The Ride, part 4(Toldeo Tuna)

Hey I got a good idea, lets go up a big mountain. The one with the snow on it? Yeah thats the one. Urghhh.. Ok.

Did I have a choice, no. Maybe the road will scoot around the edges, roll up and down in the foothills. Well it did for a time, then before you new it. It was up up and away. You never see it coming before it is too late. Just get stuck in and pray it won’t take take that long.

This one came complete with basecamp and ski lifts. Ah, but downhills so long you felt guilty, lakes, campsites and canoes. I watched summer camp pass me by. Archery, campfires and ‘Friday the 13th’, fragments of the old days played out while pine rich air entered my lungs. A positive mind set sunk in for the day, a comfortable cruise after the mountain struggle.

Toledo tightly wrapped by walls and towers. Streets dense, labyrinthine. I sat in the hotel restaurant looking out over the town from the opposing hillside, feeling fortunate that I did not need to navigate through its streets, but slightly bummed that I did not have the chance to explore within its walls.

The hotel restaurant tonight, contemporary cuisine, not the hardcore stuff, but more ‘have a go heroes’ style.After the heavy meat meals of the last two nights, a bite of modern cuisine would be most welcome.
Slices of Manchego, as one does when in La Mancha, Slices of Mojama(dried tuna) not from La Mancha, since we are hundreds of miles inland. These snacks wet the appetite, the fino also helped with the wetting.

Attempted tempura shrimp arrived, but was more along the lines of Kentucky Fried Shrimp. It would have been ruined if it had come with soy, which was not the case as it came with a garlic aioli. The more mightily fried and battered shrimp retained great drips of the sauce in their craggy fried surface area. They were served in the most  peculiar fashion and made me think we were eating an exotic alien dish.(blame the booze and the bike)

Butterfish in a American Sauce. Eyebrows raised and questions asked.  Answers not completely registered, culinary language barriers blocked any kind of dead cert comprehension of the sauce from the waitress. The senses, reliable and keen to investigate the quirky mysteries of a landlocked town in Castile-La Mancha that served fish a la Americaine. Could the chef be messing with his uncultured gringo guests?
“Here’s your fish idiot” The chef mutters, squirting a burst of ketchup round the plate with a chaotic flair. “Service!”

Thankfully this was not the case. The salsa, a take on a cocktail sauce, milder though and without the tart inclusion of a blitzed pickle. The sliced green beans, piled on board, just like my grandmothers. The swordfish, when eaten alone, a la plancha  can become tough going. A mealy piece of fish. Add the smooth, velvet glove of this sauce, plus fresh greens and you acquire the perfect conditions for satisfaction. A trifecta of taste, pyramidical eating, simple and efficient. Something sweet would hit the spot at this point, but the beds were huge in this hotel, and even dessert could not keep me from launching myself into a sleepy oblivion.

“Sleep tight don’t let the Manchego bite.”


Categories: Travel


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