07:00 Wed.
28 Oct, 2020

About the food, tips, meditation and the rest

12:00 am
12:00 am

I wrote most of the short summaries in the posts before, but here or there I might have forgotten something, or it just didn’t feel like the best place to put it, so I’ll write it here.


In general, you can get very cheap food from the restaurants along the rout by procuring your pilgrims credentials. The prices range from 5-15 €, depending on the location, quality and quantity of food. You can get as little as a toast with a drink, or several course meal with wine.  I’ve read that in some albergues it is also possible to get food included in the price of the sleepover, but I guess this is in private albergues as for the public ones, no-one offered it.

In general, you can cook food in most of the albergues, all of them have kitchens and kitchen utensils, except the first few at Spanish (see my previous post). There are small shops and supermarkets in most of the towns and villages, although some are really basic and you will be struggling to get anything that is useful for the road, so in the bigger towns I recommend buying a bit more, although you have to remember, that you will be carrying it with you. We (I) usually tried to find a supermarket each morning and buy some fresh fruits for the day, I also bought and carried some nuts, as they don’t spoil are relatively light and provide you with tons of calories. Each morning I also tried to buy some yogurt or fitness drink based on yogurt. For some reason they had a really large variety of them and extra proteins don’t hurt if you are walking the whole day.

As far as the cooking goes, if you are in a larger group it’s easier to manage as you can cook together, if you are travelling alone this might be a bit more tedious, but still doable. I cooked for myself a couple of times when Aljoša and Jakob went out to eat and I didn’t feel like eating out. Usually pasta will be your friend, although sky and budget is the limit.

I would say that the prices for groceries are a bit cheaper than in Slovenia,  at least in Portugal, but the difference is minimal. There are some types of food that are much cheaper in both Portugal and Spain, mostly fresh fruits, vegetables and as I mentioned before wine is super cheap.

The tap water is drinkable along the whole way, both in Portugal and Spain. While the water in Spain is not drinkable in the whole country the North and North-West is considered to have the best water, so you really don’t have to worry about it. Just bring a bottle or two with you in order to refill them. I would say that we drank about 2-3l during each leg, I would assume that during the summer you can easily double this.

Protip: You can eat tons of oranges, mandarins and lemons that are everywhere along the path in Portugal. 🙂 I’m not sure when is the perfect time for them, but looks like February is.

Some other delicious things I’ve tried and haven’t posted in the main story.


The public albergues are really cheap, €5 per night in Portugal and €8 per night in Spain. I would really recommend visiting the public ones as they are cheaper and cleaner. Ok, we haven’t visited any expensive (and by expensive I mean €15+ per night) private hostels, so maybe those are better. In general, I was really pleasantly surprised by them. I was really afraid of the bed bugs and I think at one point this was really a problem, but not anymore. None of the albergues have standard mattresses but some kind of plastic mattress for lack of better word. The bed bugs can’t live in them, on the other hand you  sweat like crazy on  them, especially during the summer. You always need to have your own sleeping bag with you, there are no covers. In Spain, they also give you a one-time paper cover for the mattress, so it’s a bit better with the squeaking each time you turn. Buy ear plugs!!!

While we had no problem finding the albergues and there was always room in them, during the peak season I’ve heard you have to get up at 5am to reach the next albergue by 12-14h in order to get a free bed. It is also impossible to make reservations in any of them (regardless of the month of traveling).

For easy planning and to get the latest information about the albergues I recommend app Camino Ninja.

Expenses $$$

If you are travelling in a group, I recommend using app Splitwiseit makes it so much easier to track who paid how much and when. It also automatically calculates who owns who and offers much flexibility, really great tool.

Bring cash! For some reason it is impossible to pay with credit card in most of the albergues, even some restaurants don’t accept it. In our group Jakob had only cash with him, so he ended up paying for the majority of albergues for all of us, while Aljoša and I paid in the stores and where credit cards were accepted.

In total, I spent €350 during my 18-day stay in Portugal, which brings an average of €20 per day. I spent a bit more toward the end while being in Porto, but I would say the average is quite close. If I had to assess what my spending would be, I would say I was more toward the lower end, I rarely ate outside, most of the costs came from the fresh fruits and a bit richer yogurts that I drank several per day. I think Jakob and Aljoša spent about twice as much, mostly because they ate out much more.

If you are really on a budget, I think it is possible to spent less than €15 per day, but you will mostly eat pasta for each meal.

Just to add everything up, my plane ticket was about €60, so in total 18-day trip to Portugal cost me €410. If I didn’t have to pay bills here in Slovenia, while I was away, it would actually be one pair with the daily expenses I have here.

Some other tips worth mentioning

Pack lightly, literary 3 pairs of underwear are enough, wear some sports clothes that dry quickly. In total, I was quite happy with my packing, while we had to bring a bit more, since we were traveling during colder and wetter months, my whole backpack including some food weighted in at 30 kg. Couple of times I bought a bit larger amounts of food, so I have a feeling that at times it was 40 kg, and I can tell you after carrying it for a whole day each kg counts!

You can wash clothes in washing machines in most of the albergues (albeit you have to pay 1-2 € for it. If you are alone, you might have some trouble filling up the drum, us 3 put all our clothes together and it was perfect. In total, I think we washed our clothes 3 times (besides handwashing).

Friendly natives, I was surprised how friendly the people we met were. Almost everyone said “Bon Camino” as they saw us, and if we needed any help (mostly with directions) everyone tried their best to help us.

Don’t overdo it, the only reason to walk for 20h is that you can say, “When I was young, I walked for 60 km straight!”.  Seriously, take it easy, enjoy the journey, enjoy the nature, take a break, take in that nice view. I found out that for me Camino was more about self reflection, thinking about this or that and relaxing in nice company for the duration of the trip. It really is about the journey, not destination!

Choosing the route, there are several ways you can get to Camino. Even coming from Portugal you can take central (the one we took), oceanic or literal way. I must say I was a bit disappointed about our route, as it was about 75% through villages, roads and towns. We could always see civilization in front of us. Jakob also did the Spanish (the traditional) way a couple of years ago, that starts in France, and he says that that one is more than 60% through the nature, over fields and forests. It is something worth considering.  If you are not limited with the time, I would suggest that one. The part we did from Santiago to Finisterra was much more enjoyable for me, as it was mostly through the nature.

Different routes for Portugal eddition.

Mobile connectivity is generally great, we had 4G for most of the time.

During summer, you can also buy luggage transport, where they pick up your luggage and bring it to the next stop on your destination, so you don’t have to carry it on your back.  I personally don’t think its worth it, if you go during summer you really can get away with less than 15 kg backpack. You only need 2 shirts, pants and socks. You can handwash them in the evening, and they will be dry till morning.

Post for pilgrims. I’ve mentioned before, that during high season, it’s possible to send your backpacks etc. to the next albergue/stop and walk without them.

Red Porto wine sucks.

Try some local food, the have very good deserts and pastries in Portugal, and sometimes while you walk by the pastry shop the smell alone will pulls you into the store.

Other people on the way, you will meet with a lot of other pilgrims, especially during the summer. With several of them you will synchronize the speed so you will encounter  them repeatedly each evening in alberuges. Remember, that some are there for other reason and goals as you, don’t try to enforce and walk together with everyone as they might want to be alone with their own thoughts. The evenings in the albergues are perfect for socializing, each one has a kitchen or some common area, just go there and talk to people, if you feel like it.

Almost forgot about an important info, stamps!  When you get your credentials, you need to put a stamp in it each day. You can find stamps in most restaurants and all albergues on the way. At the beginning you need 1 stamp per day, while when you get to Spain you need 2 stamps per day! However, they can be from the same town, so you can just get it in the albergue and then go out for dinner and get it at the restaurant as well. For us it was fun gathering stamps, so in the end, we got one at every chance we had. It also serves as a nice souveneer.

We were quite good at collecting them. It’s like pokemon, you gotta catch them all.
19:00 Sun.
11 Oct, 2020

Finally visited all neighboring countries!

12:00 am
12:00 am

Can’t believe, that I’ve visited most of the Europe before being to Hungary once. Finally, the black spot on my atlas was fixed last Christmas and I can finally say I’ve been to all the Slovenian neighbouring countries! So when deciding where to go for Christmas holidays, there wasn’t much deliberation, Budapest it is.

Hungarian parliament.

Budapest is about 450 km away from Ljubljana, so after checking the (bad) options for going with public transport, we decided to just drive. I think this was my longest drive in one go since Finland way, way back in 2013.  Not only, was this the first time that I visited Hungary, it was also the first time that instead of going staying in a hotel (through booking.com), we reserved a small apartment near the city center through AirBnB. To be honest, the experience wasn’t much different then the one a year before at Malta. We got the key to the apartment through a “lock box” and again didn’t even saw the owner.  The apartment was nice and cozy and not that expensive considering proximity to the center and Christmas time.

They projected a show/architecture to the facade of the church, it looked super awesome.

The whole trip was very nice,  we avoided any museums or other landmarks where you have to go inside. I’m not entirely sure why I do this, I think I have a feeling that I’m going to find them super boring, I guess I should try to actually go inside from time to time, maybe I’m in those years that I’ll find it interesting again. But walked around the city and visited all the bridges, castles, statues and the rest, we even went running couple of laps around the island in the middle of Donava.

The city center  was nicely decorated although not as much as Paris.

So what else did we do, beside walking, running and sightseeing? Well eating of course! Haha, I haven’t eaten so much food in a long, long time, probably since Pierogis in Warsaw, haha. Anyway, we tried to lean toward traditional Hungarian food. To be honest, I had no idea what it was, before googling, I had a feeling that goulash has to be somewhere, but I kind of get the vibe that goulash is traditional everywhere in Eastern Europe.  So yea, each day we tried to find an interesting restaurant and go eat something there, in the evenings (yea right, just evenings haha), we grabbed some delicious chimneys from the stalls and all over the day we tried some small pastries that could be found in metro stations, for some reason.

So yea, the trip was short, an extended weekend, but very fun, not even sure if there is much more that one can do, if you do not wish to go visit the therms, catacombs or some of the museums. It was a bit chilly, but I think around the Chrismas must be the best time of the year for visit, as there is so much going on all around. The prices are also not that bad, it’s even a bit cheaper than Ljubljana and for some reason wine is very very cheap in the stores. You can find several  bottles of (ok) wine for under 3€.

17:14 Sun.
2 Dec, 2018

Petting a moose!!! :D

Stockholm , Sweden
6 °C
8:20 am
2:54 pm

I have seen Jean and Maggie a couple of times during the conference already, but when the conference ended it was time to move from the city center to their apartment, just on the opposite side of the conference complex. It was great seeing them again after 2 years. Time flies by so fast, the last time we saw each other was when they visited us in Slovenia.

I started my first day of vacation with Jean showing me his workplace – he works at King (The Candy Crush developers). I must say I haven’t seen such a great offices anywhere. Everything was decorated with motives from Candy Crush game, they had arcades, trampolines, pool and foosball tables, about 50 micro ways, free drinks and on and on, they even had a zen garden and rooms with beds, where you could take a short siesta. It really looked like a joy to work there, I’m wondering how they can do any work done.

After the tour of his office, we went to visit a friend of his, where we had a BBQ at the top of the roof of 15 story building. The views were nice, the sun was setting, and the food was great. It just so happens that his friend is from Croatia, so it was lots of fun teasing him (and his Croatian friends that were there) about losing the finals a week before.

View from rooftops in Stockholm
View from rooftops in Stockholm

One day we rented a car and drove about 200 km out of the Stockholm, it was interesting seeing this part of the Sweden, again lots of forests, lakes but the vegetation was different from the north. There was also a farm here or there. Our destination of the day was moose farm/safari. We were able to see the moose from close, even pet them a bit, it was so much fun. They are such a funny animal, very high and big on four tiny legs. Their fur was really fatty/sweaty, hard to describe, supposedly they excrete something that helps them stay cool/fend of mosquitoes or something during the summer. There were also some baby moose running around happily, such a joy to watch.

Petting a moose.
I was so happy I got a chance to pet it a bit. Was on my wish list since before coming to Luleå all those years ago.
Baby moose
Baby moose

After the moose farm we also visited a nice castle/villa near a lake. It is especially known by having lots of traditional Swedish deserts. I tried several cakes and after we were full we slowly returned home to Stockholm.

Taxinge castle, just beside a lake with very very good deserts.
Taxinge castle, just beside a lake with very very good deserts.

It was fun hanging out with Jean and Maggie, we visited different parts of Stockholm, tried tons of different restaurants and also cooked some interesting dishes at home. We also visited an “old school” arcade, full of Japanese arcades, supposedly they are still popular there.

Arcade in Stockholm
Arcade in Stockholm

One day Jean and I went to the outskirts of Stockholm and rented a canoe. It was supper fun paddling along the small islands in Stockholm’s archipelago and looking at big villas at the water’s edge. It was really serene and calm, a place to relax and talk. Will have to look if anything similar is possible here in Slovenia.

I was also very happy to try Japanese food again, another restaurant that I found really fun was an Italian restaurant, where kitchen was open, so you could watch how they made your food. Supposedly couple of months ago it was even more open, as you directly told the chef what you want, and he made it right in front of you, but it was supposedly too stressful for them, so they change it, nonetheless the food was great. As usually, when I’m with Jean I also tried something weird, this time it was some weird tea with milk and weird balls of soy or something inside – really disgusting stuff.

All in all the days flew by in an eye blink. It was really fun hanging out with them and visiting the city. The Stockholm during the summer is totally different experience than visiting in the winter, while the winter version is fun to experience, I would definitely recommend coming in summer as there is so much more you can do and see.

Soon it was time to say goodbye, we went for one last lunch at a pizzeria nearby. Its fascinating how Swedes (or rather people owning pizzerias up there – they are not native swedes in general) have absolutely no idea how pizza should look like. They always put a lot of some weird ingredients on it, the pizzas are usually very large and taste mediocre at best.

Pizza in Sweden. Suprisingly they are not expensive, about 10€ if I remember correctly, which is cheap for Sweden.
Pizza in Sweden. Surprisingly they are not expensive, about 10€ if I remember correctly, which is cheap for Sweden.
23:57 Sat.
7 Dec, 2013

Living the good life

Day 121 , 26 remain
Lulea , Sweden
-16 °C
9:15 am
1:35 pm

Ok, so this week I was helping at International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (MUM), here at LTU.

So what exactly was I doing? Well first two days I was mainly at the reception helping with registration of newly arrives and showing them around. I was also allowed to go to listen to whichever presentation I wanted and of course all the food and drinks were free for us.

I’ve managed to listen to keynote presentation by Google and I think it was really good. He showed some nice applications we’ll be able to see in near future and of course didn’t forget to show us all the new Google toys aka Nexus 5, Google glasses etc…

For each day of conference we got a coupons that covered all expenses in central restaurant, for lunch. Almost all volunteers (students) were finally able to try the most expensive dish from the menu, with all the extra drinks and stuff (which normally costs around 10€). I think this was the first time since I came here in Lulea that I had pork and some other kinds of meat. Usually I only eat fish or chicken since other kinds cost more than 30€/ kg (and you can’t buy less than 1kg).

Here in Sweden they have a tradition of having so called “Fika” every few hours. Hm how could I explain this? It’s something similar to English Tea (time) though it can happen any time of the day. So every 1.5h of conference we got Fika, which included cakes, drinks, sandwiches, cookies, etc…

So despite being volunteer and not getting paid, I saved around 100€ in this week on food and drinks alone (since I didn’t eat/buy anything at home), and probably gained few kg (of winter isolation 😀 ).

We also got invited to welcoming event in 4* hotel downtown. Needless to say it was awesome.

Overall it was really great experience and I’m happy I’ve been given an opportunity to be involved. I’ve been able to listen to some very good presentations, meet and talked with a lot of new people including presenters. And lastly if I’m not mistaken we are going to get recommendation letter from professor next week. All in all it was great!

Me listening to Google's presentation. Photo by: Benjamin Planche
Me listening to Google’s presentation. Photo by: Benjamin Planche
00:29 Sun.
22 Sep, 2013

The "long" night ahead

Day 45 , 102 remain
Lulea , Sweden
11 °C
Partly Cloudy
6:08 am
6:36 pm

This week was very intensive in regards to school work. I couldn’t have waited for the weekend to come. Yesterday I slept for almost 12 hours, compensation for work until 2AM during week.

Yesterday evening (Saturday) we had a dinner with friends. We had 4 main dishes, French, Spanish and two Chinese as each one prepared dish from his country. I think Slovenian cuisine will be on the menu in two weeks although I still don’t know what I should cook. I’ll be very happy and thankful for any suggestions you can give me on what is a good Slovenian dish. 🙂 Anyway the food was really good and it was fun to taste what people in the other countries eat.

Here is Spanish dish. It’s fried potatoes with eggs. It looks like and is prepared somewhat similar to pancakes, but tastes nothing alike.

Mikel made us spanish pancake, well it's fried eggs and potatoes. :)
Mikel made us spanish pancake, well it’s fried eggs and potatoes mixed together. 🙂
French dish made by Jean, contains potatoes, cheese ham and lots of fat. :D
French dish made by Jean, contains potatoes, cheese ham and lots of fat. 😀
Chinese rice by Lin, made with rice and sea fruits.
Chinese rice by Lin, made with rice and sea fruits.
Spicy as hell Chinese broth made by Allen and Leff
Spicy as hell Chinese broth made by Allen and Leff
Chicken leg from the broth
Chicken leg from the broth

All together (except chicken which took longest to cook). (We didn’t burned the table, if someone is wondering)

Needles to say we were full as a drum (old Slovenian saying :))
Needles to say we were full as a drum (old Slovenian saying :))

Since I’m talking about food a fun fact … I bought some salad in local market few days ago. The salad was in some kind of bag (like bag for bread), you could only see the top of it (salad), so you knew it was a salad. The surprise came when I was at home and took salad out of the bag. It actually came with a pot. I’m not sure why is this, are you supposed to grow your own salad from now on, or is it just to keep it fresh a bit longer? Anyway just to make sure, I have a pot on the window, maybe I’ll grow some salad from now on, who knows. 🙂

Cultivating my salad
Cultivating my salad

September Equinox

Today (Sunday) is autumn equinox. This means that the day will be of equal length as night. Until now I had longer days than Slovenia (or majority of world for what it’s worth). From now on, days will continue to get shorter and shorter until only 2 hours of daylight in late December. Although I’m fond of seeing how it is to live only by artificial light, I’m starting to regret my decision of departure in first semester. I think it would be better if I went after New Year’s. If that were true I would arrive when the days are short and leave in June when there is daylight all day long.