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COVID just a personal reflection

Jomas

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18. VF small part 09/20 next
After this difficult period of lockdown we are witnessing the first openings, of provincial and regional borders, of the borders between states and also of hospitality facilities along the paths to the tomb of the Apostle St. James. With all the restrictions that will dutifully there will be, first of all the need (obligation?) of booking in advance. I never positively accepted the opportunity to book in advance, but ok, it's not something about this period of recovery from the pandemic state but it existed before.

I wonder then that "value" can be given to that fundamental symbol of the experience of the Way: hospitality (always and everywhere). How can it be guaranteed in these first few months of opening? How can the pilgrim face the path in serenity if it cannot secure a bed to sleep in? Will always be guaranteed a place to rest if the demand (pilgrims who will start the journey) exceeds the offer (albergue/hostel beds)?

It is inevitable that there will be a great call to take the path (already you see in the forum several posts oriented to this) from the beginning. How should the pilgrim be oriented? What could happen if you don't have a chance to find a place to stay?

A reflection that I want to share, also to have some calming response. A warm greeting, jo
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
How can the pilgrim face the path in serenity if it cannot secure a bed to sleep in?
What could happen if you don't have a chance to find a place to stay?
The choice is to either walk to the next place or stay put. And depending on when you walk you may find there are plenty of options. Even in the high season (May), I have managed to walk on the Frances without booking at all. (But I tend not to stay in the towns where everyone's guidebooks tell them to sleep.)

And it's actually not so bad, to spend the night sleeping rough. On the camino I've never had to spend the night under the welcoming shelter of a church porch, but know several people who have, and am told it felt safe and not that uncomfortable...
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
I wonder then that "value" can be given to that fundamental symbol of the experience of the Way: hospitality (always and everywhere). How can it be guaranteed in these first few months of opening? How can the pilgrim face the path in serenity if it cannot secure a bed to sleep in? Will always be guaranteed a place to rest if the demand (pilgrims who will start the journey) exceeds the offer (albergue/hostel beds)?

It is inevitable that there will be a great call to take the path (already you see in the forum several posts oriented to this) from the beginning. How should the pilgrim be oriented? What could happen if you don't have a chance to find a place to stay?
If a pilgrim should find that a place to stay is not guaranteed where they happen to want to stop, they will find that they are sharing the experience of millions of pilgrims before them over the centuries since people first started making their way to Santiago de Compostela. Then the pilgrim will find that they have a choice: they can find serenity in something other than a guaranteed bed and learn to accept sleeping outside or walking further with serenity or they can face the pilgrimage, at times, without serenity. Whichever is their choice or response it, too, will be that of millions of pilgrims before them.

To be sure, I expect that all pilgrims will still find "Camino angels" and plenty of hospitality. But that doesn't necessarily translate into guaranteed accommodations. It never has. And what could happen if you don't find a place to stay is what has always happened:
- stay somewhere else in the town or village, perhaps more expensive than the albergue you were planning on
- walk back or forward to the next place (or take a taxi, perhaps to take a taxi back the next morning, if taxis are operating)
- sleep outside
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
that fundamental symbol of the experience of the Way: hospitality (always and everywhere).
I never go to the Camino expecting hospitality always and everywhere.
How can it be guaranteed in these first few months of opening? How can the pilgrim face the path in serenity if it cannot secure a bed to sleep in?
It has never been guaranteed, and there is even more uncertainty now. We need to accept that at times we will not be serene, and we will need to cope with that. That is the adventure and challenge part of the camino.

[On a practical level, I admit that I am fortunate to have a credit card and enough cash to help me cope.]
 

Jomas

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18. VF small part 09/20 next
I think I was misinterpreted with my post. And I'm sorry.

First of all, I am surprised to read that some of you do not associate "hospitality" with the history of the pilgrimage to the tomb of St. James..... I'll have to review the stories …

It seems to me a little rhetorical, intellectually speaking, to bring up the "millions of ancestors who had to spend a night outdoors" or the dramatic events that they lived or witnessed. I don't seem to have brought my intent in that direction. I read the story, too. You can't forget. As in all areas of life..."gratitude looks to the past and love to the present"... If anyone has understood this, I apologise.

But we are in the 21st century. The path of Santiago is a European cultural itinerary and a world heritage site. Now we have to live with a virus that has upended our security and my reflection wanted to pay attention to an "organizational" discourse. given the fact that if the albergues/hostal and so on, can guarantee about 1/3 of reception (at least the accommodation facilities that have opened or will open on 1 July), they could easily create difficult situations. From this forum but also from others and from word of mouth with friends and acquaintances, pilgrims who intend to face the journey in the next (first) months are not few (the call is strong). It could be dozens of pilgrims.... I find it a little hard to think that everyone is able to find alternative solutions if they don't get help ... then anything is possible and providence (or credit card) will come to their aid.

Here, was just a reflection of mine that I wanted to share.
But if it is off topic it can be deleted.
I wish a good day to all.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
I am surprised to read that some of you do not associate "hospitality" with the history of the pilgrimage
It could be dozens of pilgrims..
Thanks for coming back to the discussion, even after some posts (including mine) that might have seemed less than positive!

We have all had a variation of your thoughts and questions. But I think there were several points of possible misunderstanding that have been raised:
  • We DO associate hospitality with the Camino. That is definitely not the same as "expecting guaranteed" hospitality. People are generally gracious and kind, and sometimes people even go to heroic efforts to help, but there are also many people who are too busy with their own everyday lives and preoccupations to get involved with pilgrims. We need to expect and accept all of these reactions.
  • The unknowns about numbers of pilgrims and beds are huge and unprecedented. Yes, there could be dozens of pilgrims, but will there be the normal 300,000 per year? 100,000? 1000? Will they be mainly Spaniards walking from Sarria, or foreigners from SJPP? Will there be accommodation in the right places?
  • The Camino infrastructure is not organized as a single entity across Spain. It is a fragmented mix of businesses, volunteer organizations, and governments. So, it is difficult to predict and/or organize the recovery efforts.
The one thing that is almost guaranteed is that things will be different!
 

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