Category Archives: Camino de Santiago

Spanish Cuisine

Sea food paella doesn't need a caption.

Sea food paella doesn’t need a caption.

There are so many reasons to visit Spain: beautiful cities, cozy hotels, sandy beaches, old culture and… cuisine. Everybody knows and respects the Spanish Cuisine – paella, gazpacho, calamari, pulpo a la gallega, tortilla Española, empanada and many many other dishes.

Doesn't matter what you think about octopuses, you must try pulpo a la gallega

Doesn’t matter what you think about octopuses, you must try pulpo a la gallega.

 

One more reason can be to finally try yourself on Camino de Santiago – one of the most popular hiking and cycling routes in the world. Choose the trail according to the time you have, strength and region. You may as well enjoy the food!

Nothing is tastier than Spanish paella with your new mates from the most tiresome part of the trail. Or cold gazpacho on a hot day. Coffee with churros for a snack? There are so many options.

So use your next adventure on Camino de Santiago as a festival for your inner foodie, too!

P.S. TrailSmart is there to help you out on the hike!

Coffee and churros. And no worries about the calories - you burn a lot of them!

Coffee, churros and no worries about the calories – you burn a lot of them!

Spanish Emapanadas is the perfect breakfast snack!

Spanish Emapanadas is the perfect breakfast snack!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.P.S. Thank you for the pictures, guys:

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Solo adventure

Have you been planning your trip? Looking for the right backpack, comfy boots, nice accommodation, cheap tickets, perfect trail. And also looking for the perfect companion – the person you’ll be sharing the adventure with. And sometimes the person is only you. Just think about it – nobody to adjust to, to talk to, no complaints to listen to. Just pure alone time with your thoughts.

And now you may think it is scary. But I bet you’re brave enough. It is the perfect way to get to know yourself better.

Just check few videos of solo hikers for inspiration.

 

 

To pilgrim or to hike?

You’ve probably seen pictures from Camino de Santiago. Usually if a person decides to do it, he/she will share that information with you on any (every) social network. Part of the pictures will be full of deep self-realisation vibes, pilgrimage experience comments and other existential matter. Others will simply post beautiful views with even more beautiful Instagram filters. Of course, there are some posts in the middle.

The two categories described are so different due to how people see themselves: pilgrims or hikers. It would seem that all the pilgrims are hikers. But could all the hikers be called pilgrims? From the historic perspective one would consider pilgrims as people travelling to a holy sacred place. Meanwhile hikers are just walking in order to reach their final destination without emphasizing the place itself, but rather the experience from the way there.

But does the distinction still exist in the 21st century? The holy place for pilgrims is definitely still as important as it used to be. Yet if you stop thinking about the place and shift towards the action itself and the pleasure it brings, you can surely view the final “destination” (of satisfaction you’ve been seeking for) as holy and sacred, just as the city or attraction for the pilgrims.

Anyways, since less and less things have a clear definition these times, we probably shouldn’t stick to strict names for one or another. As long as you’re walking, cycling or using any other means of transportation in order to be happy and explore, you are a pilgrim and you are a hiker. The name makes no difference.

 

Call it what you want, but it would be better if you decided after seeing it yourself on Camino de Santiago.

Call it what you want, but it would be better if you decided after seeing it yourself on Camino de Santiago.

P.S. Picture is waiting for you here: http://bit.ly/2uZzGec

 

How to find your way?

Sometimes it seems that everyone around you know where they’re going. They know where, why and how. And then you just wonder – what should you do? You may think this way about your lunch, vacation, career or just life in general. The latter is a bit more painful, but you can find the answer.

My mom always says that nobody was born with knowledge, so rephrasing one cliché quote to another you never know (what you like or want) until you try. Just go have lunch at the new restaurant you wanted to try but did not feel ready, buy the plain tickets and go explore. Do not be part of somebody else’s plan, just follow yours. Start planning the smallest things you enjoy and you will catch yourself planning your next adventure!

Do not be a part of somebody else's plan, follow yours.

Do not be a part of somebody else’s plan, follow yours.

Do not be afraid to go alone if nobody is there to join your plan. Just choose a trip you feel safe about. Camino de Santiago is one of the most popular trails with excellent logistics – it’s almost impossible to get lost there. Also, since there are so many pilgrims on the road, it’s impossible to feel lonely, too.

You will never feel alone on Camino de Santiago.

You will never feel alone on Camino de Santiago.

If Spanish is not your strongest side, you can try any of the routes in the United Kingdom. But you have to be warned – sometimes it might take a while to adjust to different accents there. I know you will do that fast, so just choose from many different trails there: Cotswold way, West Highland way, Hadrian’s Wall path or many others. It only depends on what you are looking for – more civilisation, wilderness, mountains, rivers or anything else you fancy.

England as seen in the movies is waiting for you on the Cotswold Way.

England as seen in the movies is waiting for you on the Cotswold Way.

If you don’t feel like going on any of these trails – good. That means you know what you don’t want. Just keep reading, google more, look at all the amazing pictures and find the place you want to explore. Follow your new plan!

 

P.S. The beautiful pictures can be found here:

http://bit.ly/2tmVpMw

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What to expect when you’re expecting for Camino de Santiago?

One of the most popular trails in Europe, if not the world, Camino de Santiago, will bring you a lot of adventures. Thousands of people go there every year and if you’ve been thinking about going there, stop. You’re going.

And you can expect everything from it:

Some buildings will strike you with their beauty, some will look as tired are you are.

Some buildings will strike you with their beauty, some will look as tired are you are.

✓Exhaustion

✓Blisters

✓New people (friends)

✓Amazing views

✓Old cities

✓Architecture

✓Beautiful nature

✓Versatility

✓Interesting culture

✓Great local cuisine

Wild white horses may look like a dream, but just pinch yourself and you'll know they're true

Wild white horses may look like a dream, but just pinch yourself and you’ll know they’re true.

All you have to do now is to start planning!

Our Trailsmart app is always there to help. Read all about the trails, decide which one you will take, choose your favourite albergues – you can do everything with it. FOR FREE!

Flatlands, highlands, rivers and seas - the trail has it all.

Flatlands, highlands, rivers and seas – the trail has it all.

P.S. Find those pictures here:

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http://bit.ly/2uiQfBt

Packing the backpack: to camel or not to camel?

One of the main struggles before any hike is how to properly pack all the things you might need. Sleeping bag, socks, sweatshirt, sneakers, cosmetics, etc. The list goes on and on. But where to stop? Are you ready to become a camel for the next weeks and have everything you might need? Or would you rather pack lightly and not worry too much about the stuff you did not take?

Are you ready to carry as much stuff as this camel in Cappadocia?

Are you ready to carry as much stuff as this Turkish camel is going to?

You never know the right answer until you go on the trail and see what did you forget or what was absolutely irrelevant. But one thing you can do here is to learn from other’s mistakes and lessons.

Here are some tutorials from people that have already taken the popular trails. You shouldn’t strictly follow their rules, but they might give you some smart insights.

Now go, watch and pack!

 

P.S. camel rests here: http://bit.ly/2rVhkcn

Visit the history

Have you ever noticed that streets are not blocked everywhere? In fact, ages ago there were paths, later – some roads and only now we enjoy nice (hopefully) streets.

The main thing about all the unblocked cities or villages is the age. Imagine walking on the path that used to be (or maybe still is) the main way for local shepherds or fishermen. The path that has been used for more literally thousand years.

Although this sounds fascinating, it is easy to do! Just plan you trip and start exploring the history.

Streets of Viana (La Rioja) count millenniums, not ages.

Streets of Viana (La Rioja) count millenniums, not ages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past meets present: Cappadocia.

Past meets present: Cappadocia.

And even though history does not always mean culture, you never know until you explore!

 

Hadrian's Wall was started being built in 122AD.

Hadrian’s Wall was started being built in 122AD.

P.S. Thanks for the great pictures:

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Best Companions

Every trip depends on the company. Yes, company of yourself is the most important, but you will always meet more wandering souls on the road.

Wildlife Park on the Great Ocean Walk

Wildlife Park on the Great Ocean Walk

This time I’m not talking about fellow hikers… You will not be able to avoid insects and animals on any hike. Some mosquitos (don’t forget the repellent), “friendly” flies, and village dogs are everywhere. But how many times better is your day going to be after seeing deer, sheep, wild horses, or even gorillas? Mine would be like a million times better, but the actual number depends on you.

And all you need to do is just go and explore. Choose the path you’ve never taken, check all the attractions there are, and go see them.

Bunch of sheep on the Camino de Santiago.

Bunch of sheep on the Camino de Santiago.

Find the great pictures right here:

http://bit.ly/2spZgLo

http://bit.ly/2sQjxcD

 

Best place to stay

Everyone has different requirements for the housing while travelling. People look for queen size beds, fancy restaurants, picturesque settings, hostel vibes and many other things. Let’s not forget the group that only needs the lowest possible price (and that is completely normal!).

However, on some trails you can’t choose. There will be times when a tent, hostel (or albergue) or the closest B&B is going to be your only option. But it surely does not mean you’re not going to enjoy it.

Have you ever stayed in a hostel inside a huge church? This surely does not sound bad, does it?

If you ever decide to stop in Roncesvalles (on Camino de Santiago), this albergue is THE place to stay.

If you ever decide to stop in Roncesvalles (on Camino de Santiago), this albergue is THE place to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What about a tent in the middle of the beach in Turkey with the most amazing sky you have ever seen?

Turkish night sky full of stars. Probably the best roof one could have over his head.

Turkish night sky full of stars. Probably the best roof one could have over his head.

 

 

 

 

 

Old authentic B&B with English breakfast is also going to make you wish you could stay longer.

You have stay in a British B&B at least once in your life. If you don't know why then you just MUST.

You have to stay in a British B&B at least once in your life. If you don’t know why then you just MUST.

So, whatever are your housing preferences, some of them will have to go. But is the housing really the most important part of the hike? As long as you have the roof over your head, you will be just fine!

P.S. If you need help with housing, download our TrailSmart app. We have plenty of housing options listed for every trail.

P.P.S Check out those beautiful pictures here:

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When is the right time to go?

Of course you have been wondering: when is the right time to go on a hike? And really, when is it?

Is it during spring? Everything is green, you need to lose those few extra pounds and wake up from that long winter sleep. No?

Maybe Summer? Sun will (most likely) be shining, everyone around will be hyped and the vacation feeling will just be there in the air, so why not to use it. Don’t feel like it?

Fall will strike you with amazing colors, weather will not be too hot and the adventurous summer vibes will still be there to make your trip even more memorable. Something’s not right?

Nothing can beat the colors of fall.

Nothing can beat the colors of fall in Cotswold.

Well there’s always winter waiting. Snowy sceneries, chilly weather and slowed down pace can help you run away from everyday routine.

Wintry Camino de Santiago will leave you breathless.

Wintry Camino de Santiago will leave you breathless.

I think there’s no right answer to the question. The main thing to remember is that the fear of wrong decision cannot hold you down. Don’t look for reasons not to go, it is going to be amazing anyways.

 

P.S. Find these great pictures here:

http://bit.ly/2rwMJ8E

http://bit.ly/2sgBG0N