Monday, 24 June 2013

Another day in the sun!

Statistics say that spring 2013 was the coldest in Galicia since 1986 and the wettest for 50 years. I can believe it. Amazingly we have gone straight into midsummer. Today the beach here is more crowded than ever. I imagine that people are taking advantage of the día festivo – fiesta de San Juan. These saints do come in useful after all. 

At midnight last night we could hear fireworks going off but from our balcony you couldn’t see a thing apart from the rooftops opposite. If we had rushed down to the seafront we might have seen something, I suppose. According to something I read, only Poio has had bonfires on its beaches to celebrate San Juan. Marín, a place across the bay, and Sanxenxo itself banned beach bonfires a couple of years ago. Local youths will have to find another way of foretelling who they will marry and assuring themselves good fortune; no leaping over bonfires for them. 

Both places claim they banned them for ecological reasons. Cynics say that Sanxenxo, at least, doesn’t want to lose the blue flag status of its beaches by having tourists sunbathing next to charred remains of bonfires and who knows what else. I asked one of the waiters in our hotel about it. He maintains that they make a big thing of it in La Coruña because they have a lot of young people seeking “la juerga” – exciting night life – whereas Sanxenxo has a much more sedate clientele. He didn’t actually say the last bit but it was somewhat implied. And you can see that it caters for families and older people, not the wild youth. 
The local church doorway was nicely decorated, though. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with San Juan or not.

There is a group of what could be Saga tourists here, pensioners in a group, based here in Sanxenxo but having days out here and there around the region. One or two I’ve run into in the lift have been relieved to hear English spoken. I’m not sure why this is as the reception staff all speak good English and I’ve heard the waiters in the dining room speak English, French and Portuguese as well, of course as Spanish – Castellano, Gallego AND Catalán. Pretty impressive. 

The Saga tourists have breakfast and evening meal here and have expressed their amazement at the timing of the evening meal (8.30 to 10.30, so not excessively late by Spanish standards, praise for the high standards of the food and dismay at the huge amounts they are expected to eat!! I can sympathise with the last. For lunch today we ate a “brocheta de gambas” and “pollo”. 

In between there should have been “huevos con jamón” but we passed on that and only had the first and third course. The staff were anxious to press something else on us, concerned that maybe we just didn’t like ham. They are extremely helpful and flexible about the food. Dessert was “crema catalana”, not a favourite for either of us. So they served us ice cream instead. All good stuff. 

The chess player won his game yesterday. Today, while I have been doing twenty lengths of the pool and sunning myself, oh yes, and watching a sun umbrella take off in the sudden high wind and sail over the fence to crash down onto the street below, he has been slaving away once again. When I took him an energising coffee a short while ago he was not optimistic about an easy win. 

We shall see!

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