Displaying items by tag: Camino de Santiago
…the helping hands when the going got tough…
Such a special time! … The sights, the sounds; the misty morning light and starry sky at night at Axpe; the picnics, and idyllic settings; the going up and the going down of the trails; the enchanting forests and the panoramic rural and coastal views; the history, the myths, the saints, the culture and even the jokes!; the storytelling, the card games and the camaraderie of the group; and the helping hands when the going got tough. And so much more!
Lesley, Melbourne, Australia (4th time On Foot in Spain traveler!)
Sept 2014, Basque Country
this Pilgrim’s journey was deeper, fuller and richer from the gift of On Foot in Spain
I will write something down the road on Facebook or the website for On Foot in Spain because I want others to know the gift of this journey from Nancy’s & Jose’s incredible knowledge shared about the special places on the Camino and the hikes designed to bring the Camino alive for each of us. Who could forget the wonderful picnic lunches each day unique to each region we traveled through (how I missed the picnic the day after I left you). All in all this Pilgrim’s journey was deeper, fuller and richer from the gift of On Foot in Spain and the love and commitment of Nancy and Jose to the El Camino de Santiago and to each of us on our pilgrimages shared.
Pat, Shingle Springs, California, USA
Sept 2014, Camino de Santiago
the group’s collective experience was enriched by the expert facilitation…
Nancy and Jose possess this wonderful talent of bringing people together in their trademark and subtle and gentle way. Meeting and getting to know this fantastic group of people was one of the many highlights of the walk. I am convinced that the group’s collective experience was enriched by the expert facilitation of Nancy, Jose and Sam. Thank you for making this such a fantastic experience …and for your skill and thoughtfulness.
Lisa, Sparta, Michigan, USA
Sept 2014, Basque Country
the warmth and friendship of your wonderful family
We not only survived your well planned walk through the beautiful Basque country but also really enjoyed every minute of it.
What did we enjoy the most? The trails were wonderful, the accommodation in the comfort bracket and sometimes really interesting, the universally proclaimed lunches, (carted and prepared by Jose,) the history and culture of this amazing Basque country and its friendly people and its special food and wine (especially Pinchos) the unforgettable lunch at Etxebarri and even your jokes all bring back great memories. However it was the warmth and friendship of your wonderful family and the amazing camaraderie of an eclectic walking group that stood out.
Suffice to say we had a wonderful time!
Barry & Maureen, Melbourne, Australia
Sept 2014, Basque Country
It was magical.
What a beautiful note, Nancy. It sums up well the tremendous experience of sharing the Camino with this very special group of people.
We all have much to look back on. You provided us with a marvellous, varied, and rich experience. Even without the small miracle of a highly compatible group of merry folk, it would have been a wonderful trip. WITH them -- and you and Jose -- it was magical.
Dale, Toronto, Canada
May 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour
Your love for this magical walk shows in everything you do...
I can’t thank you both enough for the wonderful time you gave me in showing me your Camino. Your love for this magical walk certainly shows in everything you do, and it is something that I will always remember and draw strength from.
Maureen, Sydney, Australia
June 2014, Camino de Santiago
Taken to the next level!
There's a saying in San Diego: "You can't have a bad day at the beach!" I would suggest that you can't have a bad Camino. I believe that anyone who travels the Camino will be positively changed either physically, mentally and/or spiritually.
However, if you are able to travel the Camino with Nancy and Jose that experience will be taken to the next level. You will come away with a much deeper understanding of what the Camino is truly all about. Nancy and Jose LIVE the Camino. It is their life's passion to instill in each of us their love of the unique history, the beauty of the natural surroundings, the fabulous foods, the vintage wines, the authentic culture and the genuine people who make up the Camino.
I have been taken to the next level, and would highly recommend this journey to you.
Joan, San Diego, CA , USA
Compostela, April 2014
You brought the best out in everybody and allowed us to be ourselves.
The tour had many dimensions for me – not in any order. Weather was fabulous, loved all the local wines and food. The variation of accomodationn. It was phyiscal, it had spirituality and history, we had a great group, it was fun ,relaxed and organised without being too structured_- congratulations to you both, you brought the best out in everybody and allowed us to be ourselves.
Jillian, Queensland, Australia
May 2014, Camino de Santiago
….warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit….
On a personal note, thank you for guiding us through this remarkable journey. It was a privilege for us to have you accompany us and share in your warmth, kindness and generosity of spirit along the Camino.
S & B, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
June 2014, Camino de Santiago
There are not enough thanks in the world!!!
Even after being home for only two weeks I am still processing the entire experience. It was more spiritual than I had expected, and I can see some potential long-term effects in how I view "Life" and my place in it. How wonderful that you are conduits for providing such experiences! Northern Spain was even more breathtaking than I had expected; the scenery, food, and most of all people! We had an exceptional group (your best, remember?) led by two dynamic and passionate human beings. There are not enough thanks in the world!!!
Colleen, Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
Sept 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour
Set the bar very high….
Nancy, we are reminiscing of our happy holiday with you ALL the time. You have set the bar very high for any future tour guides. It was the best.
Mary-Anne and David, South Australia, Australia
May 2014, Camino de Santiago Tour
In December 2013 the BBC aired a three part pilgrimage documentary with adventure traveler and writer Simon Reeve as the presenter. I was consulted by the BBC for their film preparation as an expert on the Camino de Santiago and then interviewed by Simon Reeve in Santiago de Compostela in June 2013. A small part of that interview appears in Episode 2 of Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve in which Simon covers pilgrimage in northern France, along the Camino de Santiago, and then, finally, in Rome. In this clip from Pilgrimage with Simon Reeve, Episode 2, I answer Simon’s questions about Santiago de Compostela as a pilgrimage city, about Santiago or St James as a multi-faceted figure (Apostle, Pilgrim and Warrior) and about the sticky issue of whether or not the bones of the Apostle James are really in Santiago de Compostela or not.
For more information about the full episode, please see the BBC website. This segment in which Nancy Frey appears with Simon Reeve is reproduced with permission from the BBC.
Here is the direct link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01kqjg3/episodes/guide.
Brazilian photographer Marina de Almeida Prado joined us in June 2012 along the Camino de Santiago.
Here she shares with us and comments on some of her favorite photos from her pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. To see more of her work, please visit her website.
Marina de Almeida Prado's Photo Essay on the Camino (2012)
In September 2010, exactly on the 14th, I woke up thinking about the Camino. I knew absolutely nothing about the Camino. I only heard of a few people who had already done it. I eagerly started researching. But a few days later I was completely discouraged, because in my current life with a son, husband, job and home, the thought of leaving everything for 40 days off was just impossible.
One day, just because I couldn’t get it out of my mind, I posted the word "CAMINO" on Facebook and immediately a friend asked: Did you do it? I said no and that I would love to do it but 40 days was not feasible. And she told me, there were other ways to do the Camino and told me about the website www.onfootinspain.com.
She told me: “Choose which way and how many days you want to do it. I recommend it!”
My contact with Nancy began on the same day, but due to lack of vacancies, I waited until June 2012.
And on June 3 I left for Spain. This would be my first trip all alone after 12 years. A very special moment. I chose the route "On Glory Roads," The Camino de Santiago From Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela in 12 days.
I’m a photographer and I took all my equipment with me. But I wanted to photograph every second of the journey and by the third day I opted to take pictures with my Iphone 4S so I could use the effects of Instagram and immediately post all my emotions to the world.
There were places and people during my journey that touched me so much. During my time on the path, away from my daily life, I realize what a very privileged person I am. What a great life I have and that I am a truly blessed human being.
One thing I can say for sure: after 12 days in the company of 11 wonderful Australians, 1 American (Nancy), and 2 Spanish guys (Jose and Sam), something very special was born inside of me. Unforgettable!
I’ve attached some of my favorite photos. Click here to follow the link to the gallery. Here are my comments about some of the photos:
I couldn’t believe how gorgeous this bridge was. The water reflection was just amazing! The most beautiful bridge I’ve ever seen!
The second most beautiful view of my path. I felt like standing there, time stopped.
This moment was my favorite, because this view is the winner! I could feel the immensity, the liberty. My freedom!!
On the path, lots of stones piled up. These really impressed me.
The picnics were always a pleasant surprise, with different kinds of cheese, cold cuts and salad every day. A moment we all look forward to! And,the pilgrim bar, long-awaited throughout the path by all of us!
Another very special moment in my path...The deepest blue sunset of my journey. The view from my bedroom window. I think I could grasp the meaning of blue.
I was very touched when I arrived at the Iron Cross. One of the simplest and most meaningful moments of the Camino.
For a moment, this iron bucket made me go back to my childhood at the farm.
Close to Cebreiro. A very special place.
The mass, the smell, the people and the place. Pure emotion.
Marina de Almeida Prado
Fotógrafa - MAP . PHOTO
+ 55 11 999102932
First blog. First day of the new year 2010. A good day for firsts. Today the Holy Door of the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, Spain was reopened ritually marking the beginning of the 2010 Holy Year (An/~o Santo). Holy Years occur in a cyclical pattern of every 11, 6, 5, 6 years when the feast day of Santiago/St James the Greater, July 25th, falls on a Sunday. The last Holy Year was in 2004 and the next one will not occur until 2021. Pilgrims from all over the world will walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage this year and end their journey by passing through the Holy Door.
The first time I walked through the Holy Door was in 1993 after I finished my first pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago/Road of St James. Little did I know how much would transpire between walking through that door the first time and this latest passage 17 years later. In 1993 I entered with my pilgrim companions on a very hot July afternoon after waiting in line to enter for nearly an hour. The cathedral was packed and I felt overwhelmed with the emotion of the arrival. Today, I also, unexpectedly, found myself overwhelmed with emotion by the journey through that doorway. This time I was accompanied by my partner of 16 years and our three children. Gratitude was the prominent feeling. As we walked through the door and got on line to ‘dar un abrazo al santo’, ie, give a hug to the saint, all those years, and how much I have to be thankful for, came rushing through me. It was an ideal way to start this new year.
On this blog I hope to tell part of this story – what led to that first initial crossing and what transpired in between. Little by little.
Nancy’s Book Review
Walking Your Blues Away. How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being by Thom Hartmann (Vermont: Park Street Press, 2006).
I was gifted this book by a body worker who walked with us along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in 2005. After sitting on the shelf unread for at least a year, the right moment finally arrived to crack open the pages. It’s a quick read and easy to access. The most compelling parts are when Hartmann discusses how walking is a potentially healing activity for emotional trauma. This concept immediately began to resonate with my own anthropological work on the contemporary reanimation of the medieval pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago in Spain, which culminated in my book Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press, 1998). In the late 1980s people from many different backgrounds, countries, walking experience and belief systems (and frequently without a religious motivation) began to take up the traditional symbols of the Santiago pilgrim, the scallop shell and staff, and set out on demanding journeys walking westward across northern Spain (and even the far corners of Europe) to reach the tomb of the apostle James the Greater in Santiago de Compostela. Every year since then, more and more people undertake this walking journey and come home with positive stories of self-discovery, personal triumph, transformation and, even, change.
I found over and over again during my research that many people were led to walk the Camino (a personal journey that can range from one day to four months depending on the walker) to work through their own personal issues. Many were at a breaking point – graduate from college, mid-life crisis, retirement – or had experienced a loss – divorce, death, employment. Whereas many pilgrimage sites, framed within a more religious context, are sought out by pilgrims to heal the suffering body, I found repeatedly that along the Camino, as they walked, people were healing the suffering soul. In Pilgrim Stories, I write:
The journey of the Camino can reveal wounds – loss, failure, fear, shame, addiction – left festering from daily life. Experiences along the way often act as the catalyst that allows them to be exposed. It has been, and appears to continue to be, a road for hopes and miracles of fulfillment of a different order. Some pilgrims, acknowledging this themselves, refer to the Camino as la ruta de la terapia, the therapy route (Frey, p. 45).
Through the walking experience people opened themselves up, usually without any perceived intention on their part, to a whole series of unforced emotional experiences. Time and again, people recounted thinking of people that had not been in their conscious thoughts for years, developing a more active dream life as well as feeling ‘more deeply’ while on the road.
In my book, I discuss this process of opening as part of the elimination of the distractions/stressors of daily life. When life is reduced to its basics and your mind is not absorbed with the minutiae of running a busy life, full of obligations and demands, all of sudden there is space for feelings, emotions, memories to come to the surface. While walking (though also many times during sleep and dreamtime), pilgrims described to me how they came to new insight, resolution or clarity regarding issues from the past. The walking became a healing process for both known and unknown or conscious/unconscious (prior to beginning the Camino) issues from the past.
In Walking Your Blues Away, Hartmann has added a new dimension to my understanding of this healing process on the cognitive level with his discussion of ‘bilateral therapy’ – the alternating stimulation of the right and left lobes of the brain ‘while thinking of a problem or issue’ (p. 30). Stimulating both the thinking and feeling parts of the brain with the bi-lateral movement, the person is able to process the experience in such a way that it is moved from the forefront of memory to the past thereby reducing its negative hold on your psyche. Apparently most of our memories are processed during our REM sleep – another form of bi-lateral stimulation. Sometimes, though, the memories are too big/painful to be worked through in REM. Bi-lateral therapy works to simulate the same type of memory processing so that painful experiences can be worked through and moved into the past. Hartmann explains, “With the walking therapy…in most cases this recognition that the experience is in the past happens during the walk itself. That is the key indicator that the session has been successful” (p. 13). By applying bilateral theory to walking (an activity that requires the constant stimulation of the brain’s left and right hemispheres with its side-to-side motion), Hartmann offers an excellent way for people to heal themselves without having to resort to traditional ‘talk therapies’, or even any kind of verbalization of the trauma or painful memories. He posits that perhaps we have been healing ourselves, since the dawn of time before we had experts – psychotherapists, psychologists, shamans, etc. – by engaging in our most fundamental human activities: walking and thinking.
His work is strongest when discussing the history of bilateral therapies and the application of them to walking based on his own experience and practice. Bilateral therapy has its origin in the development of healing techniques derived from hypnotism first recognized as therapeutic by Mesmer in the 1700s. He describes the fascinating story of Freud’s initial usage and success with bilateral therapy and hypnotism before he abandoned this path in favor of psychotherapy when hypnotism was discredited in Europe and America in the 1890s. His middle chapter on cultural bi-lateralism is over generalized and I found it to be an unnecessary distraction to the larger theme.
The last three chapters provide concrete advice on how to utilize his technique not only for resolving past trauma or negative feelings around a nagging issue but also as a means to increase creativity, motivation and physical health. His technique is thoroughly described and is easily accessible to the lay person. It consists of five steps very briefly summarized here (pp. 62-67):
1 – “Define the issue”. Figure out what’s bothering you and picture it in your head.
2 –“ Bring up the story”. Flesh out the issue and determine its level of strength inside of you.
3 – “Walk with the issue”. It usually takes less than 30 minutes to get resolution.
4 – “Notice how the issue changes”. While walking observe how your feelings around the issue shift.
5 –“Anchor the new state”. Review the transformation of the feelings to fix it in your mind.
He encourages a positive and optimistic viewpoint and helpfully reminds the reader: “Remember: There is no failure. There is only feedback. Learn from the feedback and continue on.” (p. 65)
His ideas resonate with my own observations of how people experienced the walking along the Camino. It was very common for those walking to come to some kind of resolution or decision. Many people wanted to do something more creative with their lives upon return home. Others spoke about returning to the Camino to ‘recharge their batteries’ – that the walking along the Camino gave them mental and physical energy that they felt lacking in their daily lives. Perhaps it was simply engaging in this process of bi-lateral movement while walking that allowed people to stumble along the path to their own healing process. In 2008 I interviewed a modern-day Camino legend, John the English gentleman who aids wayward pilgrims in his campervan, for a chapter I wrote for Lonely Planet’s 7th edition of Spain. He had a nice of way of describing the same process of healing. I asked him why he thought people were walking to Santiago today and he responded :
“My impression is that a very large proportion have suddenly been confronted with a grave problem with home, work, family, career, their physical health or love life…and they are so overwhelmed by their everyday preoccupations that they don’t know what to do about it. Walking the Camino is a unique kind of therapy. I call it ‘Self-administered Ambulatory Psychotherapy’. Troubled minds heal themselves – by walking the Camino de Santiago. (Spain, 7th edition, article: Camino de Santiago by Nancy Frey, p. 125, Lonely Planet, 2009).
John has also observed the healing quality that is experienced by those who walk this historical pilgrimage path. Intuitively people have sensed that walking to Santiago will be good for them and have heeded that call to go, once again, the ‘human speed’.
Hartmann’s book and technique will potentially be very helpful to people who walk (or those who don’t but who would like to) and who would like to more consciously make their walks productive for healing, creativity and focused thinking. While for many people the bi-lateral movement brings about the healing without realizing it, by having the technique available, it can potentially help people focus on problem solving as well as ‘anchor’ the new state so that the change is more lasting. In Pilgrim Stories, I write: “While it will not determine outcomes, making the pilgrimage can help the participant on a personal level to ‘rework the past’ and possibly ‘move toward a renewed future’ (Frey, p. 46). This sentiment is in essence the point of Walking Your Blues Away – it takes a very basic human activity and explores its great potential for healing and future well-being. Go take a walk!
 Thank you Erin Susan Parks for bringing this book to my attention. Erin is the owner of LMT Massage for Optimal Living in the Atlanta area.
On Foot in Spain Walking & Hiking Educational Adventures specializes in small group (6 to 14 people) walking tours in northern Spain since 1999. We emphasize Spain's rich cultural heritage (art, history, folklore), its stunning and varied landscapes, flora and fauna as well as provide the finest in lodgings and regional cuisine.
Join owner-guides cultural anthropologist Nancy Frey (PhD, UC Berkeley) and writer, mountaineer Jose Placer (co-author Walking in Spain, Lonely Planet, 1999 & 2003 and Walking in Scotland, LP, 2001) on an unforgettable walking or hiking tour to one the following:
GALICIA - isolated coastal walks, abundant and varied seafood, ancient mountain villages, Celtic remains
PICOS DE EUROPA - emerald-green pastures, dense forests, soaring peaks, delicious cheeses and hearty stews
CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - medieval pilgrimage route, unparalleled artistic treasures, northern Spain's grand tour
COMPOSTELA - walk last section from León through green Galicia, earn the Cathedral's Compostela certificate
BASQUE COUNTRY & PYRENEES - Europe's oldest people, Guggenheim Museum, French and Spanish coastal and Pyrenees walks
PORTUGAL - Enchanting borderlands mixing coast and mountain landscapes, selected highlights of the Camino Portugués from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
On Foot in Spain - Rosalia de Castro, 29, 15886 Teo, A Coruña, Spain.
"You have led one of, if not the, most profound experience in my life - taking me on a physical journey and also assisting, in many ways, my soul searching quest."
Dick, Compostela April 2005
Nancy and Jose - You are a "dream team." Our sincere thanks and appreciation.
Bob and Marilyn, Camino May 2015
Both Nancy and Jose have always held both walking and learning close to their hearts.
Their paths crossed while Nancy was conducting her doctoral dissertation research on the Camino de Santiago in the hamlet of Roncesvalles (Navarre) and Jose was just beginning a 450 mile walk across Spain.
Their paths rejoined a month later in Santiago de Compostela and since then have not diverged.
Together they co-authored the chapters on Galicia, Cordillera Cantabrica (Picos de Europa) and the Camino de Santiago for Lonely Planet’s Walking in Spain (1999 and 2003) and co-authored Lonely Planet's 1st edition of Walking in Scotland (2001).
Nancy and Jose started On Foot In Spain Walking & Hiking Educational Adventures in 1999. They have three children, Jacob (8), Marina (3)and Sam (born 11/27/06), and live on the Galician coast.
Nancy L. Frey, PhD
Nancy’s love of hiking grew from annual summer trips to Yosemite led by a Dad who always knew the name of every tree and who reveled in leading his children to inspirational points. Thus it wasn’t too surprising that when she selected her subject material for her doctoral dissertation in cultural anthropology (UC Berkeley) one very attractive element of it was the prospect of traversing the north of Spain on foot.
Since her first walk in 1993, Nancy has walked the Camino de Santiago numerous times and cycled it as well. In her book on the modern day journey, Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago (UC Press, 1998), Nancy brings to life the contemporary way by discussing pilgrims' motivations, mishaps and discoveries while walking as well as providing insights into why the route is so popular today.
Nancy has also lectured for ElderHostel and Smithsonian Institution on their educational tours in Spain, Portugal and France. She has also taught a course on the Camino de Santiago at the University of Santiago and is currently researching the relationship between landscape and experience.
In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, SCUBA diving, kayaking, tending her flower garden and cooking savory pies and tarts.
Jose Daniel Placer
A native of Santiago de Compostela, Jose received his law degree from the University of Santiago and then made a 180 degree turn away from lawyering and back to his real passion: children and the outdoors.
He has taught outdoor education and coaches soccer, basketball and volleyball.
With Europe as his backyard, Jose has hiked extensively both within and beyond Spain since he was a teenager.
Despite having enjoyed the Italian Dolomites, and hiking in the Alps while studying law at the University of Passau in Germany, his favorite stomping ground continues to be Spain’s Picos de Europa.
Jose especially enjoys writing short stories, carpentry, restoring furniture, working his garden, kayaking and mountain biking.
Each time we set out on a trail we go with the idea that to walk is to learn. Slowing down to the rhythm of your feet inevitably brings more to your immediate attention and consequently allows for greater speculation and wonder.
On our journeys into northern Spain’s exceptionally beautiful back roads we want to give you the opportunity to challenge yourself physically (without overdoing) and at the same time pique your curiosity by pointing out the not so obvious as well as providing insights into the wonders of the everyday.
Art, architecture, anthropology, folklore, history, Spanish fiestas, cuisine - we interlace them all into each day of your tour. Our carefully designed walks, combining charming accommodations in rural inns, monasteries, and hotels with the finest in local cuisine, will immerse you in the riches of northern Spain’s culture life and landscapes.
Find out more about On Foot in Spain......contact us at
Photo credit: Katherine Peake
To make your journey more enjoyable you may wish to read about the areas we’ll be visiting and about Spain in general. If these are not available in your local library or bookstores most are available via the internet at www.amazon.com, Adventure Travel Bookstore (1800 282 3963 in US and Canada) or Mountaineers Books (1800 553 4453 - ). Also look for the website: www.wild-spain.com for information and interesting articles on outdoor Spain.
Walking in Spain (Lonely Planet, 1999, 2003). Miles Roddis, Nancy Frey, Jose Placer, Matt Fletcher and John Noble.
On Foot in Spain owners, Nancy Frey and Jose Placer, have chapters on Galicia, Cordillera Cantábrica (Picos de Europa), the Basque Country and the Camino de Santiago. The 2003 book covers all of Spain but not the Canary Islands.
Foster, Nelson and Linda S. Cordell, ed. 1996. Chilies to Chocolate: Food the Americas Gave the World. University pf Arizona Press. Kerper, Barrie. 2003. Northern Spain. The Collected Traveller. NY: Three Rivers Press.
A good collection of articles covering parts of Spain hard to find information about in English including Galicia, Asturias, the Basque Country and Cantabria
Measures, John. 1992. Wildlife Travelling Companion: Spain. Wiltshire: Crowood Press.
A general guide on flora and fauna of Spain good if your travelling across the country but not a specialist’s guide.
Hooper, John. The New Spaniards. Penguin. 1997.
Hooper manages to provide a well-balanced accounting of Spain as it is today and why.
Lalaguna, Juan. A Traveller’s History of Spain. 1996
Excellent, compact summary of Spain’s complex history.
Crow, John A. 1985. Spain. The Root and the Flower. Berkeley : UC Press.
Barlow, John. 2008. Everything But the Squeal: A Year of Pigging Out in Northern Spain.
Barlow, a native of England, has a great time exploring Galicia’s food traditions focusing on pork with his Galician vegetarian wife. A funny read. We won’t be eating nearly as much pork as he!
Borrow, George. 1842. The Bible in Spain.
19th century English Bible salesman George Borrow relates his experiences, in an often humorous fashion, in this excellent volume on mid-19th C Spain. There are accounts of areas we’ll pass through including Finisterre.
Casas, Penelope. 1997. Spain’s Green Corner. New York Times Travel. April 27, p. 12, 29.
Good general overview of Galicia’s coastal highlights.
Frey, Nancy. 2004. Galicia. Coastal Corner. Spanish Magazine. June (Issue 5), pp. 16-25.
Now find the article HERE!
An article describing Galicia and its highlights from Nancy’s perspective as someone who has lived in the region since 1997.
Frey, Nancy. 2003. Serra do Courel: Galicia’s Wild Frontier. Originally published on www.wild-spain.com.
Now find the article HERE!
Here I describe the beautiful range south of the O Cebreiro pass with an emphasis on the geology, flora and fauna.
Gemie, Sharif. 2006. Galicia. Histories of Europe Series.
A good general overview of the region with a strong focus on modern history.
Kerper, Barrie. 2003. Northern Spain. The Collected Traveler. An Inspired Anthology & Travel Resource.
The author presents a very comprehensive annotated bibliography of themes not just related to northern Spain but Spain in general in addition to good selected articles about each zone of the north including Galicia.
Michener, James. 1968. Iberia. Spanish Travels and Reflections.
While everything else in the book is terribly outdated, his chapter 13 – Santiago de Compostela offers a great read with solid historical information.
Jenny Chandler and Jean Cazals. 2005. The Food of Northern Spain: Recipes from the Gastronomic Heartland of Spain.
Beautiful photography and delightful prose in this lovely book on food in northern Spain.
Rivas, Manuel. 2003. Vermeer’s Milkmaid: And Other Stories
Rivas is a contemporary Galician author who writes about his region and this is just one suggestion to introduce you to his work.
Rosalía de Castro.
Considered to be Galicia’s finest 19th C poet, her work is full of nostalgia and strong sense of landscape and place. Follas Novas(New Leaves) is a good start.
Also check out the following website which has many resources about Galicia:
PICOS DE EUROPA
Ena Alvarez, Vicente. 1996. In the Picos de Europa (Translation from Spanish). Leon: Edilesa.
General book on the Picos.
Browning, Frank. 1998. The Apple of Spain’s Eye. San Francisco Examiner. Travel Section. Sept 13, pp. T-1, T-4, T-5. Travel article on Asturian sidra
CAMINO DE SANTIAGO
Clissold, Stephen. 1974. Saint James in Spanish History. History Today 24 (10): 684-92.
Excellent general overview of the development of the pilgrimage and cult of St James.
Coelho, Paolo. 1995. The Pilgrimage. A Contemporary Quest for Ancient Wisdom.
One of the most popular and controversial contemporary Camino books. Brasilian best-selling author, Coelho takes us on his mystical journey along the Camino in search of wisdom. He provides spiritual exercises.
Egan, Kerry. 2004. Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago. Doubleday.
Personal account written by a Harvard graduate student of theology. After her father died of diabetes she walked the Camino.
Follet, Ken. Pillars of the Earth
Masterpiece novel set in 12th C Britain during the period of transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Follet develops a fascinating human and historical journey that even coincides w/ the Camino.
Frey, Nancy. 1998. Pilgrim Stories. On and Off the Road to Santiago. Berkeley: UC Press.
Nancy’s anthropological study on the contemporary pilgrimage which brings to life the multitude of experiences of the modern traveler along the Camino based on her hundreds of interviews with pilgrims from 1992 to 1997.
Gitlitz, David and Linda Kay Davidson. 2000. The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago. The Complete Cultural Handbook. St. Martin's.
The title says it all. The guide covers art, architecture, history, folklore, flora and fauna.
Hitt, Jack. 1994. Off the Road. NY: Simon and Schuster.
Humorous and irreverent personal account of Hitt's 1993 walk to Santiago.
Hoinacki, Lee. 1996. El Camino. University Park: Penn State Press.
Deeply felt personal account with a strong spiritual emphasis by an older man who walked to Santiago.
Jacobs, Michael. 2003. The Road to Santiago. Pallas Guides.
Architectural guide for travelers along the Camino.
Lack, Katherine. 2003. The Cockleshell Pilgrim: A Medieval Journey to Compostela.
In the late 1990s, while an English cemetery was being moved, a 14th C pilgrim was discovered buried with his scallop shell. Lack, a historian, attempts to reconstruct his journey and 14th life on the road.
Laffi, Domenico. 1997 (1681). A Journey to the West. The Diary of a Seventeenth Century Pilgrim from Bologna to Santiago de Compostela. Trans. James Hall. Leiden (Netherlands): Primavera Pers and Santiago: Xunta de Galicia.
Delightful account and translation of Laffis 17th C journey. His eye for detail leaves us with a memorable legacy and Hall has added excellent illustrations to accompany the text.
Maclaine, Shirley. 2001. The Camino. Journey of the Spirit. Atria Press.
People either love or hate this book. Maclaine walked to Santiago in I994 and then wrote about her spiritual, physical, other-worldly and celebrity experiences along the way.
Melczer, William. 1993. The Pilgrim's Guide to Santiago de Compostela. NY: ltalica Press.
First English translation of the 12th C pilgrimage guide Codex Calixtinus that helped popularize th pilgrimage route. His translation and first-rate historical background and extensive notes, bring to life this fascinating and invaluable document.
Michener, James. 1968. Iberia. Spanish Travels and Reflections. NY: Random House.
While everything else in the book is terribly outdated, his chapter on the Camino (Chapter 13 - Santiago de Compostela) offers a great read with solid historical information.
Moore, Tim. 2005. Spanish Steps. Travels with My Donkey. London: Vintage Press.
Funny account of this Englishman’s trials and tribulations walking with his donkey to Compostela.
Mullen, Robert. 2010. Call of the Camino. Myths, Legends and Pilgrim Stories on the Way to Santiago de Compostela. Findhorn Press.
Mullen blends issues of mind, body and spirit in this engaging account of his walk along the Camino.
Newman, Sharon. 1997. Strong as Death (Catherine Levendeur Mysteries). Forge Books.
Murder stalks Catherine and her husband Edgar on their 12th C journey to Compostela. She must use her wit to figure out who among the assorted traveling companions did it!
Nolan, Dee. 2010. A Food Lover’s Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Penguin
A journalist and olive oil producer Dee fulfilled a dream walking the Camino with us and then wrote this exquisitely beautiful book in which she let her heart and palate be her guide.
Nootebaum, Cees. 1997. Roads to Santiago. Detours and Riddles in the Lands and History of Spain. NY: Harcourt.
This popular Dutch writer takes you with him on his long journey through Spain to Santiago covering many, many topics.
O’Marie, Sister Carol Anne. 1993. Murder Makes a Pilgrimage. NY: St. Martin’s Press.
Modern day murder mystery set on the contemporary Camino with a septuagenarian nun Sister Mary Helen as the protagonist and unlikely crime solver.
Rudolph, Conrad. 2004. Pilgrimage to the End of the World.
Very good and thoughtful, compact travel essay by an art historian who walked to Santiago.
Rupp, Joyce. 2005. Walk in a Relaxed Manner. Life Lessons from the Camino. USA: Orbis Books.
Rather than the typical diary account Joyce, a 60+ walker, focuses on the basic messages she took from the pilgrimage: Live in the Now, Listen to Your Body, Don't Give Up, Trust in a Higher Power, Humility.
CAMINO IN PORTUGAL
Camoes, Luis Vaz de.16th C. The Lusiads. Oxford University Press.
Considered to be the greatest epic writer of his time, Camoes writes nostalgically about the age of oceanic discovery just as Portugal’s golden age was dimming.
Gomes, Tania. 2006. Flavors of Portugal. Thunder Bay Press.
Provides interesting recipes including unusual family ones in this bilingual edition.
Hermano Saraiva, Jose. 1998. A Companion History of Portugal. Carcanet Press.
Good historical overview of Portugal’s fascinating history.
Kaplan, Marion. 1998. The Portuguese: The Land and its People. Viking Press
Kaplan is a photo journalist and her writing is strongest when discussing the art and architecture.
Russell, Peter. 2001. Prince Henry ‘the Navigator’ : A Life. Yale University Press.
Deals with this key figure of Portuguese history toppling many of the legends surrounding his personage and giving excellent contextual material surrounding his life and age.
He is a Portuguese Nobel Laureate who has published many works including the non-fictional: Journey to Portugal: In Search of Portugal’s History and Culture, and the wonderful, haunting work of fiction, Blindness (Harvest Press).
BASQUE COUNTRY & PYRENEES
Barrenechea, Teresa and Mary Goodbody. 2005. The Basque Table: Passionate Home Cooking from One of Europe’s Great Regional Cuisines. Harvard Common Press. he Lusiads.
Wonderful introduction for foodies.
Gallop, Rodney. 1970. A Book of the Basques. University of Nevada Press.
Excellent collection and analysis of Basque folklore from song to dance to witchcraft.
Kerper, Barrie. 2003. Northern Spain. The Collected Traveler. An Inspired Anthology & Travel Resource. Three Rivers Press.
Great collection of articles by well-known writers on a variety of topics covering all of northern Spain.
Kurlansky, Mark. 1999. Basque History of the World.
A very readable but incredibly biased description of the Basque people from pre-history to the present day. It can’t be taken seriously as a historical account as many of his outrageous claims are not backed up. His take on the current situation with the Basque terrorist organization ETA is misinformed and one-sided and should be taken with a grain of salt.
Laxalt, Robert and Joyce. 1999. The Land of My Fathers: A son’s return to the Basque Country. University of Nevada Press.
Memoir written by the son of a Basque immigrant who returned to visit his father’s village in Spain. Laxalt is considered to be one of Nevada’s finest writers and has written several books set in the Basque country including the award winning A Cup of Tea in Pamplona.
Sevilla, María Jose. 1990. Life and Food in the Basque Country. New Amsterdam Books.
Discover the Basque Country and its people through its food culture. Good, leisurely read.
Woodworth, Paddy. 2007. The Basque Cultural History. Signal Books.
Irishman Paddy Woodworth has been writing about the Basques for thirty years and is most well known for his take on the Basque terrorists, ETA, in his Dirty War, Clean Hands. The book provides good background information on the Basque Country in general.
Take care and happy travels.
Pat Belanger, September 17-27, 2008
Turner, Maine USA
Thank you Nancy & Jose for sharing your time and expertise. You both made our experience of the Camino so special. The way you work together and so obviously love what you do was inspirational. It showed us all that we can follow our dreams and achieve whatever we choose if we believe in what we do. Thank you so much.
Nancy’s knowledge was phenomenal and I found her information and explanations of medieval history both interesting and informational. I loved the way that Nancy was able to give us a realistic picture of life during the different centuries. The organization was unbelievable. You both kept us to a timetable without apparent effort and stress but also allowed us freedom to go at our own pace. Great balance of walking, visits and free time. The picnics were fantastic! Let us know when you publish a book of your recipes. Thanks Jose for allowing us to sample the local specialties. I loved the mixture of old and new lodgings and all were in wonderful locations.
Sue Dodd, Sydney, Australia, 2-12 May 2007
I can't thank you enough for the trip of a lifetime. It was wonderful, the camino, the countryside but also your brilliant organisation with Jose. Looking back we packed such a lot in, but never felt rushed, and I'm still digesting all the historical and architectural information. Went to Salisbury Cathedral last week, and gave my husband a lecture on gothic architecture!
Thank you for everything - if I shut my eyes I can still walk the camino, and I'm so grateful to On Foot in Spain for making it all happen.
L. Bull, June 4-14, 2008
Bradford-upon-Avon, Wiltshire, UK
Nancy: of the numerous trips I’ve taken over the years, you beat every guide in your knowledge and presentation. A+++. Jose’s salads are great and the local cheeses a real hit! This was for me a very inspirational trip that I will not hesitate to recommend. I admired the way you and Jose work together. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, enthusiasm and inspiration with me.
Adrienne Peschon, 14-24 May 2008
Middletown, Calif, USA
I congratulate you for choosing a diversity of places, each one with its own character and charm. Bravo Jose on the picnics! They were wholesome, abundant, varied and pertinent to the regions we were traversing. Your personal touch and dedication, knowledge, experience, care revealing the love you both have for the Camino was all transmitted to us. These 11 days will live with me and my wife for a lifetime. Thanks for this great gift.
Santiago Wong, Port Jefferson, NY, USA
September 17-27, 2008
Thank you, Nancy and Jose, for making my Camino experience such a memorable one – you listen, you affirm, you challenge and I will go home enriched. One can’t ask for more than that!! Blessings upon you and your family.
Lesley Gerrish, Melbourne, Australia, Sept 19-29, 2007
Yes, we are back home safe and sound. All we have done since then is talk of the Camino, you, Jose and our tour mates. About our Camino, no words can describe my personal experience. Thank you again for everything. It has been the most amazing trip of my life time. There is nothing that could surpass this experience.
Sue Do Vale, Johannesburg, South Africa
Sept 17-27, 2008
Absolutely first class on all counts. Nancy is a vast fund of knowledge and obviously keenly enjoys giving her clients the vast spectrum of her knowledge – both factual and folkloric nature. The whole tour ran like clockwork and there was a good balance of free time. I chose the full walking time but individuals had choice. The extra excursions were very valuable. The experience will provide long lasting happy memories. I will go home with a much greater appreciation not only of the Camino but of Spain in general. The fact that this was my second trip with On Foot In Spain speaks for itself!
Ray Smith, 2-12 May 2007
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Thank you for being an amazing guide, in the many depths of ways that that can be interpreted. I was touched by Nancy and Jose’s patience, caring and warmth. And especially the individual time that Nancy spent with each person ensuring that they got the experience they were looking for. Thank you so much for everything and turning my dream into a reality. And also for the nuggets of truth and wisdom imparted along the way.. I am only just starting to understand what an impact this trip has made on me and I must say coming home has been a strange experience. How I wish I was still with you guys right now looking forward to one of Jose’s lunches. I am extremely grateful to you and all the people on the trip. You are inspirational.
S. Mounsear-Wilson, April 23-May 3, 2008
Johannesburg, South Africa
I really wanted to thank you, Jose and Sam for all that you did. I have been a do-it-yourself traveler up until the camino and I thought I would feel closed in and limited by a tour. As it was happening and even more as I think back, I realize I could have never put together such an incredible 11 days. In large part it was the details-the paths, the churches, the hotels, the local knowledge, the historical knowledge, the food-all of it was perfect- even the weather! But in addition to that, there was that wonderful ambience the pervaded every moment of every day. I loved being on foot, I loved every step. Thank you so much.
Angie Moore, April 23-May3, 2008
Portland, Oregon, USA
This has been the most amazing experience of my life (apart from having my kids!). It has been almost impossible to put into words to share with family and loved ones what the Camino is, what it meant to me and the sense of not only physical but personal achievement. Thank you both for your wonderful hospitality in sharing this very special part of the world (and your world) with us. Every small detail and thought which you both have put into On Glory Roads did not go unnoticed – down to the library on the bus, the poetry, music, writings, picnics, variety in accommodation and many more things too numerous to mention.
Finally, thank you for your wonderful company, great humour and good cheer!
Buen Camino always,
Kim Williams, Sept 17-27, 2008
Have arrived in London, and still walking the Camino, if that makes any sense.
Over lunch with friends have been telling them about my journey and about you , and the way you organised out journey, what we saw , how I coped or at times didn't, and how I am a (little) filled with admiration for myself (sic), but mostly for you and Jose and how you managed it all!! Believe me , I am very grateful that I was with your group.
After lunch I was sitting in the garden paging through one of the books of the Camino which I bought in Santiago, and I realise just how much we covered and just how much we saw.
I’m filled with a deep sense of gratitude that I could make the journey, and know that it's an ongoing one....not sure how, but I know it! (besides the obvious point that I want to do it again, and, maybe, again!). Guess I'm hooked!!!! Thank you Nancy and Jose!!
Francis Antonie, June 4-14, 2008
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Camino journey combined the best of life; new knowledge, new friends, the open air in all weather and an opportunity for reflection. Without a doubt the experience has changed the shape, style and content of the book project greatly for the better.
Angie and I would like to thank you and Jose again for all you did for us and for the efforts which clearly go on behind the scenes.
Angela and Duffy Clemens, May 14-24, 2008
It’s an experience that touched me deeply. Not only did I learn much of Spain’s history, architecture, art and culture but the Camino also made it possible for me to: 1) SEE and appreciate the majesty and beauty of God’s creation from the massive blue sky, the curving mountain tops and rolling hills, the ever changing landscapes of trees and bushes, wildflowers in purple, yellow and white, rose hips, muchsrooms sprouting here and there, down to a lovely green insect crawling on the ground; 2) HEAR birds chirping, roosters crowing, cows mooing, bells clanking as shepp cross the road, trodding footsteps and walking sticks, greetings of ‘buen camino’; 3) FEEL the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze, a flower petal, a prickly thistle; 4) TASTE the wild blackberries, the raindrops; 5) SMELL cow’s manure which one can get used to after awhile, the aroma of the eucalyptus trees. The Camino, above all, made it possible for me to MEET in the tour, a special bunch of wonderful people from different parts of the world and develop new friendships.
Nancy and Jose, thank you for making all of these possible. Thank you for making it a very special 65th birthday celebration for me. Santiago and I will never forget this wonderful experience!!!
Rosalie Wong, Sept 17-27, 2008
Port Jefferson, NY, USA
After a really frantic time at work it was wonderful to be so well looked after, absolutely nothing to organize and to be in beautiful country with the surrounding history coming alive through the stories, music and visits. I think were were also blessed with a wonderful group of people who to a ‘man’ were all out to enjoy the experience – I didn’t hear a complaint!. Your organization was excellent!!! This is a well oiled yet flexible team, where it all happens seamlessly and with good humor and great charm! Jose’s picnics were fantastic with a variety and quality food. I especially enoyed the local, natural products selected by Jose.
I got your book Nancy in Santiago and enjoyed reading it when i was in Rome. For me reading it after rather than before the trip was good as I could relate directly to the stories and place them in the landscape (both physical and mental). I especially enjoyed the history around the walk and the development of Spain that you shared with us.
I've said before the best marketing you can do is do a good job - i have been raving about the trip and how special you three made it, thanks again for a special time, jen
Jenny Ward, Sydney, Australia
September 19-29, 2007
Thank you for a wonderful, wonderful walking trip. Today I am planted once again behind a desk / computer and it doesn't seem real. However the walk, that's what seems real and I can't get it out of my mind. I am continually retracing my steps (isn't that funny?) People say to me "bet it seems like a distant memory" but no it doesn't. I am so thrilled that so far it is all still in my head (& heart?) Beautiful, beautiful memories I shall have & I thank you for that. My husband can see how much I enjoyed it and is busy making noises like he wants to come with me on the next one
- yes dreaming about another already. Believe me when I say I won't forget you all.
Lorraine Stinton, September 19-29, 2007
Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand
Thank you Nancy for a perfect 11 days, it was an absolute privilege to be part of your tour. I’m certainly the richer for it.
Martine Thompson, September 19-29, 2007
I find it hard to say all that this experience has meant to me – to revisit the Camino and parts of Spain with David and to see Nancy and Jose again. It has been like seeing old friends again.
Susan Marthens, Portland, Oregon, USA
April 23-May 3, 2008
I feel very sad that the walk is over. Up to this stage of my life, it has been one of the greatest experiences of learning about my inner self. Thank you Nancy and Jose for being really great company on the walk.
Max Marriott, 2-12 May 2007
Sunbury, VIC, Australia
Nancy is extraordinary – a real scholar but also a good communicator, shows good judgment on what to include and a lovely sense of humor too. The picnics were wonderful. Thanks to Jose for his efforts to emphasize the local cheeses and meats, varied salads, the local melons, terrific and yet an appropriate light lunch.
Caroline Hoppin, 19-29 Sept 2007
Brookline, Massachusetts, USA
I've been home for almost a week now and have spent the time savouring every moment of our walk along the Camino. I feel as if I have been on another planet. It has been one of the best travel experiences I have had and certainly one of the best things I have ever done for myself. M and I felt so bereft on the Sunday after the tour was over. We went to Finisterre, which was incredibly beautiful, but it was not the same without you and the others with us.
We want to thank you for bringing the Camino to life for us with your passion and expert knowledge of Spanish history, culture and religion. You have given us both your gifts of compassion and understanding and for that we will always remember our journey to Santiago. You are the best tour guides I have every experienced. You gave us a wealth of information in an interesting, informal manner. What touched me the most about the quality of the toru was your passion for what you are doing. It showed in everything you did.
Lucille Evans, May 2-12, 2008
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I've been back in Canada nearly two weeks now, and still feel "discombobulated”. Part of me is here, and part of me is still back there with you. You were both so wonderful to me on the tour. I can't thank you enough. I hope someday to be able to see you again. I think you're both angels, or at least saints. Santa Nancy and Santo Jose: that's how I think of you. It's a wonderful thing you're doing. I hope you know that, and will continue to derive a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction from it for many years to come.
Maureen Hunter, May 2-12, 2007
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
I can only say that I count myself most fortunate indeed to have been part of this tour. I could not have wished for two more personable people to guide me on it and one of the major ingredients of journy’s success has to have been the warm tone you gave to everything we did. As far as I’m concerned, you couldn’t have done it any better than you did it for our group. With deep thanks for everything,
Fred Voss, May 2-12, 2007
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
It was such a lovely group and I connected deeply with so many. It was even a richer and fuller experience than when I walked with you along the Camino the first time. Nancy I valued your passion for the historical/cultural/spiritual aspects; how well you related to each of us. For me – again it was a joy - and slowed me down and helped me ‘fine tune’ my life where I’m at…Plus I learned TONS… The picnics were outstanding Jose and greatly appreciated. Thank you both for this life experience.
Betty Anne Smith, May 2-12, 2007
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Every day I felt was my favorite day. I liked the beauty of nature and art. Nancy’s knowledge is incredible. She has the Camino in her blood. I learned a lot because of Nancy’s effective ways of sharing information. The picnics were scrumptious. It was a most amazing experience.
Petra Kinsman, May 14-24, 2008
Santa Clara, Calif, USA
To me, the most important aspect of the experience was that it took a group of strangers and turned them into a group of people who knew and liked each other – a group of friends.
Evans Cheeseman, May 2-12, 2007
Southborough, Mass., USA
Nancy and Jose, thanks again for your kind consideration. The trip as it stands is seamless – you have done an extraordinary job of putting together this tour! The art and history of Spain are now embedded in my soul – the music and food a fond memory too. Thank you.
Bonny Dickinson, April 23- May 3, 2008
Portland, Oregon, USA
I really didn’t know what to expect but never dreamed it would be this wonderful! Nancy you have an unbelievable in-depth scholarliness and ability to convey it all from legend to anthropology to art and history. Your ability to figure out how long things would take and write and keep to the schedule is amazing. The organization was incredibly smooth. Jose is a master chef – and selector of the best for us to try. The picnics were a highpoint of everyday!
Sarah Cheeseman, May 2-12, 2007
Southborough, Mass, USA
This really was an exceptional tour. I was able to get a sense of the Camino – the physical aspects of the walk as well as the historical and cultural dimensions. Nancy and Jose you were both warm, inviting and wonderful guides. Thanks so much.
Matt Ferro, April 23 – May 3, 2008
Westlake Village, Calif., USA
Nancy, your enthusiasm, in-depth knowledge and love of the Camino and Spain brought the Camino alive for us in a way that others would not match. We appreciated the relaxed approach to managing the flow of activities. Jose’s continuous behind the scenes work was very much appreciated. We are thrilled with our experience on our Camino; being able to share yoru deep knowledge and love for this region was an exceptional gift. The small size of the group and Nancy ability to engage all the participants created an intimacy that was very special; this was further enhanced by the lovely interaction of Jose and Marina. Thank you Nancy and Jose.
Kathy Glinski & Paul Doucet, May 14-24, 2008
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Nancy’s non-competitive approach made everyone very comfortable. I enjoyed all the walks as they were so different. Nancy was excellent – very knowledgeable and always prepared. Very effective with her storytelling manner. I loved her grasp of the whole period – the architecture, history and people of the times. Also the music enhanced our experience. I am very pleased and grateful that I made this trip. I had a wonderful and rich experience. Our group was delightful.
Mabeth Sanderson, 14-24 May 2008
Sonoma, Calif, USA
The predeparture information was extremely thorough and after having completed the tour I know it was also very accurate. I loved the wide variety of landscapes covered in the walks and I enjoyed every one. Both Nancy and Jose show great attention to detail and really care abouth the knowledge they are imparting to the group. It was a wonderful experience with extremely knowledgeable, kind and caring guides. I saw places I would never have seen otherwise and will have fantastic memories. Thank you.
Anne Fitzgerald, 4-14 June 2008
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Best vacation in many years. Excellent introduction to a part of the world I had not really ever visited. Had fun in many ways and learned /experienced the culture and history. The Camino experience was a great context. The group dynamics were an added benefit. Thanks for the wonderful experience.
Jim Westfall, 4-14 June 2008
Redwood City, California, USA
Nancy’s passion for knowledge – as well as depth and breadth was unparalleled in comparison to other tours I’ve taken. Wow! Impeccable planning and fantastic variety of accommodations. Your efforts to make this trip exceptional were noted and effective. Can’t wait for further excursions with you!
Abigail Stockham, 4-14 June 2008
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
CAMINO PORTUGUESE 2007 & 2008
In all the travel I did 'before Graham' and 'with Graham' I can honestly say I have never experienced such a well organized or well orchestrated week of adventure. (And that includes all of Europe, Central and South America, USA and Canada.) Graham would have loved it!
I truly believe your success because of your individual character and the wonderful relationship you have with each other and your family. It spills over into everything you do. There was a perfect balance of walking, learning, laughing, respect for and interest in each participant, good food, wonderful places to stay, personal spirituality and a oneness with the world around you.
At the same time there was strong, calm leadership which gave each participant trust in you both. We knew we could give ourselves over to the experience, the details were taken scare of.
I could rhapsodize over field, flora and fauna. I could express my surprise that I was walking in the historic footsteps of thousands before me. I could describe the awe of an old history compared to my country's newness. (I could be honest and tell you that there were times when I was very challenged,a leg and a back that will not straighten due to osteoporosis are not easy companions on such a walk). Instead, I hold dear the small, simple things that make the whole of the experience....lemons hanging like great yellow orbs, the taste of freshly squeezed orange juice, the smell of the newly turned earth, the clear rushing water, the joy upon sighting Magic Man Sam and Jose who could appear suddenly on the trail out of the mist, the rain or the sun and the smile that I could not suppress as Nancy led the way wearing her straw hat, the rain streaming from her umbrella....Mary Poppins in hiking boots.
Five? Give it a ten. I would be happy to have you use my name as a reference. (I am planning a Jose' picnic for July.)
Yours with love and admiration,
Jacqueline Donohogue, 23-29 May 2007
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I would most definitely recommend this trip to others, in fact I already have. The tour as a whole provided an opportunity to walk parts of northern Spain and Portugal which would have been difficult to access without the help of local experts. As a walking enthusiast, it was a dream come true. I loved the opportunity to walk through so many different types of terrain. We received the equivalent of a college level course in the history of the Camino as well as an overview of the art, culture, and gastronomy of the regions we visited. You prepared us perfectly. As someone who likes to research things in advance, I appreciated all the information you sent.
The tour runs like a well-oiled machine. Clearly you have thought this through and refined it through years of experience. Everything was like clockwork. You seem to strike the perfect balance between walking, resting, picnicking, cultural exploration, shopping, browsing, etc. Even the bathroom breaks and cafe stops were well-timed. I knew you were an expert in the Camino and had published a book about it, but what came as a great surprise was the incredible brain download of information in such an articulate and fascinating way. I could listen to you talk about the Camino all day long. Your knowledge of the subject matter is most impressive. Aside from all the information, we felt like we were in such good hands. We felt very safe and comfortable, and that is very important. You and Jose took such good care of us. It really freed us up to enjoy the walks and everything we were experiencing since we didn't have to worry about any logistics. I thought you chose an excellent bus driver as well.
Nancy Straus, July 6-12, 2008,
Evanston, Illinois, USA
It was a pleasure to be on the tour. I meant it when I said I would remember the lunches. They encapsulate the gracious introduction to another land and culture. I got from the tour a sense of the history and geography of the northern Iberian peninsula and of the pilgrimage to Santiago in particular. I also learned to appreciate the beauty and productivity of a part of the world that was new to me. I definitely would recommend this tour to others.
The predeparture information was thorough and honest. All the sections of walking were my favorites. I enjoyed them all.
The tour flowed nicely. It was good to have free time to rest or wander. Your knowledge and experience as guides were outstanding. I learned something every time I turned around. I especially liked the music and the historical anecdotes during the bus rides.
I wish I had taken business cards from the restaurants, especially the last two that we went to as a group. I liked all the hotels, and was especially impressed with the Parador at Baiona.
R. Reeback, Albuquerque, New Mexico
July 6-12, 2008
Thank you once again for what was a spectacular and memorable experience on the Camino and beyond. I’ve heard that it takes ten years to become expert at just about anything. You have surely attained that distinction as tour guides and hosts. All the best to you both and to your family.
B. Straus, Evanston, Illinois
July 6-12, 2008
The level and amount of walking corresponded to what was described in the pre-departure information. The segments that were selected for our walks provided a great variety of natural, cultural and aesthetic experience and witnessed of the organizers knowledge and care for both the comfort and safety and the quality of experience of the walkers.
I came away with deep respect and appreciation for the knowledge, understanding and heartfelt empathy and love demonstrated by our guides for the landscape, the culture and the history of the places we walked.
Organization: I could not ask for anything better. You indeed are smooth operators!
Ah, those picnics! Rain or shine, Jose can prepare a meal at my house any time.
I enjoyed the variety in the restaurants we sampled.
I am happy to be a reference if so required.
Judith Peavy, 23-29 May 2007
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
GALICIA 2007 & 2008
You were the consummate leaders. I’ll gladly recommend or write anyone about you and your extraordinary abilities. Meeting you and Jose was the highlight of the trip. Each of you has so much knowledge, it was humbling to try and remember as much as possible.
The scenery, the history, the solitude of the places combined to make the experience one that will live forever in my memory. Nancy and Jose did all they could to make it so.
My favorite section of the hike was walking along from one to the other of the small villages located in the coves or fjords of the Atlantic along the coastline.
The pre-historic and round stone castro remains would be a strong second place of highlights to visit. The old restored guest house that I think was at Vilamor was especially fascinating.
The tour was obviously well-planned and well carried out. All details were carefully handled. Nancy and Jose are so knowledgeable and so adept at hiking, that there was never a minute that I felt concern. I knew they had been over every inch of the way many times. They knew the trails. They knew the inhabitants. They carried cell phones, so they were able to call help should it be needed. I trusted them implicitly, and always would. Nancy tried to make things easier for those of us who were not the strongest hikers. She did this with grace and tact. The two divided the group on more than one occasion, so that those wishing the most strenuous experience could have it without being held back by the slower persons.
The picnics were works of art as well as gastronomy. The salads and combinations of offerings each day were amazing. Each day’s food was more delicious and interesting than the last. The settings were always well-selected and lovely. The variety seemed endless, as well as colorful and bountiful. The selection of restaurants in the evening was also quite varied as well as delicious. We were given every opportunity to try the local specialties as well as staple foods for those who did not like to try new things. It was clear that the day’s hike was planned around the location of the lunch break. Jose was always there and ready for the group to rest and enjoy his art.
The hotels in Santiago were especially well-equipped and modern. They were located in the heart of the city. The other locations were chosen for their unique locations or to illustrate the local condition. They were not necessarily as well-equipped or modern, but were all clean and acceptable. All were picturesque in one way or another. For a unique and memorable vacation that is challenging physically, there can be no better choice than “On Foot in Spain.” Thank you for all your obvious efforts.
E. Weil, July 22-29, 2008
Goldsboro, North Carolina
I meant to write to you long before now to thank you for making our trip so amazing. I have told so many people about what a fabulous adventure we had - hoping to drum up some friends for a future Camino walk with you!
Looking back at the photos, I really can't believe all that we saw and experienced - these are all places that I never would have gone in my wildest dreams and that most people will never see. I especially loved all the stories and myths, and your comments about life in Spain today. I am still in awe of the people we saw along the way. To think that there are people in our world who walk through the streets of a remote mountain town with an ancient scythe on their shoulders blows me away. The view from the lodge in Piornedo - so beautiful! The most beautiful place - in my opinion - was the ocean view along the rocks by the Virxe da Barca. I loved the public art there commemorating the oil spill in 2002. The most moving part of the trip was on the very first day when Nancy showed us the alabaster column at the Cathedral in Santiago. The column contains the impression of a hand, made by the thousands of pilgrim hands across the centuries. That is the sacred image of the place - the faith of thousands in one hand print!
Thank you once more for a "mountain top experience." I can’t imagine that I will find anything like it again. It will be hard to come down from the mountain.
J. Brautigam, July 3-10, 2007
Dublin, Ohio, USA
I loved the Laxe Beach, and the Río Lor river sections, the Verdes river park. The optionals were great. All the picnics and meals were delicious and the organization seamless. I would never have done this on my own and I’m going to suggest the tour to friends. It was a fantastic trip. Jose is my homeboy.
Robert Garrow, July 3-10, 2007
Dublin, Ohio, USA
Your knowledge was amazing and much better than I expected. All the stories and tidbits of information made the trip that much better! All the restaurants were wonderful and they each gave a good introduction to local culture. I really enjoyed the trip and the fact that I learned a tremendous amount everywhere we went. If I come to Spain again, I will be a repeat customer.
Jessica Garrow, July 3-10, 2007
Boulder, Colorado, USA
I have never taken this kind of trip before and I really did not know what to expect. But I must tell you that the two of you run a superb and seamless operation together and I would highly recommend this to any of my friends who enjoy walking and hiking. This was certainly a highlight for me in ’07. Next time I’ll have to do the pilgrimage. Nancy and Jose you are fantastic! Thank you. I have given several people your website address. I thoroughly enjoyed my holiday with you and would highly recommend it to others. It was an amazing experience and I'd like to do the pilgrimage at some point.
Rachel Danon, July 3-10, 2007
Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
This has been a fantastic cultural, educational and physical experience. We could not have been more surprised and delighted with each day’s activities, food and accommodations, but you managed to charm us more each day. It all seemed so perfect. Breaks just when needed – never felt rushed. Right amount of free time and walking. Your operation runs like a well-oiled machine appearing effortless.
Eric & Liz Wolter, July 3-10, 2007
Belvidere, Illinois, USA
I do believe that I am now ruined for any other organized tour. Nancy’s knowledge of culture, topography, flora, fauna, history, etc is incredible. She has a depth and breadth of knowledge that I’ve not before encountered. Jose your picnics were EXCELENTE! Thank you. I think that future holidays will prove disappointing – perhaps I should limit my European vacations to On Foot In Spain!
Mae Schaefer, July 3-10, 2007,
South Amboy, New Jersey, USA
COMPOSTELA 2007 & 2008
Everything about On Foot In Spain was so much more than I anticipated. Your knowledge of the history and culture of the country, the well chosen segments to walk, perfect accommodation, great selections of local food, beautiful landscapes and your sensitivity and attention to detail made for a perfect walk. We were all well cared for. You are two very special people who are much appreciated. It was a pleasure to meet and share with you and a special thanks for sharing Sam.
Marilyn Harris, September 1-8, 2007
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
It was for me a wonderful experience to walk to Santiago with you and the group. Every aspect of the week exceeded my expectations. Our co-walkers were a delightful group. You and Jose must be the most careful, experienced, hard-working and charming leaders possible. Keep leading these walks. You have really cracked it and have a very important place in the history of the pilgrimage. I was convinced of this before I came and the pilgrimage has surpassed my expectations.
Accommodation, meals, picnics, the pacing of rest-breaks were all just right. Even the sheer effort it required of me was a bonus whose effects I have still not entirely absorbed. Thank you, thank you. I would not consider such a venture with anyone else in the future. (I am, by the way, tempted by the Roncesvalles trip.)
I have told so many of my friends and family how magic the trip was. Somehow, without trying to make it profound, it has affected me deeply. The more I live beyond it, the more it gives me a sense of taking hold of my life. What an experience for someone so old!
As for your tolerance of my struggles, another thank you. Please, both of you, accept my thanks for all your planning and organizing over the years which has resulted in a really memorable sojourn for such a disparate group.
You are ACE !
Barbara Richardson, October9-15, 2008.
Nancy and Jose, thank you for a journey of the heart as well as the legs, for the opportunity to push the envelope, walk in the footsteps of the past and wonder about what is around the next bend in life.
Katherine A. Botelho, Sept 2-8, 2008
Franklin, Massachusetts, USA
Thank you for all you did for us during the Camino. We were very fortunate to have you lead us through this journey. Nancy, I do want say I was so impressed with the attention you gave each pilgrim, each day. I was very touched when you lent me your hat after the storm. Thank you, Jose for preparing those beautiful lunches and for carrying my suitcase whenever I couldn't handle it.
With grateful thanks for opening so many doors,
Ann Pereira, Sept 2-8, 2008
Your knowledge was fantastic! All the info and music, etc added to the enjoyment and meaningfulness of the experience. I could not have wished for more ‘sympatico’ guides. You provided the perfect balance – very smooth operation. Your thoughtfulness and kindness to all was so much appreciated. I am so grateful that I did the Camino this way with you and this fabulous group. It was a real family experience right from the start. If felt divinely perfect. I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Your gentle way has made this Camino for me. It will be a lasting memory and a highlight of all my travels (Editors note: Written by a professional in the travel industry who has travelled to 65 countries around the world).
Rachel Rhind, Holy Week 2007
Wellington, New Zealand
Overall this has been a wonderful experience. Nancy & Jose, thank you for making my Camino possible. I saw and felt how much you both love what you do and that to you this is a passion and not just a business. The 7 days were organized and paced perfectly. The extra excursions were a nice break from the regular walking routine. I was very happy with all the lodgings especially the bathroom facilities! O Cebreiro was my favorite because of the location and atmosphere. Thank you.
Marissa Almendral, Oct 9-15, 2008
Yonkers, New York, USA
I have done numerous tours and have visited many lands. This would have to rate No. 1 – being operated and owned doubtless makes the difference. Having said that , Nancy has amazing energy and is able to relate to all people – and seems to enjoy greatly sharing her knowledge. Sharing her music too was a nice touch as well as her library. The knowledge was the BEST in every possible way. Nancy is always on hand to check everyone is on ‘target’, her knowledge is unique and she gives the impression she is still passionate about it and ever so willing to share it. Jose is a treasure – quietly making it all coordinate ever so smoothly. It has been a truly remarkable journey. May you and your family continue this wonderful work, giving so many the great chance to share in an unique experience.
Myra Wooderson, Sept 1-7, 2007
Auckland, New Zealand
On a scale of 1-10 you (Nancy) were a 10+ - simply outstanding and I loved the history you included. Your complete package is a super value. I would bet none of the other operators have the quality and value of your tours. I was even a bit apprehensive that you might not have what we were seeking based on your price. You and Jose were great! It was one of our best overall travel experiences ever! We can tell it’s a team effort and the two of you do it so well. Thank you.
Laurie & Shiela Slocum, Sept 1-8, 2007
Eugene, Oregon, USA
This was magical. Mike never thought that he would enjoy a week of walking – he loved it! And, I feel wonderfully recharged. Thank you, Nancy and Jose.
Susan and Michael Mackey Sept 1-7, 2007
Vancouver, BC, Canada
This was a unique experience for me. I have never taken an organized tour before and was very pleased by the family feel you provide. It was wonderful to have support during my first attempt at the Camino. Nancy and Jose, you are very thoughtful and considerate people and that shows in the way you conduct your tours. Thank you very much.
Jane Mingay, Sept 1-7, 2007
Toronto, Ont, Canada
Nancy and Jose were exceptionally good and I felt completely comfortable with their combined experience and knowledge. Nancy’s academic background is invaluable in lending rich factual details to the tour educational component. In the predeparture communications the warmth and charm of Nancy’s personality comes through immediately. My favorite sections of the walk were those around Melide. I loved the farms and the greenery on the paths. You two are great guides. The combination of serious planning and a good sense of humor works perfectly! Your caring attitude shows through clearly. The availability of the bus was reassuring. My favorite aspect of the tour was that it was customized so nicely to the group. Certain ‘rules’ must be observed but the tour also accommodates slow and fast walkers, religious and non, older and younger walkers as well. I can't tell you what a great experience our Compostela Tour was to me and to all of us. We all feel more bonded than ever as family and will cherish our memories of our camino tour forever. Thanks for a great pilgrimage, Nancy and Jose.
Kay Mumphrey, Holy Week 2007
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Fue una magnifica oportunidad de hacer el Camino con un grupo harmonioso y compatible. Siempre es agradable conocer personas y nuestro grupo fue muy especial. Contar con ustedes como familia fue una bendición. Gracias.
Clarissa Brugal, Holy Week 2007
Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana
We could not ask for any more knowledgeable guides. Your enthusiasm and love for Galicia were infectious. We did not anticipate how much history, architecture and cultural background would be introduced to us. The tour was delightful – all that I expected and much more. I see the trip not as life changing (life changes every day) but as ‘life expanding’ – we are taking away a wealth of experiences to remember and greatly enjoyed the company of the othes on the trip. Thanks for your expertise and organizing abilities. Your genuine care for us and love of Galicia was very evident.
Joyce & David Benjamins, April 12-18, 2007
Grosse Point Woods, Michigan, USA
I found the tour a VERY positive experience. Thank you to you both Nancy and Jose! I know that there went a lot of hard work and preparation into making this a pleasant experience for us all – we really appreciate and will definitely recommend you to all our friends (and anyone else who wants to listen!).
Christine Truter, Cape Town, South Africa
April 12-18, 2007
Thank you, Nancy & Jose, for providing such a memorable experience on all levels. You demonstrate great professionalism in your organization, thoughtfulness and caring of participants. It is a complete program in terms of introducing the culture of the areas traveled, introducing local foods and providing fine lodgings and restaurants. Cheers to you both!
J. Tower, Oct 9-15, 2008
Rescue, Calif., USA
What I feared is now happening. I sit here in my office and wonder: Did I really appreciate and enjoy our walk as much as I should have? The flashbacks are now starting to come through and I wish I was there on the road again. But this is my problem.
I just want to say “Baie Dankie” again! It was a wonderful experience which Bettie and I will never forget and you made it possible. When we had the opportunity last night to report back to the rest of our study group, we 6 were unanimous in our view that we stroke the Jackpot by choosing you as our guides. “Baie dankie” again for your sensitivity and being so well informed about the Camino and Galicia and sharing it with us and being prepared to listen to all our stories from South Africa.
It was a privilege to meet you both and your children.
May you be blessed as a family and may you keep on being a vehicle to help people to connect (if I may use David’s wonderful expression) to the Camino and their God and themselves.
Thank you so much again. It was indeed “baie lekker”!
Michiel and Bettie Strauss, April 12-18, 2007
Welgelegen, South Africa
Many thanks for a great trip, truly wonderful, and made even better by your company! It has been an amazing experience – very well run and enjoyable!
Mike and Jill McNamee, 9-15 October 2008
Nancy & Jose manage to make this feel like a visit to a personal friend. They are professional, knowledgeable as well as warm and welcoming. The lodgings and tour management were excellent, group size great and the picnics were definitely the highpoint of each day. Thanks for a memorable experience!!!
Mercedes Olivieri & Charles Hurley, 9-15 October 2008
Burke, Virginia, USA
What a wonderful week we all had with you in Spain. Thank you for making it so memorable. We have talked about the Camino a lot during our travels and feel our lives have benefited from the experience. Hoping we will meet again.
Merryn and Rod Pearse, 9-15 October 2008
I found the combined energies of yourself & Jose worked well to give us a great experience. The blend of structure & some free rein did come in handy allowing us to limp in last all days! The lunch & dinner choices were great as was the commentary and music that accompanied the side trips. The experience was not just physical but held facets of the spiritual and artistic and culinary - all beamed into better light with the fellowship within the group.
May this work that you & Jose & the rest of your family do so well continue to flourish and bring you satisfaction. It is also work that facilitates friendships & encourages interaction & I hope these return to enhance your lives in many ways.
Linda Pereira, 2-8 Sept 2008
Dandenong North, VIC, Australia