Monthly Archives: September 2016

How to make a pilgrim happier…

Day after day, I was discovering that I really didn’t need much to be happy during the Camino de Santiago.

Carinha de feliz. :)

Happy face. :)

Here I share some of conclusions that some pilgrims and I took about what made us enjoy a state of pure happiness, objectivily speaking:

  • Having cleaned and dry clothes to wear;
  • Arriving in a hostel and find a bath with strong and hot water over our heads;
  • Also at the bathroom, find some place to put our necessaire and clothes next to the bath;
  • We liked a lot to see that in each bed we would have a plug or a individual light. So we could charge our phones and gadgets freely and write in our diaries (basically every pilgrim has a diary where he writes thoughts, inspirations…) without bother other people;
  • Wifi zone as bigger as possible (what a dream use our phones from our beds!).
No albergue em Pamplona

The hostel in Pamplona (there I left this book…in order to get a lighter backpack)

Roupas secando no varal

Clothes getting dry…

Tomada e luminária individual \o/

Plug and individual light \o/

Albergue em Sarria (a 100km de Santiago)

My hostel in Sarria (100 km to Santiago de Compostela)

Pilgrim menu

I must say before someone asks: I had not lose weight during the 31 days on the Camino de Santiago. Instead, I came back with two more kilos than when I had left Brazil.

In my opinion, I gained weight due to swelling caused by fluid retention – unfortunately I did not ingest the amount of water I should -, as well as the excess carbohydrate, mainly. I have never eaten so much sugar in life. It was sugar of chocolates and jellies, the grain of “bocadillos”, “tapas” and “magdalenas”, the potato of “tortillas”, the rice on the paella … But I do not complain. It was a choice I made to take advantage of the Way without worrying so much about the balanced diet I was doing for months.

Bocadillo and beer ;)

Bocadillo and beer ;)

 Apple pie <3

Apple pie <3

Paella <3 (cooked by a spanish man married with a brazilian woman)

Paella

So much love for Magdalenas. :p

So much love for Magdalenas. :p

Tortilla francesa (without potato)

Tortilla francesa (without potato)

Tapas :D

Tapas :D

First of all, a clarification: the Camino de Santiago is perfectly adaptable to every pilgrim, vegetarian, with limited ingestion of gluten and lactose, etc. Ones only need to have a little patience and willingness to eventually cook the own food in the kitchens of hostels (most of them available for free use) or when go to a restaurant ask for any adjustments to the ingredients.

Basically, my eating routine was to have breakfast, eat a snack at lunch and at night satisfied myself with the Pilgrim menu.

The breakfast offered in most cafes, bars or restaurants envolved “tostadas” (or toast) with butter and geleia, accompanied by coffee with milk and orange juice.

One of the breakfast I had (I hope my nutricionist doesn't read this post haha!)

One of the breakfast I had (I hope my nutricionist doesn’t read this post haha!)

The snack that I made reference alternated between a “bocadillo” of cheese and tomatoes or tuna and a tortilla (potato pie and egg), accompanied by coffee with milk or a “clara” – beer with lemon juice – (if the sun was strong enough).

Bocadillo of tuna and coffee and milk.

Bocadillo of tuna and coffee and milk.

Finally, the pilgrim’s menu for dinner … The Pilgrim menu is served in almost all bars and restaurants. It is composed of a starter course, a main course and a dessert, accompanied by wine will.

Salve, Baco! \o/

Salve, Baco! \o/

The starter course generally ranged from a cold salad and a soup. The main course offered options of red meat, chicken or fish, with a considerable portion of potato. Finally, the dessert comprised a portion of fruit salad, a fruit, a small yogurt, a flam, a Tarte de Santiago …

Starter course (cold salad)

Starter course (cold salad)

Main course (chicken)

Main course (chicken)

Flan

Flan

These and other options were available and the customer could choose among them, paying for everything between 8 and 10 euros, a fair price in my opinion.

Some hostels also offer a different kind of pilgrim menu. Twice I ate vegetarians menus. They were super tasty!

The starter course (vegetarian menu)

The starter course (vegetarian menu)

Lasagne with vegetables

Lasagna with vegetables

Dessert: tarte of nuts

Dessert: tarte of nuts

Others hostels, in turn, offered the dinner in exchange for donations. In one of these, in Acacio Brazilian hostel in Viloria de Rioja, I ate lentils, making me remember the good old beans of brazilian daily lunch.

Unlikely the predictions of my friends who had said I would return thiner, the Camino proved to be a big surprise.

Cheers! ;D

Cheers! ;D

The blisters

I remember the arrival in Estella was the most striking. My feet were burning in the final stretch of this day, the fifth on the way to Santiago. 
The first blisters surfaced in full force. Small, medium, large. I swear I never gave much value to my feet like that day.

Arriving at the hostel, some Spanish men, looking to my sad face, offered help. His nicknames are Paco and Paco. Funny, no!? They were walking together. There were old friends.

They taught me to smear the feet of Vasilina before putting on socks, and offered me the first Compeed. Compeed is a protection in plastic material stronger than band-aid and acts like a second skin when the natural one is already worn. I had tried to find in pharmacies in Brazil, but I had difficulty.

We put the Compeed in place the newly created blister, but not before popping it. The detail is that we should have it pop it out first of all and desinfected. I found this out only a few days later on when my feet were already covered up blisters (and Compeed) without any improvement.

 Blisters and Compeed

Blisters and Compeed

A few days with those plastic material covering my feet left me even more impatient. In Azofra, feeling a lot of pain and despair, I decided to take them all, after leaving the sauce feet in warm water for a few minutes.

Before long, the blisters left foot began to drain pus and this same foot be swollen to the point of my Havainas no longer serve.

:/

:/

With Jelena’s support, I was persuaded to stop for a day, rest and treat the blisters. We went out together to look for a hotel, the only one in town. Subsequently, she started the journey by herself.

  

Rest in the hotel

Rest in the hotel

I located a pharmacy in Azofra and took all the medication I had brought from Brazil, so someone finally told me how I should treat those blisters. The pharmaceutical guided me saying I should desinfect the blisters with “merthiolate” and then pierce them with a needle so that the water inside would leave, and finally reapplying “merthiolate”. For those blisters that were already infected, she recommended me put antibacterial pomade and, after all, cover with a “gaze” adhesive for sensitive skin, and after pass vaseline on the foot and then wear the socks. Uff!

I took a day-off and the day after happened the resumption: i started again and the walking was incredibly magical. The blisters were still present, as many still appear after, but my mood was totally diferent. I started to get along much better with them and overcome every day my physical and mental limits.

Starting again.

Starting again.