A Coruña Old Town

Continued from The Tower of Hercules.

After exploring A Coruña’s beaches and the Tower of Hercules, I decided to hop on a local bus for a ride to the Ciudad Vieja (Old Town). A Coruña was once a medieval town, and the remains of some of the walls are still visible.  The huge Plaza María Pita, named after the woman who helped save A Coruña from the British forces, marks the center of town.

I don’t like war, but I love the story of María Pita! And I appreciate when cities honor the brave women who played an important role in history. So, who was María Pita?

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The Tower of Hercules

Continued from A Coruña Beaches.

As this map below shows, there are a lot of things to see and do in A Coruña. Click image to enlarge.

After I left the beach, I saw some nice fountains, an aquarium, and sculptures. Aquarium Finisterrae is rated #6 out of 79 things to do in A Coruña, according to TripAdvisor. But I couldn’t linger: the Torre de Hercules was beckoning me, so ultreia e suseia (onward and upward.)

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A Coruña Beaches

Continued from Getting from Paris to Camino Inglés.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of A Coruña. Click the image below to expand.

Surrounded by water and steeped in history, A Coruña has a lot to offer! Photo credit: Spain.info

On the far left you can see the Tower of Hercules, and along the bottom, a long stretch of beach. The port and marina are on the right, and the Old Town (Ciudad Vieja in Spanish, Cidade Vella in Galician) is situated to the left of the marina—complete with narrow winding streets to get lost in, old churches to pray in, a lively pedestrianized zone to stroll through, and plenty of bars to quench your thirst in (or satiate your hunger with  free tapas!). What’s not to love! I managed to pack all of this in on the same day that began in Paris before sunrise.

After settling into my hotel around 2 p.m., I was anxious to walk along the beach on my way to the Tower of Hercules, which I could see from my window.

ACoruna1

View of the Tower of Hercules in the distance

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Camino Francés 2017 Route Report – It’s a wrap!

Santa Cruz, California couple, Cathy Seitchik Diaz and David Stewart, recently completed their third Camino Francés.  They have shared the stages the Camino Francés—complete with daily distances, photos, observations and useful tips—in a four-part series:

Cathy is, quite possibly, the world’s happiest pilgrim!

Happy pilgrim Cathy Seitchik Diaz walks up the hill from Castrojerez

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Getting from Paris to Camino Inglés

Planning how to get to your Camino starting point can be easy and fun with the variety of apps and websites available. My favorites are the Rome 2 Rio App for transportation, booking.com for accommodations, and Google Maps for research and city navigation.

A Coruña is one of the two Camino Inglés starting points, but it is only 75 km (47 miles) from Santiago. In order to get a Compostela certificate, you must walk at least 100 km, so the more popular starting point is Ferrol, 118 km (73 miles) from Santiago. I didn’t want to skip A Coruña because I had heard that it is an amazing place, so I worked it into my pre-Camino itinerary.

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Camino and Hiking Events in July 2017

Below is the roundup of Camino related events and hikes in the SF Bay Area for the month of July 2017. But first, I had a wonderful time on the Camino Inglés and will be writing my route reports soon.  Part of the joy of “unpacking” my Camino is going through the many photos and compiling my notes so that my reports might be helpful for pilgrims considering this route.  I enjoyed every step of the Camino Inglés and look forward to sharing the highlights and lessons learned.


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Camino Inglés 2017 Stages

This chalkboard at the restaurant in Pension Maragoto shows the stages and half-stages of the Camino Ingles. I decided to split the longest stage between Betanzos and Bruma.

This chalkboard at the restaurant in Pension Maragoto shows the stages and half-stages of the Camino Inglés. I decided to split the longest stage between Betanzos and Bruma by staying in Presedo. This made for a comfortable paced seven-day Camino.  Some people power through it in just five days. If you have eight days to walk this route, I would recommend splitting the stage between Pontedeume and Betanzos too.

A Coruña is one of the two Camino Inglés starting points, but it is only 75 km (47 miles) from Santiago. In order to get a Compostela certificate, you must walk at least 100 km, so the more popular starting point is Ferrol, 118 km (73 miles) from Santiago. I didn’t want to skip A Coruña because I had heard that it is an amazing place, so I worked it into my pre-Camino itinerary.

Pre-Camino Day 1 May 28

Hotel: Coruña Mar
Walked: 21 km / 13 miles

Detailed posts will be published and linked here soon.

Pre-Camino Day 2 May 29 
A Coruña-Mont San Pedro. Bus to Ferrol.
Hotel: Parador de Ferrol (Reserve at Parador.es for pilgrim rate)
Walked: 14 km /  9 miles

My Camino Inglés 2017 Stages

Camino Day 1: Ferrol to Neda May 30
Private Room: Pension Maragoto
Walked: 15 km / 9 miles w/backpack + 4 miles site-seeing around Neda.

Camino Day 2: Neda to Pontedeume May 31
Private Room: Hotel Eumesa

Camino Day 3: Pontedeume to Betanzos June 1
Bunkbed: Albergue de Peregrinos de Betanzos

Camino Day 4: Betanzos to Presedo June 2
Bunkbed: Albergue de Peregrinos de Presedo

Camino Day 5: Presedo to Bruma June 3
Bunkbed: Albergue de Peregrinos de Bruma

Camino Day 6: Bruma to Sigueiro June 4
Private room:

Camino Day 7: Sigueiro to Santiago June 5
Private room: Seminario Menor (3 nights 15 Euros/night)
Private room: Hotel Bonaval

Santiago June 5 – 8

June 9 back to Paris to meet husband
June 9-12 Paris Marais neighborhood
June 13-14 Train trip to Trouville Sur Mer
June 15-17 Paris Montmartre neighborhood
June 18 Home, sweet home!

I will post detailed route reports on this blog. If you cannot wait, I posted some photos on a photo album Camino Inglés 2017 at Facebook.com/caminoprovides.

I also shared some photos on instagram at instagram.com/caminoprovides.

It was so good to be back in España! France was fun too.

Buen Camino!

View from my room in Neda

View from my room in Neda. I’m glad I didn’t take the shortcut bridge to Pontedeume!

Secrets of France Tour

The secret is out. I am enjoying another Trafalgar Tour with my mom before I walk a Camino.  This time it’s the “Secrets of France” tour that starts and ends in Paris. It includes a high-speed TGV train ride that takes only three hours to get to Bordeaux in the south-west corner of France, as opposed to an eight-hour bus ride. This year it was mom’s turn to choose our itinerary, and she picked a winner!

Secrets of France Trafalgar Tour

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Happy Mother’s Day

I’ve been writing up a storm lately, and I really need to pack for my Camino, but I couldn’t resist a quick toast all the moms out there. For they have the most important job there is. Cheers to all the moms!

I’ve been playing with the Facebook Messenger Snap Chat thingy. Check out the birdies. My mom gave me the cross pendant for confirmation. I love the surprise effect of mama and baby bird!

In service today, Father Dan said something along these lines, “God is the father. . . Wait, scratch that, God is the mother. How many times do we hear ‘God is father’ in the gospel, but really, God is not a specific gender. What’s more, God’s love is unconditional, like a mother’s love for her child.”  Amen.

Fr. Dan also quoted a recent comic from The New Yorker. “The prodigal son returns to do his laundry.” Continue reading

Fátima Memories

Today, Pope Francis was in Fátima to canonize Jacinta and Francisco, two of the children who reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary in a field in Portugal. This sighting took place one-hundred years ago, and made Fátima one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations in the world. Learn more about the Fatima pilgrimage in this video.

My pre-Camino tour of Portugal included a night stay in Fátima. Most tours just stop there for a day, but because we stayed in a hotel right next to shrine, I was able to attend the candlelight procession in the evening, as well as the mass at the cathedral the next morning.

Candlelight mass before the procession.

The experience was deeply moving. It was just one day before leaving for my Camino, and during a time of my rekindled faith. After this candlelight ceremony, I pondered the idea of getting a blessing before my journey. Continue reading