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 😉

Read on to discover what this photo means 😉

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: https://oficinadelperegrino.com/ and the monthly and yearly numbers here https://catedral.df-server.info/est/index.html

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: https://travelsafe.spain.info/en/ 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 https://egeria.house/santiago-day-neighborhood-pantry-fundraiser/

And some good news! We have a little newborn in one of the family, her name translates to ‘traveler or wanderer’ btw 😉 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: https://www.facebook.com/aHortadaAvoa 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 😉

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


8 thoughts on “Random Thoughts and Updates”

  1. ❤️
    Love to read your updates on real life there. I hope your health continues on the positive trajectory.
    Your work is much appreciated Xx

    1. Hi Annie,
      Remember the big, blue Ikea bag that was in your parcel I ‘rescued’ from the hotel? I gave it to one of my families. Every time M. comes to pick up supplies, I am thinking of you 😉

      BC SY

  2. Dear Sybil
    Thank you for the very helpful links 🙂
    Very best wishes and good health to you.

  3. Sybil,
    after such a long time with the Pandemic it is really no surprise to hear of depression levels and stress rising. I am pleased to hear that you are taking some advice and have managed to get away for some ‘Me’ time in the South of Spain.
    I myself am living in Sunny Hungary and am also feeling the stress levels rising! But am wanting to help out some of the families, mothers with young children and give them some shelter in my own home; I have enough room for my own needs and feel a lot of solidarity with our neighbouring Ukraine.
    I am looking forward myself this coming Spring to be able to walk the Camino Primitivo.

    I wish you well and hopefully with the coming year and more Pilgrims things will start to pick up on all fronts.

  4. I am so happy that you are doing better. You looked wonderful in the pictures that Johnnie posted while you were on holiday. Keep up the good work, one day at a time.
    Blessings to you from WIsconsin.

    1. I try hard to do just that 😉 I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and she was very pleased with my progress!

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