I am writing this as I am on the train to Oviedo. Today has been a very interesting day. I started my day by getting up and packing my back and walking from Nájera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada. A nice 21k walk. Once I got to Santo Domingo I was able to shower in the albergue to prepare for my bus ride to Oviedo. I made good time so by 1pm I was able to have a nice lunch since my bus was not supposed to leave until 3:10. Around 3:00 I walked over to the bus station but now bus. So I am freaking out just a bit but still have it under control. I walk back to the albergue and ask the Hospitalero’s if there is another bus station in town since by bus did not show up. They looked at my ticket and told me that my bus actually left at 3:10am this morning since Spain uses the 24hr clock to determine these things and my bus departure time did not say 15:10. After a little shock time. I gathered myself together and checked the train schedule. The train left Burgos at 6:18 and would arrive in Oviedo at around 11pm. So I called a cab and asked how much the 70 kilometer ride would cost. 85 Eur. I told him ok and we were off in about 10 minutes. I am finally on my second train and headed for Oviedo. Interesting day.
Yesterday my last day in Nájera was really great. Mostly because my compañera and I were invited to the home of the president of the local association for dinner. As you may know Spaniards do not eat until very late so we did not even head over to his house until 9pm. When we arrived they were just pulling the big metal contraption out of the basement. Turns out it is a traditional Riojan BBQ. They proceed to light 2 giant bundles of grape vine cuttings on fire. As they are burning down to ash they bring out these two large metal basket type things which are basically flat that open up like a clam shell and have 4 legs on one side. In one the put 2 rings of Morcilla which is pig blood sausage with rice and spices, and a pig face. Jose Louis shows me the pig face with a big smile. Thinking that I am going to squirm but not a chance we just had pig ears and trotters for lunch the other day so I am game. The Morcilla is delicious. I actually ordered it for lunch the very first day I was in town. In the second basket he puts lamb chops. Loads of them. Once they are loaded onto the coals they go to cook. It takes very little time until everything is ready. While we are waiting they bring out the traditional vessel to drink wine from. It is called a Poron. I certainly understand the name as I give this thing a try. It is a glass vessel with a long spout on one end. The idea is to hold it up in the air tip it a bit and catch the stream in your mouth. Suffice it to say I was very happy to be wearing my rain coat…. Once the meat was cooked we all went upstairs for dinner. On the table was all kinds of dried meats, sausages, chorizo, white asparagus and of course the bbqed meats. First we ate the pigs face. It was actually really great. Then the lamb chops and well it went uphill or down hill as you wish from there. I was sitting next to a guy I did not know who was super nice and kept nudging me to eat more and kept filling my glass with wine.
When I first got upstairs one of the lady’s said something to me in rapid Spanish I looked at her will glazed over eyes. She asked if I had a hearing problem. Maria stepped in and told her that I was form America and that I could understand if she spoke slowly. She laughed spoke slowly and we had a nice conversation. It is very interesting to be the only English speaker in an all Spanish house. I could contribute and understand most of everything. Once we were finished with dinner our came the desert, really delicious cookies and of course home made after dinner drink. Apparently blue berries grow wild all over the area near Nàjera. Jose Louis showed me pictures of bushes loaded with berries. He picks them and juices them then adds Anis. Actually, it tasted pretty darn good. We talked about our grand children. How kids in Spain are learning English and how they would all like to learn as well. Then somehow the conversation turned to politics. Fortunate I know nothing about Spanish politics so I was just an observer. Maria on the other hand got involved in the discussion. Some would say it was a heated discussion, I would say passionate. The first time someone took a breath Maria took the opportunity to say it was time to leave. It was a really fun and interesting night. These people have lived their whole lives in this town of 8,500 people. They are very kind and gracious people. I really loved be a part of that community for a short time.
Cheers for now. Off to Oviedo the begin walking the Camino del Norte.