Hello! Welcome to Hiking the Camino! We are David Landis and Anna Dintaman, an American married couple who have been exploring and creating resources for pilgrimage hiking routes in the Middle East and Mediterranean for the last five years.
We have both always loved hiking and the great outdoors, from working at summer camps as teenagers to many hiking, biking and camping trips. We were first introduced to the Middle East as university students, we each participated in one of Eastern Mennonite University’s study abroad programs which included Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Greece and Italy. As part of that program, David hiked a section of the Israel National Trail and became interested in hiking opportunities in the area. He has also lead university groups on the Saint Paul Trail in Turkey.
In 2007, he returned to the region and partnered with an Israeli friend to develop the Jesus Trail, a 60-kilometer pilgrimage hiking route in the Galilee which connects sites from the life of the Jesus. That trail has grown immensely in popularity, and has been featured in Backpacker Magazine, the New York Times, Christianity Today, the Washington Post, the Today Show and dozens of other magazines and newspapers.
In 2009, we felt that the Jesus Trail needed a guidebook to provide the necessary practical and historical information for pilgrims. After exploring different options, we decided the best course of action would be to write the guidebook ourselves! Anna has a lot of writing and research experience and David is a whiz at photography and graphic design. Though the learning curve was steep, we managed to produce what we feel is a very functional and beautiful book, which was published in 2010: Hiking the Jesus Trail and Other Biblical Walks.
Since publishing that book, we have had the opportunity to work with other organizations and authors. In 2011, we edited and provided photos for a guide to hiking the Ramallah Highlands Trail, and edited and published Go to Galilee: A Travel Guide for Christian Pilgrims, by Jacob Firsel. We also managed a small tour company that operated tours on the Jesus Trail. David has also worked as a consultant, producing practical resources for sections of trail on Abraham’s Path in Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Turkey.
In 2009, we both walked the Camino de Santiago (Francés route) as personal pilgrimages. We were taken by the simplicity of daily life on the trail, the friendships we were able to build with pilgrims from around the world, and the powerful experience of joining a walking community. In 2011, we decided to return to the Camino in order to complete research for a guidebook. The book, Hiking the Camino de Santiago: Camino Francés, will be published in January 2013. Sign up to be notified when the book is for sale! While there are other guidebooks available in English for the Camino Francés, we felt drawn to create the guidebook we ourselves would want to use, with very accurate and complete practical information, helpful maps with topography, and concise overviews of local history and customs.
Now, in 2012, the Camino is calling us back again! August 20-September 12 we will be walking the Camino del Norte, from Irún to Santiago, to do research for a new guidebook that we hope to publish in March 2013. Currently there are no guidebooks for the Camino del Norte in English* so we look forward to setting the standard and hopefully attracting more people to this rugged and wild coastal route.
Our travel style is low-budget, though we do make every effort to support local businesses and convey utmost respect and appreciation for local peoples! We love to learn about history, architecture, local customs, and we love to stumble our way through new languages, and certainly enjoy a good glass of Rioja wine.
We hope to blog here several times per week as we walk the Camino del Norte. Follow us on our journey!
*The CSJ does have two booklets for the Camino del Norte, but without maps, we would consider them more as “walking notes” than full-blown guidebooks, though they are a helpful resource.