No, I do not like Stunt Caminos. I find them offensive and vulgar.
In the last couple of years, athletic people with ego needs and TV crews have taken to using the camino as a backdrop for their attempts at "fastest bicycle camino," "longest continuous roller-blade camino" or "ultramarathon camino." Others do the 500-mile path on camels or driving pony carts or pedaling tiny clown cars. Still more are doing the month-long trek with a webcam strapped to their heads, directing in their own streaming broadcast to the waiting world!
So a lot of people say "that´s wonderful, your camino is all yours, no judgement, we all have to walk our own path, etc. etc." And they would be right, if the "pilgrims" were skating and camelling along, say, Route 66.
The Camino de Santiago is not just a special road. It is a holy place. It should be treated with respect.
I believe the Camino is made sacred by the faith and prayers of a thousand years of pilgrim traffic. It´s a bit like a battleground, hallowed by the blood of people who gave their all for some greater good. It´s a national historic site, the Waterloo Memorial or the Taj Mahal or the Western Wall, a place key to the identity of a country. You don´t have to be a citizen of the nation to be respectful of their sacred places.
The Camino is also a Christian pathway, deeply Roman Catholic in its architecture and iconography, its tradition of hospitality and its harsh demands. People who don´t like Catholics do not like that the Camino is a Catholic kind of place, but it is, undeniably. And people really ought to respect one another´s religious shrines and holy places, even if they don´t believe in religion. It´s just a matter of civility.
They should not do their sensational record-breaking stunts on the camino, any more than a dog-and-pony show should set up inside a mosque.
It is disrespectful. It is unneccessary -- there are plenty of places to ride bikes fast, or ride camels slow, or live-stream your blistered feet and what you had for your lunch. Stunt caminos are not pilgrimages. They are vulgar photo-ops and ego exercises that abuse the holy hospitality of The Way.
They are in poor taste, and I do not like them.
And that is how I see it.
Patrick has been laid-up with a bum leg, and I´ve had to take over a
lot of the chores he usually does. It is not all wood-chopping and
dish-washing. Every morning at dawn, I get to walk six dogs over a few
miles of rolling countryside. It is sharply cold out there, but sunny,
and these days the fields sometimes have hunters in them. But we take it
slow and take it easy. I am not a morning person, I probably never will
become one, but I can see the appeal.
I can think, and consider, and wonder as I wander.
And I get to see greyhounds run in the mist.