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Who To Expect

#1
Much has been written about the varying numbers of people on the Camino routes but there seems to be distinct differences on who to expect at different times of the year.For instance in the summer you will encounter a great many young Spaniards walking the last 100kms.
When I walked the Camino Frances in April/May of this year I made many observations about my fellow pilgrims.Some examples:-
A/ There were as many women as men.
B/About half the pilgrims were over 50yrs of age.
C/There were as many women walking alone as men.
D/Most people walked in twos.
E/The nationality most represented were Germans.They made up approximately 30% of the overall number.Apparently many were influenced by a book written by a famous German comedian who had walked the Camino Frances.
F/I only met two black people on the whole Camino.I walked for half a day with a young man from Liberia who could not understand why there were not many more black people on the Camino.He intended to "pass the word around".The other was a young Senagalese woman in O Cebreiro.
G/There were people from a great many countries on the walk,far more than I expected.

It would be interesting to get other peoples observations relating to other times of the year.It could help some to decide when to walk.

Take care,
Harry
 

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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:
#2
The Archicompostela website stats for the month of May show the following:
12,880 pilgrims received the Compostela or other certificate. (May 2006 there were 9,992 pilgrims).

When I walked the Camino Frances in April/May of this year I made many observations about my fellow pilgrims.Some examples:-
A/ There were as many women as men. C/There were as many women walking alone as men.
5191 were woman and 7689 were men

B/About half the pilgrims were over 50yrs of age.
Under 30 years - 1,691: between 30 and 60 - 7,981: and older than 60 years - 3675.

E/The nationality most represented were Germans.They made up approximately 30% of the overall number.
Of the 12,880 pilgrims there were 2685 from Germany. Spanish pilgrims numbered 4,290: foreign pilgrims - 8590: France - 1258; Italy -792, Austria - 337; Holland - 328, Portugal - 323, Canada - 297; US - 305 and UK - 297.

Most of the pilgrims started in Saint Jean Pied de Port - 2,066; Sarria -1,708; Roncesvalles - 1,017; Leon -916; Cebreiro - 691; Pamplona - 678; Le Puy - 583, Astorga - 481; Ponferrada - 423; Burgos - 398, and so on.

Of the 12,880 pilgrims, 10590 walked the Camino Frances; Portuguese - 855: Via de la Plata - 656; Camino del Norte - 412; Primitivo - 237; English - 105 pilgrims.

You can find stats at http://www.archicompostela.org/web/index_.htm
 
#3
My observations were based on actual headcounts at various albergues,restaurants etc and with conversations with many pilgrims and albergue staff.Also they were for only the 24 days I took to complete my walk from St.Jean to Santiago. I have a distrust of official numbers,they tend to tell only some of the story.Usually they account for the bits that they are interested in. The official numbers for example do not include the great many people who have no religious interest in the Camino but see it as merely a way of having a cheap holiday.Also the official numbers do not answer my question of why hardly any black people.Does this mean that the Camino is for the white middleclasses by default? I kept a detailed account of my walk including the details I submitted.This is my whole point in fact as patterns will change throughout the year and even from week to week as well as month to month.
Something I don't know how to take into consideration is the number of people who are not interested in claiming a compostela which judging by conversations I had could be a significant number.I am not sure that I will bother next time.
Harry
 

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:
#4
Hello Harry,
Your observations were almost spot on as regards to female/male pilgrims, number of German pilgrims etc. And you were right about the stats - those issued by the pilgrim's office only include pilgrims who arrive at the office to collect a certificate - Compostela or otherwise. We too met many pilgrims who were only walking a section of the camino so the actual numbers on any given day would be much higher. As for black pilgrims, we met a black girl from Germany and a black French woman but no black pilgrims from Africa. The dearth of black pilgrims can't be ascribed to a lack of black Catholics/Christians as the world's Catholic population is growing fastest in Africa and Asia (according to an annual compilation of statistics provided by the Fides news agency). The figures showed a rise of 4.65 million in the number of Catholics in Africa, 3.08 million in Asia, and 6.83 million in the Americas. It is the largest religion in the world for people of African descent.
I'm sure anthropologists could come up with a few reasons, but one mustn't discount the fact that Europeans have a collective memory, or history, of pilgrimage to Santiago. Black Africans do not. Colonists took this history with them but even so, very few white people in African have heard of the Camino, even less so black Africans. Perhaps it is socio-economic - probably a combination of both.
 

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#5
Hello again,
I wish you were right but I don't think so.Most British white people did not know of the significance of Santiago until relatively recently.It has been brought to the attention of most Brits via the TV and by word of mouth.There is a massive black population in Britain but they seem to be excluded somehow.
I think this is the case in the rest of Europe also.
Most of the Germans I spoke to only became aware of the Camino via a book written by a comedian who's on-stage persona is that of a racist,sexist,couch potato biggot.Apparently it came as a huge surprise to many Germans that this man had walked the Camino and that in fact off-stage he is the exact opposite of the character he portrays.and is in fact a very spiritual man.
I hope that perhaps a black person might read this and give some idea why this imbalance might be.In fact Sillydoll as far as I have so far seen you and I are the only people to even have broached the subject on this whole site.
Bye again,
Harry
 

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