Camino Reflections by an Awkward British Wanderluster

I’m happy to feature a guest post by fellow travel blogger Sheree, who recently walked the Camino Francés with her partner Tim.  The self-proclaimed “awkward British wanderluster” writes, “I don’t really know where I’m going, but that’s never stopped me before.”  I can definitely relate to being awkward and having a serious case of wanderlust! It’s an interesting take on the pilgrimage, and even more evidence that the Camino provides.

Camino Reflections
By Sheree

When my boyfriend Tim first told me that he wanted to walk the French Way of the Camino de Santiago, I wasn’t really all that surprised. Eight years before this declaration, he had suffered a spinal cord injury during a motorcycle accident and had been told he would never walk again. Luckily, after several months he took his first steps (for the second time) and began a new chapter in his life.

When Tim asked me to partner him on his Camino journey, I instantly agreed. At the time, I knew only the bare bones of what the Camino was about but as I thought that the decision would probably never come to fruition, I thought very little about accepting the invite. After a few months, it became evident that Tim was serious about undertaking the journey.

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Camino and Hiking Events in September 2018

Below is lineup of upcoming Camino-related events and hikes for September 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area.  But first, I would like to announce my new Wellness Tribe Newsletter, launched in September.  See first issue here. There are so many amazing events and resources to share, so this newsletter will feature wellness-focused topics, including:

  • workshops and retreats led by my favorite yoga teachers
  • free online courses, summits, and meditations
  • mindful practices for stress relief
  • yoga stretches for pilgrims
  • interesting tidbits I learn about in my continuing education
  • books that I recommend
  • fun events in the Bay Area
  • my upcoming classes (also listed at thecaminoprovides.com/yoga/)

The newsletter frequency will be no more than once per month. I take your privacy seriously, and never sell or share email addresses. You can opt out at any time by following the link at the bottom of each newsletter email. Subscribe now. 

Okay, here’s the lineup for September!

Lake Merritt Walk
Saturday, September 1, 10:30 AM to 12 PM

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 and start walking by 10:45. 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! Below is a video of our last walk on August 4th.

Directions: Take BART to the Lake Merritt or 19th Street Oakland station and navigate your way to the Pergola.
Service Modification for Labor Day Weekend 9/1 – 9/3: For those coming from SF on BART, train service will stop at West Oakland with free AC Transit bus bridge to 19th Street. See the BART alert for details.

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.

RSVP not required, but if you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event.

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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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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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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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The Wise Pilgrim Camino Map

I am really excited to share this great new Camino route map, designed by Michael Matynka, founder of the Wise Pilgrim Guides.  The world needed a better Camino map, and this is it!

The map shows nearly fifty routes across Spain and Portugal, and four that enter Spain from France. Each Camino is named and color coded, and includes major cities along the route. Below is a closeup of the map’s detail. Continue reading

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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Let All Who Are Thirsty Come

Mel Soriano from Pasadena, California, is on his fifth Camino and is currently in Ponte de Lima, the place I started my Camino Portugués last year.  I am recommending Mel’s blog, Let All Who Are Thirsty Come, plus a few related links below. He is on a spiritual journey and eloquently shares his experience through stories, hymns, prayers, and photographs.  In his own words, he’s “Nomadic geek, Episcopalian, Pilgrim, mobile/data integrator, husband, fiscal progressive IMMIGRANT.”  He is also on the board of Integrity USA, the LGBTQ group affiliated with the Episcopal Church. For Mel, the Camino pilgrimage is about healing, contemplation, gratitude, and meeting people.

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