El botiquín

El botiquín

El botiquín |

When you are packing your mochila you should leave some space for a small botiquín (first-aid kit). But what should it include? Of course, if you normally take any medications, make sure you pack enough of it, or find out if you can get it in Spain.

As I mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to keep your mochila as light as possible. As one experienced pilgrim advised us last week:

No “just in case” stuff. You can buy what you need in Spain.

And where can you buy health related items? The most obvious answer is a farmacia. Here you can get medicines, with or without prescription, as well as a long list of other items for your personal care.

The pharmacy sector is very regulated in Spain, which means you can’t just open a new farmacia anywhere you like. As a result, a few years ago a new type of business was created: the parafarmacia.

Basically, in a parafarmacia you can find the same stuff as in a farmacia, except for medicines: they sell tiritas and Compeed, creams (sun protection and others), personal hygiene products: from jabón (soap), to shampoo, to pasta de dientes (toothpaste)…

At times when shops are usually closed, such as late evenings and Sundays, there is always a farmacia de guardia (pharmacy on-call). All farmacias have to display a list of the farmacias de guardia in the area. The problem is that if you are in a small town, the nearest farmacia de guardia will probably be in the next town. Not very convenient!

That’s why it is a good idea to always carry a few basic items with you.


So, what should you carry in el botiquín?


Pilgrim foot care


Your pies (feet) are the most important part of your body when you are doing the Camino de Santiago and not looking after them properly can put an early end to your walk.

Ampollas (blisters) are the most common problem that pilgrims face. We should do whatever we can to prevent them, but sometimes they are inevitable. In previous posts I discussed calzado (shoes) and calcetines (socks), as well as vaselina and tennis balls. I have also read an article recently saying that paper tape could be an effective and cheap way to prevent blisters.


  • If all of the above fails and you get ampollas, you will need aguja (needle) to drain the fluid (but don’t remove the skin!). Make sure your aguja is disinfected before you use it and that you also disinfect the area afterwards. Then you can cover it with tiritas or something similar.


  • Depending on the time of the year when you do your Camino de Santiago, you might also need protector solar or crema solar (sun protection cream).


  • Ibuprofeno is a Camino favourite is everyone’s botiquín. It works as an anti-inflammatory if you have any swelling, and as pain relief, too. And you can get it in different formats (gel, tablets and even powder to mix with water). As with any other drug, just make sure you check what the right dose is as well as the possible side effects and contraindications.


So, what are you planning to include in el botiquín? Or, if you already have Camino experience, what did you take? Did you have to buy anything?


Today’s words

Your packing advice

Your packing advice

We are still packing our mochilas! First we packed a few general items, then it was the turn of la ropa and last week was about other items. As I mentioned before, for this week’s post I asked experienced pilgrims for their advice. I wanted to know about the best and worst items they packed. So, today, it’s your packing advice.

The answers were many and varied, with some items proving quite popular and some others more personal.


Let’s start with the best items to pack

The most popular item, by far, among the ladies is a pareo (sarong), as it serves multiple purposes (in fact, I think I could write a whole post just about it!):

  • it serves as a sábana (sheet)
  • or as a toalla (towel)
  • you can wear it as a falda (skirt)
  • or as a vestido (dress), for instance, when you are washing the rest of your clothes.
  • you can tuck it around your litera for privacy
  • you can use it as a pillowcase or as a pillow
  • it’s an extra layer on cold mornings
  • it can be used as sun protection too

Last week I listed imperdibles (safety pins) and they were mentioned as essential by many pilgrims. Tapones para los oídos are quite popular among experienced pilgrims too.

When it comes to calzado (shoes), things get more personal. Some people swear by their sandalias, whereas others prefer shoes. However, most people agree on  merino wool calcetines (socks). In fact, any light merino clothing appears to be very popular, from ropa interior to camisetas: they dry quickly and don’t get stinky!

Your feet are very important and need a lot of care while doing the Camino de Santiago. Vaselina is a very popular option when it comes to footcare, although different people use different products: chamois cream, footcream… And, believe it or not, a tennis ball is a great thing to pack! You can use it to massage your feet and other areas.

Last week I recommended taking a móvil (mobile phone) which, among other uses, can also serve as a camera. The problem is that, if you are like me and tend to take loads of pictures, you will run out of memory in no time.

Tina-Marie had the perfect solution: a 256GB USB memory stick for your móvil. In Tina-Marie’s words “it was easy to move the photos and videos over thus freeing up the phone; it weighed next to nothing and fit in my pocket”.



What should you not pack

What people regretted the most was packing too much stuff. I love Beth’s piece of advice:

Don’t take anything on the Camino you aren’t willing to leave behind to lighten your load. I left toiletries and clothing at every albergue for the first 10 nights. I walked with people who carried way too much weight but were unwilling to ditch their items. Not being attached allowed me the freedom to let go, lighten my burden, and walk free!

Most people said they packed too many clothes (ropa). Take two outfits only, plus maybe one other thing that you can wear while you do laundry or to go out in the towns you are visiting.

Navaja suiza (Swiss Army knife) was another item that many people packed and then didn’t use. And it’s heavy!

A few people took a guía (guidebook) and then didn’t use it, but some others did use their guidebooks, so just think about it: do you think you will use it? Or can you manage without it?

When in doubt, follow Alder’s advice:

No “just in case” stuff. You can buy what you need in Spain.

Krista Spurr, has a lot of invaluable information in her Bite-sized travel blog. In this post in particular, she shares her packing list for her 2017 Camino. She is very thorough and analyses every item she took: https://bitesizedtravel.ca/2017/10/12/my-camino-de-santiago-packing-list-2017-what-worked-what-didnt/


Today’s words

For the pronunciation of ropa and calzado, check the post about your backpack.

For the pronunciation of calcetines, sandalias, camisetas and ropa interior, check this post about clothes.

For the pronunciation of tapones, imperdibles and móvil, check this post about other things to pack.

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¡Buen Camino!

La mochila

La mochila

La mochila |

Last week I asked you…  

But that’s not the only decision you need to make before you start your pilgrimage.


A very important one is:


 ¿Qué vas a llevar en la mochila? 




What are you going to take in your backpack?


Unless you decide to get your mochila transferred from place to place by a courier company,  you will have to carry it with you every day. So you don’t want to pack unnecessary items that will only add weight. The general recommendation is that you should not carry more than 10% of your own weight. Let’s say you weigh 70kg; then your mochila should not be heavier than 7kg.


So what should you pack? The contents of your mochila will differ slightly depending on the route you have chosen and the time of the year when you are doing it, but there are things you can’t leave behind!


  • Ropa (clothes): it will be a bit different depending on the time of the year you are travelling (and I will elaborate on clothes and toiletries in the coming weeks), but as a general rule, you should bring trousers, two or three T-shirts, as well as underwear and socks.


  • Calzado (shoes): again, your choice will depend on your route and the time of the year, but whether you choose trekking boots or shoes, make sure they are not new! If you need to buy a new pair of shoes, you should start wearing them at least three months before you start your Camino.


  • Toalla (towel): a lightweight quick dry towel is your best choice.


  • Tiritas (plasters): to take care of your feet, so you can rub vaseline in every day. If you still get blisters, tiritas might come in handy!


  • Toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant.


Are you ready to answer the question now? And what would you add to this list?




Why don’t you write a comment with your answer?



Voy a llevar… or llevo(If you are already doing the Camino).

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¡Buen Camino!