Pub Talks in Spain!

So yesterday was my sweet mother’s birthday.

And I’m going to be honest, since her stroke last year, birthdays have taken on a greater significance. They have a weight to them – an appreciation that before, was admittedly, taken for granted.

But not any more.

Having spent the last couple weeks with her in Spain on the Camino, I got to see, very intimately, her heart. Her spirit. And I spent the entire time trying to absorb every heart ray she was radiating, and trying to learn everything I could, simply by observing.

And I came away having learned an incredibly important lesson from her:

Our greatest calling in life is to love. 

Loving God. Loving Others. Loving Life.

And everything we do, can and should be an expression of that — even in the littlest of ways.

Tonight, instead of some heavy think piece on lessons I’ve learned from my mother, I thought it could be fun to share one of my favorite memories from the Camino with her.

Nothing earth shattering or super spiritually enlightening. Just one of my favorite moments with my mom.

So it was the fourth day on the trail, and we had just walked all morning/early afternoon – about 18 miles, into Caldas de Reis, Spain. It’s this cute, sleepy little town on the northern coast of Spain, and it has a beautiful river that runs through it.

So we were the first in our group to arrive at the hotel. And it’s around lunch time. They’re hours behind us and we’re pretty hungry. So we mosey on downstairs to the hotel restaurant, and we sit down to lunch. Or so we thought. To our surprise, all they serve for lunch is either a whole, head-on fish with the eyeballs starin’ at ya. Or some big, fried leg of meat, fit for Gaston in Beauty and the Beast.

We both took one look at each other and high tailed it out of there.

Besides, here we were in Spain, let’s not eat at the hotel!

So anywho – after a quick Yelp search, I discovered that the #1 locals’ hangout is a hidden little tavern that just so happened to be across the street from our hotel. O Muiño.



They had patio seating, overlooking the scenic river that ran through it. Just what we needed.

So we walk in, and it is honestly straight out of a medieval storybook . You walk through this dungeonous, stone cellar with a big wooden bar, only to open up onto this adorable little patio, where I swear, it was as though the entire village was there.

Siestas are a way of life in Spain, and boy, do they celebrate the good life!

But it was packed. As in – we waited close to two hours to get a table. And no-one spoke English, so we had to rely on my Spanish skills, which…were 7 years of studying, but I hadn’t used them in about 10!

But people were – no kidding – jockeying for tables. Boxing people out. Making a mad dash to the next available seat. It was mayhem.

And after a two hour stake out, and a glass of wine, we finally got a table.

Now, getting the food would be another story.

It took us forever to flag the waiter. Then forever to order. Not a bread basket in sight. Even longer to get the food out — which ended up being the wrong order. It was a comedy of errors and we laughed our way through the entire thing.

We ended up drinking our lunch (free wine), and eating the free appetizers and desserts that the waiter gave to us. He’d slide these random dishes onto our table with a wink, as he laughed about the crazy situation and slammed restaurant.

I’m realizing now that this is one of those “you had to be there” stories, but chalk it up to say that we had so many belly laughs about how absolutely absurd the situation was that we found ourselves in: A locals tavern in true pandemonium: an understaffed hotspot with boisterous Spaniards that loved to drink and socialize.

But the best part of the afternoon was when the patio of older women — these local Spanish mamas and aunties — were trying to set me up with the cute waiter.

To set the scene, everyone on the patio – ourselves included – had now become this large dysfunctional family, all laughing at how crazy this lunch shift was. I mean, we’d cheer for each other when a bread basket was delivered, or someone got a refill of wine. I mean, that’s the absurdity we’re talking here.

Anywho – our waiter was probably late twenties – very cute. And then myself. We were probably the only ones under the age of 40 by a long shot.

So we had been flirty-chatting the entire time, he – in his broken english, and I – in my broken spanish. Well, this patio of women – and my mother – decided that they were going to try to set us up. Or just, embarrass the heck out of us.

Meanwhile, I had just walked 18 miles in the humidity and was looking real rough – but that’s besides the point.

It was incredibly endearing, and we made some new friends that day. I think he gave me his phone number on a napkin. I honestly don’t even remember.

The best part of that whole episode was just being with my mom and navigating that completely out of the norm situation. We were in a different culture, out of our element, just having fun. Laughing. Drinking good wine. Being in the moment.

But any who – you can watch a little vlog I did with my mom at this pub in this YouTube video.

You know you’ve got a “true blue” friend, when even a crazy, circus of a cafe can be one of the most fun days of your life.

So thanks for indulging me in that story, and happy birthday to my favorite adventure partner!

And one last thing – one of my biggest tips for traveling abroad: get out there!! Out of your comfort zone! Out of the touristy areas! Explore the city like a local – walk around, ask locals where they like to hang out and eat. You never know what kind of adventures you can have if you just put yourself out there! And sometimes, the most fun experiences are the most chaotic or disorganized!!

What’s your craziest restaurant story?

See ya tomorrow morning on the Podcast!


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112 responses to “Pub Talks in Spain!”

  1. I took my mom to Ireland a few years ago. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. Some nights, we laid in bed and belly-laughed at the dumbest things. Other nights, we toasted each other with our decaf Irish coffee as we sat in the pubs and listened to the Celtic bands. We still talk and laugh about how great it was, especially the “Irish Elvis” who wanted us to come to tea and our hotel owner/bellhop/chef/waiter/housekeeper who was brother to the only taxi driver and the only pub owner in the small town! You never know what those special memories will be that you’ll hold onto forever.

    • Aw that’s so fun! Irish Elvis 😂😂😂Those really are the best moments!! Hugs and love xox

  2. Pastor, happy birthday blessings and a big hello from me to your Mom and to you of course! Another wonderful post and description of enjoying and loving life as you walked such a beautiful pilgrimage!
    I based my blog post Monday on the question, what is the greatest commandment, although when you see the blog title you might say, ” good thing rick isn’t a pastor” ! Wander on over with all of the spare time you have! Ps; look in your Mom’s purse for that napkin!

    • Hey hey! Haha you’re right it’s probably still in there! Thanks friend. Looking forward to reading your post! Hugs and love xox

    • It really was absolutely fantastic. And I so agree. I love the adult/parent relationship so much! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks JB! I took that trip to Denver by myself this summer and it was actually super fun! Get out there friend!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      • YOU are very graciously welcome oh amazing lady, and I am getting out there as much as I can. My place is getting overrun with photo albums of my journeys, and I do have photo albums. Most of my journeys have been alone. Anyway, I hope that you are having way too much fun.

        P.S. I may be in Connecticut this October and will more likely pass near NYC.

  3. my wife and I were returning home from a walk to emmaus once night queen were decided to stop at IHOP. now our local I hope aren’t known for their high standards in hiring so we aren’t expecting bearden award winning service but what we got I still pick on her about.
    I was all but ignored by the toothless wonder that was assigned to our table, but she… oh she was a queen that night. he actually even asked her out RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME.
    thankfully he wasn’t Shemar Moore and she turned him down while turning every shade of red under the sun.

    • Oh my gosh!!!!!! That is craaaaaazy!!! And so hysterical. I love moments like that! Hugs and love xox

  4. It’s great you had so many wonderful moments with your mom on the trip. As I was reading I thought about a place in Constanta Romania called Aldo’s. It was a pizza restaurant. I was there to teach English in a language camp. My host home mom was a terrible cook, even the Romanians at the church told me that. My translator told me about Aldos. It was 1997 so Romania was still coming out from communism, so not many restaurant choices. First time I went there with my translator, we waited 2 hours to get a pizza, but it was so good compared to the food at my host home. I ended eating there almost every night I was there for 3 weeks.

    • Thanks friend. Oh wow – must have been some pretty dang good pizza! Haha what a story though. Wow. Hugs and love xox

  5. So glad you got to have that time with your Mom! The Lord truly redeemed the time after last year! May you be able to have many more adventures together! Have a great weekend! 💕💕 xoxo

  6. Happy Birthday to your dear mom! So as your birthday is just before hers, I’ll bet when you were born, You, her dear beautiful bright daughter, were your mom’s most lovely & cherished birthday gift. And from this cute post, a gift that keeps on giving : ) You’ll both always have these happy times in your hearts and memories; blessings and miracles come in all sizes. Hugs & prayers for you, and your mom!

    • Thank you so much – yes we will definitely hold those memories dear for a long time. Hugs and love xox

  7. You’re restaurant reminds of the Snugly Duckling in Tangled for some reason. I didn’t know you knew Spanish. Interesting. “¿ Se pueden inventar verbos ? Quiero decirte uno : Yo te cielo, así mis alas se extienden enormes para amarte sin medida.”

    • I’ve never seen Tabgled! i definitely am too lazy to translate on a Friday afternoon lol

      • It’s so good! Kind of like Rapunzel and Robin Hood together with, singing. 😂🤷🏽‍♂️

        It was something the artist Frida Kahlo said once, “Is it possible to invent verbs? I wanted to tell you one: I sky you, that’s how far my enormous wings reach in order to love you boundlessly.”

      • oh nice!!! and wow – i love that- thanks for the translation!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      • That would be my wish. To visit every old library in the world and, exist. For now, my four library cards will have to do. You will find your great love, someday. Maybe he will “sky” you and show you the stars.

      • oh wow what an incredible trip that would be – to tour the old libraries of the world. you should do it!! ah, that is the dream isn’t it 🙂

      • I have online access to most of the top ones through academic friends. Something about being there. Though. 🤓

        The dream. Reminds me of Ella Fitzgerald’s “Dream A Little Dream of Me.” Sweet dreams, till sunbeams find you/ Gotta keep dreaming leave all worries behind you

      • Keep thinking about your dreams. There are so many single people out there but, the one that wants to stay is the one who listens to yours.

  8. I’m diabetic and surely just have to eat anything with protein in it about every two hours. I don’t think a fish’s eyes would scare me away while dissecting it just for a fillet. As plant proteins have much higher sugar content, it has to be something meat-ish or cheese.

    My Mom died after her kind doctor perforated her intestines and gave her perotonitis. Then left her for a week before calling in an internist.

    I have two children, two grandchildren. In October last year, I had my fifth or sixth stroke while having my umpteenth heart attack. My son lives two miles away, play army games online with freaks from around the world but can’t even WhatsApp us, our daughter has excommunicated us – because we believe in Jesus and have to be crazy. We don’t belong to a church and aren’t ritually regimental religious rulers. Jesus just ain’t no welcome. One day, when it is too late, they will most likely be sorry. Depriving grandchildren of grandparents must be a sin.

    Great that you do things with your Mom, a happy birthday to her.

    How did you manage to be born a few days before your Mom? (Joke)

    • The eyes definitely scared me away. i’m so sorry to hear that your mother went through that. gosh that just makes me so sad. i am so sorry for your loss. thank you for sharing that. sending big big hugs xo

  9. I’m laughing just imagining the situation!! Your story also makes me realize it’s all about attitude… You could have chosen to be mad and annoyed and complain… but you chose to laugh at it instead and see the bright side and the opportunities to turn it into a good memory!

  10. Oh My Goodness Caralyn. I had to contain myself because I was reading this at work before we get the day started. I tried but I could not stop laughing. I so wish I could have been there to see that! Happy Late Birthday mom and I am SO GLAD you gals had so much fun. Be blessed girl. Keep that soul beautiful! As always, Hugs and Love from TX! XOXO

  11. Happy Birthday to your Mom! She looks great, glad the two of you had such a wonderful time and yeah, did you check your napkin to see if he had left his number?? …lol. Good fun, Good Time, Good Gals. Have a wonderful Day C. xoxo

    • awww thank you! i’ll definitely tell her! it’ll make her day 🙂 heheh Hugs and love xox

  12. Wonderful post. Cherish every moment that you have together. I’d give anything to spend an afternoon with my parents who have both passed away. Keep up the great writing.

    • thank you so much Dale. gosh, my heart goes out to you. i’m sorry, friend. How good to know that we will all be together again one day 🙂 sending so much love xo

  13. This is so sweet. I’d LOVE to hike the camino or anywhere with my mom, but what she enjoys is Las Vegas, and I had a blast there with her last year. Thanks for sharing your funny lunch story. 🙂

    • Thank you so much! ooh Vegas! never been but what a blast to go with your mom! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  14. Hey Caralyn. Sounds like a great time, amidst chaos. Which proves people are more important than order, food, organization in a situation. And you and your Mom are a super couple of young ladies for sure.
    Oh, by the way, CONGRATULATIONS to both of you for completing that long trek. So happy for your Mom’s recovery and strength to make this journey with you. Praise Jesus!

    Another by the way, I must disagree with one comment you made, that being that you looked “real rough”, that is not possible my dear Friend. You and your Mom are Beautiful Ladies, pleasant looking always, enjoying good clean fun times together, and enjoying family times, and above all, Loving Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.

    God’s Blessings Abundantly,
    Luv, 😀❤️🌹😘

  15. I love this post! Thank you for sharing! Happy Birthday to your Mother! There is nothing on earth like a Mother! I love birthdays. This was great and I love the stories and the pictures. Have a wonderful weekend! I’ll share my craziest restaurant story soon…

    • I will definitely pray for you! Even though I’m not on the trail anymore I’ll light a candle for you on Sunday! Hugs and love xox

  16. I just wanted to say Hi and to thank you for being the first person to like my new blog ( I can’t believe you read it while on vacation with your mother. I really like what I have read on your blog and especially appreciate the post about Jesus being best able to use us in our brokeness. I am about your mom’s age, have been following Christ for many decades and can assure you that that is a very wise and true axiom of life. Please come back to visit me sometime.

  17. This is fantastic. Sharing this experience with your mom- who had a stroke? Amazing!!! El Camino is one of my goals. And I too enjoy audible while cooking. Great post!

  18. Girl! You almost lost me at WALKING 18 MILES! That is cuh-razy!! Spiritual or not, I would not have made that. Anyway, your restaurant story is over the top. I know I wouldn’t have waited that long to get a table OR food! But the fact that you had an awesome time with your mom is icing on the cake! Way to go!

  19. I love your love for your Mother, which speaks to the love in your heart as a whole and which she, most certainly, must’ve gifted you. 🙂 And I love the physical beauty of you both. You are two exceptional ladies. God bless yous, honey.

  20. Yes! We are called to love each other just as Christ did! If we don’t have love we are nothing! Oh wish your mom a happy *late* belated bday for me! She’s such a blessing and I adore you guys relationship! <3
    Lol was a hilarious experience lol haha! I don't think I had a crazy restaurant experience before though! Lol
    Blessings always! 🙂

  21. Weeks ago I took this journey with you. Watching every video you offered. Some of them again. I so enjoyed this journey with you. Experiencing it through your eyes. The only thing I didn’t do was let you know how much I enjoyed this journey. So I’m doing it now. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful experience with us all.

    • Oh gosh thank you so much Alex. That really means so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the videos. I so appreciate you taking the time to watch them! Sending big hugs! Xox

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