A little work, some great food and CHEESE NIGHT!!

Trip Start Sep 28, 2010
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Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Sunday, November 27, 2011

SLACK is the word that come to mind when I think of this BLOG.......It's not that nothing has happened to us, much has happened, but time to sit and write has evaded us, at least untill now!!

Since we left Estonia over three months ago we have been on the move, every night a different bed (perhaps a new patch of grass is more fitting), every day a new town, and every few weeks a new country. When we were not pedaling our bikes, pitching our tent, or sheltering from the cold (in Germany) we were exploring the local town or resting our little legs.

It's only now that we have a little time to sit and reflect, sitting next to an open fire with a glass in vino tinto in hand, my mind is a mishmash of towns, people and experiences. It seems a little unfair to not write first about the other countries we have visited, the friends we've made, the time we've spent with family and the amazing food we have devoured.

Perhaps we will have some time to fill in the blanks over christmas, but for now it time it seems logical to talk about the present.

It's about 5.30 in the evening, it all but dark outside, the central heating is on, the dogs have been walked, and fire is burning. Soon we will be playing cards, a bit of friendly competition before dinner which, since we're on Iberian time here, is always a bit later in the evening. Tonight Alex is cooking, taking the reins from Val, in a kitchen that's set up to create dishes from all around the world.

We're on another help-exchange, our fourth, staying in a (not so little) old stone farm house in Northern Spain, about 100km from Barcelona. Our hosts are an Aussie / British couple that have lived in Spain for nearly 50 years. Although their accents still link them to their heritage they actually don't identify themselves as any particualy nationality and Pat tells us he's just a citizen of the world, which is fitting given their story.

Pat is originally from Lismore, spent a little time in Sydney before heading overseas in his 20's where he met Val who was born to English parents managing a rubber plantation in Malaya. She tells us she spent a lot of her time hanging out with the house staff on the plantation and the Chinese cook, hence the multicultural kitchen where she makes the most delicious food. They went travelling like us........they were on their way to South America when they stopped in Spain, and they never left. They lived in Barcelona and ran an English language school, and the place were they are living now (where we are) was their weekender, until their retirement when they moved to Pedrafita permanently.
 
The house has been a renovation project for almost forty years. It's built over three levels with extensive terraced gardens all the way round, and it's easy to see the many years of love and hard work that have made it into such a beautiful place. They have a cat and three big, energetic and lovable dogs, one of which may strangely disappear when we leave.

Pat & Val have a well established daily routine that I think we have slotted into quite well. After so long on the road it's refreshing  for us to sleep in the same bed night after night, eat 3 delicious meals a day and have some normality to our life for a change.

The day always starts at 8.30, (except for Sundays when we have a bit of a sleep-in), with a relaxing leisurely breakfast. It's simply a matter of climbing out of bed and taking a seat at the table that was set and prepared the night before. Some freshly baked bread is on the menu, rubbed with garlic and tomato, and piled with jamon and cheese, some freshly squeezed juice and perhaps a quail egg or two.

By 10, we are rugged up and outside ready for work. Most days we were in garden gradually learning from Pat about weeding, pruning and planting, but every couple of days we found ourselves riding on the back of the 'Yellow Submarine', chainsaw ready to get us some wood to build the stocks for the winter.

At 11.30 it's time for a break and we are sitting in the sunny garden with a coffee and some fruit, continuing the conversation from breakfast. We are probably taking about food again.....sorry Pat, we seem to have a one track mind!! After a little more work we are sitting and eating again, thus time for the 1.30 lunch......then it's time for a siesta, which is broken with an expresso. Work again from 4-5, then walk the dogs for a half hour before sunset.

This brings me to where I am now.....

Next it's time for a game of cards before dinner. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays it's "Cheese Night" which means that after dinner we have a selection of about 15 cheeses and some special wine. On regular nights we drink the plonk which Val buys from one of the local farmer's co-ops....see picture attached......25 litres we bought the other day at 1.6 euro a litre, much like we had in Italy......it's tasted rather good too.

Yesterday was a day off and Pat & Val took us out for a bit of a tour, first to some local towns, then a long winding drive well into the Pyrenees', I was a little nervous but Pat drove nice and slow and there were barricades all the way. The Pyrenees are quite amazing especially with just a dusting of snow.......bring on the snow I say......I want a white Christmas. After the drive they very generously took us out for a yummy 3 course meal at a local restaurant.......we felt really spoiled. Pat & Val have certainly taken very good care of us and we will be very sad to go.

We are here for another week or so, before getting the train to the other side of the Pyrenees to house sit a B&B for 4 weeks, and we are really looking forward to the down time. I guess Christmas lunch will have to be for 2 this year unless any of you choose to come and join us!!!! 

Anyway I must go and help Alex cook now......
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