Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday, May 20 Alberque San Miguel

Every day is the same and every day is totally different.

We have established a pretty efficient system and each day the schedule is the same but, because we never know whether we will have 10 guests or 43, every day is so different.

We've been moving at warp speed the past few days and so were stunned today that by 6pm we had registered in only 13 pilgrims. Yesterday we had more than that waiting at 11am. We took advantage of the Thursday morning Farmer's Market in the plaze and it was what a Farmer's Market should be. We got huge heads of lettuce - 5 for 2€, 2 kilos of fresh strawberries for 2€ as well. What other alberque greets their pilgrims with fresh cherries and cookies at registration and then serves fresh strawberries (on their canned fruit) for dessert? The fresh fruit was our treat to our pilgrims.

Just as we were about to serve dinner, an Austrian man drove up in his van, hopped out and we worked out in German and hand gestures that he needed beds for himself and 4 Austrian cyclists. They had set out from St. Jean Pied de Port that morning (about 130kms away) and would be arriving momentarily. I asked if they would like to eat with us. He couldn´t understand so I asked another German lady to translate "Would you like to eat with us?" The lady turned to the Austrian and said in perfect ENGLISH "Would you like to eat with us?" Then we all burst out laughing as she realize how ridiculous this was. She's been so used to flipping back and forth from English to German that she repeated verbatim what I'd said. Anyway we got it all straighten out and she was still redfaced and laughing as she went back to dinner.

The Austrians showed up just after we had served the salad. We had to hurriedly set out more seats and plates, more bread, some wine we donated as this alberque does not provide the wine, and added more pasta to the pot. We once again enlisted the pilgrims to do the clean up while we grabbed a moment to sit. You know a man does not help around the house very much when he asks "Which side of this sponge do I use to wash the dishes?" Seriously, like there's a different side for dishes and the other for cutlery?

So far we're not out of wonderful yet so all is good. I'm now going to hustle back to the alberque to attempt my first potato tortilla. Hmmm

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