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LIVE from the Camino Roncesvalles - Logroño

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Arrived in Roncesvalles today by bus. I only have a couple of days to walk, but I just wanted to experience the Camino feel again.

The weather: clouds, fog and rain. Just like I was used to in Asturias... 😁

My first impression is that the Camino feels quite normal again. Apart from the masks and the limited 'aforo' everywhere. The bus from Pamplona to Roncesvalles was full. When we arrived the lady from the albergue asked who didn't have a reservation. About 5 raised their hands. She was looking a bit puzzled, but she thought that she would have enough beds for them.

I spoke briefly with 2 hospitaleros. They said that most people again arrived from St Jean and that everything was going well.

I have been assigned to the bed closest to the bathroom and I am sharing the cubicle with a pilgrim who chose to take the lower bed while I was assigned to a lower bed (so she should have the opposite upper bed), but I am not going to make any fuss about it.

For what I have seen so far, I don't know if I would have felt that safe if I wouldn't have been vaccinated...
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Greetings from Zubiri! I had a great walking day, beautiful forest paths, clouds but no rain and I enjoyed the stops on the way.

I am staying in albergue La Segunda Etapa. It is clean, the shower was heaven and we are sharing a room for four with the two of us (because of covid).

Quite a few pilgrims walked on. I assume that the albergues that are open are all fully booked. Some pilgrims didn't mind to walk on, because there is nothing else open here. The only bar closed at 15.00h. My lunch so far has been a small bag of crisps...
 

Sunchi

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Greetings from Zubiri! I had a great walking day, beautiful forest paths, clouds but no rain and I enjoyed the stops on the way.

I am staying in albergue La Segunda Etapa. It is clean, the shower was heaven and we are sharing a room for four with the two of us (because of covid).

Quite a few pilgrims walked on. I assume that the albergues that are open are all fully booked. Some pilgrims didn't mind to walk on, because there is nothing else open here. The only bar closed at 15.00h. My lunch so far has been a small bag of crisps...
Buen Camino! Stay safe!
 

Jodean

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
22 Sept. to 21 Oct. 2015, Pamplona to Santiago
6-23.04 Porto to Santiago 2018
17.09-30.09 CF 2018
I really enjoyed my stay at Secunda Etapa in 2018. The hostess was super friendly and helpful, did my laundry for 1 or 2 € I think, got me a bottle of water cause I was near collapse, and carried my pack upstairs. Beds were super comfy. Will be forever grateful to them.
Thanks for sharing your walk.
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
It is definitely more crowded now than in June (from what I heard from the reports). And more international, I think. Apart from Spaniards, in one day walking I met pilgrims from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the US and China. On the stage from Roncesvalles to Zubiri there must have been a little over a 100 pilgrims walking.

I wouldn't be surprised about a covid outbreak on the Camino. Most pilgrims seem relaxed about it and behave accordingly. Masks are worn when entering albergues and bars, but taken off quickly. Nobody is keeping distance.

Last night all windows were closed in the albergue in Roncesvalles. I opened a few, but they were closed again by other pilgrims (and then opened by me again in the middle of the night). Yes, it was a bit cold. But better cold than covid. I was also a bit surprised that covid measures were not much stimulated from the side of the albergue. Nothing was said about it in the introduction talk, there were no signs stating that windows should stay open for ventilation and hospitaleros didn't check on it either. Several pilgrims took lower beds while they were assigned to an upper bed and I didn't notice any correction on that either. I can imagine that hospi's don't like to walk around as policemen, but I hope this relaxation doesn't lead to new outbreaks.
 
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philmickm

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
first one Aug/Sept '18
It is definitely more crowded now than in June (from what I heard from the reports). And more international, I think. Apart from Spaniards, in one day walking I met pilgrims from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the US and China. On the stage from Roncesvalles to Zubiri there must have been a little over a 100 pilgrims walking.

I wouldn't be surprised about a covid outbreak on the Camino. Most pilgrims seem relaxed about it and behave accordingly. Masks are worn when entering albergues and bars, but taken off quickly. Nobody is keeping distance.

Last night all windows were closed in the albergue in Roncesvalles. I opened a few, but they were closed again by other pilgrims (and then opened by me again in the middle of the night). Yes, it was a bit cold. But better cold than covid. I was also a bit surprised that covid measures were not much stimulated from the side of the albergue. Nothing was said about it in the introduction talk, there were no signs stating that windows should stay open for ventilation and hospitaleros didn't check on it either. Several pilgrims took lower beds while they were assigned to an upper bed and I didn't notice any correction on that either. I can imagine that hospi's don't like to walk around as policemen, but I hope this relaxation doesn't lead to new outbreaks.
Loved that section, still all new to me at the time. A great, memorable night in Legrono, in the bars and cafes in Calle de Laurel.
The stacked grilled mushrooms with a shrimp at Bar Soriano and fabulous local reds (best I’ve ever enjoyed) and particularly the wonderful company I was in, will live with me forever.
I spend a lot of time dwelling on my return
 

gmlauer

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
It is definitely more crowded now than in June (from what I heard from the reports). And more international, I think. Apart from Spaniards, in one day walking I met pilgrims from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the US and China. On the stage from Roncesvalles to Zubiri there must have been a little over a 100 pilgrims walking.

I wouldn't be surprised about a covid outbreak on the Camino. Most pilgrims seem relaxed about it and behave accordingly. Masks are worn when entering albergues and bars, but taken off quickly. Nobody is keeping distance.

Last night all windows were closed in the albergue in Roncesvalles. I opened a few, but they were closed again by other pilgrims (and then opened by me again in the middle of the night). Yes, it was a bit cold. But better cold than covid. I was also a bit surprised that covid measures were not much stimulated from the side of the albergue. Nothing was said about it in the introduction talk, there were no signs stating that windows should stay open for ventilation and hospitaleros didn't check on it either. Several pilgrims took lower beds while they were assigned to an upper bed and I didn't notice any correction on that either. I can imagine that hospi's don't like to walk around as policemen, but I hope this relaxation doesn't lead to new outbreaks.
Thanks for the post Luka. Your observations and experience are much appreciated by us looking to walk in the coming weeks and months. Onward and Buen Camino!
 

Rick H

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018 from Leon to Santiago
Frances Sep-Oct 2019
It is definitely more crowded now than in June (from what I heard from the reports). And more international, I think. Apart from Spaniards, in one day walking I met pilgrims from France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the US and China. On the stage from Roncesvalles to Zubiri there must have been a little over a 100 pilgrims walking.

I wouldn't be surprised about a covid outbreak on the Camino. Most pilgrims seem relaxed about it and behave accordingly. Masks are worn when entering albergues and bars, but taken off quickly. Nobody is keeping distance.

Last night all windows were closed in the albergue in Roncesvalles. I opened a few, but they were closed again by other pilgrims (and then opened by me again in the middle of the night). Yes, it was a bit cold. But better cold than covid. I was also a bit surprised that covid measures were not much stimulated from the side of the albergue. Nothing was said about it in the introduction talk, there were no signs stating that windows should stay open for ventilation and hospitaleros didn't check on it either. Several pilgrims took lower beds while they were assigned to an upper bed and I didn't notice any correction on that either. I can imagine that hospi's don't like to walk around as policemen, but I hope this relaxation doesn't lead to new outbreaks.
I would think the vast majority (like 95%) are vaccinated.
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I would think the vast majority (like 95%) are vaccinated.
Why would you think that? In Spain most under 40 are still awaiting their first jab.

Edit: I Just looked it up, 41,2% of Spaniards fully vaccinated (part of them still in their 14 days), 56,4% one jab. And Spain isn't much different from the rest of Europe.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Why would you think that? In Spain most under 40 are still awaiting their first jab.

Edit: I Just looked it up, 41,2% of Spaniards fully vaccinated (part of them still in their 14 days), 56,4% one jab. And Spain isn't much different from the rest of Europe.
Spain is making good progress and they are in line with most of the other EU countries but as you say it's far from 95% vaccinated. Here are the current percentages by age group during this current week and during the last two weeks before that, confirming what you wrote:
Fully vaccinated Spain.jpg

At least 1 vaccine Spain.jpg
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Thank you for the updates, Luka.
It sounds like the usual bottlenecks are exacerbated by reduced occupancy, as many have expected.

this is a Live thread not a Covid thread.
Thank you, @wayfarer.
Speculation about all that is useless.
Sadly, though, it's impossible to totally separate the two topics. There is covid out there, still, and it's good to know what conditions are on the ground. Without editorial comments from those of us out here in the peanut gallery. ;)
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I am in Pamplona now. Had some light drizzle on the walk, but the weather is about to change. The weekend is going to be hot! Until a whopping 41 degrees in Logroño.

I liked yesterday's stage better. Also because my (hardly trained) body started to complain. To avoid further problems I'll take a restday tomorrow and bus to Estella. Then I'll have 2 more walking days to Logroño.

But Pamplona is wonderful. I am staying in Casa Ibarrola. The 2 brothers who run that albergue were great 6 years ago. In 2015 I stumbled into Roncesvalles with tendonitis. I could hardly walk anymore. The next morning I took a bus to Pamplona and stayed 6 days in Casa Ibarrola to recover. It was a warm bath. And I love their pods!

I am now drinking good beer at Napargar beer bar, overlooking Plaza de Castilla, and spending more on beer than on a bed in an albergue. 😁
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
It is 'No San Fermines' here. The bullruns have been cancelled for the 2nd year. But there are still quite some folks dressed in white with the red handkerchief around their necks. So far I have only spotted pilgrims in my albergue, so let's hope for a quiet night!

My albergue was fully booked beforehand, Suseia was closed because of holidays (I have seen more 'holiday during San Fermín' signs), normally Jesus y María is closed as well during San Fermín. Don't know about this year.

I don't want to ignite another covid discussion, but I am the only one wearing a mask in the albergue.
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I have had a lazy day so far. Visited the cathedral in Pamplona, had tea on a terrace, walked around a bit, ate an apple on a park bench and then headed to the busstation to catch a bus to Estella. Restdays are always a bit boring IMHO, but it was for a good cause: to be able to continue walking tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.

I am staying in Ágora Hostel. Recommended, as long as you don't want to do your laundry by hand. Welcoming, friendly staff, clean, spacious, nice pods instead of bunk beds and a kitchen that can be used.

Here again closed windows, so I decided to ask the owner about it. He said that they have a ventilation system that renews the air inside every hour. That could have been the case in the albergue in Pamplona as well. However the smell in the dorm this morning told me something else...

So far nobody masked apart from the staff.
 

Happy Penguin

A.K.A. Happy Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I find it quite funny how our experience differ even if we are one day away from each other :) when I was in Roncesvalles all the windows on 1st floor were wide open and it was cold and almost windy inside. I had to wear a fleece sleeping in my summer sleeping bag. And maybe one in three pilgrims wore a mask in albergue. My cubicle partner wore it even in bed, maybe he took it out later. In Larrasoaña I ended up with a bunch of Spanish teenagers and they indeed did shut the windows. In Uterga and Ayegui windows were open all night.

Most of people on the streets in Pamplona wore mask. Of course me too.

In Larrasoaña the hospitalera asked me to disinfect my hands and later in the day when by accident I went to ask her some questions without a mask she wouldn't let me come closer than 2 meters...

I'll be either staying in or crossing Logroño tomorrow, I will see how people apply covid rules there.

Tonight I am staying in albergue near some River Towers 😉 and again it seems like it is full. The dinner is being cooked and smells wonderful!

Anyways, always the most Buen Camino Luka! :)

Edit: I forgot I got kicked of of a bar in Los Arcos today morning even if I had a mask. Too many people! And there were only 3.
So I went to a table outside :)
 

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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Hi @Happy Penguin! Good to hear that you are enjoying yourself! And yes, different perspectives. The number of people wearing masks in the streets is a lot lower in Navarra than in Asturias (where I live). There it is close to 100%. It doesn't matter much to me, because I believe wearing masks outdoors is pretty useless. But everyone is def more relaxed than in Asturias. Same with staff in bars and shops here. I see them hastily putting on their masks when I walk in, the bus driver only had his mouth covered, I see people hugging each other... And I see pilgrims being very relaxed about covid too. Maybe a bit too relaxed, we'll see.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Estella is lovely. Last time I was here (6 years ago) I didn't notice that. Maybe I arrived late or maybe I was too busy talking to other pilgrims. 😁

Beautiful old town and I (as a veggie) had a very nice lunch at restaurant Monjardín. Now enjoying the terrace of Mundo Jardín Interior. Even more recommended for veggies!
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Greetings from Los Arcos! Another dusty, little village in 'La España vacía'. I always wonder what villages like these would look like without the Camino.

It is going to be a long and warm afternoon. Left early and stopped early because of the heat and the lack of shade. I am staying in La Casa de la Abuela. The owner advised to get up at 5.00am tomorrow, but I don't like walking in the dark and I am only walking until Viana.
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I wonder what can be restored from the original Camino infrastructure. I still see quite a lot of bars, restaurants and albergues closed. Some definitely for good. And if others don't find it profitable enough to open now, they won't reopen again till after the pandemic. Open albergues have raised the prices of beds a couple of euro's, but that won't compensate that only half of the beds can be used.

On a positive note, I am just back from a nice communal dinner with pilgrims from Italy, the US, France and Australia (living in Germany). Again something I wouldn't have done without being vaccinated...

Almost everyone I spoke with is reserving ahead, mostly one day.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
Greetings from Los Arcos! Another dusty, little village in 'La España vacía'. I always wonder what villages like these would look like without the Camino.

It is going to be a long and warm afternoon. Left early and stopped early because of the heat and the lack of shade. I am staying in La Casa de la Abuela. The owner advised to get up at 5.00am tomorrow, but I don't like walking in the dark and I am only walking until Viana.
Thanks for sharing Luka. I know exactly where you are. Being in Los Arcos twice has left me with fond memories.
The brutal summer heat two years ago prompted me to leave by 5:30 AM and finish by noon or shortly there after. I enjoyed the coolness of the early mornings and those beautiful sunrises. Buen Camino.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Luka,
Thanks for sharing your foot-steps.

Tomorrow after Torres del Rio near the Hermitage of the Virgen del Poyo the camino will cross a deep ravine, Mataburros/Mule Killer(!), leading towards Viana. If the heat is heavy you might consider following the route NA 1110 into Viana instead.

Take care and Buen camino.
 
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It is 'No San Fermines' here. The bullruns have been cancelled for the 2nd year. But there are still quite some folks dressed in white with the red handkerchief around their necks. So far I have only spotted pilgrims in my albergue, so let's hope for a quiet night!

My albergue was fully booked beforehand, Suseia was closed because of holidays (I have seen more 'holiday during San Fermín' signs), normally Jesus y María is closed as well during San Fermín. Don't know about this year.

I don't want to ignite another covid discussion, but I am the only one wearing a mask in the albergue.
Thank you Luka. I’m doing your same itinerary in 10 days and all these updates are Very useful.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Luka,
Once you get settled in Viana today you might enjoy this Viana Postcard Album a series of 10 postcard views
c. 1908/1915 posted to the forum by fellow member Renshaw a few years ago.

(Tap on any small pic to see it enlarged.)

You might have seen some of these sites coming into town or will tomorrow as you leave for Logrono.

Happy browsing.
 
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rowe

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi @Luka
I'm planning to start from st-jean on 25/7 on my first Camino! The two weeks after my second shot just ended so I'm finally ready to go. How are you going about making reservations at the albergues? My plan was to go without reservations, but after reading your updates that seems like a mistake.
Thanks and buen camino
 
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Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Luka,
Thanks for sharing your foot-steps.

Tomorrow after Torres del Rio near the Hermitage of the Virgen del Poyo the camino will cross a deep ravine, Mataburros/Mule Killer(!), leading towards Viana. If the heat is heavy you might consider following the route NA 1110 into Viana instead.

Take care and Buen camino.
I was already fast asleep when you wrote that. Did the barranco without much problems, but I was happy not to encouter any mountainbikers. Seems like a bad combination...
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Hi @Luka
I'm planning to start from st-jean on 25/7 on my first Camino! The two weeks after my second shot just ended so I'm finally ready to go. How are you going about making reservations at the albergues? My plan was to go without reservations, but after reading your updates that seems like a mistake.
Thanks and buen camino
It seems risky. It looks like the Camino is getting close to saturation. But it also depends on your flexibility. If you are willing to walk a bit further, to stay in tiny villages with not much going on, to share a private room or to pay more, you will probably be fine. Today the muni in Logroño isn't completo to my surprise (first albergue where I am staying that isn't full).
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Luka,
As one of your digital followers I am glad to read that you are settled for now.
Looking forward to following more of your adventures whenever/wherever that might be.

Carpe diem and Buen camino.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I arrived at the muni at the same time as another woman and a girl. The hospi said we could choose our bed. The opposite bunks had either a mattress on the lower or on the upper bed. The (unmasked) woman and girl doubted a bit in the still empty dorm. They wanted opposite beds but neither one wanted to sleep in the top bunk. So the girl took the mattress from the top bunk and placed it on the bottom bunk. 'I feel like I already know you, so I am not afraid to get covid from you,' she said to the woman. The woman agreed.
😬🤦‍♀️😫
 
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Luka

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Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
I started walking from Los Arcos at 5.50am to avoid the heat. For the same reason (and also to avoid the industrial kms into Logroño) I took a bus from Viana to Logroño. I can tell you that my feet were very happy with this decision as well!

I enjoyed the walk and was thinking that I was just getting the hang of it. But unfortunately today was my last stage.

I am now enjoying a glass of Rioja on a bloody hot terrace and wondering where all my fellow pilgrims have gone. Maybe they are still taking siestas because of the heat. But it could also be that quite a few stopped in Viana.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Home again. My observations:

- The Camino looks pretty normal again, although with much smaller numbers than before covid.
- The number of pilgrims seems to grow day by day though and it looks like some stages are close to their saturation point.
- Open albergues operate at 50% of their maximum capacity. This means: mostly (but not always) only lower beds in use, no queues for showers, always space on the laundry lines, prices that have gone up a couple of euro's.
- Still quite a few albergues closed (or even for rent/sale), quite a lot of bars/restaurants/shops closed (most for good it seems).
- The pilgrim crowd is now for more than half international, I would say. However it is a bit hard to tell as the Spaniards tend to walk in groups and mingle less with non-Spanish pilgrims. Mostly Europeans, a couple of Americans, hardly any Asians. And one Australian pilgrim living in Germany.
- I noticed a lot of friendliness from owners of albergues/bars as well as from villagers, more than I have seen on the Francés before (I was used to some level of 'pilgrim fatigue').
- There is a lot of relaxation going on with respect to covid. Pilgrims walk around unmasked in albergues, there is no social distancing, in half of the albergues where I stayed the windows were closed at night and also most albergue/shop/bar owners take it easy, with masks below their noses, hastily adjusted masks or no mask at all.

As I walked from Roncesvalles to Logroño, these observations are all about Navarra. It would be interesting to hear from someone who walks between Sarria and Santiago.
 
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Rick H

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018 from Leon to Santiago
Frances Sep-Oct 2019
Why would you think that? In Spain most under 40 are still awaiting their first jab.

Edit: I Just looked it up, 41,2% of Spaniards fully vaccinated (part of them still in their 14 days), 56,4% one jab. And Spain isn't much different from the rest of Europe.
Sorry, referring to the Pilgrims. General population of Spain is a different matter.
 

Luka

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Pelgrimspad I, Via Monastica, Via Podiensis, Via de la Plata, Camino Francés, Camino del Norte...
Sorry, referring to the Pilgrims. General population of Spain is a different matter.
Then I wouldn't count on that either. I saw many pilgrims under 30 on the Camino. Spaniards can travel within the country without PCR-tests and foreigners can enter the country with a negative PCR-test but without vaccine.
 
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