For those who are traveling in Europe for the first time, the Camino may become a culture shock to find different things and different attitudes on the Camino.
I have known from Sylvia Nilsen( from South African Camino Pilgrims) a list with some hilarious complaints that some foreign pilgrims have made while walking the Camino de Santiago. Sylvia has collected these complaints that seem to be funny when you have already visited our country before or you know Spanish culture but what happens when it is the first time you come to Spain and you don´t know anything about Spanish way of living.
These are the 10 of the best complaints that amaWalkers Camino has received from past ‘pilgrims’.
1) You should not book us into pensions or rural houses with no elevators.
2) You should only reserve rooms in places that have porters to carry our luggage.
3) What is the use of booking us into rooms that have no WiFi. It is inconvenient to go downstairs when we need to send emails.
4) I booked a twin room but the single beds were pushed together.
5) Since you are booking way in advance our rooms should be ready as soon as we arrive and the key handed to us so we can go straight up and rest.
6) There was too much walking. I didn’t expect to have to walk more than 10 miles a day.
7) All the mileages on the Camino were in kilometres. Why don’t they put them in miles?
8) Why does the group leader have to walk? She should get a bus ahead so that she can wait for us at our accommodation.
9) By the time we got to the next place everything was closed and we couldn’t buy anything. They should ban siesta.
10) You didn’t tell us that the people in the stores or bars only spoke Spanish. I don’t speak Spanish so it was very difficult most of the time.
Some of these complaints may be as a joke but other pilgrims who love the Camino have also complained about some more serious questions:
- Garbage and graffiti. Garbage was a real problem on the Camino Francés route. There are also vast amounts of graffiti on parts of the route.
- The Camino is waymarked in one direction with yellow arrows, scallop shells, and other pilgrim signs. Some pilgrims say that certain spots mainly on Camino Portugués and on Fisnisterre way are a little confusing or they are hidden or missing and it is relatively easy to get lost.
- On the Camino Francés, churches were often locked, and there was usually an entrance fee to see parts, or even all, of cathedrals. Instead of real candles and a donation box, there was usually a machine where, if you put a coin in a slot, a bulb lit up on a candle.
- Many shops closed for siestas or long lunches. Some shops and bakeries were closed on Sundays. On the days they were open, they might open for a few hours in the morning, and then close until 5 in the evening. Sometimes they were open Sunday mornings, but closed in the afternoons.
- Dorm accommodation. Dorm rooms were usually crowded in summer. There were sometimes single beds instead of bunk beds, and the bunk beds were never shoved together so people had to sleep right next to strangers. Also, manyrefugios expected pilgrims to be out by 8 a.m.
- Roads and highways on the Camino. The Camino trail was not created for tourism because this is an ancient pilgrimage trail that dates back thousands of years ago before there were highways, cars or bikes. Therefore, some of the time walking the Camino is not so pretty. The entrances and exits to big towns can be mind numbing as you walk along and under or over major high ways as well as past industrial parks.
As a pilgrim, you can also have your own complaints, would you like to share them with us?
Buen Camino, amigos!