Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vacation Salvation

Dave and Molly along the river in Bilbao

This hke will be a snap

When the salvager is salvaging her own salvage it might be time for some salvage salvation, translation: vacation. Yeah I said I'd do some flea marketing but I'm traveling with 3 chefs so there's gonna be some eaten and drinken, a little sight seein and hikin to the ocean from our hilltop country house, as a crow flies maybe half a mile first. But oh what it took to get here. Did I say here is the Basque region of Spain? The latest mecca for foodie types? Yes I buried this detail a few lines in. What business do I have here? Frequent flyer ticket, house sharing with chefs, you saying no? No you are cashing in the change jar amigos. Our affable and charming, chef de pizza and most disarming, arranged a spacious country house with views of the mountains, terraced farms and sheep grazing, the ocean crashing. Ridiculously good. Chef Dave is making dinner, dapper in his dress clothes. Just something simple from today's farmer's market selections while Molly naps and I hike to the ocean. Better a man in the kitchen than say, in charge of all travel planning….

Now we know why he's picked alpha female travel companions. It seemed perfectly fine after landing to enjoy the afternoon kicking around Bilbao. Have some drinks and snacks, chill a little, look about. We'll check in with the travel agent later… on the only serviceable phone's last minutes. I's only an hour drive…that is if you actually know your destination, have an address. Here's what we have, "Drive to this little town Deba, ask at the church EVERYBODY knows the place…" Details! Disarming is a must when you have neither phone nor address and not really the right town. But, you can't get mad at Dave such is his charm. Did I mention we don't speak Euskada? It sounds like this: "zumba zaba zeba zaba zumba zaba zi" It looks like Greek. Few speak English. We don't know where we are going and yet we are going. Now with Molly at the wheel, Dave voted to the back seat, me navigating. It's a touchy stick, we keep stalling, on hills, with people on our tail. New information arrives, 'Molly can't really drive in the dark and gets car sick. Now I'm driving and it's harrowing switchbacks, on old narrow roads, pitch black, the ocean in place of a shoulder I'm driving which means I get to stop and ask directions, I'm big on this. I pull over, me who speaks no Spanish and them no English. This is just good theater, gesticulating and map drawing, but no mention of road numbers or names. These people have lived here all there lives. We've fallen into Laurel and Hardy improv and can't get out. No, it's "Afterhours" and we are going on 24 hours without sleeping. We drive round the roundabouts, Mollly turns green and Dave insouciantly lounges in the rear, nursing his torn acl.

Two hours later, it was a woman (I'm just sayin…) who walked outside and pointed with her finger to the direct route, less than 1km away. There patiently waiting was our house man. I get it, people pay big money for these corporate team building exercises. Team USA starts, stalls, starts, it's way to the finish line. I love a good laugh and I'm having some, on vacation in Spain.

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