Walking El Camino de Santiago could be a wonderful adventure. However you may experience that are far from pleasant.
10. Snorers and Snorer-pokers
Okay, you share a room with 20 (or more) people, there will be at least one snorer who will keep you awake at night. Yes, it is annoying, we hate it, but come on, we knew the risks when we check-in the albergue. There is a simple solution : bring an earplugs. Remember, the snores don’t snore intentionally and they don’t do it just to annoy you. However, there is no excuse for people who deliberately wake snoring pilgrims up at night kicking or poking them. It’s rude.
9. Stupid bikers
As you know, there are two ways to do the Camino – on foot or by bicycle (not counting the crazy people going on horseback). Although, I don’t mind the bikers, and the most of them are actually quite cool people, there are some of them who are really annoying. They pass the pilgrims as fast as they can unannounced. It’s dangerous, especially when you count the fact that the most of us are tired, distracted or deep into our thoughts, so we wont hear them until they are very close. Come on, guys, we all share the same road, respect that!
8. Paved roads and car traffic
Unfortunately, big part of the Camino is a paved road or dirt road next to the paved road and the half of the time you have to watch out for cars passing you by. Not to mention that at several places Camino actually crosses big highway and all the pilgrims are forced to cross it too. Although, there is warning and safety signs, it is still quite dangerous. Or at least, unpleasant.
7. Rude people
There are those people who think they are alone on the Camino de Santiago and demand respect, while not respecting anyone and anything. Unfortunately, you have to put up with them, after all you share the same accommodation. More about respecting the others and the albergues rules here.
Although I said repeatedly I love the Spanish food, I have to admit that the gastronomy in central Spain, especially in the small villages is not the best one. It is quite difficult to keep an healthy food plan, if not impossible. For all of you who think that they will lose weight, think twice. Not only we didn’t lose weigth, but we actually gain few pounds…
5. Having the same conversation
It is a fact that you will meet a lot of people on Camino de Santiago. And, many of them will be nice, friendly, interesting people. However everyone of us have a different pace, you may meet someone today and never meet them again, so the big part of the conversation you will have with those people will be the basic get-to-know-each-other conversation. And if it is okay at the beginning, after few weeks it could be very annoying to answer the same questions over and over again…
4. Camino is not a toilet
“Do not throw your garbage on the ground” is a simple rule that seems a big part of the pilgrims follow. However, most of them think that it doesn’t apply to a toilet paper. Here’s a news – toilet paper is garbage too! Okay, we drink a lot of water and sometimes walk miles with no convenient place to stop for a rest, and, let’s admit it, we all peed in the forest at some point, but come on, be responsible. It’s horrible to see toilet paper strewn along the path.
3. The routine
Although many of you (including us) consider walking Camino to be an “adventure”, the truth is that the trip consists in waking early every god-damn morning, walking hour after hour, carrying a heavy big back-pack, and ending up in a small village in the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t sound that glamorous, does it?
2. The last 100 km
Pilgrims must walk at least 100km to receive their certificate of walk completion (Compostela) and I guess, there are many people who care more about this piece of paper than about actually experiencing walking El Camino. On this part of the road there are so many tourists that you can mistake some small country road with Gran Via in the center of Madrid. And no, I don’t mind all the backpackers, travelers or hikers, I am talking about all those organized-trip-kind-of-people who transport their backpacks and carry only the camera with them, who spend the day in the restaurants eating and resting. Okay, I agree that Camino means different things to different people, but I just don’t see the point of “walking El Camino” if you don’t really want to walk El Camino de Santiago…
It’s sad to admit it, but El Camino has become a big business, where most of the local people seem to just care about getting your money. With many shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, vending machines, it could be hard to escape “the material world”. Although, it could be nice to find a cold drink after walking 5km in the fields, there are just too many people getting advantage of the pilgrims. It is often when you end up paying twice the price for a simple supermarket product or for a bed in a hostel, only just because you have no choice. Not to mention all the hotels under construction, soon Camino will look like a big resort fully equipped for a nice vacation.