>There are two people that I am certain to meet on every holiday. One is the Over Friendly But Essentially Well Meaning Drunk. On this trip he popped up at the Highlander Bar in Albert, repeating several times the – to be fair very interesting – story of how as boys he and his mates would dig up rusty helmets to flog to tourists. Actually, the OFBEWMD can be a a highlight. I once spent an hour locked in conversation with one at a seedy railway bar in Segovia, talking about The Simpsons and my resemblance to Homer. This was despite the fact I speak barely any Spanish and my drinking chum had no English at all.
The other is the British Man Wearing A Straw Hat Who Shouts At Foreigners.
On this occasion we’d just settled into our couchette on the 23.14 Corail Lunea from Paris Gare D’Austerlitz to Irun. Our lad and me were on the top bunks, and an elderly, whispering Spanish couple were on the ones below. Suddenly, a red-faced man with a tricky little moustache barged in. He bellowed at the signor “WHERE. IS. THIS?” jabbing at a number on his ticket with a fat finger an inch from the Spaniard’s face. He repeated the question to the señora. No “excusez moi”, “perdóneme” or enquiry that any of us might speak English. Our shocked co-bunkers certainly didn’t. The man then looked at me and and I looked back at him. He looked at my brother, who looked back at him. Then he looked back at me again, and I looked back at him again. We knew the answer, and he knew that we knew the answer. But there was no way we were helping this man. With a sweaty frown he left, barking the same question through each door along our carriage, with similar results. Along with the straw hat he was wearing sandals with grey argyll socks. For a brief moment it was like being in a Monty Python sketch.
(This incident is hard to illustrate, so here’s a glass of sidra encountered the next day at Bar Txepetxa, San Sebastian. More later. I bet you can hardly wait can you?)