Nowadays languages are not a problem to walk your Camino, we have got plenty of gadgets to help us to understand the meaning of our speech or we can even use mimic, pointing or drawing to show the others what we want to say. Besides, those doing the Camino are willing to help us to express ourselves and most of locals are friendly and helpful. Yet, we should know that there are several Caminos that go through different regions and countries and they have got their own languages. On Camino Francés , you will hear locals speaking French, Spanish, Vasque and Galician;   Spanish and Galician is mostly spoken on Camino Primitive, Northern Way, Via de la Plata; and obviously, Portuguese is spoken on part of Camino Portuguese.

I would like you to become familiar to some words or expressions you really wished to have learned previously. Here you are some of the most popular and widely used on the Camino:


  • The Spanish word “hay” ( pronounced like  pronoun “I” in English) is really useful because it means “there´s or there are”. You can use it all the time: ¿Hay bocadillos? (are there sandwiches?), ¿hay una cama libre? (is there a free bed?) …
  • Funny mistakes. They are called “False friends”, words or sentences that sound similar to English but they have got a different meaning:
    • You can say something like “embarazada” thinking you are saying that you are embarrassed but you are really saying that you are pregnant.
    • You can also make an embarrassing mistake saying “casado” or “cansado”. Estoy casado. – I am married.
      Estoy can – I am tired.
    • Maybe you use “excitada” trying to say “excited” but it means something very different:

Estoy muy excitada! – I am very horny.
Estoy muy emocionada! – I am very excited.

  • If you want to say “chicken” in Spanish, make sure you pronoun “pollo” and not ending the word with “a” (polla) as you will be saying the male sexual organ. Very embarrasing!
  • Remember to pronounceWiFi as Whiffy.
  • “Vale” means Ok, all right, that´s fine…, and everybody uses “vale” especially in Galician region (‘Vale’ sounds like ‘Ballet’ ). Besides, you will problably hear expressions like “bueno” that doesn´t have a especial meaning at all, “bueno” could be translated as  well, anyway , fine, sure…  the Spanish expression “a ver”, which means “let’s see”, is a good “filler” and used mostly when locals what to explain something to you.
  • How to pronounce Spanish “ñ”.”Ñ” > very simple to pronounce, “baño” > ba”nio”, just very fast and the i is used as in “India” and almost not noticeable, “baño” > baNiO, “mañana” > maNiAna, “pequeño” > pequeNiO, añejo > aNiEjo (vino añejo > aged wine as in “years old”).
  • Talking about food and drink.
  • The most common sandwich is “ bocadillo”with for example ham – jamón or cheese – queso. But Spain is famous for its tortillas. A plain (egg – huevo) omelette is una tortilla francesa. So if you wanted a cheese omelette you would say “ Por favor ,quiero una tortilla de queso”, and to drink, a coffee with milk “Y un café con leche”. “vino tinto” is  red wine.
  • When talking about beer, some foreigners have problems with pronunciation of “cerveza”, so it´s easy to say “caña” or even to say it in English since they understand it perfectly. Or ask for a “caña” ( pronounced “kanya”) or, if you’d like something lighter a clara (beer and lemonade)
  • I think every one knows this one. “The bill please” – “La cuenta, por favor”. But if you are in a group, perhaps not “We want to pay separately” –“ Queremos pagar por separado”. You may also need a expression for take away “para llevar”.
  • Talking about public opening times. Most stores close on Saturday afternoon and evening and on Sundays. Museums and other activities aimed at pilgrims may have their weekly closed day on Monday instead. Bars and cafes will usually have either Sunday or Monday off. Some stay open.
  • Puente:
    If a holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday, many businesses will take the Monday or Friday off too. This is known as a ‘puente’, a ‘bridge’ between the holiday and the weekend. Sometimes, if the holiday falls on a Wednesday, staff may take both Monday and Tuesday off.
  • Descanso/cerrado/siesta:
    You are likely to hear “ está cerrado” or “es la hora de la siesta” when you want to have a snack or buy something in a store. There are two periods of siesta in Spain – siesta for shops and businesses, during which time many people go to a bar or restaurant, and then siesta for the restaurants, who obviously can’t rest when everyone wants to come and eat.
    The siesta for shops and businesses is from approximately 2pm until 5pm while bars and restaurants close from about 4pm until about 8 or 9pm


Finally, don´t forget one of your favorites: Please can you stamp my credencial – Por favor, puede usted sellar mi credencial.

Buen Camino, amigos!

Anxo Saco