The Three Wise Men

Wine, bread and water.
(photo P Volker)

“Dia de Reyes Magos” 2011 scene at Cris’s house.


Dear Caminoheads,

Today is my favorite day of the year, well not “today” but January 6th. In my country, we celebrate “The Epiphany”, which is the visit of the Three Wise Men -or The Magi- … I honestly don’t know which is the right term, for us is “Los Reyes Magos”… and January 5th night is the “Noche de Reyes”.

The tradition says that on January 2nd, you write a letter to The Three Wise Men.

“Los Reyes Magos” come in camels, and they come from the East, so it is a long way to Argentina, and because of that, you have to leave something to eat for them. It is a whole preparation… when we were kids, we were taken like 10 blocks away from home to get some “nice grass” for the camels… it was such a whole event!!!

So, on the night of January 5th, you leave your shoes under the Christmas tree, a bucket with water for the camels, also the fresh grass picked up for them; and a glass of wine and some bread for Los Reyes Magos (they are called: Melchor, Gaspar and Balthasar). Then, on the morning of January 6th, you will find the gifts The Three Wise Men left to you, usually, when you are a child, it is what you wrote them in the letter… but it doesn’t end there… because you know, camels are messy to eat, and the Wise Men have dirt in their shoes… so there is a whole scene, at times embarrassing to the folks of “CSI Miami”, depending on the creativity of the parents! (or in my case, “aunt”).

January 6th is traditionally a joyful day… as a child, it meant you would be playing with the new toys Los Reyes Magos left for you, or the showing off the new clothes, actually celebrating the gifts, whatever it is.

There is even a wonderful music too to describe the scene of their visit, which obviously I love… (and Rebecca found “lively”)!!! Give it a try too!


Magic Loves,


Rebecca reporting from Raven Ranch

The tapas table.

Dear all,

It seems that posting about food or a shared table is motivational for all of us… I am in Ron’s team: Ron always talks about the meals in the Camino, specially the dinners, all of us showered, smelling better than during day-time, with clean(ish) clothes, ready to eat the Pilgrim’s menu without much hesitation independently of the fact we would like it or not, because what was more important was the food for the soul we would get in those large tables at the end of the day in the Camino… Breakfasts are another topic, maybe tomorrow!

In any case, my intention today was to share Phil’s Rebecca’s comment to yesterday’s post, because in addition to her contribution to think about food, she also raised a PSA: ~~~Phil’s signature Tapas Table plans will be made available~~~

Nothing else from my end; just read below and imagine…!

More foodies loves,



~~~Here is Phil’s Rebecca report, directly from Raven Ranch:

Ah Stephen. Have not seen or heard from him since he cooked up the fabulous venison roast cutlets for Phil’s post interment party. Those of you that were there might remember how delicious that was! I am still cruising on those leftovers.

I need to call him or drop by or something. Of course, Covid is still ruining everything, so I guess that will be put on hold like all else.

Speaking of the tapas table, I just found the plans for the actual table here on our deck. Someone was wanting those to build their own, but I can’t remember who. If it was anyone here, please speak up. We can post them here. Wiley got them scanned today.

Happy New Year to all.

Camino thoughts always take to a tapas table

Dear Caminoheads,

A few days ago, I found this post written by The Boss (aka Phil/Felipe/The General), and was waiting for January fourth to re-post it. It is brilliant. And as I was reading it, I was thinking of Rebecca… and the scene in the movie describing Phil in the supermarket buying the second most expensive bottle of olive oil… (I love Rebecca in general, but I love her more in that scene!!!)

No more words from me today! Read Phil’s post! And read Ron’s comment from yesterday.

Foodie loves,



Spanish kale and potato soup on a winter day.

Spanish kale and potato soup on a winter day.

January fourth today. It started out pretty slow but it is picking up speed. I was pretty convinced that I would not be able to come up with a topic today on my own. So, I thought a Camino thought and I went with it. Knowing that everyone that you meet brings you a message I said that I will blog on the next person that I meet. Sounds like a plan.

So, my good buddy Stephen calls to say that he is over in Tacoma picking up some gear and he is going to swing by on his way home. There you go, Stephen it is. Stephen is a guy trained to be a chef and loves stuff outdoors. He is fun to take on hunting trips because he knows his way around a Dutch oven and a campfire. He also cooks big meals for events for our island sportmen’s club for hundreds of eager eaters. I learned a lot about cooking helping him with those events. Being around people that know what they are doing is an education.

So along comes Stephen today and he is bearing gifts. He knows that I have been passionate about cooking after being in Spain so he has cooking gifts. He brings some very nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar for me to play with. What a guy.

Back when I first got back home I expressed to Stephen why I came back with this passion for cooking. I said that I had a new appreciation for my friends and I wanted to show that. I wanted to show what we had felt on the trail. We were all passionate about each other and we were all passionate about our food, our calories, our fuel. And he looked at me and said, “Why do you think that I have been doing this for thirty five years?” OK, there it is.

Soupy love to you, Felipe.


Written by Phil on 04Jan2015; reposted by Cris

Send most important email of 2022: Done!!!

At point Robinson Lighthouse – Veranda 2019
~~A bunch of pilgrims trying to be more awesome~~

Dear all,

03Jan… a return to work… I don’t know if this is because of the new year or what, but my mind today felt as if there has been a massive change, I don’t know why all looked different at work, even when the only difference between “this transition from 2021 to 2022 weekend” has been only the fact that I did not work on Friday… I am not complaining, I am just surprised at this feeling.

I sent today a message to my team members with a new year resolution: I proposed that we should be “more awesome” than the year before; and said that being “more awesome” means: “do a very nice job while having fun”. I am still surprised at the replies I got, lots of thank you messages for recognizing that “fun” is “part of the deal” in our team, something we will strive for as much as we will strive for doing a good job. These replies came from team members in North Macedonia, Hungary, Portugal, Israel, France, Poland… Some of them, I have never talked to or seen over a screen -let alone in person-, I don’t know how old they are, or anything else other than what I can imagine by reading the emails they sent and how they deal with the work, what they do when issues come up, whether they are responsive or not, and things like that. But all of them today appreciated the idea of having fun as we work…

And you know what? I think the email with only three lines that I sent this morning to them, will probably be the most important email I would ever send to them in 2022… because somehow “set the tone” for the year I want to have, but as the Pep Guardiola (the football player and former coach of the Barcelona Football Club) once said: “everyone of us can try to be the best, but without the others, it is impossible.


So, here we are, striving to be “more awesome” together.


Setting the tone loves,


The origins of Phil’s Camino whiteboard

Behind the rock pile, the whiteboard.


Dear Caminoheads,

Today, I am re-posting what Phil wrote on the 2nd of January 2017; I was wondering what he had shared with us the day after the new year and I found this post… I never asked Phil about the whiteboard, but it wasn’t needed, here he wrote about it. I am sad though, that I never told Phil that paperwork also gets far down in the priority pole for in my world too… He wasn’t alone in that struggle!!!

Happy New Year Loves,




The Good Luck Dinner (Written by Phil on 02Jan2017; re-posted by Cris)

Actually it is the Good Luck Southern Dinner that My Rebecca made yesterday as she always does on New Years Day. The centerpiece is a pork roast which is surrounded by side dishes of sauerkraut, black eyed peas and corn bread. We had four guests to share this with and there was a report of good luck coming in from one of those. So yes, I think that we are starting off on a good foot here at Raven Ranch.

What else do we have for you? I decided that it was time to wade into my office and start cleaning house. It is currently close to gridlock. It is amazing how far down the priority totem pole paperwork can get in my world. I am sure that this is not that uncommon. Please tell me that.

I also started a map on a whiteboard at the rock pile on Phil’s Camino to illustrate where we “are” in Spain on our second walk that we are on now. Then maybe in addition it would be good to have a regular report here on the blog about this, coming out say every Sunday. OK, let’s try that mañana.

Also, there has been a report of Our Annie having talked with Ken Burns about the Phil’s Camino documentary. Yes, this is THE Ken Burns together with THE Our Annie O’Neil. This was totally unplanned by them. Remarkable things continue to occur when St James is afoot. Let’s all of us keep alert to possibilities that seem to come out of nowhere.

Well, I could continue to write away here or go and start on my office clean up. Thinking that it would be good to have some heavy equipment to push the piles around or perhaps some pyrotechnics to loosen things up. It is sort of like an archeological dig and I need to take more care perhaps. Or perhaps I should quit talking about it and just start. Yup.

Here we go clearing the deck to take on 2016! See you tomorrow, love, Felipe.

A brand new pilgrims credential

New Year’s Eve 2022 dinner table 

Dear Caminoheads,

Welcome all to 2022! I hope that each and all of you had a lively, lovely, healthy and safe celebration. I had an invitee to have dinner, sleep over and have lunch today; it was N., my secretary when I used to practice that became a friend. We had a very nice evening, started around 9:30 PM and went to bed by 4 AM. I did lots of cooking, and all worked out pretty decently and both of us were very happy that the last minute invite and planning worked out so well.


Now… what is next? Have you thought about it? Do you follow the tradition of eating the 12 grapes at midnight while asking for wishes? We did it yesterday, but 12 wishes sounded pretty demanding… so I cut it down to three, which I repeated 4 times to get to the 12: “Gift economy”. Had 2020 and 2021 taught me anything, it is that the things we need are the essential ones: health, love, shelter, patience. They are critical for our day to day life, but also with them “at hand”, we can work towards our wishes -if our wishes are truthful and realistic-.


We, pilgrims, know a bit about the process of “working towards our wishes”, don’t we? I don’t think I would have been able to walk through “O Cebreiro” had that not been true!


Buen 2022 Camino!!!

One stamp a day loves,




Year End- 2021 (By William, Canadian Bureau Chief)

The snow drops are new!
(photo P Volker)

As another year slips away………

Time to reflect before the New Year, 2022, comes upon us………….

So much, on so many levels, has unfolded in the past 12 months.

Many reasons to Smile. Many reasons to Cry.

An Amazing amount to be Grateful for.


None the least of these is our Privilege of having experienced a Strong connection to Our Dear Friend, Phil Volker.

We have witnessed new Life and also watched Life pass on to the next dimension.

There were many sides to this Wonderful Man.

I would like to reflect on one of these attributes and that was Phil’s determination, no matter what, to NEVER QUIT.

I complete this blog by sharing a poem ( knowing Phil like poems ) from Robert W Service 1874–1958.


The Quitter.

When you’re lost in the Wild, and you’re scared as a child,

And Death looks you bang in the eye,

And you’re sore as a boil, it’s according to Hoyle

To cock your revolver and . . . die.

But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”

And self-dissolution is barred.

In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .

It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

“You’re sick of the game!” Well, now, that’s a shame.

You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.

“You’ve had a raw deal!” I know — but don’t squeal,

Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.

It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,

So don’t be a piker, old pard!

Just draw on your grit; it’s so easy to quit:

It’s the keeping-your-chin-up that’s hard.

It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;

It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;

But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —

Why, that’s the best game of them all!

And though you come out of each gruelling bout,

All broken and beaten and scarred,

Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,

It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.