Sun 17/04/16: Albarracin and another Spanish Bonita town and it is. Different again to the white pueblos and also to Morella where we just left which was hilltop and standing proud repelling all borders. Albarracin is tucked into the hillside with a steep incline still. It is very much a hobbly goblin village with small paths, tiny doors and turns and you expect elf’s and such to come out from everywhere. We have decided that we like the Spanish way of Sunday lunch, plus we are never that organised to have shopped and worked out what we are having before the Sunday close in Spain. We did also try a long walk and got slightly lost and so we were encouraged to head back to the town and have a lunch. There were many restaurants in the small village and also lots of home produce again, we opted for one where baby goat was calling David and it had lots more ‘tipico’ dishes on the menu as well. It was busy with again mainly Spanish tourists the season still being a bit early for tourists other than us motorhomers and carvaners. After much dithering over the menu and how much food David could actually justify for starters and main course he opted for his favourites (!!) of migas- poor man’s breadcrumbs with generally chorizo and whatever else comes locally and baby goat for main. Now much as this is going to upset some I have to say that here when they say baby or young it really does mean that and the meat is very pale and still milky. However, having said that the leg of baby goat tasted stunning and come with potatoes that had obviously been cooked alongside the kid and with more than enough garlic as I can vouch for the next day. A dish for real meat lovers and one not to be thought about too much, but Sunday roast it was! I opted for simpler fayre and had Easter soup, which was cod, lentils and spinach. Rich, tasty but not too heavy a soup. The restaurant was excellent, not cheap as chips but again a good deal.
Mon 18/04/16: A few meals out that weren’t tapa prices and so we decided to eat in, but this area is not one for many Lidl’s or Superdia’s so we shopped locally, which to be fair we do try to wherever possible using our limited Spanish and charades whenever we can. The ‘supermarket’ was only slightly bigger than Dev’s corner shop but still seemed to have all the ingredients we needed for spag bol (Yes I know again, but our minds weren’t really up to much more) and we got the mince form the local carniceria as well and he helpfully corrected us on our Spanish which was great but soon forgotten again outside the shop, but whilst ordering we repeated the phases as he said. I think another thing here is that they don’t realise that each area has its own pronunciation and we are at the mercy of all of them- like the hola’s, bon dias, etc. Whichever one we say picking up from the last place so the next town says another version, so we are never right. Now we tend to say all our greetings in one go and that seems to work. Anyway after our local shop and lovely walk to see local rock drawings the dinner was exceedingly lovely. Oddly one of the most expensive ingredients was the mushrooms which we had to buy on site at €3. Now please I don’t want an international crisis over whether mushrooms are put in spag bol or not- in mine they are.
Wed 20/04/16: A quick coffee in the local café where we watched with amusement the locals come in with their own food including some obviously just picked habas that they proceeded to shuck and eat along with their glasses of red wine at 9.15. Actually I was hoping they’ll offer me some as raw broadbeans like peas are up there as a fav. Then on the road with a long drive back into the middle and Don Quixote country and a place again visited by our Rick- Puento Lapice plus one of the many roads and towns visited by the great legend himself –Don. The aire and town were both a delight with the aire being quite picturesque and looking at the windmills themselves, the town a one horse street with some lovely small houses and given its size quite a few bars and restaurants. Yes, quite a few being given over to the coach load of tourists arriving but still offering good value. The weather again all the way was cloudy, dull and in fact for many parts of Spain we were told quite unusual for primavera, no surprise to us we’re here after all. It had been quite a lot drive and not much food of note the day before so a menu del dia was in order and for us what a good choice it had, very much to our particular tastes. We both started with the local soup, lentils with chorizo which again I could have quite happily have had on its own so tasty it was with not only chorizo but ham backing it up as well and the usual veg of potatoes and carrots. I then had dorado, odd given how inland we are. Fresh or not fresh it was still very tasty and came with the very usual Spanish salad of lettuce, tuna, sweetcorn, carrots and olives. David opted for the pollo with garlic which is always a good standard for the 2nd course. I was also presented with a half bottle of local La Mancha wine which was just lovely with both the soup and fish. For once we both opted for pudding and mine was tipico of the area. A bowl arrived with what looked like a body organ in it covered with sauce and crunchy sugar. The body organ was in fact a sponge that had very liberally been soaked in what I can only describe as a cold custard mix before you add the hot milk and make actual custard that then had caramelised sugar on top. It was very sweet but I have to say very tasty and in fact I did finish the whole body organ and jus. Coffee came included and only David’s 2nd beer was charged for so excellent value at €20.
Thurs 21/04/16: A memorable day in the Whitney calendar what would have been our Mums birthday along with old Queenie. A day we set off to see the 10 windmills in a row picture moment on bike. Waste of time and effort, some 63k’s later over very bad terrain most of which was bone shaking rock and the town Consuegra ugly and the roads there some of the worse we have had in Spain, so even after the country lane rocks we had no respite and still bounced on the roads in the town. The town really had nothing more to offer then the 10 windmill photo opportunity so they have missed a tourist trick as the coaches are just coming in taking the photo and leaving unlike our little Puerto Lapice. We tracked down food in a local hostal but the service was poor and they were uninterested in us. We ordered some tapa of chorizo and morcilla plus chicken kebabs and all were fine but served without attention, interest or care. When the bill was presented they had overcharged us for 2 dishes we hadn’t had which they corrected instantly and to be fair with embarrassment, but nevertheless it’s not a memory or place we care for so we bounced the 30K back and rode into our lovely little town to have a glass of tinto and a cerveza which came with a smile and a free tapa.
Fri 22/04/16: Left this small Don Quixote town and headed off for another DQ village where it is said that it might have been Don’s hometown if he was not a fictional character. It was a lovely small village with a church and wooden balconied houses lining its main square with lovely bronze statues of Don, Sancho and animals. The weather again was grey but again this little village in contrast to Consuegra was just adorable and welcoming and we spent a pleasant few hours there before headed off towards the west. As we headed west and towards another one of our favourite campsites- Camping Red we opted for a 4th aire stop in a row, a first for us. Unfortunately the aire had not been properly maintained and the toilet empty was overflowing and the fresh water tap had been broken, a shame as it was a lovely spot on the edge of fields and also by the side of a 5 a side football pitch. It was here with a Friday night 5 a side football tournament that I cooked a first for us in Spain, but quite a regular week dish for us at home. We had shopped on route after finishing our DQ moment doing a big shop in a Simply which seems to be a Spanish version of Auchan, so a bit different from our little Dev corner shop on the Tuesday and 2-3 times the price. But Yes we did need to stock up on wine, beer and other essentials as well so I guess the price was understandable especially as it included another pair of shorts for David!. Our dinner was chicken with orange and mint, which does come from a Spanish cookbook I have. I couldn’t quite remember it properly but had a fair guess, but fresh herbs here are quite hard to come by so we had to use dried mint rather than fresh which I think does make a small difference. It was very good and we had crushed potatoes and local asparagus with it. David for his part was on crushing the potato duty to which he amazingly asked where the potato crusher was. Uhm let me see we are in a motorhome- it’s called a fork!!
Sat 23/04/16: Thankfully no 5 a side football to start the morning and so we headed off again into the hills with a plan for after this and the Extremadura region, but we need to wash sheets and get an electric fix so Camping Red here we come. Yet again they do not fail to deliver and the location and site are both stunning and Yeah we are back in free tapa region which is why whilst I am
writing this I am not cooking as planned, as we have had 5 wonderful free tapa along with our beverages, photos of all here and bless the lovely young waitress at the last place who was quite interested in us and where we had come from and asked as she presented another wonderful tapa off what I can only describe as meatballs on toast, if we got this in England when we had a drink. We both gave the question due deliberation and thought far longer than the answer actually needed and replied………No, nunca. At this establishment for 3 glasses of a very nice red and 2 artisan beers the price was €10 and we had 3 stunning tapa, so I couldn’t justify a few olives and or crisps in a decent establishment at home costing that for 2 drinks really. Please everyone I am not dissing England, I love London and my home but each and every place has its own to offer and we are here for what Spain is offering. Actually, it’s not at the moment the weather is rubbish.
So come on Spain I came here to boil and moan about how hot it is…..I’m still in me cardi!!