There is so much to love about Um Caminho para Todos, a Portuguese blog whose title means “One path for all.”
First of all, it has a good and noble cause:
“The plan is to walk along the Via de la Plata, from Seville to Santiago de Compostela (almost 1000 km in just over a month), for a cause. The cause is the Promotion of Health and Well-Being, particularly among the overweight. The aim is to share through this blog all that this walk implies: training, difficulties, challenges, and rewards! To show that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it!”
Continued from Santiago Highlights: Free Walking Tour and Secretos de Galicia.
I have a thing for Paradores, a network of luxury hotels in Spain, usually located in a converted historic building such as a monastery or castle. My husband and I first discovered Paradores in 2007 when we spent a month in Andalucia, in Southern Spain. It was winter, and we took advantage of their lower rates and a special Amigos offer of the fifth night free. This allowed us to stay in Paradores in Málaga, Ronda, Nerja, Cádiz, and Granada for surprisingly reasonable rates. In 2014 my mom and I stayed at a Parador in Santo Domingo de la Calzada on a tour of Northern Spain for our annual mother-daughter trip. Paradores are all unique and have different degrees of luxury, but every Parador I have visited, even if just for a coffee break, had an understated elegance and historical significance. Needless to say, when I heard that Paradores offer pilgrim rates for rooms and meals, I was excited!
I recently had the opportunity to attend a hands-on cooking class with guest chef Yosmar Martinez, author of the new cookbook, Tastes of the Camino. Yosmar planned a delicious four-course meal based on recipes from Spain and her new cookbook.
• Pan con Tomate y Jamón Serrano (Toasted bread with Tomato and Serrano ham)
• Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)
• Paella Mixta (Chicken and Shellfish Paella)
• Tarta de Santiago (St. James Almond Cake)
Below are more photos and a video of the experience.
Continued from Santiago Highlights: Hospedería San Martín Pinario, A Pilgrim’s Paradise.
What’s a girl to do when she no longer needs to walk 20 km a day with a backpack? Go on a walking tour, of course! I decided to explore Santiago on a walking tour I read about. Santiago D.C. Free Tours offers guided tours in English at 11 am and in Spanish at 6 pm. No need to sign up in advance, just show up in front of the cathedral and look for someone holding a sign or umbrella.
Our guide was born and raised in Santiago, and she showed us all her favorite places. Below are some highlights of the tour.
Continued from Friday night in Santiago.
When I woke the next morning in my bunk at the crowded albergue, I could not wait to pack up and move to the room I reserved at the Hospedería San Martín Pinario. You never know how a place will be when you book online without seeing the rooms in person, but this place is listed in the Camino guidebooks, and all the reviews on booking.com were glowing (ranking: Fabulous 8.6, Location 9.7). They had me at fabulous!
When I got there, I knew I made the right choice. It is adjacent to the cathedral’s side entrance, just around the corner from the stairwell that the opera singer performed in the day before. Location is everything! There is also something to be said for that feeling you get when you get to stay in a very special place—in this case a sixteenth-century monastery!
Continued from Walking Day 6: Padrón to Santiago.
On May 27th, when I arrived in Santiago after the longest walking day yet, I wrote this on my Facebook timeline, “Friends and family. I made it to Santiago around 2:30 today. I have a heart full of gratitude and a credential full of stamps. Lots of memories. . .”
It was surreal to finally arrive! I kept a lookout for a “Camino de Santiago” sign to signify the achievement with a photo op, but the Portugués route does not have a landmark sign like the Camino Francés has. If I were not so exhausted, I would have stopped in Plaza del Obradoiro and taken a victory shot in front of the Cathedral, holding my backpack high. Alas, the skies were getting darker, and it was starting to rain. All I could think about was finding a bed for the night. I did not book an albergue in advance because I had no problems finding a bed over the past week (now I know better!). Yes, Santiago has many accommodations for pilgrims and tourists, but it was a Friday, and pilgrims were pouring into town to attend the Friday pilgrim mass at the Cathedral.
I stopped in the tourist information center, which was buzzing with excitement. A friendly attendant said that almost every albergue was booked, but she checked and found that there were two private albergues with available beds. She called the closest one, they confirmed they still had one bed left, so she gave them my name and handed me a map to navigate to albergue La Estrella de Santiago. It was about a fifteen-minute walk from the center, north-east of the Parque Alameda. Looking at the bronze shell markers in the stone pavers, that was my victory moment. They read, “Europe was made on the pilgrim road to Compostela.” I have heard this saying before, but it was amazing to see this etched in different languages on my walk to the albergue.
Europe was made on the pilgrim road to Compostela.
This was my official “Welcome to Santiago” landmark. Finally, I arrived. And even though I was exhausted and wet, I was so grateful that I made my 100+ mile journey without injury or incident.
Here’s a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of October. 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.
FREE Hiking Tour in the Oakland Hills
Monday, October 10, 2016 (Columbus Day)
This beautiful and strenuous hike will go through Oakland’s Dimond Canyon Park and Joaquin Miller Park, up to the Bay Area Ridge Trail at Chabot Space & Science Center, then back down to Dimond (approx. 10 miles total).
When: Monday, October 10 at 8:30am (the group will leave promptly at 8:40am)
Where: Meet at La Farine Bakery, 3411 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602
Details: Rigorous, 10-mile hike in Oakland’s largest wildland trail system, with some steep uphills and downhills. Bring water and sturdy shoes.
register on Eventbrite (required).
This will be an excellent Camino training hike for those lucky enough to be retired or to have Monday off. These guided hikes fill up fast so reserve your spot today!
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)
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
Continued from Caldas de Reis to Padrón
Stage: Padrón to Santiago
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.
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.