Over the last few days we have demonstrated our Englishness. On Tuesday, as it promised to be cloudy bright, we headed for the beach. This, of course, goes against Spanish tradition, that says that you go to the beach when it is sunny and hot. The breeze off the sea will keep you cool. But we wanted the children to be able to play without frying. So a cloudy bright day, with a promised maximum of 25 degrees, was just what we wanted.
It's quite a long walk to the beach from where we are staying and so we compromised. Instead of walking down for bread and having breakfast at home, we walked to the bread shop, which is also a cafe, and had a leisurely breakfast there. Then we continued the walk down to the beach. It all worked fine. Having arrived at the beach we had a little "refresco"' complete with free tortilla, and then went onto the sand.
There then followed a couple of hours or more of traditional beach pursuits: building a wall to keep the incoming tide at bay (King Canute, eat your heart out!),
looking for stuff in the water, beach football,
burying each other in the sand.
Back to the cafe for an ice cream to help everyone along the way and we set off for the walk homewards.
En route we stopped for more refreshments, thinking to get a snack in a cafe, only to find that it was already turned five and the kitchen was closed. Cheese and ham toasties were all they could manage but that worked fine.
My daughter has one of those apps on her phone that measures how many steps you have taken over the day, how many kilometres you have walked and even how many flights of stairs you have climbed. I am unsure how it works out flights of stairs. Perhaps it can tell when you have taken an upward or downward step and measures a certain numbers of those steps as a flight. Who knows? Anyway, it turned out that we had walked around 12 kilometres in our round trip, including umpteen flights of stairs!
Yesterday, Wednesday, we had booked tickets for the boat to the Islas Cíes.
The day promised to be a little damp but we were prepared for that. We took taxis down to Pontevedra railway station. The taxi driver told me first that he was amazed we had managed to get tickets, having only booked them at the weekend. He thought we would have needed to book much further in a advance. He went on to say that it was a pity we did not have a better day. "You need a good, hot, sunny day to go to the beach!" What did I say earlier? And finally he told me that I am an unusual Englishwoman, una inglesa rara, as I speak Spanish!
Having established a habit of breakfasting out on Tuesday, we postponed Wednesday's breakfast until we got to Vigo on the train. So, a late breakfast, around 10.30 at the Nuevo Derby! Then we wandered in leisurely fashion down to the port, where we collected our pre-booked tickets from the machine and went and joined the queue, laughing at the amazing number of people who were running along laden with all sorts of stuff, on the last minute for the boat leaving before ours!
The taxi driver was right; we really did need a better day. The boat ride to the islands was chilly!!! The walk round the beach and across the causeway to the self service restaurant was breezy but by the time we had queued for food, found a table and eaten, the sun was trying to come out.
It didn't last long. There was, however, time to get settled, for castle building to begin and a fair amount of construction work to take place before the Atlantic blanket mist came over us and my daughter and I found ourselves sitting in drizzle eating cherries. We retreated to the shelter of the pine trees but the children continued their construction project. Indeed, we had to tear them away eventually to get dry and change into warm clothes for the journey back.
Not quite such a fine day as we would have liked but, nothing daunted, the English brigade determinedly had a good time.
This morning, however, we decided to forego our trip to the breadshop. The rain was falling steadily. Toasted sliced bread was the order of the day.
Thursday has been a day for indoor activities. We opted not to reinforce our reputation as crazy English; in other words we did not swim today. Last week we did swim in the rain but it is one thing to continue he swimming if it starts to rain when you are on the pool and quite another level of looniness to deliberately head for the pool once the rain is actually falling.
A rather damp end to their holiday then but this is Galicia. It could have rained throughout the visit!