A Camino Spiritual Pilgrimage
A Path to Self-Discovery and Joy

Saturday, Sep 14 – Friday, Oct 4, 2019

Walk the last 108 km of the Frances Camino Way to Santiago de Compostela. Attune to the deep vibration and the splendid rural beauty and stone villages of ancient Galicia, Spain.

Pilgrimage Highlights

Locations in Spain: Madrid, Ávila, Astorga, Portomarín, Melide, Arzúa, Santiago de Compostela, Muxía, Finisterre, Noia and many small villages along the Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Route

 

We invite you to join us as we walk together as spiritual pilgrims in the peaceful joy of the astounding beauty of the Galician countryside. This 21-day pilgrimage provides a spiritually uplifting opportunity for those who would like to make a heart and soul connection to the Divine along the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, in Northwest Spain. This extraordinary spiritual pilgrimage is ideal for those who have dreamed to walk ‘The Way’ but have limited time and would like to walk shorter distances each day. Our pilgrimage will support you to walk shorter and very pleasant distances of 5-9 miles per day over 11 walking days, with a rest and recharge day after the 5th walking day.

All spiritual truth-seekers who wish to deepen their connection with the Self and the Divine are welcome. Our optional guided morning meditations, walking meditations, visits to churches and holy shrines along the Way, and the opportunity to speak with pilgrimage leaders, are all ideal ways to take time out of our busy lives and attune to the deep vibration of pilgrimage, self-offering, and this holy ancient land of Spain.

Our group is limited to just 17 guests. We will stay in pre-reserved nice to very-nice accommodations, from rural casas (homes and albergues with smaller private rooms), as well as beautiful Pazos (palaces) built centuries ago. We will enjoy pilgrim vegetarian meals together at uplifting restaurants, which we have personally selected.

Our tour begins with a short visit in Madrid. From there we will travel by bus to visit Ávila, where St. Teresa lived and prayed as well as being on the Camino del Levante route, or “Ávila Way,” to Santiago de Compostela. We will spend a little time walking the Avila Way and connecting with the deep blessings of this route. Leaving Ávila, we travel by bus next to Astorga, located on the Frances Camino Route, on our way to the start of our walking pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

We will begin our walk at Rente (a very tiny village near Sarria), on our 108 km (79 mile) pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Compostela. We will end the main walking pilgrimage in Santiago and where we will visit the famous cathedral (begun in 1075) where St. James is interred. Sunday noon mass is optional, and the largest thurible in the Christian world, called ‘botafumeiro’ in Spanish, will swing across the enormous cathedral at 68 km/hour (over 40mph).

By walking at least the last 100 kilometers (by any of the more than 8 recognized routes) of the Camino, pilgrims may receive the Holy Compostela certificate, written in Latin. The Compostela acknowledges completion of a Pilgrim’s Walk to see the Holy Saint when one makes this journey as a pilgrim, with spiritual intent and an attitude of inner searching. The tradition of the Compostela began in the 13th century, sanctioned by the Pope to recognize the Pilgrim’s journey by foot, bicycle, or horseback.

After Santiago, we then continue on to experience some of ancient Galicia, visiting Dombate Dolmen (3500 BC) and then to Muxía, where it is believed that the Virgin Mary arrived in a stone boat and appeared to Santiago (Saint James), encouraging him to preach here. We continue next to “The End of the World” at Finisterra, Spain. Finis Terre means, literally, “end of earth,” and ancient pilgrims even before the pilgrimage to the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela would walk to the End of the Earth to offer themselves to the ocean waves for cleansing and renewal.

Highlights include:

  • 11 days of walking in the time-honored tradition of pilgrimage. Enjoy walking time with friends, meet new pilgrims who also walk along the Way, have an optional appointment with one of our tour leaders, optionally learn walking meditation and contemplation, visit and meditate in the time-honored tradition the ancient churches (some of which are 1000 years old), and optionally attend mass in churches along the Way and at the Santiago Cathedral. All these are possible ways to enjoy your walking and inner pilgrimage.
  • Visit ancient and tiny villages that were formed around the pilgrim route to support walking pilgrims.
  • Receive colorful and memorable pilgrim sellos (inked stamps) along the way in your Pilgrim Credential (the document that witnesses with these sellos that you completed each stage of the journey to earn your Compostela).
  • Enjoy lovely Spanish Galician vegetarian food each evening in group pilgrim meals, as well as hearty breakfasts to begin each day.
  • Marvel at the splendid rural beauty and stone villages of Galicia, Spain.
  • Visit ancient Galicia sites dating from as early as 3500 BC, including dolmens, castros, and petroglyphs.
  • Walk the last stretch of the Camino de Finisterre to “The End of the World” in the spirit of the ancient pilgrims by walking across Langosteira Beach to collect your shell – which signified to the ancient pilgrim that they had made it to the end of the long journey. Walk then through Finisterre fishing village to the Lighthouse at “The End of the World” at the 0.0 km marker that notes the end of the Camino Way.

Walk the last 108 km of the Frances Camino Way to Santiago de Compostela, earning the optional Holy Latin Compostela Certificate. See the largest thurible in Christendom (the Botafumeiro, or giant incense burner) swing from the magnificently huge ceiling of the St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at an optional Sunday noon mass. Meditate at the tomb of the Apostle St. James, and hug the hundreds-of-years-old jewel studded gold bust of the Saint above the altar. See enormous angels perched over the altar of the magnificent Cathedral. Take an optional Cathedral tour to see ancient statuary of the holy Saint and learn about other interesting details of the 1000 year old building. Visit ancient Galicia sites that date from 3500 BC. Highlights of this tour include:

  • Visit churches and chapels along the Way, attend optional masses, and make personal self-offering in the spirit of Pilgrimage.
  • Visit the Museum of Pilgrimage in Santiago (optional), a very well-laid out and interesting museum documenting the concept of pilgrimage as well as focusing on the many pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela for hundreds of years.
  • Walk through ancient and tiny rural villages along the Way. Walk in contemplative silence, or enjoy interaction with old and new friends you meet along the Way.
  • Schedule optional personal connection time with one of our experienced tour leaders, as desired.
  • Walk the ancient winding cobbled streets of old Santiago de Compostela, which used to be a walled city.
  • Receive an optional personalized holy Compostela in Santiago de Compostela, which recognizes that you walked as a pilgrim at least 100km of the Camino Way and is written in Latin with your name.
  • Stay at rural casas, lovely hotels, Pazos (centuries old “palaces”), the “House of Spirituality” for St. Teresa of Ávila in Ávila, the monastery of San Martiño Pinario in Santiago dating from the 15th Century – which was the richest and most powerful monastery in the city and is also located right across from the Cathedral doors, and stay at the St Francis Hotel Monumento in Santiago de Compostela when we return to the city a second time – founded by St. Francis as a monastery when he walked the Camino in 1214 and now used as both a monastery and a hotel.
  • Listen to Celtic bagpipes in Santiago de Compostela and, if we are lucky, also in Muxía at the seaside magical Celtic power-spot where Our Lady of the Boat church now stands.
  • Experience the ancient Celtic “End of the World” at Finisterre, following in the tradition of ancient pilgrim walkers to a mile-long beach and then the Finisterre Lighthouse.
  • Meditate on the rocks overlooking the ocean at the Finisterre Lighthouse, offering up gratitude and joy for the blessings and grace received along the Way, as well as offering up all personal challenges into the endless sea at the “End of the World.”
  • And much, much more!


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Sitabai

Sitabai

Spiritual Travel Host, Ananda Minister, Works with Ananda’s Community Services and with Publishing

Sitabai Betts is an experienced pilgrim who has walked the Camino de Santiago twice. She will provide expert guidance about many aspects of The Way so that guests can enjoy an outstanding and fulfilling pilgrimage experience. Sitabai is a long-time, experience outdoors walker and hiker having been on many long and extensive trips.  She has led many groups, including children and adults of all ages, to experience the joy of hiking and walking. She brings calm enthusiasm, joy, clarity, and knowledge to all her various areas of service within the Ananda community where she lives. She understands personal unique walking needs and provides support to experience the joys of nature to the fullest. Sitabai is also an Ananda Minister. 

See programs, articles, and full bio.


Nayaswami Lalaan

Nayaswami Lalaan

Nayaswami Lalaan is an experienced pilgrim having been on solo or group journeys in England, Italy, Ireland, and Spain, over the last 10 years. Pilgrimage is a major source for her spiritual inspiration and personal growth. Being a friend to others on the pilgrims way is her most joyful service, one she hopes to keep doing as she ages. Lalaan has also enjoyed being on the Ananda Spiritual Travels Hawaii vacations, including being the Chef for the 2014 program. Spending time on pilgrimage with experienced Ananda travel hosts has allowed her to see the very special ways to support and inspire guests during their inward and outward journey. Lalaan is very good friends with Sitabai Betts who will lead the Camino Pilgrimage, and she is looking forward to guiding the group when in Madrid and Avila at the beginning of this pilgrimage.

See programs, articles, and full bio.



Costs

Madrid to Santiago to Northwest Galicia Region with return to Santiago

Double occupancy* $5695
Early-bird price for double occupancy if paid in full before Apr 1, 2019* $4995
Single occupancy** $6535
Early-bird price for single occupancy if paid in full before Apr 1, 2019** $5835

*All prices are per person based on double occupancy except 2-3 nights in smaller rural casas where we will need to have 3 people per room for a few rooms. This is rare, but please realize the tradition of pilgrimage with the occasional need to have three people in a room or have a bathroom down the hall instead of a private bath.

**Single occupancy will be provided at this cost when available, which is at most of our lodgings except 2-3 nights when we will stay in smaller rural casas and where we will need to have 2-3 people per room in some of our rooms. As noted, this is rare, but please realize the tradition of pilgrimage with the occasional need to have three people in a room or have a bathroom down the hall instead of a private bath.

Upon registration you will receive a Physical Fitness Questionnaire. You must be fit enough to comfortably walk 5-9 miles per day (in gentle stages) for 5 days with a 2 day break in between. If you are fit for this walking pilgrimage then we will send a confirmation letter with information on planning your flights and other details.

Please note: the registration form requires your emergency contact information, so please have it handy when you begin the registration process.

Included in Tour Cost

  • Accommodations each night at carefully selected delightful casas, hotels, Pazos, and centuries-old monasteries. Some have pools and spa options.
  • All transportation needs from day 1 to 21 (unless you choose to visit elective alternative locations) including busses and taxis. Taxis provided along the walking route if there are health or foot challenges.
  • Daily maps of our walking routes with your expert guides, including explanations of the day ahead and things to see along the Way.
  • Opportunity to speak to a tour leader about your Pilgrim self-discovery process as your pilgrimage unfolds, as desired.
  • Mobile smartphone and/or a Spain SIM card. We will provide either or both of these if you do not already have a smartphone or an international phone plan so that our party can stay in touch while walking at your own pace. Smartphones that we provide will be returned to us at the end of the trip.
  • Daily evening vegetarian dinners together in the tradition of pilgrimage at lovely restaurants, casas, and our hotels.
  • All morning breakfasts.
  • “Pilgrim Credential Passport” to obtain sellos (ink stamps of locations visited along the Camino Way). Your Credential is a wonderful souvenir of your journey and is also required to present to the Compostela Office in Santiago to show that you completed the Camino if you wish to obtain a free (optional) Holy Latin Compostela Certificate when we arrive in Santiago de Compostela.
  • Luggage transfer each day, so that all you need to carry as you walk is a light jacket, mobile phone, and water.
  • Santiago de Compostela Cathedral tour.
  • Entry fees and guided tours, where required and available, to Dolmen Dombate and Petroglyphs, and other ancient Galicia sites.

Not Included in Tour Cost

  • International airfare to and from Madrid, Spain, and all related fees.
  • Transfer from Madrid airport to our first hotel in Madrid.
  • Overweight baggage fees: We encourage you to pack small and light! We will provide a suggested packing list. Shoes are critical because this is a walking pilgrimage and our tour leaders are happy to discuss footwear with you.
  • Fees for passport and Spain entry visa (if needed). Currently a Spain visa is not required for US citizens but please check to be sure things haven’t changed. If you travel through other countries enroute you may need to secure visas.
  • Personal hotel amenities and personal expenditures.
  • Travel insurance (required to participate).
  • Pilgrim Compostela protection cardboard tube. This is to protect your Compostela Certificate (optional) to travel home. Optional $4.
  • Laundry Services, as needed.
  • Lunches and snacks (estimate $12*21 days) – approximately $250, varies with each person’s needs. Exploring and finding daily lunches and snacks that are interesting to you along the way is a good deal of the fun involved!
  • Donations at Churches and church services, as desired.
  • Tips, not a common practice in Spain but in some instances we may want to join together to tip a tour guide or other circumstances.
  • Spa and massage services when optionally provided at hotels.
  • Pilgrim’s museum in Santiago de Compostela ($2).
  • Shell to carry on your personal small daily backpack, if desired ($2).
  • Special entry fees not included in our tour. There are generally no fees to enter churches. There are some additional small museums in Santiago for $5-10 entry fee.
  • Hiking Poles, if purchased there, approximately $40. (Can bring in checked-luggage from home, but not in carry-on luggage.)
  • Souvenirs, as desired.

To Register

Reserve Online and make your $1,000 U.S. deposit. You will then receive a confirmation letter with information on planning your flights and other details. Please note: the registration form requests your passport and emergency contact information, so have them handy then you begin the registration process. If you do not have a valid passport at the time you reserve your space, once you have obtained it please call with the needed info.

Payment

In order to reserve your space, please submit a down payment of $1000 with your reservation form. We need to receive your full payment by Apr 1, 2019, in order to get the Earlybird discount. Full payment is due April 1, 2019. The number of tour participants is limited, so early registration is advised.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our travelers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance a couple weeks ahead of the first day of the trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. Here are a couple options:

Travel documents

You must hold a valid passport with an expiration date at least six months after the end of your stay. No visa is currently needed for travelers from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and most other countries in the Americas and Europe, but it is always a good idea to confirm this. If you are not from North America or Australia, you will need to find out whether you need a visa. More information on traveling to Spain.

Cancellation Policy

For cancellations received before June 1, 2019, your $1000 deposit will be refunded, less a $500 cancellation fee. If you cancel after June 1, 2019 any refunds will be subject to the terms and conditions of any travel/hotel fees, our tour company and other providers in Spain, plus any other charges incurred on your behalf by Ananda Sangha.

Reserve Your Space

A $1000 deposit is required. The balance is due April 1, 2019
Reserve online now. Please call 1-800-346-5350 or 530-478-7518 if you have any questions.

Camino de Santiago Spiritual Pilgrimage: A Path to Self-Discovery and Joy in the ancient footsteps and traditions of old Spain

Guided by Sitabai Betts and Nayaswami Lalaan, seasoned pilgrims and staff of the Ananda Spiritual Travels program of The Expanding Light Retreat.

September 14 – October 4, 2019

Synopsis: Our pilgrimage begins in Madrid where we will meet together as a group. We will travel by bus to holy Ávila, famous for St. Teresa of Ávila, as well as also being on the Camino del Levante route, or “Ávila Way,” another pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The following day we travel again by bus to Rente, a tiny village near Sarria, Spain, at the 108 km post marker, where we will begin our walking pilgrimage along the Camino Frances Way to Santiago de Compostela. After reaching and enjoying Santiago, our tour will then visit by bus ancient Galicia by continuing on to Muxía and Finisterre, Spain, at the “End of the World” – which is also the ancient end to the pilgrim’s walk at the sea.

Expertly guided by Sitabai Betts and Lalaan Hickey

Sitabai has twice completed the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, including a recent trip to visit each of the accommodations where we will stay and sample the foods at restaurants where we will dine. Sitabai has decades experience as a walker and hiker in the California Sierra Mountains leading children and families. See complete bio information in ‘Leaders’ section.

Nayaswami Lalaan is an experienced pilgrim who has traveled in Spain, Italy and Ireland in search of the Divine. Lalaan is an experienced walker and has many years’ experience interacting with and supporting guests of the Expanding Light Retreat. See complete bio information in ‘Leaders’ section.

Join us to walk 11 days of our 21 day tour with well-planned walking stages on the Camino Frances Route. Each walking day is 5-9 miles, with an average of 7 miles per walking day.

For the pilgrimage journey of 108 km we will walk 5 consecutive days and then take a rest day to enjoy a beautiful spa resort in the Spanish countryside with the availability of optional spa services. Then we will walk 6 more consecutive days to reach Santiago de Compostela to complete our Pilgrim walking journey and earn an optional personalized Latin Compostela Certificate in the millennium-Pilgrim tradition.

In Santiago de Compostela we will enjoy the city, stay at a famous and lovely 500-year-old monastery, visit the 1000-year-old Cathedral where Saint James, or Santiago, is interred, and enjoy this delightful, old cobbled formerly-walled city.

To finish this remarkable journey we will visit ancient Galicia sites by bus, including dolmens, castros, and petroglyphs – some of which date to 3500 BC. We will also visit “The End of the World” – which was the end of the ancient Galic pilgrimage that pre-dates the Santiago pilgrimage. Like pilgrims for hundreds of years, we end this route by walking the last section, with collecting shells in the old tradition on the last beach, meditating on the rocks overlooking the sea at the Lighthouse, and have the opportunity to watch the sunset from the ancient end of the world. One can walk this last 4.3-mile section to the “End of the World” as in the ancient traditions or simply remain on the bus to enjoy this rewarding end of the Camino Finisterre route. Our day by day itinerary includes:

Camino shell-Spain

 

Day 1 – We meet in Madrid at the lovely Hotel Emperador and share a welcome dinner and orientation together.

Day 2 – we will take a short 1.5-hour bus ride to Ávila. We visit powerful sites where the saint lived and prayed.

Day 3 – we will travel by bus to our start location on the walking Pilgrimage, through Astorga, Spain, on the classic Camino Frances Route. We will visit the lovely cathedral in Astorga on our way. Astorga is also famous for being one of the first places in Europe to make excellent chocolate when Cortés first brought cocoa to Spain in the 1520’s.

Day 4 to 8 – We will walk our first 5 walking days of the Camino Frances Route to Santiago de Compostela (approximately 5, 7, 9, 8, and 6 walking miles each day, respectively). Daily walking schedule consists of walking a few miles, stopping for snacks or lunch along the way, then walking a few more miles to our destination for the day. We stay at charming old-world rural casas in tiny villages along the Way, as well as at a lovely hotel overlooking the beautiful Miño River in Portomarín, a small charming village of 2200 people with a very old pilgrim church that was relocated block by block due to a new damn in the river in the 1960’s.

Provided each day are walking maps, daily orientation, daily breakfast and dinners together. Our pilgrimage group is constantly available to each other while walking by mobile phone apps. Your tour leaders are available for personal spiritual and physical pilgrimage support, as needed. Lunch and snacks are delightfully discovered along the walking journey as you go. Luggage is transported for us to the evening lodging. Taxi service is provided for you to complete the day if there are any challenges with body or foot comfort.

Day 9 – We spend two nights and one full day at the lovely resort spa Entrada Hotel Balneario. Here we rest and will not walk for a day, enjoying the optional (extra fees) spa services such as massage, facials, and use of the pool.

Hotal Balneario Pool, Camino Pilgrimage with Ananda Travels
Hotal Balneario Pool, Camino Pilgrimage with Ananda Travels

 

Day 10 to 14 – We walk the remaining 6 days journey of the Camino Frances Route to Santiago de Compostela (approximately 8, 7, 8, 7, 7, 7 walking miles each day, respectively). Daily walking schedule consists of walking a few miles, stopping for snacks or lunch along the way, then walking a few more miles to the destination for the day. We stay at charming old-world rural casas in small towns along the Way, as well as at three delightful old Pazos (which means “Palace” in Spanish, often several hundred years old). Delightful Pazo Xan Xordo has an original chapel from 1650 with the original wall paintings and Blessed Mary on the altar.

Pazo-Xan-Xordo Chapel, Camino Pilgrimage with Ananda Travels


Provided each day are walking maps, daily orientation, daily breakfast and dinners together. Our pilgrimage group is constantly available to each other while walking by mobile phone apps. Your tour leaders are available for personal spiritual and physical pilgrimage support, as needed. Lunch and snacks are delightfully discovered along the walking journey as you go. Luggage is transported for us to the evening lodging. Taxi service is provided for you to complete the day if there are any challenges with body or foot comfort.

Day 15 & 16 – We arrive in the old city of Santiago de Compostela, having completed our 108 km Pilgrim Walk. We have the delight of enjoying one of the most spiritually significant cities of Europe, now called the Christian Mecca due to the Camino Pilgrimage Walk. We will have the option to see the largest thurible in Christendom (the Botafumeiro, or giant incense burner), which is surprisingly intensely inspiring to watch as it swings to the top of the magnificent huge ceiling of the Santiago Cathedral during the (optional) Sunday noon mass.

Catherdral of St-James, Santiago

We also will have a guided tour of the Santiago Cathedral and enjoy other attractions in the old delightful, formerly walled, cobbled-street city. Also optional, one may get a Holy Compostela, written in Latin and personalized in your name, in Santiago for having walked more than 100 km of a Camino Way Pilgrimage. Many more surprises await us in Santiago.

Day 17 – We continue our pilgrimage now by bus, leaving Santiago and visiting Dombate Dolmen, a 3500 BC Celtic site on our way to the small fishing village of Muxía. We visit the powerful Celtic power-point in Muxía and, if lucky, hear the bagpipes playing at the ocean’s edge at sunset.

Day 18 – We continue by bus to Langosteira Beach, a mile-long beach that ancient pilgrims reached after the many weeks and months of pilgrimage from all over Europe as they approach the “End of the World”. We walk along Langosteira Beach, collecting shells that signify the completion of the journey while reflecting, as pilgrims over the millennium have done, to attain purity at the water’s edge. Walking through the small fishing village of Finisterre (Finis Terre literally means “end of earth”) we continue the final walk to the Lighthouse at the point. Here pilgrims have offered prayer and meditation, joy and gratitude, to the final completion of the pilgrim’s journey at the official 0.0 km end of the Camino Way. Total walking distance this day is 4.3 miles, and it is optional to remain on the bus to the lighthouse instead of walking.

End of the World at Finistre-Spain

Day 19 – We travel by bus to the beautiful Cascada de Ézaro waterfall and then on to Castro de Baroña, an ancient Celtic seaside rock settlement. Evening in the small seaside town of Noia.

Castro-de-Baroña, Camino Pilgrimage with Ananda Travels

Petroglyph, Camino Pilgrimage with Ananda Travels

 

Day 20 – We continue by bus to visit Parque Arqueolóxico da Arte Rupestre Campo Lameiro, the largest collection of petroglyphs in Spain and considered by many as the "Sistine Chapel" of Galician petroglyphs.

After our visit we return by bus to Santiago de Compostela to stay one last special night together at the San Francisco Hotel Monumento, a monastery founded by St. Francis more than 800 years ago in 1214, when he also completed the Camino de Santiago. This monastery has been used ever since that time by Franciscan Friars.

Day 21 – We enjoy our last breakfast together at the San Francisco Hotel Monumento and with warm hugs we bid you a happy trip home with the Camino in your heart, your spiritual pilgrim travels having added a depth and dimension to the joy of your inner Self.

 

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