Living in the Galician countryside comes with some interesting challenges, and opportunities. Your neighbors are sheep, horses, and cows with big horns. And you can find any of them out your kitchen window when you wake up to make coffee in the morning. The next door neighbor’s cat and mastiff are regular visitors, checking out the new Americans and leaning against your legs for a scratch behind the ears.
We took a drive to see the neighborhood. It was quiet in the afternoon through a series of 4 or 5 building villages as we meandered our way down country lanes. Our Sat Nav map pulled an Ireland on us and showed paths through chicken coups as viable roads. We only encountered one old woman out for a stroll in her apron and cane. No mask, so I’ll assume she’s gotten the jab. She waved, as everyone does here.
In this Xacabeo year, we’ve had a few groups of Peregrinos go past the house. Complete with the usual gear. These are to be differentiated from the many locals who use the path for a ramble or a run, heading in either direction. We were in Melide enjoying a wonderful lunch on Saturday at the Duas Ruas. The Melide food scene is a nice surprise. Yummy. The street and cafe were deserted at 3:30, when a door across the way opened and three people emerged with wooden walking sticks. By the time we got home we saw them walk past the house heading for Palas. Lots of local hiking groups with walking sticks out for the day. The horses across the road seem very interested in them all, after a quiet year.
But where is our house? We aren’t 100% sure. The Consello de Palas de Rei says our address is one set of words and numbers. The electric company says its another combination. The previous owners gave us an entirely different address. The only commonality is the number 8. Even the post code on some of them puts us in downtown Palas. Google maps has yet another set of data. This is what we had to give the movers so they could find the place using their phones.
Our internet provider has notified us they have made one attempt to deliver our equipment. But we were home and never saw them. And the gates were open. I asked Jeff what address he had given them. He just looked at me like he couldn’t believe I had bothered to ask.
We placed an Amazon test order, and are waiting to see if it arrives successfully. Then we will know which to use for such things. We have yet to meet the Correos (mail) delivery person. Our Valencian carrier knew us and could be counted upon to see our mail, no matter the butchered address, found its way into our box.
Our new next door neighbor, Carmen, came over and introduced herself. She saw the moving trucks and said she suspected we have too much furniture, since the sellers left theirs and she saw us hauling things into the barn. She offered to go with us in the car to a place in Melide who will buy it from us. That was a surprise. She is in her 70’s, with a husband in a wheelchair. She still works their farm with a flock of sheep and chickens. Jeff told her if she ever needs anything he will come help her. She seemed to like that.
It’s poetic that we arrived in Lugo on a week with a double holiday weekend. Saturday was May Day (Labor/Workers Day), as it is in nearly the whole world, except the US. And Sunday was Spanish Mother’s Day. All stores were closed on Saturday, including grocery stores. We were not prepared for this after moving, hence the lunch out. But, we learned that there is a key difference between Valencia and Galicia. On Sundays here, most grocery stores are open, if just until 2pm. In Valencia, this was not normal. So we headed into town for provisions.
WOW! Melide is a happening place at noon on a Sunday. There were actual traffic jams, packed sidewalks, bursting to the brim cafe terraces, and long lines at the grocery store. But we were thrilled to get food.
Melide is sleepy during the week, but the sellers had warned us its reputation as a weekend town full of nightlife is well known as far away as A Coruña. People drive here for it.
‘We met at a club in Melide when we were 19. Your daughter will love it when she comes to visit.’
Well, I’m a believer now. And we can attest to the throngs of hipsters roaming the streets and packing the cafes on a Sunday. Lots of designer duds, very cool hair cuts, and chic people who would not be out of place in NYC or London. It made me smile after the area where we live is mostly rubber boots and aprons, or Barbour coats the rest of the week.
We may have no idea how to direct anyone, including the mailman, to our new home. But we hardly care. We are finally here and that’s all that matters. Our world is now filled with small discoveries. And, after all, those are the best kind.