October 20, 2022

Costa Mesa, California

Dear Family & Friends:

The Camino de Santiago, Circa 2022, was one of the greatest adventures of my life. Let me recount some of the reasons why.

Faith in God. My 45-day Pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago strengthened my already rock-solid belief and faith in God. I felt His presence the entire journey, and this gave me reassurance that I would complete the journey despite any obstacles.

Bonding with my Family. Sharon and I have been blessed with a very close family. I was so happy that my three daughters, and one of my granddaughters, walked the Camino with me for the last 150 miles from Astorga to Santiago de Compostela. The great memories we shared will live with us forever.

The Beauty of Spain. During the entire trip, I was astounded by the beauty of Spain. Every turn of the trail brought into view a breathtaking vista of God’s flawless creation.

The History and Culture of Spain. Many of the cities and villages on the Camino date back to the first Century. The structures, especially the churches, cannot be replicated or seen outside Europe. In America, we are a young country. Every American should travel to Europe to better understand and appreciate our history and heritage.

The Food of Spain. With apologizes to my fellow Americans, the food in Spain tastes better than the food in America. I would find it impossible to rate or rank the meals I had in Spain. Every meal was better than the last meal. Let’s face it, the chefs in Spain have centuries of gastronomical experience that exceeds the experience of American chefs.

The wine of Spain. I have always been a California wine snob. No one can compete with Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino wines: Silver Oak, Caymus, Rombauer, Cakebread. No more. When I visit the wine store, I will also be looking for Spanish wines. When you order a wine in Spain, you don’t specify the name of the wine or the winery. You simply ask for “Vino Tinto.” Whatever they pour in your glass will be the best ever. Where in America can you order a high quality glass of wine for just $2 or drink wine, direct from the winery, through an outdoor spigot?

I am preparing a video of my Camino de Santiago experience. When it is finished, I will post it in the Gallery on my website. You will receive an email alert when it is posted.

Thanks to the people of Spain for sharing their great country, and thank you for walking with us on this epic journey. You were a constant source of support and inspiration.

Bill Burke

Camino de Santiago Trip Statistics

Days Walked:


Papa’s Pilgrims-10

Miles Walked:


Papa’s Pilgrims-150

Most Miles Walked per Day


Papa’s Pilgrims-20.8

Least Miles Walked per Day


Papa’s Pilgrims-12.3

Average Miles Walked per Day


Papa’s Pilgrims-15

Average Miles Walked per Hour


Papa’s Pilgrims-3

Hardest Day

Papa-St Jean Pie de Port to Roncesvalles (1st day) (19.3 miles, including 17 uphill miles)

Papa’s Pilgrims-Rabanal del Camino to Molinaseca (18.5 miles) after two long, hard days

Favorite Village-Villafranca

Favorite Music-music from “The Way,” Grease, Elvis, 80’s music, Beatles, Beach Boys, Sound of Music, Wizard of Oz, Evita, Big River, Gospel Music, Meryl Haggard, Mozart, Broadway Showtunes

Favorite Food-we loved all of our meals in Spain. It is impossible to choose a favorite. We also enjoyed our breakfast every morning, consisting of coffee con leche, fresh-squeezed orange juice & eggs

Most Scenic View-the “White Home on the Hill” amongst the grape vineyards as we approached Villafranca

Most Comforting Site-the yellow markers and scallop shell symbols on the trail. Just when you think you are lost, an arrow or shell will appear and give you assurance that you are on the Camino de Santiago, destined for Santiago de Compostela

Most Somber Moment-Papa’s Pilgrims depositing rocks and ashes at the Iron Cross and Papa & Papa’s Pilgrims attending Mass at the Cathedral de Santiago

Funniest Moments-Lisa’s shoe blowing up on the way into Villafranca, Lori’s huge “Justin Case” duffle bag, Lisa about to leave her room wearing her pajama bottoms & Lisa’s stretching exercise

Scariest Moment-Lori, Amy & Elle reacting to our night at the remote, dark, deserted farmhouse (aka “Bate’s Motel”)

Most Festive Moment-Papa’s Pilgrims dancing to the Spanish band across from the Cathedral de Santiago

Happiest Moment-Papa & Papa’s Pilgrims meeting in Astorga

Saddest Moment-Papa’s Pilgrims leaving Papa in Santiago de Compostela

Favorite Pilgrims-Sharon Macdonald and Craig Fisher, John Berchild, Mark and Cathy Priest and Nico from Italy

Most Valuable Pilgrim-Elle walking with a painful knee, leading the way in every segment of the Camino and serving as our chief navigator


Wine straight from the Bodegas Irache Winery

White Home on the Hill

Lisa at the Iron Cross

Amy at the Iron Cross

Attending Mass at the Cathedral de Santiago

Lisa’s broken shoe

Lisa stretching

Lisa dressed, saddled up with her backpack and ready to start the day in her pajamas

“No fair, Lori brought a Vespa!”

Bates Motel

Spanish singers and their professional dancers

Happiest moment-Astorga

Saddest moment-Santiago de Compostela

Favorite Pilgrims-Sharon Macdonald and Craig Fisher

Favorite Pilgrims-Mark and Cathy Priest

Favorite Pilgrims-John Berchild

Favorite Pilgrims-Nico from Italy

Most Valuable Pilgrim-Elle