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Observations from a small village local

casa susana

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
camino frances 2012
Pilgrims are walking 2 abreast chatting away and not seeing a local approaching on a narrow section of the path - not moving to single file, to maintain social distancing. The average age in small villages is over 70 so you will pass many vulnerable people. Think of them please.
The second observation in an outdoor seating area of Hotel Pons Mineas, Portomarin, the seats are carefully arranged to maintain safe distancing, until a pilgrim comes and seeing the only table is not in the shade, proceeds to move chairs into the shade and too close to me. She became annoyed when I reminded her that the tables and chairs were placed so as to maintain safety. I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
This is exactly what is disappointing, not just on the camino. I am seeing it in the area where I live, as well. Many people are not taking what we have learned and applying it as a serious matter as they go about their business. I realize we are creatures of habit, but it seems like many are acting as if the virus doesn't exist because it can not be "seen".
 

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)
All the heated discussions we've had here about walking or not, and about attitude, have been a little pointless. None of us are there on the ground - and none of us have any idea of what it's like for locals to be meeting pilgrims and what that feels like on the receiving end.
But you are there, so thank you for this reality check, @casa susana.

I really hope your message reaches the people who need to see it, and that they actually listen.
An essential lesson of this virus is that we cannot live without somehow learning how to be considerate of each other.

"Who are you to tell me what to do" and "Mind your own business" have no place in this Covid-19 world we inhabit together. Social distancing is everybody's business.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I live in the middle of the Camino del Norte, a few days ago I saw the first pilgrims crossing the city.

I can assure you that pilgrims are welcome ... as long as they comply with all the security measures. A different problem is people (not just pilgrims), regardless of whether they are local or foreign, who continue to break all regulations.

Please, if you do not want to maintain all security measures ... stay home (regardless of whether you are Spanish or foreign).

Believe me ... regulations are not that difficult to follow!!
 

Mera

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France, Camino del Norte, Camino de Madrid
Camino Porto, Camino Primitivo
Pilgrims are walking 2 abreast chatting away and not seeing a local approaching on a narrow section of the path - not moving to single file, to maintain social distancing. The average age in small villages is over 70 so you will pass many vulnerable people. Think of them please.
The second observation in an outdoor seating area of Hotel Pons Mineas, Portomarin, the seats are carefully arranged to maintain safe distancing, until a pilgrim comes and seeing the only table is not in the shade, proceeds to move chairs into the shade and too close to me. She became annoyed when I reminded her that the tables and chairs were placed so as to maintain safety. I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
I am dismayed to hear about such careless behaviors. As one of past pilgrims, I apologize. By the way Portomarin is one of my favorite city on CF. What a lovely place it is. I am envious that you live there. God bless you with good health.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia (May 2016)
C. Frances (Sept 2017)
Camino Portugues (June 2019)
Motivating any kind of health behavior change is complicated. Some factors that we know can be effective are:

1. when someone close to you (or sometimes even just a well-known public figure) is affected negatively by a health problem (Covid19, cancer, car accident, etc.) you feel increased susceptibility, and start taking precautions more seriously. The threat becomes real.

2. when social norms change (which they seem to be doing where I am with masks). The "cool kids" wear masks, use seat belts, don't smoke, etc. This has a strong influence on our behavior.

3. when health regulations become law, which can also influence social norms and habits. In the US, everybody started wearing seat belts in the car because they didn't want to have to pay a fine. Smoking was restricted by law to outside areas and even prohibited in some outdoor areas. Now these behaviors are ingrained and people follow them habitually. And we "judge" people who don't!

One problem is our human nature, that can tell us things like, "I know smoking cigarettes causes cancer, but I don't think THIS ONE cigarette I want to smoke now will cause cancer." This ONE CUPCAKE isn't going to make me fat.

Thinking: "I know that not social distancing or wearing a mask can spread Covid-19, but I should get some "credit" for having followed these rules most of the time, so it won't hurt if I break the rules right now to sit next to a friend." "I've been good about my diet, so I'm going to reward myself with a big piece of chocolate cake." (On the other hand, I tend to think "what if I wore my motorcycle helmet every single time I rode and then this ONE TIME I didn't, I had an accident?")

And then there are people who wear masks, but wear them below the nose or even just down around the neck. Those are the masks I call, "It's the thought that counts. It's better than nothing." When it really is NOT better than nothing and defeats the whole purpose of the sacrifices you made earlier to protect yourself and others.

Many people don't agree with me, but I think sometimes that (respectfully, without anger) calling people out publicly can gently shock/shame/embarrass people into thinking about their actions. I know that works when people do it to me!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (14), Portuguese (15), Le Puy (17), Ingles (17), VDLP (18), Lana (18), Madrid (19) + more
That is absolutely disrespectful and terrible. :(

I hope those pilgrims were isolated cases of 'bad apples'.
Either they haven't bothered to learn about distancing regulations - or they don't care.

So sorry that is happening in Portomarin. :(
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
I'm back from Spain and I noticed 2 things... the area around San Vicente and Potes was very busy and I guess predominately with Spanish tourists. We were surprised at how busy some places were but also saddened that in the tourist areas perhaps only 50% of people were wearing a mask. This wasn't the case when we were in the little villages inland.

We stopped in a bar on our last day and sat outside. The lady serving kept returning to the bar to smoke her cigarette inbetween taking orders... with her mask around her neck... needless to say we didn't stay.

I am home again in SW France and went grocery shopping yesterday...Everywhere is busy because this is a very popular tourist area and people are now allowed to travel. I was so surprised at how many people just don't social distance and don't wear a mask. A chap in the supermarket was blocking my way... he said just come by... I said no thanks, it's too close and you're not wearing a mask... he laughed and said I was crazy. It seems that pilgrims, Spanish and French and all sorts of tourists aren't so different. And it's not even just tourists... plenty of folks think it's gone away or that the rules don't apply to them.

I try not to let it upset me too much because it will just get under my skin and worry me... we just keep wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance. I the words of Tom Hanks... it's the very least that we can all do.
 

Dani7

Stop wishing, start doing.
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
When the time is right
I’m seeing the same careless and disrespectful behaviour in my city of 150k in northern Ontario Canada. It boggles my mind. I have decided that all I can do...I shall do...to protect myself and others. As for the poor behaviours of others, it is disheartening as it seems to be happening around the globe. I’m not yet officially a pilgrim as I have not walked yet, but my heart joins other caring pilgrims here. We are not alone. Let us do what we can. ❤
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
I think that this is a difficult time for many people, and not just for those who are more aware of other people breaking new rules, which have been made to keep all of us safe. If you must correct someone, please do it with patience and gentleness. Especially if they are travellers, they may not be aware of local regulations. They may be embarrassed and flustered by your remarks, or even unaware that what seems to them to be an innocent and perfectly normal act - pulling their chair into the shade - is dangerous to public health in this time of pandemic. I think that this apparent flaunting of newly learned public behaviours may be a sign that people who have lived through a difficult time are craving, and assuming, that the return to "normal" has come. We all must keep safe, but some of us are finding it hard to keep sane. I am hiding in my hole at present.
 

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
Portomarin .....would love to be there. A beautiful village.
Let's hope we all learn to live and behave by the new rules.
With this virus, near enough is not good enough. You have to do the right thing, if not for yourself, then for others. We do not have the right to put others at risk.

1594784129730.png
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I am afraid this is more of a universal problem than something that has just to do with pilgrims. I live in a small Spanish village and always have to walk away from my neighbours coming along for a chat. Even in the middle of the strict lockdown. My 76 years old neighbour is the worst. While she has often told me she is scared.
 

padre eric

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2016)
It seems to be especially prevalent with people away from home. I live in a small town along the ocean in North Carolina. We are seeing many visitors/tourists completely ignoring the state and local protocols regarding distancing and masking. Like the virus doesnt exist when on vacation. Very disrespectful of others.
 

mguillen

MGuillen
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I live in the middle of the Camino del Norte, a few days ago I saw the first pilgrims crossing the city.

I can assure you that pilgrims are welcome ... as long as they comply with all the security measures. A different problem is people (not just pilgrims), regardless of whether they are local or foreign, who continue to break all regulations.

Please, if you do not want to maintain all security measures ... stay home (regardless of whether you are Spanish or foreign).

Believe me ... regulations are not that difficult to follow!!
Amen to that!
 

jmaltais

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2020)
I'm back from Spain and I noticed 2 things... the area around San Vicente and Potes was very busy and I guess predominately with Spanish tourists. We were surprised at how busy some places were but also saddened that in the tourist areas perhaps only 50% of people were wearing a mask. This wasn't the case when we were in the little villages inland.

We stopped in a bar on our last day and sat outside. The lady serving kept returning to the bar to smoke her cigarette inbetween taking orders... with her mask around her neck... needless to say we didn't stay.

I am home again in SW France and went grocery shopping yesterday...Everywhere is busy because this is a very popular tourist area and people are now allowed to travel. I was so surprised at how many people just don't social distance and don't wear a mask. A chap in the supermarket was blocking my way... he said just come by... I said no thanks, it's too close and you're not wearing a mask... he laughed and said I was crazy. It seems that pilgrims, Spanish and French and all sorts of tourists aren't so different. And it's not even just tourists... plenty of folks think it's gone away or that the rules don't apply to them.

I try not to let it upset me too much because it will just get under my skin and worry me... we just keep wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance. I the words of Tom Hanks... it's the very least that we can all do.
Thank you for your thoughtfulness. It is appreciated more than you know. Stay safe and well.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
Pilgrims are walking 2 abreast chatting away and not seeing a local approaching on a narrow section of the path - not moving to single file, to maintain social distancing. The average age in small villages is over 70 so you will pass many vulnerable people. Think of them please.
The second observation in an outdoor seating area of Hotel Pons Mineas, Portomarin, the seats are carefully arranged to maintain safe distancing, until a pilgrim comes and seeing the only table is not in the shade, proceeds to move chairs into the shade and too close to me. She became annoyed when I reminded her that the tables and chairs were placed so as to maintain safety. I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
Having read all the replies to the OP, and having just got back home to Madrid from Villafranca del Bierzo, I too made a few observations while staying in, and visiting small towns on the Camino Francés.

Regarding pilgrims, of whom I saw about a 100 over my time there, the majority were not wearing masks while walking or passing through towns. I didn't see any while in shops or bars, so I am unable to comment on that aspect. Some kept a safe distance while walking past locals in towns, others didn't. Along the paths between towns and villages, only a few were seen wearing masks correctly. Athough, they were clearly not near anybody, apart from their own travelling group. In the 30 degree plus heat that would have been very uncomfortable, which is why most pilgrims who I saw walking didn't wear masks while walking. At the time there was no local or regional requirement to do so.

Regarding locals, and visitors like me, I would say there were more people taking the precautions than those that weren't. One of my cousins was very upset that another family member chose not to wear a mask in situations where it was obligatory to do so. We, rightly or wrongly, decided to live and let live and just set a good example and not try and tell others what they should or shouldn't do. Sometimes in family situations it can be awkward, so imagine with strangers. We wore our masks and disinfected our hands regularly while visiting homes of my family, but they initially told us the mask wasn't necessary. After a few days we found ourselves become lax too and had to "slap ourselves" to set a better example, more put of concern that we wouldn't want to be the cause of bringing the infection to them (even though .y wife was recently tested as negative).

In a supermarket queue my wife was upset by a couple of locals who kept squeezing past us to check items on a shelf, there was no space to move out of the way and they could easily have waited. They all had masks on, so I didn't feel that I or they were being put at risk. However, my wife did feel uncomfortable and wanted to say something. They chose to ignore my wife's comments. In a small village bar where we stopped to have refreshments, our local friend was refused entry because he wasn't wearing a mask, yet two other elderly locals were allowed to walk inside because, the waiter said, they had a table reserved inside.

Unfortunately, these compliances and non-compliances with the "new normal" and changing local/national laws or recommendations inevitably create situations of concern. We can avoid them almost completely if we self-isolate, we might even be put into various stages of lockdown again if new outbreaks keep popping up in places. This will be a long year of ups and downs, a bit like the rolling hills on the Camino. We all need to be patient as well as compliant, despite what others may or may not do around us. I can't say I get it right all the time, and if someone calls me out I will be prepared to humbly respect it and correct my ways. I don't want us all to be in lockdown again, and we must do more to ensure new outbreaks don't escalate into another major health system collapse.

It's an uncomfortable truth that sporadic outbreaks and associated infections, illnesses and deaths are likely to be with us for some time to come. The drive to kick-start economies, get back to work, stimulate trade and tourism, return to education etc. will inevitably have health consequences while the threat of the virus still exists. We are all learning, some the hard way, how best and better to manage this threat within our lives, local communities and those we may come into contact with. Many people and establishments that serve communities are working hard to try and implement a "new normal", despite its many challenges. There will always be the naysayers, many of whom were or would have been those who refused to stop smoking cigarettes in public places, or don't bother to put their seatbelts on while driving, or eat unhealthy diets etc etc.
 
Last edited:

Mycroft

Active Member
All the heated discussions we've had here about walking or not, and about attitude, have been a little pointless. None of us are there on the ground - and none of us have any idea of what it's like for locals to be meeting pilgrims and what that feels like on the receiving end.
But you are there, so thank you for this reality check, @casa susana.

I really hope your message reaches the people who need to see it, and that they actually listen.
An essential lesson of this virus is that we cannot live without somehow learning how to be considerate of each other.

"Who are you to tell me what to do" and "Mind your own business" have no place in this Covid-19 world we inhabit together. Social distancing is everybody's business.
I can't speak to what's happening in the rest of the world, VNwalking, but sadly, in the US, we have a large number of people who have the attitude you describe. If the governor of a state like mine has mandated masks as an emergency health measure, they take it as an infringement on their 'personal rights.' If they want to see it that way, why not drive 50 in a 25 mph zone, or start smoking anywhere they wish, despite laws prohibiting it? These folks prefer emotion over logic to rally followers, and get their 15 seconds of fame. In some places they've started their own militia troops, wearing camouflage uniforms and bullet proof vests, and carrying guns.
No wonder Europeans don't want to let in Americans.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Pilgrims are walking 2 abreast chatting away and not seeing a local approaching on a narrow section of the path - not moving to single file, to maintain social distancing. The average age in small villages is over 70 so you will pass many vulnerable people. Think of them please.
The second observation in an outdoor seating area of Hotel Pons Mineas, Portomarin, the seats are carefully arranged to maintain safe distancing, until a pilgrim comes and seeing the only table is not in the shade, proceeds to move chairs into the shade and too close to me. She became annoyed when I reminded her that the tables and chairs were placed so as to maintain safety. I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
Very upsetting. Same in England 😓
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I'm back from Spain and I noticed 2 things... the area around San Vicente and Potes was very busy and I guess predominately with Spanish tourists. We were surprised at how busy some places were but also saddened that in the tourist areas perhaps only 50% of people were wearing a mask. This wasn't the case when we were in the little villages inland.

We stopped in a bar on our last day and sat outside. The lady serving kept returning to the bar to smoke her cigarette inbetween taking orders... with her mask around her neck... needless to say we didn't stay.

I am home again in SW France and went grocery shopping yesterday...Everywhere is busy because this is a very popular tourist area and people are now allowed to travel. I was so surprised at how many people just don't social distance and don't wear a mask. A chap in the supermarket was blocking my way... he said just come by... I said no thanks, it's too close and you're not wearing a mask... he laughed and said I was crazy. It seems that pilgrims, Spanish and French and all sorts of tourists aren't so different. And it's not even just tourists... plenty of folks think it's gone away or that the rules don't apply to them.

I try not to let it upset me too much because it will just get under my skin and worry me... we just keep wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping our distance. I the words of Tom Hanks... it's the very least that we can all do.
It’s the same in England where I live. I could give so many exemples but I give up.... What is wrong with people, can’t they see we’re all on the same side? Trying to survive this?
 

cathietherese

Catherine Davis
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP - Finistere May/June 2012
Le-Puy-en-Velay to Cahors/ June 2019
Pilgrims are walking 2 abreast chatting away and not seeing a local approaching on a narrow section of the path - not moving to single file, to maintain social distancing. The average age in small villages is over 70 so you will pass many vulnerable people. Think of them please.
The second observation in an outdoor seating area of Hotel Pons Mineas, Portomarin, the seats are carefully arranged to maintain safe distancing, until a pilgrim comes and seeing the only table is not in the shade, proceeds to move chairs into the shade and too close to me. She became annoyed when I reminded her that the tables and chairs were placed so as to maintain safety. I am a vulnerable person and deserve to be able to eat out safely. Please think about what you are doing in terms of the safety of others.
Villages and many people in Portomarin are afraid of pilgrims as virus spreaders, so please tread carefully and behave respectfully towards all you meet and you will find people more welcoming.
I am sorry to read you experienced such disregard for your own, and others safety. You are wise to be vigilant and as you say the precautions are not difficult to follow. Sending you aroha (love) from New Zealand. We have no community transmission of the virus because of strict measures that worked well and geographical advantages for border control. And yet, we have a leader reinforcing just how much we remain vulnerable to this indiscriminatory virus until a cure/treatment is found. Stay humble people, stay safe, and thank you for your courage. Kia Kaha @casa susana ❤.
 

ginniek

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances 2017
It seems to be especially prevalent with people away from home. I live in a small town along the ocean in North Carolina. We are seeing many visitors/tourists completely ignoring the state and local protocols regarding distancing and masking. Like the virus doesnt exist when on vacation. Very disrespectful of others.
Same thing here in coastal South Carolina. They're even happy to tell the media that they come here to relax away from the regulations where they live.
 

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