Tag Archives: Liquor No 43

Airport Hotel Happiness

Ribadiso to Lavacolla
Tuesday 2 December

That Liquor No. 43 was not a good idea. I did not feel my best this morning, but was keen to hit the road. Could I make it to Santiago today? I was keen to try, and would walk as far as I could. There is an alburgue twenty kilometers before Santiago, and another four kilometers before. Too short or too far. There are some hotels near the airport, about twelve kilometers out of town that seemed a reasonable distance. We shall see.

It was a three kilometer walk until coffee this morning. As usual, I needed coffee. I saw a garage, crossed the road and in my daze bought a chocolate milk, and was flicking through a magazine left on the counter. The English musician arrived and commented that I was looking at men’s farm porn… I started to focus, and realised he was correct. The magazine was a tractor catalogue.

I continued to the next bar, a mere thirty meters ahead, and had coffee and a proper breakfast. Several others from the previous evening arrived… But I was on my way.

Today I happily walked alone, having had a fix of company. At first my pace was slow. The landscape was mostly eucalyptus. Give me a home among the gum trees. I then began to speed up to my now regular faster pace. Soon I was thinking of lunch. I didn’t want to linger, as had a later start, so thought a sandwich would do. Rounding a bend, the Korean from last night’s group, jumped out yelling my name, insisting I stop. There was a bar in the middle of nowhere, just when I needed it. And what a great bar. The ceiling was covered in hanging T-shirts – Camino cast offs and souvenirs, graffiti, and a very friendly host. It seemed it was party time again. Shots of a golden liquid were being poured, that looked suspiciously like No. 43, except this was homemade. I declined. I ordered a cheese sandwich. More people arrived. Another round of homemade drinks, this time a coffee liquor, so I tried it. Sweet nectar. The others had settled in for the afternoon, as their destination was not so far, but I had places to go. When I went to pay, the barmaid said the drinks were on the house, and made a small drawing in my credential as my stamp. Nice.

I continued walking, but as the afternoon faded, my big night was starting to catch up with me. I had passed the airport, but hadn’t seen any hotels and was getting tired. I found a hotel, but it was closed for winter. I had another fifteen or more kilometers to Santiago, but was too tired to walk that far. I saw another hotel from the back entrance, so was hard to see if it was open. I saw a light which looked promising, and happily it was open. It was a little more than I had planned to pay even with the pilgrims discount, but I was tired, so checked in. The room was large, well heated, and had a bathtub! Yes, a hot bath.

The hotel had a large, but almost empty Resturant. The pilgrim’s menu was a bit more expensive than usual. I wasn’t holding my breath that the food would be good. To my surprise, it was possibly the best meal I’ve had in Spain. Scollops for entrée, a paella, overflowing with fresh seafood, and the now ubiquitous Santiago cake, an almond tart. This was homemade, moist, and delicious. They also served cheese, and a very good bottle of wine. Full, tired and content, I retired to bed.

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The Little Lame Boy

Eirexe to Ribadiso
Monday 1 December

Alone in my alburgue. I was beginning to feel like the little lame boy who was left behind in the Pied Piper. Please wait for me. I received messages that my Irish friend and Italian friend were already in Santiago. My Dutch friend, Miss Venezuela, and my Camino Angel would all be there in a day. Please wait for me. I had been walking alone for a few days. Hardly seeing any other walkers. I do enjoy walking alone, but had missed their company.

As well as checking my daily horoscope, I’d now taken to online Tarrot card reading. One of the cards I chose today was the hermit. Alone. Loneliness.

I walked through Palis de Rie and was pleased to see the Spanish girl who had made the magic potion. Another person I recognised! She invited me to have a coffee, but I’d just had one… I would continue walking. Alone. I was starting to get hungry. I’d only had toast for breakfast. I really need protein to start my day. I was beginning to get antsy. Low blood sugar. I need to eat. I saw a sign for Melide, the next large town where I’d planned to have lunch, but the town seemed far in the distance. Six kilometers I guessed. It seemed longer as I walked. I need to eat now. I followed the path into the centre of town, and eventually found somewhere to eat.

I was tired today, and my pace had slowed. After lunch I was feeling sad. Thinking of motherless children, and childless mothers, I began to cry. I asked Siri to play ‘Let it Be’, instead she played ‘Let it Snow’, which made me laugh, and lightened my mood.

I soon came to a small fruit stall that was unmanned with an honesty box. I chose a punnet of raspberries, and as I was getting out my money heard voices behind me. I turned around, and a group of five pilgrims I had walked with previously arrived, a young Canadian, a Korean, and three Spaniards. I was happy to see them and have some company for the rest of the afternoon.

Along the way were many mushrooms on this part of the walk. One of the Spanish men knew his mushrooms, and was making a small collection for dinner. He showed one that was quite orange in colour, but when picked quickly turned blue. Nature is amazing!

We walked together to the small village of Ribadiso, arriving at the lovely stone alburgue beside a crystal clear river. The English Musician was already there, and they were expecting some of the others from their Camino family. I had walked with most of them on and off, as they had all started walking the Camino the day after me. More people arrived, several whom I had met. I began to feel better, that I would not be walking to Santiago alone.

I showered and headed out to a local bar with a few of the group. We met the others and ordered a soup for dinner. After dinner one of our Spanish friends suggested we order a local liquor, Liquor No 43. An almost fluro yellow sweet vanilla and citrus flavored concoction. The barmaid said we were the first to order this for fifteen years. Between the seven of us, we finished the bottle. The Spanish pour is very generous. In hindsight, regrettably.

As we were about to leave, another group arrived, including the young German I had walked with, the Spanish magic potion girl, and a young Estonian man whose birthday was today. They had planned on cooking a feast and had carried ten bottles of wine. Party night!

We returned to the alburgue, and the cooking began in the well equipped kitchen. Strangely well equipped, it had ten sinks. Ten. Four stoves, but ten sinks. I had already had too much to drink, but bugger moderation, there was more wine!

The food took several hours to cook, and by one thirty, was ready to serve. There were very few plates, less than there were sinks, so it was dished up on cardboard. No one cared, as we had already consumed copious amounts of alcohol. The party continued, but I was past my prime, so excused myself and went to bed.