Santo Domingo de la Calzada and COVID-19

There’s an article in The Guardian today about how the small towns of Spain were affected by COVID-19. Specifically, the writer explores Santo Domingo de la Calzada, a name familiar to most pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago. It’s worth a read.



This is the home of “the chicken church” — the cathedral known for the two live chickens that live inside — and a memorable stop along the Camino Francés. I’ve been there twice, once in 2015 and then again in 2017.

Santo Domingo’s cathedral at dawn, August 2017

The coronavirus ravaged the town, where the fatality rate per capita seems to be twice as high as New York City’s. “People are still scared,” says a resident. “The truth is, we don’t know if life will ever be quite the same.”

Greeting the chickens in the albergue yard, Santo Domingo de la Calzada

Yesterday I did a Zoom call with a group of Camino enthusiasts in South Bend, Indiana. They had questions about my first trip across France and Spain.

How many people were there? How did we make reservations? Was it hard to find food or bathrooms?

I answered them all as well as I could (I love talking to these groups, and the chance to re-visit photos and stories), but there were times I felt myself getting stuck. I was full of caveats. Well, this is how it happened before… who know how will it happen now? Spain is re-opening, but the impact on the Camino remains unknown. What does social distancing look like among people who share so much and carry so little? But without it, how do towns like Santo Domingo rebuild?

Santo Domingo de la Calzada, as seen from the cathedral bell tower

I don’t have the answers. (Well, that’s a phrase I’ve needed to use a lot this week.) All I can do is wait, and continue to share the stories in the meantime.

Published by beth jusino

Editor. Writer. Teacher. Pilgrim. At home in the Pacific Northwest.

2 thoughts on “Santo Domingo de la Calzada and COVID-19

  1. Thanks for this Beth and reminding me of this “chicken time” which I got to experience not only once with you but yet a 2nd time. I find myself now going back to those Camino times and recalling all the many amazing times and observations in great detail and it is a huge source of strength to my existence right now. Funny how the difficult times seem so insignificant compared to the good.
    I’m so sorry for Santo Domingo, a beautiful city besides being home to and honoring one of my favorite creatures. 🍮👣🌟🌞😍


  2. Thanks for the heads up on the article Beth. I came upon it on Facebook or your Blog . Very sad and impactful as we did spend a bit of time there and I spent extended time there because of my knee injury on my 2nd Camino. Hope you get my comment on your blog. Thank you always😉💕

    Sent from my iPhone



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