So, we eventually found the hotel and the next day we got up and started the feeding frenzy. The hotel was a like a nice Jury’s Inn and offered the usual standard breakfast fayre in the cooked food department; scrambled eggs (but with ham in), fatty streaky bacon and mini frankfurters. Now I like a frankfurter. I know, as Eddie Izzard puts it, they are made of “eyelids, noses and testicles” but there is something about the spices they put in to disguise the “eyelids, noses and testicles” that makes me love them; even the ones that cost 50p at Ikea. However, in this case, they didn’t have any spices in them so they basically just tasted like “eyelids, noses and testicles”.
Replete, we headed off. The plan (as I understood it, but to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention) was that we headed to Bogarra via Munera where Ave (Tibu’s brother) lives. At this point it’s probably worth getting your paper and coloured pencils out to start your family tree. I keep mine in a folder with nice tabs and carry it with me to refer to when we meet people in the street, but you can just fill yours in as you go along. I will be testing you at the end of the holiday.
We were heading well into La Mancha, also know as “Don Quixote Country” (well it’s known by that by the tourist board. I’m not sure if anyone actually calls it that. I don’t think anyone in Northumberland ever really calls it Catherine Cookson Country or the residents of Yorkshire call it “Herriot Country”. Let’s be honest, they are all made up people. Perhaps they are just more interesting than the real people who live there. Anyway, I digress). Nik is currently reading Don Quixote. I was going to, but settled on a Le Carre instead. Blame Tom Hiddleston. I did watch a documentary about Terry Gilliam’s disastrous attempt to make the film Don Quixote and that had a 30 second summary of the book, so I think I’m good. I couldn’t win Mastermind but I may be able to answer a question on The Chase about it, so I may just get away with it. I do remember windmills figured in it and they seemed to have updated that part quite spectacularly. There are hundreds and hundreds of turbines. I reckon these turbines must power all of Spain, and beyond. What is odd about them is that for every row there seemed to be one not working. It always seemed to be facing the other way like a petulant child refusing to face into the wind and generate energy.
After a couple of hours, and hardly any wrong turns, we arrived in Munera. The first thing Tibu pointed out was the football ground as his nephew Emi used to play for them (put it on the tree). To give you a sense of scale, the town has a population of around 3,000 and has a ground similar to Southport’s. For those of you not familiar with the sand grounders, they are currently in the Vanarama Conference, or the 5th division as we oldies call it, but Southport as a town is much, much bigger. They take their football seriously here. We pulled up to Ave and Herminia’s (Ave’s wife, fill it in, if you don’t keep up I’m not going over it again) house. Herminia welcomed us in (double cheek kiss for the ladies, firm hand shake for the men). Ave would be joining us at 1:00pm (1:30pm in reality, we are in Spain) so we started on nibbles.
A table was set up in the middle of the room and the six of us started on the crisps, olives, mussels, cheese and pistachio nuts. Beers were distributed and we settled in. Emi (the injured footballer) arrived. Firm handshake. Then his dad (who is that? Come on, I said I would be testing you); then Nuria (daughter, double cheek kiss); then Pedro (Nuria’s boyfriend. Just use a dotted line for him in case. Firm handshake); then a nephew (not sure who he was. Not sure he was actually a nephew, just stick him on a list of “unknown people I have met”. Firm handshake). An additional table was added to accommodate the influx of people and Tibu broke a chair. Not on purpose, it just happened, as these things do when you have a family gathering.
I gathered (someone told me) that we were having roast chicken; but me, sensitive nose and all, noticed a lack of chicken aroma. I then found out that the chicken was too large for the oven so they had popped it down to the baker’s to cook. Somehow I can’t imagine Greggs being so accommodating if you popped down with a leg of lamb. We were all seated, more beer was consumed, wine was had, then Emi reappeared through the front door carrying the roast chicken. Another table was bought in for the chicken and we began to eat.
Herminia gave us the option of breast or “the rest”. Karen wanted breast so I proclaimed to the table “Breasta por favor”. Now it would appear Bresta is not the Spanish word for breast (but I’m pretty sure that it is a nice shelf unit in IKEA. I have an urge for a hot dog, anyone else with me?). Over lunch Ave tried to talk to me. I have met Ave before and his technique for teaching Spanish is by complete immersion. Basically he just talks at you until you understand, and if you don’t understand, he just talks louder and slower. The worrying thing is, I did start to pick bits up, but mainly from the hand jestures.
After the meal finished we had coffee out (very Spanish – more on that in later blogs. If I forget, remind me) and we were then given the full Don Quixote tour (see pics below). It involved a lot of jumping in and out of the car and eventually we said goodbye (until the weekend when I will get shouted at again when Ave comes up to see us) and at half six, we left for Bogarra. More about that tomorrow.