Is that the sea I smell?

Trip Start Jun 05, 2006
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28
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Trip End Aug 01, 2006


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Flag of Spain  ,
Wednesday, July 19, 2006

So yesterday we had a quick lunch with the Caseys at our favorite Spanish fast-food chain, Pans & Co., said our sad goodbyes, and headed to the train station to meet Anton. I gave him a call to find what car he was in, and we all piled in to embark on an 8 hour trip across northwestern Spain. We actually managed to keep the conversation going for the first 7 hours of the trip, as we sped under a dim cloud cover across flat plains, and then deep river valleys, and then increasingly green, knobby mountainsides. Though I had only had lunch with Anton once in Nashville, just after graduation, Jon and I found him incredibly easy to get along with, and made quick friends. This, of course, was not a little bit affected by the fact that Anton had already invited us both to stay at his grandmother's house for an undisclosed amount of time (we're staying 4 days).

When we arrived in Vigo, we found it to be a quaint, clean city sloping toward the sea. We walked a few blocks from the train station to where Anton's family lives, and were very warmly greeted by his mother, who was exhausted after a trip to Cuba, and his father, who said "Teneis caras de buena gente (You two have the faces of nice people)". And the feeling was mutual. From there we hopped in Anton's car and drove a few minutes to Anton's grandparents house, where we were again welcomed enthusiastically by "los abuelos" and Anton's uncle, a huge movie buff with a DVD collection of over 1,000, who lives with and watches over the grandparents. After we settled in (it was already nearing midnight), Anton's grandma had already prepared us a Spanish tortilla with some fish and mussels, that we consumed immediately with relish (and I don't mean pickles).

This morning we hiked up the street behind los abuelos' house, to the Parque de la Guía, where there is a nice little church at the top and a great view of the "ría", which is the Galician term for the wide estuary created by the sea coming in to meet an outflowing river. And the view was absolutely gorgeous, the morning clouds having cleared as we climbed the hillside. After that, la abuela prepared us a wonderful lunch of a seafood salad, with fresh crab and shrimp and fish, and empanada, which in this case was basically a succulent fish-meat pie. And somehow, after following that up with two cups of coffee, Jon and I managed to pass out for an hour. (We think our sleep-deprived bodies are craving sleep, now they've gotten a little bit of it.)

When Anton woke us up, it was time to head to the radio station, 96.5FM ECCA, where he does a radio show, "Club Country", a full hour of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Little Jimmy Dickens amid Spanish pop rock and a world-folk show. (And in case you're wondering, Anton says he's had no callers in the 6 years he's been doing the show. Jon tried to console him by suggesting that maybe it wasn't in the culture to call into a radio show. Anton said, no, it's probably just because Spanish people don't like country.) In any case, whatever listenership Club Country has, if they had tuned in today, they would have heard Jon and I being introduced as students from Vanderbilt, right outta Nashville (although it was curiously never mentioned outright that we were American) and then they would have heard the producer rattle off a few questions at us in Galician about Kentucky Fried Chicken and Jack Daniels, to which there were several "sí"s and probably a "Galicia es muy bonita." But it was quite a pleasant surprise, as neither Jon nor I had ever been on the radio, much less Spanish radio, and that pretty much made our day.

Tomorrow we're supposed to go walk along this beachfront path that Anton says will be very picturesque, and then after lunch, go across the ría to another fishing village where Anton's girlfriend Jasmin lives, and go to the beach. Oh yeah, and there's also this little thing tomorrow night about Franz Ferdinand playing in Vigo---so, we don't have tickets but supposedly you can still get pretty close just outside the tiny little venue for free and still see the concert. And I think that just might match the incredible first day in Galicia we had today. More on the validity of that assessment tomorrow. For now...sleep. I hope you all are doing very fine indeed back home.

Sweet dreams,

Mateo
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