Vultures, owls and a jackdaw waiting for a biscuit
Not really sure what this medieval market entails I thought as we headed towards the smoke and crowds. First of all we were confronted with a stall actually giving away heavy looking bread rolls made in a small black oven. We queued up for a freebie, and when it was our turn the bossy woman with a charred looking pinnie on asked where our child was, as the burnt baps were for the children. Honestly, you don't get anything for nothing. Anyway, saved me from breaking my gnashers.
Then the sea of people carried us on. We seemed to be the only English there and every time I shouted something to G I got stared at. Next stop a stall selling stuffed figs and dates. We bought the figs stuffed with walnuts and some big fat dates. I carried them, one for G and two for me. Lovely, the figs were best. All the stall holders were dressed in costumes. There was a hideous sort of crone telling fortunes for 3 euros. Who on earth would go in there I said, must be mad.
Anyway, when I went in, I thought she was very good and well worth the money. She said I was going on a long journey across the sea and I was to be very careful if I went on a train, and best of all I was going to come into much money. At least I think that is what she said. All this information for 3 euros. She didn't tell me that G would eat all the figs and dates while he was waiting though.
Fabulous stalls selling everything. The food part was a bit like a small scale Marrakech with lots of fat sausages on bread and braziers with meat, meat and more meat. Lots of people stuffing their faces but nowhere for us to sit, so we carried on and then ended up in a very old church with a model of the town with working parts. Fantastic. Outside horses were going past with jousters on their backs, even though the crowds were so thick nobody else could move.
We started to set back again, against the crowd, and went up a side street, got completely lost and had to go back again. G said if we get separated stay where you are and I’ll find you. Didn't fancy that so held onto the back of his trousers, very tight.
There was an art gallery in yet another church type of building. A really lovely place and a great mix of paintings. We both liked paintings of young women and the artist was a really old man. He spoke a tiny bit of English and a bit of French, but best of all when he spoke Spanish he spoke very slowly so we could understand. G said the artist asked him if he could borrow me as a model, but as his paintings had young, slim women in them, maybe he got that wrong.
Next thing we found a woman who was making jewellery out of glass, really clever. She was very nice and had come all the way from northern France. Her family had always made glass and she was the first one to make jewellery. She did go on a bit, telling us about the methods of it all. G said she probably was a lonely glass maker and I should have looked a bit more interested.
There were lots of people showing how they made things. A man who carved from stone, just with a hammer and chisel and also another who did the same in wood who was funny and rather brilliant. There was also a man who carved what looked like cow horns so what he carved was a bit restricting.
We eventually found the way out and guess what the woman with the rolls had packed up and left them in a basket. We took one each. They were rather heavy, a more than a bit stodgy, but we found a banana in the car and the rolls were ok for free, and as we were starving filled us up.
Crone has put me off trains now so can cross Orient Express off my wish list. Too dressy up for both of us anyway, so that's saved us a bob or two. Thanks, crone.
We did it all again that evening and it was even better. Hundreds of stalls, thousands of people, music, weird costumes and everybody really happy. We were followed by two weirdly dressed women with padded backsides, hope they were padded anyway, with a drummer and another man with a very long trumpet, not a euphemism, who made a right racket but they were very nice, even if the women wouldn't stop trying to kiss G. I couldn't compete with their big bottoms so left them to it. Not sure he was too keen on all that attention actually, but they seemed to like him a lot.
We liked a juggler, not because he was good, he wasn't, but because his helper was a little dog. When the juggler dropped a ball the little dog ran off with it and wouldn't bring it back. Nobody clapped the juggler but we all clapped his dog.
One of the best displays was some people with buzzards or vultures. These big birds were flying up and down, making everyone scream when they seemed as if they were going to fly Ito the crowds but they never did. There were some big owls too and even a jackdaw, but they just sat there looking sulky while the vultures flew up and down.
It was good that they weren't fastened up or anything and I wondered why they didn't just fly away if they wanted to. G said they had more sense than go off when they were being fed without having to go through all that hunting malarkey and they did seem happy enough with the men giving them a biscuit or whatever it was every couple of minutes. I went to stand next to one and a great big one flew right at me screeching and flapping its wings. G was laughing so much he couldn't take a photo. Just as well really.
We wandered back to the monastery at midnight with aching feet after walking miles and the monk who let us in sat us down, made us a free coffee and gave us a chocolate biscuit. You don't get that in a Premier Inn, do you? Fancy monks being allowed chocolate biscuits. That one was a bit fat, mind you, so perhaps it was his secret stash. We called him Friar Tuck, but not when he could hear us.
We both noticed next day how good figs are for keeping your bowels open as they used to say in hospitals. Almost wish we hadn't eaten quite so many, but a bit late now.
I booked us into a hotel tonight, even though it's G’s turn to pick and now wish I hadn't as just read about it on Trip Advisor and people say the owner is mad and it's impossible to find. Too late now as it's booked. Didn't mention bad reviews to G until we were about to leave this morning and he just looked at me and said ‘typical.’
We don't normally book ahead as it restricts where we go, but I wanted to go somewhere I read about in a magazine and if I booked a hotel near there we'd have to go. Trip Advisor is full of miseries anyway so will try and ignore the bad reviews.
Breakfast was great, although very simple and basic like everything else in the monastery hotel. Two monks were there and one of them asked me for our room number so he could find our table. It was 118 and I could remember what 100 is in Spanish, but no idea how to say 18. G turned up and the man gave up on me and asked G for our room number. He just said ‘una, una, otcho’ and the man said, ‘okay, room one, one, eight, and took us to our table. Very annoying.
I loved the obviously home made black currant jam and asked G to find out if the monks made it themselves from the big gardens out the back. G went and asked then came back smirking. ‘Lidl,’ he said. Is nothing sacred?