Tuesday, 3rd October.
Where's the beer?
Things you need to know so that some of today's events make
1 Barb was paranoid early on that she would get
cerveza (beer) and servicios (toilets) mixed up.
She hadn't. None of us had. One day we spent half-an-hour
walking along practicing the word servicios.
2 Spain's roads are filled with white vans. Little white
vans. Some stop and sell bread out the back (after much honking
of the horn), others stop and sell fish out the back (after much
honking of the horn), and others just carry Spanish men clad in
blue overalls. White vans are dangerous - don't take 'em on.
3 Spain smells. Bad. It smells of shit. We call that
odour "Eau d'Espana". Ok, we're walking through rural Spain, you'd
expect it to smell a bit. But honestly, there is cow shit EVERYWHERE.
Now here's a dream for all you amateur analysts out there!
(Note to amateur analysts: get a real hobby! Go out and watch some
sport or gamble or go hunting or join an extreme political party
or become a trainspotter or something, just stop wasting your time!
It's bad enough that there are professional analysts out there!)
Ok, so I'm playing tennis against Venus Williams. Well I think
it was her, it might have been her sister. No no no, it was
definitely Venus. The other one's better looking. Although she
does have a bigger arse. Not that it matters, because the in-laws
would freak me out. (Like the way I'm seriously discussing this as
if I have to choose between the sisters?) Moving right along, I'm
playing tennis against Venus Williams. Except that I'm late.
Someone else has been playing for me, and they were getting beaten.
So I take over, but instead of using a racquet I'm using my polar
fleece jacket. It's not doing the trick. I swear, Venus tells me
I'll get a fine, I say that's fine by me. Next thing I've fallen face first
on the ground near the net, and she leans over the net and taps me
on the arse with her racquet! At which point I wake up.
In the morning I asked Noelle if she woke me up for snoring, but she
hadn't. And nobody had seen either of the Williams sisters hanging
about. Moving right along...
We found ourselves taking the road route this morning. We hadn't
meant to, it just happened. We came to some roadworks, and we had
a suspicion that we might be lost. There are no yellow arrows (the
markings of the Camino) to be seen anywhere. After a minute or so
another pilgrim appeared, then two more. We figured we were either
all lost together, or on the right track.
After a while we discovered that we were indeed on the Camino.
The Italian bloke was a good laugh. He took a liking to Barb
(well who wouldn't?) (that'll cost you a pastry, Barb!), while the
girls took a liking to the Dutch guy. "There's just something about
him." They thought it was cute the way his ears poked out under
his hat. We weren't sure if he and the Austrian woman were an item.
The girls thought not, but that might've been wishful thinking.
Or women's intuition.
"I think it's time for my morning martini!" declared the Italian.
We stopped at a cafe and refuelled. Then we're back on the road,
through little Spanish towns that lack the charm of the towns we
passed through during the first few days on the Camino. It was in
one of these anonymous towns that we heard the honking of a bread
truck. Here's our chance, we'll buy bread from the bread truck!
We were living the dream.
The first part of today's walk was fairly flat. The second part
involved a small mountain. Or large hill. It's all about
perspective! At the foot of the mountain we stopped at a little town.
Barb and I needed a toilet break, so we trotted across the road
(dodging white vans) to buy a drink and ask where the loos are.
(Sort of defeats the purpose, buying a drink then going to the loo,
but moving right along...)
Barb edged towards the bar and asked the lady: por favor,
donde esta la cerveza? (Please, where's the beer?)
She looked at Barb blankly. Somehow I hadn't fallen about laughing,
I had remained composed. Totally out of character. "Servicios!"
I shot across the bar. Barb corrected herself, and the lady pointed
in the direction of the loos.
"So we're in a bar," I was telling the others later, "and Barb
asks 'Where's the beer?'!" We were all bent over double with
laughter. Poor Barb.
We cranked it up going up the steep incline. Basically, we were amazing.
It's a still, warm October day, and we were walking under a
clear blue sky. At about 3pm we were near the top, and we
stopped, sat down on the grassy mountainside and broke out the food.
A breeze rushed up the side of the mountain and brushed across our
cheeks. We watched white vans zip along the winding roads across
El Cebreiro is the town at the peak, and there we encountered the
Dutch guy and the Austrian woman. The girls wanted to stay at the
refugio where the Dutch guy was. We also saw the Brazilian girls.
Dave wanted to stay at the refugio where the Brazilian girls were.
Somehow we ended up walking to the next town (I had nothing to do
with this decision! It may have been that we spotted The French)
and staying at a self-run refugio.
It was there that we were treated to an amazing sunset, and it was
there that Lolly the South African got chased by a cow, and it was
there that the still night air had that first chill of an
approaching winter. The mornings would be colder from now on,
night would be falling earlier and earlier, and the pre-season
competition would be finished, it must be time for the home-and-away
season. What's that? It's October? What the...