An early start! That is my advice for those walking the Camino del Norte from San Sebastián during the busy summer. As opposed to the Camino Francés, the albergues are not as frequent or often don’t have many beds. If you enjoy walking into the evening, like I do, you just may find yourself out of luck, or sleeping under a tree.

At 20 kilometers away, the large town of Zarautz is a popular spot to spend your second night (or first) on the Camino del Norte. However, awaiting you is over 300 meters of elevation gain with numerous ups and downs, and a steep descent to Zarautz. It’s certainly a different track compared to the relatively easy walk that those on the Camino Francés experience on their second day from Roncesvalles to Larrasoaña or Pamplona. As for me, I would continue past Zarautz, and learn a lesson on how different the del Norte is from the Camino Francés in terms of difficulty and accommodation availability.

I left my last post, An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte, facing Monte Igueldo from Playa de Ondarreta. I stayed near this spot at the municipal albergue which was fine but a little overcrowded. I didn’t sleep well and had trouble getting my tired body moving in the morning. My walking companions who I had met the previous day waited, but I told them to go ahead and I’ll catch up.

sunset Monte Igueldo San Sebastian spain On the Camino Del Norte in Spain, San Sebastián to Munioetazar

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There is a large, flat rock on the first bump of Panorama Ridge in Garibaldi Provincial Park, north of Vancouver, Canada. It provides a seat to rest and enjoy one of the best panoramic vistas that I have ever seen — mountains including Mount Garibaldi, Mount Price, and Black Tusk, glaciers including Sphinx and Sentinel, and, of course, the turquoise waters of Garibaldi Lake.

I had always thought about watching the sunset from this very rock. Years went by and it was still one of my top hiking experiences to fulfill. Then again, to watch the sunrise over Garibaldi Lake from the same spot must also be an amazing experience. But wait! When I saw the harvest moon rise over Panorama Ridge while I was hiking late in the Black Tusk meadows two years previously, I was awestruck and decided one day, I would watch the full moon rise over Garibaldi Lake. As this past Spring turned into Summer, and with the then approaching July full moon, I had an idea to experience all three on one visit.

With hot weather and clear skies forecasted, my mind was made up and I looked forward to a brand new adventure. My plan was not to pitch a tent or bring a sleeping bag, but to sit on that very rock for the night and watch the sunset over the Tantalus mountains to the West, the full moon rise and slowly make it’s way over Garibaldi Lake, and then the sunrise to the East. It would also be an experience that I wasn’t accustomed to. It could be a little eerie on the ridge alone and I was concerned about the night temperature that high up. On a beautiful Summer afternoon, I packed the best I saw fit and set off for the Black Tusk parking area, just south of Whistler.

After about five hours of hiking, I arrived in late evening to this beautiful vista from Panorama Ridge.

Garibaldi Lake Park Panorama Ridge evening Under A Supermoon, Garibaldi Park at Sunset

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Planning one evening in San Sebastian can be a little difficult if you haven’t visited before. Do you stroll through the historic city or walk along its magnificent three kilometers of beaches. I must admit that Zurriola Beach, Playa de la Concha, and Playa de Ondarreta sure looked enticing when I viewed over the city earlier that afternoon. But I also wanted to walk along the historic city streets and visit the cathedral! Well, I tried to do it all including going out for dinner, which resulted in a very long first day on the Camino del Norte, and, for a few minutes, being locked out of my alberque.

I left my last post, On and off the Camino del Norte in San Sebastian, Spain, here, at Playa de Ondarreta facing Monte Igueldo. Now lets continue an evening walk in San Sebastian, Euskadi / Basque Country.

Zurriola Beach San Sebastian Spain An Evening in San Sebastian, Spain, On and off the Camino del Norte

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On this guest post, New York Times bestselling novelist, Eileen Goudge, shows us where she goes for inspiration, and takes us on a little journey around Santa Cruz, California, the setting for her new book, Bones and Roses.

Where do I go for inspiration? Where else but the beach? It’s where I get my best ideas. My writing career began here, in Santa Cruz, California, where I lived from the early 1970’s to 1983, when I moved to New York City to seek my fortune. I go back there for a month each year to write at my sister’s beach house. It was during a recent visit, while strolling along the shore, that I got the idea for my new Cypress Bay mystery series. The first book in the series, Bones and Roses, came out on August 5th, roughly a year since inspiration struck. My fictional town of Cypress Bay, California, is modeled after Santa Cruz, in fact.

What a year it’s been! I’ve been back to my hometown twice, both times with my trusty laptop to get in some serious writing time. Five of my author pals came for a long weekend in January of this year, and I confess I didn’t get any writing done those four days. Most of the time we sat around, drinking wine and gossiping, when we weren’t taking long walks on the beach or sightseeing. But mainly what I do when I’m at the beach is write, and when I’m not at my computer, woolgather to the sound of the surf.

The beach at Manresa State Park where I take my daily strolls.

Manresa State Park Beach Santa Cruz California A Journey to Santa Cruz, California With Eileen Goudge

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Even on a cloudy day, the first views of San Sebastian from the Camino del Norte were amazing. I had long anticipated visiting the Basque city and couldn’t wait to descend the mountain and walk along the beaches, check out the historic buildings, and have a closer look at the hill of Urgall. My time would be limited, but I was going to enjoy my afternoon and evening in San Sebastian.

I left my last post, Coastal Views Along The Camino del Norte in Spain, Pasajes de San Pedro to San Sebastian, here, after walking along one of the most scenic stretches of the Camino de Santiago. It had been a tiring day, but also one that was memorable for I had met a group of friendly, interesting women, and we would stay together for another day.

San Sebastian Zurriola Beach On and off the Camino del Norte in San Sebastian, Spain

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One of my recent fond memories was a Mother’s Day about six years ago that I spent with my late mother at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver, Canada. I always enjoy visiting gardens in Springtime, but on that particular day, we witnessed something that we both had never seen — the beautiful Laburnum Walk with the Golden Chain Trees in full bloom. My mother and I were fascinated as we had only seen individual trees, and, although beautiful on their own, nothing could come close to what we saw that day.

With the onset of Spring and the odd Golden Chain Tree coming alive with their bright yellow blooms along the streets of Vancouver, a few weeks ago, I made another visit to the VanDusen Botanical Garden. I had returned since the aforementioned visit in the summer, but mid-Spring is still my favourite with the Rhododendron, Azaleas, Alliums, late tulips, early roses, and many other plants providing a vast array of colours.

A little warning: if you don’t like yellow flowers then you probably won’t enjoy this post. Now let’s visit the Laburnum Walk in the VanDusen Botanical Garden. Golden Chain is the common name for Laburnum, a genus of the pea family.

Golden Chain Trees Flowers VanDusen Garden Vancouver Canada Under Golden Chains, On The Laburnum Walk, VanDusen Botanical Garden

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