So we spent the night in the Truckstop near Zaragoza. The leak from the hatch above the bed stopped, we dried everything out by turning our hot air heating up to full and we wandered into the café to look for something for dinner.
The man behind the bar was doing a version of plate spinning with glasses and coffee cups, mixed with an occasional baton twirl with a loaf of bread. He was grunting abruptly at any customer that dared to try to get his attention so we didn’t hold out much hope of getting any service from him. Abruptly, even a little frighteningly, he fixed us with his beady eyes and did that upward flip of the head you might have seen in matadors as they approach the bull.
“Si!” he snapped.
“Menu?” I whispered.
“Si!” he snapped again then walked off.
Several minutes later he literally flung a menu at us and, catching it in mid air, we opened it, thankfully realizing that everything on it was in pictures. At the front was the ‘Menu del Dia’ and we somehow managed to match the list with the pictures and make a decision.
Like a whirlwind he spun round the bar then stopped again in front of us.
“Deutsch?” he snapped
“English” we whispered … and then everything changed.
“Ah I speak a little English. What would you like?”
And from that moment on he was the epitome of charm and kindness – although he didn’t slow down. He laughed merrily as he threw a basket of bread, some condiments, two empty glasses and a bottle of wine at us.
“I bring your food Darlinks” he cooed as he took off on another sprint round the bar.
The dinner was fabulous. A huge salad for starters, hunter’s chicken casserole, chocolate ice cream, bread, a bottle of local wine and two exquisite coffees. The total bill? 21.90€ That’s less than £8 each. Wow!
It was a noisy night in the Truckstop. Trucks were coming in out of the dangerous weather conditions all night but we slept well, feeling safe tucked in close to the café and out of the horrific gales that were battering most of Spain that night.
Poppy and Boo were less than enthusiastic about the chosen nightstop. They were alarmed by the clanking and roaring of the trucks and clearly felt it their duty to bark every now and then to ward them off but even they gave in eventually and slept well until the usual 7.30 a.m.
We were off in good time the next morning having checked the weather and decided to go as far as Sabinanigo which is in the Pyrenees, about an hour’s drive from the Somport tunnel and the border with France. We were happy to wait in Spain for another day because we wanted to be able to see the High Pyrenees – the forecast for tomorrow is full on sunshine. Once again we were grateful for the Spanish website for motorhomers that told us that motorhomes are welcome to stay in a large carpark behind the Pirenarium – a hostel, restaurant and exhibition centre on the edge of the town.
We arrived by lunchtime and we realised that autumn had arrived with gusto in the Pyrenees. We’d been protected from the change in season down in the hot south.
The motorhome parking was large, flat and empty and we were thrilled to discover that all services, including electricity, are supplied for the princely sum of 4€ for up to 48 hours. The only slight difficulty was that it asked you to go to the police station and pay. It was raining and according to Google maps it was a mile to the police station. Shirley to the rescue! We got her bike off the back of the van and she shot off into the rain to find the aforesaid law enforcement officers. She was back in 10 minutes with a ticket to put on the windscreen – good work Grasshopper!
By 4p.m. the rain had stopped and we took the dogs for a good long walk, right through the town and back. At the far end we discovered that we were once more on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. Until this trip I thought there was only one Camino – it turns out there are several and this one is the high one, taking walkers over the Pyrenees.
Apparently La Vuelta bike race goes through here – how about that for an interesting random fact?
Late in the evening two more motorhomes arrived to nestle in beside us, quickly followed by the police, coming to look for the 4€. We were impressed to discover that the young police officer, who had served Shirley and spoken English to her, could also speak French to the man in the next van who blamed being foreign for not paying up at the station.
At several points during the night and again early this morning the police included a whirl round our car park as part of their nightly rounds. We felt very, very safe and thankful for the hospitality of the town.
So it’s Wednesday, the sun is shining and we’re about to go through the tunnel into France. We have passed snow capped peaks and rolling meadows, the air is sharp and clear and the sun is lighting our way. We’ve stopped for breakfast at a shopping centre to fill up for the last time with incredibly cheap Spanish diesel and to buy a few things needed for our sparse looking fridge and cupboards.
I’ve finally fallen in love with Spain and sorry to leave but France beckons and we love that too.