Into the heart of Spain

Saturday 10 January 2015

Misty with sun later

4 degrees

Told the dog he was going on holiday and took him to a nearby pension.  The lady takes in unwanted dogs of which there are so many around here.  She is a tiny lady and you can always hear her coming because she is surrounded by a flotilla of assorted dogs of all sizes, shapes, pedigrees and ages.  She has a boom like a bittern.   STOP she bellows and they run aside and start biting one another and peeing on things.   The dog is unfazed and promptly joins in the wee-fest.   She has a fabulous garden and has obviously found a happy medium of plants that can stand being peed on regularly with a sufficiently bendy structure to be able to withstand being stood on by dogs who have not yet grasped the rules.

When we were further north and in France, I used to take the dog to a pension run by a lady who also took in cats.  She had an entire barn full of cats and they were variously arranged over pieces of furniture sourced from Emmaus.  She was an even tinier lady with an even bigger flotilla of dogs. When her husband gave her the ultimatum of choosing between him and the animals, she had to sell up and find a property in a cheaper part of France – I later discovered that she had bought a massive plot of land in the middle of no where and she and the animals and her mother were living in a small house and the animals were in a mad selection of old rusting mobile homes.

Zoomed off into the morning mist and headed south.  As we climbed, the mountain tops appeared and thick layers of mist blanketed the valleys.  The sky was the palest of blues and the roads virtually clear.  We stopped for coffee at a bar overlooking a ridge.  These bars always have a selection of workmen, old men in for a chat and to read the paper and a huge TV in a dominating position on a side wall.

One hour later and we drop down into the city.  It is not the promised 14 degrees.  It is 4 degrees.  Drop off the car and head into the market to buy vegetables.  The stalls are so busy that you have to take a ticket.  I buy tiny cherry tomatoes, peppers bigger than my hand, plump pears, a massive bag of potatoes, a pineapple, runner beans, grapes, mushrooms and broad beans.  Nothing has been subject to any controls of conformity or regularity.  The produce is local and as fresh as something that has only had to travel a short distance, can be.

The air is ripe with garlic and chorizo and OH has an address of a well reviewed restaurant.  We grab the last table and order the menu.   There are two choices for starter.  I have the mushroom risotto which has a  fine bite and a rich creamy sauce.  OH has bean casserole.  We then both have entrecote and chips and finish with almond creme tart for OH and pineapple and ice cream for me.   It is all absolutely delicious and also absolutely stomach busting.  Feel like I have eaten a barrage balloon.  A man on a nearby table wipes his forehead and exclaims ‘Mamma Mia!’.  The room is packed to the gunnels with families.  All of the children eat all of the items on the menu.  All of the children sit at table and use a napkin and hold their knives and forks correctly.  Everyone talks non stop.  We stagger out into the sunshine and decide that a siesta is in order.

The hotel has a great central location and we are on the top floor and have an expanded view of the rooftops, churches and mountains beyond.  Set the air con to sleep temperature and pass out.

The next installment will be about Flamenco….  

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