Frances vs. Primitivo

If you’ve ever wondered about the difference between the Camino Primitivo and Camino Francés, check out the Sindre Almost blog. Sindre Sandvik from Norway has done both Camino routes and shares some entertaining posts, photos and videos on his blog. #FridayFaves #CaminodeSantiago


So someone asked me what the differences were between the two routes I’ve walked. Now I won’t say one is better than the other or which I preferred. It would simple be an impossible exercise. Apples and oranges and all that, and the camino is so much more than walking a route and the landscape you encounter along the way. It is the people, the conversations, the jokes, blisters and much more.

The Primitivo is more physically demanding than the frances even though the latter is longer (350km vs. 775km) the reason for this is quite simple, the primitivo has a lot more climbs and descents to navigate which is a bit harder. Granted the first day or the frances (starting in St. Jean) is alot of UP and then DOWN again the same day, after that it is somewhat flat with some hills. Then you encounter the two other…

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Camino and Hiking Events in September

Here’s a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of September.  For those who live elsewhere there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the APOC website has a listing of local chapters where you can find Camino events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.

Marin Headlands Hike and Hops (REI event)

Sunday, September 11,  9:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Muir Beach Parking Lot: Marin, Golden Gate National Rec Area

Explore some of the world’s most beautiful coastline right here in your own backyard! Enjoy sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Tamalpais, hidden coves, and the rugged coast on a 5 mile hike with 1000 feet of elevation gain along the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands. We cap off a great day of hiking at the famous Pelican Inn in Muir Beach for a relaxing repast, with a pint of your favorite brew in hand along with delicious snacks (included). Participants must be 21 years of age or over – Photo ID required.

REI Member: $40.00,  Non-member: $60.00

Register online


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Walking Day 6: Padrón to Santiago

IMG_8111Continued from Caldas de Reis to Padrón

Stage: Padrón to Santiago
27 km

For all the modern amenities the Albergue Corredoiras in Padrón has, it lacks in the coffee maker department. Groggy pilgrims were taking turns using a small Italian-style stove-top coffee maker.

Colorful decor and art

Cute kitchen, but they need more coffee makers

In the adorable-but-not-functional Ikea-like kitchen, I looked in every cupboard for a French press, hot water kettle, or even an American-style drip coffee maker, to no avail. I finally got my turn, made a stove-top pot of coffee, and shared it with the Aussies and they shared their milk with me. This coffee was enough to get me out the door. I knew I could get another caffeine fix later.

On my walk through Padrón there were detour signs. I did not think this would add much to the overall kilometers that day, but it ended up being the longest walk yet! Brierley’s guide showed 24.9 km for this stage, but my AllTrails app showed 27.4 km.

Detour Signs leaving Padron

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Walking the Camino del Norte and getting a tattoo

Happy Friday! Here’s a fun blog from an Australian who just finished the Camino del Norte.  Her latest post shows the excitement of arriving in Santiago, which brought back many memories. This photo caught my eye because I saw the same tattoo shop and walked in to inquire about getting a Camino shell tattoo.  Continue reading

Walking Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padrón

CCaldastoPadronontinued from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Stage: Caldas de Reis to Padrón
19 km

After my fifth night in a municipal albergue, I was getting used to the routine of putting my earplugs in to sleep through the “snorchestra.” Municipal albergues are the cheapest accommodations on the Camino: I paid just five euros for the first three nights in Portuguese albergues, and six euros the last two nights after crossing over to Spain. That is just thirty dollars at our current 1.12 Euro-Dollar exchange rate (the best exchange rate I have ever seen!). There is a range of comfort to match every budget on the Camino. I chose to stay in municipal albergues for two reasons: (1) to meet other pilgrims on my short Camino, and (2) because that is one of the requirements of being a hospitalero (volunteer) on the Camino.*

I couldn’t help but wonder what pilgrim life was like on the other side, like staying in a private room with ensuite bathroom and real sheets. Sure I could tolerate the sleeping above a different snoring man each night, but I was getting tired of the odd bathroom situations. The albergue in Caldas had an awkward setup and was lacking in good shower and sink facilities. Everything was shoddy and wobbly. I was thinking about how this would have driven my husband crazy. He grew up working in his Italian grandfather’s hardware store and learned many skills from the tradesmen. He even fixed a toilet in an old hotel room we stayed at in New Orleans!

Albergues are all different, and some are a little on the grungy side. For the low price, you get what you pay for. Nonetheless, Caldas de Reis was a beautiful small village that I would like to return to someday and stay in the hotel with the private thermal baths. Below is a 360° video I shot on the old Roman bridge by the albergue and fountain.

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The Walk of a Lifetime

I’m sharing a great article about the joy of walking the Camino, from the perspective of a former Navy SEAL (United States Navy’s SEa, Air and Land Teams.) As Bob Brooks says,  “The walk itself kicked my ass. I thought I was in good shape but it was kind of an ego crusher. It was a real humbling experience.”  Yep. This is why I highly recommend training for the Camino as much as you can.  Like the Nave SEALs motto,  ‎The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, the Camino can be challenging, but Bob shares how rewarding it can be and how the Camino provides.

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Bunk Bed Yoga Stretches for the End of Your Pilgrimage Day

I saw this on one of the Camino Facebook groups and thought it was too good not to share.  Elle Bieling, RN, RYT, Holistic Health Coach, shows how you can prevent injury on the Camino by doing basic stretches in bed.

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Camino Times Two

Happy Friday! I’ve enjoyed this blog for the last few months now, so it’s about time that Camino Times Two is featured on my Favorite Camino Blogs page. Beth Jusino’s latest post caught my eye with the play on shadows.

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Walking Day 4: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Continued from Pontevedra: A Peregrina Paradise

Stage: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
22 km

After our wild night out with peregrinas at the Parador, Karin and I were both slow to get moving. The lobby of the albergue has an awesome map of the Camino Portugués on the wall, so we took a few photos.

We started walking through town and at one point Karin said to me, “You walk faster than me. Go ahead.” Instead of taking this personally, I thought to myself, she’s right, I do walk fast. We got along great, but we didn’t walk at the same pace, and I like to stop and take photos whenever I have the whim. And that’s okay on the Camino – everyone should walk at their own pace. So, I responded, “Okay, I’ll probably see you again along the way.” Sure enough, we saw each other a few times throughout the day, and a few days later in Santiago. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in August

Here’s a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of August.  For those who live elsewhere there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the APOC website has a listing of local chapters where you can find Camino events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.

Below are three special events organized by local chapters of American Pilgrims on the Camino, followed by trekking poles workshops.

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