What is referred to as the New Normality, or returning to New Normal, means that everything is opening up again and we have to go back to usual life with some new safety precautions. And for me that means adding a little to the Packing List. Here are my suggestions:
Masks (required) Masks are required whenever you cannot maintain social distancing measures of 2 meters indoors and outdoors. Indoors it is also required for check-ins at albergues and hotels and in common areas, in supermarkets, public transport, pharmacies, bars, restaurants, airports, shops etc. You will be fined if you do not follow this rule. Masks can be purchased at all pharmacies along the way, so you do not have to bring enough for your full journey. You can also wash and rewear a fabric mask in lieu of a medical one.
Hand Sanitizer (recommended) Hand Sanitizer is everywhere at the entrance to supermarkets, bars, restaurants, pharmacies, and shops…but only at the entrance and not the exit. I recommend bringing your own small, refillable tube with a carabiner to have at hand to ensure you are not taking germs with you. Hand Sanitizer can also be purchased at all pharmacies and some markets along the way.
Sleeping Bag (required) You are required to bring your own sleeping bag. Blankets are no longer provided by albergues.
Sleeping Pad (recommended) When I walked my first Camino in 2005, everyone had a sleeping pad just in case albergues were full or you were caught in unforeseen circumstances.
Contactless Credit/Debit Card (recommended) Most places along the Caminos have Contactless Credit/Debit Card machines now to reduce the spread of germs. And will be the preferred way to receive payments. Having cash with you will probably still be a good idea.
While you’re just waiting anyway, updating your pack list and downloading the latest app, you might as well dig a little deeper into this old original about the Caminos de Santiago and Santiago de de Compostela.
New offline Elevation Chart in the Camino Ninja App works faster and works without being online. If you have your GPS turned on it will show your closest location on the Elevation Chart. That is the green dot.
In January, just after the App was released, I walked Camino Francés. As usual in January there is about 70% koreans walking the camino. And they where all exited about the new Camino Ninja App. One Korean, Sunyoung Cecil Noh, even suggested to translate the App. So it happened.
I’m really thankfull for the translation, and hope all Koreans will find it usefull. All you have to do is set your phone to Korean, if not already.
When I finished this this January’s winter camino and arrived in Santiago de Compostela (in February), I checked in to this new albergue called Albergue SIXTOs no Caminho. I saw it last year when they were building it and it looked promising. So, I checked in, and already from the name (no caminho) I guessed it was either Portuguese or Brazilian owned. And I, and everybody else, got the warmest welcome from the Owner Orlando Sixto. Him and his brother Ramiro spend a lot of time making a really nice albergue and rethinking everything a little bit better. Orlando is also skilled with technology, and when he saw the Camino Ninja App, he was excited. And he promptly suggested to do a translation for all the Brazilian and Portuguese pilgrims. So here it is!
So if you see Orlando Sixto when you come to Santiago de Compostela, please say hi and thanks!
Over The Air (OTA) Updates is minor updates being pushed out to your phone when you open apps. For the Camino Ninja App that is usually minor updates to routes, albergues, photos and functionality. Instead of updating automatically every time you open the App, it now automatically updates whenever you are on Wi-Fi and ask if you want to download and install updates when you are on mobile data. This is another data-saving feature. And it also makes sure you always have the latest updates, if you choose to.
You also have the option to check manually for updates.
If you like to save battery when you have a lot of screen time, secretly making plans for the next day while everybody is sleeping in the dormitory or just look more Ninja with the new Dark Mode / Dark Theme features enabled in The Camino Ninja App. You are all set.
How to enable Dark Mode on iPhone
(Dark Mode requires iOS 13 or later)
1. Go to Settings > Display & Brightness. 2. Select Dark to turn on Dark Mode.
Go to Settings > Display, then tap the Advanced drop-down menu at the bottom of the page. From there, tap Device theme, then simply tap Dark from the pop-up dialog box. From there, simply pull down your quick settings area and you’ll see the new white text and dark gray aesthetic.
New Year, new App and new routes. If you are planning your summer camino and are curious about the Portuguese ways, here are the most popular routes.
Caminho Português Central Caminho Português da Costa (Official) Caminho Português da Costa (Senda Litoral)
Caminho Português da Costa (Official) and Caminho Português da Costa (Senda Litoral) have just been added to the Camino Ninja App.
Caminho Português Central is also shown on the maps and starts in Lisboa (Lisbon). It is also in the App.
It has been quite a hassle getting the two coastal routes in the App. The official route is poorly documented, and so is the unofficial coastal route Senda Litoral. On top of that there is a lot of people and organizations having a influence on the routes, but very little or poorly documented official material. It makes it both more interesting, and for documenting more difficult. A big thanks to Oscar Miguel Andrade from Albergue Peregrinos do Porto and Associação dos Amigos do Caminho de Santiago de Viana do Castelo for helping with gathering information and picking the right information.
In winter it is a good idea to either check if albergues and other accommodation is really open even if they are supposed to. There is a list being updated almost every day, by a woman from Fromista, from November to February. The list is only for Camino Francés. Either check that list or call the place to see if the place is open. The list does not contain all open albergues, but a lot. I added a link to the list from the dashboard of the App.