Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage
Path to Self-Discovery and Joy

  • Sep 19 – Oct 9, 2023

with Sitabai Betts

The Essence of our Camino Pilgrimage


There is a beginning, middle, and end of each pilgrimage for every pilgrim. We have carefully created a pilgrimage experience that allows the time, provides sublime settings and experiences, and generously offers leadership support, so that each guest can find their own rhythm and attunement to Spirit and new friendships with other guests.

Overview of phases of the Camino Pilgrimage:

The beginning: Our first three days provide early, shared experiences in Madrid, Avila, and Ponferrada during which guests can get to know one another. In Avila, a UNESCO World Heritage site, we come into the mystical spirit of St. Teresa of Avila through visits to her monastery home and the Cathedral dedicated to her. Here we will have our first group orientation and sharing circle as we prepare to begin our time walking together on the Camino. Our stop in Ponferrada allows us to see a Knights Templar castle of world-renown.


Heart-opening-Santiago-de-Compostella-cathedral

The middle 12 days: of our pilgrimage include 11 days of walking in carefully planned achievable stages from 5-9 miles per day. We have carefully walked each of these walk routes to provide us days of inspiration that are filled with food purchasing opportunities, churches, old Roman bridges, and ease of daily completion. One of our pilgrimage hosts will always walk with our last walking guest(s) so that each pilgrim can walk at their own pace and level of enjoyment. There is no rush! This journey for the pilgrim, day by day, is one of deep inspiration as one walks this path walked by perhaps millions of pilgrims over thousands of years. If taxi assistance is needed, we can help arrange this (but we've not seen it needed).

More about walking on the Camino:

For the walking portion of the Camino, as a general guideline, our pilgrims should be able to walk up to 8 miles in less than 5 walking hours with several breaks, at a very comfortable (not speed) pace. We have 5 walking days, with a full rest day at a lovely isolated rural health spa, followed by our final 6 walking days to arrive in Santiago. The days fly by in such a way that it is difficult to comprehend that we began our walk 12 days prior! The inspiration is rich. We spend the first hour of each walking day in silence, enjoying our inner reflections and glorious nature all around. We are free to walk alone or with others in our group or with whomever we meet along the Way. Often people offer service to others while walking, with positive conversation or encouragement or even physical aid as needed.

Ending the pilgrimage: The final section of our pilgrimage includes a day to see Santiago and then some days visiting Galicia along the coast. While these days include activities and further amazing inspirations, this final 5-day section of the Camino is designed to give you some time to integrate your walking experience into your being before hopping on an airplane and dashing home - leaving your pilgrimage behind. Our final 5 days enjoy stunning beauty, the End of the World, and the city of Santiago. In these final 5 days together as a group, we find it supportive to your inner pilgrimage to bring together all your thoughts and experiences of this remarkable journey.


AST-Guest Testimonials link

The Three Sections of this pilgrimage: Before walking the Camino, on The Way, the Galician seaside

(Full detailed itinerary here)

Before we arrive to walk the Camino: Madrid, Avila, and Ponferrada

We begin in Madrid, staying at a centrally location hotel. Our evening includes a very fun dinner of tapas at a wonderful Mercado. Our second day finds us in Ávila, Spain, visiting the holy places of St. Teresa of Ávila, and the inspiring World UNESCO walled city of Ávila. After a restful evening, we are then on our way to our Camino trail-head, and along the way we stop at Ponferrada to visit the best-preserved Knights Templar Castle on the well-traveled Camino Frances Route. Later, on this day, we arrive in the Sarria area to begin our Camino walk the following morning.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Madrid-from above
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Fun Mercado Madrid

Avila-Walled City with St.Teresa inlay - in Spain

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Ponferrada-from above
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Ponferrada-Castle

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-View over Avila
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Image of-St.Teresa in room she passed


The Camino Portion of the Trip: 11 walking days and 1 Spa rest day

Mileage: The walking portion of our pilgrimage, mostly through ancient and beautiful Galician farmland, has pleasant cross-country distances of 5-9 miles (8-14 km) per day. We will walk 108 kilometers together, starting from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela. This portion includes 5 walk days, 1 rest day, and 6 more walk days



Walking on the Camino - The Daily Flow:

Each day we provide daily meditation, breakfast, an inspiring daily orientation, walking maps & tips, and evening dinners together at lovely accommodations. As some walkers will have a faster pace than others, and we want everyone to walk at their own pace, our pilgrimage group stays in touch with one another by a fun mobile phone app. By walking together, enjoying each other's company at meals, sharing photos and helpful comments on the mobile app, our pilgrim group becomes a moving family, bonding in many enjoyable and supportive ways.

The countryside is beautiful Spanish Galician farmland of endless delight. We stay in incredible old-world countryside lodgings. The casas and pazos are very warm and welcoming, delivering an amazing experience of old-world Spain.


“The rural Spanish countryside was a major aspect of the pilgrimage for me, and the opportunity to rest in lovely places and dine on homemade food further contributed to having a deeply unique and restorative experience.”


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Image of grassy lane
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Group on the Way

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Pilgrim walking over a bridge

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- Small group chat

The Galician Seaside Experience:

Visit the End of the World, enjoy beautiful accommodations, the sea, waterfalls and ancient Galicia!

The official end of the Camino de Santiago - traveling by bus, we will carry the high energies of our experiences on the Camino and our time in holy Santiago de Compostela, and we will start to travel to the west coast to experience more of ancient Galicia. Here, in two separate and sublime locations (Muxía and Finisterre) we will find the 0.0 markers formally declaring the end of our remarkable journey.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Finisterre-view
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- Sea Shells

Bronze Age civilization: We will visit Dombate Dolmen (3500 BC). The Dombate Dolmen is the Neolithic era monument cataloged as a ‘collective corridor tomb’ and is considered the ‘megalithic cathedral’ in Galicia.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Castro-de-Baron
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- petroglyph-tomb

Muxia is known as a power center of Celtic spirituality. Here we can climb the little mountain with the stone cross with views to the sea and the bay, overlooking the town. Pilgrims can throw into the ocean a stone or another item they've carried along the way, giving it to the sea as a symbol of the completion of the journey. Offer up all the limitations you have grown through on this journey. This is where it is believed that the Virgin Mary arrived in a stone boat, then appeared to Saint James and encouraged him to continue to share the teachings of Christ in the Galicia region. This is the 0.0 km marker for one section of the Camino ending at “The End of the World.”


Two pilgrims looking over Muxia


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 all personal challenges into the endless sea at the “End of the World.”



Finisterre - The End of the World: ‘Finis Terre’ literally means, “end of earth.” For thousands of years, pilgrims have walked here to offer themselves to the ocean waves for cleansing and renewal.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Walking the beach
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- Finisterre beach

Arriving in Finisterra we will walk on the exquisitely beautiful Langosteria Beach, a mile-long beach that ancient pilgrims reached by their walking pilgrimage after many months from all over Europe. Walking our final steps along the beach we will take time to reflect just as pilgrims over the millennium have done on attaining our own purity at the water's edge.

After the beach we will walk through the charming fishing village of Finisterre, and continue the final walk to the Lighthouse at the farthest western point. The 0.0 mile marker near the Finisterra Lighthouse is considered to be the primary end of the Camino. Here pilgrims offer prayer and meditation, joy and gratitude, on the completion of the pilgrim’s journey.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- View of Muxia fishing port
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Three ladies looking elated

Group shot at World's end


Accommodations & Dining: Authentic & uplifting Spanish hospitality and cuisine

Ananda Spiritual Travels staff have thoroughly planned all our accommodations and dining experiences to create a restorative, nutritious, and delicious pilgrimage experience for our Camino guests.


Accommodations:

We provide 20 nights of accommodations with this pilgrimage. Sitabai has personally stayed in each accommodation we have selected and she has worked closely with owners and their staff to prepare rooms and services for your enjoyment. All accommodations have been reserved long in advance in nice to very-nice accommodations, including rural casas (smaller traditional homes), and some amazingly beautiful pazos (“palaces” or “country manors” built centuries ago). We do not stay in Albergue bunkbed rooms.

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Rural Auberge
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Group dining at long table

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Three ladies smiling at breakfast

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- Rural stone famhouse retreat buildings

Dining:

Our pilgrimage leader, Sitabai, has worked closely with restaurant chefs and country hotel staff to pre-plan a variety of enjoyable dining experiences filled with nutrition and energy. All breakfasts and dinners are included, and 3 lunches at special locations are included.

Breakfast: Begin each day with a hearty breakfast, typically buffet style. Enjoy a warm café con leche or hot tea, fresh fruit, a variety of breads and cereals, warm potato torte, and a variety of condiments.

Lunch: Three lunches are included in the pilgrimage and the other lunches are found along the walking path, which is very much part of the fun!

Dinner: We will eat an evening Pilgrim Dinner most evenings if circumstances allow. Many of the delicious meals are prepared specifically for our group with advanced planning by the pilgrimage leaders. Dinners are often home-prepared by the casa in which we stay using traditional family recipes. Many meals are sumptuously prepared by world-class cooks. Some typical menu items might include fresh warm soup, homemade bread, copious platters of grilled vegetables, Spanish paella (traditional rice and vegetables), garden-fresh salads, and specialty recipes. Vegetarian meals are always offered, and where possible we will also offer a choice between vegetarian and non-vegetarian entrees.


Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Welcome massage
Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Auberge bedroom

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage-Scenic dining

Ananda Spiritual Travels-Camino Pilgrimage- Large bedroom with a view

We know you will enjoy the fresh Galician food during our pilgrimage.



Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Hosts
Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage Hosts

Sitabai Betts, Camino Pilgrimage Leader


Sitabai Betts

I am available to Skype or do a live face-time (Zoom or Google) with you to answer any questions you may have about this amazing Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage in Spain. Please complete the form below and I'll be in touch to arrange a time to connect. I look forward to meeting you!

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The Camino Pilgrimage with The Expanding Light Retreat

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