ACTING ON IMPULSE: NEW ADVENTURE COMING UP!

Those who know me are probably aware I can be a little bit impulsive at times. When I come up with an idea, I want to execute it immediately or – at least – take the first steps. If I don’t, I get a little… well, let’s say unpleasant. I’ve always thought it was just me being extremely impatient, but I’ve got a feeling I enjoy tricking myself into confronting certain situations and experiences I find rather scary. When acting on impulse, you kind of have to

WHAT TO EAT ON THE CAMINO DEL NORTE WHEN WALKING ON A TINY BUDGET

For me, eating is pleasurable pastime. Tasting makes me ecstatic, chewing makes me smile and cooking food in general (vegetables in particular) makes my heart sing. Prior to my departure, I thought my journey through France and Spain would be an amazing opportunity to dive into these countries cuisines. Although I did enjoy some culinary delights featuring impulsive decisions at way-too-expensive restaurants and delicious meals served at some of my host families, walking somehow transforms the act of eating… especially when you’re watching your wallet.

If you’re planning to walk the Camino del Norte with a tiny budget, here are some tips to adjust to a pilgrim’s eating pattern without going broke.

A pilgrim’s eating pattern. Yeah, that’s right. It’s a thing. You know what it means? It means you’re hungry ALL THE TIME. I remember waking up regularly in the middle of the night with a feeling in my stomach that, when offering a visual description, resembled a very upset black hole. I swear I’ve felt the insides of my stomach touch as it was desperately trying to find the last remnants of the chips I had quickly devoured half an hour before bedtime. All I’m trying to say is that your body needs fuel when you’re walking most part of the day and it will ask for it. So you’ll need to be smart about what you fill your black hole with to save money besides attempting to properly nourish your body.

breakfast

Depending on whether I’m seeing someone special and what the weather is like, the second or fourth thing on my mind once I wake up is coffee. On the Camino del Norte I always took some instant coffee with me to brighten the day! Once I’d enjoyed my first cup of coffee, breakfast options included lukewarm Greek yoghurt as some albergues didn’t have a fridge, crackers with avocado and tomatoes, slightly stale bread with cheese and, on days I forgot to arrange brekkie beforehand, granola bars or Maria biscuits. In most albergues you can opt for breakfast or it will be included in your night stay, however, don’t expect a savoury breakfast. Spanish brekkie often consists of coffee and cake, biscuits or toasted bread with jam.

I admit eating cake for breakfast revealed a whole new world to me, however, when it comes to my breakfast habits I like to mix things up a bit. Excessive amounts of baguette and jam in France made me excited to organise my own breakfast whilst walking the Camino del Norte, which was similar in price and a little bit more nutritious. I won’t lie, I did enjoy a large piece of cake here and there though 😉

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lunch

Lunch is probably the easiest meal to do on the cheap. You only need three things: a baguette or a big piece of bread (opt for a wholemeal one, or one with lots of seeds), your favourite cheese and/or ham, and an amazing vegetable (capsicum, cucumber, tomato, you pick!). Make the sandwich, cut it in half, wrap one half and eat the other! Congratulations, you’ve just made lunch for two days! On the Camino, enjoying a spectacular sandwich on a break was like a big hug. I’ll forever cherish the moments that my Camino mate and I would just sit somewhere, be silent and eat. When the shops are closed or there is another reason you’re not carrying your bundle of tasty goodness along… fear not! In pretty much every bar in Spain you can buy bocadillos (sandwiches) or other edible delights, however, these aren’t always the most inexpensive lunch choices!

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dinner

All along the Camino del Norte you’ll be able to get a pilgrim’s menu ranging from €10 to €15. This isn’t costly when you’re enjoying it sometimes, but when doing it daily it’ll quickly turn into one of your main expenses. Besides that, I often found these menus included lots of fried foods, something I personally enjoy eating sometimes though not daily. Check if your albergue has an equipped kitchen, if so you’re all sorted for a delicious dinner. Sometimes there might be a microwave allowing you to heat things up – think soup, rice, lentils etcetera. My go-to Camino meal was a mixed salad with bread or nacho chips (my all time fave). It was what I always enjoyed eating and felt my body needed after a long day of walking and… it’s ridiculously cheap!

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In between meals I ate an impressive amount of apples, carrots, capsicums, granola bars, Maria biscuits, nuts and chips. When walking the Camino, eating becomes a necessity and I advise you to choose that which you eat wisely. Eating only cookies might seem great but it’s not the way to go (I tried and it made me feel horribly weak). As you’re body is demanding food often, it’s easy to pick unhealthy, sugary foods that give you a quick hit. However, if you balance it out with the healthier options it’ll be more satisfying for your body, as well as your budget in the long run. (Do try cake for breakfast once though, it’s fantastic.)

Love,

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AFTER 21 DAYS OF PILGRIMAGE: CHANGE OF PLANS!

The first 21 days of my Camino de Santiago have passed and I can tell you, it didn’t go quite as I had expected. After a very cold start, my body started to disagree with me just a few days into my journey. Some extra stops made it little better, so I decided to buy a bike (Barry <3) and cycle a bit until my knee would be happy again.

Unexpected stuff happens, just roll with it! At least, that is what I thought.

In all honesty, I think I am more suited to endure the scorching heat Islamic pilgrims face when performing the Hajj, than I am to temperatures below zero, snow or overcast skies. After three days of cycling I had a full-blown winter depression and was hating every single minute of this pilgrimage (ok, that might be exaggerated but I started to develop very unpleasant thoughts).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind the challenges. Getting stuck in the mud, getting lost, doing another 10k, I can handle it. But the past days I did not enjoy cycling as much as have loved the walking. Likewise, although I am very much grateful for the hospitality of my host families, the fathers at the Abbey, the B&Bs and hotels I have slept in. My heart lies with sleeping in my tent, waking up with the sun and being one with nature. That makes me feel independent or free. A state I was perhaps unknowingly chasing and, up until now, haven’t found myself in often.

Yes. In light of my plans to camp, we can all conclude that I have left a month too early. But if I had known everything beforehand it would not have been much fun either, now would it? When looking at the weather forecast in Europe (indeed, I thought I would just hang out somewhere warm before continuing my pilgrimage), the south of France caught my eye as the minimum temperatures there are above 0 degrees. I remembered something about a Camino route starting there and had a look. It was at this moment I remembered the proverb: “if the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain”. Hello Via Tolosana!

Starting in Arles, the Via Tolosana or Chemin d’Arles, is one of the four French routes to Santiago. It also functions as a pilgrimage route to Rome, going in the opposite direction. From what I have read it is beautiful route, though it can be tough at times. Furthermore, the Via Tolosana is less popular than the other French routes, so I don’t have to expect masses of fellow pilgrims. The knee is doing better, so looking heaps forward to walking again. There is only one problem: most campsites in the south of France will open from the first of April onwards, so I’ll have to find a solution for that…

I wanted to experience what is was like to be a pilgrim, what would happen when I’d dive into the unknown. Reaching certain conclusions, making decisions and, perhaps most important, listening to myself… it’s all happening. Guess when you cannot be the pilgrim you want to be, why be one at all.

Love,

VLOGGING MY WAY TO SPAIN

Tomorrow is the day I have been waiting for a very long time, though it seems to have come around way too soon! Words cannot even describe the state I am currently finding myself in. My mood is changing from ecstatically happy to extremely frightened and I am frantically running around trying to get everything sorted for this journey that, all of a sudden, will commence in less than 24 hours.

The past weeks I have been thinking about how I will keep my blog going, as I will not take my laptop with me. Last Monday I decided that I will communicate all the happenings of my Camino de Santiago doing something I will never get enough of: talking! Although chatting to no one in particular felt rather odd at first, I guess it will be a good way to feel slightly less alone on my journey ; )

Still have to cross many things off the list, so I am out of here! If you would like to follow my journey, do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Talk to you soon!

Love,

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