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COVID Planning to walk the Camino Frances - advice for a novice during Covid

Bobbit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to do the Camino Frances at the end of Aug 20
Hi all - I've never walked the Camino before but am thinking of walking the Frances route at the end of this month with my Mother who walked it a few years ago. Any advice during these Covid times would be gratefully received. Are there people walking it now? We are travelling from the UK around the 29th Aug and I guess my worries are... is everything open, the albergues etc? Is any of the route in lockdown? We're not worried about having to go into quarantine when we return. Thank you so much, a very hopeful pilgrim to be.
 
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Shazenalan

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2018
Me too. We were planning to ealk the Portuguese in June, and the Norte in September. To do so would have felt quite selfish on our part, how do I know Im not an asymptomatic carrier? Also - if we pick up the virus and carry it along the way, how ‘giving’ is that? No. We have syard at home and learned from our disappointment how much the camino gave us, and are treating the pandemic ss an unexpected challenge, grist to the mill, to be dealt with and accepted, at home. 🙏
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Welcome to the forum, @Bobbit

Are there people walking it now?
Some people are walking the Camino Frances. The overwhelming majority are people who live in Spain.
is everything open, the albuerges etc?
Some albergues are open, some are not. Small hotels may be open or not. It may have occurred to you already what this means: accommodation may be more difficult to find and may be considerably more expensive than when your mum walked years ago.
We are travelling from the UK around the 29th Aug
OK, that's two weeks from now.
Is any of the route in lockdown?
We are in month 6 of the Coronavirus pandemic and most of us have learnt that you can't say what will be in 2 weeks from now. So it's pretty irrelevant what is in lockdown or semi-lockdown right now. You will need to be familiar with the names and administrative borders of the provinces through which the route runs and keep a close watch on local news to know what the situation is where and when you walk and with which rules you must comply.
We're not worried about having to go into quarantine when we return
I see that you are aware of the current requirement of the British government to go into self-isolation after your return from Spain. You are probably also aware of their travel warning:

Still current at: 14 August 2020
Updated: 4 August 2020
From 27 July, the FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country. This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).
This means in particular that your travel insurance (which you should have) may be invalid if you travel to Spain against the advice of the FCO.

And don't expect any help from your government this time round, unlike in March/April. Quote of the day: Everyone who had travelled recently (to France in this case) will have gone “with their eyes open” (Grant Shapps/UK government). 🤨
 
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BombayBill

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
(2017) GR10 TransPyrenees, Inland Portugese,(2018) Le Puy-Pamplona,(2019) Norte-Santander. Portugese
Hi all - I've never walked the Camino before but am thinking of walking the Frances route at the end of this month with my Mother who walked it a few years ago. Any advice during these Covid times would be gratefully received. Are there people walking it now? We are travelling from the UK around the 29th Aug and I guess my worries are... is everything open, the albuerges etc? Is any of the route in lockdown? We're not worried about having to go into quarantine when we return. Thank you so much, a very hopeful pilgrim to be.
I also am considering it ....eyes wide open. It seems to me that you can safely do it if you follow all the safety advice and are considerate of local expectations. The risk is very limited outdoors, with masks, and practicing distancing. It is elevated but manageable. Perhaps it would even give one a greater appreciation of how ignorant we have been previously behaving.
Love to hear anyone’s thoughts.
 

Jean Ti

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
.
To help you decide to Go or not you might be interested to the projection made in Spain for the future Covid 19 cases. You can get this information unfer the worldometer.com under Spain projection.

I am just adding a projection for Spain. You can also do it by province also.

Screenshot_20200814-201410.png
 

paddypage

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017 & 2018
Hi all - I've never walked the Camino before but am thinking of walking the Frances route at the end of this month with my Mother who walked it a few years ago. Any advice during these Covid times would be gratefully received. Are there people walking it now? We are travelling from the UK around the 29th Aug and I guess my worries are... is everything open, the albuerges etc? Is any of the route in lockdown? We're not worried about having to go into quarantine when we return. Thank you so much, a very hopeful pilgrim to be.
I'm from UK and will be going on Camino Frances, I arrive on 20th August.

Yes it might not be best time to go, but pandemic might get worse in future as nobody knows how long this is going to last so it might be your only chance to go for some time. I would just follow guidelines from Spanish government and check local news whilst walking.

I've read there is mostly Spanish & Italian pilgrims on Camino at min so there is people still doing it. Many albergues are now open but charging more per night most likely to cover their losses and also social distancing so cannot have capacity.

Make up your own mind, dont forget we have had higher death rate than Spain. You will have an amazing time with your mother Buen Camino
 

Bobbit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to do the Camino Frances at the end of Aug 20
Thank you and good luck 😊
 

Ianinam

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013 / CP 2018
Hospitalera at Roncesvalles:
2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020
My advise at this moment would also be: don't go. In the albergue of Roncesvalles the majority of the pilgrims we see are from Spain, and they often come from Madrid and Barcelona. If you look at this map of RTVE.es
you can see that both Madrid and Barcelona are trouble spots of the corona-virus at the moment.
Furthermore the contamination numbers in Pamplona are rising fast at the moment; in a local Spanish newspaper last Friday Pamplona was called the pinball machine of the contaminations ....
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I usually try to refrain from telling people whether they should travel to Spain to go camino walking right now if they don't live in Spain although I have a (nuanced ☺) opinion about it.

I see that the daily number of pilgrims arriving at the Pilgrims Office in Santiago increases constantly. While there were around 300 daily arrivals during much of the second half of July, yesterday and the day before more than 800 pilgrims arrived. I think these numbers are a reflection of the ebb and flow of the overall number of pilgrims throughout the year and over the whole length of the more popular caminos in particular.

The pandemic is flaring up again in many regions in Europe including Spain because too many people are moving around too much and are interacting too much with too many others. I wonder how high the number of camino pilgrims will be when this becomes a significant problem. Although it is of course also pointless to even bring up this thought. It's never "me" who has anything to do with the increase of infection cases, it is always "they" because "I" do everything right and/or are super careful and have the noblest of causes why I don't follow official recommendations and official advice. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
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Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
Have a tracker app installed and according to the information on it, Covid transmission is 31% Community, 67% close contact and 2% (only) is travel abroad.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Have a tracker app installed and according to the information on it, Covid transmission is 31% Community, 67% close contact and 2% (only) is travel abroad.
I don't want to derail the thread completely but can't help asking (rhetorically): Do these precise percentages (of what actually?) include the people who are a) asymptomatic and don't get tested at all but spread the virus nevertheless and b) those who know that they are infected but don't know where and how it happened? 🤭
 

Bobbit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to do the Camino Frances at the end of Aug 20
No these are all good questions. I'm following everything said and appreciate all the advice people are giving. I'm not making this decision lightly, somewhat mind boggled right now but grateful to you all 😳🌈
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
I'm not making this decision lightly, somewhat mind boggled right now but grateful to you all 😳🌈
Very nice avatar photo, @Bobbit. My first thought was: looks like Seven Sisters. And my second thought: I wouldn't go with my mum camino walking right now ... In fact, I myself am not going camino walking with my own daughter right now although we had plans for this year. ☺
 

ShaLaw

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Sept./Oct. 2015. Future Camino Portuguese in 2022.
Here’s a list from the UK government site of countries where you don’t have to self isolate. Sadly Spain and now France aren’t listed, so you would need to be able afford to tack an extra two weeks onto your vacation time;

 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I'm from UK and will be going on Camino Frances, I arrive on 20th August.

Yes it might not be best time to go, but pandemic might get worse in future as nobody knows how long this is going to last so it might be your only chance to go for some time. I would just follow guidelines from Spanish government and check local news whilst walking.

I've read there is mostly Spanish & Italian pilgrims on Camino at min so there is people still doing it. Many albergues are now open but charging more per night most likely to cover their losses and also social distancing so cannot have capacity.

Make up your own mind, dont forget we have had higher death rate than Spain. You will have an amazing time with your mother Buen Camino
This is not to start an argument or be insulting but as people say whenever someone says I don't mean to insult it is taken that way but in this life and death situation I feel compelled to speak out. This is very bad advice. The potential is there that either that any pilgrim is an asymptomatic carrier and can unwittingly spread the virus. In almost every situation that restrictions are eased you see a spike in the virus and often it is dramatic. I realize people are hurting very badly financially. I know that the economic consequences of no tourism has a major impact in Spain. But having said all that the only way to prevent the virus from spreading dramatically again is with stricter restrictions until an effective vaccine is available. We are not going back to what was no matter how much we want to. There is no doubt among the scientific community that this virus is not under control and how precious little we know about it. In fact a new study by the University School of Medicine at Indiana University in the United States says that Covid may not even be a respiratory illness it may very possibly be a vascular disease.

This is the actual study that I encourage everyone to read:

I will close with two statements. This pilgrim's mom is in the highest risk category, although with research there seems to be more risks, more symptoms and more possibilities of infection and spread of infection.
Never forget the word NOVEL when it comes to Covid. It is brand new and there has been at times even contradictory advice given. Scientists were working from ground zero and only through the accumulation of evidence and peer review can science be validated and that takes time. We all must realize the past is over and there is a new reality today. This reality may only last for a few weeks, or months or years. Unless governments completely change their thinking the next pandemic may only be worse. Unless you believe the earth is flat (I do not mean you in particular I mean in general) Science believes it is not a matter of if but when the next pandemic will befall us. Being selfish now is only driving another nail into the universal coffin.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Hi all - I've never walked the Camino before but am thinking of walking the Frances route at the end of this month with my Mother who walked it a few years ago. Any advice during these Covid times would be gratefully received. Are there people walking it now? We are travelling from the UK around the 29th Aug and I guess my worries are... is everything open, the albergues etc? Is any of the route in lockdown? We're not worried about having to go into quarantine when we return. Thank you so much, a very hopeful pilgrim to be.

Bobbit

We are all just random people on the internet, some fairly bright, others as thick as two short planks; some nervous, others cavalier; some really interesting, others best avoided.

I’m probably in the dim and best avoided sub-set.

Anyway ...

There are sufficient facilities open and functioning to make a camino Frances entirely feasible.

Whether you choose to go now is probably best informed by a dispassionate risk assessment for yourself and your mother and a decision as to whether your international movement might adversely affect others.

You would be best to disregard many of the comments on here - including mine, I suppose - as they often recycle their own opinion as though it has some particular merit or authority.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Ingles 2018
As you mentioned UK walks, I know that there is Cotswold Way and Hadrian's Wall routes. No personal experience of these but, possibly the best alternative at present? Good luck whatever you decide.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Here's my 2 cents as an albergue owner:

- It is very possible to walk and find accommodations, the 50+ pilgrims that have stayed with me have confirmed this.

- You won't be alone. On a given day pilgrims see 20 - 50 pilgrims. This reflects numbers before Sarria where many start in order to receive a Compostela.

- Safety guidelines differ in albergues (some stricter than others). We may only allow 50% of capacity. In my place most nights pilgrims have rooms to themselves for only €10!
I have hand gel in all bedrooms, I disinfect backpacks when pilgrims enter and shoes are left downstairs in the entryway. Masks are worn when entering the albergue and at all times if social distancing not possible. There is also disinfectant spray in all toilets/bathroom for common use.

This is a assessment as of today. No one knows what tomorrow may bring.

Good luck and stay well whatever you decide.

Ultreia!
 

kdenogla

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2020
I’m not going to give you advice on whether you should go or no. Just as I wasn’t looking for that from this site either when myself and my wife were deciding. What I can tell you is this:

We decided to go (started cycling from SJPP on 9 Aug) based on the very low risk if you follow the safety guidelines.
Try to book your next night’s accommodation in advance, the half capacity might catch you out.
The route is not busy and it’s mostly Spanish walkers.
We are not put off by all the Pandemic statistics being distributed, we do our very best to be responsible and respectful to everyone.
Wearing a face mask in town is necessary everywhere in Spain, but you get used to it quickly.
The food is delicious
The people are welcoming
The weather has been kind, the hills aren’t

Are we enjoying cycling the Camino Frances? It’s been fantastic, and we are so glad we are doing it And not worrying about it!
 

Bobbit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to do the Camino Frances at the end of Aug 20
Here's my 2 cents as an albergue owner:

- It is very possible to walk and find accommodations, the 50+ pilgrims that have stayed with me have confirmed this.

- You won't be alone. On a given day pilgrims see 20 - 50 pilgrims. This reflects numbers before Sarria where many start in order to receive a Compostela.

- Safety guidelines differ in albergues (some stricter than others). We may only allow 50% of capacity. In my place most nights pilgrims have rooms to themselves for only €10!
I have hand gel in all bedrooms, I disinfect backpacks when pilgrims enter and shoes are left downstairs in the entryway. Masks are worn when entering the albergue and at all times if social distancing not possible. There is also disinfectant spray in all toilets/bathroom for common use.

This is a assessment as of today. No one knows what tomorrow may bring.

Good luck and stay well whatever you decide.

Ultreia!
That sounds very positive, thank you 😊
 

Bobbit

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Planning to do the Camino Frances at the end of Aug 20
I’m not going to give you advice on whether you should go or no. Just as I wasn’t looking for that from this site either when myself and my wife were deciding. What I can tell you is this:

We decided to go (started cycling from SJPP on 9 Aug) based on the very low risk if you follow the safety guidelines.
Try to book your next night’s accommodation in advance, the half capacity might catch you out.
The route is not busy and it’s mostly Spanish walkers.
We are not put off by all the Pandemic statistics being distributed, we do our very best to be responsible and respectful to everyone.
Wearing a face mask in town is necessary everywhere in Spain, but you get used to it quickly.
The food is delicious
The people are welcoming
The weather has been kind, the hills aren’t

Are we enjoying cycling the Camino Frances? It’s been fantastic, and we are so glad we are doing it And not worrying about it!
Good for you. Buen Camino 😊
 

Bradbeyer

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino France's (2021)
Here's my 2 cents as an albergue owner:

- It is very possible to walk and find accommodations, the 50+ pilgrims that have stayed with me have confirmed this.

- You won't be alone. On a given day pilgrims see 20 - 50 pilgrims. This reflects numbers before Sarria where many start in order to receive a Compostela.

- Safety guidelines differ in albergues (some stricter than others). We may only allow 50% of capacity. In my place most nights pilgrims have rooms to themselves for only €10!
I have hand gel in all bedrooms, I disinfect backpacks when pilgrims enter and shoes are left downstairs in the entryway. Masks are worn when entering the albergue and at all times if social distancing not possible. There is also disinfectant spray in all toilets/bathroom for common use.

This is a assessment as of today. No one knows what tomorrow may bring.

Good luck and stay well whatever you decide.

Ultreia!
I very much appreciate hearing from an albergue owner. And all the responses in this string are reasonable and helpful. My pilgrimage is tentatively planned for the end of April, 2021. The hope is that life will settle some by then and maybe even that a vaccine will be in use. Reality may be different, of course, but I remain hopeful.
 

NancyLee

Member
Camino(s) past & future
First Camino Mar-April 2018
I have read that it costs more with limited aubergues open.
You are an adult so with your research, you will make the right decision for you and your Mom.
Whatever you decide, Buen Camino!🎒
 

Galloglaigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lycra tribe.
CF (2017/8), VF (2018/9), Old Way (2020), VFnS (2020), CP (rebooked) (2021), VdT (ToDo)
LGW is close to the Seven Sisters so you could get to Pisa with Easyjet (daily flights), train to Lucca and walk to Rome on the Via Francigena. Beautiful route though it'll be hot now. September / October may be better.
 

Kazibar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC Sept 2015, Baiona to SDC May 2017, SDC to Muxia Sept 2018, Few bits VdP Sept 2019
If you are looking at a UK walk, Stv Cuthberts Way to the monastery on Holy Island was lovely last week. Very few other pilgrims though, which could be a plus or a minus!
 

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
Hi Bobbit. I was supposed to fly out in a weeks time, from Australia. For what it's worth, I cancelled. It's a tough decision, I know, but I prefer to err on the safe side, for myself and for others and especially for the folks in Spain. Tough call, especially when you have your Mum for company. That's nice. Your call really.
In the mean time though walking my feet off on home soil to be up and ready soon as a vaccine rocks up.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
At this moment in time a UK citizen will have access to the Spanish health system through EU membership and the EHIC card and that ends on January 1. After that you must have travel insurance to be covered for health problems and pay for any treatment you have from the Spanish health system. BUT travel insurance is not valid if the UK government says we mustn't go to Spain for non-essential journeys.
So: it's possible that next year a UK citizen will have no access to the Spanish health system (no EHIC, no travel insurance).
So I'm going in mid September while the EHIC card still works.
It's possible we will want to go next year but face bankruptcy if we become ill and need hospital treatment.

Brexit and covid are the perfect storm for UK citizens thinking of going into the EU for a trip.
I'm going while the going is good.
 

Kazibar

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to SDC Sept 2015, Baiona to SDC May 2017, SDC to Muxia Sept 2018, Few bits VdP Sept 2019
Are you time limited - I’ve if you don5 go now you will never be able to go. If not, I’d delay. Also whilst eric covers basic medical expenses at state hospitals, it won’t get you home if you have a medical problem.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
This is true: yet they will have factored in the cost of a return to the UK in any case. If they are unable to move about on their own legs, they'll be in hospital in Spain. Next year there'll be no EHIC and no travel insurance to cover hospital costs. Which suggests they'll have to wait until covid is finished before doing a Camino. And it's possible that covid will be with us for the rest of human history. There might be a vaccine but there might not be a vaccine. We have to learn to live like this for the foreseeable future.
 

Mary Doll

Donating Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sarria to Santiago (2018)
Camino Francés SJPDP to Finisterre planned for June 2020
You can get insurance even if travelling against government advice. I have cover with Staysure and for few extra pounds they will cover you. It doesn’t cover Covid but it will cover you for non Covid illnesses.
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
You can get insurance even if travelling against government advice. I have cover with Staysure and for few extra pounds they will cover you. It doesn’t cover Covid but it will cover you for non Covid illnesses.
Hey that's interesting, thanks. And it's only an extra fiver for that cover.Screenshot_20200828-151658_Chrome.jpg
 

paddypage

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2017 & 2018
On Camino Frances at min, there is no issues ive heard about. They are much stricter here in spain than UK, masks in public places, we are temperature scanned as we walk into albergues, bags, hands and shoes disinfected, social distancing for beds. Its much quiter as you would expect but still same camino spirit. People are still doing camino
 

mmmmartin

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Santander-SdC bici '14
Plata bici '17
1/2 Plata bici '18
Frances a pie '18
(Porto a pie '19)
I'm flying out to Madrid, then bus to Pamplona in mid September.
 
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