NEWS – CAMINO CANCELLED for CORONAVIRUS COVID-19

Cerrado el Camino

Trip cancelled? Help friends and loved-ones keep the dream of walking El Camino de Santiago (the Way of St James) alive

The Spanish Government has announced major measures against the Coronavirus which will impact heavily on those planning or wishing to walk El Camino de Santiago this year. And, in effect, at the moment, El Camino is closed.

Camino de Santiago closed?

In consequence of the spread of this COVID-19 virus, the hostels, albergues and other shelters along much and many parts of the Camino de Santiago are closed – as indeed is the Cathedral de Santiago itself, and the associated Pilgrim Office.

But most pilgrims and other travellers are keeping their faith and planning to achieve their goal of doing a Camino – and friend / relatives are busy consoling them and wishing them good luck in achieving their goal at a future date.

If anyone wants to send a small gift of condolence to a friend or loved-one who has had to cancel their long-planned Camino, we offer some little items in our shop online that could perhaps help them to  keep the dream alive  .

There is no escaping the fact that, even if someone is still intending to travel along Spain’s famous Way of St James, it would be extremely difficult at the moment – if not actually impossible. At the very least, the spread of COVID-19 over the Iberian Peninsular is causing a distinct lack of support services such as accommodation, as well as the issue of personal and community or social health and wellbeing.

Coronavirus has closed the Camino
Shattered dreams? Cortesía de la Oficina de Correos

Considerable alarm has now overcome the country, and especially in the northern regions of Spain which traditionally attract foreign visitors onto the Camino at this time of year (peaking after Easter) from all parts of the globe.

The overall situation will be reviewed again at the end of March – but things are unlikely to improve because the virus will not have run its full course – according to the experts. In fact, it could be at its height in April.

Pilgrims and other travellers or walkers who want more information about the feasibility of a journey along all the different routes should check with regional offices. (The Spanish health system’s Twitter accounts are also a good source of information).

Disappointment for Camino travellers – and Spanish hosteleros

To say that the Spanish are sad about the inconvenience this has caused to the pilgrims who are currently travelling (or who had planned to travel on a trip in the future) is an understatement.

And of course, the travellers or pilgrims themselves are also very upset by this latest news but, judging by the forums online, people are taking the news with some stoicism, realising that the decision has been taken for their own (as well as others’) safety.

Travelling Camino de Santiago
Empty Camino – Coronavirus has killed this famous route for early 2020

Much of the infrastructure of the Camino routes is being shut down and attempting to walk using the traditional routes would now be almost impossible. In effect, all such journeys are cancelled at the moment.

FICS issues official warning

FICS – La Fraternidad Internacional del Camino de Santiago issued an official notice on Thursday 12th March stating that “in the face of the recent events of the Coronavirus, and also of the responsibility we have to our pilgrims and volunteers, we advise all pilgrims not to undertake the Jacobean pilgrimage at the moment nor until the situation is normalised . . and to heed the warnings of the health authorities without question.”

On Saturday 14th March, the Spanish Government went a stage further by limiting the circulation or the presence of persons or vehicles at certain times and in certain places and limiting or rationing the use of services or the consumption of essential items. This is, in a word, lockdown, as we have already witnessed in Italy.

In the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to the regions that the Spanish Ministry of Health has designated as an area of community transmission of the Coronavirus.

The famous Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela is now officially closed, as is the attendant Pilgrim’s Office, and those arriving to receive their Credencial are being asked to leave a completed application form in a box outside. Cathedral Mass in English has been suspended until the Pilgrims’ Centre re-opens . . and nobody knows when that will be.

Keep the Camino dream alive

On a more positive note, many of the comments on the forums (in particular the caminodesantiago.me run by Ivar), have been more upbeat:

“Santiago will still be there in a couple of months!” says another.
“This is not a disaster, disappointing sure, and inconvenient, but this too will pass. Santiago will wait”
“The Camino isn’t going anywhere, it will be here waiting for a better time to walk.”
The Camino has existed for over a thousand years and will still be waiting for us in years to come.

But disappointment is palpable too: “I read this (news) with a very heavy heart as the older I get the less time I have to wait!” said one commentator.

If anyone wants to send a small gift of condolence to a friend or loved-one who has had to cancel their long-planned Camino, we offer some little items in our shop online that could perhaps help them to  keep the dream alive . Also see gifts to help achieve goals  in our online shop.

I read this news with a very heavy heart as the older I get the less time I have to wait

 

St MICHAELS WAY ENGLISH CAMINO in CORNWALL UK

Camino of St Michaels Way

The English Camino is called St Michael’s Way and it is in Cornwall, UK. It is not the same as El Camino Inglés which is a short Camino across the northern tip of Spain.

The English Camino was used by early Christian pilgrims (as well as other travellers) coming from Wales and Ireland who wanted to travel to Santiago de Compostela, but to avoid the treacherous and unsafe waters off the English coast at Land’s End, and thus arrive safely in La Coruña in northern Spain. They would leave their boats on the north Cornish coast near St Ives, walk the relatively short route across the peninsular to St Michael’s Mount and re-embark on other ships or boats to continue their journey by sea to northern Spain (and southern France).

See  CAMINO JEWELLERY  in our SHOP

Throughout Europe there are several pilgrim routes which lead to the Cathedral of St James in Santiago de Compostela, North West Spain – the third most important and religious place of Christian pilgrimage in the world. These are all collectively known as El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. But unknown to many is the St Michael’s Way Trail, in the county of Cornwall, on the southwestern tip of England, which is also one of these routes.

The Cornish Camino Celtic Way
Courtesy Google Maps

Safe travels – avoiding shipwreck!

This ancient path was used by travellers (and later by pilgrims and missionaries) to avoid crossing the dangerous waters around Land’s End, a notorious area off the Cornish coast said to contain more shipwrecks than anywhere else in the world. This overland route of early Christian travellers was one of the reasons behind the early conversion of Cornish people to the Christian faith.

See  JEWELLERY TO WISH SAFE TRAVELS  in our shop online

Little steps – a small adventure on the Cornish Celtic Way as an introduction to a full Camino

The St Michael’s Way (also known as the Cornish Camino or Celtic Way) is the only pilgrimage route in Britain that is officially part of a European Cultural Route, and it is a genuine British leg of the Camino to Santiago. It is only about 12 miles long but it connects five churches, four holy wells, two hill-forts, two standing stones, and two disappeared chapels, and is set in incredible scenery and unique countryside deep in the heart of Cornwall.

The Cornish Camino – a great introduction to a Spanish Camino

Walking the 20kms of St Michael’s Way now counts towards the 100km minimum required to receive one of the famed Compostelas (Pilgrim Certificates) in Santiago, when walkers arrive in the Pilgrim Office at the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (where, it is said, lie the remains of St James the Greater . . hence the other name of this famous route: The Saint James Way). Once ashore in northern Spain, travellers can walk (or cycle) the relatively short Camino Inglés (from La Coruña into Santiago).

The English Camino – the Cornish Celtic Way

The British-based part of this Camino stretches across the Cornish peninsular from Lelant (near St. Ives in the north) to Marazion (near Penzance in the south) and covers around 12 miles of beautiful landscapes and spectacular scenery (including Carbis Bay – a UNESCO World Heritage Site). As is the norm in Spain, Portugal and southern France, the correct route to follow in the UK is indicated by the traditional Pilgrim’s symbol of a Scallop Shell (the symbol of St. James, because his remains, when discovered, were said to have been covered in these shells that are so common on the northern coast of Spain). In fact, a sort of stylised shell based on the Council of Europe’s sign for pilgrim routes is used with directional arrows in yellow for footpaths, blue for bridleways and red for byways.

Why not wish safe travels to a friend or loved-one going on a special journey, with a gift of Scallop Shell jewellery from our online shop, as well as other  GIFTS FOR LUCK and GOOD FORTUNE TRAVELLING  on a trip. It has deep sigificance that is based on the real history of the Camino.

As for St Michael himself, after whom this English Camino is named (as opposed to St James in Spain), more can be read here on our website:  GUARDIAN ANGELS and St. MICHAEL ARCHANGEL  . St Michael is one of the Guardian Angels (an Archangel) that is said to be a protector. He is also the patron Saint of Cornwall (as well as of the military and police too) and also, evidently . . of high places, which tends to explain why, if you ever discover a Church called Saint Michael, it is invariably located on the top of a hill.

You can also source jewellery and charms for protection with the symbol of  ST MICHAEL  Guardian Angel, in our shop.

Planning a full Camino de Santiago adventure? Good Luck!

Eventually, as you wind your way down to the coast and off the St Michaels Way, you arrive at your journey’s end in Marazion (before embarking for Spain, if that is what you plan to do). Here you will find yourself overlooking St Michael’s Mount (the Cornish counterpart of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy, France), an 8th Century monastery subsequently given to the Benedictine religious order of Mont Saint-Michel by Edward the Confessor in the 11th Century. Your English or Cornish Camino has come to an end – but it could be the beginning of something much grander – a full Camino de Santiago de Compostela . . in Spain!

¡Buen Camino!

 

PS: There is, in fact, another Camino in England: A 110km-long route from the ruins of Reading Abbey (founded by Henry I in 1121, and the centre of the cult of St James in England in the Middle Ages), to the port of Southampton, from where pilgrims also used to sail to France or Spain on their way to the tomb of St James at Santiago de Compostela. But this is even less well known than the St. Michael’s Way!

TRAVEL JEWELLERY – wish travel-lovers safe journey and luck

Travel jewellery bracelet girl

Jewellery for travel lovers – is there such a thing? Travel-inspired jewellery? Wanderlust jewellery? Safe travel jewellery, like a safe travel necklace, for example, and jewellery to wish a safe journey is common these days. Why? What makes the best travel jewellery gift? Read on:

Travel talismans and amulets have existed for centuries – the most popular Western figurehead of travel probably being St Christopher, often depicted on safe travel necklaces and bracelets. But other talismans for safe travel feature Runes, lucky Gemstones and Crystals, Compasses and World charms – even depictions of Noah, mankind’s original travel icon, fleeing danger in his Ark.

Noah had a travel talisman
Noah had a travel talisman on his Ark

See our Good Luck Gift shop for  JEWELLERY to WISH LUCK / SAFETY on a TRIP  . .

But apart from St Christopher, how much travel inspired jewellery features or depicts something with provenance that people have put their faith in for centuries? For example, simple Latin crosses; other Christian Saints like St Michael, St Benedict or indeed, the Camino cross of Saint James (or its associated Scallop shell way-marker symbol often seen along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St James)). And we mustn’t forget the children’s favourite, the ever-present Guardian Angel.

Much folklore, legend and superstition surrounds travel jewellery: Safe travel charms are as old as Noah’s Ark itself. Some are even USEFUL when travelling: Noah is said to have hung a huge crystal of garnet on the bowsprit of his Ark to light the way ahead and deliver him and his crew to safety from the Great Flood.

(See some  SAFE TRAVEL GIFTS / JEWELLERY  in our online store.)

Our Travellers Cross Whistle makes a great travel necklace gift for a friend or loved-one going on a journey (or a Gap Year, for example) because it combines the symbol of the cross of St James (or the scallop shell) engraved onto the silver) combined with an actual safety whistle that can be sounded in an emergency by blowing. We have a small selection in our shop which would make an ideal gift for someone travelling.

Apart from a travel necklace adorned with safe travel charms (or well-known and respected protection charms like St Christopher, St Michael, or a Guardian Angel for example), travel jewellery rings are also common as gifts when someone is going away on a journey . . to wish them well and a speedy and safe return home.

The best jewellery for travel and for travel-lovers has both meaning and gravitas, i.e. it has REAL significance: That is to say, in addition to any value that the travel charm symbol has in itself, or the religious faith that it might represent, it can also act as a reminder to be careful when travelling: And this can be a powerful aid to staying safe whilst away from home.

See some GOLD and SILVER NECKLACES for LUCK and SAFEKEEPING  in our shop

In Spain they have the lucky Indalo as a protector from harm; In Western Asia and parts of Europe, Africa and Latin America they have the Evil Eye; In the Middle East and North Africa they have the Hamsa – also known as the Hand of Fatima to Jews; and so on. The list is long, so the important thing is to find something that the recipient of a travel jewellery gift actually BELIEVES in . . something in which they can trust.

And remember, a travel talisman is said to bring good luck, whereas a travel amulet is intended to ward off evil or bad luck when on a trip.

See some  BRACELETS gifted to PROTECT  in our Good Luck Gift Shop

In the 21st Century, we are still superstitious about good luck, bad luck and misfortune: We are as mindful of luck and good fortune today, as our ancestors were hundreds (even thousands) of year ago. Indeed, so many people avoid the number 13, for example, that it is often absent from the floor of a hotel or the seat number on an aeroplane. The tradition of touching wood (or ‘knocking on wood’) dates back thousands of years . . and yet we still do it.

Wanderlust jewellery with a “good luck’ and “safe travel” meaning is as popular today as it was 500 years ago – perhaps more so. The St Christopher charm as a piece of safe travel jewellery is a very common gift – on travel necklaces, travel bracelets and other travel inspired jewellery, as is the Camino bracelet with the Scallop Shell talisman.

We have lots of of safe travels bracelets, necklaces, charms and other jewellery – and, if your friend of loved-one is thinking of going on the Camino de Santiago in France/Portugal/Spain, we sell a lot of travel memory necklaces related to the Way of St James – and life’s camino in general.

See our Good Luck Gift Shop for  EARRINGS for LUCK and SAFEKEEPING  travelling on a journey

So, in conclusion, what travel jewellery gifts are best? Nothing too expensive (because they’re travelling!); Nothing too cheap or tacky (it’s a gift, right!); And something with REAL meaning; Something that will last.

We think that we have found the perfect offering in our online Good Luck Gift shop enabling everyone to find something suitable for their friend, loved-one or work colleague who is going away on a journey – to wish them luck and safety along the way.

Travel whistle silver chain
Travel whistle on a silver chain, engraved with the Travellers Cross

For example, our unique safe travel necklace featuring a Travellers Cross whistle marked up with the Cross of Saint James (which is a great symbol for travellers) or la Vieira Concha – the Scallop shell symbol of El Camino de Santiago (possibly the greatest journey in the world). Yes, we really do offer the best jewellery for travel – meaningful, practical, prestigious and affordable . . great necklaces for travel lovers, bracelets for someone’s special camino . . a travel talisman with real significance – travel jewellery WITH MEANING.

See our shop for Travellers Cross Whistle: Safe travel jewellery with a practical use: If you get into difficulty, you can blow the whistle.

 

Santiago de Compostela and Feast of St James

Santiago_de_Compostela_Cathedral

Tonight’s the night . . in Santiago de Compostela! Ten interesting facts you didn’t know about Camino de Santiago and St James

On the evening of 24th July, in the Plaza del Obradoiro (the main square of Santiago de Compostela old town, to the west of the Cathedral), there is a mass display of fireworks (Fuegos del Apóstol) to mark the start of the main part of the fiesta dedicated to Saint James in, Galicia, Spain.

Camino de Santiago symbols

Santiago or Saint James, is the Patron Saint of all Spain. The annual Feast of Saint James (Día de Santiago) takes places in Santiago de Compostela on 25th July and is a public holiday in Galicia. The city is one of the most symbolic in Spain and, whenever you visit, you can be sure to see many pilgrims – religious ones as well as those who simply enjoy the scenic journey along the Camino de Santiago (mostly across northern Spain).

Many of the walkers or journeymen (or women) will carry the traditional walking staff and/or one of the three main symbols of “El Camino” – the St James Cross (Cruz de Santiago), the Scallop Shell (la Concha de Vieira) or the yellow Waymarker symbol).

See some of the symbols on  CAMINO de SANTIAGO JEWELLERY – JOYAS del CAMINO  in our store online

Each year, some 200,000 people travel the Camino from all over the world: Some walk, others travel by bike. Many travellers choose to do the Camino for personal, rather than any spiritual or religious reasons – taking time out from their busy modern lives and perhaps finding inspiration along the way, whilst reflecting on their life in a supportive environment. Everyone experiences the journey in a different way.

Souvenir of Camino Santiago and Jewellery with meaning

At the journey’s end, when they arrive in the capital city of Santiago de Compostela (and more especially, at the Cathedral) most will hope receive their “Compostela” – the official recognition from the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago that they have successfully completed the Camino.

See some  JEWELLRY with MEANING and SOUVENIRS of El CAMINO de SANTIAGO  in our online shop

Many visitors will try to arrive in Santiago in the days leading up to 25th July, which is both the Día de Santiago and the Día de Galica, Galicia’s regional day.

Saint James is believed to have visited Spain to preach Christianity and, when he was martyred in the Middle East, his body was thought to have been transported by boat to the Galician coast. His remains were discovered around 800AD, by a hermit following the path of star into a field – thereby giving us the name ‘Compostela’ (literally, the field of the star).

So, if you are lucky enough to be in Santiago today or some time soon, don’t forget to look out for the “Botafumeiro” – a huge incense burner that is swung back and forth down the Cathedral aisle during official masses like the one today which is usually attended by members of the Spanish Royal family and the Galician government. It weighs around 80kg and it takes eight people to swing it!

Souvenir of Spain

If you are unable to bring back a souvenir of this great experience (both a souvenir of Spain as well as a souvenir of Camino de Santiago), or perhaps you would like to give a little memento of Camino de Santiago to a friend or loved-one, we have many such gifts in our shop online: See some  CAMINO de SANTIAGO GIFTS  in our store.

¡Buen Camino! Ultreia, suseia, Santiago