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

Secrets of France Tour

The secret is out. I am enjoying another Trafalgar Tour with my mom before I walk a Camino.  This time it’s the “Secrets of France” tour that starts and ends in Paris. It includes a high-speed TGV train ride that takes only three hours to get to Bordeaux in the south-west corner of France, as opposed to an eight-hour bus ride. This year it was mom’s turn to choose our itinerary, and she picked a winner!

Secrets of France Trafalgar Tour

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Porto Memories: Ferreira Port Cellars Tour and Tasting

Continued from Porto Memories: Stock Exchange Palace and Imperial McDonald’s.

If you like Port wine, don’t miss a visit to the many Port cellars on the south side of the Duoro in Porto. Instead of touring the British-founded Sandeman Port, our tour guide brought us to Ferreira, the only Porto wine house to have remained in Portuguese hands since its foundation. And it was made successful by a woman! Ferreira tops the list in the 10 Wine Tours You Can’t Miss in Porto. Below are photos from our experience.

Founded in 1751, it became particularly prominent under the leadership of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira.

Founded in 1751, the winery became particularly prominent under the leadership of Doña Antónia Adelaide Ferreira.

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Tastes of the Camino with Yosmar Martinez

Favorite 21I recently had the opportunity to attend a hands-on cooking class with guest chef Yosmar Martinez, author of the new cookbook, Tastes of the Camino. Yosmar planned a delicious four-course meal based on recipes from Spain and her new cookbook.

• Pan con Tomate y Jamón Serrano (Toasted bread with Tomato and Serrano ham)
• Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)
• Paella Mixta (Chicken and Shellfish Paella)
• Tarta de Santiago (St. James Almond Cake)


Below are more photos and a video of the experience.

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Pontevedra: A Peregrina Paradise

Continued from Walking Day 3: Redondela to Pontevedra

A Parador, pulpo, sidra, tapas, and a Camino-themed chapel. What more could a peregrina want?

I was glad I had decided to walk all the way to Pontevedra that day. When I checked into the albergue, I was surprised to see two of the five Italians I met on the first night in Ponte de Lima. They were early risers and must have walked more than 35 km a day to get this far. Speeding through the Camino is not my thing; I feel that walking 18 to 22 km a day is a distance I am comfortable with. I had just finished walking 22.5 km when I arrived at the Virgen Peregrina albergue in Pontevedra so I was ready to rest my body.

This albergue has two large dorm rooms with fifty-six bunk beds. When the hospitalero asked if I preferred a top or bottom bed, I said bottom please. “As everyone does,” he replied and walked me to a bed that was super close to other beds. In fact, a guy was sitting on my assigned bed and looking through his backpack. I dreaded the thought of sleeping in those tight quarters. I know that I would feel claustrophobic. Continue reading

The Curious Life Project

Happy Friday! I have a new recommendation to add to the growing list of favorite Camino blogs. Gabriel Schirm, author of Sunrises to Santiago, runs a beautifully designed blog called The Curious Life Project, at gabrielschirm.com.

Indeed, Gabriel’s curiosities have been fun to read—from Spain Travel Tips For Foodie Outdoor Enthusiasts to How To Get Time Off For Long Distance Hikes And Travel— a burning question for most Americans afflicted with wanderlust.  Gabriel covered the topic thoroughly and even took the time to do a poll and include stats. He writes, “I asked the simple question, How Did You Get The Time Off To Walk Long Distance Treks? Here are the combined results from about 100 respondents:
Quit My Job – 2%
Flexible Boss – 14%
I Work For Myself – 25%
Independently Wealthy – 0%
Saved All Of My Vacation Time – 15%
Student On Break – 5%
Educator On Summer Break – 11%
Other – 10%”

The post that got me hooked was Must Eat Foods of the Camino de Santiago. Gabriel and his wife lived in Granada for two years and walked the Camino Frances, so they know what they’re talking about.

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Montefurado, the pierced mountain

It appears that Galicia and California have a lot in common with our gold mining history, mountains and fine wines. No wonder this NorCal girl is so at home in northern Spain! Enjoy a bit of Roman history along with food and wine tips from Jorge over at the kilomEATers.