Dust, mud, sun and rain

is the road to Santiago.

Thousands of pilgrims

and more than thousand of years.

Pilgrim, who calls you?

Nice find Sherif!
Nice find Sherif!

What hidden force draws you?

Neither the fields of stars

nor the great cathedrals.

It’s not sturdy Navarre

nor the wine from La Rioja

nor Galician seafood

nor the Castillan fields.

Pilgrim, who calls you?

What hidden force draws you?

Neither the people along the way

nor their customs.

It’s not the history and culture

or the cockerel in Santo Domingo de La Calzada

nor Gaudi’s place

nor the castle of Ponferrada

I see it all as I pass along

and it is a joy to see,

but the voice that calls me,

I feel more deeply still.

The force that drives me

The force that draws me

I am unable to explain.

Only He Above knows!


(Sherif just said at the beginning of his email the question, “Remember?”)



Flies, Why Not?

I think this may have something to do with flies, perhaps.
I think this may have something to do with flies, perhaps.


So, my Camino partner Kelly ( aka Kel, Padre, the Walking Supermarket) came to dinner last evening.  And as usual, things got up there on the sillymeter.  Before I go into that we had a great meal with tapas at one end and flan at the other.  You know, I went all out for the guy.  Vacuumed the new carpet and everything.  And it was game seven of the World Series and we checked that out.  I held it to one glass of wine, just in case my doc is reading this.  Kelly went a little over that.

Anyway, the whole meal was as Spanish as I could get to from here.  And at some point the conversation got around to memorable meals on the Camino.  Well, don’t all conversations wind up going there given enough time. ( I think that I am on to something there.)  Anyway, it got down to flies.

There is this great old joke where the perturbed customer asks the waiter, “What is this fly doing in my soup?”  And the waiter peering down to get a closer look very politely says, “I think he is doing the backstroke sir!”    hahaha.  That’s the kind of stuff we were up too.   And really how are you going to have an authentic August style Camino meal without a few jokes and a few flies. So then the idea came up of canned flies, right?  Why not, indeed.  For the really authentic presentation this would be a nobrainer.  Well, and we had kind of a no brainer thing going by that time, as you can see, so it was an all good situation.

So yea, we got the film crew and Annie coming next month.  They told me that they are coming about eight times now so we are throughly warned.  So, I just want to let them know that we here are still in great Camino party shape and will match anything that they can bring!  Yea, we can’t wait to see you guys!!   Love, Phil.

Three Items

Just having tapas.
Just having tapas.


Good morning.  I’m running a little late here on this but here I am.  Just wanted to dilly dally with you for a few moments.

One thing that is on my mind is my hunt this year.  I’m allowed one deer this year and we have plenty here on our island.  It is great habitat for them and they thrive.  But I have this rule with myself that if I shoot one and can’t recover it then my hunt is over.  Technically I could still hunt since my tag is still valid.  But with myself I don’t get another chance.  It is supposed to make me more serious about the process.  So this is what happened two evenings ago.  I hit a nice buck and after much looking couldn’t locate him.  This happens once in a while to everyone but it doesn’t help the disappointment.  And then the next day a bunch of my neighbors were out looking and still nothing.  Well, ultimately in nature nothing is wasted as this will provide coyote and raven food.  But still.  I just wanted to tell you about my world.

So, also, I am communicating via messaging with a lovely person that is doing the Camino right now.  I am so jealous.  She is at the albergue that Paulo Coelho is associated with now.  Does anyone know where that is?  She has suffered a great lose recently and has physical issues that are challenging.  I admire her courage and am sort of holding her hand electronically as she goes.  Please pray for us.

Also, Matthew from the Netherlands has checked via email with Kelly and myself.  So that is tres cool.  If anyone needs his email I could get that to you.

That was three items but I’m still going.  A wonderful man came and walked with me and my son Wiley on Monday.  He happens to be blind so it was interesting working with that.  I learned so much.  I think that he will come back on a regular basis.  Tres cool again.

Let’s see, maybe I can squeak out one more thing.  Sherif has provided some material for the TGIF so we are covered for this week.   Thank you buddy.  I know that I have asked some people specifically for help on this but that doesn’t mean that anyone can’t contribute.  Just pretend that we are having our afternoon tapas and a glass of wine or a brewski after a long walk and we are passing my iPad around and you are writing about your day.  Maybe you have a rememberance, suprise or epiphany to report for all our benefit.

Have to go.  It is sunny out and I need to take advantage of that.  Adios, Felipe.

I Have No Idea

Graffiti to cheer you on.
Graffiti to cheer you on.



I have no idea what I am going to write today but the sun just came out after a rainy gray morning so that must mean something.  It means a lot around here, believe me.

Maybe I will look at my photo library and see what jumps out at me.

There we go!  I was just Skyping with Gracie and she remembered this one and she had her pic taken next to it.  It’s just so lively and the blue is so cheerful.  Excellent.  It is just a symbol of how we can keep each other motivated and positive as we walk.  None of us can have that good day everyday, clearly.  We need each other to take turns being the cheerleader.  Or maybe the person to remind us that we are all unique children of God.

Best wishes, love, Felipe.



Going Global

Caminoheads International.
Caminoheads International.


Just in case I haven’t noticed we are now global here at Caminoheads.  I think that other people have noticed but it took me a while to figure it out.  Here’s what it looks like at the moment:

Brisbane, Australia, Cherry’s headquarters,  28 C/ 82 F  nighttime

Cairo, Egypt, Sherif, 27 C/ 81 F sun

Miami, USA, Anamaria and Alida, 27 C / 81 F sun

Barcelona, Spain, Laura, 20 C / 68 F sun

London, England, Gracie, 19C / 66 F sun (Lucia, Scotland, is in this time zone)

Seattle, USA, Phil, 6 C/ 43F cloudy (MM, Long Beach, CA, USA, is in this time zone)

I just put those in terms of temperature which is pretty interesting.  London looks downright cheery compared to here.   Hmmm.  Love, Phil.


Come In….

A fire for you.
A fire for you.


Come in, I have a big fire going.  We will warm up, yes?  Glad that you could make it.

How are your feet and legs?  Could be better, yea right.  It’s amazing what kind of situation that we can still walk on.  Well, just kick your boots off while we have a bite to eat.   Yea, change your socks, that’s always good.

You got some sunburn too I see.  Right, the tops of your ears get it the worst.  No hat?  It blew off?  Well, just hunt around in that big box over there and maybe you’ll get lucky.  What’s that, not your favorite team, well it is now.  Ha ha.

You want a big glass of agua?  Then you have some soup and a glass of wine, how’s that.  I made chicken stock and I had some garbanzo beans in the pantry that I threw in, you’ll like it.  There is carrots and parsley.  Everything tastes good to a hungry pilgrim.  Well, yea, some of that ham is pretty bad.  You mean that stuff that you can repair your sandals with?  Haha. Yea.

OK, here’s your soup and some toast.  We take care of you good.  There’s plenty of salt in there, you taste it first.  Good, good.  You want red or white?  Red, OK.

So,  dessert?  We have some flan, homemade.  Yes, good, here.  More water?

Feel better?  Right, not too many pilgrims in October.  We are about ready to close for the year.  We had a record year and August, you should have seen August.  That’s the worst or the best, depending on how you look at it.  Yea, Saint James is happy.

So, you were crying before you came in?  Tears of sorrow or tears of joy?   Oh, it’s an anniversary of something.  A death, I see.  Well, I will pray for your loved one and pray for strength for you precious pilgrim.   OK, lace them up well, you have some ups and downs ahead before you get to the albergue.

There you look better.  A smile and a hug, what a lucky man am I.  OK, see you next time.









It’s 0700 and….

From Rancho Cuervo to you.
From Rancho Cuervo to you.


It’s 0700 and I have a roaring fire in the wood stove to warm our hearts.  It’s been a rough few days for us here.  I had a health scare which fortunately has been figured to be the lesser of the evils.  Good but exhausting.  Then last night our son had news that one of his high school classmates had gone the suicide route.  Someone we knew.  We have had a rash of young people taking their live’s in the past few years.  Hard to handle for me and for us.

You will remember that when I was in Spain I had three of those wrist bands on to remind me of things.  One was for a wonderful young US Army Officer that was killed in the recent fight against terrorism.  I knew him.  Second was a  wonderful young young man that went the suicide route here in the neighborhood and I knew him.  And the third bracelet was from the hospital to remind me to talk to people about colon cancer.

Somewhere on my way back from Spain I cut these all off because they ….  Well, they were too heavy for me, if that makes sense.  I had bought the pilgrim bracelet and I had to go with that for a while.

Please say a prayer for our neighborhood.  Ah, I look up and the fire has died down and we need some more wood.  Let’s keep it all burning.  Love, Phil.

TGIF/Sherif #1

Felipe and Sherif.
Felipe and Sherif.


It took me one year to plan for my Camino, starting by watching the famous movie , The Way by Martin Sheen, then reading through books about the pilgrimage..etc I felt I was planning it too much, aiming to go there to spend time to explore my inside and escape the political and social bubble I’ve been surviving during the past years. I was quite worried that am too lost with my thoughts that I might go there and will not know how to prioritize my thinkings, beside of the physical preparation. So I decided to practice at the gym, walking daily on my treadmill. Then I had some appointments with a life coach to help me do it right. I had some papers with list of points written to think about, and now am ready to fly.

The day I started walking up the mountain from St Jean Pied De Port to Roncessvales , I felt all the physical practicing was useless! I felt my beats are getting higher and I started to panic, feeling I will not be able to finish this trip… Looking around me, I saw the same look on most of the pilgrims around me, whether walking or biking…everyone is breathing hard and suffering to walk up this mountain, so it wasn’t me only! Suddenly I felt the camino is giving me a clear message: if you wanna have a new start, you gotta die a bit first and live again! My heart beats started to slow down gradually even though I was still doing the same effort walking up. Again everyone around is feeling the same, and people stopped at Orisson to start talking to eachother. First camino friends are made here and people are sharing their experience of those first 7 km , congratulations you are on the way…no way back… don’t stop walking and…. BUEN CAMINO

Everytime I aim to start thinking of one of the points I came with, I find myself distracted with the beautiful scenery or by knowing new friends, who I can swear each one of them I met for a reason! I ended up not even looking at the papers I got and I nearly forgot everything my life coach told me. One day I decided to throw all these papers as I realized that I should give up and enjoy the natural life coaching flow of the Camino…

Conclusion… Aside from buying the right walking shoe and using it few miles ahead, nothing else should be planned to be on the camino…just plan your long vacations and go !

Sherif, Cairo.

(This is awesome; plain direct Sherif.  Thanks man!)

A Remberance Concerning Maryka.



Maryka with an artifact from an earlier time that we found next to an airport runway.
Maryka with an artifact from an earlier time that we found next to an airport runway.


I had the great pleasure to be with my Vashon buddy Rick (Quick) and his lovely daughter Maryka for the last part of my Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.  Having her there was a totally suprise to me although apparently everyone was in on it.  Anyway I got to spend a lot of time with her just doing what we seem to do best, walking and talking.  And it was just a continuation of our walking and talking that we did in the rain and the snow during the winter here on Vashon.

Have to interject something here from our good friend and serious Angel, Laura from Barcelona.  She emailed yesterday and reminded me/us to have Patience.  And she called for capitalizaton on that since she thought that it was so important.  I trust Laura on this so I am going with it.  And since I was having one of those mornings when I had no idea what I was going to blog about, she also provided me with that.  Thanks Laura.

Patiece, yes.  And this is my remembrance:  We were up early, from I think the monastery at Samos, and it was dark and foggy.  We were walking mostly along the shoulder of a paved road with some occasional traffic.  It was a little hairy since the footing was questionable and with the real possibility that we would miss a sign and be headed off in the wrong direction.  Rick was ahead or behind on some scouting mission.  Anyway, Maryka and I got on the topic of Patience.  Don’t remember how it started but we were throwing our best most inspired thoughts into the mix of our conversation as we felt our way along in the fog.

I remember talking about us Americans being so impatient, being a spray can society.  If we can’t do it quickly and easily and just by pushing a button we are not interested.    The conversation went on and I was talking about how we would  put our money in the Coke machine and if things were too slow or non functional we would start kicking it, like that was going to do some good.  And no sooner did that come out of my mouth than in the distance we spied this weird red glow.  And as we got closer it grew in size until we recognized it as a, guess what, a Coke machine.  No joke just there with nothing else around it and with an extension cord running off into the fog.  It was the first one that I saw that had the Cathedral at Santigo image on the front.  We just stood and stared at it.  Message, you think?!?

Love, Phil.


1 Quid


From Rancho Cuervo to you.
From Rancho Cuervo to you.



OK, so a quid is the same as a pound sterling.  Like in the States when we call a dollar a buck.  That came from the early days of America when a tanned deer skin was a medium of exchange.  So a quantity of tobacco might cost one buck.

Just got done with Skype call with Gracie in London.  What a breath of fresh air she is.  So she filled me in on the quid thing being the same as a pound which also is the word for one chew of tobacco, according to the dictionary.  Hmm.  Also in Austraila  they have the Austrailian dollar which has a pic of a kangaroo on it.  Do they call it a Roo?  Anyway, she is getting set up there getting her infastructure together to start her art history studies.

I am really excited about this Friday’s TGIF.  Sherif has sent in a fantastic post.  He has great insights and a great story.  So we have that to look forward to.

OK!  Had small birthday party for our son Wiley last night.   it was the “Perfect Storm” with his gal Ginger and friends Josh, Jake, John Lars and Dominic.  What a crew!  He has turned twenty six and will be much smarter and wiser now.  Love you man.

I was just reading up on some of the blog posts from September which are really awesome,  if I do say so myself.  So maybe if you haven’t been around for a while go back and start at the beginning of the September archive and read forward.

Well, have to get my day started.  Let’s strive to keep the love alive!  Yours, Felipe.


Walking schedule here at Rancho Cuervo:

Friday 0900-1000

Sunday 1000-1100

Monday 0900-1000