It’s well into 2014 and in honor of the new-ish year, Jeannette is feeling homesick…and apparently speaking about herself in the third person.
However, because I’m a special pretentious snowflake, I’m not homesick for the place I grew up–ewww, rural southern Oregon…shudders…But I do deeply miss my beloved Santiago de Compostela.
So, to make myself feel better, I’ve dedicated this post to the Top Five Things I Miss about Santiago–yeah, I know the entire Internet does Top Five lists, bite me!
1. “Tomando algo”
The phrase “tomar algo” roughly translates to “get a drink,” but with the implication that “drink” could be either alcoholic or coffee-based. (Because most Spanish cafés have full bars). And you do it with everyone, all the time!
I really, really missing grabbing coffees/beers/some combination of the two, with literally every person I had a passing acquaintance with. I got drinkies with friends of friends, landladies, new coworkers, potential clients, and random weirdos I met on the bus. And then I drank SOO MUCH coffee with my friends 😀
But even more than the openness to hanging out with random people, I miss the delicious little cafés con leche themselves: shot glass-sized cups of espresso with a little foamy milk on top and a packet of sugar on the side. Why yes, I did drink 3-5 per day…
2. Buying beer AND dinner
Many Thursday nights my friends and I would gather in a divey little bar in the Porto del Camiño of Santiago. The drinks were average and the food was terrible–but it was free!
Following the Galician version of the tapas tradition, our lovely bartenders would bring us plates full of munchies with every round of beers. Now, you do get what you pay for, so I would often survive on french fries and grilled cheese, with the occasional handful of cheese-poofs.
However, I was broke. My friends were broke. We could afford to spend maybe 10€ on a given night, and naturally that money was earmarked for alcohol. But we were “adults,” and realized that the best possible solution was to not choose, but get BOTH.
I lived next to one of the best restaurants in Santiago–the Concheiros Pulpería!
Their windows were covered in bars, and during the morning the place smelled like rotting fish guts. The specialty was octopus–boiled and sliced with olive oil. Sounds yummy, right? Well it is f***ing delicious and I highly recommend devouring pulpo if you ever get the chance to hang in Galicia.
Maybe don’t eat it while uber-hungover. Fishy foods with strange textures don’t mix well with a queasy stomach. Also, tentacles feel really odd coming back up your esophagus. Don’t ask…
Conchieros was also one of the few restaurants where I regularly tipped the waitstaff–mainly as insurance that I would be allowed back in spite of my friends and I behaving obnoxiously.
4. Foliadas and folk music
What happens when you take a bunch of bagpipes, drums, tambourines and haul them out into the forest with a bunch of Gallegos? Folk music festivals–also known as Foliadas!
My dear ex-roommates were both involved in the folk scene. They played tambourines and went to folk dancing classes–which are actually cool as shit and nowhere near as lame as you might think.
Because I am lazy and musically retarded, I just tagged along to the fiestas and embarrassed myself.
In spite of my terrible dancing skills, I always had a fantastic time and met tons of interesting people–many who’s idea of a great time was to twirl around while playing bad-ass tambourines.
I really should plan to come back to Galicia for one of the festivals…
5. My Friends!