The movie the Way
Today we would like to recommend and talk about the film ¨The Way¨ based on the popular pilgrimage through the north of Spain from Saint Jean de Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela. The film´s protagonists are father-son duo Martin Sheen and Emilio Estévez.

Did you know that actor Martin Sheen´s real name is Ramón Gerardo Antonio Estévez? Originally from Parderrubias in Salceda de Caselas in Galicia, Martin uses this stage name in Hollywood. And did you know that his son is the infamous actor in Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen? Or should we say, Carlos Irwin Estévez.

One can only imagine that due to their Galician origins, father Martin and son Emilio decided to produce, direct and act in The Way.

The film is an emotional pull due to the death of the protagonist´s son during the Camino de Santiago. Martin Sheen´s character decides to continue and his dead son´s journey to Santiago, and he creates three strong friendships along the way. The Spanish scenery is breathtaking, and the humor is lighthearted despite the situation.

This past week we walked 7 days of the Camino de Santiago from O Cebreiro, meeting a multitude of Americans along the way. Since the film came out in 2010 the amount of Americans pilgrims in the Camino has skyrocketed. Are you interested in doing it yourself? Stay tuned to our next posts about our experience, and past posts about Why We Walk the Camino and Tips Before Leaving.

#BuenCamino #DontBeAForiegner

Walk to Santiago
A few days ago we began a series about the walk to Santiago with ¨Why do we walk the Camino? ¨. Today we return with a few tips for future pilgrims before embarking in this lovely journey.

1- Footwear: Possibly the most important factor in order for you to have a successful walk to Santiago. The state of your feet should be your first worry every day. After all, it is them that are carrying you to Santiago. Never use new shoes. If you buy new tennis shoes or hiking boots, make sure they are extremely worn in before heading out on the trail. We recommend semi-hard soles for a comfortable walking experience. 

2- Backpack Weight: The weight of what you will be carrying on your back should never be more than 10% of your weight. Many pilgrims use old t-shirts and socks and throw them away at the end of each day to lighten their load.

3- Hydration: Small sips constantly throughout the day and be sure to drink a lot at night. Once you are dehydrated, it´s too late. 

4- Know the way: Study the maps, guides and blogs.  There is plenty of information out there for you regarding hostels, restaurants, etc. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as being over-prepared. 

5- Towels: Quick-dry towels are a must. Lightweight, quick-dry and compact. What more can you ask for out of a towel?

6- First-Aid Kit: Sunscreen, Benadryl, a needle, blister medication and band-aids. All of these things will be available to you at the many pharmacies along the way, but better safe than sorry.

7- Sleeping bag: Even in August, Galician nights are cold and can drop to below 10C. Lightweight sleeping bags, even in the hostels, make your nights more comfortable. And they make for great naps!

8- Backpack: It´s worth your money to invest in a comfortable, supportive and lightweight hiking backpack. Your back will thank you later.

9- Organization: The more organized your backpack is, the less you have to stop, re-organize and re-pack. The last things at the bottom, your water, money, first-aid kit, etc at the top. 

10- Credential: For 2,50€ you must carry the Pilgrim Passport in order to receive the official document at the end of your journey. Your passport must be stamped in at least two different places every day. Stamps are available in cafés, churches, bars, etc. You must walk at least from Sarria, 100KM, in order to receive the stamps. 

11- Physical preparation: People of all ages, backgrounds, and sizes have completed the walk to Santiago. But it is highly recommended to prepare yourself physically a few months before. The more prepared you are, the better you will feel along the camino. 25 KM a day isn´t a walk in the park.

12- Time of year: As a human in the free world, you may walk at whatever time of year you please. We recommend May, June, September and October. Pilgrims often complain of the heat in July and August, as well as the traffic jams in hostels due to the high quantity of pilgrims. In our recommended months, you will see more rain but less traffic, more hostel availability and cooler temperatures to carry you throughout the day. 

13- Highways: Be extremely careful crossing the highways and roads. In many parts of the camino you must cross without much road signals for oncoming traffic. Especially when you are tired, just look both ways and give yourself plenty of time to cross.

14- Timetable: We recommend to future pilgrims an early wake up call. ¨The early bird gets the worm¨ can be taken very literally here, as the hostels can fill up in the high months, and you will be finding yourself sleeping in a public sports center on the floor.  Bring a flashlight for those early mornings, and try to walk with fellow pilgrims before light.

15- Rush: What rush? There is no reason to hurt yourself in order to get to your destination an hour, or even a day earlier. The most important for you is hydration and health. Pressing on with serious blisters will only ruin the rest of your journey.

16- Money: Don´t forget to bring cash. We recommend 20€ a day to be comfortable. Of course a credit card is recommended in case of any slight emergency. And of course a cell phone, your passport or ID, and medical insurance card is necessary on your walk to Santiago. 

17- Language: Try to speak with the locals and arrive already having learned a few basic phrases to get you by in the hostels and restaurants. 

18- Diary: It is recommended to bring a small diary in order to jot down important thoughts, facts and general ideas that come to you during the many hours of walking every day. A book isn´t a bad idea either to kill a few hours in the afternoons. 

19- Flip-flops: Your feet need to relax, especially after 6 hours of serious walking. Don´t put on close-toed shoes after you finish your leg for the day. Let your feet breathe!

20- Breakfast: Breakfast is for champions. And on the Camino de Santiago, if you don´t eat breakfast you will not perform like a champion. Fruit, grains, water, and some caffeine should be bought the night before in a grocery store. If you wait until the morning, nothing will be open upon departure, and you will be hungry and not to mention cranky until your mid-morning stop.

21- Food: Non-sugary energy bars, bananas, almonds, raisins, walnuts, etc are a great way to give you a steady boost of energy along the walk, and help you feel energetic until the late Spanish lunch. 

22- Enjoy yourself! People walk to Santiago for many reasons, so talk to people, learn, listen and relax. 



Way of Saint James

Today we are going to talk about 10 reasons why someone would walk the Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James. Next week the team at Don´t Be a Foreigner is going to partake in said hike, or peregrination, from the first stop in Galicia called O Cebreiro. Starting in O Cebreiro means 7 or 8 days of 20 km a day hikes. People hike the Camino de Santiago for a multitude of reasons, and we want to try and explain a few of them.

  1. To disconnect from technology, work, and people: Hiking the Camino de Santiago adheres to a tranquil existence with little cell phone coverage, limited Wi-Fi in the hostels and lots of hours to simply talk with strangers. Take advantage of this to live in the moment.
  2. To let your emotions go: Not everyone is capable of exteriorizing their emotions, but the Camino is a great place to start. It is said that everyone who partakes in the Camino cries at least once, whether out of frustration, pain or even bliss upon arrival into Santiago.
  3. To feel humanity: Today we are all running at an excessive velocity, and we often lose ¨personal connection¨ moments due to modern day distractions. During the Camino de Santiago you are forced in a way to reconnect, talk to strangers, and feel your fellow pilgrim´s pains and glories. The empathy exerted in the Camino is unprecedented, and don´t forget to greet all with a ¨Buen Camino! ¨.
  4. For your health: This can be a wonderful way to get moving, especially in your training months before the actual hike! It is recommended to start training 4 months before you depart in order to adjust your body to such long distances (walking a half-marathon every day, or more!).
  5. To re-evaluate material items: Hiking for days on end with only your things that can fit in a book bag can make you appreciate what you have, and accept the things you don´t.
  6. To get close to nature: You will be living between trees, rivers, animals, smells, tastes and peace. The small pueblos along the way don´t share the noise and contamination of the bigger cities. This will be the perfect moment to smell the flowers, literally.
  7. And to people: Pilgrims come from all over the world to participate in the Way of St. James. Connect. Listen. Tell. You will pass and be passed by a melting pot of people every day.
  8. Because it is cheap: Walking 6 hours a day, drinking from fresh fountains, sleeping in hostels for 6€/night, and eating in restaurants with special priced menus for the pilgrims… let´s just say that this experience can´t get much cheaper. That being said, save up for good equipment and an abundant Galician meal upon arrival in Santiago.
  9. To experience a new culture and history: On top of idyllic landscapes, the Camino de Santiago has an impressive patrimony of churches, cathedrals, monasteries, palaces and bridges. It also boasts a different culture, people and cuisine to your own. Immerse yourself!
  10. For religion: Or at least, reconnect with your religion. Many people take the walk as a religious or meditational experience. In addition to the hike itself, visiting the remains of the apostle Saint James can be another reason (and the original!!) to launch yourself into this adventure.

photo credit: Camino de Santiago : via photopin (license)

On Monday we began publishing ordinary, daily phrases in English and Spanish and we will continue to do so in Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. All of the expressions will be accompanied by a photo to make it easier to remember and stick in that brain of yours.

Starting this week we will help you learn by providing a small daily dosis of vocabulary, coloquial expressions and phrases that surely are good for all of us. Below are a few examples from this week to explain how it will be throughout our social media.

To run errands –> hacer recados  &  with 

Learn Spanish and Enlish

Good morning, apricots. –> Buenos Dias, albaricoques.  &  with 

Learn Spanish and Enlish



Este lunes hemos empezado a publicar frases en los dos idiomas de cosas ordinarias que nos pasan en el día a día y que vamos a ir colgando en Facebook, Twitter y Pinterest, todas las frases van acompañadas de una imagen para hacerlo más gráfico y recorldarlo mejor.
Desde esta semana te ayudamos con pequeñas dosis diarias para aprender vocabulario, expresiones coloquiales y demás que seguro que nos vienen bien a todos. Os dejamos los ejemplos de estos días para enseñaros como va a ser.

To run errands –> hacer recados & with

Learn Spanish and Enlish

Good morning, apricots. –> Buenos Dias, albaricoques. & with

Learn Spanish and Enlish


Today we have a Spanish film recommendation for Don´t Be a Foreigner followers. ¨Vivir es fácil con los ojos cerrados¨ tells the story of John Lennon´s arrival in Almería to film a movie in 1966 and an english teacher´s quest to meet him.

The film is based on a true story, and the teacher´s name was Juan Carrión Gañán. When he hears about Lennon´s trip to Almería, Juan decides to travel to meet his idol along with a few students and ask a small favor of Lennon. Between real footage and Javier Cámara´s enthused tale, the film provides realistic, meaningful interpretations of Spain under the dictatorship of Franco.

Can you imagine what his students called Javier Cámara´s character?





Mothers day in Spain

Spain will celebrate Mother´s Day this year on the first Sunday in May, May 3rd.  It can be a difficult day for all of us that live far away from our loved ones, even if the celebration isn´t on the same day as in your native country.

Don´t forget to wish her a Happy Mother´s Day on March 3rd because it is always nice to be remembered twice!

The best way to beat days like this far away from your family is to organize an event or excursion with your closest friends or partner. At Don´t Be a Foreigner we recommend that you visit the blooming springtime in Galicia. In our website you can find a variety of springtime travel offers such as getaways to the beach and mountains, spas and wine regions. Mother´s Day is a perfect weekend to get away since Friday is Spain´s Labor Day, or Dia del Trabajador.

Visit this link for travelers in our web or don´t hesitate to contact us at!

#happymothersday #dontbeaforeigner

Photo Credit: das weite Meer via photopin (license)

If California became autonomous from the USA, it would be one of 10 most powerful countries in the world. That statement alone allows you imagine its size and economic potential, from tech-companies like Apple and Facebook to international wine production. Recently we were pleased to hear that this super-power of a state has been importing Albariño wine from Galicia. And not only Albariño wine bottles to sell, but the proper Albariño grape to plant and harvest as their own Californian Albariño.

Last week an association in California announced that it will also import the ¨Festa do Albariño,¨ similar to the festival held in Cambados, Galicia every year for over 50 years. The festival is called International Albariño Day, coinciding with the same dates as in Cambados, the first weekend in August. For more information about the festival, check out this link.

The festival is hosted by a North American association called TAPAS: Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society, in which there will be wine tastings with traditional Spanish tapas, pizzas and music.

Meanwhile in Spain, if you would like to try a Galician Albariño, Don´t Be a Foreigner can recommend in confidence a local webpage that sells delicious Albariño wines to enjoy at home. .Albariño is an exquisite wine to drink alongside seafood and fish, especially with the warm spring and summer weather as it boasts an incomparable freshness.

#GaliciaCalidade #dontbeaforeigner

photo credit: Albariño Eidos con el pinchito de tortilla via photopin (license)


This week there was a surprising amount of movement in Spanish social media regarding Whatsapp and paella, the latter a traditional rice dish hailing from Valencia. WhatsApp contains a wide variety of emoticons that we use daily to express ourselves when our words don´t satisfy. The emoticons contain anything from the typical facial expressions to transportation to activities and even food. Using the hashtag (in Spanish) #paellaemoji, paella advocates have demonstrated their intense desire to include a paella emoticon. This hashtag made trending topic status in Spain, where food is always given high status. It´s also a great way to rehash the love for paella that we all carry inside.

The movement #paellaemoji was started by a brand of Spanish rice who contracted a comedian to go to San Francisco and try to convince the owners of WhatsApp to include the paella emoticon. The comedian Eugeni Alemany filmed a short documentary to show if the Americans of San Francisco know about paella. Below is one of the three part series of Alemany´s adventure.

After all of the fuss about paella, we ask…Is paella really the most typical and famous Spanish dish?

What Spanish dish is the most typical for you? Would you add a different dish instead of paella?

Back here in Galicia we are fighting for #EmpanadaEmoji and #OctopusToThePartyEmoji. Don´t forget, #dontbeaforeigner.


De noche y de día by Enrque Iglesias
Today is the official release of Enrique Iglesias´ music video for ¨Noche y De Día.¨ This is relevant to us in Galicia because the majority of the video was filmed here, not to mention that Enrique´s grandfather was Galician. In the now infamous music video that was pre-released last week many different symbols of Galicia make an appearance: the ancient lighthouse de Hércules in A Coruña, the Roman wall of Lugo, the beach ¨de las Catedrales¨ in Ribadeo and the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. The problem with these ¨appearances¨ is that the Galician government paid € 300,000 to the producers to film the video in Galicia and supposedly promote the region. All in all, Galicia shows up in less than a minute of the 4:43´ video. The majority of the video is filmed inside a monastery called Carboeiro in Silleda, a small town in the center of Galicia.
Should the video itself make it more clear as to where it was filmed? The Galician government paid a substantial amount of money for publicity, and it has completely backfired.

It is true that this video will be seen all over the world, but how many people will know where these impressive views were filmed? The impact on tourism will be minimal due to the lack of reference made towards the filming locations.

Enrique Iglesias – Noche Y De Dia on MUZU.TV.

What do you think? Would you invest less money or make more video references?

Photo credit:Enrique Iglesias (Austin, Texas, 2015-02-07) via photopin (license)

Goya awards 2015
Last Saturday February 7th Spain celebrated the 29th annual Goya  awards in Madrid. ¨Los Goyas¨ are equated with the Oscars in the cinematographic world. 2014 was an extremely special year for Spanish cinema, as the 123 million euros earned marked a record for the country.

The Spanish films with most earnings for 2014 include:

  • 8 Apellidos Vascos: 56 million euros
  • El niño: 16.2 million euros
  • Torrente 5 Operacíon eurovegas: 10,7 million euros

Without going into extreme detail as to why the 2014 earnings increased by 75.3% since 2013, it is important to recognize that it is not only because the IVA (state taxes) is at 21% but rather a popular form of publicity: El Dia del Espectador, or The Spectator´s Day. Thousands of movie theatres participated throughout Spain in these marked days of largely reduced prices that henceforth filled the once half-empty screening sessions.

Returning to the Goyas, the winner for the February evening was clearly Isla Minima, directed by Alberto Rodriguez, who carried home 10 Goyas from 17 nominations. A police thriller set in the 80s with spectacular photography of the Guadalquivir marshland. The actor Raúl Arévalo dominated the scene with talk that he represents the present and future of Spanish cinema.

El niño took home 4 Goyas out of 16 nominations. El niño is a thriller involving drug lords in Gibraltar with actor Luis Tosar. The Galician actor already has 3 Goyas, in which only Javier Bardem can beat.  8 Apellidos Vascos took home 3 awards out of 5 nominations; yet beat records all year long with the most earnings in history for a Spanish movie.  The comedy gave light to an up and coming actor, Dani Robira, who also won the Goya for best new actor. Robira was also the host for 2015, and Spain is  now ready to follow him along his acting career.

Antonio Banderas was another large part of the gala, winning the honorable award for his acting career, much of which took place in the USA. Banderas´ movies include The Mask of Zorro, Philadelphia, Four Rooms, Desesperado…

Another international touch for the 2015 Goyas included Penélope Cruz as a presenter for Best Movie, who now lives in California with her husband Javier Bardem. Director Pedro Almodóvar presented the career award to Antonio Banderas.

And now off to watch the Spanish films from 2014. Don´t forget that one of the best ways to better listening abilities and vocabulary retention is to watch all films in their original version with subtitles and #dontbeaforeigner.