Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 7:00pm

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Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It’s the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike focuses on the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage trail that began around 820 AD and that traverses Spain, ending in Santiago de Compostela, the burial place of St. James the apostle. A resurrection of interest in the Camino since the 1980s has meant that more than 300,000 individuals are nowadays undertaking the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela each year. The author made the pilgrimage in 2016 via the French route from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in France to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, a journey of some 500 miles. Her book incorporates a blog and travel journal she kept during that pilgrimage, with an illustration accompanying each of the 49 days of the journey.  

The book is also a memoir, with Ms. Connor explaining how and why she decided to make the pilgrimage. 

Savoring the Camino de Santiago offers practical advice for those interested in traveling the Camino. While the prevailing culture of the Camino is to walk the route, Ms. Connor believes that walking is not the only way to undertake the Camino. Taking buses, taxis, or even driving are also valid ways to experience the Camino, in her opinion. She advocates for pilgrims to slow down and savor the pilgrimage by stopping in churches, cathedrals, museums, and interesting towns and cities along the route. Not everyone experiences spiritual or personal growth through the act of walking; Ms. Connor urges pilgrims to take the trip in the manner that will most connect them with their spiritual, religious, and transcendent well springs.

After completing the pilgrimage, the author journeyed on to Madrid and Toledo, and there are chapters in the book covering those visits. Ms. Connor also recounts activities following the journey related to the Camino, such as writing an open letter to relevant governmental authorities in Spain and hosting a thank-you dinner in Houston for those who helped her plan and organize her pilgrimage.

The book includes a useful chapter on resources and an index. A blog about the trip, Camino for Boomers (, complements the book by offering many additional color photos as well as updates about events relating to the trip.

Savoring the Camino de Santiago is the first book by author Julie Gianelloni Connor. It is available via IngramSpark, Amazon, or Ms. Connor’s website,

Julie Gianelloni Connor started out thinking she would be a writer, detoured into the U.S. Foreign Service, and after retirement returned to a writing career. She is the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, TX, which focuses on writing about travel, Houston, and international affairs.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Julie finished prep school at The Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts, before heading to Houston for Rice University. Her undergraduate B.A. in English and history was followed by an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Houston. She also studied journalism at Louisiana State University, during which time she interned at the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.

Among her jobs in her 20s, Julie taught English as a Foreign Language in Lisbon (Portugal), Barcelona (Spain), and Wimberly (England); was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Houston; and worked in the private sector for a law firm and an audio company.

In 1981 Julie began her diplomatic career with the U.S. Information Agency, principally working overseas at embassies on press, cultural, and exchange issues. In 1999 USIA was absorbed into the U.S. Department of State, and Julie continued her diplomatic career there until her retirement. During a 33-year career, Julie rose to the senior Foreign Service while serving overseas nine different times in seven different countries: Israel (twice), Paraguay, Guatemala, Indonesia, Colombia (twice), Malaysia, and Chile. She worked in fields as diverse as anti-narcotics, nuclear nonproliferation, and women's issues.

Julie received an M.S. in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington, DC., in 1995, and served as the Diplomat-in-Residence at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas in Austin from 2012-2014.

She was the recipient of numerous awards from USIA and the Department of State, including four Superior Honor Awards and USIA's Equal Employment Opportunity Award. She was a co-founder and the first president of Executive Women at State (EW@S), an organization begun to promote the advancement women at the Department of State.

Julie's company, Bayou City Press, publishes columns on its website,, and sponsors activities such as a travel book club and an international film club. Julie writes travel columns for the Bayou City Press website and has one book completed so far: Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike.

Julie has one son and two cats. She is active in the Houston writing and publishing community.

Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951331016
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 7-10 Days due to Covid-19 shipping delays.
Published: Bayou City Press, LLC - December 10th, 2019