8 ways to incorporate Spanish into your daily life

8 ways to incorporate Spanish into your daily life

Incorporate Spanish into your daily life |

You believe there are good reasons to learn Spanish before your next Camino de Santiago. You have the best intentions to learn some. Maybe you’ve even started, very enthusiastically… only to give up a few days later.

I’m demasiado viejo (too old). Or muy cansada (very tired). Or muy ocupado (very busy). Or muy… you can add any adjectives you like in there. Deep down, you know it’s just an excuse. I know. I’ve used them all! OK, maybe not the ‘too old’ one, but definitely all the others.

 

It could also be that you have the wrong ideas about learning a new language:

Maybe you believe you have to study for at least 1 hour every day in order to make any progress.

Or you think you must take traditional lessons, full of complex grammar explanations and repetitive exercises.

And then you start feeling overwhelmed, bored, stressed… And that’s why you give up. I know, I’ve done that too, not following the advice I give my own students.

 

You know the phrase ‘It’s your Camino’, right? You can apply this to learning Spanish too: there is no right or wrong way to learn Spanish (or any other language); you just have to find what works for you.

A tiny bit of grammar and a couple of exercises won’t do you any harm. But learning a language should be an enjoyable experience. You’re more likely to remember new words if you learn them while doing something you enjoy. If you enjoy doing grammar exercises, go for it! But there are other things you could be doing too.

You don’t need to take my word for it; this has been researched (an example). It has also been researched that consistency is quite important.

 

What does this mean?

 

Let’s say you spend 1h per week on your Spanish. In the long term, you will learn more if you spread that hour throughout the week (let’s say 10 minutes per day), than if you spend that hour on one day and then you don’t have any exposure to Spanish for the rest of the week.

So, to sum up, it’s OK to have fun while learning Spanish. In fact, it’s not just OK. This is what you should do.

And it’s also OK not to spend hours on it daily. It’s good to get as much exposure to the language as possible, but this doesn’t mean you should spend hours doing exercises that don’t bring you any joy. You can have Spanish in the background while you’re doing other things (here’s the Spanish for the Camino playlist on Spotify), you can watch Spanish TV for as long as you like… but remember to spend 10-15 minutes really focusing on the language.

 

Listening to music and watching TV are quite obvious, but there are many other things you could do to incorporate Spanish into your daily life and boost your learning.

 

8 ways to incorporate Spanish into your daily life

 

Flecha azulStill on music and TV

Listening to Spanish música in the background is OK, and so is watching Spanish films and series. But there are things you can do to maximise the experience:

  • Find the lyrics to your favourite songs and sing along, out loud (you’re more likely to remember things if you say them out loud, according to research).

 

  • Keep pen and paper cerca (nearby) and write down any words you recognise. You can later check in a dictionary if you got them right. There are many free online dictionaries. I like to use WordReference.

 

  • Take a very short clip of your favourite show and use it as a dictation exercise: listen as many times as you need and try to write everything down. Check with the Spanish subtitles how well you did.

Yep! Writing things down helps with your memory too.

 

Flecha azulUse your hobbies

Cocinar (cooking), deportes (sports), crafts, fishing… or the Camino. It doesn’t matter what your hobby is. Find a website on your chosen topic in Spanish. Or a YouTube channel. Or a book… whatever you prefer. Games, such as la Oca, are great too. And enjoy!

 

Flecha azulUse everyday stuff

  • Are you going to do your grocery shopping? Try writing your shopping list in Spanish. Does any of the items you bought have Spanish on their label? Read it and compare it to the English version.
  • How many times a day do you check your phone? You can use it to your advantage. Go to your móvil‘s settings and change the language into Spanish. Every little helps.

 

Flecha azulGet creative

  • Do you keep a diary or do journaling? Do some of it in Spanish. You don’t have to write long texts or complicated sentences. Start with a few words; it could be as simple as a list of things you did that day, such as ‘trabajo (work), compra (shopping), paseo (walk), cena (dinner)’. As you learn more, you can start creating your own simple sentences. Remember: they can be as long or short as you like and they don’t have to be perfect.

 

  • Are you the creative type? Try things like blackout poetry or collage in Spanish. Blackout poetry (or found poetry) is a form of poetry where you select words that catch your attention from any printed text. To ‘get rid’ of the words you don’t want, you normally use a black marker, hence the name blackout poetry. I’ve only recently started doing this, as part of my Italian learning efforts and I am amazed by how much I’m learning. All you need is a page of text in Spanish, a marker and your creativity.
incorporate Spanish into your daily life - collage

A couple of examples of blackout poetry and collage, so you can get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

How many of these are you going to try? You know what they say: the more the merrier. So, go on! Try them all and see which one suits you best. Or come up with your own ideas and share them with us in a comment. You never know who you might inspire.

 

Today’s Spanish words

 

For the pronunciation of cena, check Where did you stay?

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¡Buen Camino!

Conversation on the Camino

Conversation on the Camino

Conversation on the Camino

I met Kate Fisher in person while she was walking the Camino Portugués in October 2018. We had known each other online for a while and this was the perfect opportunity to connect.

Kate has recently published a book recounting her experience of walking the Camino de Santiago after recovering from anxiety and depression.

In the post that follows, Kate writes about the conversations that take place on the Camino, both with others and with ourselves. She also gives us some tips on how to improve those conversations.

 

Conversation on the Camino

by Kate Fisher 

(includes excerpts from her book Beyond Expectations: 6 Days on the Camino Portugués and her guide, “Calm Your Brain: 7 Tips to Connect and Communicate”)

 

My very first day on the Camino Portugués began in the dark. The day before, I had flown from Madrid to Vigo and then taken a taxi to a hotel north of Tui. I arranged for the hotel van to transport me to the Camino at 7:30 am without checking the time of sunrise. The van driver spoke no English and already I wished I had spent more time studying Spanish!

 

I was the only passenger in the van and when he dropped me off at a dimly lit and empty parking lot behind a small church, I felt foolish. It was early October and it would be another 45 minutes before dawn. I also felt disoriented. Which way was north, toward Santiago? What if the pilgrims were walking south toward Fátima? I took a deep breath and said a little prayer for safety.

 

Then I saw it, a large yellow arrow painted on a crumbling concrete wall, pointing the way. Fátima arrows were blue, I remembered. This yellow arrow was the only bright spot in a shroud of darkness. Should I follow it now or wait as I’d been instructed? I decided to do a walking meditation around the parking lot until daybreak.

 

Before long, my attention was caught by three small lights bobbing up and down in the distance. They seemed to draw closer and I recognized them as headlamps on three people walking in rhythm down the sidewalk in front of the church. I ran toward the yellow arrow and through the driveway to catch up with them. As I approached, I slowed down and joined the line of pilgrims, barely visible by the light on their foreheads. Not one of them made a sound. It felt a bit strange, and yet I was relieved. I was walking on the Camino!

 

When I thought about the fact that these walkers had also started in the dark, I relaxed a bit. Maybe I knew what I was doing, after all. The line of pilgrims spaced out into small groups, everyone walking at their own pace, still in complete silence. 

 

I sensed someone behind me and turned to look. A small woman carrying a large backpack smiled at me. I smiled back and whispered, “Is it against the rules to talk?”

“If it is, I guess we are breaking the rules,” she said wryly, and thus began a conversation with my walking companion for the day.

 

Walking and Talking

If you ask me, I will tell you that “walking and talking” is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I enjoy walking alone, to be sure, but there is a special connection to be made between people who enjoy a good conversation while walking.

 

Maybe it’s the fresh air. Or the freedom from a schedule and interruptions. I have had some of my very best conversations while walking with a friend and I found that to be true on the Camino, too.

 

Small talk guidelines are generally to avoid talking about politics, religion, and personal health. Perhaps because we were mostly strangers and may never see each other again, these small talk rules did not seem to apply. Most of my conversations were about politics, religion, and mental or physical health.

A German man told me about his liver transplant. A young man from Israel was eager to talk about religion and his Polish grandfather, who had lived through the Holocaust. When people found out that I was from the US, they asked me what happened to cause the outcome of the 2016 election. They were baffled. My explanation was that 2016 was The Year of the Rooster on the Chinese calendar, and it was most definitely a wake-up call.

Conversation on the Camino

Some people dedicate their walk to someone or something. Grateful for my own recovery, I dedicated my walk to those who struggle with depression and anxiety.

It just so happened that at the time I was preparing to walk on the Camino, I discovered that Project Happiness was promoting The Race For Wellness Project to raise money for mental wellness resources for youth. 

 

The project also aimed to raise awareness and help remove the stigma that prevents people of all ages from getting help. All I needed to do was pledge to walk at least 50 miles (approximately 80.5 kilometers) and invite friends and family to be sponsors.

Every day I had opportunities to talk about mental health and share my story. On some days, I would share it as my reason for walking. Fellow pilgrims were eager to talk about their own depression or their concern for a friend or family member. Because of the stigma, hardly anyone talks about it in day-to-day life. Here on the Camino, it felt like the most natural conversation in the world. 

 

Meeting Maria

Not every conversation was serious. Some were observations like “blisters are my sisters.” Or talking about a 90-year-old pilgrim who seemed to have more energy than all of us. 

One of my favorite conversations was with Maria. We had met online in the Opted Out Community of language teachers and I’d been learning about Spain and the Camino through her blog articles, workbooks, and courses. I was delighted to walk through Pontevedra and have the opportunity to meet her at the end of my third day. 

 

Conversation on the Camino

Conversation with food or wine

Maria and I enjoyed our conversation over a glass of wine and then she needed to return to her family so I had dinner around 9 pm. At home, this would have been very late. Since this was my second week in Spain, I was beginning to get used to the different times of eating. 

 

Breakfast was usually light, consisting of café con leche, toasted baguette with jam, and a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. I usually started walking on an empty stomach and stopped at a café sometime mid-morning. Conversations were light, too, and often involved the cafe proprietor who was happy to stamp our credencial or passport and send us on our way with the ubiquitous greeting, Buen Camino!

 

The midday meal was also later than I normally eat. Instead of noon, we often ate around 2 pm, and even pilgrims liked to linger at the table afterward for conversation. I learned that there is actually a word for this time of conversation, sobremesa

 

Conversation starters

If you want to have an interesting conversation on the Camino, I recommend asking open-ended questions. In other words, questions that can’t be answered with yes, no, or simply one word, Here’s an example that does not promote conversation. Question: Where did you start your Camino? Answer: Porto. 

Open-ended questions usually begin with “what” or “how” and invite people to elaborate and share their opinions, views, and personal stories. Start with something that is not too personal or specific.

Some examples:

What brings you to the Camino? – ¿Qué te trae al Camino?

How do you use hiking poles/GPS/your guidebook? – ¿Cómo usas los bastones / el GPS / tu guía?

What has been your experience at the albergues? – ¿Cómo ha sido tu experiencia en los albergues?

How do you like this part of the Camino? – ¿Qué te parece esta parte del Camino?

How do you like Spanish cuisine? – ¿Qué te parece la cocina española?

What do you recommend for a vegetarian? – ¿Qué recomiendas para un vegetariano?

Has anything surprised you about Spanish culture or customs? – ¿Te ha sorprendido algo de la cultura o las costumbres españolas?

 

Follow up with another open-ended question or “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

 

Conversation with myself

Because the Camino Portugués was not crowded, I experienced a lovely balance of inner conversations with myself while walking alone and meaningful conversations with other pilgrims while walking or enjoying a meal or cafe con leche in a cafe.

 

I think that many people come to the Camino to sort out things in their life and these inner and outer conversations are one way to do it. It’s almost as if pilgrims hold up a mirror for one another, listening to each other’s stories and reflecting back what each person needs to see or hear.

All in all, 6 Days on the Camino Portugués gave me the perfect opportunity to think about my own life and have conversations with people from Spain and at least a dozen other countries around the world. If you can’t be away for more than a week, I highly recommend walking from Tui to Santiago. And if you have any questions for me, I’d be happy to have a conversation. You can find me at www.conversationswithkate.net

For more info on Kate’s book and workbook, click on the picture.

Beyond expectations

You can listen to some of our Conversations about the Camino on Kate’s podcast. You will find a link to those conversation on my About page.

Today’s Spanish phrases

¿Te ha sorprendido algo de la cultura o las costumbres españolas?

Conversations with Kate

Kate is a hiker and language enthusiast from the US who has dabbled in German, French, Spanish, and Polish at different times in her life. Through volunteer work in Poland and Spain, she discovered a passion for helping business professionals develop confidence speaking in English and began teaching online at Conversations with Kate. She is a certified Neurolanguage Coach®, hosts a podcast, and recently published her first book for English Language Learners and anyone interested in walking six days on the Camino. She’s grateful to Maria for helping her with Spanish for her walk and for the book. : )

You can connect with Kate on Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud via her website, www.conversationswithkate.net.

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¡Buen Camino!

Holy Year 2021

Holy Year 2021

Año Santo. Holy Year. How many times have you heard these 2 words in recents weeks? Months even?

2021 is a Holy Year. People have been talking about it for months, either planning their Camino to coincide with it or postponing it for a “regular” year. Then, on December 31, we learned that the Holy Year will be extended until the end of 2022. But do you know what that means? And more importantly, how does that affect the Camino de Santiago?

Next, I’ll try to explain a few basic ideas regarding the Holy Year. And, as usual, you’ll be able to learn some Spanish vocabulary. Let’s start from the beginning. 

 

What is a Holy Year?

Un Año Santo or Jubileo (Jubilee) is a special year in the Catholic Church. During these special years, an indulgence (indulgencia) is granted to those who fulfill certain criteria.

To differentiate it from other Holy Years, the one in Santiago can be referred to as jacobeo (of St. James) or compostelano (from Compostela). You may also see the Galician word Xacobeo to refer to it.

We have an Año Santo Jacobeo or Año Santo Compostelano when July 25, feast of St. James, falls on a Sunday. So, we have a Holy Year in Santiago every 6 (seis), 5 (cinco), 6 and 11 (once) years. The last Holy Year before 2021 was in 2010.

Some sources date the first Año Santo Compostelano in the 12th century but research has shown this to be false. The first documented Holy Year took place in 1424.

 

El Jubileo

In order to obtain the Jubilee or indulgence during Holy Years you must:

  • visit the tomb of St. James and say a prayer for the Pope.
  • confess, 15 days before or after your visit to Santiago.
  • receive holy communion

 

It’s worth noting that getting a jubilee and a compostela are not connected. To get a compostela, you must walk at least the last 100km of any Camino. This will not grant your indulgence. For that, you must fulfill the requirements listed above. And you can travel to Santiago by any means.

In other words, you could drive up to Santiago, visit the tomb of the Apostle, say your prayers and receive confession and communion. You would be receiving the jubileo. But not a compostela. On the other hand, you could walk over 100km to Santiago and not do any of the others things. You could then claim your compostela, but wouldn’t be earning the indulgence.

Music, poetry, history… to celebrate the beginning of the Holy Year 2021

La Puerta Santa

To mark the beginning of a Holy Year, a special ceremony performed by the Archbishop takes place in the cathedral. This happens in the evening of December 31. During this ceremony, the Holy Door or Puerta Santa is opened.

In case you’re wondering what’s so special about a door being opened: the Puerta Santa only gets opened during Holy Years. The rest of the time, it remains closed. At the end of a Holy Year, a new ceremony takes place to close the door again. It will remain closed until the following Año Santo. So, before 2021, the last time people were able to access the cathedral through the Holy Door was in 2010.

During this year’s opening ceremony, a representative of the Pope announced the extension of this Holy Year until the end of 2022. This is due to the special circumstances brought about by the pandemic. The only time a Holy Year was extended before was in 1937-1938 due to the Spanish Civil War.

Access to the Puerta Santa is from Plaza de la Quintana.

 

What about the Camino?

It’s hard to predict what this Holy Year will be like. At the moment, travelling is not an option. Not only for international pilgrims but for those of us who live locally too. As I write this, I can’t go to Santiago. And I live less than 100km away. Both my town and Santiago have perimeter lockdowns in place. That means we can’t get in or out, unless we have a valid reason such as work or a medical appointment.There’s also a perimeter lockdown on the whole region of Galicia until the end of this month of January. The region of Castilla y León has a perimeter lockdown too… until May 9.

In summary, there are perimeter lockdowns both at regional and local level, which means you could be fined if you get caught getting in or out of one of these areas without a valid reason. And doing the Camino is not considered a valid reason.

Under normal circumstances, Holy Years are very busy on the Camino. The number of pilgrims tends to increase quite dramatically. To give you an idea, the Holy Year of 2010 saw an 85% increase in the number of pilgrims collecting their compostela, compared to the previous year. If you’re looking for a quite Camino, Holy Years are not a good idea. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind the crowds, and entering through the Holy Door holds a special significance for you, then go for it! What type are you?

In any case, we’ll have to wait for the current circumstances to change before we can go back to the Camino.

A summary of this year’s opening ceremony

Game of the goose

Game of the goose

Have you heard of the Game of the Goose?

The Game of the Goose is a board game I used to play as a child… and now play again with my kids.

And how is this relevant to the Camino, you may ask?

In this guest post, Vickie Kelty tells us about the benefits of introducing board or card games on our Caminos. Games can also be a way to keep the Camino feeling alive while you can’t travel. And, of course, they’re a fun way to practice and improve your Spanish.

But apart from all of that, which is valid for any game, really, there’s more.

The Game of the Goose or La Oca, as we call it in Spanish, is an ancient game. It’s origins are not totally clear, but one theory links it to the Camino de Santiago. According to it, this game was created by the Templars in the 12th century; and it was not a game originally, but  an encrypted map of the Camino.

 

Who are the Templars?

But who are these Templars and why would they create an encrypted map of the Camino?

There are many myths and legends around the Templars, so I won’t go into detail but the Knights Templar (or simply Templars, or Templarios in Spanish) were a Catholic military order founded in the early 12th century. They were active for around 200 years, until they were suppressed by Pope Clement V. The Templars were closely tied to the Crusades and one of their duties was to protect pilgrims going to Jerusalem.

To cut a long story short, the order grew rapidly and extended to several countries, including what we today know as Spain.

In Spain, they took part in the Reconquista (reconquest). Many of the territories being reconquered were located along the Camino, so the Templars contributed to the safety of pilgrims going to Santiago de Compostela too.

Different sources differ about the extent of the Templars’ presence and influence on the Camino (there were other orders too and things sometimes get blurry). But we do know  for sure there’s a Templar castle in Ponferrada.

Castillo templario de Ponferrada

Templars’ castle in Ponferrada

Why a goose? 

Geese were considered sacred animals from ancient times and they would alert you in case of intruders. Also, only the nobility was allowed to raise geese so, if pilgrims saw a flock of geese they knew they were near a noble household, possibly a safe place.

A lot has been written about the goose references along the Camino. That seems to support the links between the Camino and the game of the goose. We can find examples of these references in the names of many places, such as Montes de Oca, Puerto de Oca, Castrojeriz (which means city of geese) or Manjarín (meaning man of geese). Other references would be builders marks in the shape of a goose leg, found on churches; and even the cross in Puente La Reina’s church of the Crucifix (also in the shape of a goose leg).  

The Game of the Goose

But going back to the game, La Oca would be an encrypted map of the Camino. In those times, most people couldn’t  read, so each casilla* (square) had pictures. The symbols on each casilla would make reference to signs that had been placed along the Camino. Pilgrims would be told what each picture represented. On casilla 6, for instance, you’ll find un puente (a bridge), which allegedly represents Puente La Reina.

The casillas with ocas (geese) on them would represent safe places. Not everybody uses the exact same rules; there are some variations. But this one doesn’t change: if you fall on a goose, you advance to the next one and roll your dice again, saying “de oca a oca y tiro porque me toca”, which roughly translates as “from goose to goose and I roll the dice because it’s my turn”… Sorry, it doesn’t rhyme in English!

There’s a second bridge on casilla 12. If you fall on either of the bridges, you move to the other one and roll your dice again saying “de puente a puente y tiro porque me lleva la corriente” (from bridge to bridge and I roll the dice because the flow carries me).

 

    How many places on the Camino Francés can you recognise?

    There are also other special casillas like:   

    • El pozo (well). The well symbolises depression. If you fall here, you miss a turn and you can only get out with the help of another player.  
    • El laberinto (labyrinth). This symbolises getting lost, which was quite easy during the Middle Ages, since paths were not clearly marked as they are today (and of course, GPS was not a thing either). If you fall here, you go back to casilla 30.  
    • La cárcel (jail) y la posada (inn). Both places represent the necessary rest you need in order to complete your pilgrimage. If you get into jail, you miss 3 turns but you only miss one of you stay at the inn.  
    • La muerte (death). It doesn’t have to represent literal, physical death, although death does happen sometimes on the Camino (and I’m sure it was much more common in medieval times). The Camino is a life-changing experience for many, so death could also be a metaphor for new beginnings.    
    • Los dados (dice). They represent luck, which can be good or bad. There are 2 casillas with dados on them: numbers 26 and 53. There are rule variations for these; the one I’ve always used is this: if you fall on one of them, you have to move to the other one, which means sometimes you’ll be moving forward and sometimes you’ll be going backwards. 

     

    Game of the goose pozo

    El pozo

    Game of the goose laberinto

    El laberinto

    Game of the goose muerte

    La muerte

    So, will you give La Oca a go? 

     

    Today’s Spanish words and phrases

    De puente a puente y tiro porque me lleva la corriente

    *Casilla means square in the context of board games. Other meanings of the English word square are expressed by different Spanish words.

     

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    ¡Buen Camino!

    Games and the Camino

    Games and the Camino

    Have you ever played any games on the Camino? Have you even considered it?

    I had a lovely evening on the Camino Inglés last year, playing cards. It was fun, but it was also an opportunity to bond and, of course, to learn about Spanish culture and language.

    So, if you hadn’t thought about it, please think again and keep reading.

    In this guest post, Vickie Kelty tells us about the benefits of games and how you can incorporate them in your Camino… and in your life after the Camino.

    Over to Vickie!Flecha azul

     

    I know you have a lot of things to pack for the Camino and you want to keep it as light as possible, but I have one request: please don’t forget to pack a game (juego).

    Now, obviously you aren’t going to put a big board game like Clue or Monopoly in your backpack! I’ll bet a deck of cards (baraja), some dice (dados), or a tiny travel size game would fit though, wouldn’t it?

     

    First, why you’ll wish you brought a game on the Camino

    1. Relaxation! After a long day walking the Camino playing a game is just one way to chill out and start getting to know other pilgrims. Read about what it’s like walking with strangers in this post
    2. You can play them anywhere! It isn’t necessary to wait for a table to play a round of cards, just sit right down on the ground and play.
    3. No time limit. You decide how long to play, so don’t worry about time. It’s not necessary to keep score or finish the entire game. Sometimes just one hand of cards is a nice way to unwind after a long day of walking or travel.
    4. Forget language barriers. Playing a game is a great way to take the Spanish you know and the English or other language the other person knows and use it to play a game together. Be prepared for laughter and fun to ensue! 

     

    What Spanish games can I learn before I do the Camino?

    Keep in mind, the games I’m about to mention are suggested based only on my own personal experiences living in Spain and in the U.S. So, please take that into account if there’s a game mentioned that you’ve never heard of or isn’t popular where you’re from.

    I also invite you to research any games you don’t know, perhaps they’ll become your next favorite game!

    Let’s start with board games. 

    Games and the Camino Parchís
    If you know the game Sorry!, which I grew up playing in Nebraska, then Parchís will look familiar to you. I found a cool magnetic travel size version called Ludo (this game goes by many names!) at a dollar store and I often bring it with me on vacation. In fact, it proved entertaining while on a road trip with my parents one summer, even though my mom always beat me.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of this next game too, The Game of the Goose or La Oca. This one I hadn’t played before coming to Spain and I can’t wait to play it with my family the next time they visit. Even though I don’t have the travel size version I did see one available online. It’s like a game I grew up playing called Chutes and Ladders in that you never know if you’re going to land on a good or bad square next!

    Games and the Camino La Oca
    By the way, both of these board games have special Camino versions available – though perhaps not in the travel size – and they could make for nice souvenirs! So even if you don’t play them on the Camino you can play them when you get home and share your experience with others.

     

    Although board games are nice, nothing beats a good old-fashioned card game.

    While there are many popular Spanish card games, I suggest checking out Brisca, which can be played in pairs, and another game called Chinchón, which is similar to Rummy.

    It might also be fun to buy a Spanish deck of cards to play with! Another nice souvenir – and this one will easily fit in your backpack.

    Obviously, there are many more Spanish card and board games, but these are the ones I’ve played the most and found easiest to learn.

     

    If you’re like me, you want to share your culture too!

    Think about some easy games you can share with other pilgrims. I’ll share two of my examples. A couple easy to teach card games that I played growing up are now my favorite games to teach others when I travel. They’re Old Maid and Go Fish.

    Although I have special cards (cartas) for them, I don’t travel with those. I just carry a standard 52-card deck that I can play both games with. A little secret for Old Maid, I simply leave one joker in the deck and call that the Old Maid. (I know some people will remove three Queens so there’s only one Queen. Do what works for you).

    Another card game I’m obsessed with is UNO! I’ve been delighted to find out that it was recognized by most of my Spanish friends when I’ve brought it out to play. Although I was surprised to find out that their rules are slightly different than the ones we played with in my family. Sometimes we play with my rules, sometimes with theirs. It’s fun to change it up!

    Honestly, for me, UNO is one of the best games to travel with because the rules are easy to follow (even if they differ slightly from country to country) and the vocabulary you need to play is quite basic. Besides, when you don’t know the words gestures go a long way! Read about how UNO saved the day when I was in Costa Rica.

    By the way, if you don’t want to play cards, even carrying five dice and playing a version of Yahtzee can easily be done. The game options are endless!

     

    Just remember, whatever game you choose to bring, it’s worth it for the memories you’ll make.

    What game will you bring on the Camino?

     

    Today’s Spanish words

     

    Vicky Kelty

    Vickie Kelty is an English speaking skills teacher originally from Nebraska, USA. She specializes in using games to help English language learners speak with ease and enjoyment. You can find her at vickiekelty.com or follow her @vickiekelty on IG where she posts regularly.

     

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    ¡Buen Camino!