Keep the Camino Alive

Camino Organizations Supported – Thanks and Photos

Camino Organizations Supported – Thanks and Photos

A number of the Camino organizations supported by the campaign to ‘Keep the Camino Alive’ have written to us expressing their thanks for the donation. As you can read below, for a number of them the donation helped to keep them “alive” and ready to serve pilgrims again when the Camino opens.

From Mónica in Ideas Peregrinas in Tui, Camino Portuguese : 11th September, 2021

We think a lot about the pilgrims who now live far from the Camino de Santiago.

The distance makes it even more necessary to know how things are around here and sometimes, one suffers further from the camino. I’ll tell you how this year has been.

In June a flood of Spanish pilgrims arrived, people interested in making the way but most without experience and August was a month with a significant increase.

We worked a lot but because the pilgrims we had this year needed more attention, it was almost like taking care of 3 people. Because some had not experience or information and then because of the covid situation because until a couple of weeks ago, we could only reserve 30% of the shared rooms. Being careful is the most important thing, so it was a difficult task not to mix people.

The atmosphere wasn´t as calm as other years, it is different as “less pilgrim” there isn´t complicity, sharing and the usual value of the camino, in general. But we are already in September, and it seems that the pilgrim with inner calm has arrived and everything is more authentic.

It’s how when the beginning of spring arrives, you begin to see small gestures that make you feel good, and pilgrims are beginning to arrive who patiently reserved these months of September and October for their pilgrimage.

So in general we can talk about a recovery of the camino, there are walkers again, and little by little this pilgrim community returns.

We have come this far, despite everything in August we have worked less than half a normal year and the rest of the months have been very low, we have had to close the kitchen but otherwise we continue to have the same expenses.

Saying that, we´ll have to face a hard wintertime, because we live those months with the savings we can do from the season (From November till March we are closed)

The uncertainty is that it will happen from mid-October because there are hardly any reservations but surely we can move forward.
And everything will depend on the evolution of the pandemic. As for the covid, we haven’t had any cases so far this year and last year, at least with the pilgrims we contacted and that gives us a sign that the lodgings on the camino are aware and that the camino is safe.

Surely this story is similar to the one lived in other accommodations.

So, in our case, any help will be very very helpful for us.

We already know that you are doing a titanic effort to make this happen
LOVE and BLESSING,
Mónica

From Albergue Cirauqui – Casa Maralotx, Ciraqui, Navarra, Camino Francés : September 21, 2021

Thank you so much for staying in touch and the offer to send some more financial help. You haven’t heard from us because, fortunately, we have been busy… at least busier than we expected. Yes, pilgrims are coming to the Camino again and yes, we are having some staying with us; some days it’s just a few, some days we fill up our current, reduced capacity of 23. It’s very variable and unpredictable this year. We hope to survive until next year with the season’s income, the help we already got from you and the help we are luckily getting from the Spanish Government. Should things change I would get back to you with a cry for help (hopefully not). Here is a photo of me with Laura Palin from Edmonton.
Juanma & Paloma

From Casa Susi, Trabadelo, Camino Francés : 6th June 2021

Thank you seems so insignificant for all the help you have given to us over the last 14 months with your continued donations.
Your help has taken away much of the stress we have been feeling paying our weekly/monthly bills & your care has kept our spirits high when we’ve needed it.

We try to keep looking forward until the Camino returns to some form of normality but living directly on the Camino it still seems far off. Though the numbers of arrivals in Santiago have increased dramatically over the last 2 weeks. The Spanish pilgrims are making up most of the numbers of arrivals & they are only starting in Sarria. We will keep our spirits high & very much look forward to welcoming our first Canadian pilgrims when it’s easier to travel.
Buen Camino & we are so incredible grateful to you all.

Biggest hugs
Susi y Fermín at Casa Susi.

And on September 21, 2021
So good to hear from you & we hope you are well.
The update from Casa Susi is we are open!!
After 673 days closed we opened on September 1st. We very much hope pilgrims will keep walking during October so we can stay open as long as possible.
We now have only 8 beds instead of 12.
The restriction say we must maintain 1.5 m distance between beds & have 75% capacity. We are so happy to be open we never thought we would.
We are incredibly grateful to you & the generosity of other Camino associations that helped us during the worst moments. We still have our roof to replace but waiting on the ok from government departments. Can’t wait until a Canadian pilgrim patch comes through the door.

Susi y Fermín

From Albergue Vincent Van Gogh, Zafra, Via de la Plata : July 2021

(Ana Mari in Zafra always sent a very newsy email and kept in touch whether or not we had sent her more money, so we had an idea of the situation on the Via de la Plata.)
Right now I just received an email telling me that I had just received money in Paypal
What a joy! The truth is that I did not expect it and less so fast.
Now we can pay without haste the taxes that arrive this June.
And hoping that pilgrims begin to arrive. To this day, not a single pilgrim has passed, but we do not lose hope.
We know that the Vía de la Plata is very hard during the months of June, July and August due to the high temperatures.
Soon we will all be vaccinated and we will be able to walk freely.
I’m looking forward to going out on the road, I really NEED IT.
Thank you very much for everything you are doing for this Association and Zafra hostel.
Thank you Mary, a pilgrim hug for you and I hope and wish that soon we can have a meeting and have a pilgrim meal that we can share and talk about the future and that this situation remains like a bad nightmare.
A hug
Ana Mari

And then on September 21, 2021
Dear Mary: Glad to hear from you. The Vía de la Plata in summer is very dull due to the temperatures and the distance to Santiago. The pilgrims prefer to do the last km and obtain the Compostela.
From Seville it is 1000 km and the Pandemic is not controlled. We really want to be able to stay alone, but with no passing pilgrims it is very hard, so far this year (8 months) not more than 100 pilgrims have passed.
Then we have the problem of electricity, you may have already heard it on the news, we are paying for electricity 4 times more expensive than last year.
But thank God for health we are fine. Most of us are already on the 2 doses and waiting for the third dose, the 6th wave has just started, the youth have not behaved well this summer and now we are suffering the consequences.
How are you out there? Do you think about coming to Spain?
Although at the moment it is not very advisable.
If other shelters do not need your help, we are experiencing some needs, but if others are worse, help them and if later you have some help for us, it will always come in handy and we will continue to be grateful for your donations.
Hopefully one day we will be the ones who can help those who are having a hard time.
Thank you very much for always thinking of us and those who need it.
On Monday I will be in Zafra as a volunteer, Antonio needs to leave there for 3 or 4 days. It is very difficult to wait day after day for a pilgrim to arrive and you can talk to someone. So I have told him that I will spend a few days in the shelter and that he go with one of his brothers, I prefer that he go with his brother José, who is a priest and relaxes with him.
I’m going to rest that it’s already a bit late here, but we’ll keep in touch.
A hug
Ana Mari

From Rebekah Scott, Moratinos, Camino Francés : October 15th, 2021

Najera is OPEN! It opened its doors on 1 October, with two American hospitaleros at the helm, and a Canadian from your neighborhood — Leah Mantic — coming in for the last couple of days. (Leah has now gone to Canfranc, on the Camino Aragones, to serve a stint up there.) Najera is now cut down to 48 beds, with a 24-bed capacity under Covid rules. Beds are divvied-up into “pods” of four, with an electrical outlet for each bunk… The place is MUCH cleaner and brighter than before, and we delivered some nice comfy furniture for a “chill-out corner” yesterday. Please tell your folks to stop in, they will be made welcome!
Note: Rebekah is on the board of FICS (Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago) and they have opened the albergues in Grado on the Camino Primitivo; Canfranc, on the Camno Aragones; and now have fully renovated the Municipal albergue in Nájera

From Tu Casa, Vega de la Villaviciosa, Camino del Norte : June 2020

With an indescribable feeling with tears of emotion I thank your association for the donation I received ~2 hours before. I must share this: one hour before I have given 20€ to another Albergue donativo even if I have no more than 200 for myself and something inside me knows that when you give, you receive… But without to imagine that God is so fast in His Way…
Please, receive my best regards and welcome in “Tu Casa” (your home) on the Camino Norte.
Marina

And April 2021:
Fantastic 💕

Life continues to move me. I love these coincidences! The same day, yesterday, that your donation arrived, the first pilgrim, Laura, presented itself. Synchronicity, the beauty of small miracles, I am in gratitude.

Thank you to each of the members of your association and I hope that some, soon, will pass by “Tu Casa”.

While waiting for better conditions, I am reassured until this summer for the necessary payments. (electricity, insurance, technical inspection of the vehicle …) and until then other miracles will surprise me. I don’t get used to it … and stay amazed every time.

Abrazo grande
Marina

From David Tremblay, hospitalero at EMAUS Albergue in Burgos : September 2021

I wanted to thank you again for your support to the EMAUS Albergue in Burgos, Spain. We have arrived here on Saturday (Sept 18) and we were very pleased to see that the Albergue has been kept in very good condition, thanks in large part to the financial support of your organization.

From Mercedes of the Asociación Jacobea de Almería Camino Mozárabe : May 8 2021

Mis muy queridos amigos!!!! Ya recibimos el pedido gracias a vuestro apoyo y colaboración. Los 8 albergues de peregrinos de hospitalidad del camino mozarabe ya cuentan con las medidas sanitarias para su próxima apertura. Mil gracias de todo corazón❤️❤️❤️❤️
My very dear friends !!!! We have already received the order thanks to your support and collaboration. The 8 albergues on the Camino Mozárabe already have the sanitary measures ready for their next opening. A thousand thanks.

From Gonzalo at Conga 7, Santiago de Compostela

Thank you so much for your donation. Every donation counts and gives me hope and strength to keep fighting!! In Spain, unlike other parts of the world, the help I’ve got from the government doesn’t cover 5% of the regular expenses, not to mention our living expenses. Thank you so much. There are many Canadians who I consider part of my Camino family. I have laughed big time with some of you and will do again soon!!

Thank you all, I hope that soon we can all reunite on the Camino and I will be waiting for you in Santiago!!!! Working in Santiago means you cannot walk the Camino on high season but means making the Camino to be alive, proud to be part of the Camino community and a pilgrim!!!! Mi casa es tu casa!!! My house is your house!!!! Ultreia !!! Buen Camino!!!!

From Casa Las Almas, Espinosa del Camino, Camino Francés : September 19 2021

Since May, life has returned to the Caminos, initially very few but now that more and more countries have lifted the restrictions, the Camino is filling up again. Many Albergues are still closed, especially the public albergues and the church albergues. But also some albergues will not open the doors again, because they have not survived the crisis. Also many bars and restaurants are still closed, they are an important part of the Camino.

We are happy that we have survived this pandemic, both health-wise and financially. There were times when our backs were against the wall financially. But through the support of many, especially through their association, we were able to survive these situations.
The valley should be passed now, but it is still a long way back to normality. The restrictions on the permissible occupancy rate (50%) are causing the most trouble.
However, Spain is on a good way to get through the 5th wave of the pandemic unscathed, thanks to the great discipline of the Spanish citizens, who have largely accepted any restrictions.

Financially, we are doing better now, but we cannot make big leaps yet. However, we can start again with the renovation and the expansion to the planned 12 beds. Poco a poco, as they say here.
We think that everything will develop to the good.

For this we say, thanks for your help.

BUEN CAMINO, ULTREIA Y SUSEIA

Saludos de Espinosa del Camino

Sabine y Ulrich