On Thursday we flew from Liverpool to Oporto and considered ourselves lucky to have had a problem-free flight. Problems with air traffic controllers in France left people stranded all over the place apparently. But we made it - just too late, of course, for the last bus to Vigo and so we stayed overnight in Oporto. Off the plane, straight onto a metro to Trindade Station in the centre of Oporto and a quick walk to the hotel we usually stay at whenever we arrive too late to go straight on to Vigo: the Residencial Vera Cruz, just off Avenida Aliados.
We were planning to have a quick drink so we went out for a stroll around but instead of going into a local bar we ended up back at the hotel where they have just opened up a rooftop bar, open until midnight. On balance, this was a mistake, despite the beautiful view down onto Aliados by night. Two small beers each, the size of the average caña, cost us a total of €16. Hotel prices, I suppose!
There were some interesting mistranslations in the lift and around the hotel. Among other things, the lift advised “passengers and load to stand back from the access”. In the room was a notice informing us that the “Management do not accept any responsibility for the values witch are not handed in to reception”. The French was not much better. So it goes. On the other hand, I heard the receptionist switch confidently from Portuguese to Spanish to French to English according to the language in which he was addressed by guests. Impressive!!!
Friday morning saw us tucking into a nice breakfast of fresh bread rolls before catching the AUTNA bus outside the posh McDonalds on Aliados. A rather grey morning in Oporto improved as we got closer to Vigo and by the time we got here the sky was blue and the sun was shining nicely.
By then it was late lunchtime so we dumped the suitcases and headed down town for lunch and then a bit of a walkabout and an extra coffee while we waited for the Vodafone shop to open. We wanted to recharge our mobile internet dongle. Last time we did this we were told that we had accumulated credit and could add it this time round. For a month’s internet use you pay €19. They then add VAT (another little scam to make you think you are paying less than is really the case) and finally round it up so that you pay €25. Over the various times that we have recharged the dongle we had accumulated around €10. I have no idea how this works but we have now got our “savings” back!
During our walkabout, we admired the improved/restored galerías at the edge of the old quarter of Vigo.
And I saw this shoe-mender’s sign which I rather liked. Why is it that cobblers are also key-cutters? This is not just a Spanish thing; it also happens in the UK.
And finally we took a quick look at the concert programme outside the Centro Cultural NovaCaixaGalicia, fully expecting to find that the concert season was over. Serendipity worked; the final concert was last night!
We managed to get tickets, contacted my friend Dominique and arranged to meet there.
So: a bit of Wagner, followed by something very modern and strange that no-one I spoke to really liked but which was interesting and then Stravinsky’s Firebird. And then a couple or three glasses of wine and some rather expensive snacks down on the alameda to finish the evening off.
A final stagger home and our summer in Vigo had begun!