Venezuelan singers

Travel diary: Work, caves, and concerts in A Coruña

After doing almost nothing but work for the first six days of the week, we made sure to enjoy our Sunday.

Monday 13/8: We started the week as we meant to continue, by holing ourselves away and working. In the afternoon we wandered down to the marina so that Craig could see the tall ships, but they’d all left.

Tuesday 14/8: I had to start teaching at 9am, which is an early day for us! Otherwise we both just worked on ITP stuff. In the evening we met Oliva, Guille, Iván and Ima to watch the “war-memorial war” (as my student had described it): a naval battle recreated with fireworks. It was awesome; the fireworks were launched from both sides of the bay, as if the two sides were fighting each other. We had a good view from where we were positioned on the maritime walkway about halfway along the beach.

War-memorial war fireworks

War-memorial war fireworks

Craig headed home but I set off with the others to find Alba, who we hadn’t managed to make contact with — probably because everyone in the city was out looking at the fireworks and trying to call their friends. The six of us stood in the rain for a while to watch the outdoor concert that was going on, but the rain increased in intensity from “light” to “serious” and we decided to go to a bar for a drink. However, all the bars were packed, and I gave up after half an hour to head home.

Wednesday  15/8: The fact that it was a public holiday made absolutely no difference to our day at all, except for that buying bread was a bit more difficult. I don’t have any scheduled classes on Wednesday, and Craig’s life isn’t affected by other people not going to work.

Instead, we got up at a reasonable hour and were interviewed by for a BBC radio show featuring podcasters. It’s going to air next week and I’ll be really interested to hear it.

After that, I sat down to do a full read-through of the 260-page masterpiece that is our Buenos Aires guide. This took all the rest of the day. Until 1am, actually. We only left the house once — to go for a walk on the beach and pick up bread — otherwise, it was a serious work day.

Thursday 16/8: Another work day. For a change, though, I headed to school for eight hours of contact time, including a new class in the evening. Craig stayed home and cleaned the house in preparation of the arrival of our Couchsurfing guest — who never showed up. We still haven’t heard from her and don’t know if she’s had problems or is just rude. At least we got a clean house out of it.

Friday 17/8: After a full morning and early afternoon of ITP work, we headed down to the beach at about 5pm. It was high tide at our beach of choice, Matadero, which means everyone was crushed into a tiny sliver of sand. We saw a space and grabbed it, but unfortunately the tide hadn’t finished coming in, and attacked us! We retreated, left our slightly soggy towels on the rocks, and played frisbee in the water for half an hour or so. Then we headed over to the next-door beach, Orzán, where we found a patch of sand far away from the water.

Saturday 18/8: More work. And we didn’t even go out in the evening.

In Mondoñedo before the caving adventure

In Mondoñedo before the caving adventure

Sunday 19/8: An excellent day. It didn’t start too well, as neither of us slept too well and Craig had to get up early for a phone call to New Zealand. But after that, it certainly improved. We met Alba and her friends Lucía and Jorge and drove to Mondoñedo, where we had a coffee in their gorgeous town square (and saw lots of pilgrims doing the same) then headed to the Rei Cintolo caves for a guided tour.

All the best people had dirty butts

All the best people had dirty butts

We were given helmets, gloves and disposable overalls, then walked through the bush for ten minutes from the carpark to the entrance to the cave. The guide very kindly switched from Galician to Spanish so that Craig and I could understand, and explained that we’d be sliding, crawling, climbing and lowering ourselves down slopes with the help of ropes. Which is exactly what we then did. It was awesome. We moved very slowly through the cave system, and the guide explained the history of the caves and how the formations were formed. We saw stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flags, as well as a small lake and a raindrop room.

I had a brown butt when we came out, as a result of choosing to slide down the major slope face-first rather than go abseiling-style. The flimsy disposable overall hadn’t been much help there! At least we’d all come prepared with a change of clothes, so we got changed then headed back to Mondoñedo for another coffee.

We got back to Coruña at about 5pm and all headed home. However, Craig and I didn’t stay in for long. At 7pm we went to the stairs outside the Domus museum to watch some folk dancing, which featured groups from Spain, Siberia, and Venezuela.

Siberian singers

Siberian singers

We dropped home for a quick dinner, then I left again to meet Oliva, Guille, Iván and Ima to watch a concert in Maria Pita square. The music was okay, but the flying acrobatics that were awesome.

Being Sunday, our favourite tapas bars were closed, so we chose one in the second league (as Oliva put it) and had tapas and a few drinks. The others headed to the port to continue the evening, but I bowed out early — I’d done well on less than four hours sleep, but it was certainly time for bed.

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