Camino and Hiking Events in January 2018

Happy New Year!  I’m squeezing in one last post of 2017 because there is a lot going on in January, starting with the New Year’s Day hike in the Oakland hills.  See more Camino-related events and hikes in the SF Bay Area below.

Free Oakland Hiking Tour on New Year’s Day and MLK Day (Jan 15)

Start the new year with a hike from Oakland’s Dimond District up to Joaquin Miller Park. This beautiful 7.5 mile hike will go through Oakland’s Dimond Canyon and Joaquin Miller Park, and will finish with a spectacular view of San Francisco Bay.

Oakland Hills Hike July 4 2017 with peregrinas Sheila and Abigail

Oakland Hills Hike July 4 2017 with peregrinas Sheila and Abigail

New Years Day: Monday, January 1 at 9:00am (leave promptly at 9:10am)
Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Monday, January 15 at  9:00am (leave promptly at 9:10am) Register here.

Where: Meet at La Farine Bakery: 3411 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94602 – free parking in back
Details: Steady, 7.5-mile hike in Oakland’s largest wildland trail system, with some steep uphills and downhills, and narrow trails through the canyons. Bring water, sturdy shoes, and bus fare ($2.25).

“From right here in the heart of urban Oakland, we’re connected to a trail system that spans the entire East Bay. You could hike for days and days.”..—Stan Dodson, Tour Leader

I went on the hike in January and July and LOVED it! It makes for great Camino training. Here’s a highlight video I made. As you can see, it is a dog-friendly hike, as long as your dog is friendly and can handle hills.


Lake Merritt Walk + Optional Lunch & Wayfaring Film Screening
Saturday, January 6, 10:30 am

December 2017 Lake Merritt Walk

December 2017 Lake Merritt Walk

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 AM and starts walking promptly at 10:45 AM. It’s a level, 3.3 mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. All are welcome. Afterwards, there is an optional gathering for lunch at Barlago Italian Kitchen, so bring cash to split the checks.

WayfaringDuring lunch, there will be a screening the Camino documentary Wayfaring – A Jaunt Along The Camino de Santiago. This film follows Scott “Squatch” Herriott, an Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trail veteran, on the Camino Francés in the spring of 2013. He interviews pilgrims, albergue owners, hospitaleros (volunteers of the Camino), and a few locals who like to flirt with young peregrinas. Read Wayfaring Film Review

Free film screening courtesy of Scott Herriott of Squatch Films.

RSVP: Space at Barlago is limited. Join on Facebook event for lunch and film.
Non-Facebook users email me at laurie@caminoprovides.com to RSVP for lunch.

Directions to the walk: Take BART to the 19th Street Oakland station (Lake Merritt station will be closed this weekend) 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 Lake Merritt area.

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Camino Inglés: Pontedeume to Betanzos

Continued from Exploring Pontedeume.

The Pontedeume-to-Betanzos stage was 22.5 km (14 miles) and was a steep climb for the first segment and more ups and downs throughout the day. The graph below shows how steep it was with a 2,270 ft. elevation gain!

Next time I do this route, I will split this stage to stay in Miño so I can spend one more night by the river and have a more leisurely walk of roughly seven miles on both days.  This will also allow for an earlier arrival in Betanzos, a town worthy of exploring more.

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Camino Inglés: Exploring Pontedeume

Continued from Neda to Pontedeume

After our amazing time frolicking in the waves at Playa Magdalena, Nancy and I headed to Pontedeume, which is just across a 14th-century bridge.  My feet were a little salty and sandy from the beach so I walked those last couple of miles in my Z-Trail sandals, with my shoes strapped to my backpack.

Crossing bridge to Pontedeume

Crossing bridge to Pontedeume

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¡Feliz Navidad!

Happy Holidays! What’s it like to celebrate Christmas in Spain? Maria Seco, founder of Spanish for the Camino, lives on the Camino and just wrote an excellent post on her blog about traditions in Galicia. Enjoy!

Spanish for the Camino

The winter months are typically a quieter period in the Camino de Santiago. There are few pilgrims walking and many albergues are closed. However, some of you decide to walk around this time of the year and I thought you might like to know what to expect during Christmas.

First of all, you should be aware that there are a few festivos (public holidays). Shops will be closed those days; you should keep it in mind, in case you need to buy something. I’ll list the important dates and explain a bit about them:

  • 22 de diciembre – La lotería de Navidad (Christmas lottery) also known as “el gordo” (the fat one!). This is the unofficial start of Christmas celebrations. Almost everyone in Spain plays this lottery and it’s a huge event: TV, radio, people on the street… all you’ll hear about is lotería!

  • 24 de diciembre – Nochebuena (Christmas…

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Camino-Inspired Gift Ideas 2017

It’s the time of year to share an updated list of Camino-inspired gifts for the holidays.  I find it fascinating that some pilgrims have been so inspired by their experience on the Camino that they have turned their creative ideas and hobbies into films, books, artwork, crafts,  jewelry, and more. I see this as a way pilgrims can share their talents in a way others can enjoy, and possibly, also be inspired by the Camino! Below are a few gift ideas for the pilgrims on your list.

Camino-Inspired Gift Ideas

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Camino and Hiking Events in December 2017

Happy December!  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season and taking time to appreciate the many blessings in life.  Below is the roundup of Camino-related events and hikes in the SF Bay Area for the month of December.

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland
Saturday, December 2, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

October 2017 Lake Merritt Walk. Extra credit for Abigail for doing a lap around Lake Merritt before this walk for a fundraiser for Oakland schools. And for her fabulous Ta-Da! pose!

October 2017 Lake Merritt Walk

This is an informal gathering that takes place on the first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. The group meets at 10:30 a.m. at the Pergola on the east side of Oakland’s Lake Merritt and starts walking promptly at 10:45 a.m. It’s a level, 3.3 mile walk around the lake that takes about an hour. All are welcome (American Pilgrims members and non-members). Afterwards, there is an optional brunch in the area, location TBD.

Directions to the walk: Take BART to the 19th Street Oakland station (Lake Merritt station will be closed this weekend) 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 Lake Merritt area.

If you are in the Bay Area, join the Peregrinos Northern California Facebook Group to get details on this and other events.


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Hans Walked the Camino for Daan

A cross-cultural friendship began last year when two 2016 Camino Provides patches were ordered by a man named Hans (Buijsrogge) from the Netherlands. When he received the patches, he emailed that he was very excited because he and his best friend, also named Hans (Sleven), were going to walk the Camino Portugués together in the fall. He told me of some health issues they both had, but they were finally ready to fulfill their shared dream of walking the Camino. They were enthusiastically reading my Camino Portugués Stages to prepare, and I was excited for them to soon be following in my footsteps. I wished them “Bom Caminho!” and looked forward to following the adventures of Hans & Hans online. Then, I didn’t hear from them for about six months. An unforeseen tragedy completely changed the course of their journey.

When Hans explained what had happened, I was in tears. He said they would like to eventually share their story on my blog. I remember saying, “Take as much time as you need, and heal.” He recently emailed me this interview, published by the Dutch Saint James Association and translated into English by René Sleven, the son of Hans Sleven.

I am humbled and honored to share their remarkable story of friendship, loss, and Camino camaraderie.

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Sacred Rite of the Camino Welcome Home Event

The Northern California chapter held its annual Welcome Home Celebration and Potluck event on November 11th in Oakland. This year’s presentations included Camino routes “beyond the Francés.” First-time pilgrims and Camino veterans alike were given the opportunity to share highlights at the gathering of nearly eighty pilgrims. It was a fun way to learn about less popular routes—off the beaten path.

We presented in 10×10 format—ten slides in ten minutes. Seven Camino routes were represented: Aragones, Inglés, Le Puy, Norte, Portugués Coastal, Primitivo, and Via de la Plata.  I presented on the Camino Inglés, and I have to admit it was challenging for us to select photos and to speak for only ten minutes. We are all very passionate about our Camino experiences!

Audience watching the 10x10 presentations. Photo by Guy Joaquin.

Audience watching the 10×10 presentations. Photo by Guy Joaquin.

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Camino Inglés: Neda to Pontedeume

Continued from Exploring Neda.

When I saw Nancy eating breakfast at Pensión Maragoto, she was already packed up and ready to head out for the day. I move a little slower in the morning, so I told her I would see her along the way.  The laundry I had washed and hung on the windows was nice and dry, so I packed up and started walking around 9 a.m. I shot a quick video from the room before I headed out.

(See more details of Pensión Maragoto on previous posts.)

The Neda to Pontedeume stage was 18.7 km (11.6 miles) and followed the Ria de Ferrol for the first segment.

It was a peaceful walk along a boardwalk by the Ferrol river.

Boardwalk along the river in Neda

I walked right by a horse and felt like I was back on the Camino Portugués.

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Camino Inglés: Exploring Neda

Continued from Camino Inglés: Ferrol to Neda

Later in the afternoon, I felt like exploring Neda. I walked along the river to cross a small bridge over the Ria Ferrol.

Long afternoon shadow on freshly mowed grass

Long afternoon shadow on freshly mowed grass

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