A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒOmar Khayyam
The sentiment in Khayyam’s words are not lost ¬†on me. Particularly as I try to walk my Camino with an open mind for a simple life. Medieval pilgrims certainly would have been grateful for bread alone and may have subsisted solely on it – with a watery soup and wine thrown in from time to time.
But man I want a salad.
As in most European countries bread is life. ¬†In Spain the Panaderia on every corner is busy from the break of day. ¬†This is true in the cities and in the small villages we walk through. ¬†Some small towns we find the “Bread man” (my term) driving through the streets honking his horn. ¬†Kinda like the ice cream man when I was a kid.
Along the Camino finding food is a bit of a challenge unless you are in a large city. ¬†And finding food that includes nice fresh produce is even harder. ¬†And dinner before 8pm? Forget about it.
Likely for convenience and cost, the places that pop up for sustenance on the Camino sell baguette sandwiches¬†called bocadilla, or the national dish of Spain, Tortilla Espinosa (an egg and potato torta/omelette), and coffee. ¬†Sometimes apples and bananas. ¬†This is what is considered both breakfast and lunch food. ¬†It’s cheap and easy to carry.
I’ve learned to pick up fresh fruit when I see it and stash it in our pack. ¬†Clearly we are a long way from starving but a girl needs something to help her walk 14 miles each day.
A couple of days ago on a particularly uninhabited stretch of our walk I had ¬†ham and cheese on a dry baguette for breakfast, tuna on hard focaccia for lunch and ham and cheese on baguette for dinner.
That was the day I said no more bread. ¬†No mas!
And there was the one night we shared a can of tuna and a whole zuchinni while laying in bed.
At the end of each day we can usually find what is
called the Peregrino Dinner. ¬†In every town we have found this except for one. ¬†This meal is usually $10-12 Euro and includes two or three courses with choices. ¬†The first course may be a choice of salad mixta, soup or pasta. ¬†I always get the salad which 99% of the time is lettuce, tomato, canned tuna and maybe carrot and egg.
But the second course is ALWAYS French fries with some meat. ¬†You can choose chicken, pork, beef or
maybe veal or lamb. ¬†No veg.
Sigh. ¬†I just want some nice zucchini or spinach or green beans or kale por favor!
One evening we did encounter a Peregrino Dinner with a vegetarian option. ¬†I happily ordered the vegetarian paella instead of meat and fries. ¬†It was warm and yummy saffron rice with peas, beans, cauliflower and carrots.
In our 16 days on the Camino our best meals have
come in the bigger towns. ¬†No surprise. ¬†I’m still dreaming about the Caesar Salad and Eggplant hummus we had in Pamplona or the beautiful Salad Mixta with fresh tuna, asparagus and beets I had with Catalon soup in Burgos. ¬†And the best peregrino¬†meal we enjoyed was a pork knuckle and the first course was fresh baby artichoke hearts with lemon in Puenta la Reina. ¬†Happiness on a plate.
And so I’ve grown even more appreciative of fresh food with fresh ingredients and a variety of fruits and vegetables. ¬†And when I can’t get it, well I am then grateful on those days for a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou.
Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a cheerful heart; –¬†Ecclesiastes 9:7
191 miles done. ¬†298 to go!