Mendez Nuñez gardens

Travel diary: Our penultimate week in A Coruña

After a busy work week, Craig’s mum and sister arrived for a visit and we spent the weekend showing them the sights of A Coruña.

Monday 20/8: Monday always seems to be a busy day for work, and today was no different. We did get out of the house in the early afternoon, when we headed to Siboney to buy ground coffee. However, the in-and-out visit we had planned was disrupted when the owner overheard us speaking English when he was serving us (we were deciding what to order) and launched into a 20-minute explanation of his establishment, his recent buying trip and coffee in general. It was very educational.

Tuesday 21/8: We both worked, me at school at Craig at home.

Wednesday 22/8: Since I didn’t have any classes, we spent the morning working at home, and left the house for the first time at about 4pm, to go for a walk on the beach.

I headed to bed at around 1am, but Craig stayed up late to give a webinar in middle of night. It went really well and he got a lot of positive feedback from the participants.

Menhirs

Menhirs.

Thursday 23/8: Once again, I had eight hours of classes, spread between 9am and 9.30pm. We used my four-hour lunch break well, with lunch at Puerta del Sol in the Plaza España.

In the evening, Yoli came over for dinner and we introduced her to Vietnamese summer rolls. She’s not a big fan of vegetables (which are an important component of summer rolls) but she seemed to really like the meal — and even ate a fair bit of avocado. It was great to catch up after not having seen her for a few weeks, and to hear about her recent trip to Malta.

Friday 24/8: Craig got up early to head to the airport to meet his sister Christina, who’s here to stay for five days. Sadly, his attempts to get out of bed quietly were not exactly successful — his iPhone fell under the bed (loudly) and he needed help retrieving it. At least his trip to the airport went smoothly.

After they got home, we chatted for a while, then had lunch and played a few games of Monopoly Deal (which Christina picked up very quickly). Craig and I had to get some work done in the afternoon, and the weather was shocking anyway, so we pretty much just stayed in until mid-evening.

Craig had to head back to the airport to collect his mother, and Christina and I visited the Mendez Nuñez gardens, where we ate churros, admired chorizo, and watched a bit of a busking performance for kids.

View up the inside of the tower.

View up the inside of the tower.

Craig and Mary arrived about an hour after we got home, and Christina and Mary made a Skype call to talk to Craig’s other sister and his stepdad. After that, we had a light dinner (involving pimientos de Padrón) and chatted for a while before bed.

Saturday 25/8: After a bit of a sleep-in and a light breakfast, we headed out for a long walk around the sculpture gardens to the Tower of Hercules. Craig and I had never been in, which is a bit shocking given that it’s A Coruña’s major symbol!

We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes, since only 30 people can be in the tower at a time, but it was worth it. The information panels scattered throughout the tower were useful, and the views from the top were awesome.

After that, we walked along the paseo marítimo, pausing outside the aquarium to see the seals, then continuing on to find a restaurant for a menu del día lunch. Then we spent a couple of hours in the Domus, learning about human beings in general and ourselves in particular — I learned that my blood pressure is very low and that Craig really knows how to relax.

After a couple of hours’ rest at home, we walked down to Maria Pita square. The symphony orchestra was playing a concert at 10pm, so we arrived at around 9pm to make sure we got good seats — we found some great ones right at the back. I ran down to La Bombilla to pick up some tapas, which we ate while we were waiting for the concert to start, to the envious looks of the people around us. The concert was really good, featuring a range of pieces from Gershwin to Mozart.

Symphony orchestra concert

Symphony orchestra concert.

Sunday 26/8: We got up a little earlier and went for a long walk around the paseo marítimo — along the beach, past the Millenium spike and the octopus, to the Monte de San Pedro elevator. After riding up the elevator and taking some photos of the view, we had a drink and cake at the café at the top of the hill, then Craig took Mary and Christina into the labyrinth and abandoned them.

View from Monte de San Pedro

View from Monte de San Pedro

When they had found their way out, we wandered around the gardens then took the bus back to our area of town. Lunch was at our favourite pulpeira, where we ate a lot of octopus as well as finally trying navajas (razor clams).

Next, we walked down to the Mendez Nuñez gardens to check out the book fair. There were about 20 stalls, featuring a variety of new and second-hand books and comics. Obviously I wanted to buy almost everything, but managed to hold myself back. Mary and Christina bought a couple of things, though.

The comic exhibition was also open by the time we’d finished at the book fair, so we stopped in to check out the comics on display before picking up some bread and chorizo for dinner at two of the other stalls. On the way home we stopped at Manxares for afternoon tea, and Christina got to try a sample of their mini pastries as she’d been wanting to do almost since she arrived.

Tasty pastries

Tasty pastries.

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