To our country home

September 24, 2017 - Puente Viesgo, Spain


As we had a late check-out time, Sunday breakfasts are later and were driving to our next destination there was no need to hurry to get our bags packed stuff breakfast inside us and rush out into the day. Instead we enjoyed sitting a while over the indulgent breakfast spread that is laid on here and then taking our leave of our rather decadent three-room suite with balcony.

We had to go however as there were new places to go and things to see. So at 11.30am we took the lift down to our level of the carpark and loaded the car before setting, the newly dubbed, Miss Leading with an address somewhere in Puente Viesgo that would hopefully be somewhere near our hotel. She didn't seem to have the Hotel Villa Arce in her memory banks.

As the hotel carpark emerges on a one-way street we had to do a little trip around a few blocks before we came to an entry ramp for the freeway system and were soon heading out of town. The drive was uneventful with nothing to remark on except a few large bridges and the fact that I learned to use a new version of Cruise Control as the traffic thinned and we moved to lesser used Autovia.

We took the exit from the Autovia near a place called Vargas and were into and out the other side of Puente Viesgo before I even realised it. Miss Leading cried loudly that I must 'Turn Right' but as that looked like a field I disregarded that. She gave us another couple of chances to turn right into tiny little lanes but I ignored those as well. 'I saw a sign for the hotel back there', said Margaret. I was too busy looking at the road, the traffic and the map on the GPS to see anything. We went on a little way as Miss Leading challenged us to 'Do a "U" turn'. I eventually turned left into a carpark for a Taberna and we headed back in the other direction. This time even Blind Freddy, and Max, saw the sign for the Hotel Villa Arce and we turned left into a laneway.

That lane led us into narrower paths between stone walls but the signs contined to beckon us onwards. Finally we emerged into a gravel parking area in front of our little country 'hotel'. More like a glorified 'B&B' but the peace and quiet would suit me. I think we both needed a chance to recover after the first four weeks of pretty frantic travelling and touring.

Our host greeted us in limited English and our limited Spanish so we were able to get a key for our room, and through mime and very few common words the WiFi information and the code that would allow us to get back in if the front door was locked. Through Google Translate she was also able to tell us that her 'partner' (infer what you will) would complete our check-in when she came back in the afternoon.

That was good enough for us. We went up to our room, which although small (especially after the Melia Suite in Bilbao, was comfortable and had all that we needed. There was also a sitting room area just outside our room which opened onto a small balcony with views of the hills around about.

With the windows of our room open to the breeze we could hear cow bells in the fields, the noise of a farming community including chickens and dogs and the sound of a crow calling. I had always thought that the 'mocking' tone of the crow in the 'Sean the Sheep' cartoons was a sound effect but I now feel that European crows have that same mocking tone. Which came first?

When we were leaving to walk to town for dinner we managed to do the Check-In procedure with the other 'partner' who had about to words more of English but maybe more confidence. We had no more Spanish. Still it is all fairly routine, get a passport scanned, sign a few papers at the indicated places and produce a Credit Card. All done and we walked down the narrow lanes to the main drag where we took our life in our hands walking down the hard shoulder of the bitumen (there was no extra space) and reached the town in a safe, if not relaxed, state. We went in to La Union Taberna where we discovered that the dining room (and the kitchen) would not open until 8pm. It was only 7pm now so we settled for a beer and nibbles and took a table outside. A second beer helped while away the time and soon neighbours had finished their drinks and headed off and our host came to suggest we move in to the dining room.

His English and my Spanish failed to meet anywhere in the middle so that although he provided an English and a Spanish menu for us I had some fun trying to get through about my allergy to garlic. Sin Ajo (a-yo as the Catalans would say or ark-ho as the Andalusians would say) left him confused but with reference to Gambo Ajillo we found that garlic in the local dialect is Ajillo (ah-key-yo) not Ajo (ark-ho) then it was fine. We ordered breaded steak (egg and flour battered) and chips with a green pepper sauce and a bottle of Rioja Crianza. Our waiter came back to report that the mushroom sauce (salsa to him) had garlic but not the green pepper sauce so that was alright and it seemed the message had penetrated. We finished the meal with some locally enjoyed creamy sweet for me and a Crème Caramel for Margaret and then café solo for Margaret and Doblé for me.

While we ate we had occasionally eavesdropped on a bunch of eight Poms on the only other table. They were obviously touring on motorbikes and enjoying some of the Spanish mountain roads and also reliving their 'Glory Days' of racing motorcycles mainly as road racers but with the odd reference to dirt bikes and scrambles. I couldn't resist a bit of a dig at them on the way out so we chatted for a while before we left to stagger the 3km back in the dark, blinded by the lights of oncoming traffic to eventually get back about 11.30pm. The code on our key tag allowed us in through the front door and we tried to settle all that food before going to bed.

How do the Spanish manage? I think we will have to start having an afternoon feed on Tapas rather than the Aussie idea of 6.30pm dinner.


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