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Camino Food

Both of us were essentially vegetarian, but were willing to eat fish, especially when we were fed up with tortilla patatas (potato omelette). Finding a selection of vegetarian food was often difficult. For some unknown reason, the Spanish seem to think that ham is vegetarian. By far the worst meal was just before we reached Santiago: the fish option turned out to be squid cooked in its own black ink, we thought we were ordering hack (again!). Neither of us could eat it, so we just ate the accompanying chips.

A Typical day's food consisted of the following:

As it was July and August and the days became very hot by lunch time, we generally left the albergues before dawn and made a hasty exit out on to the road. Therefore we very rarely stayed at the albergue for breakfast, although many offered coffee and pastry. We ate as we walked:
  Cereal Bar

Mid Morning:
Most days we tried to stop at a convenient cafe after we had walked for nearly 3 hours. Most villages had a bar near the village centre:
  Tortilla patatas (potato omelette)
  Pastry eg choc o pan
  Brocodilla (french style bread) with cheese
  'Te con lemon' (tea with lemon). Neither of us were coffee drinkers and tea with milk tasted disgusting. (Ask for 'te con leche frio' to get tea made with cold milk. Otherwise they make it with hot milk.)

Usually lunch was on a picnic basis with food we had purchased the day before and carried with us. This was often eaten after we had reached our destination for the day. We always had something in reserve to eat. We discovered very early on that not all refugios have a convenient cafe or shop near by. Twice we were caught out and the nearest place to buy anything to either eat or cook was 2 miles away. On these occasions we had to make do with what we had, perhaps an apple and a piece of stale bread, but basically we went hungry until the next day.

Pilgrim's food!
Pilgrim's lunch (bad day):
yesterday's bread (stale)
and sun-melted cheese - delicious!!!
After being caught out without food we made sure we always had something with us. Many supermarkets sold tins of tuna salad, ready made with mayonnaise with some vegetables in it such as sweet corn and peppers. They came with a pull tab so you didn't have to worry about a tin opener. Some even came with a little fork. We made sure we always had one of these tins in our rucksack just in case!
  Pan - french style bread stick or croissants
  Tomato or avocado, olives
  Piece of fruit - usually an apple or banana.
  Grapes and peaches became squashed when carried.
  Melon was too heavy to carry, but we had this frequently if we could buy them and eat them straight away.
  We mainly drank water through out the day, but also fresh orange juice when we reached a cafe.

From my diary. Day 16, St Juan de Ortega:
"Today we had 'pilgrim's food'. There was no open shop yesterday as it was a national holiday and today we haven't seen a shop, so we weren't able to buy anything. Lunch: stale bread, cheese slices, that melted in the heat, (see above picture), a mouldy tomato that we threw away, some delicious olives and a can of fizzy drink. Evening meal: ate in a small cafe - tortilla patatas (again!) and chips.

To last us until at least mid morning tomorrow, including breakfast we had between us, 5 shortbread biscuits (Diana has her eyes on these!), 6 olives, a small tin of tuna, 1 small bag of mixed nuts, 8 tic tac mints and a tin of sardines that I picked up from a food donation table in Cizor Minor on day 6 - just in case! (I carried these for the rest of the Camino (another 5 weeks) but we never got that desperate. They ended up in a waste bin in Finisterra)."  

Evening Meal:
Most days we ate at a local bar or restaurant. Many offered a Menu de Perigrinos (pilgrim menu) or a Menu de Dia (menu of the day). These were usually 8 or 9* euros for a choice of starter and a main course - usually a choice of a meat course, fish or vegetarian (usually tortilla). The price also included either wine or water. A dessert and coffee were usually an 2 or 3* euros extra.
  Starter: salad, soup or pasta in a tomato sauce
  Main course: chicken or pork or fish - often maluza (hake), trout or salmon or tortilla (Spanish omelette) usually with chips. Occasionally saute potatoes or rice.
  Dessert: yoghurt, ice cream or flan (cream caramel)


On several occasions, especially early on before we reached Burgos, we joined other peregrinos in a communal meal at the albergue. These were excellent social events with conversations in a variety of languages, but with everyone trying.

Notable were evenings in Eunate, Grannon, Toscantos and Santibanez.

Food was generally stew based with bread and a simple dessert such as flan (cream caramel) or yoghurt.

Communal meal at Grannon day 14

From my diary. Day 17, Ponferrada:
"Best meal so far. We sat in the main plaza of the town and started with a very refreshing, cold lager. We had a delicious, fresh mixed salad, with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, boiled egg, tuna and olives. For the main course: a beautifully cooked fillet of sole, in a garlic sauce, with sauteed potatoes. Strawberry and vanilla ice cream to finish. Accompanied by a whole bottle of wine between us , water and bread. Not bad for only 12 euros* each!

Alcohol led to dehydration, and generally neither of us drank alcohol a great deal. However, a cold lager was wonderful when we reached our destination. And wine was good with the evening meal.

We would often stop at bars on route and have a fruit juice or coke.

When walking we only drank water. Mostly we found the water from the taps and fountains was quite drinkable and not a problem. We always made sure our water bottles were filled when we reached a village fountain. This was particularly important in some stretches after Burgos where there were up to 20km between villages and no fountains in between. It was of course extremely hot as we walked in July and August. Drinking water regularly was therefore very important.

The only time we bought bottled water was in the larger cities as the tap water was so chlorinated and tasted horrible.

Fresh orange juice at Grannon

Total Cost of food:

Most days we ate for less that 25* euros -

We certainly didn't stave (but did go hungry on two occasions). We felt we had eaten a fairly healthy diet, but not vegetarian the whole time. The quantity was more than adequate for us. However, a few men we met on route, found the evening meals in the restaurants too small for their needs and needed extras to fill them.

* 2005 prices


Sue First Day
Sue on the first day

Sue Last Day
Sue on the last day

With all the walking we both lost weight.

I lost about 22 lbs in total. I think you can see the difference around my tummy in the adjacent pictures.

Towards the end my shorts kept falling down, so I had to reduce the waist size with a safety pin!


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