Travel diary: Summer events in A Coruña

A Coruña really gets going in August, so we’ve spent the week enjoying some of the events that the city has put on. It’s been even better because our Austrian friend Sabine is staying with us.

Monday 30/7: After a successful work day for both of us, I headed across town for my evening class. When I came home, Craig had dinner ready, but had made the error of eating just one pimiento de Padrón — it was the hottest one to date, at least a seven on our 1-10 scale. I didn’t believe him until I got an equally hot one later on — it was impressive. We spent most of the evening just trying to calm our mouths down.

A Coruña port.

Tuesday 31/7: Another work day, full of both Indie Travel and teaching work. We also spent some time thinking about our post-Coruña trip: at the moment it’s looking like a couple of months in Portugal, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, and a few other places.

Wednesday 1/8: I spent most of the day doing research for the post-Coruña trip while Craig worked. I also had a class with a lovely new student in the afternoon — I’d told one of my bosses that I was keen to have a few more hours, and he found me four new students. Two have just signed up for classes in August, which is perfect for me since it’s my last month here, and I’m taking over from other teachers who are on holiday for the other two.

Soon after I got home from work, Craig arrived from the train station with our friend Sabine, who is staying with us for a week — we’re so lucky! We had dinner, which included the other half of the spicy peppers (she got a hot one, but it can’t have been a 7/10 because she didn’t cry), then headed out to Maria Pita Square to see a bit of the La Oreja de Van Gogh concert. It seemed like everyone in the city was there — the square was packed and there were lots of people lining the stairs and low walls at the town hall end of the square. We only stayed for about half an hour, but it was enough time to enjoy the music and the atmosphere.

Delicious presents.

Thursday 2/8: My busy Thursdays have just got busier with the addition of three new students to my teaching schedule. Luckily I have a long break in the middle, which we used to go out for lunch at the Rectorado restaurant, which has cheap, tasty food and excellent views.

After lunch, Sabine and I played Set and then Phase 10, which she’d brought with her, and then I had to head off for another few hours of teaching. Sabine went to the beach and Craig worked, and in the evening we introduced Sabine to the Supersizers TV show.

Friday 3/8: We all split up for the morning: I had another new class, Craig worked, and Sabine went to the beach again (there are no beaches in Austria, so she’s making the most of our abundant supply). We had a light lunch, then walked around the paseo marítimo, past the millenium spike and octopus statue, and caught the elevator up the Monte de San Pedro. We had a coffee then wandered around the gardens; Sabine and I walked through the labyrinth as well.

A cannon on the Monte de San Pedro.

After a relaxing afternoon that involved a couple of games of Phase 10 and Monopoly Deal, we met Oliva, Guille, Laura, and Alberto for tapas at O Recuncho de Mayte. Then we went for a wander around town, visiting an old wall and the Méndez Núñez gardens — where we saw the regional houses selling food from various different regions of Spain.

Saturday 4/8: We’d almost run out of coffee, so we went on a field trip to Siboney café to buy some and have breakfast at the same time. Afterwards, Craig went home to get some work done while Sabine and I headed to the Domus. We tried out all the exhibits, including the relaxation game — the attendant puts a brainwave reader around the heads of the two players, who sit on opposite sides of a table with a ball in the middle of it. If you have less brain activity than the other player, the ball moves away from you and you win when the ball reaches the other side of the table. (Sabine won.)

Ana Belen, live in concert.

In the afternoon, we played a few rounds of Phase 10 and Monopoly Deal before meeting Oliva, Guille and Alba at O Recuncho de Mayte for dinner. After that, we headed down to Maria Pita Square for a concert by Ana Belen — one of Spain’s most-loved singers, and the singer of the famous Puerta de Alcalá song that we’ve heard so often. Sadly, she didn’t sing that one, since she performs it with her husband and he wasn’t there, but it was a great two-hour concert. Being there with Oliva made it even better because she was so excited; she also explained some of the background to the songs to me, which I then passed on to Sabine.

We got home at around 12.30 and weren’t really ready to sleep, so we played a few games before bed.

Sunday 5/8: The day started with a sleep-in for all of us, after which Craig cooked eggs for breakfast. The women’s marathon was on, so we watched that while Craig and I tapped away on our computers.

When Sabine got back from visiting the aquarium, the synchronised swimming was on — given full coverage because Spain is a medal contender. We watched it all the way through, creating our own scoring based on attractiveness of the outfits and how silly the pre-pool routine was. We also watched some gymnastics and athletics while playing Phase 10 and Monopoly Deal.

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