9 Jul, 2024 @ 11:56
2 mins read

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I made up a new tradition’: British expat on Spain’s Camino de Santiago denies he mistranslated Spanish word after drinking beer from his shoe

Tom Hopcroft does a 'shoey' at the end of the Camino de Santiago
Tom Hopcroft does a 'shoey' at the end of the Camino de Santiago. Credit: Instagram.

IN a classic exercise of ‘fake news’, Spanish media outlets have enthusiastically seized on a story about Madrid-based British expat and influencer Tom Hopcroft, thanks to a video he posted of himself doing a ‘shoey’ at the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage.

Tom had been walking the route as the leader of a group he had organised via his Guiris de Mierda brand, which works to bring together the foreign community of Madrid and other cities with locals thanks to activities such as speed dating and networking events. 

In the video of his adventures that he later posted on Instagram – where he counts on nearly 50,000 followers – he included a clip of himself doing a ‘shoey’.

For the uninitiated, a ‘shoey’ involves filling up your used and sweaty footwear with an alcoholic drink such as beer, before downing it. 

Read more: Meet the young British expat behind ‘Guiris de Mierda’

The tweet that sparked the confusion over the Camino ‘tradition’ of doing a shoey.

The practice is particularly popular in Australia, and was brought to a mainstream audience by Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo back in 2016, when he did a ‘champagne shoey’ on the podium after a race.

The misunderstanding arrived for Tom, 31, when his video voice-over claimed the practice was a ‘Camino tradition’. 

Spaniards thought he was saying that the ‘shoey’ was a tradition for pilgrims on the route, rather than what he actually meant: it is HIS tradition when doing the Camino. 

To confuse matters further, a user of social network X reposted a tweet with the images and subtitles of Tom suggesting that he had done it due to a mistranslation of bota, which is a traditional leather pouch that Spaniards use to drink wine from. 

Tom prepares his ‘shoey’.

“Translators are needed so that when someone reads bota in Spanish, they know that in this context it refers to a sewn container for drinking and not a piece of footwear,” wrote the user, named Maritxu. 

“Let them learn the hard way!” she joked. 

This was the tweet that lead to more social media posts disseminating the misunderstanding, and then a series of misguided stories and headlines, such as this one in 20minutos: “A British man drinks from his shoe after finishing the Camino de Santiago because he thought it was a tradition: ‘He translated boot literally’”

“I have never heard of the bota tradition and I had not mistranslated anything,” Tom told the Olive Press.

“I’ve done the Camino twice this year and I’ve done a shoey at the end of both to celebrate,” he said.

Tom Hopcroft does a 'shoey' at the end of the Camino de Santiago
Down the hatch…

“I’ll do the Camino one more time next week and you better believe there will be another shoey at the end of that one too.

“I come from a long line of shoeying – my father taught me how to do it on the day of my 18th birthday, just like his father taught him,” said Tom, with his tongue firmly in his cheek. 

The media attention has not, however, been something new for the influencer, nor is the lack of accuracy.

“I’ve been mentioned quite a few times at this point in the news for the videos I’ve made or about my project, Guiris de Mierda, here in Spain,” he said.

The end result.

“Pretty much every time they get something wrong, whether it’s my nationality or name, so I’m not surprised they didn’t do their homework here either,” he added. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Spain vs France EURO 2024 semi-final preview: The unstoppable force meets the immovable object as two of Europe’s heavyweights clash head-on in Munich tonight

3 bedroom Apartment for sale in Nueva Andalucia with pool - € 445
Next Story

3 bedroom Apartment for sale in Nueva Andalucia with pool – € 445,000

Latest from Galicia

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press