Beer, Butties and Breathtaking Scenery
The opening of Bar Terraza heralds the start of another Galician summer. To celebrate this momentous event the owners, Alex and Keka invited patrons; past and present, to share in a feast of free pancetta.
Saturday had been one of those uplifting days, the sort of day that reminds me exactly why we chose to live in Spain. The weather was idyllic: bright and sunny without being over bearing. I’d spent the afternoon in the vineyard tilling the soil and tending the vines; and to top it all Huddersfield Town had won their final game of the season 4–1. Could life get any better?
‘Have we to take the dog?’ I asked, as we readied to go.
‘Yeah, why not.’ replied Melanie.
If only we’d given it a moment’s thought, we would have known exactly why not.
The road to Os Chancis took us through some beautiful countryside. Rolling hills set against a backdrop of distant, lilac mountains; but nothing prepares the uninitiated for the breathtaking beauty on arrival.
The ancient river Sil meanders its way through a steep sided canyon. From the dark waters to the summit of the highest peak is over a thousand metres. Our early arrival gave us pick of the seats. We ordered a beer, my favourite, 1906 Special Reserve and soaked up the scenery.
A river cruiser appeared in the distance, gliding slowly downstream with its complement of early-season tourists. Its gentle wake rippled out across the water like the opening of a giant Spanish fan. Bright sunshine bathed the mountain tops and barely moving wind turbines reflected the still evening.
The arrival of a few more people prompted the lighting of the barbecue. Stomach-rumbling aromas of sizzling pancetta drifted across the terrace. Since arriving, Slawit had sat quietly without a care in the world; all that was about to change.
It’s impossible to imagine a sense of smell tens of thousands of times more sensitive than our own. The fatty aromas sent her olfactive senses into overdrive, resulting in uncontrollable fits of joy. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t that far behind.
Soon the first rashers were coming off the grill. Despite our readiness we waited patiently, eager for someone else to make the first move. It didn’t take long and we quickly followed. Slawit’s demeanour rapidly changed. With food in sight she sat, eyes focused on every hand movement, waiting impatiently for the smallest morsel.
More beers were ordered and another butty collected. By now the bar was buzzing. More seating was brought onto the terrace to accommodate the swelling crowd. Suddenly and without warning, a chap on the next table jumped to his feet and whipped out his gaita (bagpipes). Within seconds he’d filled the bag and the distinctive skirl of the pipe filled the valley.
The evening could hardly have been more representative of Galician culture: warm and friendly people, awe-inspiring scenery, local beer and roasted pancetta; entwined with the distinctive sound of the gallego gaita. What a brilliant start to the summer.
Copyright © 2014 Craig Briggs
Craig and Melanie own and operate a luxury farmhouse rental property called Campo Verde. To find out more about a stay at Campo Verde and Galicia in general, visit our website getaway-galicia
Craig’s book, Journey To A Dream, is available exclusively from Amazon, to purchase your copy click here for your national Amazon store.