Frosty Atmosphere 

Once I did an “outward bound” course in the Lake District in February where we slept outside with only our sleeping bags for warmth. I recall it being -2C. I mention this because coincidentally, having harped on about our overnight stop reminding me of the Lake District, we actually did wake up in freezing conditions on our second morning here. 

It did feel particularly cold in the night, but only those parts outside the duvet and blankets. I could hear Sophie muttering something about being cold in the morning but I pretended to be asleep because she would insist that by rights it should be me who reaches out and puts on the heater. 

When I eventually admitted I too was awake and cold, and then lowered the blinds I was met with very crazed ice patterns across the window. Outside was very white and we’d clearly had a proper frost. After being told to put on the heater, because, I quote, “I can’t do it because I’d get cold”, I was then sent to the front of the van to check out the temperature. -3C outdoors and 1C indoors. 

Being in the mountains delayed the sun reaching us but when it did, the frost soon disappeared, and we in turn warmed up. However, the heating is excellent and we were never uncomfortably cold, although I’m sure Sophie might beg to differ. 

Being up earlier than usual, I’d completed by work by mid-morning and we were off. The road wound us up to a high point of 1,400 metres, after which we wound down to the valley bottom. I’d tried to sneak through the next tiny village we came across, Barbadillo del Pez, but Sophie was keen to make a visit, so I had no choice but to make a U-turn and head back in. A car had let us out during this manoeuvre, which was unusual in Europe, and when we parked in the village so did the car and the man came over to us. 

We fluffed our Spanish and then he started to go on about “mapa” and “donde”. “Mapa” was the first word we learnt on day one here and means what it sounds like. I also recalled “donde” having to do with “where are you going”. Armed with this I said Galicia, thinking I’d pronounced it correctly as “Galithia”, but he corrected me, pronouncing at as it sounds. He told me we needed to turn around, but we just said “pan” and “agua”, as bread and water were one of our reasons for stopping. 

He pointed at the water fountain, and for the bread he said to follow him in his car. He then pulled over, indicating for us to park next to him, then he indicated for me to get in the car with him, because clearly the road ahead was too narrow for us. At this point, Sophie said that I was not going off with a strange man and, I suppose being used to ladies of a more fiery Mediterranean disposition, he was not phased and I walked with him up the road instead. He then pointed at a house at the end of the street and said to go in there. I wasn’t convinced but did see an open door and a sort of counter, but with no one there. He indicated from the other end of the street for me to ring on the front door adjacent. I was welcomed into the lady’s house and I bought my bread. 

Checking out my new app I could see exactly where the water fountain was and decided to brave it and try some. People drink from these often ancient fountains everywhere so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem. By way of background, I’d filled my water container earlier that day from a similar fountain, but it just looked like a massive urine sample so I couldn’t face it and I’d had to pour it all away. But this water tasted like bottled water and was crystal clear. Now Sophie is very fussy about tap water so I thought I’d get her opinion. After she’d tried it she then insisted I fill every empty bottle on board. 

So we’d like to commend Barbadillo del Pez on the quality of their bread and their water, but the odds of you finding the bread “shop” have to be pretty slim. 

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