Summary of weekly update from the Zoom Coffee Mornings

6th August

  • The main news to report this week is that Pilgrim Office statistics for July have now been uploaded to their website - www.oficinadelperegrino.com If you scroll the drop down menus to 2020 and "julio" you can see the full breakdown. Some interesting things we noted:
    • More than 9,700 pilgrims were counted for the month.
    • More than 80% were Spanish, predominantly coming from Andalucía, Madrid and the Comunidad Valenciana.
    • Other top nationalities included German, Italian and Portuguese, with 63 pilgrims hailing from the UK.
    • 92% arrived on foot, but there were 736 by bike, 9 on horseback and 2 in a wheelchair!
    • Around a third started in Sarria, with the next most popular start points being Tui, Ferrol, Oviedo and Porto.
  • Additionally, we did receive word from the Office for Citizen Information and Care in Madrid that the Health Certificate for travellers into Spain is only required if you have arrived by air or by sea. We will update this post if we hear any updates on this.
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30th July

This week we heard from recently returned pilgrim, Richard Lendon, who spoke about his experience walking from Pamplona to Santiago and on to Porto. 

  • Overall he had a positive experience. The locals he met were welcoming and hospitable as ever. And he always found accommodation, though sometimes had to walk further than he anticipated to find it.  On one occasion, he said, he had to walk 20km without a single shop, café or hostel open.  Where there was available accommodation, there were often only a couple of pilgrims to a dormitory.
  • The number of pilgrims was very low all the way along the Camino Francés, with slightly more on the Camino Portugués. 
  • All locals and pilgrims wore masks as standard, and in Galicia there are now fines in force for not wearing them. Alcoholic hand wash was always readily available.

Richard is now in self-isolation, as mandated by the UK government for travellers from Spain.  The FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to Spain and its islands, which will have significant insurance implications. Some airlines, including Jet2, have cancelled their flights to Spain. 

- - 25th July

Announcement that people returning to the UK from Spain will be required to self isolate for 14 days: see BBC announcement here. - - 

23rd July

  • A great website to look at for up-to-date information on Coronavirus outbreaks in Spain is http://egeria.house/camino-corona-updates/ It's run by CSJ member in Santiago, Sybille Yates. If you are walking/planning to walk a Camino, please keep an eye on this page and always adhere to official travel advice from the respective authorities.
  • There are several ways to celebrate St James Feast Day on 25th July from your home!
    • There is the online St James Day mass from Fr Denis of the Redemptorist order in Hampshire, available here.
    • There is the live streaming of the St James Day service from St James Spanish Place, London, available here.
    • And you can even watch the fiestas happening in Spain. Click here to see live streams of small fireworks displays in 8 different locations across Spain. 
  • Spain – borders are open, no quarantine requirements from UK/EU. No travel restrictions in place; only “no travel” advice so far.
  • Albergues are opening on Camino Frances, safety measures largely in place.
  • Xunta albergues - some seem to be open and word is that all will gradually open until September.
  • Reservations for albergues are on the increase
  • HAPPY ST JAMES DAY! See the CSJ Facebook Page for announcements about UK celebrations
  • Facebook pages/groups to follow:

 

16th July

  • Pilgrims are on the camino but numbers are low and it seems that many of the ones arriving in Santiago are coming by bicycle.
  • Some albergues are open and most are following strict guidelines but still want to feel welcoming. Duvets are generally not supplied, and the availability of sheets and blankets vary from place to place - best to carry a sleeping bag with you.
  • Also, not all albergues are serving meals but those who are will be following social distancing and disinfecting procedures.  Condiments will be in sachets rather than communal containers (and you might want to bring your own). Some require you to provide your own cutlery.
  • There is good advice here: https://elmirondesoria.es/nacional/sociedad/recomendaciones-para-retomar-la-actividad-en-camino-de-santiago 
  • Masks are required in Spain, though specific rules might vary from place to place. These should be surgical grade masks rather than homemade cotton masks.
  • Be careful about arriving in an overheated state as you will most likely have your temperature recorded when you arrive at your albergue. You might want to sit in the shade with a cool drink before going in!

9th July

  • If traveling into Spain, you must have obtained a health certificate, which you can do via spth.gob.es and keep a copy either on your smart phone or printed out.
  • There has been a spike of reported cases of Covid-19 in Lugo province. However, it seems to have been contained, with no hospitalisations. All 168 people infected are required to self-isolate for one week.
  • Plastic sacks are being made available by refuges in which to place rucksacks to help with sanitation in the pilgrim hostels.
  • Masks are mandatory in all situations where a social distance of 1.5m is not possible.

©CSJ

Confraternity of Saint James,
27 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NY, United Kingdom.
Tel: (+44) (0)20 7928 9988
Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered no. 4096721 — UK Registered Charity no. 1091140
Founded in 1983 to promote the pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostela

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