Camino and Hiking Events in March 2019

There’s a lot going on this month with shell blessings in three local  chapters, a Camino film, Flamenco shows, and an urban trek. First, I want to give shout-outs to a few pilgrims who donated to my birthday fundraiser. These friends received the Camino de Santiago book for their donations: Veronica Alvarez, Frank Barrett, Andy Cohn, Mike Miller, and Jane Tishkoff.  So far I raised $311 towards my goal of $500 and there’s still time to support my good cause.  Cal Big Give for I-House fundraiser ends at 9pm on March 14th. Click for details and giving instructions. Special thanks to the author James Portelli for providing the books! 🙏 I have only a few left for gifts of $30 or more.

Below is a selection of upcoming events for the SF Bay Area.

Lake Merritt Walk & Optional Brunch at Terrace Room
Saturday, March 2, 10:30 AM

Join us on this walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. We meet at the Pergola (aka “The Columns”) on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt at 10:30 AM and start walking by 10:45 AM. It’s a level, 3.3-mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. Whether you’re a newbie or Camino veteran, everyone is welcome. Bring your questions, answers and pilgrim spirit! But leave the dogs at home (for insurance purposes.)

Optional Brunch: For those who would like to have brunch, we will stop at the Terrace Room on our way around the lake. Estimated arrival around 11:30am. Please reply if you would like to attend the brunch so I can make reservations.
See menu:

Bring cash for easy check splitting. After brunch, you can either go your own way, or continue circling the lake back to the starting point. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

The Camino Voyage film at the SF Irish Film Festival
Saturday, March 2, 3 pm

“A crew including a Writer, two Musicians, an Artist and a Stonemason embark on the Camino by sea, in a traditional boat that they built themselves on an inspiring, and dangerous, 2,500 km modern-day Celtic odyssey all the way from Ireland to Northern Spain. Starring Oscar-winning musician Glen Hansard, Traditional Irish Musician Brendan Begley, Artist Liam Holden, Stonemason Brendan-Pháid Moriarty and Writer and Poet Danny Sheehy.”

It’s showing at 3 PM at the Delancey Street Screening Room (600 Embarcadero, San Francisco, 94107). A few of us from the NorCal chapter will be there. Here’s a link to info on the film and how to purchase a ticket ($16.69)

See trailer:

Shell Ceremony and Potluck: Silicon Valley Chapter
Sunday, March 3, 12 pm

If you’re in the South Bay, join Silicon Valley chapter for a Shell Ceremony and Blessing for pilgrims walking the Camino for the first time in 2019. The scallop shell is a symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Wearing a shell denotes that one is a pilgrim, so pilgrims often attach a shell to their backpack or wear it around their neck during their Camino. Pilgrims walking the Camino for the first time in 2019 will receive a shell and blessing. There’s a potluck after the ceremony, so please bring a dish to share.

Location: 22880 Old Santa Cruz Highway Los Gatos, CA
RSVP on the Facebook event.

Organized by American Pilgrims on the Camino – Silicon Valley Chapter

Put Some Spring in Your Step and Lose Your Age on the Trail
REI Presentations in SF, Corte Madera and Berkeley
March 5, 6 & 7, 7 pm

Dami Roelse is certified life coach, writer and retired mental health provider. Born in Holland, Dami has traveled the world extensively, lived on different continents and has learned to use her hiking and travel as inspiration for living. Dami presents facts and stories about walking and hiking for women as they age from her book “Walking Gone Wild, How to lose your age on the trail”. Dami will share ways to build and maintain strength in everyday life. Dami will give you tips for being safe in the outdoors, and how to chose your lightweight gear. Even though the talk is geared to women 50+, all women and men can benefit from Dami’s experience. Dami writes blogs about transformational travel and hiking experiences on her website. She is a regular contributor for Sixty and Me and The Trek magazine. You can follow Dami on her website, her Facebook page WalkingWomen50plus, Twitter @dami97520 and Instagram @walkingwoman50plus. Dami also hosts a Facebook group for women 50+ interested in walking, hiking and backpacking.

3 sessions to choose from:

Tue Mar 5 San Francisco REI
7:00pm – 8:30pm  View more info

Wed Mar 6 Corte Madera REI

7:00pm – 8:30pm View more info

Thu Mar 7 Berkeley REI

7:00pm – 8:30pm View more info

Sacramento Pilgrims Third Annual Shell Ceremony and Potluck
Saturday, March 9th, 5:30pm

St Ignatius Loyola Parish – Gymnasium
3235 Arden (between Watt and Morse)

Registration REQUIRED for this free and very special event
Registration Deadline: By end of day, Thursday, March 7th

Register Here:

An Evening of Flamenco at the Sound Room in Oakland
Friday, March 15, 8 pm

Flamenco is a form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music. Its roots are in Romany, Andalusian, Arabic, and possibly Spanish Jewish folk song and, according to some scholars, in Byzantine and Indian religious chant. Flamenco developed from the 14th century onward as the Roma became part of the rich cultural mix that characterized Andalusian society at that time.

$20 –  $25 – Buy tickets
Food and drink available for purchase.

Laurie tested and approved! I went to a Flamenco show here and enjoyed it.  I recommend getting tickets before they sell out, and arrive early for best seats.

Details at:

St Augustine Catholic Church

NorCal Chapter Pilgrim Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck
Oakland, California
Saturday, March 16, 10 am

Help us celebrate our pilgrims heading out to the Camino this year at the NorCal chapter’s annual Blessing & Shell Ceremony Potluck. Once again, we’ll gather at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Oakland, located at 400 Alcatraz Ave. off of College Ave.

Rev. Michael Barham will be back to perform the blessing and confer a scallop shell (symbol of the pilgrimage) to outbound pilgrims as well as recognize departing volunteer “hospitaleros.” We’ll also launch our “Camino 101” series with a presentation on packing by Rob Nickerson followed by a gear panel of experienced pilgrims. Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned veteran, you’re sure to pick up invaluable info, tips and tricks for your next Camino. RSVP required (see below).

Doors open at 9:30 AM and we plan to finish up by 3:00 PM. If you can help with setting up, meet us at 8:45 AM. We also need help with cleaning up afterwards. All are welcome.

RSVP: To help us with planning, a response is required. Use our online RSVP page at to respond by Thursday, March 14. Please, responses via the online page only.

By Car: Use Google Maps or your favorite map app for directions. St. Augustine is located at 400 Alcatraz Ave. off of College Ave. in Oakland ( The church is on the right side between Dana and Colby Streets when heading west towards the bay and the parking lot entrance is on the left side of the building. Meet us on the bottom floor of the gym/multi-use building across the courtyard on the right side of the church (follow our yellow arrows).

By BART/Bus/Foot: From the Rockridge BART station, take AC Transit bus 51B towards the Berkeley campus and offboard at College/Alcatraz (15 min). Walk west on Alcatraz Ave. to St. Augustine (0.3 mi). To walk from the station, head north along College Ave. towards campus and turn left on Alcatraz Ave. (0.7 mi).

WHAT TO BRING: Your favorite dish or drink to share. Extra points for something from the Camino. Wine counts, too! Here’s a request to cover our bases: If your last name starts with A-J, bring a pastry, dessert or beverage (coffee will be provided). If it starts with K-Z, bring a food dish (main, side, salad, with serving utensils). We’ll have 3×5 index cards on hand to make a label for your dish.

BE GREEN! We encourage you to bring your own plates, cups and utensils to help us to minimize trash and reduce costs on disposable items. There is a kitchen to wash items after use.

EL RASTRO: “El Rastro” is a gigantic flea market in Madrid. We’ll hold our own version again. Bring your excess gear, memorabilia, guidebooks and other good “junk” you thought you needed, but don’t anymore. There will be an area to display your items. This will be a “cash free” zone. Bring it and forget it! See something you want? Take it.

CONTRIBUTIONS: Help us cover our event expenses (room, supplies) with a cash contribution to our “donativo” box at the check-in table. Your generosity allows us to devote more of our resources to our mission that includes supporting the Camino infrastructure through our grant programs.

34 miles of walking – Palo Alto to San Francisco
March 16 – 18

I just received this tip from Berkeley peregrino Tom Ayres. “There’s a great opportunity for folks to walk 34 miles (2 1/2 days) with meals, lodging etc. all arranged, and to do it with friendly folks while supporting a good cause. It’s a march to protest the involvement of Wells Fargo in oil pipelines. The walk/march takes place March 16-18 from Palo Alto to SF; people who can’t do all 3 days are welcome to join for shorter segments. info is available at
There is no cost to register or participate, but folks are encouraged to fundraise or contribute in order to support the event. ”

Café Flamenco at the Terrace Room
March 22, 2019  7:00 pm

Caminos Flamencos presents an intimate performance at The Terrace Room Restaurant at the Lake Merritt Hotel.

Caminos Flamencos, created and directed by, Emmy Award-winning dancer and artistic director, Yaelisa. Caminos Flamencos invites the community to celebrate this rich cultural performance. Yaelisa creates and presents contemporary, traditional and theatrical dance programs showcasing artists from Spain and the U.S., which reflect the changing face of flamenco in the 21st century while preserving the history and culture of this traditional art form.
Enjoy Spanish Tapas & Sangria at The Terrace Room. Other cocktails and full bar available for purchases.
$20 – $40 General Admission tickets for $20 do NOT include any food or beverage
Doors open at 5:30pm for Dinner | Show starts at 7:00pm

Location: The Terrace Room Restaurant
1800 Madison Street
Oakland, CA 94612 View Map

Laurie tested and approved! I went to a Flamenco show here and enjoyed it.  It takes place in the beautiful dining room overlooking Lake Merritt.
If you like Flamenco, go for it!

Chinatown to Presidio Walk
Saturday, March 23, 10 am – 4 pm

San Francisco’s 49-Mile Scenic Drive. You’ve seen the signs. You may have driven it. But have you walked it? Here’s your chance! Join us on this 7-mile portion of the route filled with city landmarks and fascinating hidden spots. Starting at Chinatown’s Dragon Gate, we’ll climb up to Grace Cathedral and then head down to North Beach for another climb to Coit Tower for spectacular bay views. We’ll then join the lively parade of locals and tourists along Fishermen’s Wharf and the Marina. After passing the Palace of Fine Arts, we’ll enter the historic Presidio to see a few notable buildings and, for Star Wars fans, take a selfie with the legendary Yoda! We’ll end at the Presidio Officers’ Club (one of the oldest buildings in SF) where you can visit the free museum or grab a bite at Arguello restaurant.

Meet by 10:00 AM for check-in and briefing at the Dragon Gate (Grant and Bush), less than a half-mile walk from Montgomery St. BART station (use Exit A1 and head left up Post and take a right onto Grant). We expect to arrive at the Officers’ Club by 4:00 PM and return on the free PresidiGo shuttle to the Embarcadero BART station. Total mileage is about 7 miles (all sidewalks) with about 250 feet of steep elevation gain (Nob and Telegraph Hills). Due to the ascents, it’s recommended to have some recent hiking experience with hill climbs. Led by chapter coordinator, Guy Joaquin, who walked the entire route in stages last summer and welcomes any questions. Here’s a map of the full route ( (our portion is #10-26 markers). It makes for a fascinating local Camino (a “staymino”) that’s very accessible by public transportation. Rain or shine, but severe weather cancels.

Led by NorCal Chapter Coordinator Guy Joaquin

More details and RSVP on Facebook event

Whew! That’s a wrap!

There are always opportunities to train for or learn about the Camino. If you know of any Camino related events for the SF Bay Area that should be included in the monthly roundup, please use the comment form below, or email me.

For those who live elsewhere, there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the American Pilgrims on the Camino (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. Check your local REI store for workshops and presentations about the Camino. Check for events in your area.

Visit the Northern California Chapter page on the APOC website.

Join the Peregrinos Northern California Facebook group (closed group for Northern California residents only)

Buen Camino!

Check out my Yoga & Wellness website at

The Camino Provides patch

Limited edition 2019 and original available for $4 each at

The Camino Provides 2019 Patch

The Camino Provides 2019 Patch $4 on Etsy

My mission is to celebrate the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrim’s journey, from the calling to Compostela and beyond. I do this by sharing informative tips on training, gear, and routes; by promoting Camino related events in the Bay Area; by interviewing pilgrims and sharing inspiring stories; and by curating content relevant to the Camino.  Purchases help to defray the costs of hosting and managing this blog so that I can keep sharing the Camino love!

Digame, por favor.

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