Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hospitalera in Corcubion - Day 2

Isa and I share a small room. There are two beds, a bedside table and a desk. No cupboard to hang clothes so they hang on hook on the walls.
I am an early riser so I got up quietly at 6h00 and crept downstairs to put on the kettle, the coffee, boil the milk and cut the bread for breakfast. Isa came down soon after and we put out jams, biscuits and melba toast for breakfast. One by one the pilgrims came down heading for the coffee machine or the hot milk to make chocolate - ColaCao. One of the pilgrims who had looked really tired the night before and who didin´t participate in the singing or conversations was decidedly perky! He put on Dire Straits CD(Masters of Swing?) and was bobbing and boogeying to the music. I joined him and we did a synchronized hand jive at the head of the table to much applause from the pilgrims! We managed to get them all out and on their way by 9am and then started cleaning. I told Isa that I would do upstairs so I started by straightening all the beds, folding blankets, dragging a big plastic bag around picking up bits of plaster papers, old leaflets, a couple of empty water bottles and clearing out the bins in the rooms and the bathrooms. Then I swept the floors in the bedrooms and mopped the floors and then I started in the bathrooms. I wiped down the walls and scrubbed the floors in the showers, scrubbed the toilets - yes, I really did! - and the washed hand basins. I swept the stairs down to the lower level and passed Isa on the way down. Once I´d put all the trash in the large tip-bin outside the albergue I went back upstairs to find Isa now mopping the floors and washing the walls in the showers!
!No! No!" Isa, "I said, "I have done the rooms upstairs. Completo".
She just laughed. We decided that we needed to communicate better. I asked if I could use the washing machine to wash my pilgrim clothes and we added the albergue towels, dishcloths and a few pillow slips to the machine. At 9h15 there was a ´toot! toot!¨outside from the "panaderia' (bakery van) and we grab the bread bag and go together to buy bread for the day. We prefer the fat round cottage loaves to the long bacquets and bought 4 just in case we had another full house. When we had done all the chores we sat and wrote a shopping list. Isa´s friend, Lola, came to take us shopping.

Our first mishap - Isa slammed the door with the keys still in the lock and one of the keys got stuck in the frame. We jiggled it and wriggled it but it wouldn´t budge. We couldn´t open the door and we couldn´t take the other keys off the ring. Eventually I managed to shovel it up and down far enough to get the circlular part out and use a nail file as leverage. Finally we got the key out. But we couldn´t open the door so Isa telephoned Begona who gave us the number for a locksmith. He was very quick and soon the door was open and we were on our way to town. We sat at a terraced restaurant where I had a coke and Isa had a Martini! We then did the shopping. You have to put a Euro coin into a slot in the shopping trolley before you can push it around the store which you get back whn you return it. Carrefour is a huge shopping chain and they had most of the things we needed at reasonable prices.
By 3pm we only had one pilgrim. By 4pm there were 3 and in the end we only had 7 pilgrims. "There will be another late pilgrim" said Isa. "I don´t think so," I replied. "OK. We take a bet" she said. "If there are no more pilgrims I will buy you coffee tomorrow". "Alright" I said "and I will buy you a Martini!" By the time we sat down to dinner Isa´s hopes of a free martini had faded.
It was a beautiful day and from the upstairs windows you could actually see the village of Finisterre as well as the lighthouse at the top at Carbo Finisterre. At night the sweeping lights of the lighthouse shine into the rooms and one can hear the fog horn sending off its mournful "whoooo...whooooooo..." Finisterre is about 9km away and the lighthouse 12kms away. We returned to the albergue and unpacked the shopping. During the day an occasional pilgrim will knock asking for a sello (stamp in the pilgrim passport) or to use the toilet and children come to play in the park. There was a large cabbage in the fridge and I offered to make a salad. "With this?" she asked, incredulous. "Si - es delicioso!" I said. She pulled up her nose - Isa doesn´t like cabbage. I made a cole-slaw salad with finely shredded cabbage, grated carrots, chopped oranges, a few red pimentos and chopped olives. Then I made a dressing with mayonaise, garlic salt and olive oil. It was delicious and there wasn´t a scrap left at the end of the meal. I also made another green salad and placed the little yellow lemon peel arrows on top again much to the delight of our pilgrims. This time Isa cooked a risotto and added chopped sausages. We had miniature ice-creams for desert and these went down very well. After dinner the two Swiss-German girls - Sarah-Jayne and Leah - played guitar and sang folk songs. Pietro, an Italian pilgrim, had a sore foot so I gave him a foot massage and he got tears in his eyes. He said it was the sweet singing of the young girls and the caring of the hospitalera. Dear, dear pilgrims. They all went to bed at around 11pm and once again Isa and I set the table for breakfast and went to bed. The lights from the lighthouse sweeping across the bay from Finsiterre to Corcubion was hypnotic and I don´t remember falling asleep.

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