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The nearest bar

We were in the Gredos. It's a hilly bit. Everyone in Rohan trousers and bandanas. We'd just driven up a perfectly reasonable, but very minor, road for 14kms to a place signposted Plataforma de Gredos. I don't think we saw another car - maybe one - all the way. The scenery looked like the Scottish Highlands (well my version of them) down to lots of bright yellow bushes, a lot like gorse, but actually a type of broom. The granite was green with lichen. The air tasted clean. The brae burbled.

Suddenly there were lots of white lines on the road and a car park full of motors and even a coach. People were sitting in the open hatchbacks of their cars putting on boots and essential pieces of survival gear.

We strolled around. Surprise, surprise, 5,720ft above sea level at the end of this little road there was a bar. Well we are in Spain. Wherever there are more than 5 people there is a good chance of a bar.

I've believed there is always a bar, at the end of the road in Spain, for a long time. Goodness knows how long ago, when I was still slim and my bones didn't ache all the time, I was on holiday in Spain by myself. I'd been wandering around doing nothing in particular when I remembered that some friends, who had hired a villa near Mojacar in Almeria, had said that if I were close I should pop in. I was in Madrid, a mere 600kms away - close enough. So I got a train to Almeria and a bus to Mojacar except that I mistakenly got off at Mojacar Playa and had to walk the 5kms to the village proper. It was August so 5kms felt like quite a long way with my bag and the Spanish sun. If my bones were better then my Spanish was worse but I asked, in Mojacar village, how to get to the address I had for my friends. The policeman laughed and said I should get a bus. "Ah, there's a bus?" "Yes, every Thursday". It was Tuesday. "Are there taxis?" "Yes, we have two in the village - but Paco's on holiday and Juan's gone to Malaga." I set out to walk. I walked a long way. When I first told the story it was 20kms, when I told it recently it was 30kms. Anyway, after hours of slogging away in the hot sun I finally saw a group of houses in the distance. I rejoiced, where there are people there's a bar.

I stumbled into the bar; "Quiero una cerveza, por favor, una cerveza muy, muy grande, y muy fría," The woman behind the bar said "¿Qué? I tried again. The woman looked blank. "This is no time for f******* problems with my Spanish," I almost shouted. "There's no need to get rude!" said the woman behind the bar. She understood my order for a large cold beer perfectly in English and, as she explained, she'd only been in Spain for 22 years so she hadn't managed to pick up the lingo. But it was proof positive of the theory.


Anonymous said…
Dios mio! 22 years and the woman still can't speak Spanish. And we wonder why we English have a bad reputation abroad for being lazy!
Great site Chris and Maggie! Gracias!
Jenny x

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If you would like to gave a look at what we're up to now just click on one of the tabs at the top of the page.

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This morning, as I cleaned my teeth, I heard hooves in the street. I didn't bother to rush out. I took my time, I put on my boots and strolled out to buy fags and a paper. There were signs of horses or mules or donkeys having passed down the street. When I came out of the fag shop I noticed a fair sized crowd by the Fat Tree but the fun was over, the crowd was drifting away and I didn't have my camera anyway.
I've just checked the town web site and it says that The Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Peña de Francia, having been blessed by a local chaplain, set out on a Romeria (a sort of pilgrimage) from the town today heading for one of the highest peaks in the area - the Peña de Francia. They won't get there till Sunday as it's some 50km from here.