China Shops – Camino de Santiago

By Andrew Brown

Photo by "innuendo"

One thing I have never heard anyone mention on blogs or anywhere else about the Camino de Santiago is the China shops.  These are the innumerable 1 euro stores scattered along the Camino (mostly in larger town and villages) run by Chinese people that sell just about anything you can imagine or could need along the way.  Kind of like little Walmarts these stores have everything from clothes and shampoo to batteries and books.  The prices are rock bottom and while the quality of the products, predictably enough, is rather low if you just need say some shampoo or a few clothes pins you will find it all in a China shop.  The stores contain many products that you would not find in Spanish stores or would have to hunt around for.  They are usually very centrally located and can be found easily by asking the locals.  One good Camino trick is to buy a large bottle of shampoo or body wash at one of these places and share it out among several people so that everyone can refill their smaller bottles mid way through the trip for next to nothing.  The Chinese people who run these places do speak Spanish, and in a few cases even some English, and are always extremely helpful and nice. I highly recommend checking out the China shops for yourself along the way because sometimes all it takes to make the trip better is that one thing or extra little bit of convenience.

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