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When you walk the Camino, and suddenly a pandemic appears
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Where did that Town Go??

Past OR future Camino
2022
I don't know if I'm the only person who has had this happen to them.

I have done the CF twice, once from SJPdP to SdC, 2 years later from Lourdes to SJPdP to SdC.

As I'm looking back on those two trips, I realize that, although I used the Brierly for both trips, I don't remember seeing the same sights on each route. There were a few places where I stopped and said, "Oh, yeah, I remember this fruit stand," but other than that, I don't remember seeing the same thing twice.

The albergues were different, the towns seemed different, and I followed the same route as just 2 years earlier.

Where did this town come from? Why didn't I stop here before, it seems the only place to stop? What happened to that entire deserted town I passed through? Gone? The whole town??

Has anyone else gone the same route as before but seen totally different sights? Did I just blank out for 800kms?

Not necessarily unpleasant, just puzzling.
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I walked the Primitivo with four of my kids, then we redid it a few years later with Daddy too. We frequently found ourselves saying “there’s a lovely picnic spot coming up” or “let’s stop at the bar where we chatted with the Korean guy who had just seen a fatal motor accident”.....only to discover these things that we thought “can’t be far now” were five or even ten kilometres away!
We also found the temperature made things very different. The long hill from Grandas de Salime which was quite a struggle the first time in nearly 40 degrees, hardly seemed like an incline in autumn when we needed to keep walking in order to stay warm - in fact we had so much energy the second time that we visited the museum and then walked on another 5?km to Castro.
We had enjoyed ice creams on the terrace at the hotel overlooking the dam the first time - it was such a special memory we were looking forward to repeating it. Take my advice - don’t try to relive the past! It was too cold to sit in the terrace so we huddled inside, and the icecream in the freezer was so hard it couldn’t be scooped.
That was the day I learned to enjoy each journey for itself. Yes, there would be memories, but I needed to enjoy them as they surfaced and not try to recreate anything.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
My memories of caminos tend to be quite disorganized. I am amazed at the detail that some people can recall.

I agree that weather, time of day, day of the week, and season, all make a big difference. Were you chatting with companions as you walked through a town? Desperately looking for food, water, or toilet? Listening to music?
 
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Chenahusky

Happy Pilgrim
Past OR future Camino
CFSJPP to SDC 2016
CIng x 2 2018
CPort. Tui May 2019
CF Ponf. June 2019
I am fortunate that I tend to remember things visually. I have been known to retrace my steps to a cafe that I haven't been to for 40 years.
But it does need a modicum of consciousness, not full. So my problem can be that if I am engrossed in conversation, I have been equally known to have walked through a village and not notice it. It helps that I take a lot of pictures, more since digital. On the CF it can be confusing when you repeat it a year or two later and new cafes, bars, and albergues have been built since. I find that I enjoy the new and welcome the others like old friends. It is especially nice when you re-meet people at places you have enjoyed in the past.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
The waymarked Camino does occasionally vary as well, and there are some pueblos it traverses now that it did not in the 1990s, and vice-versa.

It took me six attempts to get from Astorga to Santa Catalina on a route that I had already walked previously !!
 

Isca-camigo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Various ones.
Yes I have had the experience several times of places being very different or new places becoming clear which before did not warrant much attention on a previous visit and also not being where I expected them on a later one.
On the Frances the 2nd time I walked between Rabanal and Cruz de Ferro,an idyllic section which I rembered fondly and could picture vividly, it was very different in a couple of places, some stretches which I was anticipating did not exist, it threw me a little. it made think a little on the whole subject of memories and perhaps over time they are less actual remeberance and more a collection of feelings, emotions and dreams than an actual accurate snapshots of places in time. You see something and it leaves an impression and then as time progresses you keep remembering it but little by little it is changing in your mind, as you remember you pull up the recollections that are strongest, those that are part feelings and that is what keeps altering unoticeably.
If I do get to walk on a Camino this August, I am going to do two short Caminos, one I am sticking to but the 2nd one I am not sure, I have 5 or 6 options floating around, several possible new routes for me or one which I have walked many times but always in Winter. I want to see the Frances in Summer , experience it colours, sounds in a different vibrancy. Many sections I have walked in winter and they have been special, but I would like now to seem them again with the trees, flowers and faces perhaps more open and less under the layers of winter.
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Memory and reality will always differ. That is why we rely on our partners to know where we put the car keys ;)
I will only worry if the time comes when I am holding my car keys and have no idea what they are used for.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I relate to many of these posts, but I also had a different "problem". I loved my first Camino with one son. Two years later both sons came with me. I was enthused and often before we were to arrive at a spot I had particularly good memories of I would share what was coming up around a corner, etc. in my excitement. The "new" son who came said that I was spoiling his Camino by telling him about sights and places before he could see them for himself...I had to try to keep my memories to myself after he told me that.
 

Meggins

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances - One complete St.J.P.P to Santiago plus twice more for 500km each time.
I am fortunate in that I tend to remember things visually as does Chenahusky
I am very visual and tend to say to my friends "well I don't know the names of the streets but I can walk there with you" My Camino memories are pretty accurate - which is most useful! I also have some kind of weird GPS type instinct which causes me to stop and say 'this doesn't feel right' when on a new walk/hike where I have not been before. Don't ask - don't know.. ---)

ps and it takes naught out of my enjoyment as each camino is different -new people, stopping at different places - or albergues , food etc
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
My memories of caminos tend to be quite disorganized. I am amazed at the detail that some people can recall.

I agree that weather, time of day, day of the week, and season, all make a big difference. Were you chatting with companions as you walked through a town? Desperately looking for food, water, or toilet? Listening to music?
I agree with you completely. All we have to do is look in amazement when people can tell us exactly where a random arrow, little church, stream or vista is. When I walk I try to walk not "with" but "without" intention. Want to clear my head of all the crap that accumulates. So even though I may recognize something in a photo or even when I have walked the same route it is just vague recollection 8/10 times.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Memory and reality will always differ. That is why we rely on our partners to know where we put the car keys ;)
I have read for many years that eyewitnesses of crimes are not very reliable witnesses at all. I am sure the logic and reasoning is very similar regarding camino memory.

 
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Past OR future Camino
2012
I have read for many years that eyewitnesses of crimes are not very reliable witnesses at all. I am sure the logic and reasoning is very similar regarding camino memory.

That's a well known phenomenon. Lot's of us will have seen those classic "training" clips of Bears on Basketball Courts and Unicorns in Nudist Camps. As bewildered as we find ourselves in such situations, it only reflects our poor tired fatty grey cells inability to follow more than a couple of tracks through our synapses simultaneously. Nothing to worry about, all perfectly normal.

What does get interesting is when you stop asking eye-witnesses what they saw and ask them instead about their personal experience - "What were you doing?"; "Where were you going?"; "You were going to a gig. Is that your favourite Band?"; "What's your favourite song?"; "Where had you come from?"; "What was the weather like?"; "How was the lighting / where was the Sun?"; "Were you hungry / thirsty?"

Never, ever, ask someone what they remember. They will not know until they have been given the opportunity to remember. Done well the interviewer will place the witness back in the situation and able to recall accurately that event in the periphery of their vision that they paid little heed to at the time.
 

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
I don't know if I'm the only person who has had this happen to them.

I have done the CF twice, once from SJPdP to SdC, 2 years later from Lourdes to SJPdP to SdC.

As I'm looking back on those two trips, I realize that, although I used the Brierly for both trips, I don't remember seeing the same sights on each route. There were a few places where I stopped and said, "Oh, yeah, I remember this fruit stand," but other than that, I don't remember seeing the same thing twice.

The albergues were different, the towns seemed different, and I followed the same route as just 2 years earlier.

Where did this town come from? Why didn't I stop here before, it seems the only place to stop? What happened to that entire deserted town I passed through? Gone? The whole town??

Has anyone else gone the same route as before but seen totally different sights? Did I just blank out for 800kms?

Not necessarily unpleasant, just puzzling.
Yes, in 2018 we walked part of the CF backwards and was amazed at we had and had not seen walking towards Santiago.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have read for many years that eyewitnesses of crimes are not very reliable witnesses at all. I am sure the logic and reasoning is very similar regarding camino memory.


You may already have done this experiment, but if you ever want proof about the reliability of eye-witness accounts, take this test.

All you have to do is watch the video and count the number of times the people wearing white shirts in the video pass the basketball.


 
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Flog

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Memory and reality will always differ. That is why we rely on our partners to know where we put the car keys ;)
Yes, and we should remember that memories are actually memories of memories: they are subjective and can evolve over time. It's only when we recall the same event several times that it becomes crystallized as a solid memory and even then, may have become a distortion of the reality it was, apparently.

I have noticed this myself, when looking at an object or place from the past and being surprised and puzzled that it doesnt quite fit with my 'memory' of it..
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
You may already have done this experiment, but if you ever want proof about the reliability of eye-witness accounts, take this test.

All you have to do is watch the video and count the number of times the people wearing white shirts in the video pass the basketball.


Loved that!!!!


Note from the mods:
@ltny revealed the secret of the test, which I have deleted in case anyone else wants to watch. 😁 😁 😁
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Past OR future Camino
Caminos Francais: 2002, 2012, 2019. (Future Ingles, Primitivo, Portuguese in 2021)
I don't know if I'm the only person who has had this happen to them.

I have done the CF twice, once from SJPdP to SdC, 2 years later from Lourdes to SJPdP to SdC.

As I'm looking back on those two trips, I realize that, although I used the Brierly for both trips, I don't remember seeing the same sights on each route. There were a few places where I stopped and said, "Oh, yeah, I remember this fruit stand," but other than that, I don't remember seeing the same thing twice.

The albergues were different, the towns seemed different, and I followed the same route as just 2 years earlier.

Where did this town come from? Why didn't I stop here before, it seems the only place to stop? What happened to that entire deserted town I passed through? Gone? The whole town??

Has anyone else gone the same route as before but seen totally different sights? Did I just blank out for 800kms?

Not necessarily unpleasant, just puzzling.
So, I am not alone? Whew! My first Camino (2002) was on the CF and in 2012, It thought to repeat it. Wait, what? Where is that town/church/alburgue? It was NOT up a hill, now way! Or, was it? Cartoon of Catherine with head exploding! I was seeking to repeat an unrepeatable memory (a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox). Which is why I am considering (travel restrictions lifted from USA) the Portugal Camino, in which that which I have not yet lived cannot yet be repeated! :)
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
@Kathy F. , did you use the same edition of Brierley on both Caminos? There are occasionally a few very subtle differences in subsequent editions. Would it be worthwhile to compare - if you used different editions. That might help. A conundrum...
Although it was worn and torn, I did use the same edition. Why invest in a brand new guidebook, I thought - how different could the route have become in only 2 years (insert eyes rolling here)!! :)
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I don't know if I'm the only person who has had this happen to them.

I have done the CF twice, once from SJPdP to SdC, 2 years later from Lourdes to SJPdP to SdC.

As I'm looking back on those two trips, I realize that, although I used the Brierly for both trips, I don't remember seeing the same sights on each route. There were a few places where I stopped and said, "Oh, yeah, I remember this fruit stand," but other than that, I don't remember seeing the same thing twice.

The albergues were different, the towns seemed different, and I followed the same route as just 2 years earlier.

Where did this town come from? Why didn't I stop here before, it seems the only place to stop? What happened to that entire deserted town I passed through? Gone? The whole town??

Has anyone else gone the same route as before but seen totally different sights? Did I just blank out for 800kms?

Not necessarily unpleasant, just puzzling.

I'm kind of the other way.

Not only do I know what town is coming up next but which cafe has a great lunch! :rolleyes:

Maybe it's something to do with how much we think about the Camino?
Or what we did whilst walking the Camino?
How distracted were were, or not?

I tend to walk alone, maybe that makes me notice things more.
I take lots of pictures and shoot video, again maybe making me take notice at the time, but perhaps more so, allowing me to revisit all those scenes over and over in the future.

Pat is the opposite!
She doesn't remember a thing.
Rather like a Goldfish!

She's ask, what town was it that xyz happened, or that we saw abc.
And I know she remembers meals. (as do I)

So I'll just ask, what did we have for lunch or diner in that town?
And I'll know right away what town it was :oops:
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
So, I am not alone? Whew! My first Camino (2002) was on the CF and in 2012, It thought to repeat it. Wait, what? Where is that town/church/alburgue? It was NOT up a hill, now way! Or, was it? Cartoon of Catherine with head exploding! I was seeking to repeat an unrepeatable memory (a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox). Which is why I am considering (travel restrictions lifted from USA) the Portugal Camino, in which that which I have not yet lived cannot yet be repeated! :)
Yes, that's exactly right.
I'm not saying it was unpleasant. I purposefully sought out new albergues, stayed in different towns that I had passed up the first time, in order to . . . enliven/enrich . . . the experience. It's just so weird that entire towns that I had passed through and stayed at, either for a meal, an overnight, whatever, seemed to be missing the second time.
I'm OK with chalking it up to slightly different routes through towns, and different distractions, whether companion or weather induced.
I'm thinking about doing the Aragones to the CF next spring, to mix the new with the old. I had thought about the CP but am not sure it will be enough of a challenge (there's nothing like climbing over the Pyrenes to get the ol' heart pumping, LOL).
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
I walked the Primitivo with four of my kids, then we redid it a few years later with Daddy too. We frequently found ourselves saying “there’s a lovely picnic spot coming up” or “let’s stop at the bar where we chatted with the Korean guy who had just seen a fatal motor accident”.....only to discover these things that we thought “can’t be far now” were five or even ten kilometres away!
We also found the temperature made things very different. The long hill from Grandas de Salime which was quite a struggle the first time in nearly 40 degrees, hardly seemed like an incline in autumn when we needed to keep walking in order to stay warm - in fact we had so much energy the second time that we visited the museum and then walked on another 5?km to Castro.
We had enjoyed ice creams on the terrace at the hotel overlooking the dam the first time - it was such a special memory we were looking forward to repeating it. Take my advice - don’t try to relive the past! It was too cold to sit in the terrace so we huddled inside, and the icecream in the freezer was so hard it couldn’t be scooped.
That was the day I learned to enjoy each journey for itself. Yes, there would be memories, but I needed to enjoy them as they surfaced and not try to recreate anything.
Kiwi family, what a wonderful experience! I envy you.
Your lesson about not trying to recreate memories is a life lesson we all can take to heart, whether we try to recreate memories from Christmases past, sporting successes, or loves lost.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
I'm kind of the other way.

Not only do I know what town is coming up next but which cafe has a great lunch! :rolleyes:

Maybe it's something to do with how much we think about the Camino?
Or what we did whilst walking the Camino?
How distracted were were, or not?

I tend to walk alone, maybe that makes me notice things more.
I take lots of pictures and shoot video, again maybe making me take notice at the time, but perhaps more so, allowing me to revisit all those scenes over and over in the future.

Pat is the opposite!
She doesn't remember a thing.
Rather like a Goldfish!

She's ask, what town was it that xyz happened, or that we saw abc.
And I know she remembers meals. (as do I)

So I'll just ask, what did we have for lunch or diner in that town?
And I'll know right away what town it was :oops:
Robo, Pat is so lucky to not have to flip through pages and pages of photos to remember what happened where!
I also traveled alone and took lots of photos and notes, which perhaps is why I find it especially puzzling to NOT find those places so significant in my memories.
Oh, well, every step is an opportunity to create new memories (and fill more notebooks and SIM cards).
My memories of caminos tend to be quite disorganized. I am amazed at the detail that some people can recall.

I agree that weather, time of day, day of the week, and season, all make a big difference. Were you chatting with companions as you walked through a town? Desperately looking for food, water, or toilet? Listening to music?
LOL, you kept track of the days of the week?? That was the first thing to go for me, except for Sunday mornings, (mostly).
All kidding aside, I tried to be as much in the moment as possible, realizing that I was having a once-in-a-lifetime adventure (or so I thought).
Perhaps my first Camino was such an adventure for me, every step brought something new. The second time I was more focused on the inner journey, whatever that was, than on making sure I didn't miss a single yellow arrow.
I have to admit, it was a joy to come across those places I did remember and that did bring back wonderful memories, like reuniting with old friends.
 

Rj7797

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017
I couldn't remember where I had been two days previous while I was on the camino. A return trip should prove interesting. 😅
 
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The brain is remarkable. One of it's prime functions is to catalog "Normal" and then move on. If something is noted as "not normal" or "new", the brain begins the "Fight, Flight or Freeze" function. Think about the last time you drove down the same road and, before you knew it, you've arrived at your destination wondering how that happened. Unless something along the way changed...the brain reviews catalogued information and relaxes because everything remains "Normal." That said, if you drive down that road and a new sign has been put up, or a flashing light, house, or an animal streaks across the road...that's abnormal and the new information will be catalogued resulting in action. Our biggest hazard in my rural area is deer. My brain knows to be vigilant, especially approaching blind corners and open fields.
 
Past OR future Camino
2022
The brain is remarkable. One of it's prime functions is to catalog "Normal" and then move on. If something is noted as "not normal" or "new", the brain begins the "Fight, Flight or Freeze" function. Think about the last time you drove down the same road and, before you knew it, you've arrived at your destination wondering how that happened. Unless something along the way changed...the brain reviews catalogued information and relaxes because everything remains "Normal." That said, if you drive down that road and a new sign has been put up, or a flashing light, house, or an animal streaks across the road...that's abnormal and the new information will be catalogued resulting in action. Our biggest hazard in my rural area is deer. My brain knows to be vigilant, especially approaching blind corners and open fields.
True, true!
This is one of the reasons I think I will enjoy going on the CF again. Some things I long to see again, some things I missed the other times, some things I chose to walk around.
You never step in the same stream twice, right? Is that the saying??
 

Old Kiwi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
When I walked CF in 2016 I passed through a town with three other walkers and we all commented that there was not one person to be seen in the whole town. Later I walked with a Japanese man over a hill that was mostly a metal road with arrows made from stones on the road. The Japanese man and I were nearly knocked over by a deer that came out of the forest, across the grass and then across the road and missed us by about two metres. I also crossed a river and then past a field with about 50 donkeys in it. When I walked the CF again in 2019 with my daughter, I particularly wanted to show her these three places (among others). All three had disappeared. On the 2016 Camino I had picked up an old Brierley guidebook in La Fuente albergue in Los Arcos and used that from there to SDC. Before the 2019 walk I bought a new Brierley guidebook for my daughter, and that is the one we used. This might be slightly different from the first one. I have not bothered to see if they are both the same. (I might while I wait for the Caminos to open again) This is the only explanation I have for places disappearing on the Camino.
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
I, too, will miss the world map. And one of my son's favourite albergues, which we stayed at in Navarrete in 2016, I heard not long after had closed down.

On the other hand, in 2016 there was no Olive GardZen, no Casa Susi. Things we appreciate can disappear. New things to appreciate will appear, not to take their place but to offer their own blessings. The Camino remains.
 

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