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Food on the Camino.

2020 Camino Guides

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
For me personally the local food was not diverse enough and judging by the number of peregrinos in Leon Burger King, many others feel the same too.

It's fine to eat entirely local food for a weekend or even a week trip, but six weeks is another story. Not everyone likes food that has been drowned in oil. Many are vegetarian too.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
judging by the number of peregrinos in Leon Burger King,
people choosing to eat at Burger King generally reflects on the person choosing, rather than the food available. Unfortunately, some travel from the US wanting the rest of the world to be the US
After providing security escort to a new unit in the Balkans, we needed to stop for dinner (just the two humvees of us). I was excited to actually eat somewhere other than the DFAC. I offered to buy dinner for the Capt and the enlisted men. They chose an American fast food place. The one night, in maybe a year, to eat something else. I handed over my forints with a sigh, and volunteered to wait at the humvees with the Capt and our weapons, while they happily went off to order for us.
edit: for what it's worth, I think of many places with favorite foods, and the place I ate in Leon had the best paella negra I had in 90 days. Just my taste, or luck of the draw...but Leon made the "best of" cut for me.
 

Tincatinker

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
'menu peregrino' does not represent local food.
Two thousand 'likes' and a similar number of 'smileys'. The 'menu peregrino' on some occasions barely represents food ;) it is cheaply produced bland fodder provided to a customer who will never be seen again. At least sample the 'menu del dia' even if that means eating your main meal between 1 & 3pm. Or try 'que hay para comer?' or look at what the locals are eating and try 'Voy a tener un poco de ese'.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
But...(to me anyway) the joy of travelling is to eat the local food! It's also the best adapted to the local resources and climate. I'm thinking caldo gallego in Galicia, Salmorejo in the South, fish dishes in the North etc etc
:confused:
Give me the simple local dishes, tried and tested over the centuries, anytime !
Anyway, you can only get a decent steak and chips in France :p;)
What about Cocido Maragato??? :D;)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route.
For me personally the local food was not diverse enough and judging by the number of peregrinos in Leon Burger King, many others feel the same too.

It's fine to eat entirely local food for a weekend or even a week trip, but six weeks is another story. Not everyone likes food that has been drowned in oil. Many are vegetarian too.
You're kidding, right?

I suppose if you depend each night on "Menu Peregrino" you might come to that conclusion.
However, if you get out and explore the local restaurants . . . I find the Spanish food QUITE diverse, changing with each region, and especially healthy, compared to American fast food in particular.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
After providing security escort to a new unit in the Balkans, ...

I handed over my forints with a sigh...
Forints would be in Hungary which is kind of not Balkans. Otherwise in Bosnia and Hercegovina there are Bosnian marks (as former German marks), dinars in Serbia and kunas in Croatia :)
But apart from that, for me, the best food worldwide in that region. Yummy :D
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Forints would be in Hungary which is kind of not Balkans. Otherwise in Bosnia and Hercegovina there are Bosnian marks (as former German marks), dinars in Serbia and kunas in Croatia :)
But apart from that, for me, the best food worldwide in that region. Yummy :D
I know Hungarians would say that but I think they kind of are...however, the escort was into Croatia, but dining in Hungary (sort of, if American fast food could be called that:() but it made them happy, so it was all good
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
I know Hungarians would say that but I think they kind of are...however, the escort was into Croatia, but dining in Hungary (sort of, if American fast food could be called that:() but it made them happy, so it was all good
Ah, I understand :)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Sorry mods, she indeed sent me a PM :D
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
Please tell me that you are kidding, please, please, pretty please!!! SY
I am not kidding. I am talking more about the small towns and villages. The food was pretty much the same in every bar. Veggies usually ended up eating Ensalada Mixta and Tortilla Patatas.

I eat meat but was not keen on the carne, processed sausage or oily fish that the Spanish love. I met a vegan and she was really struggling. The poor thing even got food poisoning too.

It's a personal thing, but after many years of globe trotting I cannot think of a national cuisine that I dislike more than Spanish.

P.S. I adore pretty much everything else Spanish!
 

Margaret Butterworth

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2013 (Pamplona to Burgos)
2014 (Burgos to Villafranca del Bierzo)
2015 (Villafranca to Santiago)
2016 (Le Puy to Conques; SJPP To Pamplona)
I agree that after a couple of weeks of menu peregrinos, a change is in order! I've just been in China for 2 weeks and was longing for a Western meal. At Kunming Airport, I saw the Golden Arches and rushed in. What a disappointment: it was not quality controlled by Macdonalds in any way. They only served chicken, for a start. When you are weary from travelling, some comfort food is "just what the doctor ordered". If I were running an albergue, I would be serving cottage pie!
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I liked the ensalada mixta, as long as they didn't add hamo_O:)...best was in a little two-albergue town just short of estella. I loved just about everything I ordered in Spain (sorry it wasn't so for others), but I eat fish/seafood so i lived on grilled trout, grilled pulpo, seafood paella, shrimp anything....mmmmmm. did i mention the pulpo. and the pimentos de padron. and the dorado, ah the dorado...I made a joke with my family that goldfish never tasted so good. bacalao al pil pil...and did I mention the pulpo:)...
and most menus had me at 'la plancha' whatever came before it.
if there is anything I must one day master in the kitchen, it is tortilla patatas...I've tried but it's not pretty when I'm done.:eek: seriously could eat it every day for the rest of my life, especially like the one I had at the caballo de salto [edit...salto caballo? the one with the big horse statue and sea views near onton...]
but as much as I loved eating in Spain, when a French pilgrim and I compared notes on the best food around the world, mussels and pommes frites in Belgium won.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
... I cannot think of a national cuisine that I dislike more than Spanish. ...
Actually, there isn't a "Spanish National Cuisine", like in most European countries there are mostly regional specialities based on what is/was available in the respective regions. Here a few examples:

Migas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migas are prepared very differently depending on the region.
Trout Soup - a speciality around Hospital de Orbigo, less than a soup more of a bread soufflé
Cordero asado - (wood) oven-baked lamb, a spring speciality in Castilla
Lamb chops grilled over vine roots - a speciality from the Rioja
Chickpeas with spinach and spices - you can find them in Sevilla f.e.
Or Gazpacho
Or fresh fish and seafood in Galicia
...

Now I am hungry! SY
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Santiago-Finistera-Muxia. April/May 2012
Sarria-Santiago Sept. 2013
SJPP - Almost Orrison April 2014
I love the food in Spain, and when you get away from the tourist areas of Spain where the menu's can be very samey, the different regions have their own particular dishes, of which they are very proud. Many people I know try to eat similar meals to the ones they eat at home when they travel abroad, and this is something I cannot understand. Each to their own I suppose.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route.
I am not kidding. I am talking more about the small towns and villages. The food was pretty much the same in every bar. Veggies usually ended up eating Ensalada Mixta and Tortilla Patatas.

I eat meat but was not keen on the carne, processed sausage or oily fish that the Spanish love. I met a vegan and she was really struggling. The poor thing even got food poisoning too.

It's a personal thing, but after many years of globe trotting I cannot think of a national cuisine that I dislike more than Spanish.

P.S. I adore pretty much everything else Spanish!

Well, I might suggest that the vegan you met wasn't trying hard enough. ::ducking the incoming tomatoes:::

I've taken many vegan and vegetarians in my groups and they are usually VERY happy with the availability of wonderfully fresh and ripe fruits and vegetables and a variety of salads (sin atun). Also plenty of aceitunas, dried fruits, nuts, berries, pretty much anything a vegan or vegetarian would need, and quite cheap. Example: A cheramoya that I pay $6.99 for her in Portland, Oregon cost me under 1 euro in Spain.

The fact that you dislike Spanish food - well that's just a preference - doesn't mean anything is WRONG with it.
It's a different culture. Instead of comparing it with your own and/or trying to change it, it might be interesting to embrace the changes and grow from new experiences and tastes.

I don't particularly care for German food but a lot of people rave about it.
But when I visit Germany, I eat what's put in front of me.

Seems to me more of a case of wanting tourist treatment at pilgrim prices.
And what comes to mind is "A tourist demands; a pilgrim is grateful."

Sorry if this sounds rude, but I'm about worn out with people with unreasonably high expectations on what has become a VERY budget-priced vacation.
 
S

simply B

Guest
Somehow I missed the promos for "pilgrimage" as a "food tour", but yes, I have seen folks attempting it.:)

I'm the cook for the household and I am capable of turning out what my family calls "peasant food" in seven different cuisines. I am forever grateful to the Basque, Castilians and Galicians for #5-7.

There's healthy food out there for maintaining a full "fuel tank" for the walker but one does have to broaden the search for variety on a personal basis. On that note, I am in complete agreement that finding green veg on a menu was often a chore. I made it a point to always have a spare apple or two (plus a scrubbed carrot in a baggie) in my pack to compensate.

Anyway, sorry your expectations were not met. (Serious, not sarcastic.)

B
 

bunnymac

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2012 SJPP-Logrono, 2013 Logrono-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon
CF August/September 2016 SJPP- Santiago
Seek and ye shall find. I travelled with my vegan daughter this year (I'm a meat eater). With the exception of some very small towns, we found the food to be both excellent and diverse. If you want inexpensive food in Spain, you will generally get locally produced, seasonal food. Hence the sameness. Have a look around you, there's plenty more on offer than the menu peregrino.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
I am not a "foodie" and am not an adventurous eater. I have not been positively impressed with the cuisine on the Camino, and would agree with the OP's statement to some extent. On the camino, it can be a bit difficult to easily get the amount of crisp fresh vegetables and fruit that I normally eat.
For me personally the local food was not diverse enough
However, I think it is going too far to suggest that Burger King represents much diversity (although I can certainly enjoy a yummy fast food break anywhere after walking 25 km). Or more importantly, that the pilgrim fare represents "local food."

As a young adult student of Spanish many years ago, I spent a couple of months in a Spanish home and was the star pupil at the dinner table. That experience influenced my eating patterns for life. Camino cuisine is not local cuisine.
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
I echo many others here and myself on other food threads in this forum.

There is no Spanish cuisine but Regional Spanish cuisine. For instance Paella is a dish from the region of Valencia and is made freshly and will take some time to prepare and cook. Deepfrozen Paella served somewhere on the meseta is not authentic.

Pay 2 € more and ask for the menu del dia instead of the menu peregrino. When you stop for instance at 2 in the afternoon, get to the albergue, wash your clothes then 3 pm will be ideal for the menu del dia. Main meal at lunch so you can have something light made by yourself in the kitchen's albergue so you won't have to wait till 9.30 or ten for another restaurant meal ( when in albergue too late anyway to return because the doors will close ).

In smaller towns not all small shops/ tiendas will be visible from the outside. For some you will have to ring the bell.
Yes of course choice will be limited but then again do we need to be able to choose out of 20 brands of yoghurt etc...?
That is what I like about walking a Camino : the simplicity of life and getting to the essence...

In bigger towns : the mercado central : fresh produce at it's best. No needless packaging and plastic bags. Pure produce. Had interesting conversations with the stallowners about how to prepare certain vegetables.

Pais Vasco / Basque Country has the most Michelin rated restaurants per capita compared with the rest of Europe. Even more, the prices in these restos are hardly any higher than price in a mediocre brasserie here in Belgium.

And be open and adventurous when travelling abroad and not only when it comes to food.

Sorry for my rant but I get a bit tired defending my favourite cuisine:). This household has btw two big defenders of the mediterranean cuisine : OH goes for Italy and I will go for Spain. We got it covered quite well I think.;)
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I could not agree more. I thought I would starve for the first 48 hours of my Camino. Then I discovered the rhythm I needed: morning snack of fruit bought fresh the day before (oh ok, and magdalenas--those are addicting), walk 5-10km then coffee/juice/tostada, 5-8 more and tortilla, pass a market and buy fruits/veggies, another 10-20 find restaurant that looks appealing/go get bed/clean self and clothes/return for lunch at time locals eat...bonus talk with locals...explore town, salad or veggies/fruit/cheese for snack later and repeat. Sometimes I had the menu del dia, and if I wanted more veggies or no meat they would let me have two first course salads. More often I ordered a la carte because I wanted to eat what they'd recommended, or because they had dorado. Maybe food was just a higher priority to me :rolleyes:
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
One important tip there hidden deeply in @Smallest_Sparrow 's post:

When eating any menu it is perfectly ok to order two 'primeros' (firsts) instead of a primero and a secundo (second). That way you can have a salad and a plate of veggies and a dessert if you like that ;-) Que aprovecho, SY
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
One important tip there hidden deeply in @Smallest_Sparrow 's post:

When eating any menu it is perfectly ok to order two 'primeros' (firsts) instead of a primero and a secundo (second). That way you can have a salad and a plate of veggies and a dessert if you like that ;-) Que aprovecho, SY
And in addition : postre is or dessert or coffee. Although I happily pay the 1 € for that extra cortado.:)

Ps : Oh from last Camino I remember in Negreira en route to Fisterra stopping for a very decent menu del dia. Casa Barquiero. https://www.facebook.com/RestauranteCasaBarqueiro/
14€ for menu del dia and then the coffee afterwards.
First : Verduras a la plancha with lots of green asparagus, carrots, mushrooms and kind of green I don't know the name of.
Main : Chipirones a la plancha with rice. Basket of fresh bread and a very decent bottle of Rioja that was left on the table.
Dessert : tarta de queso de la casa.
They were so friendly for me although they do cater for the more upmarket crowd ( Michelin sticker at the front door ) and I was in full scruffy pilgrim gear.
Restaurant has part bar / tapas area and part formal dining room. I choose the informal first part which is always nicer when travelling solo imho.
I remember the business type local patrons patting on my shoulder and wishing me Buen Camino.;)
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Sabine's choice in Negreira for a menu del dia sounds great! Another delicious Negreira option is at the Cafe Bar Imperial which serves has a VERY good, home cooked, copious menu del dia for 8 euros!! Here is their link.
www.barimperial.es/cms/.
The friendly barman/owner is English and his wife Spanish. At lunch in winter I was the only other woman in the place, but they graciously made me feel at home.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Another benefit I noticed about trying a local place and ordering regional food--the waiter/owner appreciates your appreciation of what they offer. I imagine it can get old seeing people not even glance at a list of food you've labored over, and who appear more interested in how much wine will come with the meal than the meal itself. I admit to liking food, and being especially adventurous, so it may have been easier for me to compliment the food or guess the subtle ingredient that made the dish...or even just knowing that the dish you ordered is the one for which that region is famous
You never know, complimenting a cook on her torte might get you a second slice wrapped up to go:)
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.
Sabine's choice in Negreira for a menu del dia sounds great! Another delicious Negreira option is at the Cafe Bar Imperial which serves has a VERY good, home cooked, copious menu del dia for 8 euros!! Here is their link.
www.barimperial.es/cms/.
The friendly barman/owner is English and his wife Spanish. At lunch in winter I was the only other woman in the place, but they graciously made me feel at home.
Check for next time.
And then first aperitivo at Bar O Coton where they serve a gigantic free tapa with your drink. If you have three drinks there you will not need any dinner afterwards anyway...
https://www.facebook.com/barocoton/
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
In defense of @long trails - the food along the Camino is not something I particularly praise, for several reasons:
  • Eating out everyday, anywhere, for 6 weeks gets tiresome.
  • I don't eat shellfish and don't like pulpo.
  • Dry boccadillos hurt the roof of my mouth.
  • Shopping for veggies is awkward when you don't know what the kitchen situation will be or what to do with the rest of the head of cauliflower or celery.
  • It's a nuisance to carry an assorted supply of plain nuts and grains to put in plain yoghurt (sometimes hard to find the plain unsweetened), but I try.
  • I am not a big communal cooking enthusiast, although I'm usually happy to eat and clean with others. Besides I'm too tired to want to organize a meal, go shopping for it, and then cook it and clean up!
  • There is a sameness to the pilgrim fare usually offered. (That is somewhat an understatement.)
Here, I am not complaining and I am able to happily work around the situation. That is part of the challenge, adventure and trials of the trail. I have had some fabulous food in Spain, but a lot of mediocre as well. Don't go on the Camino expecting to be wowed by the food! (Remember?... expectations)
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I tended to buy fruits and veggies that came in single serving sizes, but if I had extra anything I usually found offering it as free found it a taker--and that's how I got rid of any excess cheese I might have. I tended to avoid buying food that required a kitchen--eating raw fruits and veggies, cheese, bread, etc. so I didn't have to predict the kitchen situation.

While I love fish, I'm told the pork in Spain is amazing (I try to avoid pork in honor of a lost friend), as is the lamb (I can't eat baby anything, or anything I'd like to hug); I can speak positively about the veggies...I think there is something for most people to enjoy. I didn't expect wonderful food but I found it everywhere (perhaps my standards are low--I've been happy with food in every country I've been to, and those have been pretty well spread around the world).

since I'm single I'm used to either eating out or preparing a meal for one, so having to do one or the other on the camino was not unusual either. the only big change was going to lunch as my big meal rather than dinner...but that's a healthier way to eat anyway and I try to continue that at home (not as easy when friends and family expect the big meal at the end of the day)

that's just how I learned to enjoy eating my way across Spain, results for others may not be the same.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
And in fairness, I only walked on the Frances from SJPdP to Irache, Leon to Ponferrada, and Melide to SdC...so there could be vast dietary wastelands elsewhere on the CF. but the parts I walked were great, as were all the other caminos upon which I walked.
 
S

simply B

Guest
on the Norte this encourages extortionist horses who walk behind you nudging your pack:eek:
@Smallest_Sparrow

Oh, you don’t need to walk the Norte (though I probably will) to be molested by mendicant equines.

Ran into this fellow just outside of Virgen del Camino on the walk to Mazarife and got suckered by those big brown eyes.

He was unimpressed with the apple offered and ate grudgingly…. something about pilgrim offerings not being diverse enough. I may have misunderstood as I am not fluent in “horse”.;)

B
 

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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
these two were the first but not the last on the Norte...outside of Zarautz they blocked the path. I walked around them and one ran ahead to block it again while the other walked behind me pushing on my pack
 

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long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
After 3 weeks of eating the same food BK did make a nice change. I appreciate it's junk, but I found a lot of pilgrim menus to be junk too. Every meal seemed to come with fries and dripping in oil!

Paying EUR 10 a day for one meal is not affordable to everyone.

Many of the small shops had a very poor range of fresh vegetables, most of which looked like it had been on display for a year. The best supermarket I found on he Camino was French one!

For me, the food is the worst part of the Camino. I am doing the Le Puy route next season and expecting a much better food experience.
 

SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
What are you giving up?

Can you not accept that Spanish food isn't everyone's cup of tea?
Again, there is nothing like "Spanish Food", what you, most likely mean, is "the food I ate/found in Spain". There is a difference as you can see from a lot of posts that state that there is excellent food to be found in Spain if you really look for it. Buen Camino, SY
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Surely if in Spain we can expect Spanish food. Personally we love it, but then we ask for Menu del Dia not menu del peregrino. Usually eat at lunch time (Spanish time) and then DIY bocadillo type snack in the evening, or tortilla/tapas. We have had some amazing meals including braised tongue, stewed rabbit, fabadas, ternero etc. We don't do seafood usually or any pulpo. Also 10€ is not much for a good meal once a day IMO when you get almost too much to eat plus drink. Water for us. :)
Mm - can't wait for next year.................
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
if there is anything I must one day master in the kitchen, it is tortilla patatas...I've tried but it's not pretty when I'm done.:eek: .
I find mine work best when I pre-cook and dry mash the potatoes, then stir the cool/cold mash into the egg mix. Cheating maybe but it looks good and tastes right! A post walk lunch here at home
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
Again, there is nothing like "Spanish Food", what you, most likely mean, is "the food I ate/found in Spain". There is a difference as you can see from a lot of posts that state that there is excellent food to be found in Spain if you really look for it. Buen Camino, SY
One of the best meals we have eaten, came after a long (for us) tiring day. An elderly store / cafe owner kindly cooked for us. Tin of soup off the shelf followed very quickly by a delicious home made stew. We thought we recognised the meat and asked her what it was. With some hesitation she said "rabbit?". "Oh" we said "we like rabbit!" One delighted hostess, two very satisfied customers :) . We thought afterwards that because of the speed with which it arrived, it was probably their own supper which she had served to two very hungry and weary pilgrims!!
I have only eaten a "Menu de Peregrino" once :eek:. Cheap and nasty would be my definition. In fact, the home made stew was cheaper :):)

Try just off the Camino in villages!!!

Blessings on all Spanish cooks
Tio Tel
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
In many countries you can find alternatives to the local food in the smallest of towns or villages. I didn't find this the case in Spain. Most bars I went in had identical menus and the same tapas on the counter.

There is no law to say you must eat local food. I have visited a few other countries and not been fond of the cuisine, even somewhere like Thailand. Eating the local food is important to some visitors, but not everyone. I roll my eyes when I hear that I'm missing out.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I find mine work best when I pre-cook and dry mash the potatoes, then stir the cool/cold mash into the egg mix. Cheating maybe but it looks good and tastes right! A post walk lunch here at home
I've tried a recipe that had me cook the potatoes and onions the night before but not mash them. Maybe that's ito_O
We don't do seafood usually or any pulpo.
Good! more for me!! Primitivo and pulpo, keep the secret;)
In many countries you can find alternatives to the local food
I roll my eyes when I hear that I'm missing out.
ok. :rolleyes: we're not trying to change your mind, because I'm pretty sure that's not possible. We are just not agreeing with you...I have no doubt you will find people to eat "american fast food style food" at your planned albergue...and others of us who will walk past and actually try to recreate the food you didn't like or try, once we get home. It took me years (and three cookbooks) to get Iraqi rice close to what I had there, but I got the bakalava right right away...and now I feel tortilla is within my reach:)
I hope you don't mind that I enjoy local foodo_O
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I do want to address the comment about not affording 10 Euro for a pilgrim meal. First--most are saying don't eat the pilgrim meal. Second, you can buy food in small restaurants at a reasonable price. Third, you can cook for yourself, either your home style food or try cooking a local dish, or trade off nationality cooking with other pilgrims --this also saves money (and before anyone says they don't want to cook for themselves--please, you really only have two choices when eating, eat out or cook for yourself, unless you brought your personal chef along). But if you planned to walk across America and eat on less than $10 a day you would be eating a lot worse than you would in Spain. And buying American fast food anywhere else in the world is more expensive than eating local or cooking for yourself for what you get. People need to actually plan and budget for their trip.:eek::eek: In reading Briery's book on walking the El Camino Real in California, he notes they ate many breakfasts and lunches at 7-11 to keep costs down:eek: I hate to think what someone would think of California cooking after eating two meals a day at 7-11 for 56 days:(
edit: for non-US readers, 7-11 is a small 24/7 shop that sells soda, chips, beer, toothpaste, etc, sometimes gas, and usually hot dogs of uncertain age
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
It took me 4 Caminos until I understood how to get away from same old same old on the Camino, and that was on the Norte, where the bulk of those walking were Spanish: menu del dia around 2-3 pm after arriving at the albergue. In fact, if you expected much to eat at 7pm you were out of luck. So changing one's walking schedule is part of the solution. The other is avoiding the Frances....

Recently purchased this cook book of Basque cuisine. And it is just as much of a read as it is recipes.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1607747618/?tag=camiforu-20

So, if I was to walk day after day at home, in small villages, what would I find to eat? Horrible dishwater people call coffeee to start with. Yikes! Never order regular coffee in Canada, and especially not Tim Horton's. At least Mc Donald's now has esprssos and lattes. Then for breakfast I would have to eat 2 fried eggs, with frenchfries and white toasts. Lunch would be a poutine or 2 hotdogs with a coke and fries. Dinner: a hamburger with fries and a coke. No thanks. And not a veggie or fruit in sight. Would not even be able to find a small shop that would sell them, and the larger grocery stores would have imported them from abroad. And bread woukd be that slice white rectangle. No good...

Eating out three meals a day in a rural area day after day after day will get old no matter where you are, no matter what the local cusine is. But it does get worse if you don't know what to look for, as is the case when we keep ordering the pilgrim menu. There are ways around it. Ask for alternatives, ask them to add tomato, lettuce, mayo, etc. in the otherwise stale bocadillo.

I always eat in reataurants in Spain, only shop for food in grocery stores when I am spending the night in an albergue where there is no alternative, and may even have to bring food in from the town before. And in those cases take a look at the frozen food section and pick up a huge lazagna for 2€, or thin slices of pork, prepackaged, that you can grill with a red pepper for example. Just look at what the Spaniards are able to cook in an albergue: magic with little next to nothing. I find it is as expensive to eat out than buy a at the grocery store for ine person. And 10€ for your main meal, often only addidng breakfast, for a menu del dia does not make the Camino expensive.

But let's admit it, there is a place in the Camino market for more variety, so many new albergues, so few curry shops. I have visions of working as a cooking hospy and bringing kilos of curry spices to prepare a different evening meal. Potatoes, chick peas, frozen peas, aubergines, tomatoes, all staples for different Indian dishes easily found in Spanish villages ...
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
I am doing the Le Puy route next season and expecting a much better food experience.
I've just come back from the Le Puy route. The food was for the most part fantastic. Far better and more varied than what I had walking the Camino Frances. Apart from a couple of restaurants and a couple of times that a group of us cooked, I ate the communal meal.
If the Gite was on a Farm/Ferme i normally went for it. And never regretted it. One place had a cheese board selection with 11 different cheeses on it. If you stay on a dairy farm there is a good chance the milk, cheese and yoghurt will be from that farm.
I didn't stay in flashy expensive places, most were average price or less. The food and the lack of bunk beds are improvements on the Frances.
Not a fan of the breakfasts, I don't like jam or orange juice. On the CF if you don't have breakfast at the albergue you just go to a cafe. On the Le Puy route if you don't have breakfast you may not see anywhere to eat until your evening stop.
 

kayagee66

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2016)
Le Puy - Roncesvalles (2016)
Figeac - Cahors (2017)
Stevenson Trail (2018
Why?

Tio Tel
Why do you need to ask?
One of the most snobbish generalisations I've read on this forum.
It totally implies that tourists are not grateful, and that pilgrims do not demand.
And as for the hierarchy of tourists and pilgrims, I find the whole thing childish and nonsense.
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Why do you need to ask?
One of the most snobbish generalisations I've read on this forum.
It totally implies that tourists are not grateful, and that pilgrims do not demand.
And as for the hierarchy of tourists and pilgrims, I find the whole thing childish and nonsense.
No, it implies that some pilgrims act like the worst sort of tourist while others are simply grateful for what is offered. Many tourists are very demanding, others are grateful. It is just a generalisation but makes a point. Demanding certain types of food/accommodation etc and cheap prices seems to me to be lacking in the pilgrim spirit. However others may well disagree and feel that it is always OK to demand what we want rather than being grateful for the provision of what we need.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
sigh. I had to hit 'show ignored content' to understand Tio Tel's comment. I'm sorry i did that.
I'm not a fan of the statement, and don't use it myself because so many people have vague definitions of what defines a pilgrim, and I agree a tourist is not necessarily demanding...but I do believe a pilgrim should be grateful.
according to Merriam Webster:
tourist: a person who travels to a place for pleasure
according to dictionary.com
pilgrim:a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion

tourists might demand, but pilgrims probably should not
tourists might be grateful, but pilgrims probably should be

note to self, do not hit the "show ignored content" button any more
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
There's more than one definition of pilgrim

1. A religious devotee who journeys to a shrine or sacred place.
2. A person who travels, especially to foreign lands or to a place of great personal importance.

And personally, I don't care if someone is a pilgrim. We are all human beings and deserve respect, regardless of reasons for walking the Camino.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
Not really fair to judge a 10-15 euro pilgrim's menu/menu del dia along the Camino in the same way one would judge and critique food for say an article in a food and wine magazine. If you want better, more authentic, diverse, whatever food you gotta pony up and open that wallet. Explore off the Camino. Pilgrim's menus are quick, fast and easy for the restaurant and kick back a good profit margin. Plain and simple.
I saw them as a good deal (three course with vino and pan? hell yeah :) ), and certainly nothing to piss and moan about. Heck, what you expect for 10-15 euros ya cheap charlies #10, ha ha.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Not really fair to judge a 10-15 euro pilgrim's menu/menu del dia along the Camino in the same way one would judge and critique food for say an article in a food and wine magazine. If you want better, more authentic, diverse, whatever food you gotta pony up and open that wallet. Explore off the Camino. Pilgrim's menus are quick, fast and easy for the restaurant and kick back a good profit margin. Plain and simple.
I saw them as a good deal (three course with vino and pan? hell yeah :) ), and certainly nothing to piss and moan about. Heck, what you expect for 10-15 euros ya cheap charlies #10, ha ha.
At home I'd have to pay more than that for just the wine! :)
 

Pingüigrino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Aragones, Vasco del Interior, Baztanes. (Frances Winter, La Plata, Camino de Invierno, Mozarabe, Norte, Primitivo.)
sigh. I had to hit 'show ignored content' to understand Tio Tel's comment. I'm sorry i did that.
I'm not a fan of the statement, and don't use it myself because so many people have vague definitions of what defines a pilgrim, and I agree a tourist is not necessarily demanding...but I do believe a pilgrim should be grateful.
according to Merriam Webster:
tourist: a person who travels to a place for pleasure
according to dictionary.com
pilgrim:a person who journeys, especially a long distance, to some sacred place as an act of religious devotion

tourists might demand, but pilgrims probably should not
tourists might be grateful, but pilgrims probably should be

note to self, do not hit the "show ignored content" button any more
Hi Smallest sparrow. I`ve been reading your posts on this thread and making my mouth wather. I`ve reading (and remenbering) about Iraq´s rice, the food at Bosnia, the veggies at Afghanistan... Yummy! Like you have said wherever you go try the food of this country. Well I know you are wanting to try spanish tortilla de patatas. Try to do it the way this tutorial teachs. it´s very similar to the "true recipe". ;) ( There are not true recipe. Everybody in Spain will tell you if asked " The true recipe is my mom´s recipe" :D


Buen Camino to you, all honest people.
 
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SYates

Camino Fossil AD 1999
Camino(s) past & future
First: Camino Francés 1999
...
Last: Santiago - Muxia 2019

Now: http://egeria.house/
Regarding the pilgrim/tourist quote, what about turning the table around? Note 'you' is meant in general terms, not singling out a particular person.

If you demand (in a loud voice and because you paid for it!!!)- You are more of a tourist.
If you are thankful for what is offered (and leave your donation/pay a just price) - You are more of a pilgrim.

Buen Camino, SY
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Sorry if this is slightly off topic, but I love Spain's quirkier museums, and was very disappointed that Luarca's Giant Squid Museum (on the Norte) was closed when I walked past last November. However, on the Vía de la Plata, I have hugely enjoyed Monesterio's Museo del Jamón and Casar de Cáceres' Museo del Queso, based on its delicious (and horrifically expensive) torta del Casar. Now if somebody would open a Museo del Pan (preferably in Cea, on the Sanabrés, home of the world's only DOC bread), I would have a full bocadillo.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Hy Smallest sparrow. I.ve been reading your posts on this thread and making my mouth wather. i.ve reading about Iraq´s rice, the food at Bosnia, the veggies at Afaganistan... Yummy! Like you have said wherever you go try the food of this country. Well I know you ae wanting to tri spanish tortilla de patatas. Try to do it the way this tutorial teachs. it´s very similar to the "true recipe". ;) ( There are not true recipe. Everybody in Spain will tell you if asked " The true recipe is my mom´s recipe" :D


Buen Camino to you, all honest people.
thank you! anyone care to guess what is on the menu tomorrow at my place?:)
as for the rice, I think the trick is the oil cooking the rice at the bottom, sort of like the bottom of a paella pan (my paella is not too bad;))...but no matter what I do, the Iraqi rice is not the same....i guess like favorite memories, hard to recreate
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
just so no one thinks I mean a pilgrim must be religiously motivated (as you all may recall, my own relationship in that regard is complicated, and I prefer to speak of walkers, not pilgrims)...I do believe any one who is religiously motivated should be leaning much more toward grateful, or certainly less toward demanding. And the world would be a happier place if we could all lean in those directions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route.
A thousand dislikes. Utter claptrap.
I stand by the quote as posted, and as used by many experienced volunteers along the Camino, and the truth of it as enforced by my own personal experience many years along the route escorting both pilgrims and tourists.

If we disagree it only means we disagree. :)
You may dislike it.
Your experience and opinion may be different.
It does not mean the quote does not ring true, in my experience.
 

Michael Caleigh

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo September 2016
I am vegan and walked the Camino Primitivo. I am a fluent spanish speaker and had the best food ever. They even made me tortilla de patatas instead with egg with harina de garbanzos-.......I remember the Bar Menendez where the owner went above and beyond to get me fed and I couldn´t even finish my plate. I must say that I only ate where the locals went and not places where many pìlgrims were. Will soon write about places and show them on my blog.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy (2010; 2016), Norte, Primitivo, Muxia/Fisterra (2010), Mozarabe, Via de la Plata, Sanabres (2011), Arles, Aragones, Frances (2015)
I get what you're saying here, Long trails, although...
It's fine to eat entirely local food for a weekend or even a week trip, but six weeks is another story.
...? ...? ...? I'm puzzled here... o_O?
Why walk a 6 weeks Camino then? Why traveling at all?
Even more puzzled, how do you manage not to eat mostly local food on a long journey? (Apart from fast-foods, which are... come on, really?!?)
Even more more puzzled, you're "Long trails" and you've been traveling around the globe, right?
...? ...? ...? I'm puzzled here... o_O?
;)


 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I am a fluent spanish speaker
I'm beginning to suspect that is part of the problem for those who don't fare so well feeding themselves on the Camino. Word of advice to those wondering: you don't have to speak Spanish, but if you want to really enjoy yourself learn enough words to be pleasant, to get emergency help, and to buy food in a market or order in a restaurant.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
I've always looked upon more than one factor in determining what makes a meal great and taste, ambiance, presentation, etc does not always come into play.
The meals in albergues I prepared and ate with friends I met along the Way were far from Michelin Guide, multi star rated as far as taste, presentation etc, but they were great to me and some of my fondest memories on the Camino.
One time in Pamplona I went into one restaurant (don't even remember which one) for dinner. I did the old menu del dia bit. As it was just after the San Fermin festivities had ended, it so happened one of the choices for the main course was a beef stew in a wine sauce made with meat from one of the infamous bulls from the runs just days earlier. Too cool. No way would had I ever thought I'd dine on one of those fierce bovines one day, and it happened to be pretty good too.
More than once I stayed in Logrono and went out and had tapas and wine until late at night with fellow pilgrims. So many variety of tapas it was hard to decide, but all were good.
I'm sure my experiences like that are not unique, and others on here can share similar stories.
Some of the best meals are under the most simple circumstances. I remember one time when I was in the military and we had just wrapped up a field exercise after several days eating MRE's rations (food in a rubber bag). On that last day they flew in hot chow for us on helos. Vats with spaghetti and meat sauce and boxes of garlic bread. That chow would have never won any awards, but damn, it sure was good that night.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Some of the best meals are under the most simple circumstances.
There was rice that was part of a celebration dinner after two of our pilots were rescued after an emergency off base landing in Iraq...I try to recreate it, but I think in part it will never be the same, because it will not be that night again.

I say San Miguel (Estella) and Domus Dei (Foncebadon) are in a three-way tie for best stops, but if I were forced to choose-- #1 is the monastery at Ziortza. Water, dry bread, and simple soup that had cooled quite a bit by the time it was carried from the monks' kitchen to our pilgrim room. The French pilgrim (a chef in France) and I had to pantomime to understand each other, and had been discussing the best food around the world for over an hour by the time dinner arrived. Still, this was the best meal I had on the camino.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
There was rice that was part of a celebration dinner after two of our pilots were rescued after an emergency off base landing in Iraq...I try to recreate it, but I think in part it will never be the same, because it will not be that night again.

I say San Miguel (Estella) and Domus Dei (Foncebadon) are in a three-way tie for best stops, but if I were forced to choose-- #1 is the monastery at Ziortza. Water, dry bread, and simple soup that had cooled quite a bit by the time it was carried from the monks' kitchen to our pilgrim room. The French pilgrim (a chef in France) and I had to pantomime to understand each other, and had been discussing the best food around the world for over an hour by the time dinner arrived. Still, this was the best meal I had on the camino.
The last time I walked the CF I stopped in Santo Domingo de la Calzada for the night. At the albergue I was staying at around 3:00 pm local townspeople put together a free meal for everyone staying at the albergue. It was in appreciation to all pilgrims who pass through the town and the positive effect this has had on the town's economy. The meal was served on long tables. Consisted of a traditional local stew made from potatoes and chorizo. Apparently the region grows a lot of potatoes. We were also served bread and wine, and local young ladies served us our meals wearing traditional dress from that region. The mayor spoke to us as did other town officials. It was wonderful. So hospitable and kind. The stew was simple, but hearty (I had three helpings) and the wine flowed freely and there were piles of bread.
Great memory. Wish I had taken a photo.
 
M

Mark Lee

Guest
That dish is called Patatas a la Riojana - one of my favorites! BC SY
A couple of years ago when I walked the CF, the albergue I stayed in at SJPdP had dinner included and for dessert we had a traditional Basque cake (I guess it was a cake). It was delicious, and so moist (almost custard like inside). Any idea what that would have been?
 

SabineP

Camino = Empathy + Compassion.
Camino(s) past & future
some and then more. see my signature.

MCFearnley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ponferrada to Santiago (September 2016)
The best meals I had on the my Camino this past September were either Jamon Serrano/curado or Chorizo, cheese, a tomato or carrot and a fruit purchased at a local grocery store perched on a stone wall or on a bench in the grand open air. :) As a close second was the tortilla de patatas. Being celiac, I had to find food that would be "sin gluten". It was trickier in the bars, cafes and restaurants so I mainly self catered although ome places did understand the concept of sin gluten and in those places I had some nice (even if basic) meals. I could have eaten the Jamon Serrano every day it was that good. One package of ham and a package of cheese would do me for two meals. I did have a packet of gluten free oatmeal that I brought with me every day for breakfast and I had two of the four backpacker meals brought with me - once on a very rainy day when I did not want to go out and another time when I was too pooped to climb the hill from the albergue to get into town. :p
 

MCFearnley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ponferrada to Santiago (September 2016)
I did salivate over the Tarta de Santiago, but did not dare try it until I found a shop in Santiago that sold one labeled Sin Gluten. I bought the smallest size (300g) and thought I would have half and save the other half for breakfast. Good intentions were shot when I ate the whole thing in one sitting :eek::rolleyes::);):p
Yummy and I don't regret it at all. :D
 

AcrossTheWater3008

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
C Frances x 2 - 2016, 2017
C Portuguese x 2 2016, 2017
C Muxia/Finisterra x 2 2016, 17
CdM
IMG_20160725_142109.jpg IMG_20160725_141159.jpg IMG_20160725_142109.jpg IMG_20160725_141159.jpg
The last time I walked the CF I stopped in Santo Domingo de la Calzada for the night. At the albergue I was staying at around 3:00 pm local townspeople put together a free meal for everyone staying at the albergue. It was in appreciation to all pilgrims who pass through the town and the positive effect this has had on the town's economy. The meal was served on long tables. Consisted of a traditional local stew made from potatoes and chorizo. Apparently the region grows a lot of potatoes. We were also served bread and wine, and local young ladies served us our meals wearing traditional dress from that region. The mayor spoke to us as did other town officials. It was wonderful. So hospitable and kind. The stew was simple, but hearty (I had three helpings) and the wine flowed freely and there were piles of bread.
Great memory. Wish I had taken a photo.
Hi @Mark Lee that feast was St James feast day in 25 July 2016.... and, I dont know if you heard the chicken pecking noisily above during mass in the Cathedral! Yeah, that stew was brilliant! :)

Here's a couple of fotos ...
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I did salivate over the Tarta de Santiago, but did not dare try it until I found a shop in Santiago that sold one labeled Sin Gluten. I bought the smallest size (300g) and thought I would have half and save the other half for breakfast. Good intentions were shot when I ate the whole thing in one sitting :eek::rolleyes::);):p
Yummy and I don't regret it at all. :D
I normally do not log where I ate, nor photograph it (not being a facebook fan) but...this one I did because I was so happy to find this waiting for me in my room when I checked back in after my finisterre-muxia leg of my journey...I had resisted this temptation up to this point. alas, after my little taste I was addicted...I believe drug dealers in the US use similar tactics:)
 

Attachments

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
I did salivate over the Tarta de Santiago, but did not dare try it until I found a shop in Santiago that sold one labeled Sin Gluten. I bought the smallest size (300g) and thought I would have half and save the other half for breakfast. Good intentions were shot when I ate the whole thing in one sitting :eek::rolleyes::);):p
Yummy and I don't regret it at all. :D
if you remember where it was, others might appreciate the tip
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
It is easy to make Tarta de Santiago, and made properly it is gluten free - the only ingredients being almond meal, sugar, egg and lemon rind. Here's a thread discussing the receipt.

I find it very simple to make - don't separate the eggs, just throw the whole lot in together and bake. It seems to work better if not over-worked. Nice to finish it off with fine dusting sugar over a St James cross template.
 

MCFearnley

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Ponferrada to Santiago (September 2016)
It is easy to make Tarta de Santiago, and made properly it is gluten free
I did find some great recipes, but I was happy to at least have some in Santiago :) I regret nothing!!! :D You see, at home I am working on losing weight and a Tarta de Santiago does not quite fit in my weigh loss plan :oops: ;)
 

long trails

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012
...? ...? ...? I'm puzzled here... o_O?
Why walk a 6 weeks Camino then? Why traveling at all?
Even more puzzled, how do you manage not to eat mostly local food on a long journey? (Apart from fast-foods, which are... come on, really?!?)
Even more more puzzled, you're "Long trails" and you've been traveling around the globe, right?
...? ...? ...? I'm puzzled here... o_O?
;)
EDITED BY MODERATOR

Are you being serious? Honestly?

Do you assume that everyone who travels only does for the food?

There is more to life and travel than what you shovel into your mouth!
 
Last edited by a moderator:

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