Adventure, Camino de Santiago, Food, Seeking, Travel

Oh, the Places You´ll Go!

Meson Cowboy, El Ganso

Meson Cowboy, El Ganso

There is a Jewish saying that goes something like this:  Every town needs two synagogues; there is the one that you go to, and the one you´d never set foot in.   At home, this dichotomy is at play in my mind when it comes to stores and restaurants.  Indeed, sometimes I define myself by the places I will not set foot in.  For example, not far from Denver is a watering hole called the Bucksnort.  The name alone is unappetizing.  Apparently it is favored by motorcyclists and certain members of the Colorado Mountain Club who stop there after a hike.  From what I understand, they offer beer and a greasy, meat-centric menu.  Not my kind of establishment, even if I liked the name.

Here on the Camino, I frequent the Spanish equivalents of the Bucksnort:  joints with the television blaring where locals gather for coffee in the morning and wine, beer and bocadillos (little bites) in the early evening and to exchange gossip.  Often these are the only places open or, in some villages, the only places period.  If I want a tea (and use of a toilet), I can´t be picky.  Several days ago (I have lost track of time), I wandered through a decrepit but picturesque village while it was raining.  Seeking a respite from the damp and the chill, I entered a cowboy bar, filled with hats of every material, from leather to GoreTex, and other kitsch.  There was a fire going.  Local cats scampered in, looking for a handout.  The proprietor had a lined face, wore heavy boots and a thick jacket.  I asked for a chamomile tea.  Sipping it on a rough hewn bench, I felt water falling on my head.

“Oh, the roof is leaking.”  He shrugged.  Many of the crumbling structures in this hamlet lacked a roof altogether.  I moved to the other side of the table.

“I live in a state with real cowboys,” I said, in a feeble attempt to make a conversation.

“I guess we´re pretend cowboys,” he said.  Oops; I had not been very tactful.

“I didn’t know Spain had cowboys,” I spluttered.

“Well, I’ve ridden horses since I was a boy,” he said.  “That´s why I decorated this way.”

There was nothing for me to say, so I finished my tea and stared at the glowing fireplace.

“The next time you come here,” he said, “You need to do this…”  He pounded his fist on the wood bar and roared, “Give me a whiskey!”

I´m not sure which is more likely: my returning to this cowboy bar and demanding a stiff drink or heading to the Bucksnort.


About ilona fried

Writer, Feldenkrais champion, Aikidoka and explorer of internal and external landscapes.


7 thoughts on “Oh, the Places You´ll Go!

  1. We have been so fascinated by your “journey”…thank you. And this post was definitely a rib-tickler to your Texas “relatives”. Look forward to more. love Marlene and Jack


    Posted by Marlene Super | November 8, 2012, 9:48 am


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