Sunday the 28, still in Madrid, was our last 'day off'. We're all beginning to feel the wind come out of the sails and laid low with the exception of John who flew back to England for the day to play with his wife Heidi Talbot at the Cambridge Folk Festival. Guy rang my room midday and we met for a tapas lunch and couple of creamy Mahou beers. Strangely, 9 out of 10 shops and restaurants in the area were closed for the Sunday but we managed with the help of concierge to locate a great tapas bar just a couple blocks from the hotel. Later that evening we had a remarkable dinner at Madrid's premiere seafood restaurant, Rafa. Lobster salad, freshly baked bread, magnificent olives, the finest shrimp, crayfish and langoustine. One unusual item tried all around the table was barnacles. Very strange looking, you twist them open and hope to avoid the inevitable squirt of the staining dark orange liquid they expel. inside is a cylindrical tube of orange rubbery flesh. It seems only to have been a hit with culinary daredevil Guy F. Known as percebes or gooseneck barnacles, they're hugely popular here in Spain and Portugal to the point of becoming difficult to find. Not my bucket of blood but, for the highly adventurous, give 'em a try. The glasses were never empty of cold Spanish white wine. For an entree I ordered monk fish that was sliced thinly and sauteed... sweet and tender. I did manage to keep dessert at arms length, the evening finished off with a shots of grappa all around. The food was a miracle as was the service. Check out Rafa here: http://www.restauranterafa.es/index_en.html
We decamped Madrid late afternoon Monday the 29th and flew straight north to Gijon, the northern coast of Spain on the Bay of Biscay. Tonight's show was in the open air court yard at the University of Gijon. The weather was mild all day and as the sun went down it cooled to perfection. 9,000 were packed standing in the square and showed us a great time. There is nothing like the Spanish audiences. We played that show with enthusiasm and commitment, Relaxed and sure. An example of how tuned-in this group is happened when Ian mistakenly ended Paraguay two-thirds of the way through and nobody batted an eye. Another great gig.
It was a half hour runner to the airport, a very short hop further east on the north coast of Spain landing at the Vitoria airport where we were met by our team of drivers. It was an hour drive to the hotel in San Sebastian arriving at 2:30 in the morning. We'll spend the last couple of days of tour and play here Tuesday night.