an idiot in spain

santiago diaries

Sunday, 1st October.
Wet eyebrows

First of all let me discuss the International Language of Eyebrows. The great thing about the International Language of Eyebrows is that it spans the International Language of Love and the International Language of Soap Operas, and can be used in conjunction with the International Language of Money. Eyebrows can say so much. A raise here, a twitch there, a slight frown, an arch, it's communication at a higher level. Keen eyesight combined with dark bushy eyebrows can result in being able to communicate over vast distances.

There was no doubt as we left the refugio that morning that we were going to get rained on. A few kilometres out of Santa Catalina de Somoza we all donned our rainproof gear. Three in ponchos and Ian in his waterproof gear.

Some of us had a great time today, crashing through scrub, battling the elements, dodging Sunday drivers through the mountains. Barb was miserable as all buggery - her poncho had had the biscuit.

At the top of the mountain was a village called Foncebadon - population: 2. As we entered the town a simple cross loomed up eerily out of the mist. Then we got caught in the middle of a mooing competition between two groups of cows.

(Road worms don't seem to like the wet weather.)

As we descended into El Acebo we met a bloke toting an umbrella. He greeted us, found that we spoke English, and started chattering away in Pretty Good English. He rented rooms in his house, and gave us the hard sell on the way into town. Along the way he described the weather as "complicated" several times. The rooms were warm and inviting, but 2500 pesetas each. We had a Pilgrim Conference, and decided to walk on to our original destination.

But first we needed to stop somewhere warm. There was a restaurant in the town, so we dragged our wet bodies in to the wooden warmth. They seemed utterly unprepared for pilgrims. "Where are all these people dressed as pilgrims coming from? What a surprise!" It's almost as if the place was being run by goldfish. Getting a table in the near-vacant dining area seemed a problem. Eventually we were shown to a table, and we stripped off our wet-weather gear and warmed ourselves up.

A grumpy-looking waitress dished out menus with venom. "Service with a scowl," I remarked. She was soon joined by a second: "Oh look it's the sisters Grimm". Cheer up luv. It was a fun-filled meal.

In falling darkness we reached the refugio at Molinaseca. Bugger! We've caught up with those damn Frenchies! The whole troupe is there, including Underpants Man. (It's getting cold, he's wearing a singlet and underpants.)

Sunday night and the town was jumping. The cobbled main drag was lined with bodegas, and nearly all of them were full! And from the sounds of it the locals were having a great time. We found a restaurant that claimed to have a pilgrim's menu.

We got inside and there was no pilgrim's menu! We settled for the special menu, whatever that was, and proceeded to confuse the buggery out of the poor waiter. I managed to recognise some of the desserts on the menu, and relayed them to Noelle who couldn't hear what the waiter was saying. From then on the waiter assumed that I spoke perfect Spanish. What a laugh.

I ordered cheesecake for dessert, but it turned out to be flan! Aargh!