So, here I am, basking in the Spanish sunlight as it gently caresses my skin along my saunter amongst the countryside….
Aw, BS, here I am sweltering in temps that have exceeded 107F walking along a treeless plain where the only shade is from my hat. Blisters have formed in places they shouldn’t, and the sweat has been flowing off me like Scott Glenn in Backdraft. Still, I’m enjoying myself. Watching the countryside (slowly) pass by, using my iPod to practice my Spanish, and occasionally listening to some awesome tunes (usually, late in the afternoon when I need the additional energy to make it to the next town).
So, what’s up with the Suicide Mice and Steeple Storks? Well, along the Meseta (the plain – you remember, that one in Spain where the rain mainly falls?) there is a rather extensive amount of agriculture. With agriculture come rodentia. In this case, some of the fattest mice I’ve ever seen. I’m talking FAT, like John Pinette sitting down at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet (You go now!). You can sometimes see dozens of the porkers hanging out on the trail, some too fat and lazy to even move as you step over them. Seriously, they turn their little brown beady eyes up to you as they continue to munch on whatever morsel they’ve found. Then, there are the suicide mice. You know the type. Just as you’re about to put your foot down (with all your weight and the added 20-30 pounds of pack), the little sucker runs out of the bush and stops exactly where you’re about to put that foot down. Today was a double – two of the little brown fur-balls rushed out, together – tag-teaming me – just in time to prevent me from completing that step, despite the inertia that had already taken hold. Lucky mice – they lived! Lucky me – no sprained/broken ankle.
As to steeple storks, it turns out that there’s an abundance of storks in Spain – white ones with black markings. And they seem to make their home on just about every single church steeple in Spain. Do you know how many old churches there are in Spain? Gazillions! And each one has a bell steeple/tower (I don’t know the difference – Who cares? They’ve got bells and storks – what more does one need?). Here’s a tip – don’t walk under the steeple/bell tower. They’re big birds, if you know what I mean.