Yesterday I read in one of the Spanish papers that our hotel in Sanxenxo, the Carlos I Silgar is in the list of the top ten beach hotels according to an organisation called Trivago. It’s nice to know that you’ve been staying in a quality place. They’re certainly very friendly and welcoming there.
Anyway today we said goodbye to Sanxenxo and to our quality hotel. Yesterday late afternoon / early evening I swam for the last time in the pool, timing it just right before the place filled up with children playing at pushing each other around, doing handstands in the water and standing on each others’ shoulders.
And while the chessplayer played his last game, at the earlier start time of ten o’clock this morning instead of the usual five o’clock in the afternoon, I went for a last stroll along the beach and said goodbye to La Madama de Silgar.
I never did make it to La Isla de Ons this year but, well, there’s always next year. Here’s a farewell photo to La Madama with yet another boat I didn’t catch disappearing into the distance. You can just make it out if you look carefully.
The chessplayer managed to finish in 20th place out of 120 odd chess addicts of different ages and qualities. We were kind of hoping he might manage to win the veteran’s prize (prize for the player over 55 with the highest score) for the fifth year running but although he had the same score as the actual winner he was pipped to the post because of the tie-break system. So it goes!
Sitting around waiting for games to finish and the prize-giving to begin, I got to know the eventual overall winner, Aleksa Strikovic, a little better. Until today I really had little more than a nodding acquaintance despite his being a friend of a friend. Today we had a chat. He tells me he has difficulty sometimes expressing himself in his own language. He is a Serb who has lived in Spain for so long that Spanish has become his first language. As for reading, Spanish wins hands down. How weird it must be to find yourself forgetting your own language. I know that there are some items of vocabulary that my sister knows only in Spanish, certain items of food that we just didn’t have in the UK on a regular basis when she moved out to Spain some 36 years ago but she doesn’t have any trouble speaking English.
We also discussed things like the salaries of politicians and bankers, generally agreeing that on the whole both these groups seem to expect to be paid far more than they deserve. After all, how much money can you actually spend? How many cars can you drive at one time? Do you really need a boat?
Mr Strikovic won a boat ... but it’s made of local pottery. He did win some cash as well.
And now that we’ve got the Carlos I Silgar Chess Tournament out of the way, we can concentrate on the Tour de France which started yesterday. It started with a bit of chaos, as is often the case. Usually it’s rain making riders fall of their bikes. Not so this year. The Tour began in Corsica in the kind of oppressive heat that we had here. At some point towards the end of the day’s riding, one of the team buses got stuck under the finishing line barrier and couldn’t move. So they decided to move the finishing line back a few kilometres. Almost as soon as this decision had been communicated to the riders, the bus driver managed to reverse his bus and the Tour organisers chose to reverse their decision. This caused so mush confusion that it contributed to a crash and favourites such as Froome and Contador didn’t cross the line first. I’m sure Marcel Kittel is very pleased to be wearing the yellow jersey but it was a bit unexpected.
Last year’s hero Bradley Wiggins has decided not to compete so I’m going to have to root for Froome or the Manxman, Mark Cavendish. I suppose I could just go back to supporting Albeeerto Contadooor, provided he avoids doping problems this time, especially as my other Spanish sporting hero, Rafa Nadal, has been knocked out of Wimbledon.