We all need the Patience of a Saint
In Santiago, I found another saint, with a familiar name, my very own name saint. That was a nice surprise, in contrast the New Normal is now the year-old One (that does not work) is a rather tiresome surprise. Travel restrictions that were lifted, some people say, prematurely last summer, are back in the regions where pilgrims once trod the Camino. No one says the Camino is closed – but restrictions and region closures mean that it is. And those who do accept the few pilgrims can cop a lot of flak on social media – but as one albergue owner said – How can I turn away a pilgrim at the door? All kinds of moral issues spring up here and are often in collision with legal issues.
For the Frances, it means that you cannot walk through Navarra. La Rioja, Castilla y Leon and Galicia. This is rigourously enforced and Guardia Civil ( police) have been issuing fines of up to 300€ for those who cross closed boundaries with no good reason.
Camino Portuguese – non essential travel within Portugal is prohibited and the border with Spain remains closed to date.
The Camino Ingles is completely in Galicia – so you could walk it, if you are a resident of Galicia- but read on.
The Pandemic strikes back
Meanwhile Europe reels under a third wave, and the UK, Germany, Austria, France and Germany extend lockdown restrictions.
Meaning that pilgrims from those countries cannot travel without a strong reason, and that does not include the Camino. Even India, that seemed to be seeing declining numbers, has seen the return of high numbers and internal restrictions.
And despite us in Australia apparently being able to control the virus, international travel remains a distant dream.
Galicia has seen declining numbers of cases and most municipalities are at the lowest risk level of 4, and 60% of the municipalities have had no new cases in the last week. Pilgrims can walk the Ingles as it is entirely within Galicia, and I have been following some of my Peregrino Facebook friends who have walked it just last week – it is as beautiful as ever, but no albergues are open. Fortunately, pilgrims who live within Galicia can go home for the night – a different kind of pilgrimage.
Meanwhile Santiago cautiously opens up, the Pilgrims office continues to issue a few compostelas a day, and the Holy Door is open.
Santa Susana is not having services at all, as it was loaned to the Anglicans for services, and that chaplaincy is suspended for now.
Until we have more widespread vaccination, meanwhile, the best I can do is look over my photos, and think that around this time in 2019, I was setting out to walk the Camino Ingles again, in order to edit my book, as well as walk some other paths – like from A Coruna to Bruma, and then back to Ferrol. I don’t cover the A Coruna route in the book, because it is meant to be a quick and short camino. But with the A Coruna leg, it was an 8 day walk, with 4 days in Santiago. Do you think I should write an appendix to the book that covers this walk?
And I’m happy that the The Camino Ingles:6 Days to Santiago, continues to inspire. I hope that would be pilgrims are enjoying their armchair caminos. Stay safe wherever you are. I am slaking my Camino thirst with writing more books, more on that later as I get closer to a final draft. I’m happy to report that one of the authors who attended my bestseller workshop in December, did in fact go bestseller in mid March with his latest camino book. I heartily recommend Roy Uprichard’s On and Off the Portuguese Camino.
Check back with me if you have a book inside you that needs to get out into the big wide world and be read by people who will enjoy it. Don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com and say #bestseller me quick !