It’s around 6 p.m. after day #1 of hiking the Camino de Santiago and we decide we are in desperate need of something to relax and medicate our sore, aching bodies and warm our wandering souls. We find a stone building that houses a tavern and see some customers that are just leaving. Don’t they say that a sign of a good establishment is one that has customers? Plus, Taberna del Pueblo is Spanish for village tavern so that may be just what the doctor ordered.
I’ve seen some interesting bar decor in my day but this takes the cake. This leg of a pig is featured front and center on the bar and our new friend, Damian, shaves some meat off, arranges the meat on a plate and we are offered some delicious, succulent ham as tapas to go with our drinks (What we would call appetizers, the Spanish call tapas). Tapas may be cheese, meats, olives, bread, etc. to snack on with your beverage of wine or beer and the first plate of tapas is often provided free with the purchase of drinks.
I’m guessing, from my research, that we were eating Jamon Serrano, meaning literally “mountain ham.” It is aged in the fresh mountain air of Spain for a minimum of 18 months with only natural Mediterranean Sea salt. Most Serrano ham is made from Landrace breed pigs, or a mix of Duroc breed, Large White and Landrace. In Spain, Serrano ham is a part of life, served in bars, restaurants and found in virtually every home. ~D’Arttagnan.com
This member of our group is involved with the pork industry in Minnesota and is so intrigued by the pig leg adorning the counter of the bar that she soon makes herself at home and decides to try her hand at carving. Our new friend, Damian, must be equally intrigued by this bold American and does allow her to wield a knife. However, he does appear somewhat unsure of what he has gotten himself into tonight. Gloves and a hair net would be required to do such work at home, but when in Spain do as the Spaniards!
Damian has some personal items of interest on display. I wish I had asked if that was an old photograph of his family since we could have o-o-o-ed and ah-ah-ah-ah-ed ~ El es un nino lindo (He is a cute little boy). On the far right are books that a friend of his has written and he was selling them in the bar in case we wanted some reading material in the albergue. It also looks like Santa visits Damian at Christmas time, too!
Buen Camino!! We raise a toast to day one. It appears that Damian likes old movies judging by the posters on the wall. I am standing by the bar while I take this photo so you can see that it is a very small establishment.
As the evening progresses we become even more acquainted with Damian and Damian continues to be amused by this group of Americans. He has become endeared to our hearts and I think he was amazed that we found him to be such a cutie pie! He may have received more than the normal amount of admiration typical of a Thursday night in the tavern. He reveals to us that he is single, so I feel as though I need to do my part and spread the word across the world that we have discovered the most eligible bachelor in Spain.
O.K., ladies, I know where he is so I can point the way to Damian of Rabanal, Spain!
Time to eat supper and go back to the hostel to rest up for day two of walking. A chorus of snoring may be lulling us to sleep tonight and I hope I am in the choir and not part of the audience.