These retreats are designed to rest, renew, restore, and reconnect the body, mind and spirit.  They are extraordinary personal growth and learning opportunities, and cultivate societal transformation.

Contact Valerie to design and lead a retreat for your organization.

Register today; retreats fill quickly. Space is limited.

Oct
6
Sun
2019
Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain, the North Coast Route (A Kinder Camino)
Oct 6 – Oct 19 all-day

Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain

North Coast Route (A Kinder Camino)

October 6-19, 2019

Valerie Brown, Pilgrimage Leader

www.leadsmartcoaching.com Phone: 215-933-9978

El Camino: An Epic Journey Awaits

Is walking El Camino on your ‘bucket list’?

Are you in transition and wanting space and time to reflect on ‘what’s next’?

Are you celebrating a milestone life event?

Are you seeking a travel experience that aligns with your deepest values?

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, is the epic pilgrimage route of Europe. For 2019, we offer two hidden gem pilgrimage options: Camino del Norte and Camino Finisterre. Both the Camino del Norte and the Camino Finisterre, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage combine the stunning beauty of El Camino de Santiago, Spain with the Center for Courage & Renewal® Approach to reflect on your inner capacity to lead a more authentic, meaningful, and resilient life. The Approach includes spacious time in solitude and in community, journaling, and reflection with poetry and prose to life’s big questions. In these exclusive, small group pilgrimages, you are spoiled by breathtaking natural beauty of the sun-drenched north coast of Spain, magnificent accommodations, and exquisite food.

The crown jewel of Spanish walking trails, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw spiritual seekers worldwide to enjoy the beauty of green rolling hills, stunning coastal views, and small hamlets of northern Spain. Come be part of this magical trail as you explore two hidden gem pilgrimage routes.

Camino del Norte

Taking the northern route to Santiago, we begin our 14-day/13-night, 102 mile/164.1 km journey in Europe’s culinary capital, San Sebastián, a lovely seaside metropolis located in the Basque region of the northern Atlantic coast, bordering France, widely considered one of the best places to eat in the world, and home of some of the world’s best restaurants. With a focus on superb regional cuisine, this pilgrimage includes a special Pintxos lunch (Basque tapas) in San Sebastián and time to savor this charming city, as well as artisanal delights at local markets of Oviedo and Santiago, and delicious and leisurely-paced dinners, and more. Traveling through historic towns and cities, such as Bilbao, Santillana del Mar, Comillas, Cangas de Onis and Oviedo, this route includes visits to significant sites like the Guggenheim Museum, the Beach of the Cathedrals, and the Caves of Altamira.

This high-end Camino offers you breathtaking natural sceneryexceptional regional cuisine, visits to significant historical sites, and magnificent accommodations, including Spain’s superb Paradores and authentic Galician rural manor houses, known for outstanding hospitality and service. As an added bonus, you’ll receive pilgrim’s credentials, including pilgrim’s passport, and at the end of the pilgrimage, the famed, Compostela.

Now, for at least once in your lifetime, savor the luxury of the Camino your way!

About the Courage & Renewal® Approach to Reflection, Discernment, and Building Community

Walk in Beauty offers a distinctive opportunity for you to reflect intentionally and purposefully on the ‘big questions’ of your life before, during, and after the pilgrimage. As you prepare for the pilgrimage, you will receive materials designed to support your discernment of your core values.  Camino Community Conference Calls allow you to get to know fellow pilgrims and to build community. In other words, you arrive in Spain not with strangers, but with friends. And, since the experience of El Camino is powerfully transformational and non-linear, you’ll be supported in reflection and discernment after you return home.

What to Expect with the Courage & Renewal® Approach

Based on the work of author and activist Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage is a ‘moveable retreat’, setting this pilgrimage apart from all others. You’ll explore what is most meaningful to you and have space and time to listen to your own inner wisdom, and to reconnect who you are with what you do, and to cultivate the courage to lean into action. Guided by core principles and practices, which include the belief that everyone has an ‘inner teacher’, an inner source of truth, the pilgrimage engages contemplative practices to support personal and societal transformation.

As a capstone experience, a version of the Quaker Clearness Committees, a process of individual discernment in community, will be offered during the pilgrimage to support discernment of difficult life or vocational issues or dilemmas.Explore Courage & Renewal® reflective practices to deepen your experience, allowing the pilgrimage road to be a metaphor and open to the transformational power of this ancient trail and its culture.

Camino del Norte Walking Details: ‘Your Camino, Your Way’

Walk at your own pace within a small group of no more than 16 pilgrims.

For the Camino del Norte, during the first six days there is, less walking, offering spacious time to enjoy this beautiful coastal trail,  we then hop ahead with our van to the next city and stage. The last five days are more rural and focused on walking the last 100 km. In these last 100 km, we walk each day where we left off the day before. Walking the last 100 km of El Camino qualifies the pilgrim to receive the famed Compostela, the Certificate of Completion of the Pilgrimage of El Camino.

Private Van Support & Guides

Private van support and luggage transfer, an essential feature of the Camino del Norte.

Our fully supported private van, loaded with healthy snacks, water, medicine, and first aid kits, sets this pilgrimage apart and makes it accessible to all. A vehicle and guide for logistical support is available during the entire pilgrimage route to assist you, to transport luggage, and to address any other needs. This means you can enjoy the scenery and not worry about the unexpected!

With checkpoints along the way, our support vehicle is waiting with healthy snacks and cold drinks, or another other assistance. If you do not want to keep walking for any reason, you can hop on the support vehicle at the next checkpoint.

In this customized pilgrimage, our ground support has signals in places where some people take the wrong turn to ensure you’re on the right path. 
After the daily walk, and after you’ve had lunch you’ll return to the hotel to shower, freshen up, enjoy well-deserved rest, reflect on the day, and savor a delicious-regionally sourced dinner.

Luggage Support

Luggage is transferred from one hotel to the next using the support vehicle. For the pilgrimage you need only carry a small/medium backpack for your essentials, and leave the rest to us!  (Please review luggage requirements under Frequently Asked Questions.)

Mobile Phones

In the Camino del Norte, mobile phones with a Spanish line will be handed out for the period of the pilgrimage for every two or three pilgrims. This allows you to communicate with the driver or guides for any reason at all times. The number can also be given to family members back home to receive phone calls.

Regional-Delicious Cuisine

Delicious local fare is an outstanding feature of the Camino del Norte Pilgrimage. In the Camino del Norte, we begin in Europe’s culinary capital, San Sebastián, a lovely seaside metropolis located in the Basque region of the northern Atlantic coast, bordering France, widely considered one of the best places to eat in the world, and home of some of the world’s best restaurants.  With a focus on superb regional cuisine, this pilgrimage includes a special Pintxos lunch (Basque tapas) in San Sebastián and time to savor this charming city, as well as artisanal  delights at local markets of Oviedo and Santiago, delicious and leisurely-paced dinners, and more.

Accommodations

Exceptional lodging is a hallmark of the Camino del Norte.

In the high-end Camino del Norte, accommodations include the 5-star NH Paseo del Prado, a neo-baroque hotel in the heart of Madrid, as well as stays in prestigious Paradores of Spain, elegant and exclusive hotels situated in important historical buildings and uniquely stunning locations, and small, family-operated rural manor houses of Galicia.

Preparation in Body, Mind, & Spirit

Soulful preparation is key to the pilgrimage experience. We understand that taking a pilgrimage is different from a ‘hiking vacation’ and we assist you with the preparation and training you need to have an unforgettable experience. Resources include Pilgrim Newsletters, Pilgrim Training Schedule, maps, comprehensive Pilgrimage Resource Guide, and packing list with recommendations on what to bring, as well as Camino Community Conference Calls via videoconference to get to know fellow pilgrims.

About the Landscape

The Camino del Norte offers stunning natural beauty.

Through the Basque region, Galicia, and Asturias, among others, we travel westward along an old cart tracks that wind through fields and hamlets, along beautiful, unspoiled beaches to small fishing villages, with the dramatic backdrop of the snow-capped Picos de Europa in the distance. Highlights include a visit the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Beach of the Cathedrals, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Caves of Altamira, boasting some of Spain’s most magnificent prehistoric cave art, dating back from 22,000-10,000 BC.

From the North Route, the pilgrimage joins the Camino Francés, the French Way for the last 100 km until we arrive at Santiago de Compostela, the final stop on this epic journey of a lifetime!

Map Route

Camino del Norte Route Map

Please visit the link below for a complete profile of route from San Sebastian to Santiago:

Click here for the Route Map

Watch this two-minute video on the spirit of El Camino de Santiago 

Camino del Norte Daily Itinerary

 

 

DAILY ITINERARY

*All breakfasts and all dinners are included except the dinner on day one. 

Day 1 – Sunday, October 6th – Night in Madrid at NH Hotel Paseo del Prado.

Day 2 – Monday, October 7th – Transfer to San Sebastian. Welcome Cocktail + Pintxos Tour.

Day 3 – Tuesday, October 8th – San Sebastián – Buztintxuri (8.5 km / 5.3 mi)

Day 4 – Wednesday, October 9th – Otañes – Castro – Urdiales (9 km / 5.6 mi)

Day 5 – Thursday, October 10th – Comillas – San Vicente de la Barquera (12.4 km / 7.7 mi)

Day 6 – Friday, October 11th – La Isla – Priesca (13 km / 8 mi)

Day 7 – Saturday, October 12th – Soto del Barco – El Pito (10 km / 6.2 mi)

Day 8 – Sunday, October 13th – Pontevella – Vilalba (11.5 km / 7.1 mi)

Day 9 – Monday, October 14th – Baamonde – Altos de Mamoa (18 km / 11.2 mi)

Day 10 – Tuesday, October 15th – Altos de Mamoa – Sobrado dos Monxes (21 km / 13 mi)

Day 11 – Wednesday, October 16th – Sobrado dos Monxes – Arzúa (21 km / 13 mi)

Day 12 – Thursday, October 17th – Arzúa – Pedrouzo (20 km / 12.4 mi)

Day 13 – Friday, October 18th – Pedrouzo – Santiago (20 km / 12.4 mi)

Day 14 – Saturday, October 19th – Guided visit in Santiago.

*The daily itinerary is subject to change.

Day 1: Sunday, October 6

Overnight at the NH Paseo del Prado, a 5-star neo-baroque hotel in the heart of Madrid. Day at leisure. Dinner is not included. Breakfast on day 2 is included. Orientation & Welcome gathering planned.

Day 2:  Monday, October 7, Meet at NH Paseo del Prado and drive to San Sebastián. Night in San Sebastian.

Theme: The Journey Begins

We depart the NH Paseo del Prado Hotel in Madrid and transfer to a charming hotel in the sophisticated city of San Sebastián. We’ll walk through the winding streets of San Sebastián on a ‘Pintxos’ tour (Basque tapas) for a delicious lunch. Dinner is on your own and is a special opportunity to enjoy one of San Sebastián’s many Michelin-rated restaurants to savor the delicacies of the New Basque Cuisine.

We spend the night in San Sebastián.

Day 3: Stage 1: Tuesday, October 8

San Sebastián – Buztintxuri (8.5 km / 5.3 mi). Night in Bilbao

Theme: Your Deepest Calling

We follow the yellow arrows along ‘La Concha’ out of San Sebastián and towards the hills of Igueldo. We make a tiny detour to the end of the promenade to visit the ‘Combs of the Wind’ created by the famed Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida. As we continue our walk, delightful views accompany us, the coast to our right and green hills to our left. After finishing this stage, we head to the city of Bilbao where we visit the iconic Guggenheim Museum.

We spend the night in the lovely Bilbao.

Day 4: Stage 2: Wednesday, October 9

Castro-Urdiales (9 km / 5.6 mi). Night in Santillana del Mar

Theme: The Sound of the Genuine

We walk along scenic mountain paths and through charming towns until we reach the promenade of Castro-Urdiales. We then head to the picturesque town of Santillana del Mar. At 5:00 pm, we’ll visit the Caves of Altamira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, of extraordinary Paleolithic art.

We spend the night in the Parador in Santillana del Mar.

Day 5: Stage 3: Thursday, October 10

Comillas – San Vicente de la Barquera (12.4 km / 7.7 mi). Night in the Parador in Cangas de Onis

Theme: Eyes Wide Open: The Presence of Beauty

Before starting our walk we visit the town of Comillas, a top vacation spot for Spain’s royal family. This is the last stage in the region of Cantabria, which characterized by interesting and emblematic towns.

We spend the night in the Parador in Cangas de Onis.

Day 6: Stage 4: Friday, October 11

La Isla – Priesca (13 km / 8 mi). Night in Oviedo.

Theme: Listen Deeply, Listen Well

We start our walk near the beach and walk through the hills to Priesca. The city of Oviedo awaits us after the walk for lunch and a visit with a local guide.

We spend the night in Oviedo.

Day 7: Stage 5, Saturday, October 12

Soto del Barco – El Pito (10 km / 6.2 mi). Night in the Parador in Ribadeo.  

Theme: Lay Yourself Open

Our stage for today is short and sweet. After reaching the beautiful town of El Pito, we go to Figueras and reach Ribadeo, our place of accommodation, by boat, a tradition among pilgrims. We visit the famous Playa de las Catedrales (Beach of the Cathedrals), depending on the tide.

We spend the night in the Parador in Ribadeo, footsteps from the sea.

Please note that October 12th is a national Spanish holiday.

Day 8: Stage 6, Sunday, October 13

 Pontevella – Vilalba (11.5 km / 7.1 mi). Night in the Parador in Vilalba.

Theme: The Comfort of Questions

We start at a crossroads and over a bridge to find ourselves surrounded by breathtaking scenery until we enter the city of Villalba and reach our Parador. We enjoy the city and superb accommodations, rest, reflect on the day, and savor a regionally-sourced and delicious dinner.

We spend the night in the Parador in Vilalba.

Day 9: Stage 7, Monday, October 14

Baamonde – Altos de Mamoa (18 km / 11.2 mi). Night in the Parador in Vilalba.

Theme: Living with Gratitude

We begin the last hundred kilometers necessary to obtain the Compostela certificate, taking the Camino towards A Coruña. We will pass by the San Alberte chapel and lovely tiny towns along the route.

We spend the night in the Parador in Vilalba.

Day 10: Stage 8, Tuesday, October 15

Altos de Mamoa – Sobrado dos Monxes (21 km / 13 mi). Night in Arzúa in a lovely rural manor house.

Theme: The Way of Tenderness

We head towards the small town of Marcela eventually reaching the highest point of the entire North Coast Camino. Crossing the border of Lugo to enter A Coruña, we end our stage in the 10th century monastery of Santa María in Sobrado dos Monxes.

We spend the night in Arzúa in a lovely rural manor.

Day 11: Stage 9, Wednesday, October 16

Sobrado dos Monxes – Arzúa (21 km / 13 mi). Night in Arzúa in a beautiful rural manor house.

Theme: Cultivating Courage: Liberating Heart, Mind, & Spirit

Our daily mileage increases during these remaining days until reaching Santiago. We follow the paved road through rural Galicia. The end of this stage is where the North Way and the French Way unite. As a special treat, we enjoy a delicious pairing of different local cheese and honey.

We spend the night in Arzúa in a lovely rural manor.

Day 12: Stage 10, Thursday, October 17

Arzúa – Pedrouzo (20 km / 12.4 mi). Night in Lavacolla.

Theme: Remember This: Lessons of El Camino

During this stage, you will notice many more pilgrims and services along The Way of Saint James. We walk through forests and towns until we reach Pedrouzo, which has been important place for pilgrims throughout history and still is today.

Our place of accommodation is the perfect place for rest and relaxation in Lavacolla.

Day 13: Stage 11, Friday, October 18

Pedrouzo – Santiago (20 km / 12.4 mi). Night in Santiago.

Theme: Celebrating the Journey: Home By Another Way

In this mostly urban stage, we are nearing our final destination: Santiago! Walking into Santiago is a glorious moment to celebrate a significant achievement in body, mind, and spirit!

We stay at one of the most extraordinary Paradores in Spain: El Parador de los Reyes Católicos, where we will enjoy a wonderful dinner and a beautiful surprise.

Day 14: Saturday, October 19

Guided visit of Santiago

Theme: Luminosity: The Light of the Soul

In the morning we offer a guided visit through Santiago, focusing on the old city, the historical monuments, and other places of interest. We’ll enjoy an exclusive visit to the Cathedral’s roof to for spectacular views of the city. Our pilgrimage ends at approximately 1:00 pm and your Camino through life begins! Buen Camino!

What People Are Saying

“The scenery is spectacular and the beautiful rhythm of walking the Camino is truly revelatory.”

“To walk the Camino my own way empowered and stretched me into new horizons, safely and in community….”

“Everyday was a feast for the senses.”

“I am venturing home with my heart burst wide open, full of hope and possibilities. I am deeply grateful.”

Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage: Valerie Shares Her Deeply Spiritual Journey of Personal Transformation

“I’ve walked El Camino, the Way of Saint James many times, over many years, and was so moved by this experience and pilgrimages around the world that I wrote my first book, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (Quakerbridge Media, 2012).

In those days, I walked solo, carrying a heavy backpack and sleeping rough in hostels. Being super tough and super strong meant everything to me.  

It’s said that the Camino transforms lives, and it did just that for me. I began to reflect on my life and my work, my values, and beliefs. After stops, starts, and stumbles, I shifted my career from a high-pressure lawyer-lobbyist to human scale work with leaders and individuals to foster greater connectedness, compassion, authenticity, and relational trust. Walk in Beauty is a centerpiece of my work.

The Camino contributed greatly to help me shift my values. Today, my deepest aspiration is to support myself and others in this process of transformation. I believe that the Camino should be accessible to everyone, not only the physically fit. As a pilgrimage leader, I have escorted hundreds of people of varied abilities along the Way of Saint James and this gives me deep joy and inspiration.”

— Valerie Brown, Director of Meaningful & Purposeful Life and Work, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC

Are You Called to Pilgrimage, to a ‘Thin Place’?

Embark on a pilgrimage to discover something new about yourself. It isn’t so much a choice you make, as a response to a call already whispered to you. In the experience of encounter with Mystery, you begin to question your assumptions, expectations, and pre-conceived ideas, and perhaps a new way of seeing yourself and the world emerges. Discover this magical place, of El Camino, which the Celtics have aptly called, a ‘thin place’, where the material and the spiritual world meet, a place of endless beauty.

Return home transformed!

Want to Know More

Read Pilgrimage As Activism.

About Your Leader

Valerie Brown Headshot

Valerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, accredited leadership coach, spiritual director, and Chief Listening Officer of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness and leadership. She transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections.

Through her writing, she seeks to foster a more compassionate and peaceful world. Her books include, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012) and The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin, 2014), named one of the ‘best books on courage’ in 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal.

She has studied and practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995, was ordained in the Order of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003, and ordained as a Dharma Teacher in 2018, receiving the Lamp Transmission. She is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Valerie’s extensive training includes, the Center for Courage & Renewal and Parker J. Palmer, the Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University, the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the Ojai Foundation, the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology (NYC), Chestnut Hill College (PA) Certificate in Holistic Spirituality, and The Leadership Circle Profile™.

As certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she helps groups and individuals discover the wisdom of the body.

Cost:

$5995.00, per person, double occupancy. Single supplement: $1300.00.

Price Includes:

Courage & Renewal® Approach to reflection and inquiry and expert facilitation

5 nights in Spain’s beautiful Paradores (based on availability)

Guided visit in Santiago & Oviedo

Visit to the Caves of Altamira

Visit to the famed Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao

Visit to the Beach of the Cathedral

Pintxos tour (Basque tapas) in San Sebastian, Spain’s culinary capitol

Overnight in NH Paseo del Prado, 5-star neo-baroque hotel in the heart of Madrid

All Breakfasts

All Dinners (*Except first night)

Healthy snacks and cold drinks

Transfer from Madrid to San Sebastián

Private Van Support & Luggage transfer

Mobile phones

English-speaking guide assistance

Informational program and route map

Pilgrim’s kit loaded with resources

Comprehensive pre-pilgrimage preparation, including customized training schedule

Pilgrim’s Passport & Credentials

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Price does NOT include:

Round trip airfare

Ground transportation from Santiago

All Lunches (*Except Pintxos tour)

Tips & gratuities

Deposit

$1,100 nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit secures your space.

Cancellation Policy

See registration form for details.

Questions?

Contact Valerie Brown valeriebrown95@gmail.com

REGISTER HERE:

Walk in Beauty Confidential Registration Form

Walk in Beauty Frequently Asked Questions

Brief History of El Camino

Camino del Norte Flyer

Oct
23
Wed
2019
Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain, Camino Finisterre, Western Route to the Sea (A Kinder Camino)
Oct 23 – Oct 31 all-day

Walk in Beauty:

Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain

Camino Finisterre, Western Route to the Sea (A Kinder Camino)

October 23-31, 2019

Valerie Brown, Pilgrimage Leader, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC

www.leadsmartcoaching.com Phone: 215-933-9978


El Camino: An Epic Journey Awaits

Is walking El Camino on your ‘bucket list’?

Are you in transition and wanting space and time to reflect on ‘what’s next’?

Are you celebrating a milestone life event?

Are you seeking a travel experience that aligns with your deepest values?

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of St. James, is the epic pilgrimage route of Europe.  For 2019, we offer two hidden gem pilgrimage options: Camino del Norte and Camino Finisterre.

Both the Camino del Norte and the Camino Finisterre, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage combine the stunning beauty of El Camino de Santiago, Spain with the Center for Courage & Renewal® Approach to reflect on your inner capacity to lead a more authentic, meaningful, and resilient life. The Approach includes spacious time in solitude and in community, journaling, and reflection with poetry and prose to life’s big questions of transition, passion, purpose, meaning, direction, and underlying patterns. In this exclusive, small group pilgrimage, you are spoiled by breathtaking natural beauty of the sun-drenched north coast of Spain, magnificent accommodations, and exquisite food.

The crown jewel of Spanish walking trails, the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela began as an act of faith as Europeans crossed Spain to visit the sacred tomb of Saint James. One thousand years later, the Camino continues to draw spiritual seekers worldwide to enjoy the beauty of green rolling hills, stunning coastal views, and small hamlets of northern Spain. Come be part of this magical trail as you explore two hidden gem pilgrimage routes.

Camino Finisterre

Steeped in history and folklore, the Camino Finisterre is the only Camino route that begins in the medieval city, Santiago de Compostela and ends at the sea at the lighthouse in Finisterre, a quaint fishing town at the stunning Costa da Morte, where cliffs plunge into the sea. From the 9th century, pilgrims have explored to both Muxía and Finisterre as the final stretch of the itinerary traced by the Milky Way to the westernmost explored part of continental Europe.

Meandering through quiet country villages, gentle forested trails, beautiful vineyards, quaint seaside fishing hamlets, this less-traveled Camino route offers you peace and tranquility, arriving at our final destination, ‘Finis Terrae’, ’The End of the Earth’. Traveling at a ‘snail’s pace’, on this Camino route, a ’Sabbath Rest Day’ is planned to allow you to integrate this once in a lifetime experience.

Accommodations include charming country farmhouse inns, serving excellent regional cuisine, and offering warm and friendly hospitality.

About the Courage & Renewal® Approach to Reflection, Discernment, and Building Community

Walk in Beauty offers a distinctive opportunity for you to reflect intentionally and purposefully on the ‘big questions’ of your life before, during, and after the pilgrimage. As you prepare for the pilgrimage, you will receive materials designed to support your discernment of your core values. Our video-conference Camino Community Conference Calls allow you to get to know fellow pilgrims and to build community. In other words, you arrive in Spain not with strangers, but with friends. And, since the experience of El Camino is powerfully transformational, you’ll be supported in reflection and discernment after you return home.

What to Expect with the Courage & Renewal® Approach

Based on the work of author and activist Parker J. Palmer and the Center for Courage & Renewal, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage is a ‘moveable retreat’.  Explore issues of transition, vocation, passion, life purpose, meaning, direction, and underlying life patterns to live in greater alignment with your deepest values, to listen to your own inner wisdom, and to reconnect who you are with what you do. The pilgrimage offers a safe space to slow down and nurture personal and professional integrity, and the courage to lean into action. Guided by core principles and practices, which include the belief that everyone has an ‘inner teacher’, an inner source of truth, the pilgrimage engages contemplative practices to support personal and societal transformation.

Listening to your inner voice, Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage provides time to reflect individually and in small groups, share stories, laughter, and gain insights from journaling, poetry, and from various wisdom traditions.  As a capstone experience, a version of the Quaker Clearness Committees, a process of individual discernment in community, will be offered during the pilgrimage to support discernment of difficult life or vocational issues or dilemmas.

Explore Courage & Renewal® reflective practices to deepen your experience, allowing the pilgrimage road to be a metaphor and open to the transformational power of this ancient trail and its culture.

Camino Finisterre Walking Details: Your Camino, Your Way

With Walk in Beauty, we say this is ‘Your Camino, Your Way’. Walk at your own pace within a small group of no more than 16 pilgrims.

For the Camino Finisterre, walking at a ‘snail’s pace’, a ’Sabbath Rest Day’ is planned to allow you to integrate this once in a lifetime experience.  The completion of this pilgrimage qualifies the pilgrim to receive the Fisterrana, Certificate of Completion.

Daily mileage for both the Camino del Norte and the Camino Finisterre is listed in the daily itinerary below

Private Van Support & Guides

Private van support and luggage transfer an essential feature of the Camino Finisterre

Our fully supported private van, loaded with healthy snacks, water, medicine, and first aid kits, sets this pilgrimage apart and makes it accessible to all. A vehicle and guide for logistical support is available during the entire pilgrimage route to assist you, to transport luggage, and to address any other needs. This means you can enjoy the scenery and not worry about the unexpected!

With checkpoints along the way, our support vehicle is waiting with healthy snacks and cold drinks, or another other assistance. If you do not want to keep walking for any reason, you can hop on the support vehicle at the next checkpoint.

In this customized pilgrimage, our ground support has signals in places where some people take thewrong turn to ensure you’re on the right path. 
After the daily walk, and after you’ve had lunch you’ll return to the hotel to shower, freshen up, enjoy well-deserved rest, savor a delicious-regionally sourced dinner, and to reflect on the day.

Luggage Support

Luggage is transferred from one hotel to the next using the support vehicle. For the pilgrimage you need only carry a small/medium backpack for your essentials, and leave the rest to us!  (Please review luggage requirements under Frequently Asked Questions.)

Mobile Phones

In the Camino Finisterre, our guides are equipped with mobile phones at your disposal.

Regional-Delicious Cuisine

Delicious local fare in an outstanding feature of the Camino Finisterre Pilgrimage.

In the Camino Finisterre, excellent regional meals are a highlight of this pilgrimage.

Exceptional lodging is a hallmark of the Camino Finisterre.

In the Camino Finisterre, accommodations are family-operated rural county farmhouse inns known for friendly service and exceptional hospitality.

Preparation in Body, Mind, & Spirit

Soulful preparation is key to the pilgrimage experience. We understand that taking a pilgrimage is different from a ‘hiking vacation’ and we assist you with the preparation and training you need to have an unforgettable experience. Resources include Pilgrim Newsletters, Pilgrim Training Schedule, maps, comprehensive Pilgrimage Resource Guide, and packing list with recommendations on what to bring, as well as Camino Community Conference Calls via video-conference to get to know fellow pilgrims.

About the Landscape

The Camino Finisterre, Western Route to the Sea offers stunning natural beauty.

Traveling the breathtaking Costa da Morte on the only Camino that begins in Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Finisterre passes through rural landscapes of high plateaus, forested tracks, country villages and the reward of stunning coastal trails and headlands where the pace slows to that of centuries of seafaring life.

Dating back as far as the 9th century, pilgrims have been walking to both Muxía and Finisterre as the final stretch of the itinerary traced by the Milky Way to the westernmost explored part of continental Europe; to Finisterre – the ‘End of the Earth’, where the cliffs plunge steeply to the sea and the sun disappears each evening. During the Middle Ages, the Virgin Mary is said to have arrived in Muxía, the remote rocky peninsula, to the north of Finisterre, by stone boat to encourage St James (Santiago) in his preaching.

Sections of the boat still remain and hold mythical properties still believed to this day.  Today a small chapel, the Sanctuary of A Barca, stands on the site of the miracle.

Through quiet country villages, gentle forested trails, beautiful vineyards, quaint seaside fishing hamlets, this journey follows the lesser trodden route from Santiago to Muxía, then onwards, via the coast, to Finisterre where you can receive the Fisterrana, a Certificate of Completion of the pilgrimage to ‘Finis Terrae’, ‘the End of the Earth’. Traveling at a ‘snail’s pace’, on this Camino route, a ’Sabbath Rest Day’ is planned to allow you to integrate this once in a lifetime experience.

Map Route

Camino Finisterre Route Map

Please visit the link below for a complete profile of route from San Sebastian to Santiago:

Click here for the Route Map

Watch this two-minute video on the spirit of El Camino de Santiago 

Camino Finisterre Western Route to the Sea Daily Schedule

October 23-31, 2019

 

 

 

 

DAILY ITINERARY

Day 1 – Wednesday, October 23rd – Santiago de Compostela

Day 2 – Thursday, October 24th – Santiago to Negreira (13.04 miles / 21km, 1886 feet / 480 / 575m elevation gain / loss)

Day 3 – Friday, October 25th – Negreira to Las Maroñas (12.42 miles / 20km, 1509 feet / 460 / 295m elevation gain / loss)

Day 4 – Saturday, October 26th – Las Maroñas to Dumbría (14.29 miles / 23.5km, 2788 feet / 750 / 850m elevation gain / loss)

Day 5 – Sunday, October 27th – Dumbría to Muxía (14.29 miles / 23km, 2247 feet / 540 / 685m elevation gain / loss)

Day 6 – Monday, October 28th – Muxía to Lires (8.69 miles / 14km, 984 feet / 300 / 275m elevation gain / loss)

Day 7 – Tuesday, October 29th – Lires to Finisterre (11.8 miles / 18km, 1771 feet / 540 / 465m elevation gain / loss)

Day 8 – Wednesday, October 30th – Finisterre ‘Sabbath Rest Day’

Day 9 – Thursday, October 31st – Santiago

*The daily itinerary is subject to changes. 

Day 1: Wednesday, October 23 – Santiago de Compostela

Theme: Inner Hospitality: You Are a Multitude

Group organizational meeting in Santiago at 7:00PM followed by a ‘welcome group dinner’. (Dinner included)

Day 2: Thursday, October 24th – Santiago to Negreira (13.04 miles / 21km, 1886 feet / 480 / 575m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Peregrinatio and Following the Thread

At 9:00 am we begin our pilgrimage from the Plaza de Obradoiro in front of the famed Santiago Cathedral. The route leaves the winding city streets, past the Carballeira (oak forest) of San Lourenzo and soon we are in the countryside with lovely pastoral scenes. A mix of large, modern houses and traditional red roofed stone houses accompany us for much of our route before we arrive at the medieval bridge of Augapesada. We walk through Carballo, Trasmonte and the gorgeous village of Ponte Maceira home to an elegant 14th Century bridge. Our day ends in the modern town of Negreira, known for its pastry shops and the fortified, medieval Pazo de Cotón. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 3: Friday, October 25th – Negreira to Las Maroñas (12.42 miles / 20km, 1509 feet / 460 / 295m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Nature as Teacher, Mentor, and Soul Friend

Today’s route passes through a mix of forest and farms. Facilities from here to Muxía are very limited and you will feel very much ‘out in the countryside’. Following an old camino real (royal road) with fabulous views across multiple valleys, the route winds its way in and out of oak forest, thick with ferns and ivy and past the tiny hamlets of Zas, Peña and the evocatively named Porto Camiño. Arriving into Las Maroñas, we note the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria and delightful examples of raised stone granaries. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 4: Saturday, October 26th – Las Maroñas to Dumbría (14.29 miles / 23.5km, 2788 feet / 750 / 850m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Inner Blocks and Resistance

Leaving Las Maroñas, we follow quiet paved roads around Monte Aro with superb views of the Fervenza Reservoir. En route, the village of Corzón has an interesting church with a detached bell tower and a rare gallery cemetery. Stunning rural architecture awaits us in Olveiroa with its precariously balanced stone hórreos, the village cross, a communal wash house and thick stone houses. From here water dominates for a while as we cross over the Xallas River heading towards Hospital, a village that used to have a pilgrim’s hostel but is now dominated by a carbide factory. Here, we will leave the heavily trodden trail to Finisterre and head northwest for a few more kilometers to Dumbría where we will end our day. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 5: Sunday, October 27th – Dumbría to Muxía (14.29 miles / 23km, 2247 feet / 540 / 685m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Thresholds and ‘Thin Places’

Our route leaves the sleepy village of Dumbría and takes forest tracks, quiet roads, grassy trails & stone paved segments of the old camino real. The ubiquitous eucalyptus is a large part of our day, as well as the small villages of Senande, Quintáns and San Martiño de Ozón known for its enormous granary and Benedictine Monastery. We climb then descend to Merexo before heading around the bay leading to the small fishing community of Muxía. Our day culminates at the Punta da Barca, the rocky headland where the 17th century chapel of Nosa Señora da Barca stands. Here we can find the hull, sail and rudder of the stone boat that brought the Virgin Mary to this magical spot. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 6: Monday, October 28th – Muxía to Lires (8.69 miles / 14km, 984 feet / 300 / 275m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Inner and Outer Landscapes

We leave Muxía via the main road, following the coastline past the sweeping white sands of Lourido Beach before beginning an ascent of Monte Facho, up through pine and eucalyptus plantations. Our views from here are extensive of the surrounding area. We descend past the Romanesque church of Santa Maria at Morquintián, through Guisamonde to the village of Lires nestled on the River Lires, home to a large trout farm and numerous sea birds that make their home in the protected lagoon. We’ll head out to the beach to enjoy lunch and an afternoon of relaxation by the sea. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 7: Tuesday, October 29th – Lires to Finisterre (11.8 miles / 18km, 1771 feet / 540 / 465m elevation gain / loss)

Theme: Weaving Threads Together

The sound of the sea pounding its waves is our constant companion, as we skirt the shoreline for much of the day. Our trail begins by following the River Lires on its short journey to the ocean, taking in the beaches of Nemiña and Lires. Southwards we go over the headland, past the tiny community of O Rostro. Then we wind our way on small country roads through the communities of San Salvador, Escaselas and San Martiño de Duio.

Once in the center of Finisterre, it’s onwards and upwards for a few more kilometers to the end of your journey and the ancient world, at Cape Finisterre. Here stands the old lighthouse keeping watch where the sea, spirit, and nature come together dramatically, boldly, and beautifully. We will gather together for a ritual on the wild and dramatic Mar de Fora beach before a final and celebratory dinner. (Breakfast included)

Day 8: Wednesday, October 30th – Finisterre ‘Sabbath Rest Day’

Theme: Ripening and Seasonal Wisdom

Sleep in. Read. Rest. Enjoy. We’ll spend a second night in the lively fishing town of Finisterre.  We will gather together for a closing group reflection and for a ritual on the wild and dramatic Mar de Fora beach before a final and celebratory dinner. (Breakfast & Dinner included)

Day 9: Thursday, October 31st – Santiago

Theme: Returning Home Again:  The Journey Begins

After breakfast this morning, a pleasant drive along the coast of Galicia will lead us back to the center of Santiago. For those that wish to there is an optional 4-5km walk into the city, to complete your pilgrimage experience.

The afternoon and evening are at your leisure upon arrival in Santiago. (Breakfast included)

What People Are Saying

“The scenery is spectacular and the beautiful rhythm of walking the Camino is truly revelatory.”
“To walk the Camino my own way empowered and stretched me into new horizons, safely and in community….”
“Everyday was a feast for the senses.”
“I am venturing home with my heart burst wide open, full of hope and possibilities. I am deeply grateful.”

Walk in Beauty Pilgrimage: Valerie Shares Her Deeply Spiritual Journey of Personal Transformation

“I’ve walked El Camino, the Way of Saint James many times, over many years, and was so moved by this experience and pilgrimages around the world that I wrote my first book, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (Quakerbridge Media, 2012).

In those days, I walked solo, carrying a heavy backpack and sleeping rough in hostels. Being super tough and super strong meant everything to me.  

It’s said that the Camino transforms lives, and it did just that for me. I began to reflect on my life and my work, my values, and beliefs. After stops, starts, and stumbles, I shifted my career from a high-pressure lawyer-lobbyist to human scale work with leaders and individuals to foster greater connectedness, compassion, authenticity, and relational trust. Walk in Beauty is a centerpiece of my work.

The Camino contributed greatly to help me shift my values. Today, my deepest aspiration is to support myself and others in this process of transformation. I believe that the Camino should be accessible to everyone, not only the physically fit. As a pilgrimage leader, I have escorted hundreds of people of varied abilities along the Way of Saint James and this gives me deep joy and inspiration.”

— Valerie Brown, Director of Meaningful & Purposeful Life and Work, Lead Smart Coaching, LLC

Are You Called to Pilgrimage, to a ‘Thin Place’?

Embark on a pilgrimage to discover something new about yourself. It isn’t so much a choice you make, as a response to a call already whispered to you. In the experience of encounter with Mystery, you begin to question your assumptions, expectations, and pre-conceived ideas, and perhaps a new way of seeing yourself and the world emerges. Discover this magical place, of El Camino, which the Celtics have aptly called, a ‘thin place’, where the material and the spiritual world meet, a place of endless beauty. Return home transformed!

Want to Know More

Read Pilgrimage As Activism.

About Your Leader

Valerie Brown Headshot

Valerie Brown is an international retreat leader, writer, accredited leadership coach, spiritual director, and Chief Listening Officer of Lead Smart Coaching, LLC, specializing in application and integration of mindfulness and leadership. She transformed her high-pressure, twenty-year career as a lawyer-lobbyist, representing educational institutions and nonprofits, to human-scale work with leaders and teams to foster trustworthy and authentic connections.

Through her writing, she seeks to foster a more compassionate and peaceful world. Her books include, The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel (QuakerBridge Media, 2012) and The Mindful School Leader: Practices to Transform Your Leadership and School (Corwin, 2014), named one of the ‘best books on courage’ in 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal.

She has studied and practiced mindfulness in the Plum Village tradition since 1995, was ordained in the Order of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh in 2003, and ordained as a Dharma Teacher in 2018, receiving the Lamp Transmission. She is a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

Valerie’s extensive training includes, the Center for Courage & Renewal and Parker J. Palmer, the Institute for Transformational Leadership at Georgetown University, the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care & Society, the Center for Compassion Focused Therapy, the Ojai Foundation, the C.G. Jung Foundation for Analytical Psychology (NYC), Chestnut Hill College (PA) Certificate in Holistic Spirituality, and The Leadership Circle Profile™.

As certified Kundalini yoga teacher, she helps groups and individuals discover the wisdom of the body.

Camino Finisterre Western Route to the Sea (A Kinder Camino)

Cost:

$4,995.00, per person, double occupancy. Single supplement: $1,300.00.

Price includes:

Courage & Renewal ® Approach to reflection and inquiry and expert facilitation

Charming lodgings in family-run farmhouse inns

8 Breakfasts

7 Dinners

Healthy snacks and cold drinks

Expert English-speaking guides

Fully stocked private van support and luggage transfer

Pilgrim Passport & credentials

Daily map routes and information

Comprehensive pre-pilgrimage preparation, including customized training schedule

Price does NOT include:

Round trip airfare

Ground travel in Spain to and from meeting location

All Lunches

Tips & gratuities

Deposit & Payment

$1,100 nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit secures your space; installment payment plan available.

Cancellation Policy 

See registration form for details.

Questions? 

Contact Valerie Brown valeriebrown95@gmail.com

REGISTER HERE:

Walk in Beauty Confidential Registration Form

Walk in Beauty Frequently Asked Questions

Brief History of El Camino

Camino Finisterre Flyer

Retreats & Facilitation Services

Coaching & Consulting Services

Conflict Resolution & Mediation Services

Named one of the best courageous books of 2014 by the Center for Courage & Renewal, this book is for educational leaders who feel overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted, and offers explicit practices to help readers avoid burnout and become the mindful, poised, effective leaders they were meant to be. Loaded with real-time encouragement with portraits of educational leaders who are incorporating mindfulness practices, like attentive breathing, mindful walking about the school building, or calming pauses in the office throughout the school day, this book is a must-have guide.

Valerie Brown and Kirsten Olson. Corwin, December 2014. 344 pages.

The Road that Teaches: Lessons in Transformation through Travel.

Not your average travel guidebook, this book explores some of the world’s great pilgrimages, destinations, and the author’s reflections on the lessons she learned from them. Read this book to discover how travel can be transformational, how to be more mindful while traveling and every day, the adventures of traveling alone, the delights of encountering new people and places, ancient pilgrimage journeys and sacred travel worldwide.

Valerie Brown. QuakerBridge Media, 2012, 152 pages. Also available from QuakerBooks.

Heartfulness: Renewing Heart, Mind, and Spirit on Retreat and Beyond Valerie

Valerie Brown guides readers toward renewal of mind, heart, and spirit by encouraging them to take time away from the busyness of their lives through retreat. Drawing on her experience as a retreatant and retreat leader, she introduces readers to opportunities for personal restoration within a variety of focused retreats. She wonders how Friends experience of expectant waiting influences the retreat process and how retreats influence expectant waiting. She encourages the “big questions”—What has meaning and purpose in my life? What am I avoiding? What brings me most alive?—and offers specific practices for retreatants to cultivate in everyday life.

Valerie Brown. Pendle Hill Pamphlet #421.

Quakers are advised to begin worship by “centering down.” This is the first step in a Friend’s intention to wait in “holy expectancy,” to be drawn by the Light into communion with God. Centering prayer is also a practice used by Christian mystics to prepare for contemplation, and “centering” describes the meditation of a Buddhist in pursuit of that deep awareness called “mindfulness.” Valerie Brown is an explorer and teacher of centering practices, a Buddhist, and an active Friend. Drawing upon her own experiences and wide studies, she describes for Friends how these various traditions can offer us a better understanding and preparedness for our precious, elusive, mysterious, and simple practice of centering into worship. Discussion questions included.

Valerie Brown, Pendle Hill Pamphlet #407. 2014.