MY GOURMET CAMINO/Supplemental blog to My Glam Camino

In May of 2022 I returned to Camino with my bf and repeated most of the way, but this time walked all the way to Santiago. We resumed the walk exactly from the same place where he left the previous fall, at Logrono.

Second time around felt very familiar, just like coming home but at the same time some places look and feel differently; some hostals have closed since last year; some new cafes opened up while the old ones closed. Also, since this was a different season, the colors and the views also looked different.

Also, on this second Camino we made a point of discovering good meals beyond the usual pilgrim menu as food is also an integral part of the Camino experience.    

New Experiences this time around:

In Burgos, a massage place called Ultreia, ask for Felix, he doesn’t speak any English but this was one of the best massages I ever got.

We got to Santo Domingo de la Calzada on June 12 and witnessed an amazing fiesta; the entire town with all their dignitaries was on the streets celebrating the day of their saint, Santo Domingo.

In Carrion de los Condes I wanted to catch the famous singing nuns, which I missed the year before. Nobody actually knew where this takes place but after some search, turned out that the singing happens at the main Santa Maria Albergo. However, this year the nuns were out on a field trip and the event was conducted by volunteers. About 20 pilgrims gathered in a circle and were asked to introduce themselves and to state their reasons for doing the Camino. Some people’s stories were actually very touching; some walked to honor dead relatives while others to celebrate getting over deadly illnesses, and so on. Some people like us walked for the sake of walking while some others didn’t speak neither English nor Spanish so their reasons remained a mystery…overall this was a pleasant experience and I recommend doing it, hopefully while the nuns are there.

Ponferrada Castle is a worthwhile visit in good weather. We had our break and laundry day there and went to a bar with live American country music band… of all places…

In Santiago do not miss a very nice jazz and blues bar Arume as a pleasant end to the Camino.

FOOD RECCOMENDATIONS

In Burgos, we managed to hit all the same bars as I noted in my previous blog: La Quinta del Monje, La Cantina de Burgos, Tapas San Lesmes and Los Herreros. All were as good as I remembered, but if you can do only one, go to La Cantina. This is where we discovered zamburiñas, scallops on a shell roasted with oil and garlic. We couldn’t get enough of this dish for the remaining Camino and tried to eat them everywhere we could. 

This time around, we opted for a short day after Hornillos Del Camino and stayed in Hontanas, a very cute town with a happening main street and good lunch options. The next day, I planned to have breakfast in Castrojeritz, a place I remembered fondly, but this time it was dead quiet and there was no place to eat breakfast. We ended up going to the only open tienda and ate potato chips and a banana for breakfast. Sometimes things like that happen on the Camino, which reminded me that it’s always good to have some snacks with you.

In Burgo Ranero, we stayed in El Peregrino, same as in the previous year, but Piedras Blancas is a better choice for food. It has a nice garden in the back and an a la carte menu with great salads and other good choices.

Leon was a really gourmet experience. We had Sunday brunch in Marisquería La Rueda @ C. Relojero Losada, 8. The first room looked like a dive bar, but in the back there is a nice dining room with white table cloths and excellent service. We had lots of different seafood dishes, our new favorite, zamburiñas, garlic shrimp, razor clams, etc. This was so good that we postponed leaving town the next day until after lunch so we could eat there again. Walking after lunch during the hottest hours of the day after eating a big meal and a whole bottle of red was challenging, but the food was worth it!

In Hospital de Orbigo, we stayed again in Hostal La Encina. They have great pinchos which come complimentary with an order of wine. After the owner realized that we are serious drinkers, wine and pinchos have arrived non-stop without having to ask for more.

In Astorga, we stayed in plush Hotel Gaudi (tip: call for rates, phone is better than booking.com or hotels.com). Here again we tried their famous Cochido, and after having it a second time I can say for sure: I don’t like it; heaps of unidentified parts of a pig; tasteless sautéed cabbage and inedible tasteless broth.

In Rabanal, we stayed in the La Posada de Gaspar and ate dinner there. Nice garden with a la carte choices and finally, fresh salad. One of the problems on the Camino is lack of fresh vegetables and a nice salad is a rarity.

After a long descend to El Acebo, a good lunch stop with one of the best salads on the Camino was at La Rosa del Aqua.

In Villafranca de Bierzo, we ate at El Padrino, a highly recommended typical Spanish restaurant. Nobody there spoke English and there was no menu, so we ended up pointing to other people’s plates to indicate what we want. Funny experience but the food was good.

As you cross into Galicia, expect even more seafood. In Sarria, don’t miss the Pulperia Luis; octopus is the only dish on the menu.

The small town of Portomarin is a gourmet seafood heaven. We ate at two great restaurants: O’Mirador and Casa Cruz. Besides the abundance of seafood dishes, we discovered the roasted peppers dish called Piementos Padron which became a must.

Restaurant Nene in Arzua is a true gourmet. And finally in Santiago di Compostella for our last Camino meal we ate in Dubra.

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