Earlier today as we walked through Cacabelos, a belligerent terrier decided to greet our arrival on his patch with a barrage of high pitched yaps, delivered from the relative safety of a first floor balcony.
His owner quickly appeared from behind a curtain to admonish her pooch – and it then transpired that his name was Barko.
This does not help me, as a typical Englishman abroad, with a pathetic grasp of the local tongue and an awful tendency to add an “o” to the end of any word in the vain hope that my meaning may be understood.
I offer “Telefonio chargio plug-o?”, as a particularly terrible example.
We English suffer a quandary abroad.
The apparent supremacy of our mother tongue has bred a natural assumption that wherever we go, somehow one of the locals will be able to speak our language and so we can carry on as we do at home.
As a result of this assumption, comparatively few English speaking people seem to possess any language skills whatsoever and verbal exchanges with the locals can therefore range from the wonderful to the excruciating.
When it comes to Spain, an Englishman of my vintage can only think of Caroline Aherne’s Spanish weather forecaster from the Fast Show.
So, when the local pets are as literally named as “Barko” was, the inbuilt tendencies are suddenly endorsed, amplified and encouraged.
There’s no hope for me now.
“Scorchio” was the word of the day as the sun rose quickly and shone strongly as we advanced to the former Templar stronghold of Ponferrada with its mesmerising castle and church.
The book had described Ponferrada in less than glowing terms, but I thought it was quite lovely.
Later on, in Columbrianos, there came the Least Impressive Depiction Yet of a Peregrino.
Perhaps it was the winner of a school competition.
It was a burning afternoon and the occasional opportunities to rest and refuel in shade were very welcome.
24km done, so we’re now under the 200km mark.
Ten more days will probably see me in Santiago – that’s just not long enough for me to learn how to converse with Barko in his native tongue.
Albergue El Serbal y la Luna, Pieros
Amazingly gorgeous vibe, a communal meal, bunk beds in an airy and spacious room with plenty of headroom too. Completely lovely.
Number Of Requests To Restore The Daily Stats Section: 4
Number Of Requests Required To Restore The Daily Stats Section: 1
Blisters: 0 (9)
All departments AOK.
Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (3)
Pineapple Solero Consumption: 1 (4)
Strawberry Solero Consumption: 1
It’s just not the same.
Applications of Factor 50: 3 (101)
Filling of Water Bottles: 2 (51)
Wrong turns taken: 0 (3)
Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: Back down to 30 or so.
Song Of The Day: Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, by Eric Idle