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COVID What route would a sensible Peregrino take?

pepi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The current situation in a nutshell: the new digital vaccine EU Pass and the one from Switzerland are said to be compatible, but not approved yet. According to the news, this is supposed to happen at the beginning of July, then there are several weeks long time for the implementation. (It's typical and a laugh: The bureaucrats on both sides had at least a year to anticipate the eventual end of the pandemic but instead, they sat on their butts.) Moreover, every EU member is free to set up their own rules.

I have already booked my end-of-August flight from Geneva direct to Bayonne and accommodation from SJPdP to SdC, but this means that I first enter France with the risk of special diverging rules of entry. Alternatively, I could fly to Barcelona, take a train to Pamplona and start from there all within Spain, which seems to be more relaxed regarding entry.

It's not a question of starting point, but about possible risks of Covis related entry formalities, which nobody knows at this stage. What route would a sensible Peregrino choose? (I btw have had both shots)

It's important to me, not to miss this Camino. With two cancer surgeries, a quintuple bypasses, and triple stents recently behind– and yet another planned heart surgery before me, I have a time window from the end of August to the end of September to most likely do my last Camino. In this window falls the first anniversary of my younger daughter's passing away because of cancer and I want to dedicate this walk to her.

Your opinions will help me to decide, thanks.
 
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amancio

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
As you say, nobody knows at this moment, the situation can change in just a few miles on in a few hours, you never know!

I guess the Barcelona options poses fewer risks, since you would not have to cross any border, but there are still local lockdowns; for example, in Via de la Plata, Monesterio has been locked down and thus you had to skip the town somehow (taxi, I guess is the only option in such cases).

It is impossible to guess at the moment, I am afraid, too many changes!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
With two cancer surgeries, a quintuple bypasses, and triple stents recently behind– and yet another planned heart surgery before me, I have a time window from the end of August to the end of September to most likely do my last Camino
In this window falls the first anniversary of my younger daughter's passing away because of cancer and I want to dedicate this walk to her.
Given all this (literal and figurative) heartache and challenge, I'd say do what is simplest and most expedient in terms of entry. Fly to Spain and start in Roncesvalles or Pamplona. There's no knowing what will unfold, but you can always plan...and then be flexible.

You're carrying a lot, @pepi, so buen camino. May it be medicine for a broken heart.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@pepi, reading what you shared in your post, much comes to my mind that could be said but I will keep it short: Living in Switzerland? Flight from Geneva? Between now and the end of August? Two shots already?

I would not hesitate for a second: flight to Bayonne, start in SJPP.

Buen camino!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
BTW, although not always super easy to decipher, this may be helpful to keep up to date or to have all the links in one place that contain rules applying to you and your trip:

https://reopen.europa.eu/en/from-to/CHE/ESP/FRA

This specific link describes the rules for a trip from Switzerland to Spain with France as transit by air or by land.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

pepi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
BTW, although not always super easy to decipher, this may be helpful to keep up to date or to have all the links in one place that contain rules applying to you and your trip:

https://reopen.europa.eu/en/from-to/CHE/ESP/FRA

This specific link describes the rules for a trip from Switzerland to Spain with France as transit by air or by land.
Very useful, many thanks Katherina
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Personally, unless your ticket is fully flexible and refundable, I’d minimise the number of international borders crossed. I’d start in Pamplona, book two nights accommodation there, and on Day 1 taxi to Zuberi with a light load and walk from there.

My view is probably more negative than it ought to be as I’m in the UK and and chances of being allowed out of this country and into another simultaneously are showing no significant signs of improving.

Katarina’s view is probably more balanced.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Francés, Oct 2020
My advice would be go with what you’re sure your body will be happy with. If you feel strong after your health battles then start In SJPP, if you have any doubt, fly to Barcelona and go on from Pamplona (or Roncevalles) and enjoy your Camino. A time for reflection and thanks, for hope and remembrance.
Whatever you couse,
Buen Camino
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Year of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
As far as I can tell from the situation on the ground, I'd suggest that the more "sensible" route as things stand now would be the one with the fewest temporary and/or permanent Albergue closures -- therefore the Francès.
 

ktchnofdngr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
September 2013, June 2016, and July 2021(hopefully!)
I would do whatever you think your body can handle. Although, if you do decide to start walking from SJPDP, I would take the lower rather than the Napoleon route through Orisson. This is what I did in 2016 because of prior injuries to my feet, and, while the lower route is often beside the road, it is still beautiful and the road isn't all that busy. It also means that you can stop in Val Carlos for a shorter and relatively less strenuous first day. The place where your pack is carried to is a restaurant in town, and their lunch menu is quite tasty! I don't regret missing out on Route Napoleon, and I was blessed to meet some lovely pilgrims in Val Carlos that I wouldn't have otherwise walked with most of my trip if I had done the Napoleon route.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
@pepi, you have given more information in your original post than many others have done so I feel more confident in making a recommendation for you. Go to Pamplona and once there decide on your next step. If I was there at this time of year I would try to take the Conde/ALSA bus to SJPdP if conditions allow. If not I would check with the PLM bus line for transport to Pekotexet?? (essentially Arnéguy, France) or Valcarlos. I'm not sure if this service from Pamplona is still running but it used to be a twice a week thing. My third choice would be the Artieda bus line to Roncesvalles. If this looks good to you I'll give you more information on the bus routes.
 

pepi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Thank you all for your advice, which helped me to come to a conclusion.
Beforehand, to @Kitsambler, @ktchnofdngr and @Rick of Rick and Peg: My concern was the potential problem with entering two country borders with different rules; your route suggestion would still not solve it.

Anyway, I decided to stick to my initial schedule of flying to Bayonne and start off in SJPdP while keeping an eye on updated French rules of entry. (I am not concerned about the "green border" to Spain on the Napoleon route but about the border control at the Bayonne airport)

Given my physical condition, I will taxi the first 8 km to Orisson, and as I have booked private rooms all the way to SdC, I will also have forwarded my rucksack. My 6th Camino will not be a sporty challenge, nor in any way religious, but one of contemplation of my life and the memory of my daughter.
(Btw: Has anyone knowledge of the procedures at the SdC Pilgrim office, to dedicate the Compostela to my daughter's name? )

I am sure that the walk this time will help me to come to terms with myself and the encounters with my fellow peregrinos will give me joy.

Buen Camino to all.
 
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