Saturday, 10 August 2013

Legends and wanderings

I love explanations of things vaguely biblical. The Peregrina church, a very pretty church in the centre of Pontevedra, was built, so I am told, to honour the Virgin Mary. The story goes that she was making a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela to visit the tomb of the Apostle James. En route she stopped to rest by a fountain in Pontevedra. Close on a couple of thousand years later (give or take a hundred or so) they built the Peregrina church where she stopped and the rest is architecture. 

What a nice story. Call me picky but I do get my chronology a bit confused. Presumably this must have happened before she was transported up to Heaven. At what point did James go to Glastonbury, as I am in formed that he is supposed to have done? Was he disappointed that there were no festivals yet and that he wouldn’t get to see the Rolling Stones on the Pyramid Stage? When did he die? When did his stone boat arrive in Galicia? And where, oh where, does Mary fit into it all? They didn’t teach you stuff like that in the Church of England Sunday School. Nor in the Methodist church that I later attended so I could go to their youth club. 

Anyway, today Pontevedra’s Semana Grande, also called La Peregrina this year, began in earnest with a prayer and a parade and an offering to the Virgin. When I read that last bit an image flashed into my head of innocent young boys being sacrificed to her. But no, too silly! It was an “ofrenda floral”. 

Bulls are being sacrificed though but they call it bullfighting. 

There is lots of other stuff too. There are free concerts involving groups I’ve never heard of. No surprise there though. After all, I’m not a Spanish teenager. Various “actuaciones” will take place in the streets and squares and there will be fireworks, naturally! And lots of noise, naturally! 

We’ve not seen any of today’s festivities, although we did hear some fireworks at around 1.30. We’ve been finding our way around the area where we are staying. 
We had lunch at the restaurant across the road from our hotel. The restaurant has the same name, although really it’s a separate establishment. It’s run by the brother of the manager of the hotel. You can tell. Not so much brothers as clones! Lunch was very good but we stuck to one course: pescaditos fritos with a mixed salad. Just as well as we had copious amounts of both. Very good it was too!
 Later, having left Phil to try to continue his winning streak at the chess tournament I went exploring some more, still trying to find a good short cut from the hotel to the chess venue. I didn’t find one but I ended up in a place called Monteporreiro, I think, and stopped for a drink of cold water and to check for directions, not to the hotel but to the centre of Ponters, which I judged must be nearer by now. As I thought, I was on the right road and soon found myself more or less following the river into town. 

I found people bathing in the river and lounging around on the “playa fluvial”. Very nice! And with safety buoys to stop people going out too far into the river itself. 

I saw the bridges of Pontevedra from a different angle. 

It was a longer walk than I intended but still interesting and involving quite a bit of ingenuity to walk in the shade as much as possible. The temperature was VERY HIGH!!! 

I called in at the SuperFroiz to buy fruit. The place was full of young people in groups, each group wearing their “team” T-shirt. They were excitedly stocking up on drink for the evening’s fun and games running around the centre of town. They were already very noisy! 

So I gave the town centre a miss. I’ll catch up with the “actuaciones” tomorrow or the next day. Instead I headed back to Mourente and our hotel, on foot, still not having ascertained where to catch the elusive L5 bus. 

On the way I stopped to photograph a little church, nameless, possibly Santa Margarida as that was the name of the road. 

More interesting than the church was the tree growing next to it. 

I reckon that’s been there ever since the Virgin Mary visited Ponters.


  1. Oh Anthea,

    Google Street map is your friend.

    I located Paloma Hotel, 9 Rúa Paloma & followed your route, left at the roundabout & along Casas Novas to the Galician Cross at O Pazo where you both turned 45 degrees left & continue along Cons until the Casino Mercantil E Industrial hoves into view. I think I'll use the laziest word in the Greek language. Endaxi translates into 'okay' or 'it's alright', Endaxi Taxi.

    I do not stir until I have plotted my route by looking at the junctions on Street View as well as the parking facilities at my destination. It reduces the stress on my passengers.



  2. The playa fluvial. The buoys were place in the after after a guy drowned in a strong current in the first week after it was opened. Spanish approach to risk/safety. Test how safe it is - it might be perfect - and then introduce measures when it proves to be unsafe/fatal.

    Route to the old quarter/town:

    Rúa Paloma, downwards
    Rúa Margarita-Rua Seca (continuation)
    Cross at the lights
    Continue on Rúa Seca
    Continue on Rúa Santa Clara
    Cross Cobian Roffingnac near Froiz enorme (or turn left for shopping)
    Enter old quarter at Sarmiento
    Walk past St Bartólome, Plaza de Leña and Hotel Rúas to Veggie Sq.

  3. Thanks Colin. We had that route sussed. It was the route to the Poligono Deportivo, not round the corner as we had somehow assumed but a good 25 minutes walk away - a bit of a trek in 30 degrees and no shade!!! We have since organised a lift.