Sunday, 26 June 2016

Comillas: Coping with Severe Racioning

Berria Beach, Spain (Playa de Berria, España)
November 2015
As we had to leave the sunny and beach-laden San Sebastián, we plotted a course straight for another beach to ease our suffering. The beach of Berria!

It was just the right temperature - not too cool for shorts and not so hot that you wanted to run into the sea every ten minutes. On our way there we popped into a Mercadona (the name of a popular brand of supermarket, aka supermercado) for lunch supplies. We hadn't anticipated a supermarket so completely crowded and suspected that some apocalyptic event may be taking place that we missed hearing about, requiring people to stock up on one hundred oranges each just in case.
As it grew later in the day, the time to leave the beach grew nearer and nearer. Finally we mustered up the willpower and continued our drive along the northern coast to the hotel we had booked just outside a little town called Comillas.

Comillas, Spain (Comillas, España)
We ventured into Comillas for dinner, where we ordered more Rioja and three raciones. Three were about one and a half too many - we had not yet experienced the racione, which is described as a large tapa. They were each like a meal in themselves. We also were unprepared for the amount of wine, as we had pointed to the €6 option, which we assumed would be a small carafe. Nope, a whole bottle! Spain is so cheap. It's great. However, Yannick was the designated driver so I became fairly tipsy during the course of the meal. It gave me the courage to try a wedge of blue cheese that until that moment had sat unappealingly by itself at the edge of a platter. I didn't mind it as much as I thought I would, and apparently described it as tasting "like the idea of a donkey".

Sleeping very soundly, we returned the next day to explore in the daylight. On the main square stood the church of San Cristóbal (it seems that they couldn't afford windows for the bell tower and made do with coin slots).

For lunch we partook in more raciones (only two this time as we learned our lesson) at a cafe on the square. Though the patatas bravas were tasty, there was still too much and we couldn't even finish our two raciones.
After a good old fashioned wander about the town, absorbing the atmosphere, we attempted to withdraw cash from an ATM. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, this machine was so old and grouchy that it sucked in our bank and card and chewed on it for about five minutes, pondering what to do with it. We were pretty worried, thinking it might not spit it back out at all and the attached bank was closed for a long siesta. Luckily the ATM decided it didn't like the card and ejected it outwards. Instead of trying our luck again, we snatched it away quick smart and decided to work with the cash we had until another machine could be found. You don't expect something as simple as an ATM to stress you out, but you never know! Beware the Automated Teller Monster.

Today's post was almost called: Insert Coin and Dial 1 for God