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Solo walkers - what kinds of food do you buy at grocery stores?

It's usually only in the very small stores that you need to ask for the fruit.
The other thing that is very strange for Americans like me, is sometimes, and I mean sometimes, you are expected to weigh and "sticker" your fruit/veggies yourself in the fruit/veggie section. The tough part is knowing which stores require this and which ones don't. And sometimes there is a worker there in the section who you hand your selections to, and they bag/sticker them. There is nothing worse than showing up to checkout with un-stickered selections when it is required... on occasion, if the store isn't that busy, the checkout person will go back and do it for you. But if there is someone behind me in line, I get embarrassed.

I always look at the price labels for a # code, if there is a # code, you simply go to the push button terminal / weigh station and it prints the sticker. When possible, I prefer to just apply the sticker directly to the items selected, rather than waste a plastic bag.
 
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A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
It's nice taking a break from eating in bars and restaurants and buying some self-serve food in a grocery store. It can also (theoretically) be a money-saver.

However, I struggled with finding things to buy that are suitable for one person to have lunch or dinner. I would generally end up buying a baguette and the smallest package of jambon I could find, plus a tomato or two, but that's pretty boring. I also managed to find some small yogurt cups that were sold as singles. But generally most things were too big to be eaten by one person in one meal (I wasn't keen on carrying around a bunch of half-eaten food). Or the cost of buying all the ingredients was more expensive than simply going to a bar to eat.

So for those of you that walk alone, what sorts of things would you buy to eat at supermarkets? As a solo pilgrim were you able to eat more cheaply at a supermarket than a bar/cafe?
Yogurt, chocolate bars, packages of nuts, chocolate covered cookies, baguette. Onion, avocado , tomato, chorizo, fruit like peaches apples, oranges. Bananas.
 
I found I was spending on average around 7€ for a simple breakfast in a bar (tortilla, coffee, OJ). Then I'd spend another 5€-10€ on drinks/snacks throughout the day. Lunches would be around 10€, and then dinner another 12€-15€. So around 40€-50€ per day on food and drink. That starts to add up over the weeks, and was my biggest cost on the CF. I'm hoping to be a bit smarter next time and bring that cost down considerably, which I think is easily doable.
Make a supermarket shopping on alternate days and save a lot...
 
Although not purchased when on the route, I always pack an emergency breakfast which can be prepared using just cold water. This is a lightweight plastic container (an old hummus tub) with a plastic spoon (handle cut down to fit in the tub). It contains two breakfasts, a muesli pre-mixed with dried milk powder, one in a small plastic bag, the other loose in the tub. Take the bagged one out to make room to mix up the other.

These sometimes complete the entire Camino when there are other more attractive alternatives available, but it is a great comfort to have the insurance policy, especially if there is a tiny chance of having to sleep rough or camping.
 
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
The other thing that is very strange for Americans like me, is sometimes, and I mean sometimes, you are expected to weigh and "sticker" your fruit/veggies yourself in the fruit/veggie section. The tough part is knowing which stores require this and which ones don't. And sometimes there is a worker there in the section who you hand your selections to, and they bag/sticker them. There is nothing worse than showing up to checkout with un-stickered selections when it is required... on occasion, if the store isn't that busy, the checkout person will go back and do it for you. But if there is someone behind me in line, I get embarrassed.

I always look at the price labels for a # code, if there is a # code, you simply go to the push button terminal / weigh station and it prints the sticker. When possible, I prefer to just apply the sticker directly to the items selected, rather than waste a plastic bag.
yes this happened to me. I was about third in line and the cashier just happened to look down the line and seem me with fruit and no stickers. She said no weigh. I didn't really know what she wanted. I was just going to put the fruit back but then I seen the scale with the code numbers so I got my stickers. I just thought, well I just learned something new in Spain.
 
And in the supermarkets there are usually guantes, plastic gloves that they want you to wear while touching the produce, which I invariably forget to put on.
There's a rule -- you touch it, you buy it. The plastic gloves thing lets you cheat a little. I just touch and buy, don't touch and don't.

Just supermarkets though, and under those conditions, I never buy an avocado or a peach or melon or anything else where ripeness is in question.

Open air market stalls with such rules ? IMO don't touch = don't buy.
 
In Zamora as hospitaleros, we learned in the city mercado that you asked for fruit and veg and it was selected for you by the vendor. Next door to the mercado was a fruteria without that rule although the owner did pour and weigh out your lentils for you (kept behind the checkout). We did use the plastic gloves and that was pre-covid times.
 
Ideal sleeping bag liner whether we want to add a thermal plus to our bag, or if we want to use it alone to sleep in shelters or hostels. Thanks to its mummy shape, it adapts perfectly to our body.

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Do you ever lose your spoon? I do. I end up "stealing" them. Not that I condone that type of behavior... :)

As for salt, I usually carry a small ziplock bag filled about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) from the bottom. Then I sprinkle.
I never lost my spoon on the Camino Portugues (my 2nd Camino), but on the CF (my 1st Camino) I didn’t think to bring one. I simply used the small coffee spoon whenever I stopped for cafe con leche mid-morning. None of the bars/cafes objected, but I only did that when using outdoor seating. Still, I felt slightly guilty which is why I brought the plastic spoon the second Camino, and I didn’t eat my avocados at the cafes.
 
It's nice taking a break from eating in bars and restaurants and buying some self-serve food in a grocery store. It can also (theoretically) be a money-saver.

However, I struggled with finding things to buy that are suitable for one person to have lunch or dinner. I would generally end up buying a baguette and the smallest package of jambon I could find, plus a tomato or two, but that's pretty boring. I also managed to find some small yogurt cups that were sold as singles. But generally most things were too big to be eaten by one person in one meal (I wasn't keen on carrying around a bunch of half-eaten food). Or the cost of buying all the ingredients was more expensive than simply going to a bar to eat.

So for those of you that walk alone, what sorts of things would you buy to eat at supermarkets? As a solo pilgrim were you able to eat more cheaply at a supermarket than a bar/cafe?
In case anyone wants a visual...my perfect dinner and dessert.
 

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I hear you..... I'm a vegan at home but NEVER on the trail or camino as I crave a million things at once. I love the cheese, ham and ceriales bread in Spain and Portugal !!
Are you really a vegan at home or do you eat a plant-based diet at home? Vegans do not use animal products in addition to not eating animals or animal products -- no leather, wool or silk.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Catering for one can be tricky can't it?
You can end up with more of a snack or picnic. Fruit, yoghurt, sliced meats, cheese etc.
Unless you come across an actual supermarket.

I have to confess on my last Camino of 60 days, walking alone, I think I actually 'cooked' twice.
Only because there was nowhere to buy a meal, so 'pre-warned' I brought food with me to cook.

The challenge for me is weighing up the cost of buying a range of ingredients, compared to buying a simple meal at a bar. And as mentioned, the problem of portion sizes.

I did a few DIY breakfasts when there was no cafe open, or open early enough, with bread, butter (or oil) boiled eggs, cheese etc. But inevitably I would end up buying stuff that could have fed 2-3 people (due to packet size) and leaving the balance behind. A cafe breakfast would have been cheaper.

DIY lunches were easier. A nice bread roll, tin of sardines, or chunk of cheese.

For the 2 dinners I had to cook, it meant buying the food the day before and carrying it all day, as there were no bars, stores along the way. In both cases there was a kitchen and I was the only Pilgrim there. (knew I likely would be) . Villavieja and Solden. (Camino Invierno)

So I went for ultra light food! I ended up with a small wholemeal baguette, some chorizo, and some really tasty packet noodles. I simmered the chorizo first to soften it and get some of the juices out, before adding the noodles to the pot. I made sure here was lots of liquid. And so with the bread for dipping, it was surprisingly good. Hi energy food! :rolleyes:

The second time, it was a place where the accomodation owner offered to get some groceries for me. (Solden) So I asked for fresh bread, oil and eggs. Version 2 of my noodles had two eggs included. Yummy. The remaining eggs made breakfast and a snack to take with me.

But if I could have gone to a bar for a meal, I would have. For about the same cost........
 
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On the subject of shopping etiquette. I too get confused about the no touching the produce rule!
In some places it seems OK, and others not. I tend to be guided by what the locals do.
Certainly been shouted at a couple of times though, as my hand moved toward the fruit! :oops:


I had one funny shopping incident, when buying bread for a DIY dinner.
I love rough bread. Wholemeal, seeds, corn, the rougher the better.

I spotted an amazing small baguette that was a deep dark colour. Looked wonderful.
So I pointed to that and asked for one.
As the lady in the store got it, and started to bag it, she asked me a question that I didn't understand.

So out came the phone with google translate.

She was just checking that I really wanted this bread, as it's designed for people who are constipated! :oops:
It looked amazing, but I thought.........maybe not.
 
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A Treasure Trove Of Interesting Pilgrim Hacks! Learn & Share Your Own Too!
Salami, or other dry sausage; sardines, or other canned seafood, my jalapeño salt and beer. What more can one ask for while walking. And a communal meal to finish the evening…glorious!
 
I expect to get confused, disoriented and to look stupid in a foreign country where I don't really know much of the language - so I don't worry too much if I get "growled at" for touching produce. I just hope I can do better next time and work out whether I need to weight fruit/veges myself or if someone will come scurrying up to do it for me.

Lunches on the road - some but not all of the following - left over bread from previous day's menu del dia, tinned seafood of any sort, avocado, fruit, veges like cucumber /carrot /tomato, cheese, small yogurts - can only get in a four pack but they last remarkable well for a few days alternating between backpack and fridge, chorizo, dried fruit, nuts and very occasionally chocolate.

Breakfast is usually coffee and toast in the bar with my own banana, yogurt and a few nuts.
 
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I frequently bought what Canadians call Wraps (aka tortillas). They keep for many days and take up little room in my pack. As a vegetarian, I would buy humus, or guacamole, or peanut butter and add a half a banana, then wrap it up and take it along for a meal-on-the-go. I also bought small pkgs of cheese slices.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
On the Norte last autumn - where not that many "Menu Peregrinos" or "Menu del Dias" were available - I mostly lived off the supermercados, walking solo. For the more reasonable foods, I bought a baguette, which lasted two days usually, with a pack of cheese, some kind of chorizo or jamón, and a pack of nuts. And for the not-reasonable, because I could (because I knew I'll burn the calories anyway :) ), all sorts of chocolates, biscuits, and, most of all, chocolate muffins (with chocolate chips AND chocolate filling - heavenly :D ). Yeah, my pilgrim diet wasn't the most balanced, but I enjoyed that immensely :)
 
On the subject of shopping etiquette. I too get confused about the no touching the produce rule!
The French are generally sensible about these things, and if you can check the quality of things visually, then pick up, and then buy.

But with things like avocadoes and melons or peaches, not being able to touch is a very bad policy. From my own POV, can't touch = won't buy.

Neither pilgrims nor ordinary local customers are plague-carriers -- IMO, supermarkets imposing such notions are the ones actually violating etiquette.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
The French are generally sensible about these things, and if you can check the quality of things visually, then pick up, and then buy.

But with things like avocadoes and melons or peaches, not being able to touch is a very bad policy. From my own POV, can't touch = won't buy.

Neither pilgrims nor ordinary local customers are plague-carriers -- IMO, supermarkets imposing such notions are the ones actually violating etiquette.
I have never noticed the "don't touch" policy on those items. It's probably the only thing not knowing Spanish is good for.🙄
 
I did not do a pilgrimage in Spain yet (I started my ♿️ wheelchair pilgrimage in the netherlands 🇳🇱 and do every year a part of the route. "Now" I am in the south of France, Rocamadour) but in France I normally eat very simple food. Not just because i travel on a very low budget but also because I prefer a sober lifestyle during my camino. I like to have fruit (I always hope to find berries or apple trees along the way, depend on the season), bread, cheese and nuts. For the evenings I always have some couscous with me and dried fruit/vegetables, I can prepare that with just a bit of hot water.
I never eat in restaurants.
 
Quick black bean salad…a can of corn, a can of black beans, chopped onion, chopped red pepper, feta, a peach if available, chopped tomatoes, whatever herb is available, splash of olive oil/vinegar from the dinner restaurant…tortilla chips or roll into a wrap. Dessert (this sounds weird but so good)…strawberries dipped into plain Greek yogurt or sour cream then lightly dipped into brown sugar.
 
Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading Abbey to Southampton, 110 kms
When I hit the grocery store, I'm all about lightweight, easy-to-pack snacks like nuts, dried fruits, and energy bars. They keep me fueled without weighing me down. If you're into preparing your own trail snacks or meals, you might find some helpful tips and resources at https://justcanning.com/canning-equipment.
 
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For the evenings I always have some couscous with me and dried fruit/vegetables, I can prepare that with just a bit of hot water.
I love your idea of bringing couscous if making a quick meal from for yourself; much less time to cook it than regular pasta!
I have purchased small couscous salads and larger pasta salads in plastic tubs in the larger grocery stores on the Caminos.
 

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