Thanks to Bradley Ladewig for the video. He travelled from Germany to walk the Camino Francés during Covid times. I’m not sure I could keep up at his pace however. We can all agree that the Camino Francés in summer is beautiful.
As most of you are aware, a second wave of Covid-19 is gripping Europe and the US. It is looking a little more brighter in Asia and Australia as borders begin to open and lockdowns end. Many, if not all, provinces in Spain have closed their borders to curtail access in and out. The Galician government have decided to close the perimeters of Santiago de Compostela as of yesterday, however pilgrims who have walked prior to the 30th can enter the city.
Now is not a good time to walk in Spain. As cases begin to rise, the fear that deaths will rise too, so you can understand the Spanish government’s motive for bringing in a State of Alarm.
My own Camino, due for April, remains very unclear but I won’t make any hasty decisions until Christmas. Until then, it is all positive thoughts. I miss the Camino, I really do, however the launch of the Clearskies Camino podcast goes some way to replacing the few weeks I have not been in Portugal.
Well, that week has flown by. It has been seven days since my last post and my great intentions of writing everyday have well and truly been left by the wayside. I am still here however. Hanging in and hanging on and counting my blessings. The date of May 5th looms large but I don’t think there will be much (if any) change to the restrictions from that date. While everyone wants to get back to normal everyday life (including me), there are still many new cases and deaths being reported. And this is tragic news.
It is good to hear that other countries are gradually loosening their restrictions but we wait and what impact this will have. My peregrino friend from Germany is back to work at his office since last Monday. Everything seems to be going well with social distancing but there is a fear of a second wave. Austria and Denmark have gradually re-opened their economies too. And I won’t start to talk about the catastrophe across the water. President Trump’s comments about injecting disinfectants and UV rays had everyone’s eyes rolling to the heavens.
But this blog is not a political one. I don’t want to discuss economics or what is right or wrong for our country. I just hope there is an exit strategy in place as Covid is with us for the long run.
The Camino is keeping me sane. I get great joy keeping in touch with fellow pilgrims and fellow volunteers. There are owners of albergues in Spain and Portugual who are struggling and will struggle for the duration of the year. I was only glad to help them out. If you want, you can do too here.
Making plans for the next one is helping me too. So I have provisionally made plans to walk from Burgos next year. We are in a hopeless place at the moment but it is always good to look at the sky and find hope. The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films. In it Andy Dufresne says:
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Until next time.
T minus 18 days
Well that week flew by. I have been busily entertaining myself with work and keeping myself indoors. We have been encouraged to stay indoors until May 5th and while that may seem a long time away, I choose to keep busy and let time do the work.
I woke up at 7am this morning so decided to get up and get the weekly shop done. Great news = no queues! Health-wise I am feeling fine. A little sluggish, but that is due to the lack of walking however I am getting a few kilometres of walking each week. Far less than what I was getting pre-lockdown. The only walk of note in my area is a park and the majority of the residents tend to walk in this park. It is difficult to practice social distancing as a result. All my favourite walks are outside of the 2km zone placed by the government. I can’t even go to the beach!
During my time off, I browse videos on YouTube and formulate plans for next year. Andrew Suzuki’s ‘Beyond the Way’ has released another video this morning and it brings back good memories of my time leaving Lisbon last September. His next video will see him in Porto where he walks to Santiago. From there he will meet other pilgrims.
Andrew describes himself as an “armchair philosopher” and and I like Andrew’s use of words, filming and humour throughout the series. The various quotes from the poet Charles Bukowski really makes you think. Throughout “Beyond the Way”, there are many quotes from many philosophers and great thinkers.
Efren has posted his 9th day from his Camino del Norte. The Camino del Norte is visually stunning but it will probably be the last Camino to attempt due to it’s difficulty. I have the Cicerone guidebook and have done some research but some of the descents look a bit demanding. The great thing is there are plenty of Caminos to choose from.
Anyway, that’s all the news from here. If you are interested, why not follow my instagram account https://www.instagram.com/clearskiescamino where I will be posting throwback photos from previous Caminos. Take care and stay safe.
Let me take you back to Saturday, March the 14th. Coronavirus was in the news here in Ireland however we were free to travel and see folks (oh I miss those days!). I went to the Camino Information Centre for the day and walked back to the centre of town to catch my train. At the time, there were a number of flights cancelled but there was no talk of lock-downs or restrictions. There were 90 cases of Covid-19 located in Ireland. The following day, I travelled to my parents house as I normally do for a Sunday. It was such a strange thing taking the train, it was actually empty for once. Sunday was fun but I had seen Italy and Spain had imposed restrictions to control the virus. I knew that I wouldn’t see my folks again for quite some time. And I was right.
Jump ahead to the next morning. I wake up with a thumping headache and a temperature of 37.5c. Ok, it’s not quite a fever but, considering the advice given from the HSE, I decided to call my GP and lay low. At that time, the HSE were looking to test anyone who displayed flu-like symptoms. It is quite an ambitious approach but it will have a huge waiting list. I called my GP and to my surprise, he asked me to self-isolate for 7 days and he would arrange a test for me. Now, the important thing to remember here was that I felt fine, I had no cough (yet) although I was aware that it is possible to be not have any symptoms to have this virus. I gave my GP the benefit of the doubt and looked forward for the test.
Four days passed and I heard nothing. I had been taking my temperature every day and it had remained normal. By the end of the 4th day, I had developed a dry cough, but I put this down to being indoors and having no fresh air. The cough is not persistent. I ring the GP to discuss this with him. Again, he said it was best to relax, and I should receive a call soon from the HSE.
And finally, on the 25th of March, the HSE changed their criteria. Now they were looking to test people with two symptoms. I immediately rang my GP and he said I didn’t need a test. I am now back at work, although working at home. Apparently, over 40,000 people were waiting for a test while 94% of those testing were negative. This is only a good move.
I took my first walk since the 15th of March on Thursday. We luckily have a large park beside my house where I can go to stretch my legs during lunch and during the weekend. A few weeks without seeing my family can be sacrificed. The party will only be huge when this is over.
I look forward to the day when I can hug my parents. I look forward to the day I can go for a walk through a packed Dublin city. Even walking through the hills of Galicia is a dream for me right now. But it is nice to dream. Keep hoping. It keeps a light on in the dark times.
But all I do right now is sit and wait. It is the best we can do to help. While I am not working, and while I am indoors, I will be good to #keepwriting. The Camino keeps me happy, naturally enough so I will post some of my favourite memories from years gone by every day.
Take care and stay safe!
Hello, my name is David. I am a peregrino living in Dublin, Ireland. I have visited Spain and Portugal and walked its many roads to Santiago since 2011. On this site, you will find my stories, photos, and observations from my Caminos and my planning for future Caminos. Feel free to get in touch with me here
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