It’s been quite a while since I posted a Weekend Watch, so now is a great time to post one of the best videos I have seen. I’ll be honest with you but I wasn’t far from shedding a tear around the 1 minute mark. It confirms my belief that the Camino is much much more than just a walk. Enjoy!
So I’ve been thinking of creating a new series for this blog, and with the coming of the new year, there is no better time to start it then. I plan on uploading a photo a day starting from way back in 2011. I hope I won’t be spamming my followers, but if that is the case, please let me know. It will be a challenge for myself as I tend to leave the blog unattended for more than necessary. So January 1st will be the beginning of #caminophotoaday. Of course, there will be a brief pause in my postings of this series, while I walk from Leon to Santiago in April / May!
Now that the Christmas festivities are over, it is time to bid farewell to 2016 and look forward to 2017. While I did enjoy my short jaunt on the Camino Fisterra in September, 2016 in general will not be missed. Also while I am writing this post, I hear that Carrie Fisher has just passed away. Sigh, may she rest in peace, along with the many other people who have been taken far too early. How and ever, closer to home, my broken wrist should shortly be healed fully and I hope to move into my new humble abode in the first quarter of the year. I say all this with two fingers crossed behind my back, while keeping hold of my collection of 4-leaf clovers!
But one thing that I’ve been quietly planning since September was a return to Spain and the Camino Frances. I can’t seem to pull myself away from it. My destination has been unclear however. One time, I wanted to walk the meseta, the next I wanted to try the Camino Ingles, and another I had wanted to try the Camino Portuguese from Porto. This is the downfall of only having two weeks to work with. I was really unsure of a starting point until November. But I’ve made up my scattered mind now and have decided to walk from the beautiful city Leon to Santiago de Compostela, 300 km over a period of roughly 14 days. I have chosen April 25th as my start date and have my flights and accommodation in Leon arranged. While I have walked from Leon a number of times, I haven’t walked beyond Sarria since 2011. I have chosen Leon as a starting point as I really enjoy the hills from Astorga to Molinaseca, especially on a warm day. I am also going to see if I can avoid the end stages in Brierley’s guidebook. The towns of Hospital de Orbigo, El Acebo, Cacabelos and Las Herrerías may be small but they are fab places to stay. Other times, I have passed them not giving them a thought.
So now is a great time to create the #caminodesantiago2017 hashtag and write how I’m getting on until April. Kit-wise, I have little to change which is a saving grace! I was also given a little action camera over Christmas which I fully intend to use. I have ordered a little clip that will attach it to my backpack strap so I can take plenty of random videos and photos.
And just to finish this post, I want to wish you all a happy New Year! Feliz Ano Nuevo!
When you travel to Spain, you may encounter something that is known as tapas. This may be entirely new to you, if you haven’t been there before, so it’s best if I describe them to you. Tapas are a wide variety of snacks in Spanish cuisine. They may be cold (such as mixed olives or cheese) or hot (such as beef, squid, or pulpo). Tapas is all about sharing, and tapas are usually from between €1 – €2 each. Sometimes, you pay for a beer or for another drink and you get a complimentary dish for free. That’s why tapas are so popular in Spain. It is very common to see people moving from bar to bar ordering a drink and receiving a tapa.There are many Tapas trails in major cities in Spain, including Pamplona, Logrono and Madrid. The serving of tapas is designed to encourage conversation, because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.They are also often eaten standing up.
Some of the more common Spanish tapas include:
- Aceitunas: olives, sometimes with a filling of anchovies
- Albóndigas: meatballs with sauce
- Calamares: rings of battered squid
- Chopitos: battered and fried tiny squid
- Chorizo al vino: chorizo sausage slowly cooked in wine
- Croquetas: a common sight in bar counters and homes across Spain, served as a tapa, a light lunch, or a dinner along with a salad
- Empanadillas: large or small turnovers filled with meats and vegetables
- Gambas: prawns in salsa negra (peppercorn sauce)
- Patatas bravas or papas bravas: fried potato dices (sometimes parboiled and then fried, or simply boiled) served with salsa brava a spicy tomato sauce.
- Pimientos de Padrón: small green peppers originally from Padrón (a municipality in the province of A Coruña) that are fried in olive oil or served raw, most are mild, but a few in each batch are quite spicy.
- Pulpo a la gallega (Galician-style octopus) or polbo á feira (octopus in the trade fair style) in Galicia, is cooked in boiling water, and served hot in olive or vegetable oil. The octopus pieces are seasoned with substantial amounts of paprika, giving it its recognisable red color, and sea salt for texture and flavour.
- Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) or tortilla española: a type of omelet containing fried chunks of potatoes and sometimes onion
In select bars in Spain, it is common to order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal.
In Spain, dinner is usually served between 9 and 12pm, while Spaniards finish work between 5 and 6pm. Therefore, food is only available in the form of tapas in the time between finishing work and having dinner. This is one of the downfalls of being a pilgrim!
Sometimes, especially in northern Spain, they are also called pinchos (pintxos in Basque) because many of them have a pincho or toothpick through them. The toothpick is used to keep whatever the snack is made of from falling off the slice of bread and to keep track of the number of tapas the customer has eaten. Differently priced tapas have different shapes or have toothpicks of different sizes.
If you are walking the Camino Frances, I’d encourage you to seek out some Pulpo in Melide, Galicia. It is one of the most common tapa in Spain and was voted one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Spanish Gastronomy’ in 2016. You can read up more about Pulpo here.
An idea of some tapas:
Happy Weekend & Happy Halloween!! It’s that time of the week to post a Camino video! This one is one of the more popular videos on YouTube with over 11,000 views at the time of writing. It is a well put together video of three guys who walk from St. Jean Pied de Port to Santiago during August 2016. The music is fitting too. I found it funny listening to their opinions of the Meseta and checking into a pension in Fromista. Enjoy!