Too often as a cycle tourer you get up each day and move on to the next place without ever getting to know a town. The advantage of being trapped in Villa Union for a few days is that I´m settling into the place and getting to know familiar faces - the guy at the fruit and veg counter in the supermarket who smiles at my attemtps to name the products in Spanish; the people at the cafe in the service station on the plaza know it will be a "cafe con leche" for me; I know when the bloody music from the tourist information booth will be switched off and I can get some peace; and each night around 8pm as the lights on the plaza are coming on and the artesan sellers are setting out their crafts, I wander across the square to chat with the French lady who runs the tours to the national parks to find out the latest news.
Today I sat drinking coffee looking out over the plaza as the town came to life on a Monday morning - people heading to work in shirt and tie; shops opening up for business; the stray dogs unfurling themselves from sleep, stretching and picking their preferred begging pitch on the plaza.
These little things in Villa Union remind me of the little things in the town I know and love best - Portobello. When I´m back home in Portobello, I´ll buy some fruit and veg from the greengrocer without any language difficulties and I´ll wander down to the promenade to sip coffee as a new day starts. I´ll watch people cycle by on their way to work, parents taking children to school and well-fed, much-loved dogs being walked along the sands. And I´ll think back to the pleasant little routines that I grew to know in Villa Union.