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Should we or shouldn't we?

Annette19

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
 
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davebugg

A Pilgrimage is time I spend praying with my feet
Past OR future Camino
2019
Hi, Annette19 on your first post :)

No one can really predict the overall dynamics of what will be, and when it will be. If you wait for all stars to align perfectly, then that can create other problems or issues that may be less to your liking. Part of experiencing the Camino is to take it as it comes. To let the Camino provide. To be open to experiencing what is given as it occurs. THAT is the Camino experience.

All the other stuff, the pilgrims, the architecture, the villages, the people, etc will all be there. If Spain is open to tourism, then the Camino infrastructure will be there to one extent or another.

Personally, I would just pick the time of year and season I want to go on Camino, and then go.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
Can you hang on a bit longer? The camino has been there for, give or take a decade, around 1200 years so it should still be there in 2022, and hopefully, so will we. As for the numbers of other pilgrims, walk another route if you are worried about crowds, otherwise, as davebugg says, take it as it comes - que sera, sera.
 

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
Hi Annette, re what you will experience, I am with Dave Bugg, the Camino you go on will be your Camino experience and if you start scripting it now with what you think it should be or could be you will always be comparing the reality with your ideal - not good.

as for when to go if borders open, 21 or 22 .. who knows? We have to balance personal desire with the common good ... and as we aren't the ones in control that will be decided by those who are and their balance is between safety and their economies .... Spain is desperate to get their tourist income back .... so those businesses on Camino should welcome you with open arms (from a distance ;)).

so the answer? I just don't know! Up to you I guess.
 

PlutseligPilegrim

Rota Vicentina, fisherman’s trail, is sweet...
Past OR future Camino
St Olav’s way Novgorod - Åbo
- Stiklestad - Nidaros (2019)
Via del a plata from Cadiz (2019)
Patience and alternative plans is my take on it......it will sort itself out for all of us🙏🏼

((P.S. Vaccine Passport is something of huge value in my reckoning....will not travel without it...))
 
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Roby

Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
No one knows what tomorrow brings.
Maybe next year the pandemic will become even more dangerous, with some new mutation in the virus. We may not be here next year for some other reason.
When I first went, I was hesitant about a hundred things, I didn’t know what to expect or how it would be.
Now I choose a date that suits me and if it will be possible, then I will travel and start the Camino.
If not, I’ll pick another date and hope to be able to really get going then.
Don’t bother with uncertainty, decide what you want and can do, and adjust to what is possible.
 

DuaneS

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 4th from SJPDP - May 5, 2017 - Complete!
It's a good question, and I've been wondering the same thing. My 5 year anniversary for the CF is April of 2022, and I was planning to do it again. But even if things are open by then, between the holy year and the mad dash of everyone who couldn't come for two years, I worry the experience will be poorer. So I'm on the fence as well.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
Consider going as soon as you judge it safe and legal - then you’ve more of your life remaining to go again. Crowds, accommodation etc. are entirely unpredictable - but in a free market economy supply and demand balance out in the medium term.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
My answer here is the same as my answer in a similar thread, on when I would feel safe sleeping in an albergue. I wouldn't inflict myself upon Spain until the same conditions are in place. Aside from having the available time, the necessary conditions (in my opinion) are:
  • Both my home country and Spain are saying that they think international travel (in particular from my home country to Spain and back again) is not inadvisable;
  • I am fully vaccinated (both doses) with enough additional time for the vaccine to be fully in effect.
I have no idea whether both those conditions will by in place for 2021. I'm not sure I will have the time until 2023, for which I am cautiously optimistic.
 
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Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
The Camino has been there for a thousand years, so it's not going away. Whenever you go, you will be encountering pilgrims and visiting churches, testing the wine, and enjoying the hospitality of our Spanish hosts. Others have posted about the uncertainty of it all at this point. I had hoped to be able to head off this autumn, but do not know if it will be possible-- things will become clearer as time goes on. Do not overplan-- overscripting will not help your first time. I doubt very much if there will the Holy Year hordes of past years. The pandemic has greatly affected Spain and it might be a while before they return to their gregariousness and crowds; but they will be happy to see you when you go.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
should we go or wait until 2022
It depends entirely on the public health advice of both countries, and on your personal circumstances.
Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience?
Yes, of course. Every person and every camino is different. If you get experience A, you necessarily will miss experience B, etc., etc. You can make a guess about which experiences you personally would prefer, but there are too many unknowns for you to have any confidence of what you'll encounter.
Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
Undoubtedly.

You seem to be trying very hard to optimize the experience as if there is one "best" outcome, and further, that it is something that you can easily choose. No matter when you go, if you go with an open mind, tolerance and flexibility, you will likely be glad that you did.

You could keep 2021 in mind for a while as you wait and watch, but at some point you might say "that's it, now I'll watch 2022"
 
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances and Invierno (2019)
Camino Frances (2021)
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
I am off on Monday. Will walk from O Cebreiro to Santiago 👣🎒😎
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?

I believe North American travelers will be allowed into Spain by Summer as long as there is no new major outbreak. There may be barriers, such as some type of credential, travel passport indicating you have been vaccinated, requirement of a negative covid test or even some quarantine period upon arrival.

As far as crowds, that is up for more speculation. On one hand you have a great deal of pent up cabin fever and lost tourism revenues that should fuel the desire to open up for travel. That said, above mentioned potential barriers and other unknown factors, accommodation availability, potential COVID pockets along the route, how local populations might react to Pilgrims following/not following local rules etc., etc. could reduce numbers.

I personally believe the Camino will open up this Summer and it will be well populated on common routes. That opinion and $5. will buy you an airport coffee.
 
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Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Past OR future Camino
September 2019: first Camino, can only do partial this year due to recent knee replacement
This is NOT a question of - Do you think the Camino will be open for pilgrims in late Aug. through early Oct. Rather, I'm wondering if U.S. travelers are allowed into Spain by then, should we go or wait until 2022? We have been planning to walk during this time period for about 4 years now as a milestone memory for our retirement. I'll admit the religious pilgrimage is not what is driving my interest. I'm more excited about meeting fellow pilgrims from various cultural backgrounds, experiencing an extended time period in another country and interacting with locals, the physical and mental challenge of walking so many miles, the natural beauty and architecture of northern Spain, along with a few other reasons. If the travel restrictions are lifted, I'm assuming there will be fewer travelers anyway. Will we be missing a piece of the camino experience? Will it actually be better with less crowds and more available beds? If we wait until 2022 I'm also assuming it will be very crowded due to everyone walking who postponed trips in 20-21 and the extension of the the holy year. Are there advantages/disadvantages we haven't thought of?
My husband and I are in the same boat - it's a bit scary to plan for the Camino this year, but we're both fully vaccinated and willing to compromise by staying in private rooms and small hotels if the albergues are not available. The Camino may be here for the next millennium, but we won't be (we're newly retired as well) - we have no idea how long our health will allow us to make this trek. So we're planning it for this Sept and Oct (from Lisbon to Santiago) and if we're not allowed in country by then, we'll have to shift our plans....
 

AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
should we go [later in 2021] or wait until 2022?

@Annette19, to my mind the question is when will each of our pilgrimages be best for the countries we are to pass through?

To my mind there are two aspects. In alphabetical order they are economic and social.

And the only people who can answer these questions is the populations in each place.

It is not for us as outsiders to decide what is best for Spain (or France etc)

It is not for us as outsiders to say we have been vaccinated so there is no problem. For example, there is some evidence from my national health service that vaccinated people can be carriers (and spreaders), while not being affected themselves. I am sure as time goes by the circumstances and limits of this will become clear.

Out of an abundance of caution, for yourself and for your Spanish hosts, my answer is 2022 at the earliest.

And I say this having not completed my Via Francigena and walks in UK and Canada in 2020 as booked. I will return when I judge the locals and authorities will wish to greet me with open arms and with smiles on their faces. For me, I hope that will be in 2022.

Otherwise I am just a helicopter tourist: dropping in and leaving a few coins behind as I move on.

So, @Annette19, I wish you kia kaha, kia mā'ia, kia mana'wa'nui (be strong, confident and patient)
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
My answer here is the same as my answer in a similar thread, on when I would feel safe sleeping in an albergue. I wouldn't inflict myself upon Spain until the same conditions are in place. Aside from having the available time, the necessary conditions (in my opinion) are:
  • Both my home country and Spain are saying that they think international travel (in particular from my home country to Spain and back again) is not inadvisable;
  • I am fully vaccinated (both doses) with enough additional time for the vaccine to be fully in effect.
I have no idea whether both those conditions will by in place for 2021. I'm not sure I will have the time until 2023, for which I am cautiously optimistic.
Point number two is looking like the easy criteria. Number one is in chaos due to varying country views on safety and risk vs. economics. When many country’s views and actions converge, I think I’ll have my answer.
 
Past OR future Camino
2009
My answer here is the same as my answer in a similar thread, on when I would feel safe sleeping in an albergue. I wouldn't inflict myself upon Spain until the same conditions are in place. Aside from having the available time, the necessary conditions (in my opinion) are:
  • Both my home country and Spain are saying that they think international travel (in particular from my home country to Spain and back again) is not inadvisable;
  • I am fully vaccinated (both doses) with enough additional time for the vaccine to be fully in effect.
I have no idea whether both those conditions will by in place for 2021. I'm not sure I will have the time until 2023, for which I am cautiously optimistic.
"is not inadvisable". Please clarify😳
 
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AlwynWellington

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
please see signature
Neither country is advising against the visit.

I say this with as much humility as I can, and very much aware when am seen to be pointing a finger at anyone there is at least one finger pointing back at me.

The Canadian government, on 22 April (still in force on 24 April), in respect of Spain, says Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. You might argue that, for you, being an international tourist in Spain is essential for both countries. Good luck with that.

And what of the views of the residents of the towns and villages you might pass through: will they welcome you with open arms and smiles? This might be judged by the number of municipal, parish and donativo albergue that will be open when an international pilgrim arrives.

Kia kaha
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
1989
The Canadian government, on 22 April (still in force on 24 April), in respect of Spain, says Avoid non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice. You might argue that, for you, being an international tourist in Spain is essential for both countries. Good luck with that.
I'm not sure why you suggest I might argue that. I thought I was clear that I had no intention of international travel while the Canadian government was advising against it, which it clearly is. I apologize if I was unclear.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I say this with as much humility as I can
In post #20, David Tallan was clarifying what he meant by the words that were questioned in post #19, in which he put forth his criteria for going. In post #20, he wasn't saying that there were no travel advisories, as your quote in post #21 suggested.

Is that all clear? o_O 🤣 Double negatives and hypotheticals are always fun.
 

MichelleElynHogan

Veteran Member
Just me. 2021 will still not be safe. We have had 3 lockdowns so far in Canada. Spain has had a worse time of it with infections and deaths. I guess in your case, I am looking at the potential for a lot of extra major upheaval, the worst of which would be another Covid death, or causing someone to be infected. This pandemic will not be over in 2021, maybe not till 2025 or 2026.

Over the opinions and feelings of us laypeople, perhaps it would be wisest to engage the thoughts / recommendations of an epidemiologist? They deal with facts and standards designed to keep us all as safe and healthy. Yes?
 
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jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
If the Spanish government says I am welcome to come and walk a Camino, I will be walking.

I will not be disrespectful of local municipality rules. The rules and guidelines that each region, city, and town have will be followed, by me. If Pilgrims are "Persona non grata" somewhere, I will walk to the next village.

Anyone who feels Covid will magically disappear, imo, is mistaken. It will be here in 2022 and beyond. We will learn to live with it, like many other diseases, until someday there is a cure.

We are 5 months into a vaccine and less than 10% of the worlds population has been vaccinated. At this rate it will take years to vaccinate our planet. This disease is not going away soon.

It would be nice if our governments could get together and establish common guidelines. That said, if they did the likelihood of them being followed universally is, imo remote. So far we, as a planet, have developed 218 different solutions to how to deal with this pandemic. Hopefully, if anything good comes from this we will develop an international strategy to manage future pandemics. They are coming.

I apologize for the length of my narrative. Therefore, see my first sentence and Buen Camino.

Ultreya,
Joe
 
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