Day 63: Spain, Cartagena

Ok, I’ve had a load of questions asking what bonking bars are. I thought I’d tackle this up front because that’s how I roll (or not!!! LOL).

Bonking bars are just the overlanders name for stabiliser bars. These are dropped down or jacked up under the rear of the vehicle to stop it from rocking “when you’re walking around inside” . Note: they are particularly useless when you have your awning (attached to the vehicle) rolled out because this sways in time with the “rocking”.

That out of the way, we took a long old walk (7.5km in all) into the closest part of Cartagena town today to have a quick look at the street market.

Uummm, quite ordinary with usual Thursday market clothing and a few stands with fruit and vegetables. Not very memorable and of questionable quality. We’d seen much better produce on sale at the small, independent Fruteria along our route. You have to take a minute to ask yourselves why it is the locals are buying from these and not at the street market. So that’s where we stocked up from. No-one ever accused us of being dumb!!!! (well, not to our faces, anyway!)

On our walk in, we’d spotted a little bar (Bar La Fragua) that was packed to the gills with locals having breakfast but with not a space to be had, we carried on by. By the time we were walking back and had stopped for a spot of shopping, the bar had eased up a little and there were 2 seats available. With our little bit of Spanish and a bit of stand-up mime, pointing to other diner’s plates and oinking like a pig (we are beyond pride when it comes to food!), we were able to ascertain that Ensalada Rusa and Magra con Tomate, that were being snorted up by our fellow diners at a rate of knots, were regular orders in the local area for Desayuna (breakfast), so we did likewise and ordered one each.

Lawdy, lawdy. Who needs a Full English when this sort of food is on offer? I have to mention that we are partial (ranging on obsessed) by a Full English breakfast. So we debated this for a little while and said that we thought that we’d last probably 30 days without a Full English. Actually, we are now 63 days into our trip and we had our last Full English 2 days before we left. I know, 64 days and counting. You’ll be the first to know when we succumb, I promise.

Ensalada Rusa: The Russian salad that we know is a bit like some cold mixed vegetables tossed in with some mayonnaise with maybe a bit of raw onion thrown in. This, dear readers, was a “salad” more like a dip (imagine houmous or Baba Ganoush, if you will) served at room temperature with crunchy breadstick-like things for dipping called picos and made with bacalao (salted cod that’s been desalinated and cooked) and/or tuna mixed with mashed potato, carrots, peas, fried onions & garlic and all tied together with a silky mayonnaise. I hope I’m selling this to you because it was a total delight.  

Magra con Tomate: A little less exotic than the salad but equally as delicious made with soft cooked pork in a tomato and red pepper sofrito served with rustic bread for dipping.

If you’re ever in the area also look out for the little bottles of olive oil on the table.  Particularly gorgeous and all individually seasoned with a clove, bayleaf, rosemary & garlic.

Another point to mention. Lined up against the bar, all the local taxi drivers, waiting for their fares with coffees and brandys or a glass of wine in front of them as they chatted animatedly amongst themselves. I think I should mention it was 10am!!!

We’ll stick to our little achey feet, thanks!

We unpacked our haul from the Mercadona and later in the afternoon indulged in one of our absolute favourite meals, mussels in white wine (cooked on my gas ring that doubles as a jet engine when required, cooked in my pot whose other role is my outdoor charcoal oven) served with a barra de pan – a local, rustic style bread a bit like a French Baguette (but the locals would say much better!) – bought fresh from the back of the bakery van that pulls into the campsite every day at noon making an absolute racket with hooting and tooting – thank goodness before siesta!

Simples!

Funny Find of the Day

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