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Reflecting on the Camino de Santiago during the first international meeting of associations

16-10-2019

The first International meeting of associations of friends of Saint James Way brought together in Carrión de los Condes different associations of friends of the Camino from around the world. This event was organized by the Asociación de Municipios del Camino de Santiago (AMCS) in collaboration with the Provincial Council of Palencia and Correos. Here, they talked about important issues for the pilgrimage and in preparation for the upcoming Holy Year in 2021.

 

The traditional hospitality

The traditional reception is a distinctive feature of the Camino de Santiago. Altruism and the encounter are a fundamental part of hospitality, which must be encouraged to maintain the values ​​of the Camino de Santiago.

The volunteer hosts or hospitaleros are the central figure of this reception. In order for them to perform their duties as effectively as possible, it is important for them to have been pilgrims before and thus understand the needs of other pilgrims.

Donation and non-profit shelters (albergues de donativo) have become a symbol of the Way that needs to be protected, since they also foster the essence of traditional hospitality. The pilgrim must be made aware of the need to make an economic effort to maintain these accommodations.

The actions to be taken for the protection of the traditional reception are: the previous training of the hospitaleros, to fulfill minimum conditions of services and security in the lodgings and to spread the concept of a donation shelter.

 

The Compostela

The Compostela, which many mistakenly call Compostelana, has become a claim for pilgrims who decide to walk the Camino de Santiago. This has generated agglomerations in the final stages of the pilgrimage.

Regarding this issue, the different associations concluded that the Camino should not only focus on achieving the Compostela, that there are more difficulties of time than distance in the realization of the Camino and that the requirement of 100 km to achieve this certification can become a problem. Today the number of foreigners who walk a long journey is greater compared to the Spaniards, who opt for the short route.

To achieve this, it is important to pay attention to pilgrims along the entire route, a real-time information system of occupancy of the shelters is proposed, as well as limiting the sealing of credentials to the shelters and to provide more places for pilgrims.

 

The environment, landscape and nature

 

The pilgrim who ventures to travel the Camino hopes to find a clean, friendly and welcoming environment. Unfortunately, along the various Jacobean Routes there are acts of destruction of the landscape, nature and environmental damage. Here, the Friends of the Way Associations have a fundamental role in raising the pilgrim's awareness of the importance of caring for the environment.

Some actions to care for the environment on the Camino de Santiago are the cleaning of it by volunteers, pilgrims and neighbors. The Friends of the Way Associations can provide pilgrims with bags for the collection of waste, raise awareness of the importance of respecting the landscape and encourage appreciation for nature through photography competitions. Fruit trees can be planted in pilgrim rest areas, and also encourage to buy fruit from local farmers and provide information on local farming practices, culture and architecture.

 

Tourism and pilgrimage

Tourism and pilgrimage are two topics that have gone hand in hand for centuries. Religious tourism is beneficial for the local economy, but it should not alter or undermine the values ​​of the Camino, so measures must be taken so that this does not happen.

The Camino today is multicultural and multireligious. Visiting places of worship is one of the pilgrim's interests, so the entrance must be facilitated with flexible schedules and access to a place of meditation.

The arrival of foreign pilgrims creates the need to provide information in different languages. ​​This can be solved by facilitating printed or written multilingual information or with trained volunteer personnel.

It is also proposed to publicize, expand and execute the “Un paso limpio” project to keep the Camino clean, the possibility of placing signs in fountains indicating if the water is safe to drink or not, the distance to the next water source, and promoting the use of flasks instead of plastic bottles.

Other actions were to establish special prices for pilgrims in restoration and places of tourist interest and to give priority in public shelters to pilgrims that travel alone, couples or in small groups. It should be possible to have enough shelters in the off-season to accommodate pilgrims. For security it is important to give information prior to the arrival of the pilgrim to the Camino, control the pilgrim's registry and establish lockers and surveillance cameras for luggage.

 

Heritage

 

The French Way is the most important pilgrimage itinerary to Santiago de Compostela. Along this and other paths, elements such as heritage, spirituality and research enter a symbiosis. In addition to fully defending the Way, its cultural and intangible heritage must be taken into account, since the Camino is not only a route, but also its cults, stories, legends and traditions.

To maintain and defend this, some actions where proposed in these debates such as the development of an app to inform about the heritage of the Way, provide pilgrims with information about the local culture and attend to the heritage also on alternative routes to the Camino.

 

 

Waymarking

Waymarking is a very important part of the pilgrimage, as it guides the pilgrim along the Way and gives security to foreign pilgrim that don’t speak the local language.

To improve signaling, the Association of Municipalities of the Camino de Santiago (AMCS) proposes to apply its Signaling Manual and implement it in urban environments of the Camino. In addition, it was proposed to place QR codes in the Road signage with information in several languages ​​and continue supporting waymarking projects for dissemination and implementation.

 

 

This meeting was closed with the completion of a stage of the Camino de Santiago in Palencia and guided visits to monuments of Boadilla del Camino, Frómista, Villacázar de Sirga and Carrión de los Condes. There was also a boat trip along the Canal de Castilla.

 

 

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We transfer your rucksack

So that you can travel light along the Camino de Santiago

 

We transfer your rucksack or suitcase from your accommodation at one stage to the next!! This way, your walk is more comfortable, your bag is lighter and you can enjoy every step of the Camino. We will take your luggage every day to your next hostel or hotel.

 

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We send your bicycle to your starting or finishing point

 

Decide where you want to start the Camino and we will send your bicycle there from any branch of Correos. Once you finish the Camino de Santiago you can go to the nearest post office and send it back home again. Your bicycle will be insured and we package your bike without disassembling it.

 

Luggage transfer

For everything you want in or out of your rucksack 

 

With our Paq Peregrino you can send suitcases or parcels to any point along the Camino (hostels, hotels, branches of Correos, etc) so that you have your personal belongings when you arrive. You can therefore have extra clothes or other items and not only the ones you carry along the Way. You can also send back whatever you have in your daily rucksack that you no longer need.

 

Prepaid Card

So that you have nothing to worry about other than just enjoying the Camino 

 

Correos offers a prepaid card that is not linked to a bank account. In this way, you can defort walk the Camino without taking your credit or debit cards with you. You only have to put the money on the card that you are going to need and then top up again if your balance is low. This is a simple, safe and comfortable way of taking your money along the Camino.

 

 

Stamping Your Credential

So that you have the best stamps on your Pilgrim's Passport 

Branches of Correos along the Camino de Santiago stamp your Credential or Pilgrim's Passport with our special stamps. Many of these stamps represent important tourist attractions from that particular place to help you remember your jorney.

 

 

Sending parcels along the Camino de Santiago 
 

Send your parcels without having to go along to a branch of Correos!

 

You can send a parcel from any of the over one-hundred branches of CORREOS located along the Camino de Santiago and additionally from some of our “Tiendas Amigas del Camino”, a network of shops and accommodation from where you can send parcels any time of the day. This service will help you to get rid of things from your luggage that you no longer need. You can also buy souvenirs or some typical products without having to worry about carrying them with you. 
 

 

 

Lockers in Santiago

So that you can freely visit the Cathedral or enjoy the city

Our Pilgrim's Office at Rúa do Franco, 150 metres from the Plaza del Obradoiro, has lockers. You can leave your rucksack, suitcase, bike or trekking pole before you go into the Cathedral or you can wander around Santiago without having to worry about your luggage.

 

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