We are in Galicia this week. I should have asked the regional government to issue a warning ‘Attencion! Kelli is Aqui! DRIVING. Protect children and animals. Stay in your homes. I repeat! Stay in your homes!’
We arrived in the dark on a stormy night. It was late and the car rental at the station was shuttered after our train arrived an hour late, So we had to take a taxi to the airport to pick up our car. I had reserved an automatic because, well, ‘qualified’ doesn’t equal proficient, and its been a long tine since I drove a stick. Why tempt fate? But since the only automatics they had were a BMW 5 series or a Mercedes C class I was going to be driving das boat on Galician roads. Not roads as scary as Ireland but narrow nonetheless.
Ah yes! And my old friends las glorietas galore! Roundabouts on a dark and stormy night. Jeff is resting comfortably after the seven heart attacks he had as I navigated us thru as many roundabouts and crazy turns. Streets so narrow I had to do three point right turns. Good news! His stress rash has almost cleared up and he’s no longer hyperventilating as we head the down the road.
We stopped in Ares for lunch. Its a lovely little pueblo on a cove with its own marina. As I parked das boat, the town came out to watch. Jeff got out of the car after my 8th attempt on the narrowest street in the world, to ensure my behemoth German driving machine wouldn’t block others from getting by.
‘So the whole town knows the Americans are here.’ He told me as we walked to a waterfront eatery.
‘How’s that?’ I asked him.
‘Well, I think it might have been your swearing with your window rolled down. And the fact that parking doesn’t come natural to you here.’
‘I hardly think was that bad.’ I said defensively.
He laughed. ‘Are you kidding?! The bar emptied out and the mayor came out of the town hall. People were pointing and I’m pretty sure there were bets being placed on your chances of success. You’re infamous and we don’t even live here. I think your picture will appear in the next issue of their newspaper under the headline ‘La Idiota!’
‘Remind me.’ I said. ‘Who has her Spanish driving license? Oh yeah, now I remember.’ I smiled proudly.
Ok, so he’s broken out his secret Spanish, and I’ve mostly, been impressed. He knows more than I thought – chatting with a waitress at the seaside cafe.
And I must toot my own language horn after getting a compliment from an architect about my comprehension skills. I may not have all the words at my disposal to conjure a real time rapid fire conversation about plot sizes, easements, permitting, etc. But, by some miracle, I found I was able to understand what our agent, the homeowner and the architect were talking about and translate it for El Jefe in real time. Jeff’s jaw dropped at one point. Even I was surprised and it wasn’t a onetime thing. I got an actual ‘Impressive’ from him after confirming it with the architect. This is good news because these days there are times I can hardly remember what I went to the grocery store to purchase. So apparently my brain is still functioning.
The views here are breathtaking and the beauty is wild, much like western Ireland. When this week is over we will be sad to leave. I think we found where our hearts will reside in optimal happiness. Nothing but a little driving practice, and infamy, is standing in our way. And in the grand scheme of things, that’s a problem easily solved.
I’m adding some photos. Just a small sample of the raw beauty and uniqueness of Galicia. For us, the most beautiful of the provinces of Spain. Enjoy!!