From William, Caminoheads Canada Bureau Chief

To all Pilgrims Past,Present and Future,

A Privilege indeed to step into Phil’s shoes and put forward a small contribution to this Incredible Blog.

Here I offer a brief introduction from your C.C.B.C.–Caminoheads Canadian Bureau Chief–William.

Born June 1945 at home in Glasgow Scotland.

As a child and in early youth I spent much time outdoors walking and cycling in the Beautiful Scottish countryside.

Restless was I, in my late teens, to see more of our wonderful Planet. This resulted in me immigrating, on my own,to Canada in March 1966 just prior to my 21st birthday.

Continued my Life long addiction of walking by exploring many hiking trails in the Canadian Rockies over the past 50+ years.

Many many THANKS to Phil and Rebecca for hosting an AMAZING Veranda this August 2019.

To all,from near and far, who contributed to the Verandas Great Success I say a Heartfelt THANK YOU.

As Mother Teresa would say—Life is an Adventure,Dare it.

Buen Camino everyone.

lWalking for Oxfam to raise funds/1967–Heading to Newfoundland for a charity walk/2017. Same kilt,same waistline.

Something That I Read

A walking book.

I am working on a book that one of my regular walkers Janie left with me. It’s entitled Walking To Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel. I think that he may be related to Stroopwaffel. Anyway, Andrew descides that he is going to walk across America and collect stories on a portable tape recorder. He is searching for a number of things and is receiving an incredible education in the process. Right now in the book he is in the desert in Arizona. It’s taken him six months to get that far from Pennsylvania.

Am quoting him in a moment but was struck by how this is similar to our experience in Spain. The ability of the trail to stress us out enough so we slip into another dimension is what I am getting at.

“Today, when I forget what I have learned and the questions start itching all over me again, I try to get back to the blankness of Arizona, the space in between the words.. The kind of walking I fell into there was called beauty-walking, I discovered later, in the Navajo Nation: it is a state of clarified connection, after my body and mind had been so exhausted that there wasn’t much strength left to hold up the heavy misperception of being a barricaded individual existing on his own, that burdensome belief that I was an isolated self, somehow separate from everything else. Atlas finally collapsing under the globe. Beauty-walking. It was quite like what that elderly walker Jerry Priddy called the white time. You can’t see anything and you’re not aware of anything, and it’s going on around you. It don’t amount to a lot, but the sum total is it’s a beautiful experience when you get through. It clears your head. You’re there. Beauty-walking, I was just there, without interpretation or analysis, without imposition or manipulation, and that felt a bit like not being there at all. Not being there at all, it was impossible for me to be against anything, even the headwinds. I was with everything. Beauty-walking was one of my absolute favorites. Whenever it came , all I could say was thank you.”

(page 277)

Yup, slipping in and out of another dimension seems like a valuable skill. The more you do it maybe the easier it becomes. In the end all we can say is thank you.

page 277 loves, Felipé.


Tomato Time!

Henriette was here yesterday for the afternoon walk and tapas. There was a nice break in the rain for us on the trail. And she brought treats from the big city for us out here at the ranch. The big deal was the stroopwaffel experience. I don’t even want to try and describe it. You will have to have your own when the time is right.

We watched Country Music with Ken Burns again last evening. I think that we are up to 1953 and the death of Hank Williams, the Hillbilly Shakespeare. It is an amazing documentary, well worth your time. It’s a Ken Burns, what more do you need to know.

Trying to get used to life after the Veranda. That’s what it is, I/we are having a little case of Camino reentry lately. That’s it exactly. How to reformulate after the big experience. Why did that take me so long to realize. Now I understand.

It’s our anniversary and My Rebecca’s birthday next week. We are treating ourselves to a weekend away to the Port Townsend Film Festival. Jane Julian, Doug Blush and Annie O’Neil will be there too. We had a blast there in 2015.

OK, that’s the news for today, a Wednesday in mid September. And William CCBC has sent in his post for Friday. Talk to you tomorrow.

had a blast loves, Felipé.

Raining Cats And Dogs Here

Cris with admirers at the beach on Vashon.

You have to hand it to whoever thought of that one, “ raining cats and dogs”. It’s not like a violent rain but one that will be here for a while. Perfect morning for blogging and working in the shop. Some gray, grayer and grayest clouds overhead.

On public television they are showing this incredible new documentary from Ken Burns entitled Country Music. Has he ever done anything bad? Anyway, very fun and poignant side by side.

Well, I finally got something approximating a thank you letter out on yesterday’s post. And Cris the darling wrote an addition comment that knocked my socks off and continues the theme. I am going to give it to you here because it is so good and heartfelt. And now that you met her at the Veranda you can hear her voice as you read.

“Querido Felipe,

These words are the perfect “Thank You”, which in fact, they are what we were thinking of: mostly a reflection of what it was, a “giving thanks” for what we lived. And what we lived was all you wrote and all you and us have been writing about in this blog since we become a part of it with you… we have been trying to “figure out” what is that we have learned… and the Veranda was a proof of it all: pilgrims looking for a shelter that found a place in your yard, hospitaleros waiting for us (like Marcie and Charlie), a pilgrim with some skill who offered the hospitalero to fix the outlet, or the shower, or to water the plants… fellow pilgrims offering the “half of half an apple” or the Victorinox or the band-aids… arriving to the albergue and see the tapas table already “in progress” and other pilgrims “directing” the kitchen to do the communal meal, and be part of it just because there is always a place in the table for someone else…, and the ones crossing the doors when the meal was almost done, but adding more with with a bowl of food, or a bag of cookies or fresh bread or cheese or a wine… others doing the dishes… and even that pilgrim who out of nowhere would take the most delicious sweet or chocolate or whatever, that as simple as it could be in normal life, in the tapas table is the most extravagant delicatessen,… the generosity to share all, no matter how tiny, how cheap or how expensive, or how much you may need it the following day… and the conversations… Ohhhhhh… the conversations resulting in a hug, or in tears, or in laughters, or in a chest expansion, or in growing like 50 cm (yes, I left SO much taller and wider than I arrived!!!), the moments shared with such intentional presence that let you know you have gained a brother, or a sister, or someone you know will be walking with you even if you are in the other side of the world, … and the experiences… the experience of walking the Camino (Phil’s Camino), with other pilgrims or just with one, in silence, or talking, or praying, or meditating, or giving thanks, or just contemplating how lucky we were for being there… and the experience of sharing mass, or sharing the moment at the rock pile, or praying so intentionally over a fellow human… the experience of the anointing (that is another chapter)… and recognizing in our bodies the healing power of touch, or a hug, of a kiss, or holding hands, …and the presence of the others… those familiar faces again (like Catherine and Dana!)… and all that was simply there: the trees who held the lights, and the tables and chairs that someone else offered, the dishes and coffee pot and that shinny sun, wonderful weather and comforting campfires… all those things that different someone”s” put on our way, for our comfort, for our experience, for our memories… So to answer the question of what we have figured out, all of that could be quoted, and if proofs are needed, we also have them due to the generosity of the ones who were recording all that happened while we were just there… the images captured of what we lived are just so touching… we probably thought we had an idea of what it was, but there are so many pictures taken that tell so well what we a day in the Camino can be and what is that we have figured out in the Camino and so convinced say that we can live it after arriving to Santiago…

Well, I guess all I am trying to say is thank you to all and for all. You have made me a better human being.
Just Gratitude and Just Love,

Whoa, 790 words, I’m breaking my own rules.

grateful rainy day loves, Felipé.

Finally, A Thank You

Happy campers all around!

Back at the Veranda, on that Monday, we had the very first ever Caminoheads Bureau Chiefs’ meeting. There were five of us present which seemed to be sufficient to talk for the group. One of the things that came out of that was I was supposed to write a thank you note to the pilgrims that came to the event. This proved harder than it at first looked.

I just read an email from Annie that was a thank you to us for the invitation to the weekend. And she was having trouble formulating that and finally got one together. I wrote back that I was having the same problem. But I am going to take a run at it here today because it has been so long and something has to happen.

Well, there are so many people that I owe thanks you’s to that it is overwhelming. It was such a hands on project by design that it included everyone in its works. Even people that didn’t come had contributed. From planting corn to loaning us all the dishes and silverware to letting us use their coffee pot. It was all sort of a big potluck with so many loose ends and connections.

I guess I feel like for everyone I thanked there are three that should have been. Anyway, you all did it in the end. We provided the venue and the condiments and you guys potlucked it together. And I knew that you could, that you would. I had no doubts. “You’re pilgrims, they know what to do.” That was my personal motto. No need for over engineering.

My Rebecca and I are so thankful for how all the parts seemed to come together. It fulfilled our expectations and more. It was a dream come true really. And it was a complete surprise that we somehow decided to do it again in a year and set the dates, August 21st through the 24th, 2020. Back again in the time of corn and blackberries.

I look at the event and it’s outcome as very reassuring. We talk big talk about ourselves and our fellows and our “movement” and yes it’s all true we see. There is something very special with what we are playing around with here. How else can I say that?

reassuring loves, Felipé.

(Rho, maybe you could email this off to all the folks that signed in. Thanks.)

Rain, Rain And More Rain

Tapa ides from Trader Joe’s. These little cans pack a big punch. Handy to have on the shelf.

Autumn has shown up here with a vengeance. A major shift from the Veranda and August. But we will have some good days to come yet before the storms of November. And then there is football. The Seahawks are playing this morning and it is raising heck with my blog writing. It is halftime now so here I am.

Farmer John’s team the Iowa State Cyclones missed winning over U of Iowa yesterday by one point. One of those crazy in state rivalries. Sorry John and as he said, “Maybe next year”.

And Henriette did a bunch of research getting together tapa ideas that can be purchased at Costco. Let see:

Shrimp platter
cooked crab
salmon spreads
smoked salmon


Mozzarella wrapped salami rolls
Cappiocola/Prosciutto Tray
Mini Tiramisu jars
French Chocolate crepes
Sabra Hummus Singles
Cheese board (5 select Spanish/French cheeses wrapped together)

There how’s that? Pretty fancy I’d say. Thank you Henriette. Somehow I have a feeling that we has just started.

And back to Farmer John for another item. In Comments recently he was saying that in ancient pilgrimage art there were pilgrims shown with bow and arrows. Well, that is interesting. There were probably a sword or dagger amongst them too. But bow and arrows are handier for gathering tapas material.

Father David was talking about hospitality again in his homily. Good for him. I was on duty as an usher so I didn’t get to concentrate on it. Yea, they finally found me a job, no more freeloading. I feel bad that I can’t remember the details but the whole thing makes me happy.

Thanks for stopping by. So good to have you. Walk latter today and tapas!

stroopwaffel(?) loves, Felipé.

Gray Saturday

End of summer sunflower

So happy about the current state of affairs here at Caminoheads blog. We have Bureau Chiefs actively contributing great material for Friday’s. We have lots of activity in the Comment Department. Things are humming in the neighborhood!

I got done proof reading the written material that Catalina sent me. It is some of her writing about us. She came up with an interesting comment about how this blog influences and supports the trail, and the trail supports the film and the film supports the blog and round and round. In other words they feed into each other, one helps the other. Cool!

What else is going on. The little grass runway airport next door has a new neon colored wind sock. Yea, that’s important. And today is one of the big bicycle races that the Island hosts called, ready for this, “Passport to Pain”. Pretty crazy out on the r

l need to write a thank you note to the pilgrims that came to the Veranda. That’s something that the BC’s wanted. Somehow I am having trouble writing about the Veranda proper. Maybe I am still digesting the event. I need to get that organized.

This coming weekend we are off to Port Townsend for the Film Festival there. It is our anniversary present to each other. That festival is where we had so much fun with the Phil’s Camino film in 2015. Annie and a big California contingent was there for that. Fond memories for us all.

So keep in touch. It seems the whole Caminoheads neighborhood has gotten a big shot in the arm and we may have shifted gears to a new and better product. More fun to come!

Off to my day. Alperfect and Saint James Again!

miss you loves, Felipé.

Blog-o-mania with Rho 9/12/19

Rho and Felipé after the close of the Veranda 2019. We shot before and after the event. Pic by William.

The Unexpected Camino


As another “player” on the B Team I too, like Farmer John find myself in the surprising position of filling in for Felipe and his well-worn Camino Blog shoes. Yet I sense Felipe would not have asked us Bureau Chiefs to fill in if he didn’t already know and trust that we could indeed do this…so how did we end up here?

Each of us has a story, our own unique story, of what has attracted us to the Camino de Santiago. As for my story, it seems so simple and yet so similar to many of yours. Someone or something introduced us to the Camino and we not only heard the call but something deep within our souls resonated with it. This spark in our pilgrim’s heart was lit and our Camino journey began. Many of you have already answered the call. Your spark fueled, you have ventured to Spain and for days, weeks, or even months you have traveled the Pilgrim’s Path in the footsteps of the many souls who have gone before. You share the common bond of experience and knowing this journey even if the people, places, and details differ. When asked “Have you walked the Camino” you can raise your hands confidently knowing you are among those who have.

Recently I too was with a group who was asked this question and I also raised my hand with confidence until the question was defined further…Spain! I slowly lowered my hand hoping no one else noticed. See, this question was posed to us pilgrims while we were at the Veranda just a few short weeks ago. And while I have heard the Call of the Camino from both Italy and Spain I have yet to actually walk either of them. I know my time will come but their completion is not a part of my story…yet! Until then, I am on this side of my Camino, the planning, the listening, and the wonder as you share of your experiences and stories with me and with each other.

However, here today, we converge because of the opportunity provided by Felipe, his Camino, and his blog. He and Rebecca have been willing to share their hospitality with us in so many ways and for this we are grateful. In following my Call to the Camino an unexpected turn happened when I accepted Phil’s invitation to Raven Ranch and ventured to Vashon Island. While I have yet to walk my Camino in Spain or Italy, the next time I am in a group and am posed the question “How many have walked the Camino?” I can raise my hand high and with confidence, keep it there. For those of us who have had the privilege to walk with Phil on his Camino, I have recently and most certainly come to understand that his Camino counts. If you have walked Phil’s Camino, raise your hands proudly!

Pace e Bene,

PAR (Pilgrim Archeress Rho)

Tapas, Analyzed And Explained

Well maybe. Anyway, lots of comments came in having to do with tapas after the post yesterday. So Henriette and I will be working on our picks from off the shelves of Trader Joe’s and Costco. Here is one that she just sent in:

Hot stuffed olives from Costco.

Here is my vision of the Veranda, at least a metaphysical version that I had before the real thing happened. Catalina dug it up in the “beginning to end” reading of this blog. I like it a lot and it describes quite well the proper venue for tapas:

“Big enough to hold a group. Maybe there are those wicker chairs that the air can blow through to lend to our comfort. The Veranda has a comfortable hold on us, bringing us together when we have been off on separate adventures and quests. Some of us have been injured, some have won awards, some have created, some destroyed. But the Veranda holds us so that we can reunite and its time provides us with the opportunity to see how we have grown while apart. We are together now and out of the glare that is often taken for reality. The din and the glare, they go together. But that seems far away for all of us now. We loosen our ties and let our hair down, we plan to stay for a while. Air is moving to keep things fresh and to rid us of the unwanted. Maybe it means the weather is up for a change. The Veranda will shelter us in a shower and we are beyond worry.” An Earlier Felipé

Here is a wine recommendation available from Trader Joe’s. It is the standby Spanish White for Phil’s Camino. It’s not too dry and not to sweet, goes well with tapas. And is 5.99 a bottle:

Felipé’s wine pick. Vegan even.

OK, time to strap on my walking shoes, Jim and Jen are showing up! Have a good one!

comfortable hold loves, Felipé.

We Hatched A Plan

Tapas under a tree. Yes, they could happen anywhere.

Henriette was over for the afternoon yesterday. We haven’t seen her since the Veranda. We walked the Camino and sat around the table outside and talked for several hours. Tapas and sangria appeared. Well, not exactly appeared but maybe unfolded.

It seems that we are all practiced at the production of this ritual. I for one didn’t get the nickname Tapa Nazi for no reason. So, the point is that we are very efficient at putting together an acceptable spread without major fuss or muss. Of course it is all simple stuff with no cooking required. It is mostly opening containers and arranging components. Maybe some washing and chopping of fresh produce is required. Bread needs slicing and wine needs pouring.

Well of course there are utensils and napkins to put out. Salt pepper is good. Maybe a plate with oil and vinegar for bread dipping. Serving spoons and glasses need to be found. Then ambience is important table cloth, candles need appearing.

That sounds like a lot but it is all simple stuff really. No cooking or baking projects. So it all goes together quite quickly especially with a number of people helping.

And generally tapas are a potluck situation with pilgrims coming and participating by each bringing and sharing a thing or two. The potluck spirit is important I think. It is just an impromptu shared event.

So, in the process of this yesterday with Henriette and My Rebecca we hatched a plan. We had the idea that we need to get out into the world and report on good items that are available and also tried and true for bringing to share at the tapas table. So I wanted to cover Trader Joe’s and Henriette is going to cover Costco. I think that will be fun. Top ten recommendations to grab and go for the modern pilgrim.

Well, none of this says that home grown fresh produce, or homemade pickles or a rendition of Mom’s favorite meatball recipe wouldn’t be welcome, it most certainly would. But it is not necessary all the time. Simplicity is good.

We all know from experience the importance of tapas and wine for friendship and conversation. This is the reason and the important stuff. That’s the way the Tapa Nazi sees it anyway!

favorite meatball recipe loves, Felipé.