup of tea. When we were leaving she even tried to load us up with lots of what she calls "Pilgrim treats" for us to take along with us, which we declined. But she did get my husbnad to take a great big juicy nectarine? peach?, which made for a nice snack during our walk.

As for "Where are all the Americans?" well Reb is one good example of an American giving back to the Camino. Thanks Reb, it is appreciated!!
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Tximeleta said:
ok! Thank you for your answers.

In summer, when I am at my parent´s house in Najera and I see the tired pilgrims looking for the albergue I often feel temped to offer them my house, to have dinner and have a long shower, but never dare to because they may think I am crazy or something.Should I try sometime?
Greetings!!!
Ana.

Hi Ana,
That would be a wonderful thing to do and such an offer,even if not availed of, would be something a tired pilgrim would never forget (well this one for sure).
But in terms of this impetus to be pilgrim friendly perhaps you are not alone ......
This May we noticed a hand painted slogan on the wall of a little garden shed in the allotments/gardens as you approach the town and it read in Spanish "Pilgrim in Najera you are a Najeran" (I wonder if anyone has a picture of that shed?)
At the time we thought it was a nice sentiment and just that, however that sentiment was transferred into action and we found Najera to be one of our top three 'friendly towns'.
The people we met were genuine, warm, open and pilgrim friendly-from the pharmacist who gave us handfuls of sweets and a cups of cold water, the lads in the hostal who fixed us up with a place to eat and lots of useful information, the staff in the little restaurant who served a roomful of pilgrims with such humor and benign tolerance, the granny/great aunt who passed over 'the baby' to a group of pining pilgrim grannies and great aunts for a cuddle to the forestry worker pausing from his early morning work to graciously put two wandering pilgrims 'right on the road' early the next morning.
Najera epitomised real pilgrim hospitality for us, so different in feel to that 'hospitality plastik' offered in some other more famous/glamorous pilgrim towns.
At the risk of falling into the quagmire of marketing 'Friendliness' is a great USP for any place on the camino. From our experience and your offer Ana, it seems Najera and Najerans have a head start.
Nell
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
Gee whiz, Hermanita. Tweren´t nothin. A nice couple of pilgrims are always a welcome break when there´s work going on.

We get a lot of our pilgrim visitors these days via this board. Hats off to you all! Come on by when you are in town. So far there´s nothing much else here in Moratinos for pilgrims.

Oh, and my husband Patrick does a lot of the hospitalero-ing as well. He is English, but we let that slide. :)

REb.
 

Telluridewalker

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (1988)
This could be a big date at The Peaceable Kingdom: June 12, 2010: USA v. England (World Cup Football, just announced). Are you or Patrick football fans (or even have a TeeVee)?

I'm guessing that's where all the Americans on the Camino will be that day...
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Camino(s) past & future
Many, various, and continuing.
that must be a cosmically important date indeed. Patrick will no doubt watch the game at the Casa Barrunta in San Nicolas, the nearest bar with a TV. (You´re right, we don´t have one here.)

I will be in USA then, God willing. My son is graduating from Ohio University that very day! (he´s a veteran pilgrim, too, btw.)

Reb.
 

nellpilgrim

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
SDC-Fisterra 08/Camino Frances SJPP to SDC 09/Nuremburg-SDC 11- ongoing
Ah Ana,
Thank you so much for that image. Due to a 'corrupted chip' we lost nearly 40% of our photos, including one of the 'welcome wall' of Najera. This is not just a nice picture for me but a significant 'souvenir' that evokes wonderful memories of your town and the Camino.
With Ivars gift of cyber snow and now this Christmas has come early!
Thank you once again Ana :D
Nell
 

kgreid

New Member
Hi All,

It's the cost, plus ignorance. I just priced my plane ticket from Michigan in the US to Madrid in May of 2010. It is $1,120.00. It's not that easy to pop over on a moments notice for a nice walk. Then I have to pay to fly to Santiago. The cheap flights do not match my flight schedule. Air Iberia is $208 one way to Santiago from Madrid. This is not a cheap vacation for US citizens. Plus, I have to admit that most Americans have not heard of the Camino. I remember studying about it in medieval history in College but I did not realize that it was a viable trip until a Mexican friend of mine mentioned it to me. I have studied hard and now I proselytize about it all the time. I hope to bring a few friends in May. I hope to see many of you then.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
kgreid said:
Hi All,

It's the cost, plus ignorance. I just priced my plane ticket from Michigan in the US to Madrid in May of 2010. It is $1,120.00. It's not that easy to pop over on a moments notice for a nice walk. Then I have to pay to fly to Santiago. The cheap flights do not match my flight schedule. Air Iberia is $208 one way to Santiago from Madrid. This is not a cheap vacation for US citizens. Plus, I have to admit that most Americans have not heard of the Camino. I remember studying about it in medieval history in College but I did not realize that it was a viable trip until a Mexican friend of mine mentioned it to me. I have studied hard and now I proselytize about it all the time. I hope to bring a few friends in May. I hope to see many of you then.


Actually, you may not want to go to Santiago from Madrid...unless you are starting somewhere close to that end of the Camino.
 

Hermanita

Active Member
kgreid said:
Hi All,

It's the cost, plus ignorance. I just priced my plane ticket from Michigan in the US to Madrid in May of 2010. It is $1,120.00. .

Don't jump at those pricey tickets just yet. I have been watching and they seem to be much higher right now than usual. The prices should drop after January. But who knows these days what the airlines will do.
Buen Camino
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Home to Reims 2007
Reims to Limoges 2008
Camino Ingles 2009
Limoges to Gernica 2009
Gernica to San Vicente de la Barquera 2010
San Vicente to La Isla 2012
La Isla to Santiago Sept/Oct 2014
kgreid said:
Hi All,

Air Iberia is $208 one way to Santiago from Madrid.

If you need to travel from an airport in Spain, or indeed in France, or anywhere in Europe, do check out train options. Madrid to Santiago would definitely be less than $ 208. Booking in advance and being prepared to travel at slightly less convenient times will really get th price down. The fast Spanish trains are very classy and fast, and the second best trains are fine, much cheaper, and offer you a view of the country from the windows that you would not get from a plane up above the clouds so the travel will be part of the adventure. Also better in terms of carbon emissions. Check out the Man at Seat 61: - http://www.seat61.com
Bridget
 
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