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COVID Tread Softly

Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
As Europe begins to open its borders and Pilgrims once again walk the Camino masked and physically distanced of course, I’m curious what the experience will be like.

The Camino, by its nature, is for most people a highly social event. Will the smiles of joy be hidden away behind masks? Will the laughter or the familiar greeting of Buen Camino be muffled beyond recognition?

Albergue life, always a close quarter activity will certainly become very much less so. Communal kitchens and meals, are they for the time being a thing of the past? Will the new fragrance of the Camino become the scent of hand sanitizer?

There’s a lot of physical contact on the Way, handshakes and hugs most notably and for those of faith, how will the Mass and communion experience change? Will the very nature of the Camino as we knew it pre-Covid-19 be forever changed?

What about the weary and probably wary Spaniards, the hosts for all Pilgrims, how will they fare? Understandably, I expect that most interactions will be a bit distant, certainly physically. Will there be resentment towards the possibly infected visitors? I hope not but I guess I can understand their fear and caution. And how does one even begin to understand what must be a shocked populous of Santo Domingo de la Calzada? With great care, I hope.

Finally, how will the 2020 Pilgrims act? Will they be responsible, careful, thoughtful, sensitive, and respectful? We all owe it to the people of Spain and those along the ancient Way to be all that and to tread softly.

I don’t have answers to any of these questions, I don’t think anyone does. Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela this year and quite possibly next is going to require more than physical stamina.

The entire world is being impacted by Covid-19. We’ve all endured stay at home, social isolation, illness and far too many deaths. Some have dealt with it better than others and are receiving a small reward in the form of an intermission between the first wave and the inevitable second. Here in the U.S., well, we've got a way to go.

The difference between Spain and the rest of Europe and specifically the Camino in northern Spain is that unlike other places, the world in not marching through your towns every day. So, I believe that we all owe them our best. We do in the best of times too.

I believe that most people who are drawn to the Camino are big hearted, thoughtful, helpful, sensitive, and generous (however they can be). I hope that as the Camino once again hosts people from Europe first and then the rest of the world, we all amplify those good traits when dealing with everyone but most especially the people whose lives we have or will walk through each day.

Finally, whatever it may be currently, the Camino lives first in our hearts I believe and we as humans have been adapting from the beginning. Enjoy the experience, whatever it happens to be. Enjoy the outdoors and your physically distanced Camino family. And, be kind every day.

These next couple of years will be very telling for us all, I hope as we look back one day, it somehow becomes a shining moment in our history as people and how we treated one another during these trying times.
 
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JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
As Europe begins to open its borders and Pilgrims once again walk the Camino masked and physically distanced of course, I’m curious what the experience will be like.

The Camino, by its nature, is for most people a highly social event. Will the smiles of joy be hidden away behind masks? Will the laughter or the familiar greeting of Buen Camino be muffled beyond recognition?

Down here at the other end of the Ways of Saint James, near the French/Italian border, very few of the walkers, joggers, and cyclists I've seen these past weeks are in face masks. They are in use mostly in public transport.

... and for those of faith, how will the Mass and communion experience change?

Down here, it varies from parish to parish -- few people at our own parish wear face masks at Mass ; most take Communion on the tongue. (but the number of cases round here was lower than 100 ; which is surprisingly low, given that there's a well-traveled railway corridor between here and Milan, which was an epicenter of the European epidemic)

Finally, how will the 2020 Pilgrims act? Will they be responsible, careful, thoughtful, sensitive, and respectful? We all owe it to the people of Spain and those along the ancient Way to be all that and to tread softly.

We may need to keep to our own devices a lot more -- which will of course be harder for those pilgrims for whom the social element of the Camino is a particularly important one. Easier for us loners, but well that's little consolation for those who aren't.

The difference between Spain and the rest of Europe and specifically the Camino in northern Spain is that unlike other places, the world in not marching through your towns every day.

heh -- they do exactly that in much of the Southernmost parts of France and much of Italy, and very much so where I live (a massive tourist trap) !!

...

Good post :)
 
As Europe begins to open its borders and Pilgrims once again walk the Camino masked and physically distanced of course, I’m curious what the experience will be like.

The Camino, by its nature, is for most people a highly social event. Will the smiles of joy be hidden away behind masks? Will the laughter or the familiar greeting of Buen Camino be muffled beyond recognition?

Albergue life, always a close quarter activity will certainly become very much less so. Communal kitchens and meals, are they for the time being a thing of the past? Will the new fragrance of the Camino become the scent of hand sanitizer?

There’s a lot of physical contact on the Way, handshakes and hugs most notably and for those of faith, how will the Mass and communion experience change? Will the very nature of the Camino as we knew it pre-Covid-19 be forever changed?

What about the weary and probably wary Spaniards, the hosts for all Pilgrims, how will they fare? Understandably, I expect that most interactions will be a bit distant, certainly physically. Will there be resentment towards the possibly infected visitors? I hope not but I guess I can understand their fear and caution. And how does one even begin to understand what must be a shocked populous of Santo Domingo de la Calzada? With great care, I hope.

Finally, how will the 2020 Pilgrims act? Will they be responsible, careful, thoughtful, sensitive, and respectful? We all owe it to the people of Spain and those along the ancient Way to be all that and to tread softly.

I don’t have answers to any of these questions, I don’t think anyone does. Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela this year and quite possibly next is going to require more than physical stamina.

The entire world is being impacted by Covid-19. We’ve all endured stay at home, social isolation, illness and far too many deaths. Some have dealt with it better than others and are receiving a small reward in the form of an intermission between the first wave and the inevitable second. Here in the U.S., well, we've got a way to go.

The difference between Spain and the rest of Europe and specifically the Camino in northern Spain is that unlike other places, the world in not marching through your towns every day. So, I believe that we all owe them our best. We do in the best of times too.

I believe that most people who are drawn to the Camino are big hearted, thoughtful, helpful, sensitive, and generous (however they can be). I hope that as the Camino once again hosts people from Europe first and then the rest of the world, we all amplify those good traits when dealing with everyone but most especially the people whose lives we have or will walk through each day.

Finally, whatever it may be currently, the Camino lives first in our hearts I believe and we as humans have been adapting from the beginning. Enjoy the experience, whatever it happens to be. Enjoy the outdoors and your physically distanced Camino family. And, be kind every day.

These next couple of years will be very telling for us all, I hope as we look back one day, it somehow becomes a shining moment in our history as people and how we treated one another during these trying times.
Thank you for encapsulating so much of what the Camino means to so many people!
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Year of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
I walked the camino frances from leon to Santiago in August-September 2020. I walked with two neighbors, people in my "bubble." We shared rooms, meals, etc., and we had some fine fellowship with other pilgrims. There was not the instant brotherhood so many people find; there were a lot fewer pilgrims overall, and most of them had already formed their small "families" before they met with us. We wore masks when in towns or cities, we sat apart from others, but we attended church services (and the pilgrim Mass at the cathedral!), ate at restaurants, (mostly terraces -- albergue kitchens were closed), and generally had a fine camino experience. Most albergues were almost empty, we never felt hemmed-in or at risk from others. No one refused to wear a mask, or follow Covid restrictions. The albergues that were open were clean and well-run. It was just a little weird -- I very much missed the Korean, Australian, and North American pilgrims!
 

Juspassinthrough

in our minds, we're vagabonds, you and I
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2017)
Camino Inglés 2019
Leon-Sarria, June (2019)
Camino Aragonés (2023?)
I walked the camino frances from leon to Santiago in August-September 2020. I walked with two neighbors, people in my "bubble." We shared rooms, meals, etc., and we had some fine fellowship with other pilgrims. There was not the instant brotherhood so many people find; there were a lot fewer pilgrims overall, and most of them had already formed their small "families" before they met with us. We wore masks when in towns or cities, we sat apart from others, but we attended church services (and the pilgrim Mass at the cathedral!), ate at restaurants, (mostly terraces -- albergue kitchens were closed), and generally had a fine camino experience. Most albergues were almost empty, we never felt hemmed-in or at risk from others. No one refused to wear a mask, or follow Covid restrictions. The albergues that were open were clean and well-run. It was just a little weird -- I very much missed the Korean, Australian, and North American pilgrims!
How the world has changed (not surprising,,sadly) since my original post. I happy you made the best of a difficult situation. I wish you a far better New Year. Buen Camino.
 
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