Everyone at the alberque was up exceptionally early this morning, probably because we had all gone to bed at 8:30pm last night - not much in the way of fine dining and comaraderie in Redicilla. So we were off into a freezing, cold morning well before daylight.
As I said no fine dining or even a decent meal to be had. Last night we experienced our first truly inhospitable encounter (other than the weather of the first three days that is). Our alberque had a bar which did not serve food so we had to go to the ´restaurant/bar´ located on the one other street in the village. The senora who ran the bar was not a happy person. She was most difficult and unfriendly when I inquired about the peregrinos meal for the evening. When I asked if there was a supermercado she just kept waving her hand to the right and saying "Derecha! It is right there!" Nothing was there! With Dominigo´s help, I discovered that there was a store, a tienda right there, behind door number One. The tienda turned out to be basically a pantry stocked with bottles of wine, cartons of oranges, bananas and limes and a few boxes of lentils and rice. We decided to reserve for dinner. Now my Spanish has been definitely sufficient to order a meal but she was so hostile and had no patience with a vegetarian. "Okay, macaroni and ensalada. Fine!"
Things hadn´t lightened up when we came back at 6pm. Turns out what I had seen earlier was her happy face. Now there was an equally miserable senor helping out at the bar and, it appeared, watering down the wine. At first we were ignored but when John asked about the water and wine bit, the senor was more displeased - enajodo. He came out, slapped a paper tablecloth over the table and when I asked where the bathroom was he just burst out what seems like a Castillian curse and stomped away. I figure he was telling me, "If you needed a bathroom, you should have thought of that before you left Canada!" The senora begrudginly took me through the tienda (pantry) and showed me where the bathroom was and ordered me to turn out the light when I was done. Coming back through the pantry, I made the mistake of looking at the box of quick cooking lentils. Out comes the screaming senora yelling at me that I was here for dinner not shopping and that I should get out of the tienda (pantry) and into the restaurant where I belong. John was so disgusted he got up and walked out of the restaurant with Dayton right behind. Naturally I followed although my stomach was telling me that hunger trumps hostile and I wanted to eat. What we didn´t know was that in our magnificent exit, John had left behind his raincoat and hat. It´s a good thing a French Canadian girl, who was having a beer in the restaurant, was kind enough to bring it back to the alberque. It would have been more than a little humbling to have to go back to the restaurant to get John´s stuff.
The lady at the alberque was much more hospitable and helpful. She took pity on us poor hungry pilgrims, dug up a can of tomato sauce and a package of pasta and sent us up to the kitchen where we joined the line up of others waiting to cook, everyone holding their can of tomato sauce and their package of pasta. Apparently, we were not the only ones who ticked off or were ticked off by the local restauranteurs.
In the end we sat in the bar in front of a warming fire and had our fill of wine, bread and pasta. And we have another experience to remember. You just have to remember ´The Life of Brian´from Monty Python, always look on the bright side of life.
Back to today´s walk. It was the easiest yet for me. Twenty six kilometres along a fairly flat dirt road. None of the villages we went through were very attractive. Most were basically derelict although we did have a nice morning stop in Belorado, café con leche, téa, and our first patata tortilla.
We were the first to arrive at the alberque in Villafranca Montes de Oca and it looks promising. Spacious, cooking and cleaning facilities and a couple of bars nearby.
I do have to mention that I have become a little less conscientious with the laundry. If there´s a lavadora (washing machine) my clothers are wash and wear, if it´s just a sink they are wet and wear, if it´s cold they are are air and wear and sometimes, if it´s really cold, they are wear and wear and wear.
So off to find out how and what we are going to eat tonight.