[Full/waitlisted] Walk in Beauty: Pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago, Spain | Western Route
This pilgrimage is full/waitlisted. To join the waitlist, contact Valerie.
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
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.
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’
Walk at your own pace within a small group of fellow 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 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.)
In the Camino Finisterre, our guides are equipped with mobile phones at your disposal.
Food and Lodging
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.
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.
Click here for a complete profile of route from San Sebastian to Santiago
Watch this two-minute video on the spirit of El Camino de Santiago
October 23-31, 2019
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.
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 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)
$4,995.00, per person, double occupancy. Single supplement: $1,300.00.
Courage & Renewal ® Approach to reflection and inquiry and expert facilitation
Charming lodgings in family-run farmhouse inns
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
Tips & gratuities
Deposit & Payment
$1,100 nonrefundable, nontransferable deposit secures your space; installment payment plan available.
Questions? Contact Valerie Brown
Click on the photo above for a video of a sandy beach on the Camino Finisterre pilgrimage.