I had a love affair on the Camino. Don’t judge. When you’re walking all those miles you start to crave things.
We’d been walking all day through a forest and were ready to be done, but the town proved elusive. Over the crest of a hill, I spied a hopeful sign – a trailer converted into a roadside snack stand. I was thirsty, tired, and growing weary.
“Orange…” Said the voice of craving in my head. “Orrrrannnnge…”
As I approached the cart, other pilgrims were sitting around plastic café tables, lounging in the sun. Traditional music played on the radio inside. People chatted around me, but at that moment, the world stood still. My eyes locked on to an orange can of Fanta soda, and it was love at first sight.
When I sat down with Katrin and Marisela to drink it, the taste was even better than I could have imagined. Refreshing. Sparkling. Orangey. It was sheer bliss in a can. Savoring every sip, I repeatedly commented on how delicious it tasted. You know all the clichés — it was like I had never had orange soda before.
From that day on, the romance bloomed. I enjoyed it in glasses, in cans, and in adorable glass bottles. I enjoyed it in cafes and bars and restaurants. I would have tried to pack some in my bag if it didn’t travel so poorly.
Of course, there was cafe con leche in the morning and red wine each night with dinner. But when I was parched or merely thirsty, I’d choose orange Fanta. Fanta naranja, to be precise, con 8% zumo de naranja. That’s right. Spain’s orange soda has real juice in it. Nectar of the gods!
I confess I was unfaithful at times, however, because there’s a raging battle in Spain and Europe over a similar beverage. Kas Naranja also has 8% real orange juice in it and is preferred in some areas over Fanta (can you imagine?).
Walking up to the bar, parched, I’d order, “Una Fanta naranja, por favor?”
“Kas?” the bartender would reply, grabbing a glass.
Perhaps I’m a fickle fan, because I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between them. However, just listen to the word Fanta with the Spanish pronunciation faaaaahn-tahh – so sexy! So smooth. So lovely. There’s just no comparison.
All these months later, my love affair with Fanta continues. Just last night, I picked up burritos for a take-out dinner. When I spied the fountain soda options available, my eyes lit up in recognition of the bright orange logo I love so well.
Its orangey sparkle is the taste of my Camino and I’ll never give it up, even if the romance is pure fanta-sy.