Travel diary: Birthday Week in A Coruña

Every year, Craig and I stretch out our birthday celebrations into a whole week of good food and better company, and this year was no different. In fact, this year’s Birthday Week was fantastic, thanks mostly to our wonderful friends Oliva and Guille.

Monday 11/6: The week didn’t start too well for me, I didn’t sleep well and got up on the wrong side of bed. After having breakfast and going to the supermarket and library, I decided to go back to bed. Craig brought me croissants for a snack and I felt a lot better in the afternoon.

Craig went to the station to collect his friend Philip, who was coming to visit for a couple of days, and I headed to work. I’ve got a new student for four one-hour classes a week, and unfortunately the class is at 9pm on the other side of the city. Olly drove me over and showed me around the other school, and the class went well. Afterwards, I met Craig and Philip for a tapas dinner in the centre of town.

Tapas!

Tuesday 12/6: Craig really shouldn’t have had to work on his birthday, and to tell the truth he only got a little bit done before his mum called. They ended up talking for over an hour and had just hung up when Philip got back from his walk and I came home after my morning class. We headed to the pulpería in the Plaza de España for an incredibly tasty lunch of octopus, potatoes and pimientos de Padrón, and I was lucky enough to finally get a hot one! It was very exciting, but I felt a bit sad that Craig hadn’t got it — it was his birthday, after all.

After lunch we walked around the coast to the lighthouse, passing the menhirs and cute little beaches on that side of the isthmus. I had to head back to work for an hour or so, but when I came home we had a tasty merienda of chocolate-covered coffee beans (Craig’s birthday present), pineapple lumps and strawberry caipirinhas, as well as some delicious birthday muffins Philip had bought for Craig.

Craig's birthday merienda

Craig’s birthday merienda

In the evening, Philip and Craig walked with me as far as the Parque de Santa Margarita, then headed off for a beer while I taught my evening class. We met up later for a delicious tapas dinner.

Wednesday  13/6: Craig and I got a little ITP work done in the morning, then headed out with Philip for a very long walk — along the beach and around the coast to the obelisk, past the octopus statue and up the hill on the panoramic elevator. After a coffee, we went back down the other side of the hill and tried to find a bus home, which was a little difficult, though we did eventually achieve it.

Us and the octopus

Us and the octopus

After lunch at home, I went to work and Philip headed to the train station to continue his trip. It was sad to say goodbye, since it had been fun having him stay with us. Not that we’d given him the best weather!

I met Oliva in the afternoon then walked to the other school for my evening class. In the evening Craig cooked up some pimientos de Padrón for dinner and this time he got his first hot one — very exciting!

Thursday 14/6: After my morning class and lunch, Craig and I walked to the bank to organise an ATM card for me. I had to sign another mountain of paperwork and didn’t even get the card — apparently it’ll arrive by post.

I had to work both in the afternoon and the evening, but in compensation I met Craig at a tapas bar for a tasty dinner.

Guille and Oliva in the kitchen

Friday 15/6: Craig worked all day but I wasn’t in the mood, so I read my book for most of the afternoon. I did head out to the supermarket to pick up some salad, but Craig prepared lunch and most of dinner. I was feeling more energetic after my afternoon classes, which is good because we headed out after dinner to meet Oliva and Guille and their friends Alberto and Laura. It was raining heavily, the café we wanted to visit closed early, and it took us ages to find somewhere to have a quiet drink. Eventually we succeeded though, and had a really nice evening.

Saturday 16/6: My birthday was an absolutely fantastic day. It started with a long sleep-in and then Craig brought me a tasty breakfast in bed and gave me presents (a book and some new headphones). My dad called and we talked for a little while, and then my sister called on Skype and we spoke for over an hour. I eventually got out of bed and Oliva and Guille arrived at around 2pm. While they were in the kitchen cooking lunch, I talked to my mum for half an hour or so.

Guille and Oliva prepared an enormous quantity of pasta with blue-cheese sauce, which was delicious. Also delicious was the cake they’d made for us — layers of chocolate mousse and custard separated by layers of crushed biscuits soaked in coffee liqueur, topped with a hard chocolate coating and sprinkles.

Yum

Next up we headed to the bowling alley where Guille beat us all, but I managed to come second after trailing Craig the whole game. Then we drove to the Casa del Agua — Oliva and Guille are members and they’d given Craig and me entrances to the spa as a birthday present. It was awesome! There were heaps of different spa pools and saunas, as well as a huge main pool that has lots of different pressure jets and waterfalls. I particularly liked the whirlpool, which was relaxing if you floated with the current, and good exercise if you went against it.

I’m sure that was a spare

After a few hours there, Craig and I ducked home so that I could get changed, and then we met the others again to go out for my birthday dinner. I’d said that I wanted to eat lamb, which was easier said than done, but Guille had found three places that would do it and Craig had visited them all, talked with managers and chefs, and organised it for me. The restaurant had an Argentinean-style parrilla, so we ordered chorizo and morcilla to start and I chose a Malbec from the (impressively extensive) wine menu. The meal was excellent and the company fantastic.

Malbec is wonderful

Afterwards we headed back to our place for more of the enormous cake Oliva and Guille had made. I went to bed late but very happy, after reading the many Facebook messages I’d received.

Sunday 17/6: We woke up to the sound of rain. It didn’t really seem worth it to get out of bed, though Craig did eventually — called by the coffee machine. This meant I got brought breakfast in bed, and — later — lunch, too. I spent most of the day reading, chatting, and playing games on my iPod, but did eventually get up — and was rewarded with cake.

Since we hadn’t been to the supermarket for a couple of days, there wasn’t a lot of food in the house apart from cake, so we went out for a slightly damp walk to find some tapas for dinner. Later, there was cake.

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4 Responses to “Travel diary: Birthday Week in A Coruña”

  1. Camille June 18, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Hello! I was wondering if you could give me an email adress where I can reach you, the webmasters:) Thank you, have a nice day, Camille

  2. Steve June 19, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    After wishing Craig happy birthday, totally forgot it was Linda’s too. A belated birthday greetings.

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