Sunday, 26 June 2011

Out and about in Sanxenxo

At nine o’clock this morning I was running (slowly, it has to be said) down Sanxenxo’s paseo marítimo to the lighthouse at the harbour and back. It’s a good time to be out and about, bright and fairly cool with just a few early birds and the road sweepers around. Then it was back to the hotel with time for a shower before breakfast.

By eleven fifteen we were both out and about, this time in the direc
tion of Porto Novo to take in the view from the headland. The beach was still fairly empty as we set off but by the time we returned it was already filling up. There was that very Spanish beach scene of lots of coloured umbrellas, a spread of beach towels and a whole host of people walking along the waterline. Mind you, I suppose it’s rarely warm enough on most British beaches to make it worth your while to stroll up and down at the water’s edge in your swimsuit but not actually in the water.

Because my Phil takes at least three days to grow accustomed to heat and sunshine, we were back at the hotel just after twelve. So, while he did chessy things on the computer I went and threw myself in the pool, one of my favourite summer holiday occupations. The pool was heaving – well, actually, the pool itself was fairly empty but every single sun lounger was occupied. It was quite hard to find even a plastic chair to sit on.

It’s a good job the pool itself was not too crowded as one member of the Merseyside Triathlon Team (obviously here for the Pontevedra event mentioned by my friend Colin in his blog) was giving another member a lesson on something complicated to do with breathing and using certain muscles and so on. It makes my pathetically slow breast stroke look even more even more feeble!

I like watching pool society. An open air pool is a great way for Spanish papás to show what good fathers they are, teaching the children to swim, throwing them around in the water and giving them rides on their backs. Some of the mamás join in but many just sit and chat at the poolside. Often you have the whole family there together: kids, parents, grandparents and assorted friends and relations. And then there’s the fuss as the kids get out of the water into the sunshine and have to be wrapped up in a towel, not to get dry, oh no, no such thing, but in case they get cold! They should try bathing on Ainsdale beach in the 1950s and 60s; that’s all I have to say!!

Lunchtime came around (after another shower!) and we made our way as usual to the hotel dining room. As a rule we prefer to have bed and breakfast only so that we can explore local eating places. However, part of the deal for the chess event that is going on is that we have half board. Now, while the food here is very good, we are finding the amounts served to be huge. Three courses is at least one too many for us, especially if the second course is paella and the third course is roast pork with chips. I remember long go reading something about us all having a “potato-shaped space” that needs filling daily but surely rice AND chips is a bit of an exaggeration. We seem to have got our waitress trained now though, as she tells us in advance what the three courses are going to be so that we can choose which ones to have. Despite our reassurances, she’s still quite concerned about us and keeps offering us alternatives, just in case we really need to be force fed. I don’t think either of us looks anorexic.

After lunch we wandered out for coffee elsewhere, just for variety’s sake, and took a look at the local press. The absolutely definite arrival of summer is discussed quite a lot with temperatures yesterday of 34° here in Sanxenxo, 36.5° in Vigo and an unbearable 40° in Ourense. But then, they always do things to excess in Ourense – freezing in winter and frying in summer!

The language thing popped up again in one article we came across. Spanish has a long habit of borrowing “” words from English, as does French for that matter. Today we found two new ones in an article about the internet: “el grooming” and something strange called “el phising” which can only “fishing” (in the IT sense), I suppose, but why spell it in that strange way. I can understand the “s” for “sh” as that’s a sound that doesn’t really occur in everyday Spanish. Years ago we asked a waiter what a particular menu item was, only to be told “eez fis”. Well, we knew it was fish but we really wanted in idea of what sort of fish. I suppose you can’t win them all.

On the subject of winning, the chess player drew his game yesterday. We hope for better today.

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