Very soon, we will be living right on the Camino de Santiago (Frances). Our bedroom window will look out on Peregrinos as they walk by at the end of the drive. Some will have only been a few days into their adventure from Sarria. It’s the closest city where you can start and still get the Compostela. Others will be near the end of a very, very long trek that has taken them over mountains, and across the plains of central Spain, for a month before they arrive on the road outside our gates.
This year is Xacabeo. The year of St. James. When his birthday, July 25th, falls on a Sunday. The Pope has decided to extend the Xacabeo year into 2022 due to the pandemic. For those who had planned to, but can’t walk it this year due to border closures, they will be able to complete their holy year pilgrimage, fully vaccinated, next year when it’s safer for everyone. As most of you know, my daughter Em and I walked the entire Frances in 2017. And Jeff and I did Sarria to Santiago in October of 2019. But things change on the Camino all the time.
This trek is a Unesco World Heritage site. It’s also the pride of Galicia, and Lugo province considers it one of its most emblematic experiences. If you read the local newspaper online, El Progreso, you will notice they have an entire persistent section for reporting on news related to one route or another of the Camino. Yes, the Frances comes through Lugo. But there are other Lugo routes, too. The Norte. The Primitivo. I think the Ingles might also kiss the province up North. All leading to Santiago de Compostela. And Lugo is investing serious cash into shoring up infrastructure, tidying trails, and granting public money for new refugios and pilgrim accommodations to support the experience, and to make it easier for anyone wishing to complete it.
Of Note: As a woman, if you can find a way to intersect a new Camino business, and to weave in a little technology, you can be eligible for even more grants from the Spanish government, who currently have a big push to support women and businesses in rural areas. Hmmm. I wonder…🤔 They’re desperate to stem the tide of the rural population fleeing to cities and are willing to listen to good ideas. And municipalities under 5,000 inhabitants is a huge focus for that grant money, if you’re willing to employ local people. Luckily, where we will be living has more javalies, goats, and cows, than humans. So meeting the <5,000 person threshold shouldn’t be a problem. Lets see what we can come up with.
In support of the pilgrims that are so vital to the economy, Correos (the Spanish Post office) has launched a new website to assist pilgrims in making their trip easier.All in the language of your choice. You can check it out here. On the site, you can find accommodations along the way. You can also arrange to have Correos pick up and drop off your pack from any Albergue or accommodation on their list- when your back is killing you or you’ve sustained an injury. In anticipation of the end of your Camino, you can ship a box or suitcase to the Correos office in Santiago and they’ll hold it for you. God knows, Emilie and I never wanted to see our Camino clothes again when we got to Santiago. If we’d had a suitcase from home to slip into clean comfortable clothes I would have cried. Psst – We just went shopping, but still.
Some people choose a biking Camino. Correos will also ship your bike for you to your starting point on the Camino. And if you get tired of riding, and decide to walk the rest of the way, they’ll pick up your bike and arrange to store it for you until your arrival in Santiago. All for €46. A bargain! Check it out.
You might also check out El Progreso (Lugo). They regularly report on organizations that are supporting the Camino, and public works projects planned for the future.
I will say that, in general, I’ve been most impressed with how much public work has continued to be supported during the pandemic throughout Spain. We see it here in Valencia. So, it should be no surprise that Galicia, and those supporting such an important cultural resource, are keeping up with it too.