Room 101

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Callitxo

They’re a funny lot, foreigners: at breakfast in Mollo, I watched two guys rubbing tomatoes into their partly toasted bread prior to putting it back into the toaster. As well as this diversion, there was cereal, ham (and jam), cheese, cakes, biscuits etc. I almost opted for a delicious-looking decorative but totally artificial peach.

Today’s walk took me out of one valley and into another, so the first half was steeply up out Mollo with a bit of level at the top before the descent to Setcases. It was a bit longer and more demanding than yesterday, so that was good. There were more folk out and about today – as it’s Saturday? – and I got chatting to two different groups of mushroom hunters. I asked the name of one specimen someone had gathered and was told ‘pedo de lobo’ (wolf fart). At least I think they were telling me the name and not just issuing unwarranted insults. Anyway, everyone was complaining there weren’t many mushrooms due to the dry weather.

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Setcases apparently got its name name in mediaeval times because of the seven shelters a man and his benighted family built there. It has grown now, but is clearly a small village that’s hit on a good thing: tourism. There’s skiing in the winter and walkers in the summer , with lots of second homes / flats/ pieds a terre etc., so Setcases should be called Sethoteles or something nowadays. I’m in Hotel La Coma and very nice it is too. I’m typing this up in my room, sitting back on a Spanish Parker Knoll-type recliner. I have a picture window onto my balcony with views of the carpark and surrounding mountains. I’ll point out that I chose the trip, but not the specific hotels and so far I’d say I’ve been well served, despite tonight’s room being an Orwellian Number 101. There’s a security camera just outside my balcony and I think I’ll unplug the tv!

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Setcases

Initially I thought it was furniture, but no: it’s thunder. No rain or lightning that I can see, but lots of thunder.

I’m in Setcases for two nights – tomorrow is supposedly a rest day. I could make use of the hotel’s fitness suite, lounge by the indoor or outdoor pool, play games in the games room, even fork out for spa treatment… I think I’ll try to find a suitable walk unless they have a masseur who specialises in shoulders.

I didn’t set out to write a food blog, but the combination of light-weight Spanish breakfasts, the self-imposed lack of a significant lunch and days in the mountains gives food – and the evening meal in particular – an added importance.

At about 5:30 I went for a wander through the village and on the way out of the hotel I spotted a sign asking for residents to order before 5pm if they wanted dinner… The only version was in Catalan, so I may have missed any subtleties.

I wandered through the acceptably picturesque village and settled on a Trip Advisor-approved place for my evening meal, but it was far too early to darken their door. About 8:00pm as I headed out again, the father in my family-run hotel asked me if I wanted an evening meal. I apologised for not letting them know, wavered and assented. I ended up choosing from the set menu: Goat’s Cheese & Walnut Salad, followed by roasted Lambs’ ribs. Poodeen was a sort of cottage cheese – texturally tending to polystyrene, but taste-wise leaning to Camembert – with honey. They’re not great on their veg out here: it’s probably quicker to throttle a lamb than dig up a turnip. Now I’m not a strong ‘eat up your greens’ man, but the odd vegetable might be nice: I did enjoy the chips with my lamb though.

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself: it’s too much hassle to check back. (I’ll edit that out when Penguin buy the rights.) Sonia would be interested to know that this area is particularly proud of its potatoes. Mollo has an exhibition / fiesta / marketing opportunity in the next week or two for the ‘trumfa’, the local tattie, which is about to be harvested and I’m sure the locals are getting excited.

 

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