Skip to main content


I love online shopping and by that I don't mean I love shopping. It's actually quite the opposite. Because I dislike shopping so much, I love online shopping. It's easier and way more convenient. No driving, no parking, no lines, no humans involved. Just a computer, lots of clicks and I am done. Two days Amazon Prime shipping and free returns is just icing on the cake. But then again, when you need help, when you actually need to talk to someone who understands about the products they sell and can help you making a better, more informed decision on what to buy, there's REI. The store in Berkeley is awesome but it gets crowded. When I want to buy something at REI, I usually get there right before the door opens at 10am on a weekday. I walk straight into the department I am interested without taking any detours. That's what I did to buy my Camino backpack. It took two trips, lots of trials and two excellent REI members to get the right pack for this trip. First member I met was a nice lady. While trying packs we got talking about upcoming trips. I told her about the Camino and she said that's a trip she wants to do in the future because now she's preparing to go on a 5 month hike through the Pacific Crest Trail with her husband who is retiring soon. How cool is that?! They are hiking and caring all their gear, which seems like an impossible task to me who has never done anything remotely as challenging. I told her about and my crazy cheap ticket. She wrote the site down on a little notebook. So I told her about the free screening of the documentary Six Ways to Santiago on March 31st - she also wrote it down. Maybe I'll see her at the screening. Second member I met at REI was a younger guy. Who's also going on to hike the Pacific Crest with a third REI member sometime soon. Must be a job requirement :-). He finalized the backpack sale that the other lady had started. They both agreed on the same pack and by then my back had agreed to it as well. But his help didn't stop there. On a third visit to REI, going on my third hour at the store, with a different REI member from the shoes department, the younger guy I met earlier walks by and greets me. I tell him about my frustrating experience trying to find the right shoes to walk the Camino. He goes inside the storage area, comes out with two pairs of light trail shoes and I am sold on both after three minutes. He helped me chose the best one and that's it. I just wish he had said hi two and a half hours before that. Backpack and shoes ready to go!! P.S. I bought my shoes on April 3rd, which was not a wise decision, but I feel comfortable about the light trail shoes that I took home that day.


Popular posts from this blog

Why walk the camino

Well, the answer is simple. I grew up listening to my dad telling me about having the best time in Portugal and Spain. He loved it. He wanted to go back and walk the Camino de Santiago. He wanted to do this with his good friend, and my godfather, Moreira. My father passed in 2012, the day after he turned 75. He never walked to Santiago. I am walking in his honor. I am walking for my dad. It's not repentance; it's not a religious quest. It just something that reminds me of my father and his stories. He liked to talk, flourishing his speech is ways I am not capable of doing. When he talked he made Portugal and Spain sound magical. He was keen on speaking in family gatherings because he always had something to say. Since he was the elder of the family, everyone stopped and listened. I stopped and listened. I miss listing to his voice. I miss having a conversation with him. So I am going to walk his walk. It was his walk. It is now my walk.

Why blog about the Camino

I am blogging about the Camino for a few reasons. One, I have started many blogs only to delete them after I had written a good mount of content. It's hard to believe I have something interesting to blog about so after a while, I usually quit and hit the delete button. Two, my fear of writing and publishing online is getting diminished. Two friends and I now have weekly meetings where we have writing exercises. We use pen and paper and write for 15 minutes - no editing is done and no judgment is passed. We write what comes to mind based on a chosen theme, and then we read to each other. It's been fun and kind of freeing. Third, John, my husband, encouraged me to make a blog. He said it's a nice way of recording this journey. To my surprise he even shared the link with his siblings. I don't have words to explain how motivating and loving John is. Lastly, I joined the online forum The forum has an amazing wealth of information on everything about the…

Day 9: Albariño Wine

Albariño wine is a good companion to saying good-bye to Santiago. I am now sitting at the Cafe Literarios sipping some good wine and writing this post. There's a father to my right doing homework with his two very well behaved children - doing justice to the Cafe's name. It's been two nights since my arrival and even with all the pain I have not been able to stop walking around this city. This is a truly international town with most visitors arriving on foot. How unique is that?? Regardless of the spoken language, it's really nice to see pilgrims arriving. Some cry, some don't. But they all have that familiar expression of relief and amazement upon arriving in Santiago. That feeling that the mission is accomplished and that now they can relax and enjoy the moment of arrival. It's been an amazing experience and one that I would love to do again. Camino Frances, anyone? Well, I am not sure which way I'll be coming back but I know I will. John, this is a call…