Back Home From 4th Camino


I just returned home from another relatively short Camino. Two travel days, one night in Rabanal, one night in Ponferrada, ten days of walking, and two days in Santiago.

Winter Way guidebookI was craving a less crowded walk, so decided to do the Camino Invierno, aka Winter Way,  from Ponferrada.  This is definitely a less-trodden Camino, but little did I know that I wouldn’t see a pilgrim until the third day! This was by far the most challenging Camino for me because some of the stages were very long, and a few days there were no places to stop. But, I walked through incredibly beautiful landscapes, connected with some locals, and survived some unforeseen challenges.  In short, it was a Camino of solitude at the beginning, a test of my fortitude in the middle, but throughout it all, left me with a feeling of extreme gratitude. I will write more about it later.  I did some posts on Instagram and Facebook if you want a sneak preview of my adventures and a few pilgrim hacks, see:

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Giving Back on Camino

Hola from Ponferrada, España.

I just started walking the Camino Invierno! I will write a detailed route report upon my return. For now, I am excited to share a cause that I am supporting and ask for your help pitching in. During my Camino, between May 17-28, $2 from every patch sale will be donated to Egeria House in Santiago to support the work of Sybille Yates and the volunteers who help pilgrims in need. My patches can be ordered for $4 each at:

I met Sybille in Santiago after my last two Caminos and witnessed how she has helped many pilgrims. Sybille is a busy woman! After seeing her at the 10 am mass, handing out hymn sheets and helping pilgrims to find a seat, I saw her again at the hospital visiting a friend of mine from the Bay Area who became critically ill while walking the Camino. Because I have seen her kindness in action, I want to show support for what she is doing in Santiago with Egeria House. She is one of those Camino angels I will write about when I get back home.

Learn more at: Egeria.House

My patches can be ordered at:

I will give Egeria House the patch sale contributions when I get to Santiago on May 27th or 28th.

Thank you for sharing the Camino love!

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Meet Karin, a Camino Angel

Every once in a while, you hear about an angel on the Camino. Perhaps you’ve met one while walking, or have been the recipient of first aid, a ride, or shelter when you desperately needed it.  It’s true, peregrinos look out for one another, and a few look after the environment of the Camino itself. Imagine seeing a pilgrim who walks all day picking up trash along a Camino. Karin Kiser has taken on the arduous duty of Camino cleanup, one disposable pillowcase full of trash at a time! 

Read her story below from a recent interview Karin had with the good folks at Galiwonders.  

When Karin is not on the Camino, she writes incredibly useful books, such as Lighten Your Load and Free and Clear, with the mission of helping people reduce the physical, mental, and emotional toxins blocking their path. Yes, please! Karin recently published two mini guidebooks, Your Inner Camino and After the Camino. As of writing this, I am just days away from walking my fourth Camino, and will be bringing the Your Inner Camino with me.

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A Very Spanish Day at UC Berkeley

Happy Friday! I’m pleased to share a guest post by a young man from Murcia who lives at International House. Juan Antonio Perez Lopez, or “Juanan” for short, shares his experience cooking paella for a homeless shelter, followed by a celebration of Spanish culture back home at I-House. I’ll try to get his family paella recipe before he moves back to Spain. There’s a translation in Spanish at the end of the English version. Enjoy!

I-House: Where UC Berkeley Meets the World

On Wednesday, April 24th we had the opportunity to live a very Spanish day in Berkeley, 12,000 km away from my home in Spain. (For Spanish speakers, I have included a translation of this article en español below.)

The day began with a very special activity suggested by Paulina, another a Program Assistant in the International House Program Office. She organized an activity with the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, for which we cooked over 100 servings of paella in a homeless shelter. It was a beautiful experience, and also very special for me because we used my family’s paella recipe. Even though I have seen paella being made every Sunday for as long as I can remember, neither I nor the rest of our team (who were from many countries such as Nepal, Germany, USA, and Italy) had ever cooked paella in our lives.

We practiced making paella…

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Camino and Hiking Events in May 2019

May is already here, which means I’ll be walking another Camino in just a few weeks! Needless to say, I’m a little nervous because I have a lot to do before I leave, but I am super excited to be walking Camino #4!

Below are hiking and Camino events in Northern California – some of which are hosted by our friends in the Sacramento and Silicon Valley chapters. Also, my latest wellness newsletter features a few events that pilgrims might like, such as Llamapalooza, hot stone therapy, yoga for every body, and an article about why nature is so good for our mental health.  If you dig it,  subscribe to the free monthly newsletter.

Lake Merritt Walk April 6, 2019

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, May 4, 10:30 AM

Join our popular and easy walk that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. 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.) Stay for lunch after the walk at a local restaurant, location TBD. If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

Attention members attending this walk: Be the first to check out items from our revamped NorCal Chapter Library! It’s as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Request up to 3 items using the new form:
2. Pick up your items at the Lake Merritt walk from a library volunteer and write your name on the item’s pocket card. You may keep them for up to 4 weeks.
3. Return items to a library volunteer at the next Lake Merritt walk or NorCal chapter event (per request form)

I’ll be there at the beginning of the June walk to answer questions and deliver items to the members who submitted a request through the form.

Long Walks – Peru and Japan with Sacramento Chapter
Tuesday, May 7th, 7 – 9 PM
Arden Dimick Library, Community Room

Join the Sacramento Pilgrims for presentations about long walks in Peru and Japan!

In January, 2019 Rella and Roger Remedios hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. They hiked five days and four nights along Camino Inca, reaching 14,000 feet, before descending through the Sun Gate and entering the extraordinary Machu Picchu. The slideshow will capture the beauty and hazards of the Inca Valley, trail and the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu.

The Kumano Kodo, an UNESCO World Heritage route, twinned with the Camino de Santiago, is an other-worldly and spiritual pilgrimage through the Kii peninsula, south of Osaka, Japan. Traversed by monks, emperors, kings and pilgrims, it follows temples and shrines and offers the most spectacular rural landscapes one can imagine. Roxanne has walked this twice and will talk about ryokans, onsens and the art of bowing and being a pilgrim. Come find out what you need to do to pick up your staff and earn your Dual Pilgrim Compostela!
Sacramento Library

Location: Arden Dimick Library – 891 Watt Ave (Watt at Northrop) View Map

See Facebook Event Sacramento Pilgrims.
Follow Sacramento Pilgrims Chapter.

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Cathy’s Camino Tips: Booking Accommodations

Camino superfan Cathy Seitchik Diaz is currently walking the Camino Francésfor the fifth time in five yearswith her partner David Stewart. She provides some useful tips which she would like to share to help pilgrims along the way.  In this post, she describes methods of booking private rooms in advance by using Booking . com, calling, email or using WhatsApp. Even though they focus only on the Camino Francés, you will find some practical advice for any Camino route that you choose to walk.

Below is the first in a series of Cathy’s Camino Tips, fresh from the Way!

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Camino and Hiking Events in April 2019

Happy spring! Below is a selection of upcoming events for the SF Bay Area including: Camino Brewing’s one year anniversary; a Camino Portugués Coastal presentation; a 2-day Mini Camino; a Flamenco show in Oakland; and a Marin Headlands hike. Alas, it’s high season for Camino planning, training, and gear fitting, so let’s hop right to it!

Preparing for the Camino de Santiago
Tuesday, April 2, 7-8:30 pm
Saratoga REI (San Jose)

So you’ve decided to hike the Camino de Santiago, or maybe you’re still thinking about it. You know how to pack for a vacation in Hawaii, but how do you pack for a hike in Spain? Join the Silicon Valley Chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC) for an evening of Camino talk. Camino veterans will discuss their equipment and clothing, including what worked, what didn’t work and why. They will also talk about Camino routes and what to expect when you are walking.

Location: Saratoga REI
400 El Paseo de Saratoga, San Jose, CA 95130

Register online or in person.

Sharing the Camino Light through Service

Note: This article was published in the March 2019 La Concha newsletter for American Pilgrims on the Camino. (See page 8).

The notion of walking the Camino first came at a time in my life when I was looking for a more meaningful way to travel and feeling the desire to serve. I became consumed with researching, training, packing, repacking, blogging, and chatting with pilgrims. This happened a few years before I turned 50—and to some of my friends and family, it appeared I was going through a midlife crisis! Perhaps I was, but I couldn’t have picked a healthier addiction, because the Camino ultimately led to a variety of ways that I can serve.

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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. Continue reading

Canadian Wanderers on the Camino

On Valentine’s Day, we add another Camino Love story to the collection. Rob and his wife walked the Camino Francés in 2015. I knew him first as “Canadian Wander” on the Camino de Santiago UK forum, and like every Canadian I’ve met, his interactions are positive and friendly. He recalls his reluctance to the idea of walking, but, with the help of his adventure-seeking wife, Rob eventually became a Camino convert.  Enjoy!

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