Yesterday we got up at the crack of dawn. OK, about six o’ clock, which IS the crack of dawn for us. By not long after seven we were on the road to Liverpool’s John Lennon airport, stressing a little about the heavy traffic already at that time of day. I was reminded of how grateful I am not to be doing a motorway run every morning at about that time as I used to.
Still, it was a nice morning, planes were making noughts and crosses grids in the sky and we watched the sun start to come up. Because we had had a slower journey to the airport than planned we had less time to wait in the airport itself and, despite a slight delay in departing – sitting on a lane for twenty minutes while they wait for permission to take off is NOT fun – by midday we were in Porto where the sun was shining and we hopped on a bus to Vigo.
I handed the driver a 20 euro note for our fare to Vigo only to discover that the fare has gone up from 10 Euros to 12 Euros. When did this happen? The last time we did that run in mid August it still cost 10 Euros. In the summer was the answer provided. Hmm, I wonder if the bus companies are recouping motorway charges from their passengers!!
And so we walked up from Vigo bus station in the sunshine, pulling our wheelie suit cases along the annoyingly noisy pavement. The place appears mostly unchanged, as you might expect since we’ve only been away for a couple of months or so. Up at the top of Travesía de Vigo they have finished some of the repaving and along Travesía itself the urban renewal is clearly in the process of setting up smart new benches. (There still is money available for some things then! Crisis? What crisis?) Some of them still had the cardboard wrapping on, others had been unwrapped but still had traces of wrapping at the base of the legs (maybe the residents had got fed up of waiting and had unwrapped them themselves) and one had already been tagged. Those graffiti artists work fast, you know.
We are staying with a friend in the block where we used to rent a flat. Here the obras continue slowly. Our friend has a report from the last meeting of the comunidad which reports that “las obras van con retraso”. Well, that much is obvious. I’m glad I’m not a flat owner trying to rent out my flat. The place really is a mess with scaffolding and builders’ rubble all over the place. The meeting also reported on the state of the heating pipes which apparently are “todo podrido”. How does a building only about 5 to 10 years old have such a bad state of repair? Poor work by the people who installed the system it would seem. I imagine the presidente de la comunidad getting estimates for the work and having a series of workmen shake their heads and say what bad work had been done by the previous lot. Plumbers and builders seem to be the same the world over.
In the short time we are here we are trying to see as many people and places as possible. Last night we popped down to La Porchaba for a glass or two of wine and some tapas. This excellent bar is as busy as ever, so much so that they managed to mix our bill up and try to charge us for chipirones we thought about having but never actually ordered. I look forward to visiting it some time in the New Year when the new no-smoking regulations come into force. That will be a pleasant new experience.
This morning I woke up to the familiar sound of Galician rain beating down but still donned my raincoat and went down the hill to say hello to my regular panadera. It was like meeting an old friend. She is still as talkative as ever and got very excited to see me and pressed a bag full of fresh magdalenas – no charge! She went on to tell me about a “Belgian” lady who had recently, sadly left Vigo, mostly because she wasn’t happy with her children’s schooling here. Hmm, that sounds like a familiar story, I thought. The panadera then showed me some picture drawn for her by the “Belgian” children – she has a collection of pictures children give her stuck on the wall of the shop. Yes, just as I thought, the children were Ione and Scott, not Belgian at all but Irish-Scottish, the children of the friend we are staying with. Small world!
And now, we are off to meet some old friends at another favourite haunt of ours, El Puerto restaurant. Nice fishes for lunch I think!