20.06.2011 - 20.06.2011
Spanish people have a very interesting grasp of the concept impulse shopping. In Australia or the UK you find Mars Bars and Chupa-Chups lining the checkouts; sweet things are piled up high and enticing for last-minute lapses of reason. But in Spain last-minute-buys include shampoo and beauty products. Their checkouts are lined with perfumes, foundation and diet pills. This is fantastic; here is a culture that thinks long and hard about the chocolate they are going to eat, but diet on impulse. Brits and Aussies are far more likely to have the diet strictly in place, but then to accidentally splurge on lollies and chocolate.
So, my Spanish is slowly improving after these three weeks in Spain. My dismal little dictionary and phrase book have been pretty useless and I just do my best to remember a little bit each day. So far I have mastered the following words: buenos, buenos tardes, buenos dias, buenos noches, una cerveza, un cafe con leche, un cola cao, por favor, perdon, uno, dos, tres, quatro, cinco, si, non, and gracia. All of the 'c's in Spanish are pronounced “th” so that gracia becomes “grathia” which is, as Robin pointed out, highly amusing in Spanish males of the macho variety.
As you pass through Melide be sure to stop in one of the fantastic cafes. This town is surprisingly busy, with a great market on weekends and excellent pulpo. I continue on past Melide and find myself in a huge forest with a really familiar smell, it's beautiful and it takes me a few minutes to realise these trees are eucalypts! It reminds me of home, and I walk along breathing deeply until I stop in Arzuo – racing in to get the last bed. I fall asleep almost immediately (after nipping a bit of Voltaren gel for my knees from the kindly pilgrim in the bed next to me.) Arzuo is tiny, and there isn't much here, but it's the last rest stop for the next 18km. The albergue is new but made to look old, with stone walls and cute décor.