Our journey from San Jose to San Francisco progresses at a rate of approximately 10 miles per day. Since it follows a dead flat route with virtually no elevation change, it is a healthy, simple challenge for beginners. It’s not exactly the Santiago de Compostela, but certainly more easily accessible being in California!
After a 3-4 hour beeline with a couple of pit stops for clothing changes, nut breaks, and bathroom visits, we arrived at one of the hotels I prebooked a couple of days ago. We enjoyed a late lunch nearby, took a nap, and caught up with lively conversations that would not otherwise occur. It’s a great way to reconnect again, and to appreciate the precious time you have with your partner.
I haven’t documented prior trips so this time I’m devoting additional time to doing so. Yesterday we discovered a gem of a music shop in Palo Alto, that sells guitars, mandolins and other hand plucked string instruments (see photo above).
The old Mountain View neighborhood hosted a string of modest, pre-war bungalow-type houses that were as inviting as those in Sunnyvale the day before. They proudly displayed orange and grapefruit trees in their front yards. Interestingly, there were fewer decorations as we approached upper-crust Palo Alto.
The houses are close to the streets, with only a 5-15′ setback. A sad reminder of a time when the world was trusting and safer.
I looked out for Eichler homes that are scattered throughout the neighborhood. They were a new phenomenon at the time–a departure from the 3-BR 2-bath ranch house. Same size, but instead they boasted inner courtyards with plenty of light for each room. They didn’t appear to be as prominent on the streets we passed along.
Although we follow the general route of El Camino Real, a long strip highway/road originally linking the missions, we manage to take parallel off-streets whenever possible. The small residential streets are definitely more pleasant, but they sometimes end up inside subdivisions with curvy dead ends or no outlet. To avoid that I check the street end-to-end before using it, so we know where to turn. Google maps allows us to plan out our strategy and assures us that we have backup support whenever needed for navigation.
El Camino as a concept reminds me of both the Nakasendo Highway near Matsumoto in Japan and the Pilgrim Route (Santiago de Compostela) in Spain. There are many other similar long-distance foot trails (also the Pacific Trail) that provide a variety of challenges. My go-local determination allowed me to refrain from going to Spain or France for a destination walking trip. Since we were already in Japan last year, we took a side trip inland.
Despite the Christmas holiday frenzy, we grabbed the good weather forecast to make time for this trip. We discovered that the down time for business travel has slashed the price of hotel rooms–up to half off!!
There are plenty of delights and surprises, just around the corner from where you live! Take a look at two woody walking paths not far from El Camino along the way, and a sweet little surprise to literary friends.