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Sunday, 26 April 2009

CANFRANC PART TWO

On our arrival we went straight for something to eat and for a small village there were many restaurants to choose from. I am like a dowsing rod when it comes to choosing a good place to eat and made the right choice after speculating on all of them. Henderson relies on this method especially after a disastrous meal in Jaca sometime ago when I told him I could feel the chef's bad vibes emanating from the kitchen and we went on to have one of the worst meals on record. The eatery of choice was called Universo and we sat outside with a vermouth and ate well in the sun. I warned Henderson he would end up in his usual state if he didn't don a cap. He always ignores me and then wonders why even his students lay a concerned hand on his arm and ask him if he is ill. The heat was too much for me and I wrapped my scarf around my bonce which made me look like a cross between Princess Margaret and Leila Khaled Said but maybe I am pushing it a bit.

If you ever go to Canfranc and need a bit of a siesta which I can't do without, and it is warm enough just go next door to this restaurant and you will find El Rincon de los Forestales which is a small park with a couple of benches. If you don't want to look like a tramp or drug addict by lying down on the benches then the incline of the park provides a perfect resting place to have a few winks. The view too is fantastic while you are lying down staring up at the snow covered mountains and contemplating on whether you have the strength to go up there or just admire it from below.

Henderson chose the tramp method and decided to lie down on the bench at the top of the park. Later he came down and asked me 'where are we?' to which I replied 'in the middle of the mountains' . He then asked me what I thought might lie at the top of the park that might seem out of place. This sparked off one of those annoying 'I don't know', 'just guess' scenarios and after reeling off such ideas as 'I don't know, a Sex Pistols memorial, a poster for the last James Last concert or a tribute to all things Nigerian' I went up to have a butcher's only to find a huge rusting anchor wedged in the ground. Things like this bother me and it was too late to go to the info point and demand how and why it got there. Next to it was a drinking fountain and always tempted to take advantage of these things I turned it on only to be greeted by the most furious torrent of water one could wish for on such a hot day. I waited to see if it would turn off as it was one of those taps which you push in and then normally it pushes itself out again after a few seconds or minutes. I suddenly felt I had become Inspector Clouseau or one half of Laurel and Hardy, as the tap if anything started to gush water faster than before. I waited some more and then went to tell Henderson who contrary to the normal reaction of wanting to fix things, told me to relax and continued to look at the fine views. I began to realise that he was suffering from heat stroke which much to my dismay would persist for the rest of the excursion. I waited some more and could still hear the water and went up mainly fascinated but also a tad guilty that the village which had been used to fires was now about to be flooded. The water by now was overflowing the small font and running down to street level. Part of me felt OK, that this is Spain where nothing works and no one cares but I also wanted to turn the bloody thing off and felt totally impeded. It became clear why the anchor was there. To stop this Pyrenean mountain village from floating away.

All this just made my dowsing rod pick up and leave and start heading in the opposite direction. We made it to a walk behind the station called El Paseo de los Melancolicos which seemed rather fitting as by now Henderson was acting in a dreamy, wistful way and I was more than my pensive, hypochondriacal self. This walk was lovely if you ignored the silos next to the railway sidings. At this time of year the walks are still limited on account of the snow but you can still go up to a little place called La Casita Blanca. The walk made us determined to return and explore the many other paths in and around the station.

To Be Continued...........

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