I'm currently planning a biketour from Switzerland to Fisterra, Spain this july-august and I've got a couple of questions. Side note, I'm going solo on this trip.
- How save is the northern part of spain? Are there any vicious wild animals that I should be aware of?
- What is the best way to interact with the Spanish folks?
- Any must try dishes?
This is my first big trip and I'm still a bit scared/nervous to go on the trip.
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Spain is fine for animals - there may be a few bears and lynx high up in the mountains but they won't be bothering you! We slept out in the Pyrenees on our honeymoon and never saw any...! The only animals to beware are dogs - which is the same everywhere! I always have a few dog biscuits to throw at them - if they look like chasing me!
If you are heading for Fisterra (the end of the world!!) you might want to follow one of the 'Camino' pilgrim routes (they go from Switzerland/France etc down thru Spain to Santiago) if you do you can get a 'pilgrim passport' that allows you to stay at Albergues - which are cheap hostels on the way... (Called Haltes in France) some are by donation, others from 3-10 euro a night. Facilities can be basic bed and shower to modern with full kitchen/laundry.... (info on passport and facilities - use the forum on https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/resources/) You do not have to be religious to be a pilgrim - just interested in history/people/Spain !
The Spanish people are friendly and helpful - just make an effort to learn how to say hello/please/thank you/goodnight in Spanish. Other phrases to learn are 'Where is? and left and right!! If you have an interest in football - you will get on with every Spanish guy!
We have always wildcamped as well as used albergues.
Most of the food is delicious - if you go as a pilgrim you can get the pilgrim menu in many spanish restaurants - for 8-10 euros you get 3 courses and sometimes wine as well!!
Other dishes are: Peppers de Padron, tortilla (omelette with potatoes) and any tapas you find! Little dishes like octopus in red wine/ spicy potatoes/clams/meatballs in tomato sauce... there are hundreds! In rural areas you mostly get 'bocadillo' - huge bread rolls with ham or cheese, tortilla and more tortilla.... The wine is fab! Try Alborino - and near to the coast cider....
You will be fine - just set off and see what happens! If you are nervous to be on your own - do follow a Camino route (lots shown at https://www.csj.org.uk/ look under Camino - routes - ) as you get plenty of people travelling along the same routes - most walk, but you will meet up with familiar people along the way - especially at the albergues and sometimes people travel together for a few days... everyone looks out for each other too...
Have a wonderful trip - I have cycled across Spain from bottom to top and France too - it is absolutely fantastic!!! Just pack the most important things....
1. an open mind
2. a sense of humour
3. your biggest smile