Worried about walking the Camino without speaking Spanish?
My friend Kelli didn’t speak Spanish at all when she walked her first Camino, and she found that Google Translate wasn’t her friend. It often garbled the meaning of what she wanted to say, and conversations frequently went astray. “There were days I felt lonely, and sometimes isolated,” Kelli told me. “Sometimes I got to a village and there was no one else but locals and I couldn’t communicate.”
Would you like to connect with the locals while on the Camino?
Imagine walking into a café or joining a local festival, and chatting with people, understanding what’s going on, feeling connected, sharing a café con leche together.
Learning Spanish helps you enjoy a more meaningful experience, and what’s more … you don’t need to worry about getting lost without being able to ask for directions.
Every little bit will enrich your experience and ease your struggles/worries.
Master the basics of Spanish… fast
Before you say you don’t have time to master the language in time for your next Camino, let me tell you something:
Even a week of learning Spanish can make a difference to your Camino.
A week? Really?
Lists of “useful phrases” are not that useful: they don’t tell you how to pronounce all those words. You won’t be understood if you try to use them. And you won’t understand people’s answers to your clumsily pronounced questions.
Generic books and apps also waste a lot of time teaching weird sentences you won’t be able to use in a real conversation.”My dog has a duck” or “a red shirt is not blue” are just a couple of examples I’ve come across.
They don’t know what you need to learn for the Camino. I do. I’ve been teaching Spanish for over 15 years . But, more importantly, I’ve done the Camino (and I’m planning the next ones already).
So, don’t waste your time learning useless stuff. Focus instead on what you need. That’s exactly what you will find here. Let me guide you on a better way (pun intended). You can read the blog and search for the topics that are more relevant to you. But if you want to go beyond memorising a bunch of words and phrases, you’re in the right place too. Whether you prefer to learn on your own or with a little help I got you covered.
Hi, I’m María Seco
I love languages and I trained to be an English teacher. But then I won a scholarship to go to Ireland for a year to improve my English while teaching Spanish. I discovered I loved it and decided I had to teach Spanish. The look on the students’ faces the first time they can talk to a Spanish-speaking person, they are understood and understand the reply… that is priceless.
I taught Spanish in Ireland for 15 years. During those years, one of the motivations to join my classes was “I want to do the Camino”. These courses were not Camino-specific but I tried to make them as practical and useful as possible.
After 15 years in Ireland, I moved back to Spain. I now live on the Camino. The Camino was always there, in the background, but I never paid much attention. Then I started seeing pilgrims passing every day and I wanted to join them. So I walked. And I got the Camino bug, so I know I’ll walk again… and again. When I’m not walking I like to greet pilgrims with a “Buen Camino” when they pass by, or help those who look lost find their way. On occasions, I even get to meet them and we spend a few hours together, sharing a cup of café con leche or walking around town.
When I travel, I like to learn about the local culture, history, customs… the Camino is the ideal opportunity to do that: you are walking across the country, away from the most touristy places, passing through some cities and a lot of smaller towns and villages.
You could simply walk inside your own bubble. But the Camino becomes a truly transforming experience when you embrace the local customs, talk to people (not fellow pilgrims exclusively), ask questions.
I’d love to share my passion for the Camino and the Spanish language with you, so your Camino becomes a discovery of local customs, new friends, and Galician delicacies.
Spanish for the Camino was so very helpful in refreshing my long unused Spanish skills. Knowing some Spanish is very beneficial on The Camino, you can engage/communicate, and bond better knowing key words or phrases.
Want to know more about me, the Camino and my work?
Check my Conversations with Kate…
My conversation with Dan Mullins about the importance of learning some Spanish to enhance your Camino experience,
my chat (in Spanish) with Guilherme Ribeiro, from Pasos del Camino,
my chat with David, from Clearskies Camino, for his podcast,
my guest post (in Spanish) in Practicamos, a blog for Spanish learners,
…my collaboration with VideoEle in the creation of this video about the Camino,
my game of La Oca with fellow Spanish teachers Blanca & Estefanía and English teacher Vickie,