To reach Corrubedu was quite straight forward and half an hour later we drove into the unspoilt fishing village that had some new properties under construction but at its heart was a port and a backdrop of traditional houses and pavement restaurants that probably hadn’t changed very much in years. Perhaps this was what Benidorm was like before the barbarian hordes from the north invaded fifty years or so ago and spoilt it. In the port there were a collection of small colourful fishing boats, some had been left to rest but on others men were still working gutting and filleting fish accompanied by flocks of excitable seagulls.
There were three restaurants to choose from, all with similar menus, so we choose the one with the best view over the harbour and we joined the local people and the fishermen who were enjoying their lunches. We selected Galician style squid, tortilla, salad and cerveza and enjoyed a traditional meal in the company of the noisiest Spaniards in all of Spain. The next table was full of an animated crowd who were gesticulating and shouting to such an extent it was impossible to ascertain whether they were just having a good time together of falling out with each other. They left after a while and the peace and quiet was deafening.
This place was excellent and we finished our meal and explored the back streets and the traditional houses with their elevated granite grain stores in the gardens, called borreos, with their distinctive Celtic crosses and elaborate carvings. It is an interesting fact that Galicia has a culture, which is both unique and distinct from the rest of Spain, and the core of this difference is centred upon Galicia’s identity as a Celtic, rather than a Latin or Hispanic sub nation. Galicia along with Andalusia, Catalonia and the Basque Country are acknowledged as independent historical nationalities under the Spanish Constitution and as a consequence enjoy special rights and privileges.
We left Corrubedo and drove north along the pretty coast road through the seaside town of Port do Son and on to the old town of Noia where we stopped but it was hot and busy and the town didn’t match our relaxed mood so we didn’t stay long and we returned immediately to Santiago de Compostela.
The city was busier today and when we reached the Praza de Obradoiro we understood why. Today was the start of the ten-day festival of St James and since we were last here a stage had been constructed and the front of the Cathedral was covered in scaffolding. Ten young men in black suits were being interviewed by Spanish TV and with a flash of inspiration Kim predicted that they might be the ten tenors and when they were interviewed and spoke it turned out that that was exactly who they were. I was impressed by that I have to say.
Because of its Celtic roots Galicia doesn’t have sombreros or flamenco and in a side street adjacent to the cathedral there was a man squeezing the life out of some bagpipes that sounded as though he was castrating an extremely uncooperative cat.
It was excruciatingly painful so we moved on and walked around the streets for a second time, looking for places that we hadn’t been to before and eventually, after an hour or so, we arrived in the little square with the Restaurante de Buen Pulpo where we had promised ourselves that we would eat again, but neither of us was especially hungry because of our splendid lunch so we just had a drink and then returned to the car park and drove the short drive back to Pontescures and the hotel.
At the hotel the coach party was back and as this was their last night before going home they were all in party mood. They were all strangers of course but after a week together on a coach they had bonded well and they were all in high spirits and ready for a party. We had dinner in the a la carte restaurant and the coach party dined in the part reserved for them with the set tour party meal and they were very noisy and boistrous and this was a warning of what was to come later.
After our fish meal we retired to the hotel lounge with a bottle of wine and the playing cards but slowly the chairs filled up all around us with the coach party who were all in very high spirits. First the music went on and little by little the volume was cranked up and the songs became more lively as more and more of them took to the dance floor. After a while it was impossible to ignore them and their invitations to join them and soon we were also dancing to the rhythms of the Spanish guitars. The best moment was when they played an indigenous version of Y VIVA ESPAÑA, which even though I couldn’t understand the words, I am certain they were different to ours.
The finale of the evening involved a large bowl of flaming sambuca and everyone whipping themselves up into a frenzy of Spanish dancing, which after two bottles of red wine we were more than happy to join in with, which seemed to please them all immensely. Again, this had been a great day and it ended on an especially high note and in good company and at the end of the third day we were still to hear another English voice. It was wonderful.