Welcome to The Camino Podcast!
The Camino Podcast is a program focused on pilgrimage. We talk about major pilgrimage routes, like Spain's Camino de Santiago, we share stories from the road, and we talk about more technical aspects of pilgrimage. Whether you're planning your first pilgrimage, processing your latest one, or just an armchair traveler, we hope you find this to be a good listen! In addition to this site, you can find the podcast on Soundcloud and iTunes.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 30 - Biking the Camino
While walking pilgrims remain the dominant demographic on the Camino, bike pilgrims constitute an increasingly significant part of the community. Despite--or perhaps because of that--a great deal of tension exists between the two groups, and dialogue is often limited to a dinging bike bell and a "buen camino." This episode digs into the bike pilgrim experience, focusing both on practical considerations that anyone contemplating this approach should factor into their planning, as well as broader reflections on the walker-biker dynamic. David Landis, author of the Camino Guidebook and also CaminoCyclist.com, and Doug Werme, a prolific bike pilgrim and Camino Forum voice, share tips and stories from the road.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 29 - How I Spent My Summer
Along with hosting the Camino Podcast, Dave Whitson is also the co-author of The Northern Caminos guidebook with Laura Perazzoli. In this episode, Dave and Laura reflect on their summer spent re-walking the Caminos del Norte, Primitivo, and Inglés, and also their first experiences on the Ruta do Mar, Camino Salvador, Camino Vasco, and Ruta Vadiniense. Along the way, they share stories detailing a dog attack, an encounter with the True Cross, and the best albergue ever.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 28 - Franco and Santiago
The Generalissimo Francisco Franco ruled Spain for the better part of four decades and had a profound impact on the country over that time. He also had a tremendous impact on the Camino de Santiago. Indeed, his time in power coincides with the acceleration of the Camino's rebirth, which kicked off in earnest in 1879 and culminated in the Jubilee year of 1993. Dr. Stanley Payne is one of Franco's biographers and in this episode he shares his expertise on Franco's rise to power and relationship with the Church, with some specific consideration of Franco's impact on several places relevant to the Camino: El Ferrol, Guernica, and the region of Galicia. He's followed by Dr. Sasha Pack, who focuses more specifically on Franco's role in the reemergence of the Camino de Santiago, and his very tangible impact on the pilgrimage that we see--and walk--today.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 27 - Johnnie Walker's Santiago
Johnnie Walker is one of the most prominent names associated with the Camino de Santiago these days. Ever since moving to Santiago de Compostela, Johnnie has taken an active role in re-shaping the English-speaking pilgrim's experience in the city, and he has recently emerged as a prolific guidebook author as well. In this episode, Johnnie shares how he got started as a pilgrim, picked up his nom de plume, and his affection for the Camino Inglés. He's followed by our first return guest, Brian Bouldrey, whose new anthology, Inspired Journeys: Travel Writers in Search of the Muse, explores the concept of secular pilgrimage.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 26 - Training Tips & Winter Walking
While your pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago might "officially" begin in St Jean Pied-de-Port, or Pamplona, or Sarria (or any number of other possibilities!), the reality is that it actually begins at home. The physical demands of pilgrimage are best met by a careful and extended training process in the months preceding your departure. But how best to do that? Sheri Goodwin, an experienced "trek trainer" (www.desktotrek.com) shares some insights and strategies for getting yourself ready for the road. This episode also features an interview with Gayle Thomas, who walked the Camino Francés in December-January. What is the Camino like in the winter? (Spoiler alert: Santa makes an appearance.)
The Camino Podcast: Episode 25 - The Camino Francés, Pt. 4
Let's re-walk the Camino Francés together! Whereas many of the pilgrim interviews on the podcast take a thematic approach, focusing on a few big picture issues, this series of episodes will dig more into the specifics of walking. Today's episode focuses on the glorious return to the mountains. After a week or so spent in the flatter meseta, this section of the Camino Francés, connecting León and O Cebreiro, involves two significant ascents with a stroll through the Bierzo valley in between. Rod Hoekstra of Seattle shares some stories on the León-Foncebadón stages, including a notable visit to a private museum in Villar de Mazarife. Bob Scheidt of Hoodstown, PA picks up the narrative from there, bringing his extensive experience as a walker and adventurer to bear on the walk onward to O Cebreiro.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 24 - Round Trip (and Bed Bugs!)
For medieval pilgrims, arrival in Santiago meant the midpoint of their journey, not the end. Today's pilgrims typically wrap up their walk in Santiago or on the coast and then return home by train or plane. While that change is certainly more convenient, is something lost in the bargain? Jen Hofmann completed her return trip this summer, walking east from Finisterre to St Jean Pied-de-Port, in pursuit of completion. This episode also features an interview with Dr. Michael Potter from the University of Kentucky--an entomologist with great expertise in the realm of bed bugs. He corrects some common misunderstandings about bed bug prevention techniques and offers some strategies that all pilgrims can employ to keep themselves bite-free.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 23 - The Pioneers
David Gitlitz and Linda Davidson are the co-authors of The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago: The Complete Cultural Handbook, a work that developed out of their research and student trips over the course of three decades. Having first walked to Santiago in 1974, while Spain was still under Franco's rule, David and Linda have witnessed some dramatic changes on the Camino. They were present when the first yellow arrows were painted between Roncesvalles and Pamplona and they fondly recall never encountering pavement between Burgos and León. Their stories offer a rare look into the Camino before its modern resurgence.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 22 - The Camino Francés, Pt. 3
Let's re-walk the Camino Francés together! Whereas many of the pilgrim interviews on the podcast take a thematic approach, focusing on a few big picture issues, this series of episodes will dig more into the specifics of walking. This episode focuses on the meseta, probably the least-loved section of the Camino Francés. Many pilgrims are advised to skip this stretch if strapped for time, but what are they missing? Quite a lot, actually! Miguel Cura of Toronto, Canada gets us started in Burgos, telling tales from his walk between there and Carrión de los Condes. Then, Ross Fields takes over and leads us on to the next major city, León. Do you have opinions or questions on this part of the route? Join the conversation at facebook.com/CaminoPodcast.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 21 - The Camino Francés, Pt. 2
Let's re-walk the Camino Francés together! Whereas many of the pilgrim interviews on the podcast take a thematic approach, focusing on a few big picture issues, this series of episodes will dig more into the specifics of walking. This episode picks up where Episode 15 left off, in Los Arcos. Deb Roush of Melbourne, Australia shares stories on the next three stages, leading us into Santo Domingo de la Calzada; David Smith of Dublin, Ireland picks up the trail from there and leads us on to Burgos. Do you have opinions or questions on this part of the route? Join the conversation at facebook.com/CaminoPodcast.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 20 - Walking the Camino
Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, released in 2013, is a tremendously influential documentary on the Camino. The film follows seven pilgrims along their journey to Santiago, documenting their experiences while also capturing the beautiful scenery of the way. This episode seeks to get some of the stories behind the film. First, Lydia Smith, the director/producer, describes the process behind getting the film made and her thoughts on its broader impact. Then, Jack Greenhalgh and Wayne Emde, two of the featured pilgrims in Walking the Camino, discuss what it was liked to be filmed while on pilgrimage, and how it shaped their experience on the road.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 19 - The Via Francigena
While there are, of course, many roads to Rome, the most famous pilgrim road to Rome is the Via Francigena, which originates in Canterbury, England and proceeds in a southeasterly direction through France and Switzerland en route to Italy. It's a diverse route with many highlights, moving past the white cliffs of Dover, and through the vineyards of France, the Swiss Alps, and the rolling hills of Tuscany. One of the major forces in bringing the Via Francigena back to prominence is Paul Chinn, who, along with his wife Babette Gallard, is the co-author of the Lightfoot Guides to the Via Francigena. In this episode, Paul discusses the route, its history, and its current condition. In addition, Kym Wilson, a pilgrim who walked from Canterbury to Rome in 2013, reflects on her experiences.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 18 - Walking Cali's Missions
One doesn't have to fly across an ocean to walk a sacred track. All across the USA, routes new and old are emerging that replicate the Camino experience in some form or guide believers and trekkers to significant destinations. This episode focuses on one of the most prominent examples of this trend: the California mission walk. This route follows El Camino Real, the historic itinerary connecting California's 21 Spanish missions that were established in the 18th and 19th centuries. Two through-hikers and guidebook authors, Ron Briery and Stephanie Dodaro, share their thoughts on the route's history, its current condition, and some stories from the road.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 17 - How to Read a Church
The Camino Francés is an 800-km showcase of brilliant church and cathedral architecture, documenting the history of this art form from early pre-Romanesque roots through to more contemporary expressions. The highlights are almost certainly the great Romanesque and Gothic works, though the ultimate target, Santiago de Compostela's cathedral, is most closely associated with its Baroque facade. In this episode, Kathleen Ashley, the author of Being a Pilgrim: Art and Ritual on the Medieval Routes to Santiago, explains the basics of church architecture and describes how pilgrims--past and present--can best approach their visit. In addition, Karl Otto, a pilgrim from Chicago, reflects on his walk on the Camino Francés.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 16 - A Musical Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage has long held a close connection with music, but the present is showing signs of recapturing the brilliance of its medieval peak. This episode features three distinct manifestations of that trend. First, Ellen Waterston discusses the upcoming world premiere of her Camino opera, Vía Láctea, taking place in Bend, Oregon June 10-12. Then, Dane Johansen, an acclaimed cellist, shares his story of walking the Camino Francés with his cello on his back, performing in churches along the way. Finally, Frederick Sheppard talks about the Camino Artes initiative, which organizes an extensive series of concerts along the meseta (and beyond) each summer. The episode concludes with organ music from Conques's cathedral.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 15 - The Camino Francés, Pt. 1
Let's re-walk the Camino Francés together! Whereas many of the pilgrim interviews on the podcast take a thematic approach, focusing on a few big picture issues, this series of episodes will dig more into the specifics of walking. In this episode, conversations center on the first six stages of the Camino Francés. Cathy Diaz reflects on the first part of the pilgrimage, between St Jean Pied de Port and Pamplona/Cizur Menor, and then Rebecca Gallo picks it up from there, carrying on to Los Arcos.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 14 - Walking with Family
Imagine walking on the Camino with a parent, a child, or a spouse. Many pilgrims are making their adventure all the more intense by mixing family with pilgrimage, and this episode examines that experience. First, Capitan Bradley (author of Man of a Certain Age) and Brianna Hill describe walking the Camino Francés as a father-daughter duo. Then, Bob and Cindi Klee reflect on their time spent walking the same route together as a married couple. Both pilgrim pairs offer some suggestions for those aspiring to make a similar trek.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 13 - Roland and El Cid
The Camino Francés cuts through a region rich in history and legend, and those two are interwoven in the two great epic poems set in part along the way: The Song of Roland and the Poem of El Cid. John K. Moore Jr., an Associate Professor of Spanish and Camino expert helps to contextualize these poems--and the Camino--within their historical era, highlighting the way that Roland, El Cid, and even Santiago fit within the Christian reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 12 - The Power of Stories
The Camino inspires a lot of stories. Why? Brian Bouldrey, a senior lecturer in Northwestern University's English Department and the keynote speaker at this year's APOC National Gathering, suggests in this episode that, for modern pilgrims, storytelling offers a new way of "walking" back home. Meanwhile, Mathew Kuefler, a medieval history professor at San Diego State University, shares some stories from O Cebreiro's peak in the Middle Ages, focusing in particular on the Eucharist miracle and claims of the Holy Grail. (Download Dr. Kuefler's article on the subject here.)
The Camino Podcast: Episode 11 - Home on the Camino
Have you ever dreamed--maybe a fleeting thought, maybe a nagging desire--of uprooting yourself from wherever "home" is and relocating to the Camino? This episode focuses on two pilgrims who made the move. In 2005, Rom Bates and his wife Aideen moved from Ireland to Moissac, France, in order to open a gite d'etape--Gite Ultreia--on the GR-65 (the "Le Puy route"). A year later, Rebekah Scott and her husband Paddy left Pittsburgh, USA and established the "Peaceable Kingdom" in Moratinos, Spain, on the Camino Francés. Rebekah has subsequently published her first novel, The Moorish Whore, which focuses on an 11th century Castilian princess who lived in Sahagún, along the Camino. Rom and Rebekah share stories on making the move, getting new homes established abroad, and living on the road to Santiago.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 10 - Off the Road, On the Way
Jack Hitt's Off the Road: A Modern-day Walk Down the Pilgrim's Route into Spain is one of the earliest English-language pilgrimage accounts from the contemporary resurgence of the Camino, focused on Jack's walk in 1991. It also became a source of inspiration for Emilio Estevez's film, The Way, and readers of the book will quickly recognize characters and patches of dialogue in the movie. Jack offers a number of reflections on his experiences on the Camino in 1981, 1991, and 2013, as well as some insights into the nature and meaning of pilgrimage. The episode also features an interview with Jessica Johnson, who has walked the Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Salvador, and Portugués, and is now planning a pilgrimage on the Camino Ignaciano. Our conversation focuses on the issue of safety along the Camino, and particularly for solo women travelers.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 9 - The Basque Country
If your Camino begins in St Jean Pied-de-Port, or Roncesvalles, or even Pamplona, then it also begins in the Basque Country. Spread across southern France and northern Spain, the Basque Country is the ancestral—and contemporary—homeland of the Basque people, an indigenous European ethnic group with a long and fascinating history. To gain some understanding of what makes the Basques unique, this episode features an interview with Mark Kurlansky, author of The Basque History of the World, as well as Joxelu of Beilari, an albergue located in St. Jean Pied de Port, France.
Check out The Camino Provides, a Friend of the Podcast!
Thanks to Laurie at The Camino Provides for putting together such a great post in support of the podcast. The Camino Provides is a Camino blog dedicated to sharing all good things about the Camino de Santiago, and celebrating the pilgrim's journey – from the Camino Calling to the Compostela, and beyond. Be sure to check it out!
The Camino Podcast: Episode 8 - On Blisters and Snoring
This episode focuses on two central annoyances of the pilgrimage experience: blisters and snoring. While we can continue to dream of a world in which neither exists, reality demands that we pursue strategies to both prevent and treat these maladies. To help us out, John Vonhof, author of Fixing Your Feet, shares strategies for achieving optimal foot health, while Dr. Soroush Zaghi of Stanford University offers insights into snoring.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 7 - From Santiago to Jerusalem
David Landis and Anna Dintaman are the co-authors of two guidebooks, Village to Village Guides to the Camino de Santiago and the Jesus Trail in Israel. They share their background as guidebook authors, and also their perspectives as experienced hikers and trailblazers in the Middle East. Beyond the Jesus Trail, they have also worked extensively with the Abraham Path Initiative, a long-distance walking route that spans many countries in the region. This episode also features an episode with Gary Yee, who shares his reflections from his pilgrimage on the Camino Francés last summer.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 6 - On the Primitive Way
Landon Roussel's recently-published On the Primitive Way tells the story of his relationship with his brother, Cory--a relationship long strained by Cory's struggles with addiction--and their pilgrimage on the Camino Primitivo. In this episode, Landon talks more about his experience on the Primitivo and the ways that pilgrimage offers room for healing and reconciliation. He's followed by Rachel Grimes, who shares some stories from her pilgrimage on the Camino Francés, and some thoughts specifically on common Camino expressions, like "the Camino provides." Finally, Dave offers some thoughts on 2015 pilgrim statistics from Santiago, and the rise of the Americans.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 5 - Who Was St. James?
While legends surround Santiago, or St. James the Elder, the historical record has very little to say about him. What do we actually know? Dr. Harold Attridge, a Sterling Professor of Divinity at Yale Divinity School, brings us up to speed on the Apostle James. Then, Merka Martin shares some stories from her recent pilgrimage on the Camino Francés. The episode concludes with some reading suggestions for fictional works set on the Camino de Santiago. These include: The Song of Roland, Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, The Poem of the Cid, Rebekah Scott's The Moorish Whore, and Emilia Pardo Bazan's The House of Ulloa.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 4 - Phil's Camino
Phil Volker and Annie O'Neil describe their new documentary film, Phil's Camino, focused on the story behind Phil's pilgrimages in Vashon Island, Washington and on the Camino de Santiago in Spain, all while living with stage 4 cancer. The film is currently in the final production stages and is running an Indiegogo campaign, Finishing Funds for Phil's Camino, to support the effort.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 3 - Way of St. Francis
Sandy Brown, the author of the brand new guidebook to Italy's Way of St. Francis and the Caminoist blog describes this emerging pilgrimage and reflects on the guidebook-writing experience. Maria Slade, a high schooler, shares some moving stories from her pilgrimage over the summer on the Via Podiensis in France. And, Zina Bell offers some gear advice!
The Camino Podcast: Episode 2 - APOC, #Pilgrimstrong...
Today's episode features three guests: Cheryl Grasmoen, the board chair of the American Pilgrims on the Camino, talks about how APOC supports American pilgrims and the Camino more broadly. Steve Watkins offers some stories from his recent pilgrimage on the Camino Francés (follow his blog here!). And, Christina Collins espouses the virtues of sarongs.
The Camino Podcast: Episode 1 - Introducing the Podcast
An introduction to the Camino Podcast, featuring an overview of the program's focus on the Camino de Santiago and pilgrimage more broadly. Dave shares three personal stories from the road, focused on pilgrimages in Spain, Italy, and Norway
Friends of the Podcast