Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Silver Wedding Anniversary celebration trip to Amsterdam

Wonderful Amsterdam
Hi again,

Thursday 21st August was our 25th wedding anniversary. We had decided some time ago that we would celebrate it with a trip to India in December. However, I just couldn’t let the date go by with a simple dinner. After all it’s not every year you celebrate 25 years of happy marriage. I decided at the beginning of July and on the spur of the moment to book a trip to Amsterdam. It had to be a city that was romantic and that what was new to both us. I had been before on quite a few business trips but had only actually ever seen Anna Frank’s house and not much else.

Keeping the secret for over a month was not easy and the few days before the big day I was on tenterhooks, not lest because we were supposed to be in a saving mode.

The worst thing about the whole idea and trip was the coincidence of the terrible air crash at Madrid airport the night before. As we were following the events on TV, Eladio kept saying how he wouldn’t want to travel by airplane for a long time!

I hardly slept the night before. When the alarm finally went off I started telling Eladio gently that that night he would not be having dinner in Madrid. It took some telling and not until after his shower did he react. Frankly he is not the right target audience to prepare such a surprise. Surprising your partner with a trip has always been a dream I would like to happen to me and as it has never happened and it probably never will, I have done it to my partner. Eventually Eladio was very happy with the trip of course, but after this experience I don’t think I will ever prepare a surprise like this again.

After an uneventful trip, unless you count the slight apprehension about flying, we arrived late afternoon in Amsterdam and took the train to the famous Central Station. The sun was shining and we couldn’t have felt happier.

We booked into the Amrath Hotel nearby and settled in for our 3 day stay. The hotel was good but not our style; all a bit dark and gloomy. The building had been the Dutch maritime offices and the whole place is built like a ship. Each room is different and I’m not exaggerating if I say the ceilings were at least 5 metres high. On the plus side our room looked out on a canal and the “wellness centre” (how I hate that word) was excellent with its Jacuzzi, Turkish bath, swimming pool with power jets and a choice of 3 saunas. We spent some time there every day!
Eladio by our hotel, map in hand ready to explore the terrain
The first day we just had time to do a bit of exploring and ended up walking for nearly 2 hours!. What is most memorable about Amsterdam are the canals and the bicycles. We learned later that there are 165 of the former and more bicycles than people. There are also apparently 1919 small boats and 1200 bridges. There are also many boat houses, some of which we could see from our room. We read in the guide book that it is the dream of the inhabitants of Amsterdam to live in a boat house on a canal. It looked romantic but perhaps lacking in the main home comforts to spend your life there or so I thought.
Me by one of the many many canals
Bicycles as transport are a way of life in Amsterdam. There are hardly any cars so the streets are really quiet. They also seem to have preference to pedestrians and you have to keep you eyes open the whole time not to get in their way. On top of the locals using bikes, so do a lot of the tourists which makes getting around Amsterdam a bit dangerous some times. I can safely say there must be as many bikes here as in Shanghai and I have been to both places!
Bicycles and bicycles galore
Thousands are also lifted out of the canals on a weekly basis, as are cars and even dead bodies; at least one a week! Actually we found Amsterdam rather a dirty city which is quite inexplicable for such a rich country as Holland. The canals are literally filthy. We witnessed a barge lifting out bikes and also saw the amazing debris in them.
What is also memorable about Amsterdam, unfortunately, is the Red light district. It is also Amsterdam’s number one attraction! I had seen it before and it was actually the first thing we saw this time as it was so near our hotel and we almost had to go past it to go anywhere. Later I realised just how grotesque it is. There are 2 main canals and side streets dedicated to it and many of the buildings house the windows where the prostitutes show their wares and entice passers by in. The last thing you should do in Amsterdam is take photos of them. I was stupid enough to try and later heard you could get stabbed for doing it.
Forbidden picture of a window (work going on inside) in the Red light district
I had planned the trip but hadn’t really done much research on the restaurants. Soon we were to learn that Holland doesn’t have much to offer in gastronomy unless you like rather bland cheese. Having said that I must admit that their bread and butter is actually also very good.

Believe it our not our anniversary dinner took place at an Indian restaurant called Kamasutra in the red light district itself, but it was actually very good.

The weather took the turn for the worse and on Friday it rained the greater part of the day. But as we are walking people come rain or shine, we put on our best smile and weathered the rain with our anoraks.

On Friday we visited the fascinating little courtyard and houses which had belonged to the Begin RC religious order called Begijnohf. It is like a little town inside the city and is very peaceful. Even today it is inhabited by women only. It is a very special place.
From here we made our way to the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam’s top attraction according to Trip Advisor. Luckily I had bought the tickets online so we didn’t have to queue up. And the queues were long! As we are not great museum or gallery people we did the round of the 200 paintings quite quickly. I think if there had been fewer people we would have looked at them for longer but this wasn’t possible. The museum is impressive but there are just too many people.

The forbidden photo, the famous sun flower painting.
From the Van Gogh Museum we made our way to the St. Nicholas Canal Cruise organisation which was highly recommended on Trip Advisor. It turned out to be a “free” (tip only) canal tour on an old open boat for about 10 people. People were encouraged to smoke dope and eat on board. Our fellow passengers who were all in the early 20’s were not at all interested in hearing about Amsterdam or seeing the sights from the boat. The German boys in front of us were obviously quite high on whatever they were smoking and seemed almost asleep!

The only photo of the two of us, on the St. Nicholas canal cruise
Our “captain” Diego was Argentinian and it was from him we got all the interesting statistics about bicycles etc. On the canal tour we were able to see many of Amsterdam’s sights including the Westertoren (tower visible from everywhere), the Weight House (I think that’s what it’s called – where they used to weigh prisoners and witches who were to be burned at the stake during the Inquisition!), Anna Frank’s house on Prinsengracht (Amsterdam’s longest canal), the building that had housed the Gestapo HQ in the war, the famous House of the heads, the amazing floating Cat’s house on one of the canals as well as the smallest and second smallest houses in the city.

Typical Dutch houses
We found a great little place for dinner that day called Hemelse Modder on Oude Waal near our hotel.

Unfortunately on Friday I was tortured by a terrible headache. So I wasn’t really able to enjoy the visit to the Resistance Museum or to Rembrandt’s House and when we saw the enormous queue for Anna Frank’s house, we decided not to go in. Neither did I appreciate the Waterloo and Noordermarkt flea markets that day. Amazingly I didn’t buy anything at all.

Luckily a long session in the sauna at the “wellness centre” in the afternoon helped my headache and we were able to go out to dinner. This time it was to the slightly disappointing Look Restaurant round the corner from our hotel.

And all so soon the surprise trip was over. Our flight was at midday so there was plenty of time for shopping at Schipol airport. Here we filled up with cheese, biscuits, chocolates and wooden tulips!

It was lovely to be home again. The house was full of people as, apart from the girls’ friends, Anne and Timo had arrived and would be staying with us for 3 or 4 days. Their arrival was a great excuse for a big family dinner for all.

Timo and Anne with me, relaxing by the pool.
And you can see more photos of our trip on Facebook

Cheers till next time.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A few days at the seaside, the annual summer visit to Santa Pola

Our beach just before sun set one night, Alicante on the horizon
Hi again

Just a few lines to report our stay this summer at our holiday pad in Santa Pola. I was a bit hesitant about going as we’ve been there so often we’re a bit tired of it. But as always when you don’t look forward to something it usually turns out ok and it did. We went last Wednesday and returned yesterday; all in all 6 nights, that is me and my two men. Unfortunately the girls never really come on holiday with us anymore. I suppose that will change when they become Mothers themselves. Who knows?

After our lavish holiday in Galicia at the Paradors, Eladio is in a tight saving mode (how I hate that!) so we had a picnic on the way. The problem about that was finding somewhere nice to have it as, on that road, the A3, there is literally no nice picnic spot.

Our days were spent in a very relaxed way with reading time at the swimming pool or in the flat, then lunch with the news (mostly the Olympics), a siesta or more reading and then down to the beach at around 19h, just when most people leave. The idea behind that is avoiding the extreme heat and sun. At the beach, apart from swimming of course, we always took a long brisk walk to the end. This year I took loads of pictures as I suddenly realised just how beautiful the Arenales beach really is.

Of course this was all peppered with my intermittent working to keep up to date with my job as I have some important events coming up in early September.

While we were at Santa Pola we were happy to see Rafan Nadal garner the gold medal in the men’s single’s final. He is doing so well this year; Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the Olympics and now he’s the number one in the tennis ranking; superb for someone aged only 22! On top of that he seems a nice guy which you don’t always find in top sports people.

I managed to break Eladio’s saving mode just once to go out to dinner to our favourite local restaurant María Picola to have the dish we love most when we are in the Alicante area, “arroz a banda”. Funnily enough I saw later that it is in the Michelin Guide. Cool.

The only day we broke the routine was to go and see my poor dear Aunty Masha who has just recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer. She lives in a flat overlooking the sea in Benidorm and now has a living in nurse 24/7. Zania who is Bulgarian was already my Aunt’s friend and taking care of her before the diagnosis.

Aunty Masha looked certainly worse than when we had seen her at Christmas. She did however recognise us all and was lucid most of the time; enough to say “don’t forget me here” which tore my heart of course. It was amazing to see her at the age of nearly 81 and despite the illness switching from Russian to Spanish to Bulgarian and then to English. She is no perfect linguist but can communicate with almost anyone.

To cheer ourselves up after the visit we spent the afternoon at the “German beach” which is actually called la Playa de Poniente and is the quieter of the two big beaches in Benidorm. My Father coined it that in the 70’s because of the villas owned by the Germans and other foreigners there. In line with Eladio’s saving mode we had another picnic but on the beach this time and actually quite enjoyed ourselves.

La Playa de Poniente is a bit like going back to the scene of the crime for Eladio and I as it was where our relationship was forged some 28 years ago last month. It’s funny how the Alicante area still means so much to me because of all the time spent there in the summers when I was a teenager. It’s also the place where I fell in love.

And talking about falling in love, tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary would you believe.

But more about that next week.

And here is the full album of
photos on Facebook of our holiday in Santa Pola, not many really this year:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Home again, the Olympic Games, Russia invades Georgia, life goes on and I fell flat on my face on spilled wine!

The opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games probably the most spectacular ever.
Hi again

Here I am again updating my blog by the swimming pool, in between replying to and filing e-mails. You see even though I’m at home I’m not on holiday officially and am actually quite busy with all sorts of preparations for two events at the beginning of September, one in Santander and the other in Bilbao.

It has been extremely hot since we arrived in Madrid from the north and after 10 days of 20ºc, the high 30ºs is just a bit much. Thank God for the air conditioning which we have had on nearly every night since we got back. We have also spent every afternoon by the pool trying to cool off.
Suzy and Joe, our new black kitten, chilling out by the pool this week.
This week and next will be memorable for the Beijing Olympic Games, the opening ceremony of which was quite extraordinary and possibly the most technological and plastic ever to have been seen. I just wonder what the Brits will put on in London in 4 years time? I was delighted with Spain’s gold medal in the men’s cycling road race on the first day. Well done Samuel Sánchez! Cycling, as those of you who know me, know, is a sport very close to my heart and one I got very involved with in my Motorola days.
Samuel Sánchez crossing the finish line to garner the first gold medal in the men's road race for Spain in the Olympics.
In fact I have been following the Olympics quite a lot and have suddenly realised, despite being supposedly British, just how patriotic I am about Spain and sport. That probably has to do with the fact that I have now lived half my life here. Spain has done so well recently, winning the Giro, Wimbledon, the European Football Championship, the Tour de France and now the men’s cycling road race in the Olympics. I wonder how many medals it will garner this year. The all time record was in Barcelona, of course, with 22. At Athens Spain got 19 and actually the forecast for this edition is again 19. We will see in the next 2 weeks.

Meanwhile while the whole world was watching China, Russia was invading Georgia in a 3 day war which finished today when it completely devastated the capital of South Osetia. Just how can wars like that happen these days and nothing be done to stop them? The fact that this war has generated so little interest demonstrates the power of the media. It probably also demonstrates our complete ignorance of the politics of that part of the world and thus our disinterest.
Russia causes havoc in Georgia whilst the whole world watches Peking host the Olympic Games
And life indeed continues as mine does. Since we got back from Montrondo mine has been full of little uninteresting events and activities for anyone outside my circle.

So what have I done? Well I went to have my hair cut and the roots seen to. I ought to add that in contrast to the majority of women I absolutely hate going to the hairdresser and get very impatient during the whole session and completely relieved when it is over. The only good thing about going to the hairdresser this time was bumping into Fátima, my best friend in the Corte Inglés.

I joined a wine club. You may have noticed our penchant for wine from my recent posts. After a bit of surfing on the web, I decided on Vino Selección. The boxes have arrived but we’ve yet to try the wine out. We now have a considerable little stock of wine in our very own bodega which I am determined to keep well stocked. Well if I can’t smoke, I might at least enjoy my wine, don’t you think?

I’ve been reading too and just recently finished Cherie Blaire’s autobiography which my Father has just read too. I think she had very bad press in the UK whilst she was the wife of the Prime Minister and in this book she sets out to put quite a few stories right that I am not actually familiar with. I was more interested in the parts about living in Downing street and the top politicians and people she met than the long descriptions of her activities in the legal profession. It was quite a good read overall but seemed like a book written in haste.

I am now reading “Second Honeymoon, the latest book out by one of my favourite authors, Joanna Trollope. It’s quite relevant to me as it’s about a family with kids in their 20’s who are all leaving or have left the nest and the angst that causes the Mother. Interesting, …..

One of these days we will be going to Santa Pola to our apartment by the sea. We have had it since I left Motorola in 1999 and the truth is we are all rather tired of it. We can’t sell because it’s not the right moment market wise and we wouldn’t want that hassle right now either. We might go tomorrow or Wednesday or next week. Well a few days on the beach would be quite nice.

Meantime we are enjoying our home and funnily enough we are all here. Suzy is back from Montrondo and Oli is home too as she is working for Spanish Television (RTVE) as a Summer internee. She did go away this weekend though camping with friends to Asturias.

Roberto and Mari Carmen came round on Sunday to join us on our daily walk after which we went out to dinner to a local bar for some tapas. That dinner forged a plan to go and stay at the Parador in Granada one weekend in March next year. It is possibly the most popular Parador because of its location and bullding as it is literally a part of the Alhambra itself. It is also nearly impossible to book a room unless you do so at least 6 months in advance which is precisely what I shall do to achieve my small dream. Life is full of dreams isn’t it?

The final piece of news for this week’s blog is that I actually fell flat on my face this morning. You might laugh to hear that it was on a spilled bottle of wine at the local supermarket. There are no broken bones, just a few bruises, some alcohol drenched clothes and the nasty shock of course. Eladio very gently reminded me that these days you can claim insurance for falling practically anywhere. I myself thought of that the moment I fell. However I was brought up in the days before claiming insurance became a big business and put out any temptation to do so. I see no need and certainly don’t want to upset the shop owner and actually find the whole idea rather immoral.

With that out of mind, I am now looking forward to news of more medals for Spain, for England of course (well done Nicole Cooke for that gold medal in the women’s cycling road race yesterday) and also for Finland, another country close to my heart after working 5 years for Nokia and visiting it some 30 or 40 times. So well done also to Satu Makela-Nummela for winning the Women's Trap gold with 91 hits.

Satu Makela-Nummela from Finland celebrating her gold medal.
Cheers till next week and I hope you haven’t found this post too political. It wasn’t supposed to be.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

The family united again in Montrondo; different ways of experiencing Santa Marta.

The first cousins to arrive on Friday night.
Hi again
Last weekend was the annual family reunion in Montrondo. We meet every year as you may have read about before in this blog (Posts from 2006 and 2007). If you have, there is not much to tell as every year is virtually the same and has been since the very first reunion which was on the occasion of my parents in law’s golden wedding anniversary some 16 years or so ago. My father in law passed away in 2005 but we still continue the tradition and possibly always will. It would be impossible not to in such a big and united family as ours.

This year we were 27 people; 14 “grown ups” and 13 “children”. The oldest and youngest grown ups were 89 and 46 respectively. The oldest and youngest children were 37 and 16 respectively. As you can see there were quite a few generations there.

The reunion always coincides with the village festival, Santa Marta and each of the two groups in the family experience the occasion in a very different way.

The young people are only generally seen very late in the morning and sometimes only for lunch. They invariably turn day into night and night into day. The nights are spent out at the fiestas themselves in the village or in the village social club with other young people from the village whom they have known since they were toddlers. They must have a great time as they they come home to bed often between 7 and 9 in the morning, just as the older group are getting up! What they get up to remains a mystery. All I know is that Susana, my older daughter, says that Montrondo is where she is at her happiest.

As for us grown ups, or rather the women in the family, we spend our time doing house work for the 20 odd of us and it’s no mean job making meals twice a day for so many people. When we’re not doing house work we are taking a siesta, reading, catching up with each other’s news or going for walks. The men, so used to associating the village with menial work from their youths, are forever finding some job to do. They just cannot lie around doing nothing.
Saturday evening's walk, Toño, Dolores, Eladio, Yoli and Isidro
The main event of the reunion is the lunch on Saturday. It takes place in the converted cow shed and there are two tables, one for each generation. The menu never varies year on year and is always: cold cuts (ham, etc), potato salad, lamb stew, all followed by fruit and coffee.

The grown ups table at the annual lunch held in the converted cow shed!
Somehow or other each year some sort of activity takes place which has been organised spontaneously by one or more of the members of the family. This year Marta, Suzy and Paula who had spent the week before together at Marta’s home in Ponferrada, prepared a show for after lunch. They really surprised us with their singular and creative representation of this summer’s hit song, La Barbacoa (The Barbecue). Each one of them was dressed in aprons or other fun outfits dug out of old chests in Montrondo. Of course, my dear brother in law Andrés could not resist the occasion to dress up too and sneak into the show uninvited. His was actually the best outfit. Well done kids, this year’s show was one of the best.
"La Barbacoa" show
Andrés, my brother in law who sneaked into the cousins' show. How can I possibly admit that the skirt he is wearing was once mine!
The other big event of the weekend is the Mass on Saturday for which everyone dresses up in their best. The village which is very rural and remote is very small and has no shops or bars, just the church and most of the time people dress extremely casually. So when you see them ready for Mass it looks like a wedding is on and the contrast with every day life there is quite shocking. I just cannot be bothered to dress up and put make up on and so hardly ever go. However my sisters in law make quite an effort as you can see from these pics. The "kids", of course are all mostly asleep so generally miss Mass. For Eladio it is a time to greet familiar faces from his past and he never misses it.
My sisters in law Yoli and Pili dressed for Mass
My sister in law Adela dressed up to go to Mass
And all too soon, the reunion begins to break up and in ones and twos people start leaving. We all left, except for Susana, on Monday after lunch, leaving “only” 12 people behind.

Above are just some of the photos of last weekend. A bigger collection can be seen in my album on Facebook

Once again, a good time was had by all. And now perhaps we grown ups should think about putting on our own show for the younger generation next year.

Cheers till my next post

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

No hassles holiday in Galicia. Paradors, history and castles. Food and wine, walks and talks, siestas and swims on rainy beaches and vistas of the sea

On holiday in Galicia. A typical landmark are the "horreos" used to store vituals in the countryside.
Hi again

We were so enamoured with Las Rías Bajas in Galicia in the north west of Spain last year that we decided to repeat the holiday. The difference this time was that we were to be staying at the wonderful Spanish state run Parador Hotels.

The first two nights were spent at the Parador in Verín which is in the province of Orense and just a few kilometres from the Portuguese border. Verin is famous for its bottled water and for its rather tasty and not so so well known wine, Monterrey. The Parador, one of the smaller and more modest ones, is situated on the outside of Verin on a hill just across the way from the Monterrey Castle, a jewel of a building but now a ruin thanks to the Napoleonic Wars!.
Me posing by the Parador in Verin
Monterrey Castle next to the Parador View of the Parador from the Monterrey Castle
We spent our time here bathing in the pool with its superb views of the surrounding countryside and the town of Verín (not much to see there I’m afraid), enjoying long siestas and walking up the Monterrey castle several times a day to work up an appetite for the wonderful dinner awaiting us in the genteel and classic dining room and old fashioned service.
Eladio against the backdrop of Verin from the swimming pool at the Parador.

Working relaxedly by the pool at the Parador in Verin
We did venture into Portugal though. Portugal is a country near to my heart as I studied the language at University and it also means quite a lot to Eladio as our first ever holiday was there. We visited the tired but pretty little town of Chaves and thanks to the Michelin and Campsa guides, of course, found the best eating place in town; Forte de Sâo Francisco where actually we had some rather disappointing “bacalhau” (cod). We did enjoy the "vinho verde" though. Here, of course, Eladio bought yet another walking stick for his collection.
Daddy and I outside the entrance to the Forte de Sâo Francisco in Chaves, Portugal.
From Verín we drove some 250km to Cambados, the Albariño(white) wine capital which is a historic fishing town on the Ria de Arousa.

Admiring the Albariño wine in Cambados. The Parador in Cambados is a lovely old building set right in the middle of the town.
The Parador in Cambados
After lunch at María José, once again recommended by our 2 travel guides, we set off to the legendary beach of La Lanzada. It is legendary because it can apparently help women get pregnant. They have to bathe and be washed by 9 waves. Well I didn’t need to get pregnant and the weather had taken a turn for the worse so we just walked both lengths of this very long beach. It was not nice to find it mined by jelly fish which, thankfully, were all dead.
Seafood and rice, what a wonderful mixture. As had at María José in Cambados.
For my Father this rainy and windy walk on a long empty beach was the highlight of the whole trip! Weather in Galicia can be very unpredictable and one minute the sun shines and next it can rain.
The wet and windy walk on the Lanzada beach - My Father and Eladio
We went back the next day for more walks on the Lanzada beach and this time the sun was out the whole time. Here is the photo that marks the contrast.
The next day with sun, same men, same beach!
Time at the Parador in Cambados was also spent reading the newspapers in the lovely patio, reading and sleeping siestas, the Spanish national sport and such a healthy habit.

Eladio and I reading the paper in the patio of the Parador in Cambados.
I must make a mention here of a repeat visit to the Posada del Mar restaurant in O Grove, just across the bridge from La Toja island. It was to Posada del Mar we went last year recommended by my dear friends Ana and Tomy.

Eladio posing outside La Posada del Mar in O Grove. It’s one of those places you have to go back to do and we did to try out the great Galician seafood.
First class scallops at La Posada del Mar
Top league almejas a la marinera!
The best "scallop" pie in the world
On Tuesday 29th July we made our way to Baiona, a medium sized town by the sea and very near Vigo.
A Typical seafront house in Baiona

Eladio on a busy Baiona back street full of bars and restaurants
Me by the port and seafront of Baiona
It is famous in history as one of Christopher Columbus’ 3 ships, La Pinta, returning to Europe after discovering America had to go off course and land in Baiona due to bad weather. Baiona then became the first call of port in Europe to hear about the discovery of America. It must then have gained royal favour as it became known as Baiona la Real.

We were there last year visiting the Fortress and Parador and vowed also to return but this time to stay. I have a lovely picture of Eladio outside the Bar last year (in red) and I took a repeat picture this year (in green) for the records and here they are:

The town itself is like a smaller version of places such as Santander or San Sebastián. Adding to its beauty is the fortress peninsula known as Monte Real on the hill which towers over Baiona. There was once a castle there, in the times of Christopher Columbus, owned by the Count of Gondomar. And this is where the Parador of Baiona is situated. What does remain of the castle though is the outside fortress wall from where you can see the town and beyond as well as the Atlantic Cies Islands. The views are amazing and the Parador, knowing this, charges quite a lot more for a room with a view.
Outside the Parador in Baiona
The view from our room was magnificent
We stayed here 3 nights and actually never left the town and then only to visit La Pinta replica ship, to walk to the Virgin on the Rocks which is a gigantic statue with great views or to find somewhere for dinner.
Daddy and Eladio posing next to the "Captain" of the La Pinta ship
Seafood on show on the seafront restaurants in Baiona
Most of the time we spent at the magnificent Parador reading the paper or a book, sleeping a siesta (or working in my room) or swimming in the pool with its great views out to sea and of course, walking round and round the castle.
The Cies islands as seen from the Parador in Baiona.
Eladio on the walk around the Fortress
My Father on the same walk.

Me working in our room; always connected!
The swimming pool overlooking the Islas Cies at the Parador in Baiona.
We discovered a lovely restaurant in La Taberna de la Pinta which belonged to the Parador but was a separate building and here we dined again and again mesmerised by the fantastic views and seduced by the wonderful local food.
Taberna de la Pinta, our favourite restaurant in Baiona
View of the Atlantic from La Taberna de la Pinta
And all too soon the week was up and it was time to move on. We were going to Montrondo for the annual family gathering which is always on the first Saturday in August but more about that, of course, in my next post.

So we left Galicia, not before having stocked up on local produce: chorizos and Albariño wine as well as the famous “empanadas” (pies) and Santiago almond cake which we had been asked to buy for the family gathering, all of which were to be devoured by 27 people over the weekend!

We left Galicia with a temperature of around 20ºc. In Montrondo (León) it was only a bit higher. And here I am writing from home in Madrid where the thermometer marked 39ºc at midday today. What a difference!

I have included just some of the photos of our trip above and on Facebook you can find a bigger selection: Photo album

If you ever want to visit Galicia, now you know the places to go!

Cheers till next time