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A Question About Abandoned Shoes On The Camino

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Parksville, Sep 13, 2017.

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  1. Parksville

    Parksville Member

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    I recently published a photo collage of 'abandoned footwear on the Camino' on my blog. Several commenters asked what happens to items that are discarded on the trail. Are they eventually collected in order to keep the trail 'clean'? Or, do they simply become part of the trail? I did an internet search but could not find the answer to this question. Does anyone have any information about this?

    Here is a link to my post. https://www.retirementreflections.com/abandoned/
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Parksville - Camino fairies! It's pretty common knowedge that in certain parts of Spain, fairies sneak onto the trail in the wee morning hours to take abondoned shoes so they can refurbish them and later leave them in albergues for pilgrims in need. It's been going on since the Middle Ages at least according the the nomes who swear they've seen them do it!

    Along the CP this spring, I can only recall two or three sets of shoes left as trail guardians. But, we walked early in the season so the number may have grown as more hikers found their way north to Santiago. In any case, it's an interesting idea to ponder! I'm guessing that there's a shelf life to even abondoned shoes that are probably quietly discarded so as to keep the Camino as tidy as possible.
     
  3. Parksville

    Parksville Member

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    Thanks, Wily - This is great information. I will definitely share it with others!
     
  4. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Last year I only saw one pair and this year none.
     
  5. Parksville

    Parksville Member

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    We must have gotten lucky then. On our recent hike from Najera to Santiago and then on to Muxia and Finisterre, we saw (and photographed) over 20 discarded shoe(s) on the Camino. There may have been even more, as I didn't begin photographing them until quite a few days in.
     
  6. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    I honestly can say that I have seen (m)any abandoned shoes in all of the Camino’s that I have walked – OK, there Might?? Have been the odd one now and then, but certainly not as many as the 20+ mentioned by Parksville – So it must be a fairly recent phenomena.

    What I don’t understand is, if a pilgrim abandons their walking shoes, then how do they keep walking ?? – Presumably they had more than one pair and this might well be why they abandoned the ones seen – Because their packs were too heavy ??

    Most times the routes are kept very clean and littler free and I put this down to two things

    1) Pilgrims tend to be consciences people and don’t litter in the first place

    2) The Local Amigo’s are incredibly proud that a route passes through their area and do everything possible to keep in it tiptop

    Only my own views :)

    Best Regards

    Rob
     
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  7. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    I would suggest that we have two positive forces working together to keep the Caminos as litter-free as they are. Pilgrims, in general, do tend to be conscious of the fact that they want to leave the Camino just as they found it. It's a healthy attitude that we see elsewhere as well from people who have both a respect for the environment and the understand that they are simply visitors to another's land and just passing through. In the mountains where I live, we have many public hiking trails. The natural beauty is enhanced by how visitors conscientiously want to leave only their footprints as a sign of them having passed this way. Pack it in; pack it out!

    The other factor would be the Spanish people themselves many of whom live along or near the Camino. My observation is that there is a great deal of regional and national pride in their Camino. I have rarely felt more welcomed somewhere by the locals than while walking in Spain (Portugal as well). And, if I remember correctly, the Spanish represent the largest single nationality walking the Camino. Everyone working together keeps the Camino the experience we all hope it to be.

    Although some may see abandoning, burning, or discarding of clothing and footwear near the end of their Camino as part of the tradition, my wornout Keens are hanging from a nail in my garage as a most pleasant reminder of the journey.
     
  8. Parksville

    Parksville Member

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    Hi, Rob and Wily - Now I feel even more privileged! My husband and I did enjoy spotting the shoes and boots along the way -- and saw them as 'trail art.' Just in case anyone reading this is currently on the Camino Frances, and assuming the abandoned footwear is still there, here (according to my camera) is where we saw some of the 'trail guardians' (as Wily calls them).

    Tardajos
    El Burgo Ranero
    Villares de Orbigo
    Santa Colomba de Somoza (two separate pair)
    Portomarin
    Melide
    Calzada
    O Pino
    Sarela de Abaixo
    Santiago de Compostela (two separate pair)
    Negreira
    Cee
    Muxia
    Finisterre (3 separate pair)
     
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