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Pilgrims Meal - Not Like It Used To Be

Discussion in 'Camino Frances' started by BROWNCOUNTYBOB, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    My first trip to Spain was in 1978 when I studied for a semester abroad in Valencia. I “discovered “ menu del dia and enjoyed it many times throughout the spring semester.

    Fast forward to 2015 during our first Camino. The pilgrim’s meal was essentially the same thing. Cindi and I enjoyed the Pilgrim’s meal probably 70% most nights if not more. Without exception it was two courses, desert, bread and a bottle of wine for 10€ per person. Same thing during our second Camino in 2017.

    So here we are on our third Camino, naively expecting the same. We’ve only been hiking 11 days so my comments might be premature. We are again having the pilgrims meal most nights and here is what we are experiencing:
    • Meals like before but the cost has increased to 12€, 15€, 20€ or more
    • Several places no longer offer a full bottle of wine with dinner. A glass of wine is offered per person. We’ve asked for another glass. Some do not charge more, some do.
    • Several places do not offer pilgrims meal, but offer a combination plate that seems like a pilgrims meal. One place we ordered a combination plate with paella and salad for 10€. Wine was not included. We did not ask for bread with the dinner but it was brought to our table so I assumed it was complementary. When paying the bill, we were charged an extra euro for the bread!
    We’ll keep eating pilgrims meals on our Camino but make sure to ask what is included.

    Bob
     
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  2. ChristopherX

    ChristopherX New Member

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    Hello Bob. During my second camino, like you, I began to lose my enthusiasm for pilgrims meals. Although usually great for socialising after a day walking alone, pilgrims meals could be a pain if I had forgotten to mention my vegetarianism. Wherever there was a kitchen available, I much preferred it when a camino family bought food from the local shop and made a shared meal (and considerably cheaper than a pilgrim meal).
     
  3. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Christopher, thanks for your message. Cindi and I enjoy the pilgrims meals most nights, but sometimes switch to several tapas or a combination plate. Since we are husband and wife, we have a Camino family of 2 the entire way. After waking a long day (today’s hike to Fromista was 15 miles) we don’t have the energy or interest to make our own meal. And while some meals are vegetarian (breakfast this morning tortilla espanola) we are both meat eaters, but are enjoying seafood a few nights each week (calamari last night). The good news is that there are lots of options for pilgrims no matter what your dietary preference is. Bob
     
  4. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Not so bad last few nights. Currently in Carrion de los Condes. Wonderful pilgrims meal for 12€ included full bottle of wine. Many fewer pilgrims on the senda and the weather has been terrific! Bob
     
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  5. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Another datapoint in Ledigos. Outstanding pilgrims meal in Ledigos Casa La Morena last night for 12€ each. Delicious lentil soup, huge rack of grilled pork ribs plus fries and fried pepper and nice dessert, but cost of wine was extra.

    We have been surprised to learn that so many small towns have few shops or stores available beyond the albergues. Ledigos was the third town (also Ventosa and Viloria del Rioja) we stayed in without a tienda or grocery store. Creates an issue buying fruit and snacks for the following day.

    Great weather continues!

    Bob
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob, Just arrived in Estella. Our experiences have been nearly a carbon copy of yours. Can’t tell you how much we’re enjoying the fall Camino. Still busy here, but pilgrims don’t seem to have much problem finding beds. It’s been four years since I’ve been on this route and it’s so good to revisit it. Of course, some things are stronger in my memory than others. As I stayed outside Estella last time in Villaturete, it’s a real treat to be just off Plaza Major in Estella this time. Paella is on our menu tonight! We, too, have eaten well, but as you observed, prices are a bit higher than when I last walked. Like you, we, too, are a family of two, but we’ve met so many wonderful pilgrims from all over the world. Best wishes for a continued great Camino for you and Cindi. P.S. really enjoyed the Valcarlos Route!
     
  7. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wily, really great you are sharing the Camino Frances with your wife. The pilgrim traffic is now slowing down and the weather continues to be great. Tomorrow Cindi and I hike into León, something we’re looking forward to. Best wishes for your continued Camino in the coming days! Bob
     
  8. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    A downside of staying in the bigger cities is that dinner is not available until 8:00 pm or later. Cindi and I were in Leon Thursday and found a restaurant that served dinner at 7:30. We decided to have 3 raciones and wine. The waiter brought a basket of bread to our table which we had not requested. The dinner was very good but when we received the bill, it included 1.8€ for the bread. Outrageous! I told the waiter we did not ask for the bread so we would not pay for it and he took it off the bill.

    One more example, unless the pilgrims menu says pan included, we will say “no pan” whenever a waiter brings us bread with our meal. This does not apply to tortilla espanola when a piece of bread is generally included with the tortilla .

    Tomorrow we hike to Astorga. Should be nice weather again.

    Bob
     
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  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Bob, on the food scene, we’ve been lucky to have two excellent pilgrim meals almost back to back. Like you, we enjoyed two, three-course meals with wine both in Estella and just this evening in Logroño. Last night in Los Arcos, we simply sat at one of the cafes in the main square and each had a skillet of paella. Although, not homemade, it was very tasty. Here in Logroño, eating a bit earlier wasn’t a problem. After a 29 km day, we were more than happy to eat by 7 pm and then get back to our room at the Winedeful Hostel (the private room here is quite nice with one of the best showers I’ve found so far). In any case, the set menu del diá (12 €) was quite good. I’ve now been able to enjoy lamb twice! But, you’re absolutely correct about checking for being overcharged for items that you didn’t order or that aren’t included with the meal. We’re off to Najára in the morning. Still pretty hot! Tomorrow we’ll hit 82F with 85F forecast for Sunday. Buen Camino!
     
  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    We are in Cacabelos and had a great pilgrim’s meal tonight. White bean stew with chorizo, then swordfish steak smothered in tomato sauce with potatoes sprinkled with paprika. Cheesecake with strawberry sauce for dessert. And Cindi and I shared a bottle of vino tinto. and no charge for the bread. Well worth the 12€ per person price! Bob
     
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