Bookish Matters

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.

—Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Guide to the Camino: Food and Accommodation

Bars—If you went to bars this much in the States you´d be an alcoholic. But bars are where you get cafe con leche in the morning, tortilla at lunch, San Miguel and tapas in the afternoon, rosado at night.

San Miguel—Most popular beer in Spain.

Tortilla—Spanish omelette. Usually just eggs and potato slices baked in the shape of a pie. Eaten alone or as the filling for bocadillos.

Bocadillos—Big sandwich. Sub-style bread, six inches to a foot long. But simple. A bocadillo de queso is just bread and cheese. Bocadillo de atun is just bread and tuna, not even mayonaise. Easy to get at bars, but you´ll get so bored of them. One day you´ll have two chocolate bars for lunch simply to avoid another bocadillo.

Cola cao—Like fortified caffeinated hot chocolate made with frothy milk. Buy it at bars so you can use the bathroom.

Vino tinto—Your lips will become permanently purple.

Rosado—You´ve never had this much pink wine in your life. It´s the Belgian´s favorite.

Menu del peregrino—Pilgrim´s menu. Also called menu del dia. A starter (you usually get ensalada mixta), a second (you usally get fish and chips, battered merluza or lenguado), un postre (dessert, yogurt or fruit or ice cream, arroz con leche if  you´re lucky). A basket of bread and a bottle of vino tinto. Lots of food for cheap, about 10 euros.

Ensalada mixta—Perhaps the only way to get your vegetables in Spain. Usually lettuce, tomatos, and tuna. Sometimes olives, hard-boiled eggs, shredded carrot, etc. Vinegar and oil for the dressing.

Albergue—Hostel, refugio, auberge. The pilgrim´s hostel. Where you sleep every night. Between 4 and 200 beds per room. Bathroom, place to hang laundry, a kitchen and internet if you´re lucky.

Albergue municipal—Community run albergue. Cheap, lots of beds, basic facilities. 4 to 8 euros.

Albergue parroquial—Parish hostel. Run by nuns or volunteers. Often by donation. Sometimes a community dinner. Often a pilgrim´s blessing. Some parish albergues are full of friendly volunteers, some quiet nuns. At one the nuns led everyone in singing. :)

Albergue privado—Private albergue. 8 to 10 euros. Not necessarily any better than the other albergues, but sometimes they are. Maybe a swimming pool or less people per room.

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