Today is the Catholic feast day of St. James (St. Iago), the patron saint of Spain. July 25 is also a popular day for pilgrims to complete their Camino. Two years ago today we arrived in Astorga, where we had a scrumptious tapas feast at a restaurant in the plaza mayor, with lots of wine and delicious things to eat, such as goose liver pâté.
Astorga was also where my husband had his first Camino haircut and beard-trim, very much overdue by that time. Because Jim didn’t speak any Spanish, I had to accompany him to the barber to explain in my halting español that I needed the barber to make my husband guapo again. I made small talk with the barber while he sheared Jim’s head and face. He told us how long he’d been a barber (three decades), why he didn’t like to use a straight razor on his clients (obvious), and after we paid him for his services, he told me I spoke Spanish well (which isn’t true, but was nice of him to say). Then he took a couple of the Euros we’d just given him back out of his cash drawer and told us to go buy coffee, on him. There was a good place, he said, across from the Gaudi castle. And there was. So we did.
It was one of my favorite Camino days.
This evening, I’ll celebrate the Feast of St. James with good friends, a Spanish tortilla, a Tarta de Santiago (in the oven as I type, house smells like angel-song) and some rioja wine. Spain, I miss you!