01 Oct 20
10 things I learnt along ‘The Way’
- The direct translation of “Buenos tardes/Buenos noches” is “Good afternoon/Good evening” but the Spanish people do not switch to “Buenos noches” (Good evening) until the sun goes down. This is particularly relevant for spring/summer travellers because the sun doesn’t go down until about 9pm!
- The Spanish afternoon siesta (2 to 5pm every day) means that, in general, shops and monuments close around 1.30pm and reopen at 4/5pm. If you are walking into a town along the Camino and you can’t figure out why it seems like a ghost town, check your watch: most likely it is siesta time!
- Want to sound like a local? Use some Spanish slang. “Valle” is used for a whole range of things; it’s like saying “ok”, “yes”, “understood” or “agreed”. Or try “Bien” or “Bueno”, which is like saying “Good”. You will hear these used quite a lot on your travels.
- If you are catching a train in Spain, even if you already have a ticket, you will need to arrive at the station 1 hour prior to departure. Platforms usually open 45 minutes in advance, so make sure you listen out for the announcement, which is quick, usually only in Spanish, and can be very easy to miss!
- A lot of restaurants don’t open for dinner until 8pm. If you are hungry, find a bar and have some delicious tapas to tide you over until dinner.
- Don’t touch the produce in a fruit shop before buying it. I learnt this in Logrono. As I was eagerly picking up peaches to check for bruises, the shopkeeper glared at me and the locals gathered to watch. An unintentional faux pas that I won’t do again!
- In small towns along the Camino route don’t stop at the first restaurant you see. Don’t be pressured by your tired limbs. Often there is a much better restaurant just ahead. Look for where the most pilgrims are and chances are, that’s the winner!
- If you get blisters, wash your feet, apply a Compeed blister plaster before your walk and at the end of the day take it off to allow the blisters to air and dry out. Repeat daily!
- A must for the Camino in spring, summer and autumn is a pair of comfortable sandals or Aussie thongs to wear at the end of your day; your feet will thank you!
- You need much less than you think while travelling on the Camino. Put what you want to pack in a pile and then halve it! For great tips on packing for your trip, talk to one of us in the Camino team. We can offer you invaluable advice from our own personal experience.