Aloha! I’m just back from a wedding on the beautiful island of Kauai in Hawaii. I managed to squeeze in a good Camino training hike to the Makauwahi Cave and tortoise sanctuary on the south shore. Click here to see a few highlights.
Below is a roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lake Merritt Walk + Lunch & Learn Camino Presentation
Saturday, March 3, 10:30 a.m.
This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at the pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 a.m. and starts walking at 10:45 a.m. in a clockwise direction around the lake. It is a paved and level 3.3 mile walk and takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome at these monthly walks.
Lake Merritt walk on February 3, 2018
Directions: Take BART to the 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola. If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the area.
Optional: Lunch & Learn Camino Presentation by Susan and Ralph Alcorn
Barlago Italian Kitchen, right after the Lake Merritt walk
Join us for a narrated slide program about the Norte and Primitivo routes with Camino veterans Susan and Ralph Alcorn. View images of these beautiful, historic, and exciting trails and learn more about the similarities and differences between the Francés, Norte and Primitivo routes. The Alcorns completed their 700-mile Camino Norte and Primitivo walks during 2015-2016. From their experiences came Susan‘s new book, Healing Miles: Gifts from the Camino Norte and Primitivo, which is now available in paperback and Kindle versions. Continue reading
Our Camino Love Story
by Michelle & Andreas
Statue of Mother Mary atop the foothills of the Pyrenees, just outside of Orisson
Most, if not all, of our friends know how our Camino Love Story came about. With that said, we absolutely love retelling it and reliving each and every mesmerizing step along the Way of St. James as it led us to this very beautiful moment of our becoming one on May 12, 2018.
There’s a lot going on in February, so let’s get right to it! Below is a roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Packing for the Camino
Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) for an evening of Camino talk. Camino veterans will discuss their equipment and clothing, including what worked, what didn’t work and why. They will also answer your questions and talk about what to expect when on the Camino.
REI, MOUNTAIN VIEW. 2450 Charleston Road, Mountain View, CA
Thursday, February 1, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call the store at 650-969-1938.
REI, MARINA. 145 General Stilwell Drive, Marina, CA
Tuesday, February 6, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call the store at 831-883-8048.
REI, SAN CARLOS, 1119 Industrial Road, San Carlos, CA
Wednesday, February 7, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Register online or call 650-508-2330.
Lake Merritt Walk + Optional Brunch
Saturday, February 3, 10:30 a.m.
I am really excited to share this great new Camino route map, designed by Michael Matynka, founder of the Wise Pilgrim Guides. The world needed a better Camino map, and this is it!
The map shows nearly fifty routes across Spain and Portugal, and four that enter Spain from France. Each Camino is named and color coded, and includes major cities along the route. Below is a closeup of the map’s detail. Continue reading
Continued from Sigüeiro to Santiago.
When I started my walk from Sigüeiro, it was sunny and warm, but by the time I reached Santiago, the sky was grey and it felt like it would rain at any moment. This was exactly like my arrival in Santiago last year after walking the Camino Portugués. However, I was in a completely different state of mind this time, having learned a great lesson. I had prebooked a room so I wasn’t desperately trying to find a bed for the night. This time around, I didn’t care if it poured; I was going straight to Praza do Obradoiro by the Cathedral.
I headed right for the center of Praza Obradoiro and felt a euphoric sense of joy rush over me. I made it. My second Camino. And I was so high on life! Below is a video of my arrival.
Continued from Bruma to Sigüeiro.
Santiago or bust! This was the seventh, and final, day of walking the Camino Inglés. And I was just getting warmed up! Until I have enough time off work to walk a longer Camino, these shorter variations satisfy the calling.
First stop, Restaurante Cortés, across the street from Pension Andaina. I sidled up to the bar and ordered a café con leche. Sometimes you get a sweet treat when you order coffee, but this time it was warm churros and cake!
Generous breakfast tapas on the Camino Inglés.
Continued from Bruma, where two Caminos converge.
What comes up must come down. Sure, it was a longer stage of 16 miles (25 km), but I was in for an easier walk on this day because it was mostly downhill, as the graph below shows.
I was out bright and early (for me at least) because I stayed in a municipal albergue and pilgrims need to be out by 8 a.m. On my way out of town, I was hoping the Casa Graña was open for a café con leche. I had forgotten to get a stamp in my credential the night before. They were totally closed, but I spotted a cute bunny hopping around their patio. Here’s the video of the Bruma Bunny.
Continued from Presedo to Bruma.
After the rest break at the AC/DC mural, I had enough energy to forge ahead, and I had a good tune in my head. I was keeping a lookout for the place where the Camino Inglés routes (one starting in A Coruña and one in Ferrol) converge. I thought this fork in the path might be it, but the spray painted arrow on the tree was way too subtle.
Then, I saw the two-sided shell way marker on a farm road. Continue reading
Continued from Betanzos to Presedo.
By splitting the Betanzos-to-Bruma stage (28 km), the walk from Presedo was more manageable at 10 miles (16 km). However, it had the steepest climb yet, with an elevation gain of nearly 2,000 feet.
Leaving Presedo was pleasant. Even though it wasn’t raining, the air was cool and heavy with moisture. Perfect conditions for hiking the Camino.
I saw a fixer-upper, an orange slug, barking dogs, and happy cows, as I trekked southwest toward Hospital de Bruma. I took a few short video clips to capture the beauty and feeling of this stage. Continue reading
Continued from Exploring Betanzos.
This day’s hike was short but sweet, because I split this most challenging stage by staying in Presedo. As my tracked hike screenshot shows, it was 8.5 miles (14 km), but it was still a challenging and hilly hike with a 1565 ft. elevation gain.
It was a Dirty Girl gaiter and skirt day.
The hike out of Betanzos was steep and went from cobblestone to asphalt to gravel, and eventually, dirt paths over rolling hills with farms.