Yesterday I was up bright and early and down at the harbour waiting outside the A Laxe shopping centre for a group of Americans. They were arriving on the Disney Magic, a bit of a Mickey Mouse ship maybe, certainly with M.M. Ears painted on the funnel, and I was due to show them around Vigo. They duly arrived. We made it up to the top of the hill to the Castro Park, along to the top of Gran Vía to admire the crazy horses statue, down to the bottom to admire the fishermen statue, along past the shops of Urzáiz, a quick run down Colón to the Plaza de Compostela and finally to La Pedra for oysters, a glass of Albariño wine and a few tapas to sample. Considering that one of them was in a wheelchair – although we did cheat and send her and a companion up to the Castro by taxi – I think we did very well.
Apparently at some point in the morning Mickey Mouse himself, together with Goofy, Donald Duck and goodness knows which other Disney characters also disembarked. Because they are such important people the president of the Autoridad Portuaria, Corina Porro, welcomed them ashore herself and showed them around the port area. I do hope the actors inside the costumes enjoyed themselves. It must have been rather warm inside those suits. Still, it could have been today which has proved to be considerably hotter than yesterday. They then went on to visit sick children in the Hospital Xeral which is probably an activity more appropriate to cartoon characters.
Be that as it may, I missed them. By the time they stepped ashore I was undoubtedly busy elsewhere in Vigo.
Later on yesterday I headed down to Plaza de la Constitución for a drink and a chat with friends. As I went through Puerta del Sol I came across a kind of whale-girl floating around in the air, suspended from a crane and doing some kind of aerial ballet. A new companion for the swimmer/merman up at the top of his pole perhaps!
Towards the end of the evening this was partly explained to me but the final explanation only came this morning when I read the paper. Shortly after 9 o'clock last night we had to give up the idea of chatting any longer in Plaza de la Constitución as it just became too noisy. A brass band was playing at the top of its lungs. A crowd of people was piling into the square and a public address system was being set up with the usual mixture of squeals and ear-splitting feedback. So we gave up, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Puerta del Sol was by now full of stalls selling a range of stuff, a giant size barbecue was grilling sausages and who knows what else in the middle of Plaza de la Princesa and a girl was belly-dancing to a noisy drum accompaniment. Another typical Galicia summer fiesta then!
This morning I read in El Faro de Vigo that all this was the start of the Semana Grande de Fiestas de Vigo, a week of fun and games. The whole thing was started by an actor I must confess I have never heard of, Luis Zahera, who made a speech from a balcony overlooking Plaza de la Constitución telling everyone what a great, welcoming place Vigo is and how Semana Grande will help us all deal with la crisis. That's all right then!
He was accompanied by an actor I have heard of and one I rather like, Luis Tosar. It appears that this gentleman was recently made ambassador for the Casco Vello. I didn't even know the old quarter had an ambassador but had I know who it was and that he was going to be there last night I might have hung around to see him But there you go, you blink and miss things.
Semana Grande came along to disrupt this morning for me as well. I had some business to finish off at the bank and set off late morning to do so, arriving at the bank at around 12.45. As the bank usually closes at 2.00pm I was surprised to find the door locked. Looking more closely at the notices I saw one that said that this week the bank will only see customers from 8.30 to 12.30. Well, it's Semana Grande, isn't it?