Late-Breaking News and Topical Items:
• 5/15/13: Two superb U.S. Camino documentaries will be screened at the Festival de Cine y Television Camino de Santiago in Santiago de Compostela: Two U.S. produced documentaries on the Camino are making the film festival rounds and if you'll be in Santiago June 5th or 6th you should definitely make it part of your Camino experience to see one or both of these films. At the moment on the schedules are:
Screening of Camino: The Journey to Santiago
Wednesday, June 5, 2013, 8:00 p.m., Salon Theater
See the film's own home page.
Screening of Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
Thursday, June 6, 2013, evening - exact time and location TBA
See the film's own home page.
• 5/12/13: Yet more American Pilgrims local chapters! American Pilgrims is pleased to announce the formation of its 14th and 15th local chapters — Chicago and New York City.. If you live in or near either of these cities be sure to visit the chapter page and ask to be added to the chapter e-mail list. You can access all of our local chapter pages through the Local Chapters page. Several more are in the pipeline!
• 5/1/13: The St Olavsleden pilgrimage route is to reopen after five hundred years: The website Norway Today has announced that the St Olavsleden (St Olaf's Way), a pilgrimage route between Selånger in Sweden and Trondheim in Norway, will be reopened after five hundred years of disuse. St Olavsleden stretches from coast to coast, from the Baltic Sea off the east coast of Sweden to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. See the Norway Today article.
• 4/23/13: The TSA is delaying the rule changes concerning pocket knives and hiking poles as carry-on: Yesterday the TSA announced that they are delaying changes to the Prohibited Items List, originally scheduled to go into effect April 25. See the TSA announcement and Associated Press announcements.
• 3/8/13: An advisement about strikes and travel disruptions in Spain: This year there have been numerous strikes and demonstrations by Iberia Airlines employees. Even if you are not flying with them there is the possibility of massive disruptions at Madrid's Barajas airport. Travelers are strongly advised to keep on top of announced dates and how these actions might affect their travel plans. One site that is a good source for such information is Easy Travel Report.
And in case you've been invited to Madrid's Zarzuela Palace, home of King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, over Easter you should be aware that the union representing employees from Spain's National Heritage has called for a 2-day strike there. You might want to call to confirm arrangements.
A bit of good news from the TSA: For an update on this change see the news item of 4/23/13 above. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced today that on April 25th they will be operating under a revised policy concerning some carry-on items. Specifically, on that date the TSA will start allowing in carry-on small pocket knives – small knives with non-locking blades shorter than 2.36 inches (6 cm) and less than 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) in width - and ski poles. We would assume that hiking poles would be considered the same as ski poles. The full announcement can be found at:
What is unknown to us at the moment is if the E.U. or other countries will be changing regulations concerning poles to agree with the TSA. So unless and until you read otherwise, plan on having to check those on your return. It appears that the policy concerning small knives is already the same as the upcoming one for the TSA. We'll post any news concerning this on this page.
• 2/27/13: The winter 2013 La Concha is out! If you are a member you should have received notice and a link to your very own copy via e-mail. This edition contains information about the upcoming Gathering of Pilgrims in Santa Barbara and page after page of other Camino-related articles and images. If you're not a member you can always find the most recent several editions on the La Concha page but better yet become a member and have it delivered to your e-mail inbox.
• 1/11/13: American Pilgrims joins the ¡Amigos! program in Santiago: If you received a Compostela from the Pilgrims' Office in Santiago between May 1 and October 15, 2012, you surely saw and likely benefited from the assistance of one or two blue-shirted ¡Amigos! You might even have thought you'd like to be an ¡Amigo! yourself. We are delighted to inform you that American Pilgrims has enthusiastically joined with the Irish Society of the Friends of St. James, the Confraternity of St. James in London and the Dutch Het Nederlands Genootschap van Sint Jacob to sponsor the 2013 Amigos Welcome Service in the Pilgrims' Office in Santiago de Compostela. This service opportunity is now available to you as a member of American Pilgrims on the Camino. If this sounds interesting click HERE to download the full information sheet.
After reading the download you can request a full packet and application form through email@example.com. And of course we'll be happy to answer questions through that same address. (If this sounds inviting but you're not a member go to the Membership page!)
• 1/9/13: Numbers!: The 2012 end-of-year statistics have been made available by La Oficina de Acogida de Peregrinos (the Pilgrims' Welcome Office) in Santiago and, as usual, they are interesting in one respect or another. Probably the two biggest surprises for 2012 are the meager increase in total arrivals in Santiago from 2011 to 2012 and the dramatic increase in the number and percent of total of U.S. peregrinos. Going back to 2006 and removing the Holy Year 2010 from consideration, the year-to-year increases in total compostelas issued were 14%, 10% and 17%. From 2011 to 2012 the increase was only 4.9%. A huge contributor to this was that the number of Spanish peregrinos, who always constitute about half of the total, actually dropped 2.6% from 2011 to 2012. And while U.S. peregrinos constituted only 3.7% of the total number of arrivals, this percentage was double any previous year. And the number of American Pilgrims-issued credentials increased an amazing 92% over 2011—very close to double. If you'd like to see the whole story visit our dedicated page of statistics.
• 12/4/12: The American Pilgrims Albergue Partnership Program: American Pilgrims on the Camino is launching a new program to further strengthen the connection between our association, our members and the Camino. The Albergue Partnership Program is being developed as a way that a local chapter of American Pilgrims can form an ongoing, close relationship with a specific albergue on the Camino through a multi-year commitment of funds for infrastructure and possibly hospitaleros or other volunteer workers. This program is in the pilot stage as details and logistics are being worked out with our Spanish partners. The Board of Directors of American Pilgrims is pleased to announce that the Puget Sound Chapter is participating in the pilot program as the first Albergue Partner with a photo contest. Please see their chapter page for details.