Monday, 20 July 2009

Looping the Loop

On Sunday morning I slept in; everyone needs to do that once in a while! It was Sunday, after all! So it was already late morning when I went out for bread for breakfast. The panadera and I had our usual discussion about the weather and we agreed that this COULD be a día de playa. And that was when she asked me if I was going to Samil, one of our local beaches, to see the planes.

Both of us had forgotten until that moment that we had read in the paper a few days earlier about the Festival Aérea de Samil – planes on the ground for people to see close-up and a fly-past with el looping leaving a coloured vapour trail over the beach and the islands. Neither of us had any idea what time things were happening so I went home and consulted
the tourist office’s Guía del Ocio. Not a word: this is not the first time that I have wondered exactly what the guía is for - apart, of course, from providing advertising space for a lot of Vigo enterprises.

Anyway, I googled it and found out that there were things going on from 10.00 am to 2.30 pm. That meant that by the time I had finished breakfast I had already missed a good part of it and besides, I had a feeling that the beach at Samil might be just a little crowded. (I later found out that some 400 buses had brought people in from outside the area and then, of course, there were all those who went by car!) So instead I headed for Vigo’s high point, the Castro, to see what I could see.

Judging by the number of small boats out in the bay, it was obvious that some people knew the very best place to go to get a good view of proceedings. A fair few people, though, had the same idea as I did and we made quite a crowd up there, some with binoculars, others with cameras, hoping to record a little souvenir of the day.

At first all we could see was a number of parachutists gliding down towards the beach but eventually our patience was rewarded and jump jets (I think) came tearing in from behind Cangas and swooped over the Islas Cies, down towards the beach at Samil, almost touching the water as they went so low.

From the top of the Castro, all we could really see was the sun glinting off the planes and the patterns made by the vapour trails but it was another occasion to chat with complete strangers about what we were seeing.

There was a good deal of discussion about that, along the lines of, “Allí está un avión.”, “No, es una gaviota.”, “No, ¡esto sí que es un avión! Well, it is hard to tell a plane from a seagull at that distance. However, seagu
lls don’t leave vapour trails and jump jets don’t dive down and steal food from your cafe table!

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