My Camino Portugués Stages

The route I walked on the Camino Portugués Central is highlighted in red and the cities I stayed in are underlined on the map below.


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Camino Packing List Part 2: Gear and Accessories

You’ve seen my reviews of the backpack I used and the apparel I wore on my Camino Portugués in late May. This post covers the remaining items from my packing list, that is, gear, accessories, and toiletries.

My Camino Packing List, Part 2: Gear and Accessories

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Immersing Myself in Yoga

Some of you may know that one of my intentions for 2016 was to start yoga teacher training. I had been meaning to take my yoga practice to the next level for a while, and I believe that teaching yoga could be good for when I’m a hospitalera (volunteer) on the Camino.image

Sometime last year, I watched the YOGAWOMAN documentary and was totally inspired. I was in awe of the women featured in the film who made a difference in communities all around the world. I was particularly impressed by a group that went to Kenya to teach young women how to teach yoga.

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St. James Day + Tarta de Santiago Recipe

st-james-festival-santiago-de-compostela-camino-de-santiago-caminowaysToday is July 25th, St. James Day, and that means it’s time for the largest festival in Santiago de Compostela. Below is an overview from CaminoWays of how the festival is celebrated in Santiago. I’ve also included an easy recipe for Galicia’s favorite dessert, Tarta de Santiago, a delicious cake made with almond flour. Continue reading

The Here and Now, by James Portelli

Following on “Life Is a Journey,” “Love Your Neighbor,” and “Loving Myself,” this last piece will revolve around my third resolution, that is, “The Here and Now.”

It is often said that if you want to make the Almighty laugh, you should share with him your plans.

Topoftheworld       VoidofDeath

Monuments in the Dom Platzl [Cathedral Square] in Salzburg pictured from left: top of the world and the void of death

There are many sayings, clichés, and words of wisdom about leaving the past behind, not dwelling too much on the future, and concentrating on the present. If that’s the right approach, the words attributed to Marcus Aurelius (120–180 A.D.), “Do every act of your life as if it were your last” (The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of the Meditations, [New York: Scribner, 2002]), make a lot of sense. We don’t always see it, but it does hit home when, for example, our friends cross off items on their bucket list as they brace themselves for the great beyond.

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What the Camino Provides for My German Doppelgänger

YvonneSimonI’m happy and honored to feature a guest post by a German woman I met while walking the Camino Portugués. I caught up to Yvonne as we walked alongside a vineyard about halfway between Pontevedra and Caldas de Reis, and we started chatting. Not only did we walk at the same pace, but we also used similar trekking poles and hiking clothes—the uniform of a savvy peregrina.

As we got to talking at a deeper level, we were amazed by our commonalities: we’re exactly the same age and at similar stages in life; she’s been working in the same profession for about twenty years and is wondering what else life has in store for her; and we both have taken to writing about the Camino over the last year. (She authors a beautiful blog about her Camino entitled Mein Camino.) I think I found my German doppelgänger!

We exchanged contact information and parted company in Caldas de Reis. When Yvonne returned home to Germany, she wrote the following post about what the Camino provides for her. There’s even a German translation below!

What the Camino Provides for Me

By Yvonne Simon

Sitting on the Porto Cathedral steps, I reminisce about the past three weeks—feeling happiness and sadness, pride and humility. With the late afternoon sun shining on my face, I think about what the Camino has provided for me.

CathedralOn May 16, I took my first steps from this very point on the road to Santiago de Compostela, feeling the mysticism of the path from the very first yellow arrow.

It is the encounters with people that make the Camino so unique. Thanks to an intensive exchange of pilgrims from around the world, one easily finds peace. All nations are united by a single goal: reaching Santiago de Compostela.


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In the news: Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

This article caught my eye today. Reblogged from source, Hi-Desert Star.

Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

Bruce Guthrie, of Morongo Valley, graduates magna cum laude from California State University at San Bernardino.

Bruce Guthrie, of Morongo Valley, graduates magna cum laude from California State University at San Bernardino.

By Leah Sanson Hi-Desert Star

MORONGO VALLEY — Bruce Guthrie started his higher education at College of the Desert in 1971, a few years after he graduated high school, but then he started a job, got married and didn’t finish his education, until now.

This June, the Morongo Valley man graduated magna cum laude from California State University, San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies and minor in environmental studies. He retired from the post office in 2009 and said finishing his degree was something that has always been on his mind.

With his degree achieved, his adventure is just beginning.

Guthrie spent time in Spain in 2015 when he volunteered two weeks in the pilgrim office in Santiago in the northwest part of the country. He plans to return this fall, when he will walk the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain. He will cover more than 620 miles from St. Jean Pied de Port in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela before going on to the coast at Finisterre and Muxia.

Read more: Local man to make 620-mile pilgrimage

My Camino Packing List, Part 1: Apparel

During my Camino planning, I heard a few wise pilgrims say, “The lighter the pack, the better your back.” I chose to pack light not only to spare my back but also to put as little strain on my knees and feet as possible. There’s a well-known rule of thumb for pilgrims according to which the weight of your backpack should not exceed ten percent of your body weight, which means that my pack shouldn’t be heavier than 14 lb (excluding water and snacks). I carefully selected and tested all gear to cull down the list of bare essentials. You can see the result of that selection along with apparel reviews below.
Camino Provides Packing List 2016
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Loving Myself, by James Portelli

Following on “Life Is a Journey” and “Love Your Neighbor,” this piece will concentrate on yet another of my resolutions—namely, “Loving Myself.”

Dusk at Dingli Cliffs, Malta, June 2016

Dusk at Dingli Cliffs, Malta, June 2016

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Backpack Review After the Camino

13240067_10105305608779283_2362745926358871776_nI carried an Osprey Sirrus 24 backpack, in which everything fit fine, and there was still a little room to spare. It was only at the end of my Camino that I wished it had more capacity. On my return trip to Lisbon, where I was to catch my flight home, I had to carry the souvenirs I bought in Santiago in a separate bag. Yes, I know. I’m eating my words from my previous review about the said backpack being large enough. And while for the most part it was perfect for my short one-week Camino, it would have been nice to be able to fit those extra items in it.

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