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Portugal set to begin reopening!

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clarkandkaren

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2020)
Hi all! This is our first post in a very long time. My wife and I hope and pray everyone is doing okay and staying as healthy as possible. My wife and I are currently in Sintra, Portugal. The government has announced a gradual lifting of restrictions. However, the Camino trail as well as all other historic locations, trails and locations will remain closed. At this time, it is expected that the trails and historical sights will be the last to open as the are also the first things which attract tourists. Consequently, they will, according to the government, reopen only after, with some degree of certainty that the virus is contained and measures in place to prevent new outbreaks. These measures, from the government perspective, seem to include screening at all ports of entry and tracking of all known cases within the country. Obviously... those measures may take a while to implement.
I hope in this time of lockdown and restriction... we will all take time to review and renew what is truly important in life. While my wife and I are in a bit of a different situation than most, we were not disappointed so much that our Camino plans did not materialize as we had hoped inasmuch as we immediately turned our thoughts to the businesses and individuals along the trail who would be dealing with the closure in direct and ... in many cases, truly devastating consequences.
My wife and I will be retiring to Portugal within the next 6 months, so (as I said initially) our situation is a bit different than most. The Camino will hopefully be part of our lives for as long as she and I remain... alive.
My wife and I look at this current situation knowing that it has impacted millions of people in ways that most of us, certainly neither Karen or myself, cannot even fathom the depth of loss and grief.
I am reminded of something said to me the day before we were to begin our Camino journey from St. Jean... the day before the trails closed.
We were talking with a young French woman who asked us about our trip and, for reason I cannot remember, she asked my religious affiliation/belief. I freely answered that I’m Buddhist and have been for 30 years. She said a rather amazing thing: Why are you hiking the Camino. Isn’t it only for Catholics and/or Christians?”
I won’t bore anyone with yet another longer...more.. detailed explanation of why I’m needing the Camino...but, suffice it to say...I was both a bit angry..and a bit..taken aback by her response. My anger arose simply as a reaction to the implication in her question that Buddhists were somehow... excluded from such spiritual..pursuits.
Hopefully, in our now collective and forced isolation from one another we can, at least the majority of us, reflect and accept that we are, again, all in this together. Our beliefs are not meant, as they do in some countries, to define or delineate us but rather to be points of opportunity and learning for all of us. We, Karen and I are both deeply saddened by what we hear and see in the US.. but the way of the US over the last few years is not unlike the way many countries around the world have also...gone... with little regard for any country.. other than their own.
Like the question from the young French woman, what we believe..what we value does not define as as much as what we do... and how we view and treat others! If this virus has shown us nothing else, it has shown that it can impact everyone!
Sorry for the length! Initially this was oriented only to the current situation here in Portugal. However, many sentiments I’ve read on the various threads within this forum started ... bubbling up...as I was writing. I hope everyone finds their new life, after the virus subsided, to be the joy and opportunity I believe it was always meant to be!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Via De La Plata, Camino De Madrid, The Oberstrasse, Camino Ingles, Camino Portugues
I'm a Buddhist (Lapsed) and have walked a lot of caminos. I typically don't take part in christian religious ceremonies except at one at xmas because that would be inappropriate. I know a lot of fellow Budhhists who have walked it also. I can't see any reason why we should not have. I don't rememeber if I have ever been asked if I was christian when I have asked for a cedential. Maybe that's a silent assumption?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17): Camino Portuguese ('19)
Hi all! This is our first post in a very long time. My wife and I hope and pray everyone is doing okay and staying as healthy as possible. My wife and I are currently in Sintra, Portugal. The government has announced a gradual lifting of restrictions. However, the Camino trail as well as all other historic locations, trails and locations will remain closed. At this time, it is expected that the trails and historical sights will be the last to open as the are also the first things which attract tourists. Consequently, they will, according to the government, reopen only after, with some degree of certainty that the virus is contained and measures in place to prevent new outbreaks. These measures, from the government perspective, seem to include screening at all ports of entry and tracking of all known cases within the country. Obviously... those measures may take a while to implement.
I hope in this time of lockdown and restriction... we will all take time to review and renew what is truly important in life. While my wife and I are in a bit of a different situation than most, we were not disappointed so much that our Camino plans did not materialize as we had hoped inasmuch as we immediately turned our thoughts to the businesses and individuals along the trail who would be dealing with the closure in direct and ... in many cases, truly devastating consequences.
My wife and I will be retiring to Portugal within the next 6 months, so (as I said initially) our situation is a bit different than most. The Camino will hopefully be part of our lives for as long as she and I remain... alive.
My wife and I look at this current situation knowing that it has impacted millions of people in ways that most of us, certainly neither Karen or myself, cannot even fathom the depth of loss and grief.
I am reminded of something said to me the day before we were to begin our Camino journey from St. Jean... the day before the trails closed.
We were talking with a young French woman who asked us about our trip and, for reason I cannot remember, she asked my religious affiliation/belief. I freely answered that I’m Buddhist and have been for 30 years. She said a rather amazing thing: Why are you hiking the Camino. Isn’t it only for Catholics and/or Christians?”
I won’t bore anyone with yet another longer...more.. detailed explanation of why I’m needing the Camino...but, suffice it to say...I was both a bit angry..and a bit..taken aback by her response. My anger arose simply as a reaction to the implication in her question that Buddhists were somehow... excluded from such spiritual..pursuits.
Hopefully, in our now collective and forced isolation from one another we can, at least the majority of us, reflect and accept that we are, again, all in this together. Our beliefs are not meant, as they do in some countries, to define or delineate us but rather to be points of opportunity and learning for all of us. We, Karen and I are both deeply saddened by what we hear and see in the US.. but the way of the US over the last few years is not unlike the way many countries around the world have also...gone... with little regard for any country.. other than their own.
Like the question from the young French woman, what we believe..what we value does not define as as much as what we do... and how we view and treat others! If this virus has shown us nothing else, it has shown that it can impact everyone!
Sorry for the length! Initially this was oriented only to the current situation here in Portugal. However, many sentiments I’ve read on the various threads within this forum started ... bubbling up...as I was writing. I hope everyone finds their new life, after the virus subsided, to be the joy and opportunity I believe it was always meant to be!
🥰
 

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)
I'm a Buddhist nun, for nearly 20 years. And of course sometimes I have gotten funny looks or direct questions — but it never feels like a rude question, but more a curious one. But even if someone were to really challenge me, no one's going to tell me I can't walk the Camino. 🙃 (Well, they could I guess. But whatever. Taking the inconsiderate speech of someone else personally is a classic recipe for suffering.)
 
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clarkandkaren

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March (2020)
Thank you for the insight and experience relative to the literal dynamic of how one “walks” The Camino! Karen and I have both focused on walking/posture positions which reduce knee fatigue while engaging hip and lower back support. I’m always reminded to begin walking by trying to start by “putting my shoulders in my back pockets.” For me, having had 4 knee surgeries since 1977 along with a series of back injuries including herniated and compressed discs... my issues tend to be only aggravated by poor mechanics. It’s interesting to me how, as a younger man, I discounted so much of what it now engrained within my daily existence. It helps that I have 30+ years as a hiker and competitive cyclist to serve as a foundation but, nothing Karen and I have done has, or will make, this journey much easier. Thankfully, our goal over the rest of our lives will be to hike every documented path, whether beginning in Paris or Le Puy en Velay... across Spain and down through all of Portugal. Who knows, perhaps we will one day we will begin from Germany or Belgium. Today, more than ever, Karen and I are reminded that there are things in life much more important than ...many of the current dynamics which seem to dictate how, when, or why we live life.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
That was a short-sighted Christian:eek: ... when the Camino/Way calls wherever in the world...you go and find your spiritual balance :)
Oh please, give this young French woman a break. It is actually not at all amazing that she asked: "Why are you hiking the Camino. Isn’t it only for Catholics and/or Christians?” If you grow up in a cultural environment such as France with her history and literature, you have formed a concept of pilgrimage that is different from the concept that you acquire when your knowledge has been formed by 20th century news articles, movies and guidebooks. She simply may not have been aware of the fact that the pilgrimage to Santiago has morphed into something completely different from what it had been for centuries. Not every one is as up to date about all things camino as camino walkers are. In fact, the great majority of people here in Europe are unaware of it.

Now back to Portugal and the current situation ...
 

Delphinoula

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C. PdC 2018 Finisterre Muxía 2018
C.Franconia 2019 C.Algeciras Sevillia 2019
Swabian C. (2020)
Some are more private about their believes then others.
Now the question is how to react with a question, that crosses a threshold for you. I tend to react when a asker hits a maybe vulnerable point. So the component that irks me lays more within me than with the other. So ask yourself what was going with the French girls question?
I personally belief God speaks in different languages to different people otherwise we would not be able to hear him. So Heaven Is a Halfpipe. And hopefully I can skate soon in Portugal.
Where was that info about Portugal opening soon. Did I not get it?
 
Camino(s) past & future
None yet; perhaps the Portugese (2021?)
Latest (Friday May 1) from the Portugal News online:


And here's a bit about hotels--sounds like no tourist accommodation for a while, yet...

 
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Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
US AND THEM

My favorite writer on this subject is Jonathan Swift, the English author of Gulliver’s Travels. When Gulliver’s ship is destroyed by a storm, he barely survives drowning and is washed up on the shore of Lilliput, a country where all the people are one tenth his size. After overcoming the shock and fear of a giant living among them, the Lilliputians calculate that they can use this giant named Gulliver to help them fight their wars. They roll out the classic “us and them” argument to Gulliver to make him see that he would be fighting “those people.”

The other great nation in the world of Lillput is Blefuscu and the two countries had been fighting endless wars since the time of the Emperor’s great-grandfather. The thinly veiled satire reflects the conflict between Protestant England and Catholic France which was being fought during the time that Swift wrote his classic. The source of the conflict is that the Lilliputians were taught to break their eggs at the big end, while the people of Blefuscu broke their eggs at the small end. This small difference between two peoples was the source of a multi-generational war which caused both nations immeasurable suffering. “Those people, from Blefuscu break their eggs on the small end; can you imagine anything so offensive?” Gulliver was asked.

When you walk the Camino and don’t watch the news, and you are sharing an adventure with others, this whole “us and them” thing begins to fade. Really, the differences are small, and the human commonality is so large. On the Camino you first identify and learn not to compare.

Jonathan Swift’s satirical insights are as true today as they were in the 1700’s. Small-Enders—those people, those people, those people!

It is a construct layered over our human experience, an artificial lens that magnifies the differences between us. “They” are not that different, as the Camino teaches us.

Imagine all the people.
 

Michael-FL

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminho Portugues (2017)
Frances/Salvador/Primitivo (2021)
Enjoy you retirement in Portugal. Early in my career my family and I thoroughly enjoyed our overseas posting there.
Like you, I was just a day or two short of starting my trek from SJPdP as a memorial to my dear wife who passed away four months ago. Relating to your encounter with the young Frenchwoman, at first blush, I would want to cut her some slack, Perhaps given the paradigm that the Camino was - and still is for many Catholics, a religious pilgrimage - one of the three great pilgrimages of Christendom. That it has been discovered by adherents of other faith traditions - or none, is a blessing. For many it can be an encounter with the Divine.
Sorry for your feeling sick and sad for happenings in the States, but I think, just as we are all in this together, we all owe it to ourselves, given what we know at the time, to keep ourselves healthy and safe.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago, St Jean to Santuago, 2015
Camino Portuguese, 2018
Oh please, give this young French woman a break. It is actually not at all amazing that she asked: "Why are you hiking the Camino. Isn’t it only for Catholics and/or Christians?” If you grow up in a cultural environment such as France with her history and literature, you have formed a concept of pilgrimage that is different from the concept that you acquire when your knowledge has been formed by 20th century news articles, movies and guidebooks. She simply may not have been aware of the fact that the pilgrimage to Santiago has morphed into something completely different from what it had been for centuries. Not every one is as up to date about all things camino as camino walkers are. In fact, the great majority of people here in Europe are unaware of it.

Now back to Portugal and the current situation ...
Of course. I accepted what she said in exactly your way.
I was raised evangelical Christian but in 4th grade had an Irish Catholic teacher and the school was next to the Parish church. Though there was no proselytizing, I was intrigued. The priest was out beside the church every am and pm and my classmates would call “good morning Father”. My parents’ church seemed very cold and “distant”. I am now a Buddhist, but feel very comforted in Catholic Churches, wherever in the world. In the oldest cathedral in Braga, Portugal, I had an experience of sensing the many, many people who had spent their lives building that place, and if the people who had blessed it with their simple faith...They are the ones who made it a sacred place. For me, anyway. And so, the Caminos...
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Ola, @clarkandkaren; thanks for a very positive update on the Portuguese situation. My brother and I were scheduled to walk the Porto this May and then deferred to Sept and now it looks like it could now be April 2021. Due to my circumstances I would need either a vaccine or very low rates of infection before I could consider visiting your newly adopted country.

As for pilgrims of which religious affiliation may walk the Camino - well imho a pilgrim is a pilgrim and religious faith does not come into it. Cheers for now!
 
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Camino(s) past & future
CF14(21?)
Aussie Camino15
WHW15
CP16
CdelN Fin/Muxia18
GGW StCuthWay HadrWall CotswoldWay19
Dear clarkandkaren and Terry and all other contributors to this thread, Many thanks for your deeply thoughtful and personal comments and observations. It's a funny business that naive questions can provoke profound reflections. Perhaps it's a question of the getting of wisdom (which is not always, and certainly not exclusively, the product of age) which allows us to see more clearly. We were very fortunate to start our Caminos later in life and although both Christians and for many years now, both Roman Catholics, and well aware of the history of the Caminos, it never occurred to us that the Way was exclusively meant to be for Christians. That is obviously not the lived experience anyway. We encountered pilgrims of many religious beliefs and those who professed none. What we never accepted, though, was that any pilgrim could walk as a pilgrim, that is one who journeys, without having a spiritual experience while doing so. It would require an extraordinary isolation from people, nature and history not to be moved and changed by the experience of walking a Camino. We are all spiritual beings, whether we know it or not, and walking a Camino provides one of the very best opportunities to come to recognise that fact and to make something of the opportunity for self-reflection. Having walked last year from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, along St Cuthbert's Way, to Lindisfarne on Holy Isle, as well as part of St Oswald's Way, we particularly were moved by and appreciated your account, Terry, of Prior Aelred. Walking a Camino is a positive life-changing experience. You will never be the same again.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
This thread started with some comments about Portugal re-opening, but the discussion went well off-topic and some posts were moved or deleted.

Discussions on re-opening the Camino can be found in this thread.

If you wish to start a thread that focuses on a separate topic, feel free to do so. This thread will be closed for now.
 
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