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There are warnings of gales in…

April 19, 2014

You know you have a bargain when you have eaten well, drunk several beers and dispatched a bottle of Rioja and still the cost is less than 30 euros. It is one of the redeeming features of Galicia, the most north-westerly region of Spain, through which we drove yesterday. The countryside is beautiful, with green rolling hills and forests, but the problem is the towns. Take Lugo for instance. A superbly maintained ancient walled city should have been a jewel, but when almost the entire building stock in its interior has been allowed to decay, but worse, in most cases be replaced by hideous concrete monstrosities, the magic disappears.

Having walked around the top of the ramparts, some 2 miles, in bright warm sunshine, my decision to believe the weather forecast, which had changed overnight from rain to sun, paid dividends. That Nice Lady Decorator had been chortling as I put on my shorts before we loaded the car up after our overnight stop in Castropol in chilly scudding low cloud, but a few hours later, when we got to Lugo, it was me doing the chortling whilst she changed into shorts the car.

cider in Spain

A waiter pours the local cider in the traditional way

Lunch in the sunshine in the central square of this ruined town was pleasant enough, but with a big geographical area to explore, we set off on a westerly direction, aiming first for Pontevedra, which was so desperately ugly as a town we did not stop. The Lonely Planet guide said that there were two old fishing ports with lovely beaches just outside, one called Sanxenxo and O Grove. Whover wrote that needs shooting. It should have been called O Blimey, such was the ugliness of the urban sprawl that had been allowed to grow up around some spectacular white sand beaches. However, we were tired, it was getting late, and the idea of a cheap bottle of Rioja and some tapas overcame the reservations we entertained about the place.

Today, despite the weather forecast, which is dire, we have a plan to go to the most westerly point in Europe, Cape Finisterre. It is about two hours drive from the concrete prison which was our home last night. For me, a chap whose early career plans involved becoming a weather man (a dream shattered at a careers meeting in the 6th form when it became clear that the subject of physics, which remains a complete mystery to me, is the basic requirements peruse such a career path), it is a place that has long fascinated me. Not because of where it is, but because of its regular place on the BBC shipping forecast. It always seemed to be featured in the opening statements which started “There are warnings of gales in…” . For many years I did not have any idea where it was until I was bought a book for Christmas with the same title, setting out the various sea areas to which the forecast referred. I suppose, given that fact, and that Galicia, the area in which it stands, is known as the wettest and most windswept area of Spain, I should not be too distressed at having to dig out the waterproofs from the car last evening.

One visited, I can tick it off that listing on my bucket list and we can set off east and north , back to the much more attractive northern Spanish beaches. As it is a holiday weekend dedicated to some guy who died about two thousand years ago and then didn’t die, or something like that, (The Reverend Jeff understands what all the fuss is about – as far as I am concerned I am all in favour as the roads were mercifully empty yesterday, which has something to do with the Catholic population) I shall spare you, dear reader, any lecture today about the value of being an account holder with Currencies Direct. If you still don’t understand the benefits you will have to wait until the end of the Easter break for a full explanation in this column.

Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 19, 2014 4:59 pm

    ‘To cross off the old bucket list,’
    Is close, but it misses the gist.
    Replace ‘to’ with a ‘the’
    ‘Off’ with ‘on’, then you’ll see,
    What’s ‘nailed on’ and should never be missed !!

    Loved the story in the paper of the councillor in Oxford who cancelled an outdoor ‘passion’ play on Friday because she thought it might be pornographic !!!


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 20, 2014 11:42 am

    You could be right, I’ve heard a few hookers use it !!


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