Camino de Santiago


El Camino de Santiago–The Way of St James–is one of the most ancient walking routes in the world and still today people come from all over to engage in this pilgrimage for many different reasons with religious, spiritual or sport among the top 3.  The Way as it is often referred actually takes 40 days from start in the French Pyrenees to finish in Santiago de Compostela in Spain but you can do it over 40 years if you want to. You can walk, cycle or ride your horse!  Or you can do the final section of it like the 14 of us STAT girls did and get your “Pilgrim Passport” stamped by walking at least 110 kilometers.  Sounds ambitious for a week but not with my Peregrinos.  Every day on the trail was filled with camaraderie and a plethora of emotions.  From our opening ceremony where we IMG_0687broke all the rules to dancingIMG_0732 on tables at lunch and belly laughing into the night over snoring roomies, we experienced the best of Galician hospitality.  Oh the places we stayed! They were as authentic as the rhyme goes “Capilla, palomar, cipres…Pazo es!” which means Chapel, cypress and a dovecot…a country house you’ve got!”  They all felt like mythical secret hideaways. We even drank the coolaid … the excellent Riberiro and Albarino winesIMG_0698 of the area and ate a rich supply of fish including the famous pulpo gallego otherwise known as octopus.  We particularly loved our daily portions of salad con tuna and yummy lentil soup with stops every couple of hours for cafe con leche IMG_0729in quaint little villages. This unique experience of traversing Galicia on the Camino Frances following the yellow brick road…IMG_0656 I mean arrow… through undulating landscape of green hills grazed by cattle, native forests of oak and chestnut, insane calle lilies,wisteria,and crosses lining the fences,IMG_0706IMG_0713IMG_0718 Eucalyptus treesIMG_0641 and fertile river valleys could only be surpassed by the beautiful people we met along the way and the incredible chemistry we had for one another. IMG_0693Our 83-year-old Cynthia who has walked the Camino at least 10 times in her life (that she can remember) was our  daily inspirational reminder to be grateful.  And our beautiful widowed couple we met who were getting married at the Cathedral at the end of their 40 day walk reinforced us that love conquers all. Whether we walked alone in silence or together, there are as many questions as there are pilgrims about lives, loves, faith, jobs, relationships and even the meaning of life and our existence.  Walking this trail brought many emotions to the surface and enabled quiet reflection for each of us.IMG_0658IMG_0688  But when we came together at the end of the day after a nice hot (mostly) shower, it was quite a love fest.  The bonding on this journey was beyond special as we laughed and learned from each other about love and support. Especially that there are no accidents in life except for those who take life for granted.  Not us. It’s a gift.  Just like the gift we gave those beautiful folks we met at the assisted living facility and the Down syndrome people IMG_0678who walked the last part of the Camino with us into Santiago.  What a pleasure to connect with those doing wonderful things in this special corner of Spain for others. Arriving into Santiago de Compostela after a week of walking was magical and just in time for the Pilgrim’s Mass (as a jew) was perfection.IMG_0668 Even more perfect was the Parador Nacional de los Reyes Catolicos, the 15th century hotel combining history, art and tradition reyes_catolicosthat we stayed on the square for our last evening together. It is considered the oldest hotel in the world and still greeting pilgrims today.  A special shout out to our guide Mike, who made our journey look effortless while sharing his immense knowledge and British sense of humor with 14 crazy ladies.  I will remember this journey forever and will call upon these cherished memories to bring a smile to my face with gratitude to all of you for a Buen Camino.

8 thoughts on “Camino de Santiago

  1. Judy Greenfeld says:

    Thank you Erin for your beautiful blog that only reinforced the magnificent journey we all experienced. What a blessing to travel all that way together, finding that along the way discovered a sense of peace and binding friendship.You are the light that sparked and opened our hearts to this new destination.
    Much love, Cantor Judy

  2. Lisa says:

    “THE WAY” was a powerful and inspirational
    Movie. You and the girls were lucky to go on this exciting and wonderful trip. Well done!

  3. donnarobinsonyours says:

    This was a dream for me to walk the camino and meeting all of the other wonderful women was a huge gift. Thank you Erin for capturing the essence of our trip in your blog. It describes not only the physical beauty of the camino but the spiritual beauty. I was so proud to have been a pilgrim on this very special “Way of St. James”

  4. Judy Nussenblatt says:

    “The Way of St.James” via the Way of Erin. Nobody, but nobody, puts a trip together like you, Erin. It’s not just about the itinerary with you, but all the thought into forming a perfect union of women balanced with the promise of a spiritual, creative and athletic experience. I know I am a better person for it. I only hope to have many more opportunities for you to show me ” The Way”.

  5. Nancy Baumann says:

    … words for what I continue to feel… it is a feeling I never expected to be the “TAKE AWAY” from this magical trip…I know from This blog that we are all bonded and united with these very special feelings…this journey with this amazing group of women is a gift that keeps on giving…in our thoughts and hearts!!
    I have found that when asked about my trip, I am unable to share it as it continues to feel like a sacred journey and one that others can’t quite understand…..THANK YOU Erin for this blog….I now simply click FORWARD and share the story of MY journey and OUR journey!!!
    Sending each of you lot’s of love and continued laughter! Nancy

  6. Joan Teige says:

    watching all of you getting on the bus leaving Santiago after our journey/ walk was difficult…yet the extra 5 days alone allowed me to reflect on my own experience and the warmth, and sharing that I experienced with each of you.

    Erin created a joyful, easy atmosphere by who she is and how she shows up. She is playful and present in a loving way. Consistent and caring! Her face, hair and dancing rock!!!!

    I was able to be with amazing beauty that engulfed me, witness the commitment of our women and others on the path. WE were strong, we laughed, cried and felt the loving support from each other.

    Erin planned a beautiful, yummy, sacred space for us to connect in a continued daily journey which allowed me to share, listen, and become intimate with everyone of you in a different way.

    This spiritual pilgrimage had a feeling of comfort, and safety and allowed me to let go, feel and benefit from this profound experience that showed me some of MY/THE… WAY.

    thank you…ALL OF YOU…and the powerful route where hundred of thousands have walked.

  7. Jody Post says:

    HIGHLIGHT of a lifetime…it was magical…14 woman and no rain, snow, sleet or hail could stop us. A remarkable journey, more emotionally than physically , w/each woman being a sage in their own way…but we had Erin our wisest sage who lead us on a magical journey. And that’s what life is about…The Journey…Thank you all for adding to it. xxoo

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