Saturday, 16 August 2014


Towards lunchtime on Friday we went along to see what was happening at the chess simultaneous display just near the cathedral in Pontevedra. Coincidentally and simultaneously we almost got involved in a procession from the cathedral. It was a curious affair, vaguely reminiscent of the Whit Friday Sunday school processions back home in Saddleworth, with people marching behind large banners. The difference was that they also had a statue from the church which was paraded around. Small girls in their first communion dresses and small boys in their first communion sailor suits walked in stately fashion, accompanied by proud parents, all dressed up to the nines. 

Curiously, they came out of the cathedral, marched round the square where our boys were playing chess and then went back into the cathedral. Compared with our Whit Walks, it was a very short procession. Compared with the Easter processions in places such as Seville and Salamanca, it was a very short walk indeed. But they did have a marching gaita band, with the gaita players in traditional Galician dress, complete with silly hats. 

Some of the ladies wore very high heels, which looked far too uncomfortable to walk any distance in. (Maybe the procession was short in consideration of these ladies' feet!)
One lady in particular looked almost inappropriately dressed for a church affair: wearing a very chic off the shoulder number, as if she were off to a party. Maybe she was off to a party after the procession. Phil wondered aloud what high heels had to do with religion. I replied that perhaps the wearers of these monstrously high heels felt a little closer to Heaven! 

When processions and chess were over and done with, we were given a lift up to the Mercantil sports facilities where the tournament had taken place. There we partook of a "churrascada", basically a kind of barbecue, lots of cooked meat and chorizo eaten on stone tables in the barbecue area of the Mercantil premises. It was excellent apart from the huge number of wasps who wanted to join in the fun. The insect-bite cream that I have been carrying around for the last week or so came Into its own once more when a small Spanish boy, helping to clear up, was stung by one of these angry insects. Suddenly this very competent little chess player was just a very hurt little boy. So I administered cream and did my bit to further consolidate Anglo-Galician relations!! 

 Then it was off to the station with the boys: a happy bunch of English with our wheelie suitcases. We wanted to get back in time to go to the bus station to buy tickets from Vigo to Oporto for the boys for Sunday when they return to the UK. 

Having discovered that the supermarket next door to our flats was closed, I was afraid that the Alsa office might also be closed. All was well, however, and we successfully bought tickets. All good. 

On our way back I even managed to find a bread shop which sold milk. This was a relief because otherwise a very English cup of tea might have been an impossibility. 

Later, we marched the boys into town to have some tapas at the Porchaba. We HAD to have tortilla but we also introduced them to "setas con jamón" - oyster mushrooms with Iberian ham. A great success. 

This morning the supermarket was still closed. Of course, this a "puente"' a bank holiday weekend. I have no idea why this is a bank holiday weekend. possibly on Friday was an actual holiday and the Spanish have done that thing of "making a bridge (un puente)" and adding Saturday to it, thus making a long weekend. If we were in Italy this would be the "ferragosto", the annual August holiday. Does the same apply in Spain? 

 Whatever the reason, the supermarket is closed and we will be forced to go out to lunch once again. It's such a hard life!!!

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