Fabada, Wine and Bread

1 October 2017: Day Twelve of my Camino de Santiago
San Vicente to Serdio, Spain

Yesterday had been horrific. A planned short-distance day had turned into 32 grueling kilometers. And at the end of the day, I was not sure I would find a place to sleep. But that is another story.

Today, just nine kilometers brought me to the sweet village of Serdio. It was Sunday afternoon when I  arrived and it seemed like the entire town was in the main plaza outside the single taberna/café. Most everyone had their dinner, and families were visiting and watching the children play.

I checked into my albergue (hostel) and returned to the square and the Taberna La Gloria.

The menu del dia* was on a chalkboard. I had no idea what any of the primeros were.

* The menu del dia, which is a common practice here and which I had also encountered in Peru, is a set menu, sometimes with lots of choices, sometimes with only one or two. You get a first (primero) and second (secundo) course, wine or soft drink, and dessert for a set price—here it is between €9 and €14 (about $10-16 USD). This one was €10 and included the bottle of wine.

(Wine was sometimes my anti-inflamatory substitute for ibuprophen while walking the Camino.)


Fabada…hmm…now that sounds interesting…well maybe—as long as it did not have liver in it.

I asked owner what it was. He did not have enough English to describe it. He just kissed his fingertips and smiled. I threw caution to the wind and ordered the fabada, steak and potatoes, and red wine.

My primero (first course) arrived. This was the fabada. It turned out to be beans cooked with smoked salt pork—much like our family in Texas has created for generations–except the Asturians add chorizo and blood sausage. The addition of cumin, oregano and garlic resulted in a bean stew reminiscent of my childhood, and a dish I make regularly to this day. In short, it was a taste of home and tears welled up. Thoughts of my mother overwhelmed me—the woman who first encouraged me to travel back in 1971. She must have seen the wanderlust in my soul. The unexpected feelings some foods evoke can be mystical.

The primero would have been enough—surely. Then the steak and potatoes arrived. But the Camino needs fuel. My calorie- and protein-starved body managed to absorb it all. I also found room for the fresh bread and cold lemon-custard dessert. I also made a nice dent in the bottle of wine.

Steak and Potatoes in Serdio, Spain

I would later learn that the province of Asturias is famous for its fabada and I was able to try it several more times, but none of the others measured up to this one in the little village of Serdio on a sleepy Sunday afternoon.

Ahhh…a good day’s walk, a warm afternoon, a fantastic meal in a delightful café, a reasonable quantity of wine, and a quiet room. It all added up to a siesta in this quaint pilgrims’ albergue.

Albergue in Serdio, Spain

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Cathy Fulton

I am Cathy Fulton and I became a world nomad in 2014. Traveling has become a way of life for me. Except for the fact that I am a citizen of the United States, I don’t have a residence. I am retired and I like to travel solo and independently. I don’t know how many times I have heard, “You are living my dream.” My reply is, “It doesn’t have to be a dream. It can be a reality!"

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