The Camino Cafe

99 - Camino News Update 1/17/24 with Leigh Brennan & Johnnie Walker

January 17, 2024 Leigh Brennan Episode 99
The Camino Cafe
99 - Camino News Update 1/17/24 with Leigh Brennan & Johnnie Walker
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Less than a 10-minute listen but packed with useful Camino Info! 

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The Camino Cafe's intro and outro song with thanks to fellow Pilgrim, Jackson Maloney. Original Song - "Finnis Terre" - written and performed by Jackson Maloney - Singer, Musician, and Songwriter. Connect with Jackson:

Speaker 1:

Hello pilgrims, and welcome to the Kamino News Update with Lee Brennan and Johnny Walker. And this is week three of January Can't believe it's already here. And check out that rain it has been non-stop. Well, let's get to this week's news. Officials here in northern Spain are quite concerned about the number of plastic pellets that are washing up to beaches in Galicia and in Astoria. These pellets fell off of a container on a cargo ship that was just off the coast of Portugal on December 8th. Now these pellets are washing up on shore and now there's word that these pellets might possibly be toxic, so an investigation is underway, as well as cleanup efforts. So let's hope that this can be contained. The Pilgrim office just announced that they are taking applications for this year's volunteer program. Keep in mind to be eligible as a volunteer, you do need to have walked a Kamino and you need to be able to work a two-week shift. You will be trained and they can help in finding accommodations. To find the links to volunteer, check out the show notes and be sure to hurry and volunteer, because these volunteer opportunities fill up so quickly. Reports show that Spain's airport traffic hit an all-time high in 2023 at 283 million passengers. Yes, tourism is back after the pandemic. Now here's a little tip for you. If you are looking for mass times while you're walking a Kamino or while you're here in Santiago, my friend, tricia Rose, told me about a website that she uses called Misesorg, and all you have to do is put in the city that you're in and up will come all the different churches and the mass times. There's also an app for this, called Catholic mass times, and it also works for Spain, so be sure to check those out if you're interested in finding a Catholic mass. And now a quick shout out to some pilgrims that said they'll be walking this year Susan Jagannath will be walking from Porto in April, denise Drazel, the Kamino, frances, with her sister, in April, marianne Gonsior, the English, in July. And Bill Arts, the Portuguese coastal, in May. So looking forward to seeing all of you in Santiago soon. And now let's hear from our resident expert about the Kamino, johnny Walker. Johnny, what do you have for us this week?

Speaker 2:

Hello everyone. This is John bringing you another. We Updates. As you can see, santiago is gray and rainy today, although some people argue that when it rains as it rains a lot in Santiago the city is even more beautiful. What do you think? You can leave your opinion in the comments below. Let's look at pilgrim numbers, because pilgrims are still coming into the city and in the last week, 472 compostellers have been issued in the pilgrims office. That brings the total for the first two weeks of the year to a magnificent 960, nearly a thousand pilgrims. There has been some debate recently about whether that's the true number of pilgrims who arrive or perhaps there are many more who arrive and don't go and collect the compostella. My own view is that, having walked long Kaminos, people tend to go to the pilgrims office and I know this from being a volunteer there for some years because they want the compostella as a memento. And I think maybe people who think that there's lots and lots and lots of people who don't go to the pilgrims office for their compostella are still living in the days when there were queues of two, three, four hours at the pilgrims office. There is now almost an instant service. You turn that up and 10 minutes later you get your compostella and I think that has an effect on the number of people who are going. But we started off talking about the weather and, as you can see, it's raining again and the rain will continue for a week while, and I would draw your attention to this particular website, ltmpoes. It's one I use, but you can also just google ltmpo, which means the weather wherever you are ltmpo Burgos, ltmpo Pamplona, and so forth and it will give you 14 days forecast and, of course, the closer you get to the day in which you're asking the question, the more accurate the forecast is. Talking about forecasts, we said in the last update that it was possible that compulsory mask wearing would return to Spain, and that has turned out to be the case. There was a great debate. Some regions and remember healthcare in Spain has devolved to the 17 autonomous regions but there was a great debate. Some regions wanted masks, so other regions didn't want masks at all, and so forth, but they've decided that masks will be worn by everyone in healthcare facilities such as hospitals. Now it's up to people to decide whether they wear masks in other situations. It's not compulsory on buses. It's not compulsory even in pharmacies. I'd like to just finish with a few words about winter pilgrimages, because that's the season we're in at the moment and there are still pilgrims coming into the city, sometimes up to 100, no matter the weather. I have walked several winter pilgrimages, often long distances, from Seville to Santiago, over a thousand kilometers in all weather. I started off on the 2nd of January one year and walked 36 days to Santiago. You can do this and it's a beautiful experience. You get time on your own, but there are always other pilgrims around to meet in the evenings or wherever the restaurant is. But you've got to be prepared and you've got to work out. I think people worry about is the accommodation. I've always found accommodation and there are websites which tell you which albergues are open during the winter months, but it's a wee bit more expensive because I find the most the ideal thing to do is to mix albergues, which can be cold, with private accommodation which provide great relief. Kit is very, very important. The only thing I would say about kit is you've got to have a good base layer. You know how trumps sleep on cardboard and put newspapers down their trousers and so forth. This is layering, and if you've got a very good base layer, and years ago I invested in a marina wool base layer. If you've got a good base layer then you can put two, three, four layers on top of that. The air between the layers heats up and keeps you toasty, warm In the winter time. You will see scenery as you've never seen before. The local people often surprised that pilgrims are walking in the winter, are very, very welcoming and helpful indeed. If you're on Camino at the moment, I wish you Blent Camino, and if you're planning a Camino for later in the year, we'll be here to welcome you when you arrive in Santiago. Blent Camino.

Speaker 1:

Stay dry out there, johnny, and thanks for the update. Here are a couple of comments from a pilgrim that is walking as we talk and that is Lindsay Tachenei. And Lindsay is an Australian pilgrim who is actually living in Spain for a year. He is busy walking as many Caminos as he can this year. Right now he's on day number seven of the Via de La Plata. He started in a Sevilla. Lindsay told me that he has been, I think, one of two pilgrims most nights at the albergues and the hospitalarios have been so kind. He said that this walk has been an opportunity for a very reflective pilgrimage. As you know, he's one of the few people out there. He said the colors are very meseta like right now and he's really enjoying this walk. He said that the sunrises are just beautiful through the mountain mist, and we'll get another update from him next week. If you want to hear more about Lindsay, he will be on the Camino Cafe podcast this weekend, where we sat down and talked about a recent Camino Inglés that he walked, and it's a very touching story about how the Camino changed his life, as well as an update of walking the Camino Inglés. Now for this week's restaurant recommendation. Okay, I am encouraging you to get out of Old Town. Old Town can get really busy and New Town has some lovely restaurants, and the one I'm recommending to you today is Cafe Liam Brunch. Their motto is brunch all day, every day, and it is fantastic. You can get some delicious tostados. I had a Borado one once that was fantastic. A Pesto one. There's avocado there, every kind you can imagine. The pancakes look delicious, gourmet pancakes. I've taken several pilgrims and friends there and everyone has loved it. So you won't be disappointed. It's only a block outside of Old Town, about a block away from Alameda. It's fantastic. The link is in the show notes. Make sure you check out Liam Brunch next time you're in town. And this week's question of the week is have you walked a Camino in the winter? If so, which one? And do you have any tips for those pilgrims getting ready to walk this winter? And that's a wrap. Thanks for joining us this week. From Johnny Walker and Lee Brennan we just want to say see you next week, pilgrim, ciao.

Plastic Pellets on Spanish Beaches
Episode and Camino Winter Tips