Adios Allotment and Accountability

Just to mix up things a bit, first a few updates of what has going on lately in my life and then the numbers.

Adios Allotment

Sadly, I lost the allotment. I am still very furious about how I and two of my friends here (Tim and Maggie) have been taken for a ride, so I try to keep this story short and as neutral as possible. Basically the people who hold the paperwork for the allotment (I only had a verbal agreement with them) waited until most of the clearing work (lots of brambles!) was done and then gave it to somebody else, destroying at least 50% of what I had planted already in the process. I am still too furious to write a blog post about this but the good news is that I might have a new allotment soon, I will keep you posted.

May/June Accountability

Once again many days late, but here are the numbers for May (donations) and June (costs) of running my little neighbourhood pantry:

Donations leftover from the previous month: – 128,09 Euros

Donations received in May: 983,57 Euros

Costs of buying supplies (food, basic cleaning supplies plus a bottle of gas to cook the food for one of the families) for the neighbourhood pantry June 2022: 659,73 Euros

Carry over to July: 195,75 Euros

That is how the shelves typically look on a Monday (photo taken this week), by the weekend they are nearly empty. Sorry once again for the bad image quality!

Link to receipts: (This is a ZIP folder, I am on a Mac and take cybersecurity seriously, but please, still scan it before unzipping, it’s just good practice πŸ˜‰

The biggest donation came in via a pilgrim that did a ‘fundraising pilgrimage’ for three good causes here in Santiago, my pantry being one of them.

Also, I had now quite a few pilgrims and/or friends visiting my little pantry and bringing in kind donations. I am always happy to show any- and everybody my little set-up, chat about my neighbours and perhaps you will even meet them. Just contact me a bit beforehand to make sure I am at home.

Too hot to type more, as we are experience a heatwave here in Spain, currently 34C in my flat, but a little advance warning: I will run another Facebook fundraiser this coming weekend to keep the shelves stocked and to provide a bit of extra cheer aka Tartas de Santiago etc for my neighbours. This is an ongoing need.

As always, if you have any questions/comments, please leave them here on the blog!

I am also awaiting the delivery of another shelf (for clothing, shoes and other small, useful items) to be put up on the ground floor. I solemnly promised my landlord it will be the last one πŸ˜‰

Big abrazos (hugs) from Santiago and stay safe and cool wherever you are, SY

Moving, Easter Cheer and Updates

I have decided to refer from now on to my new flat as the ‘penthouse’ as that sounds more positive than third or top floor flat πŸ˜‰ It’s obviously not a real penthouse, but I plan to make it ‘my space’. I still need to get some bits and pieces to achieve that but I am sure I will seen think of it as my home.

Yes, I am now living at the very top πŸ˜‰

So here a random list of updates how things are going in my life and in Santiago/Spain/the Camino in general:


One side effect of the move upstairs was that I had to move my little neighbourhood pantry to the ground floor. I will be forever grateful to my landlord for allowing me to do this! And another big Thank You to Lea and Dan from Canada that helped me get all downstairs and to re-construct the shelves.I am also very happy that the pantry is now a full ‘choice pantry’ from where people can simply take what they need. How it works now is like this:

Doorbell rings, I grab the things I have for them in the fridge and go down and open the door. We chat for a little bit whilst the neighbour fills her or his bag. I take the ‘fridge things’ that weren’t required back up.

Also sorting out my twice weekly deliveries has become much easier. The only things I need to carry upstairs now are those that go in fridge or freezer compartment. The rest gets directly, yes, with first in, first out, in mind, into the shelves.

And one more thing, I don’t know exactly why, but since this is in place, people are far more conscious what they need and when. Perhaps seeing what is available for the week and knowing that they are not the only ones that need the pantry helps with that.

Sorry about the bad image quality! This is how the ground floor looks like now (no worries, nobody lives in the ground floor flat, it’s used as storage area.

Easter Cheer

Easter is very much still a religious festival here in Spain, with solemn processions and services. I am very glad about that! But I also thought that in these difficult times everybody deserves a bit of ‘extra Easter Cheer’, especially the kids! So, thanks to some extra donations, I was able to get some chocolate goodies and, for the 3 month old baby girl, a nice plush toy, found some of my baskets, filled them and prepared this box for the families:


Moving is always stressful, but this move was even more stressful as I had to try two remember which tea towel belonged to which household πŸ˜‰ Remember, I was only the subtenant in the ‘balcony flat’ and it was basically fully equipped with all that was needed. Add to that my own stuff like books, plants etc. you imagine that it was pretty crowded! But poco a poco, little by little, I made progress. My neighbours came every afternoon for three days to help me to carry stuff up and Sister Alicia from the Camino Compagnons helped me on Thursday to get the last of my things upstairs. And then the unpacking and finding the right place for everything started…


Whilst the flat has no outdoor space like a balcony or a terrace, it’s growing quickly on me! I have a large kitchen with plenty of windows (and window sills for the plants) that has gorgeous views over the city. From here I can even see the clock tower or Berenguela of the cathedral with its ‘pilgrim lantern’ that is lit at night in the Holy Years to guide pilgrims to the cathedral. As the kitchen has also enough space, and the best views, I decided to use it also as my workspace for writing etc.

Ok, not the best photo I have ever taken, but the Pilgrim Lantern is the light on the left tower of the Cathedral.

The hallway is long and spacious and has two storage areas, one I am using for more plants (there is a surprise πŸ˜‰ ) and on the other end are some build in shelves that I plan to use as a storage area for in kind donations like clothes, shoes and the like for my neighbours.

The blue fairy lights from the balcony work indoors as well πŸ˜‰

And there is also a small living room that I plan to use both as reading room for me and as ‘absolute emergency accommodation’ for pilgrims in need. Plus my own, big bedroom and a nicely spacious bathroom.


Over 37.000 pilgrims have arrived so far this year here in Santiago and got registered by the Pilgrim’s Office. That are the record numbers we had expected, pre-pandemic, for a Holy Year. Like in other Holy Years, a lot of these record numbers were created by large, religious groups mainly from Spain itself, but also from Portugal and Italy. And pilgrims that walk/bike solo alone or in small Camino families, are mostly from continental Europe. Oversea pilgrims have returned to the Camino, but not, yet, in the numbers we had in previous years. A lot of things have changed on the Camino but another aspect to consider when planning your Camino are budget and:


Like pretty much everywhere else, prices have gone up considerably here in Spain, here a few examples from my own experience and at the end two links to more information. The first article is from before the war in Ukraine started, the second after it started. It’s easy to see how this war is already affecting all of us …

When I moved into the house the orange ‘bombona’ containing gas used for cooking and heating costed around 13,00 Euros, now it’s 19,70.

Last year I could buy 1 litre of full fat UHT milk for 60 cents, now the same milk costs 75 cents.

And, compared to the same month last year, my own electricity bill has nearly doubled.

But perhaps the best example to show how the war in Ukraine affects us all is the price of sunflower oil.

Before the war 1 litre was around 1,20 Euros, now it’s 3,20 Euros. Sunflower oil is used by low income families that can’t afford the more expensive olive oil and also for frying by a number of restaurants and the like.

Here some more examples:

All this now filters down, slowly and steadily, on the Camino. Accommodation and food prices have already risen as have prices for pilgrim’s menus and the like in some places. First the increased costs (masks, extra cleaning material, hand sanitizer) due to the pandemic and now increased costs of energy and produce leave most business owners no other choice than to increase their prices too.

So, in summary, if you want to walk/bike a Camino this year you need to budget for higher costs and accept that there will be a lot of pilgrims with you on the way.


Because of the move and getting the flat ready for the sisters plus decluttering my own belongings I have to confess that the allotment got sadly neglected and some, but not all thankfully, of the weeds have grown back.

So from now on, the garden will be on the top of my to-do list, meaning gardening on rain-free days and writing on rainy days. And yes, I had already help to coming so far! If you are in Santiago and fancy some weeding or simply hanging out in the garden, just contact me!

I think that’s all from me for now. If you have any questions or remarks, please leave them in the comments.

Muchas gracias und hugs from Santiago,


Random Thoughts and Updates

It has been a while since I updated this blog, so here a list of developments here in Santiago, the Camino, Europe and my own life πŸ˜‰

Read on to discover what this photo means πŸ˜‰

Santiago (and basically also the rest of Spain)

We are now firmly on our way out of our sixth wave (Omicron) and all numbers are going steadily down: cases, hospitalizations and deaths. This wave has really shown us that, whilst vaccination doesn’t prevent illness and transmission 100%, it protects to a huge degree from serial illness and death, especially when combined with face mask wearing and being careful when socializing.

Speaking of which, our vaccination rate here in Spain is extremely good and Galicia is, together with Asturias, leading that list. We have already started to vaccinate the 5-11 years old here and many of us, me included, have already received their booster shot.

Speaking of face masks, they still have to be worn here at all times indoors (except when actually eating and/or drinking) and outdoors when you can’t make sure that you can keep a minimum distance of at least 1,5m from people that are not in your same household aka strangers and especially in large groups.


The Camino is more and more opening up after the ‘winter break’ and pilgrim numbers are increasing steadily, comparable to 2019 but lower than we would expect normally for a Holy Year. You can follow the daily numbers here: and the monthly and yearly numbers here

How numbers will be developing this year, only God and Santiago know! We might either have a crazily busy year or a quiet-ish one like last year. It all depends how the pandemic develops, the war between Russia and Ukraine and if the Pope really comes to Santiago in August, too many factors to be sure about anything.


Three things to bear in mind: capacity in some albergues is still reduced, blankets are mostly a thing of the past (too expensive to wash after each pilgrim) and more and more albergues require proof of vaccination before welcoming you. Some, but not all, communal meals have returned and some kitchens have opened again, but Camino life is still very different from BC (Before Covid) times.

Travel Thoughts

As things are ever changing, here the link to the official Spanish travel website: If you plan a Camino, or travel to Spain in general, please check it out regularly. As I wrote earlier, our Covid stats are all moving in the right direction and things looking up on that front (if no new variant comes along!) but we have another problem here in Europe, the war between Ukraine and Russia.

This war is ‘only’ 8days old at the time of writing, but costed already thousands of lives. Nobody knows how the situation will develop and if the war will spread further or not, so PLEASE keep an eye on your own countries travel advisory website, register your travel with them (if possible) and plan enough money in your budget for unforeseen expenses like an earlier flight home. We all here hope and pray that this war will be soon over, please join us in this prayer for peace.

Now to the personal stuff


I am in treatment, both with medication and seeing a psychiatrist (never thought I would need on of these one day!) and doing much better. Not good yet, but better. The panic attacks are very rare now, the anxiety is manageable, but I am still depressed and have low energy levels. On a positive note, I recently managed to pull myself together and spend a long weekend in the south of Spain. It really helped to re-charge my batteries!

Neighbourhood Pantry & Neighbours

Before I went on my short break, I gave the necessary supplies for my absence to M. of whom I think as the patriarch of the families for distribution as they are all related. And it seems to have worked well. I might need to do something similar from mid-April onwards (more about that below). If you want to read up on what the Neighbourhood Pantry is and how it works, here a link to an old-ish blog post that contains a link to an even older one – reverse history so to speak

And some good news! We have a little newborn in one of the family, her name translates to ‘traveler or wanderer’ btw πŸ˜‰ And there was a little ‘coincidence’ for this family. Just days before I had received a donation of a gas heater which they could make good use of now with a newborn in the home. Sadly, they didn’t tell me earlier that they needed a heater, I would have found them one! But now all good and cozy for this little family.

Roundabout Room

The gas heater is a good example how my roundabout room works: A few days previous I got offered a sizeable material donation of clothes, shoes, glasses and yes, the gas heater. As I don’t drive I asked a friend, that does drive, if she could pick it up for me. And in one hour the goodies were in the house. As the heater was missing the tube and gas regulator, she brought me these, that she didn’t need anymore, the next day when she also brought me my fruit and vegetable box from: Muchas Gracias, Cristina!


And more good news, I found an allotment less then 5 minutes walk from my place where I will plant fruit and vegetables for and hopefully with my neighbours. All going well it will stop raining tomorrow and I get started weeding (see photo above ;-). I am already pre-growing plants like tomatoes and peppers in the house.


Yes, I have to move again, but thank God only in the same house, to the third floor. The reason being that I am only a subtenant in this flat. It was originally meant to be my ‘winter flat’ for 6 months in 2019/2020, but we all know what happened, so 2,5 years later I am still here. But the original tenants come back mid-April and need their flat back. Thankfully there is an empty flat (without a balcony, sigh) on the third floor that I can rent. And apparently the rent is even a bit cheaper, always welcome! That is why I wrote earlier that I might need to restructure the neighbourhood pantry system a bit, three flights of stairs are a lot with full food boxes every day!

Plans for this Year

All of the above, and helping pilgrims wherever and however I can πŸ˜‰

So, I think that’s all thank you for reading until the end!


Egeria House and Starfishes

When people hear for the first time of Egeria House, they often think of it as a big, established center with a huge sign at the door and paid staff, or something similar.

Truth is that Egeria House is more a way of life for me, not bound to a particular place and, no, there is no ‘staff’, only me at the moment.

Egeria herself was a Galician woman and made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land in the 4th century. Not only that, she also wrote about her journey and the things she saw. Her account of the Easter celebration in Jerusalem is the oldest one that exists and has kept liturgists happy ever since.

When I lived in England, I was intrigued by the fact that many houses there, in addition to numbers, also had names. When I moved to Santiago, I wanted the place where I lived to have a name that was meaningful to me, so it became Egeria House.

As for starfishes, if you have ever met me in person, I will, most likely, have told you this tale already, if that is the case, feel free to skip to the next paragraph.

A man was walking at the beach early one morning, after a bad storm. He was saddened as he noticed the hundreds and hundreds of stranded starfishes that would certainly die when the sun came up and dried them out. As he walked further and further, he noticed another man coming towards him, but he was bending down, picking something up and throwing it in the sea. As he came closer, he realized that the other man was picking up starfishes and throwing them back. β€œYou fool”, he said, β€œthere are hundreds of them on this beach alone. You are not making any difference.” The other man bend down, picked up a starfish and said calmly: β€œBut I can make a difference for this one.” And throw it back into the sea.

And that is what we all can do:

Helping one ‘starfish’ at a time, because a multitude of small acts of kindness WILL change the world – for the better, keeping the Camino spirit alive in our own communities.

Ongoing – Neighborhood Pantry Fundraiser

Please help me to continue to help my neighbors here in Santiago (background story here: to have a great feast for Saint James Day and also to provide food security for them in the weeks and months to come. Every little helps – a lot!

What your donations will be used for:

Most importantly, good food like fresh fruit and vegetables plus stables like milk, pasta, rice, canned pulses and the like.

Daily box for one family … Covid-safe pick-up for up, four families a day at the moment.

One of my neighbors has special dietary needs due to diabetes and related complications (heart/kidneys) so a lot of special food (salt and sugar free mostly) is required.

Basic house cleaning products (washing up liquid, bleach, floor cleaner) plus face masks, hand soap and sanitizer to keep them and everybody in the neighborhood safe.

Diapers/nappies, baby soap and so on for their (grand) children.

I also want to move furniture, again!, to free a bedroom in the flat and to create a better storage space (the hallway is getting crowded!) and I would like to add more shelves to it to accommodate in kind donations of clothes, books, and toys etc that are already coming in via various sources.

Decent clothes are very important to maintain people’s dignity and to increase their chances of finding a job. Like it or not, clothes make the (wo)man – that is the reality.

I also want to continue to grow plants (herbs, flowers and edibles) for my neighbours to cheer them up. Low income families simply don’t have the resources to do that themselves but they really do appreciate the possibility to just pick up some free plants from the box on my door step. So far I have distributed 250+ plants this year, hopefully enabling kids to observe and learn how plants grow.

As it is the feast of Saint James this Sunday, I really want to add some extra ‘treats’ like Tarta de Santiago and children’s toys because I strongly believe that if you live in Santiago, you should be able to celebrate and enjoy this day, especially in a Holy Year!, no matter your income level.

As for pilgrims, I continue to help them online plus I have given those that ‘knocked at the door’ gear and food as needed since the pandemic started. Granted, very few did so, but those I helped were in need.

Once I am fully vaccinated, which should be end of August, I plan to offer again hospitality to pilgrims in need aka those without resources. I do NOT plan to make any competition to existing albergues/hostels/hotels and the like, as they are already fighting for their survival and that of their families. But if it will be the choice between ‘under the bridge/on the streets’, or Egeria House, I will be open for them in future with no questions asked.

Ways you can help:

You can use this direct link to donate via PayPal:c

Or on this same website, go to the top right corner and you’ll find the donation buttons that allows you to donate directly with your debit/credit card or PP account.

If you prefer to use (Transfer)Wise just just contact me for my details via any of this ways:

If you can’t donate, please share this post via social media.

Thank you in the name of my neighbors for all your ongoing help during this, continuing, challenging times for all of us, SY

Egeria House 2021.1

Like many other pilgrims I had planned to walk a Camino during these days. I wanted to start in Roncesvalles and reach Santiago on 24th July 2021, for the vigil of the feast of Saint James. My first Camino was in 1999, also a Holy Year, but as I walked it in winter I never experienced the ‘craziness’ of a such a year. So, I have always said: I have experienced a Holy Year (2004) as a hospitalera, now I want to experience it as a pilgrim, before I am too old to sleep on the floor! So, why I am still here in Santiago? As it’s a while since I wrote the last blog post, here some random updates and tentative lookouts in the future.

These statues mark the spot from where pilgrims can see the spires of the Cathedral for the first time. Monte de Gozo – The Mountain of Joy.

Covid, the Caminos and Spain

Good news first: Vaccination seems to work very well and prevents serious illness and death in most people, even with the Delta variant being now firmly established here in Spain.

Unfortunately there is also a bit of bad news, it doesn’t seem to protect 100% and that means that people that are vaccinated can be also asymptomatic carriers and continue to spread the virus. Also, case numbers are the highest among unvaccinated young people and teenagers, those who, sadly, seem not be willing, a lot of the time, to adhere to the guidelines. But whilst case numbers are rising steeply across all of Spain, hospitalisation and death rates are increasing only very slowly but sadly steadily.

You can follow the statistics for Spain here:

And if you can read Spanish, or use a translator app or similar, Quincemil has the best coverage of the Covid situation here in Galicia:

For entry requirements to Spain, Portugal and France, please follow Marion’s blog here: She updates it at least once a week, usually on Sundays, and her information is always spot on and backed up by official sources.

Also, follow the guidelines of your home country regarding travel to/from and check if your airline or similar has any additional requirements like a negative test and the like.

For EU residents, plus those of a few other countries, the EU Digital COVID Certificate is now active, more information here:

As for the Caminos, all of them are open, there are no movement restrictions at the moment that affect pilgrims and they arrive each day here in Santiago (see

Not all albergues are open and those that are, operate at reduced capacity, 30-75% depending on their layout and local/regional guidelines.

So, yes, walking or biking a Camino is perfectly possible BUT it is recommended:

To bring your own sleeping bag as pretty much all albergues have put away their blankets. It’s simply too expensive for them to wash them after each pilgrim.

To reserve a bed. Even most of the albergues that operated in the past on a ‘first come, first served’ base, allow now reservations.

Note: Xunta albergues here in Galicia have just done away with this and are back to the ‘no reservation possible’ system.

On the more frequented Caminos I would recommend to reserve 1-2 days ahead, on the ones with less infrastructure, more planning is necessary to avoid too long stages.

If your next travel destination requires you to have a negative test, you need to book them well in advance and also ask them how long it will take to have the result. Sergas, the Galician health authority, maintains a list of laboratories here: plus the tourist office here in Santiago has also a current list.

I know now of several pilgrims that struggled to get their test in time to be allowed to board their flight home, so book your appointment early and make sure you book the right test with the correct time frame for your home country/next destination! Additionally to the list mentioned above, you can also try

Face Masks

The guidelines here in Spain have been relaxed and are now:

Indoors – Face masks have to be worn at all times, except when eating, drinking or sleeping or if you are in a space like a dormitory or hotel room where only members of the same household are present, for example if a family group of pilgrims has a dormitory all for themselves.

Outdoors – Face masks don’t have to be worn anymore IF you can keep a social distance of at least 1,5m from everybody that doesn’t belong to the same household as you. Which works well on the Camino but becomes more difficult to judge when you enter a village, town or city. Please err on the side of caution and wear your face mask if in doubt.

It is still important to follow the local news as the situation can change quickly, especially when it comes to at which capacity restaurants and cafes are allowed to operate and what their opening hours are.

Pilgrims also report that a lot of the ‘in between places’ where you stopped for a second breakfast and the all important CafΓ© con Leche in the past, are closed. So make sure you have enough water and snacks with you to get you to your day’s destination.

Pilgrim Numbers

This week the pilgrim’s office registered record numbers, with up to 1626 pilgrims (11th July and the highest number this year so far). This is most likely due to larger groups now arriving in Santiago, often school and/or college kids that come as an organized group. And here might emerge a problem.

Walking a Camino is still one of the safest activities you can do in these times, alone, in small groups (preferable from the same household). But take a bunch of kids, sometimes several hundred at once, load them in a bus and bring them to a starting point and walk the Camino with them?

In my opinion it’s completely unrealistic to expect that they stick to guidelines like face mask wearing and social distancing. We have already seen this here in Spain (off the Camino) when several school groups made end of year trips to Mallorca, had parties there and spread the virus among themselves and others.

They needed to be brought home by special buses and ambulances and are now in home quarantine, together with several hundred others that they came in close contact with. Sadly, a similar scenario, for big groups, is also possible on the Caminos, which would be devastating on so many levels.

And if you want to watch pilgrims live, here is the web cam that shows the Praza do Obradoiro in front of the Cathedral in Santiago:

Neighbourhood Pantry

I plan to write a longer post about this soon, so here just a short summary (backstory here:

Typical distribution box.

It has now been months since the doorbell wasn’t ringing at least once, more often it rings two or three times, a day.

There are now 4 families, with a total of ~16 people, depending on my little neighbourhood pantry for food and other essentials.

Recently there was a steep increase in cost of electricity here in Spain, so many of the low income families face now the impossible choice of paying their electricity bills or putting enough food on the table.

Add to this that school holidays have begun, this means also that school lunches have stopped.

So, I plan to move some furniture around (again!) to create a better and bigger storage area in one of the bedrooms.

Current storage area.

Friends of mine are continuing to collect things like books, toys, shoes and clothing among their own friends and bring them to me. I sort them and distribute them among those of my neighbours that need this kind of help.

People are judged by their clothing far to often, so having access to good outfits is important to people’s self esteem and to how they are treated by those around them. Sadly clothing and dignity go hand in hand in many of our societies.

Sorted and ready to go …

If you are interested in the whole topic of ‘neighbours helping neighbours’, have a look at Lots of excellent information there!

And if you want to support what I do here in Santiago for both neighbours and pilgrims, you can find the donation button at the top right corner of the website πŸ˜‰


Last year I started far too late with growing plants on my balcony but earlier this year I promised myself, and silently my neighbours, that it will be a riot of colours this year to cheer everybody up. And so far, I think I have succeeded!

Colour for the neighbourhod.

The balcony is not only incredible helpful for my own emotional well-being but also produces things I can share with my neighbours and flowers to brighten up the neighbourhood in general and hopefully lift everybody’s spirits a bit.

Apart of flowers, I am able to grow:

Enough chives, parsley and rucola/rocket salad to share around.

Cherry tomatoes are looking extremely promising and should provide an excellent harvest in a few weeks.

Top row: Calendula, parsley and chives. Bottom row: Cherry tomatoes and Padron peppers.

Other things that I grow (and hopefully will provide a good harvest):

Padron peppers (looking also good and are about to flower), Brussel sprouts, butternut squash, cucumbers, lemon basil, Calendula (also to make oil for my hands that suffer from too much soap and sanitizer), garlic (more for fun and mainly to keep pests off the other plants), mint and a variety of little house plants that I grow for my neighbours like loquat and Swedish Ivy (which is not Swedish, nor an ivy ;-).

Plants for my neighbours, I just put them before the house door for pick up.

In short: I am surprised each day how, with a bit of planning, I can grow not only enough produce for myself, but a surplus to share with others, on a balcony that roughly measures 1x3meters. The climate here in Galicia is a huge help with this!

Yes, you can grow cucumbers on a balcony.

Plants I found less ideal for the balcony:

Radishes and carrots (they need too much space for the harvest they produce) and the word on the papayas is still out πŸ˜‰

Peas, they should be ideal for growing in the Galician climate, but after a short burst, they just died on me ;-( I need to experiment with bigger/deeper pots for them.


I am emotionally and mentally exhausted by the ongoing need for social distancing as I am still not vaccinated.

The good news is that I will receive my first jab on Wednesday 14th July and the second one around 8 weeks later. That means that from beginning of October I might be able to hug my equally fully vaccinated, by then, friends again. I haven’t touched or being touched by another human being since beginning March 2019 and I crave hugs and just normal social interaction. It has been such a long haul …

This Year’s and Future Projects

I have been asked if Egeria House will ‘open’ this year, the truth is that that it never has really closed. But yes, most of my Camino related activities have been, and will be for the time being online and/or socially distanced.

There have been pilgrims over the last 16 months that came to the house for food and/or replacement equipment and pilgrims that needed help to navigate their journey back home (test, travel restrictions etc).

I also still do Zoom meetings for pilgrims for a Facebook group and help with a CSJ (Confraternity Saint James, London, UK) Zoom meeting.

I tried several times to update my book but every time I finished a paragraph, things changed again. So I am now offering one-to-one Zoom or Skype meetings on a donation base, more info here:

Feel free to like the page and to recommend it, as it’s a donation project there is no risk involved πŸ˜‰

I also continue to maintain so if you know of an albergue or other Camino related business that should be on this list, but isn’t, please ask them to contact me and I will add them.

What will 2022 bring?

If vaccines, and their boosters, continue to work and if everybody that can get vaccinated gets vaccinated we might see a Holy Year 2022 that is as ‘normal’ as possible in these strange times. Which means really busy and crazy (in the good sense). Let’s hope and pray that this happens.

For vaccination progress in Spain see:

And for current data here in Galicia:

And if it does, Egeria House and I will offer hospitality and common meals agin, just like in the good old times which now seem to be so far away …

All the best from Santiago, SY

Tales from Two Houses

Some time ago Dave Whitsun from the Camino Podcast contacted me and asked if I would agree to an interview, and, after giving it some thought, I said yes. Below the result. The Podcast is entitled ‘Tales from Two Houses’ because it first features and interview with Nate and Faith from Pilgrim House and then my bit regarding all the different versions Egeria House has gone through over the last few years. After the Podcast, you find a very short list of links that you might find helpful.


And yes, here is also the link to my own Amazon Author page:

Santiago Updates November 2020

Yesterday was one of those rare days, for this time of year when the sun was shining and the sky was a gorgeous blue. So I went for a walk through town to take some photos …

Allotments, town hall and cathedral.

As I walked I noticed how quiet the city has become again. There are many reasons for this:

Perimeter Confinement
Like in many other parts of Spain, non-essential travel in and out of Santiago isn’t allowed anymore. This means that there aren’t any tourists and other visitors coming into the city. The only ones allowed to travel to/from Santiago are people that work here and live somewhere else or vice versa, need to visit a doctor, an office, schools, and other educational institutions. As for …

Rua do Villar, only us locals around.

Pilgrim Numbers
There is one exception to the ‘no non-essential travel rule’ and this was made for pilgrims that started their Camino before the 30th of October and can prove this with stamps in their pilgrim passport. These pilgrims are allowed to continue to Santiago, collect, if they wish so, their Compostela, and then must travel home. And no, they can’t continue to Fisterra and/or Muxia. That means that pilgrim numbers have dropped considerably, the last few days <50 pilgrims arrived each day and the number is dropping each day more. For the moment the Pilgrim Office is still open, but Pilgrim House has already closed for this winter.

Nobody is waiting before the Pilgrim Office.

Nightly Curfew
From 23:00 to 06:00 we have now a curfew, meaning we all need to stay at home unless we have an essential reason (health, work, care for others, and the like) to go out. That is the one restriction that affects me the least, in these times and with our winter weather, I prefer anyway to stay home in the evenings.

Closure of Bars, Cafes, and Restaurants
Whilst albergues, hotels, and pensions are allowed to stay open but have very few clients due to the travel restrictions, all bars, cafes, and restaurants are closed until, at least, the beginning of December. They are only allowed to offer take-away and home delivery services. Needless to say, that will be a death blow for many of the smaller ones that have already suffered so much.

No Socialising
That is the hardest one for me, as I am living alone. Officially we aren’t even allowed to meet up with someone, that doesn’t live in the same household, for a walk. No idea how that can be controlled but that are the rules. Visits to each other’s homes are also prohibited unless you provide care for an elderly relative and similar cases. With Pilgrim House now closed for the winter, my real-life interactions are pretty much reduced to chats with the neighbours from my balcony and chance encounters in the street. As much as I appreciate Zoom and similar platforms, it is simply not the same.

Other Restrictions
There are some more restrictions in place like the number of people allowed in a shop at the same time, for example, but all non-essential shops and services are, at the moment, allowed to stay open. But with close to no visitors to the city, many small shops that rely on tourists for their trade, have decided to close down. Some might never open again. Also, masks must be worn at all times outside our own homes, only exceptions small children under six.

Camino Situation
Bearing in mind the ever-changing restrictions and perimeter confinements, many albergues have now closed down earlier than usual for the winter. Whilst the Camino isn’t officially closed, the travel restrictions and insecure accommodation situation make a pilgrimage very difficult, if not impossible, at these times.

Holy Door and Holy Year
The only thing we know so far for sure is that Don Julian, the archbishop of Santiago de Compostela, will open the Holy Door on the 31st December 2020 to inaugurate the Holy Year 2021. How many people will be allowed to attend will depend on the pandemic situation at that time. Also, so far, the question of if the Holy Year will be extended into 2022, something the archbishop has to ask from the pope, has always been answered with: β€œThat will be decided closer to the time.” Which could well mean that this will be decided some when in the first half of 2021.

The renovation of the cathedral continues.

Sorry that this is a bit of a doom and gloom post again, but that is the situation here. Stay well, safe, and sane, and keep your distance from everybody that doesn’t live in the same household as you. So that, when this is over, and we can see each other again, nobody is missing.

Just some lovely autumn colours …