Camino and Hiking Events in August 2018

Buen día, amigos. Local Camino events provide some great training hikes and learning opportunities, plus the camaraderie of being on the Camino, right here at home. Below is lineup of Camino-related events and hikes for August 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area and slightly beyond.

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, August 4, 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!

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Celebrating Saint James Day

The Apostle James, the reason for the Camino pilgrimage, is celebrated throughout the world on July 25th, his designated saint’s day.  In Santiago de Compostela, Saint James is honored in a spectacular way on July 24th, with fireworks and a multimedia show in the Praza do Obradoiro. Below are some photos of this year’s show, courtesy of Robert Anderson, pilgrim from South Africa.

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Check out this mesmerizing video:

Robert and Darren Combrink are currently walking to Finisterre to complete their epic Camino and fundraiser for Walking For Life.  Bravo guys! Buen Camino!

Meanwhile, closer to home

All over America, pilgrims celebrate St. James Day in different ways. Bay Area pilgrims started on Saturday, July 21st with an urban Camino in San Francisco. The 12-mile trek began near Ocean Beach and continued through the Sunset neighborhood on Santiago Street, up to Mt. Davidson (SF’s highest peak), through the Mission district to St. James church for a mass and pilgrim blessing. We ended the day with tapas, paella, and sangria at at Spanish restaurant. Here’s the video created with MapMyHike and Relive Apps:

For those who missed it, you can follow our footsteps and do this walk any time. And this coming weekend is when he church is actually celebrating Saint James Day!
July 28, noon – 3 pm meditation stations.
July 29, 10:30 mass, followed by BBQ.  Here’s a snapshot of the bulletin announcement.

Saint James Catholic Church is located at: Guerrero St & 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Feast of Saint James Day Potluck & Blessing

On Wednesday, July 25th, our NorCal APOC chapter hosted a Feast of St. James Potluck at Corpus Christi church in Piedmont, with a presentation about Saint James and a blessing for departing pilgrims. I wanted to have a special event in the East Bay, and my parish was the perfect place to have it. The church is located on Saint James Drive, after all!

Double click on photos below to see larger version and read captions.

The Camino Provides Patch Special: 7 for $25

I decided to extend a special deal on patches through July 31.
St. James Day flash sale: Buy 7 patches for just $25 and get free shipping!

It is fun to give patches to friends and pilgrims on the Camino or back at home as a way to commemorate their Caminos. See all patches at Etsy.com/shop/caminoprovides. 
UPDATE: If you missed out on this special, it will be offered again next July for St. James Day. The best deal now is the Buy 12, get 3 free, mix and match, free stickers.

Message from American Pilgrims on the Camino

Below you will find a message from the APOC Board of Directors:

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Camino and Hiking Events in July 2018

Happy summer! Below is lineup of Camino-related events and hikes for July 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am excited about these events because as a recent returnee of the Camino, local events provide some of the pilgrim camaraderie and experience of being on the Camino, right here at home. Plus, there are three unique ways to celebrate St. James Day in Northern California. He’s the reason for the pilgrimage, after all!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, July 7, 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!

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Camino Primitivo Stages

I wanted to do something special for my 50th year, and this three-part trip is what I came up with. First, my mom and I enjoyed our 8th annual mother-daughter trip; this time we chose a tour of Sicily and Malta. Second, I had a free week before meeting up with my Camino buddies in Oviedo, so I visited Bay Area friends who retired in Ponferrada, Spain.  I also served as a part-time Hospitalera and taught yoga for pilgrims at the Albergue  San Nicolás de Flüe. And last, but certainly not least, I spent two weeks walking the Camino Primitivo with a wonderful group of pilgrims from Malta. 

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Camino and Hiking Events in June 2018

Greetings! I am just back from the Camino Primitivo. I have been sharing a few highlights on my Instagram and Facebook accounts. I’ll sort through my photos and journal to provide a more thorough route report. I prefer to enjoy the Camino while I’m there, and re-live the experience by writing about it when I return.  Alas, I have kept in touch with Bay Area chapters and there are some fun events in the works for June.

Lake Merritt Walk + Optional Picnic Lunch
Saturday, June 2, 10:30 a.m.

“Lake Lake Merritt Walk 2018 May 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!

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola (~1.5 mi walk). If you drive, make sure to give yourself enough time to find parking, as there are many activities on Saturday mornings in the Lake Merritt area. FYI: There is a small fee lot at the corner of Euclid and Grand Avenues that is close to the Pergola.

This time after the walk, let’s have a lakeside picnic lunch to kick off summer. Bring your own lunch (and blanket if you can carry one) or walk over to the Grand Lake Farmers Market nearby to pick one up. Come along even if you just want to hang out.

RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event to see who’s coming.


Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve Hike
Saturday, June 9, 2018, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

“Palo Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve Photo by Judy Barnes

Join the Silicon Valley Chapter for a hike from the Palo Alto Baylands to the Shoreline Lake in Mountain View and back. Meet in the Bayland’s Bixbee Park parking lot at 2375 Embarcadero Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94303 (on the Palo Alto Baylands map you’ll see the parking symbol closer to the Refuse Area, but signage in the lot says Bixbee Park). We’ll walk the Marsh Loop Bay Trail to Shoreline Lake, stopping for refreshments and conversation at the Shoreline Lake American Bistro where you’ll be able to purchase coffee, pastries or brunch. After we’ve had our Camino-esque coffee break, we’ll hit the trail back to Bixbee Park, having walked a little over 6 miles. Hope to see you there! Thanks to Susan Austin for leading this hike.

Questions? Contact the Silicon Valley Chapter
SiliconValley@americanpilgrims.org
American Pilgrims on the Camino
http://www.americanpilgrims.org/silicon-valley-california-chapter
Chapter Coordinators: Pat Day, Judy Barnes and Betsy Fullagar


Camino Happy Hour at Picaro
Thursday, June 14, 5-7pm

Let’s make it a TBT (Throwback Thursday) for this month’s Happy Hour with a return to chapter favorite, Picaro Tapas Restaurant in San Francisco, just one block from 16th Street Mission BART station.

Happy Hour is 5 – 7 PM and features their house-made sangria: $3.75 (Glass), $14 (Carafe). If that doesn’t bring you back to the Camino, Estrella Galicia is on tap and they also serve “clara!” Here’s the full menu for all the tapa choices: http://www.picarotapasrestaurant.com/menu.html.

If you can join us, please RSVP on the Facebook event so we can include you in the reservation count. If you’ll be bringing others, let us know in a comment. And please bring cash (small bills are best) for the bill.

Because the Bay Area has so many great restaurants, we like the idea of trying a different one each month. If you have a recommendation for the next Happy Hour, please share! “BARTable” is a plus! Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in May 2018

Hola from Barcelona! I’m working my way toward the Camino Primitivo.  Over the next month, I will be sharing a few highlights on my Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Here’s a roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area for the month of May 2018.

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, May 5, 10:30 a.m.

Lake Merritt walk April 2018

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.  RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event to see who’s coming.

Directions: Take BART to the 19th Street or Lake Merritt Oakland stations 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.

Please note that there will not be a presentation after the walk, but there will be an informal lunch in the area. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in April 2018

Here’s a roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the San Francisco Bay Area.

REI Presentations on the Caminos Norte / Primitivo with Susan & Ralph Alcorn

Learn 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.

Susan and Ralph presented this topic at the March Lunch & Learn program.  I highly recommend attending one of their upcoming talks, especially if you are planning to walk the Norte or Primitivo routes. Continue reading

Book Review: The Camino Inglés: 6 Days (or less) to Santiago

When I walked the Camino Inglés last summer, one of the guidebooks I used was The Camino Inglés: 6 Days (or less) to Santiago, by Susan Jagannath.  I enjoyed reading this guide on my Kindle App the night before each stage.  I often referred to it again before heading out for the day, and to look up points of interest.

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Camino and Hiking Events in March 2018

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 February 3, 2018

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

Camino Love Story: Michelle & Andreas

Our Camino Love Story

by Michelle & Andreas

Statue of Mother Mary atop the foothills of the Pyrenees, just outside of Orisson

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.

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