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The Camino de Santiago: between tradition and comfort

By Anonymous | 13/05/2024

The Camino de Santiago: between tradition and comfort Image: Burkard Meyendriesch

The Camino de Santiago, that millenary route that has attracted millions of pilgrims from all over the world throughout its history, has long been in a moment of transformation. In recent years, we have witnessed a significant increase in the number of companies offering services to organize, guide and transport the backpack to pilgrims along this iconic path. However, this proliferation is not without controversy and could affect the very essence of the Camino. Today there is no room for surprise, for search, for improvisation. It's all perfectly programmed. Making the road of Santiago a simple holiday.

Comfort vs. adventure

In the past, the pilgrims went on the road with an open heart, not knowing the steps they were going to go through, nor knowing the hostels where they were going to stay, nor the hospitals of those hostels. It was pure improvisation, and you had to be alert to the five senses.

Today, the situation is very different. From the comfort of our homes, we can plan every detail: what taxi the backpack will take us, what hostels are best rated according to reviews and what hospitallers are known to have bad fleas. And we get the world on top if we send an email to make a reservation and they don't answer in the next five minutes.

Surprise and search have given way to certainty and predictability.


What was once considered the greatest adventure of the 20th century, has evolved into the "postureo" of Instagram, Facebook, etc. New Influencers that to the least difficulty, see mud, rain, hikes, falls, heat, cold, take a taxi or a bus because "here we have not come to suffer".

In the past, pilgrims faced the road with courage and determination. Today, it's almost rare to see someone walking with their backpack, especially in the last hundred kilometers.

Shoulder or taxi backpack

In ancient times, if a pilgrim said that he could not bring the backpack to his shoulder because he had a bad back, and so he carried it by taxi, it was because he really had it wrong. Now, eighty percent of those who walk the last hundred kilometers to get the Compostela "have" back problems. Note the irony.

Recently, a pilgrim walking the English Way with his backpack was increased by others: "What do you think, Rambo? What do you want to show by wearing your backpack?" The question resonates in the air, reminding us that the Camino de Santiago remains a personal challenge, beyond modern amenities.

Perhaps it is true what many people have been saying for a long time, that the road had to return to the 1980s, when the road truly changed the lives of pilgrims to the first of change.

A very personal choice

Making the Camino de Santiago is a deeply personal experience and the choice between taking everything to adventure or planned depends on the personality and preferences of each one.

  • On the one hand, doing it with a backpack on the shoulder and adventure can be a liberating experience. It lets you live the moment, be flexible with your itinerary and be open to new experiences and people you find along the way. This option may be better for those seeking spontaneity and personal discovery.
  • On the other hand, taking everything planned offers security and tranquility. Knowing where you're going to sleep every night and what to expect can reduce stress and allow you to focus more on the experience itself.

Ultimately, there is no correct or incorrect answer. It's a question of balance between adventure and planning, and finding what resonates with you and your reasons for taking the path.

The important thing is that the journey is meaningful to you.

Good way!


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