Surviving the Camino With Your Spouse

The idea of walking the Camino as a couple could be enchanting to some people, but daunting to others. Whatever the case, this topic is something to contemplate for all couples who are thinking about walking a Camino.  The following post was adapted from a chapter in Andy Cohn’s e-book, The Camino de Santiago – An Introduction to the Ways of the Way, where, in his words, “I try to answer the questions I had myself—or should have had—had it ever occurred to me to think about what we were getting into.”

Surviving the Camino With Your Spouse
by Andy Cohn

I do love my wife, but 24/7 for a month? Could be a stretch (especially for her) . . . 

So, if you’re setting off with your spouse, and hope to return together—in one piece, no less—you might want to avail yourself of these crucial coping strategies: 

1. Walk at different speeds. This, of course, is the best way to not be together 24/7. But there’s a technique to it. One spouse can’t be faster all the time. Otherwise, you start playing psychological one-up games, and we know where that leads . . .

Nor can you just pretend to be slower or faster. Then you’re patronizing your spouse. So you have to find the organic way of separating yourselves. In our case, this was easy, since Kate is descended from mythological Greek creatures who were half mountain goat. Thus, she dominated on the hills with ease, but with her short mountain goat legs, she ceded control to me on the flats.

So—we start out together:

Andy Cohn and Kate Stewart on the Chemin de Le Puy

But in the middle, there goes Kate… Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events: January 2020

Happy New Year!  And as we roll into a new decade, I’m hopeful that 2020 will bring more justice, peace, and compassion into this world. In the meantime, it’s Camino training season. Below are a selection of Camino events and hikes in Northern California. But first, a quick reminder to have your 12 lucky grapes ready for midnight so you can celebrate the way some Spaniards do on New Year’s Eve.  For each strike of the bell, eating a green grape is said bring good luck every month of the coming year.

12 GrapesEating 12 grapes at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain.

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Camino-Inspired Gift Ideas 2019

Hola amigos! ‘Tis the season to share a selection of Camino-inspired gifts for the holidays. There are offerings from pilgrims who have been so inspired by the Camino that they have created books, customized maps, music, and more. New this year, a few things that pilgrims crave: Camino beer, Jamón Serrano, and Tarta de Santiago. Add them to your shopping list and you will be set for your upcoming fiestas and pilgrim gatherings. I’m also happy to announce that the Camino patches for 2020 finally arrived and are pictured at the end of this post. So, browse the gifts for the pilgrims on your list, and perhaps pick something out for yourself. You’ve been a good pilgrim all year, haven’t you? If not, I won’t tell St. Nick, or St. James.  😉

Custom Camino Maps

‘A Road To Santiago’ creates one-of-a-kind custom Camino maps showing the village names, custom text in the header, choice of decorations, optional photos and trail profiles. Custom Camino Maps

These 24″ x 36″  or 18″ x 24″ custom maps are a great memory piece.  Starting at $55 for the digital-only version and $80 and up for printed, rolled and shipped versions.  For more details, go to ARoadToSantiago.com. These are very customizable by a graphics designer – many options available. Designed, printed and shipped within a week.

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Camino and Hiking Events in December 2019

Winter is a time to slow down and enjoy the holidays with family, but it is also a great time to train for the Camino. I have found that the climate in Galicia in springtime is similar to that in Northern California—a wild mix of rain, wind, fog, and sunshineso you can test your own endurance along with your rain gear.  This month, Bay Area pilgrims can join chapter socials, presentations, trekking poles workshop, a winter solstice hike, and a Flamenco show. Enjoy!

Happy Holidays & Buen Camino

Sacramento Social: Stocking Stuffers, Pilgrim Office, and 10×10s, Oh My!
Thursday, December 5th, 7 –  9 PM

Join the Sacramento Chapter at the Arden Dimick Library’s Community Room for a full evening of Camino camaraderie! Continue reading

Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving

Every fall, our chapter hosts a gathering of pilgrims as a “welcome home” celebration, complete with a potluck, special presentation, and pilgrims’ story hour. It’s a nice way for pilgrims to mingle and share stories among those who can relate. Let’s face it, some of our friends and family won’t ever understand the appeal of the Camino. That’s okay, because we have our own special Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving, minus the turkey and the drama!

Jamon Slicing We Americans like turkey on Thanksgiving, but pilgrims love jamón serrano on potluck day! Bryan Winter brought us right back to Spain with this jamón, sliced to perfection! Bravo! Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in November 2019

Hola, peregrinos.  Below is the roundup of Camino events and hikes in the SF Bay Area.

Packing for your pilgrimage walk on the Camino de Santiago
7:00 PM  –  8:30 PM
Berkeley REI

Packing for walking the Camino may seem overwhelming, but in this informative presentation by experienced Camino hikers Laurie Ferris and Susan Alcorn, you can put your concerns to rest. On their own Caminos, both have learned much about what to bring and what not to bring. They’ll discuss backpacks, clothing, shoes, sleeping gear, hiking poles, toiletries, and more. They’ll also talk about how to pack a backpack so that it’s most comfortable. Laurie and Susan are not in total agreement on what items are best to bring–and hope that new hikers will find it reassuring that there is no ONE right way–there are many right ways. They are in agreement about keeping the weight of your pack low and not packing based on fears. Laurie Ferris is co-coordinator of the Northern CA chapter of American Pilgrims and has hiked the Camino Ingles, Portuguese, Primitivo, and Invierno routes. Susan Alcorn, author of two Camino books, has hiked the Frances, Norte, Primitivo, Portuguese and more.

Register for Berkeley event on Nov. 6, 2019

It’s an honor to be co-presenting with Susan Alcorn. She wrote the first book I read about the Camino, Camino Chronicle, and has a great website and monthly newsletter.  A few years ago, Susan wrote a guest post, Love and Life on the Camino, which is featured on my Love, Camino Style page.


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Camino and Hiking Events in October 2019

Happy Fall! I am excited to share some upcoming Camino events in the Bay Area.

Lake Merritt Walk + Camino Packing Presentation
Saturday, October 5th
Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt Walk
10:30 AM – 12 PM

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.)  If you’re on the NorCal Facebook group, join event. Stay for the presentation at the Lakeview Library (details below).

Presentation: Camino 101: Packing
1 – 2 PM

Join the Northern California Chapter for a presentation led by Camino veteran Rob Nickerson at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library. We’ll continue our educational series with a presentation on packing that includes 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!

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Camino and Hiking Events in September 2019

See below for the lineup of Camino-related events and hikes in September.

Lake Merritt Walk + Camino Presentation
Saturday, September 7th
Oakland, CA

Lake Merritt Walk
10:30 AM – 12 PM

As usual, first Saturday of the month, rain or shine. Meet at the Lake Merritt Pergola.

Presentation: Camino Basics: Everything you need to know to start planning a walk on the Camino de Santiago
1 – 2 PM

Join the Northern California Chapter for a presentation by Camino veteran Rob Nickerson at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library.

New to the Camino de Santiago and don’t know where to start? Been around a while but still have questions? Just curious about the Camino? Then this presentation is for you. In one hour we will cover all the basics about the Camino.

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Support Camino Cleanup

I am happy to share a special guest post by Camino angel and bestselling author Karin Kiser.

Support Camino Cleanup

During my first Camino in 2011, I was disheartened by the amount of trash I saw along the route. I was determined to play a part in leaving the Camino in better condition than when I found it. Unfortunately, for all my good intentions, the last thing I wanted to do while walking all day fully loaded with a backpack and trekking poles was stop and collect some rubbish. Bending down with a full pack seemed a Herculean task. So my cleanup efforts were limited to areas where I was already resting without the load of backpack.

Last year when I was volunteering in Galicia, I was finally free of the backpack and could begin to pick up trash in earnest. During those two-weeks I took responsibility for the 3 km stretch on either side of the albergue and rounded up a dozen bags of waste.

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Camino and Hiking Events July – August

Dear Friends,

July is a special month for the Camino de Santiago. 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. Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, our chapter offers unique events to celebrate St. James.  See below for the lineup of Camino-related events and hikes in July.

Lake Merritt Walk in Oakland – Every First Saturday
Saturday, July 6, 10:30 AM

Lake Merritt Walk June 2019

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.

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