23 October 2013

#41 - On the hour 21:00 until further notice

Food poisoning was the cause of my bloated full feeling. After deciding i wasn't   hungry I got some wine and water from the bar, and the wine was not sipped... 
So missing out on the planned trip to Finisterre today, will try to rejig trip so I can still go there...

22 October 2013

#40 - On the hour 20:00

See - I was working!

And here it is, up to date... time for me to go lay on the bed and read a bit more until I feel slightly hungry again...

#39 - On the hour 19:00

well, OK, I didn't go straight to update the photos... I put my feet up on the sofa with a bottle of water, and watched Homeland on the internet... then I got to work, promise!

#38 - On the hour 18:00

old faithful...

The poor thing has been blown inside out more times in the last couple of days than ever before in it's life! Back in the hotel bathroom to dry out a bit (the umbrella, I'm doing my drying out sitting at the computer & updating the blog!)

#37 - On the hour 17:00

aha...


So this is where all the water flows to... I wonder how full it was before Sunday?

#36 - On the hour 16:00

Side streets...


I love wandering down side streets and seeing the non-touristy side of a place. The elegant entrances to car parks (well, some of them); the cathedral spires rearing over a spiked metal railing, the wheelie bins lined up on a stone balustrade...
This house looked abandoned, in the way that houses in New Orleans do when they're not. The dog was wandering ahead of it's owners, so I managed to snap it a couple of moments before they came into shot.

#35 - On the hour 15:00

Pulpe...

Delicious delicious octopus! Not a phrase I use all that often to be honest, but this is a speciality of Galicia. It's very meaty, and what with the other tapas dish I had at lunchtime, I am still full five hours later... 

#34 - On the hour 14:00

What more could you want?

Honestly, between leaving the cathedral and getting here I wandered, and took loads of pictures. It's just that the Taperìa San Xoan was where I was at exactly 2pm... well, a girl has to eat tapas and drink vinos :)

#33 - On the hour 13:00

More than one!



After Mass was finished, all bets were off re taking pictures inside the cathedral. I loved its high high vaulted ceilings and the soft warm light on the beige/grey stone. And, I wasn't praying for sun, but hoping anyway; my favourite picture of that hour snapped as a shaft of sunlight picks out the non-ceremonial incense burner.

#32 - On the hour 12:00

Sneaky...

You are told at the entrance, no backpacks (which must be difficult for the pilgrims) and no taking pictures during the mass. Which around 50% of the people ignored as soon as the Botafumeiro came out and started it's insane swinging... 
This sneaky shot is at 12:00 pm, sitting in pews mostly (except me, as a non Christian I sat off to the side on the base of a pillar, tried to be respectful listening to the service). A nun had such a beautiful pure voice. There were 6 men in white robes, some of whom only had two short lines (basically to say welcome thanks for coming and being a pilgrim to Saint Iago/James in several languages); and further men in red robes to hold out the cap for money, and to prepare & swing the incense. It seemed an unfair balance somehow. The organ player sat metres and metres above us, with his back to us, I could see his shirt collar above a black jumper. 

#31 - On the hour 11:00

Labyrinthine...


The steps from the praza down to the church of St Martin, very near to my hotel. Somehow, they look straight forward here, but they seem more complicated in real life... there are anyway way more steps than you actually need to get down a level, and circuitous too. Santiago is not a city for wheelchairs.
The sun was lightening the grey at this stage, teasing it, and me, with the chance of coming out, maybe...

#30 - On the hour 10:00

And, breakfast...

Melon, dates, prunes; two types of chorizo and a slice of manchega cheese, fresh orange juice and a coffee. Delicious. Oh, and somehow, somehow, a slice of tarte santiago sneaked in there too...

#29 - On the hour 09:00

Shower time...


That's my orange shower bag through the frosted window into the bathroom... A lazy morning, woke around six and then again a bit after eight... that's a holiday :)
Just after the shower, I can see it is getting lighter...

21 October 2013

#28 - On the hour 22:00

Still hungry?

After Botafumeiro, I wandered again, in the close streets the rain did not seem so bad as in the more open prazas; and I found another taperìa, Piorno. Here I have anchovies and those lovely fired peppers, salted, and every now and then, a hot pepper in the mix of generally sweet ones. They look the same, I don't know how come some are hot... Another glass of chilled white wine and I go for a third plate of tapas - fried squid, which is tender and delicious, but the chips underneath beat me, I can't finish them all...
And so, back to the hotel for bed. No internet still when I get back, so I start the next book, Orhan Pamuk's The museum of innocence. It's a brick, which means I won't put it in my bag to read in cafes or restaurants tomorrow.

#27 - On the hour 21:00

what's on the menu?

The first stop after deciding not to go on wandering aimlessly was Botafumeiro (which is the name of the incense burner in the cathedral). I had a glass of wine with a slice of Spanish omelette, for the princely sum of €2.00; and a cosy time watching the young girl (daughter of the family) coach a German man to speak Spanish. When I commented that surely Spanish was easier to learn than German she replied that the sounds were very difficult for some people to get their mouths around. 
In the bars & restaurants, the stone walls are irregular and have pennies, cents balanced on them; I assume to give thanks for arriving at the end of a pilgrimage - since mine was only a short walk from the hotel I didn't leave one.


#26 - On the hour 20:00

Too wild?


A few hardy souls "shelter" in a vaulted corridor next to the cathedral. Even though the corridor is 20m or more long, the wind blows the rain through and there is only minimal shelter right at the sides. Squeals come from the open praza in front of the cathedral, no-ones umbrella is capable of coping with the wind tonight. Despite all this, I love the wildness... but I do go and find a taperia or two to get drier

#25 - On the hour 18:00 & 19:00

In the land of Nod... the internet connection started playing up, and the earliest one can go out to eat here is 8pm, so I laid down on the bed and read, and finished Reading Lolita in Tehran, a thoughtful book. Then dozing, dreaming, in that strange filmic way, not sure whether it was a dream you remember or something you watched on tv a while back...

#24 - On the hour 17:00

I was sorting out some work related topics in the room, and booking flights for next week to go back to the UK for a short time. Partially exciting, steps on the way to achieving a goal.

#23 - On the hour 16:00

Siesta time!


Heading back to the warm & dry hotel! My walking boots are a colour I've never seen before from the amount of water they've soaked up, and the legs of my trousers are wet to just below the knee. I may be going on about the rain a lot, but it's mild enough still - and actually quite exhilarating walking around in it. Of course, now that I gave up and came back to the hotel it's actually eased off into a mere drizzle, but tough! A siesta on the bed to finish off my book is just what I need ;)

#22 - On the hour 15:00

No point leaving yet...


Just outside the Mercado de Abastos - inside was mostly closing up for the day - I guess lunchtime is not the best time to visit, but earlier in the morning. Outside the restaurant was a row of granite blocks with water pooled on top of them, reflecting the sky when the rain slowed to drizzle, churning when the rain fell as it mostly did.
But, I was full and had a couple of glasses of wine, and so I decided to brace myself & visit the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea. Closed on Mondays ;)

#21 - On the hour 14:00

Lunch time..


Fell across this place, just at the north corner of the Mercado de Abastos on the Praza de S. Agostino. On the windows are a frosted glass panel, engraved with a shoal of fish, and a cat with two fish in it's belly. A glance through the windows convinced me it was where the top office guys went for dinner - a man in a blazer, a couple of men in smartish jumpers and shirts, but when I sat down and people watched it was obvious that only one man was even Spanish. The food was described as Galician - white beans and onions in a tomato sauce with chorizo to start; hake with (I think, curly kale) and potatoes for main, and babá something for pudding - a biscuity/bready thing with rum soaked raisins and blobs of chocolate goo ;)
Delicious...

#20 - On the hour - 13:00

Sit and catch up...


Uploading the photos from this morning to the computer while the rain gets heavier. I found the Old Fishmarket square, Mum will be pleased ;) My path wandered aimlessly, and I saw a couple of the places I walked past last night when trying to find the hotel, and pretty as Santiago looks in the rain, my trousers were pretty wet around the bottom, so I thought I would come back to the hotel. I feel slightly guilty about not being out and about while I am on holiday, but the whole point is that I am on holiday and I do have a nice room which I am perfectly comfortable to sit in and reflect in...


#19 - On the hour - 12:00

Rain...


OK - I have no idea how I got this effect... I was standing in the archway to a shop, chatting to some English tourists, and remembered that it was coming up to the hour. I snapped a picture of the quilts in the shop window, and more umbrellas being walked up the street, and then this, I must have been moving, and the flash went off due to the low light level, and I love the result...

#18 - On the hour - 11:00

Near the cathedral...


Stone flags everywhere, here, looking down over Rúa dos Hortos from the bottom left corner of the Praza do Obradoiro (if you are facing the cathedral, as virtually everyone does.)
I have no idea what the large pink teaspoon shaped thing in the bottom of the picture is - I was after the shapes of the umbrellas as they (or the people underneath them) climbed up the hill. I can only assume that it is a large pink teaspoon for reasons lost to me.
I did look at the outside of the cathedral, and in lots of ways this place is a strange place for me to come to since I am not at all religious. I will probably go inside this afternoon if the rain keeps up, or head over to the museum of modern art.

#17 - On the hour 10:00

Getting ready to go out...

The higgeldy piggeldy skyline from the hotel window, and the scudding rain clouds behind... Santiago is famously wet, and famous for looking nice in the rain. It's too mild this morning for a coat, so I put on quick drying clothes and pick up the umbrella...

#16 - On the hour 09:00

Finally, dawn...


Below my window, a perfect palm unfolds, next to a walkway to the terrace garden. Which is shut, it is out of season and it is showery at the moment.

#15 - On the hour 08:00

Waking up...


Time to plug in the computer and get those images uploaded here...
It was still dark outside - this far to the west the sun rises late.


20 October 2013

#14 - On the hour 23:00

Nearly bedtime...

It was an early start, 5:30am, as I hate packing so much. I'd packed inexpertly and mentally several times the previous evening, but had to do it physically that morning. The wine made me sleepy, and I left without finishing it all... back to the hotel and waiting for the morning. I read in a paper recently, some (business woman?) had said she liked arriving in a place in the dark, and finding out where she was when she opened the curtains... I prefer to know where I am, I think.

#13 - On the hour 22:00

Dinner time at last...

I finally found the hotel after wandering blindly and asking a few people. The rain had mostly stopped but I did feel stupidly helpless and lost. The TomTom battery doesn't last 5 minutes away from the car so I got partway there, then it gave out. The iPod needs a wifi signal to show me where I am... The first thing I got at the hotel was a map, then directions to a restaurant. This restaurant wasn't it, but it was open, near and robust. Wine and fried sea bass and chocolate tarte...

#12 - On the hour 21:00

And I arrived...

Santiago is confusing at the first instance. My TomTom keeps trying to send me up the wrong streets. It's raining, sometimes heavily. I find my way to something approaching the town centre and head for the first signed car park. I remember to take a picture of the street so I might find it again! I take myself & my bags up the steep slopes into the old town.

#11 - On the hour 20:00

It's nearly dark. I am driving through Spain, I passed some wonderful sights in the twilight, a suspension bridge over a long sea inlet, lights and dusky wedgewood blue water, south of Pontevedra. I felt like I was driving onto a magic island.

#10 - On the hour 19:00

And en route...

it isn't easy to take pictures while driving one handed... this is the only one with a remotely straight horizon! The sky gets cloudier as I go north, but it moves, the wind is strong...

#9 - On the hour 18:00

I picked up the rental car, after waiting 30 minutes for the shuttle bus to come. Thanks Sixt. Probably won't be choosing them again. And set off, with my TomTom's Dalek voice gently guiding me through some back streets in a rat run to the motorway...

#8 - On the hour 17:00

I got confused when I stood at the baggage reclaim, waiting and waiting. The time was wrong. I hadn't realised Portugal & Spain were on different time zones.
My bag didn't come, a whole flight of people watched as a handful of bags eventually flopped out. A grey tray was deposited onto the track, and then the track stopped... The lady at the info counter said, just wait, and a few minutes later it started up again...

#7 - On the hour 16:00

Still not landed...

I have a slight tick when travelling... as long as the tray table catch is properly vertical, everything will be OK...

#6 - On the hour 15:00

The view...

Not so great, it's bright above the clouds of course, but we are below other clouds so we don't get full sun. I go back to reading my book, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. I decided, since I did not have so many Spanish books on my shelves, that I would go international, and so I have brought with me The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov, and The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk. I wonder if I should have brought something lighter for a change of pace...

#5 - On the hour 14:00

Heading the same way...

For now, at least... I am sat between two Portuguese girls, the one in the window seat is tiny, sitting, her head barely comes up to my shoulder, and she listens to her iPhone all the way. The other side, she is taller, and reading Dan Brown. I don't suppose that translation into Portuguese ,makes it any better... She falls asleep quickly, her hand in the book to mark the place, and snores softly.

#4 - On the hour 13:00

On the bus...

Always with the bus... In this case, two double (bendy) buses are needed to get everyone to the plane. We will not set off on time...

#3 - On the hour 12:00

And, waiting...


I always get to the airport early. There is always a lot of waiting around. I drink a bottle of coke, eat something, and am too warm. Everyone is waiting, and there are a lot of people, the flight must be fully booked as I only had the choice of 3 middle seats when I checked in. There are even 3 flights per day to Porto, it surprises me that a Sunday is so busy... I hear Portuguese (at least, what I assume is Portuguese), Spanish, English as well as German.

#2 - On the hour 11:00

Where to today?


I love these huge boards, with all the different destinations. This is in Frankfurt, terminal A. Lufthansa has automated check in machines, and now, automated baggage drop machines, and the board stands above the queues. There is even a flight to Koeln from here, which seems strange when the train I have just arrived on made it here from Koeln in 50 minutes.

#1 - On the hour 10:00

Setting off... Gleis 6


Waiting for the ICE to whisk me to Frankfurt, a platform space free of footfall for a moment. Even though the skies are white grey, it's not raining, in fact it feels mild, and I stuff my fleecy cardigan thing into my backpack and watch the other people on the platform. More people than get on the train, as the goodbyes spatter out like drops pushed forward by the onrushing train (if it were raining, yes I know I am mixing my metaphors dreadfully); the non travellers, the left behind kiss and fall back.

21 May 2013

#014 - penumbra


it's a bank holiday. the skies are darker now than when I woke. the rain divides my patio into wet and dry parts. it's grey-green noise, a soggy curtain between the inside and out. I'll get dressed soon...

20 May 2013

#013 - littoral


because my favourite place to be is on the edge of land and sea

05 December 2012

#012: nightmarish


clothes not fitting... running late... hopelessly late... someone tells you your teeth need brushing, a colleague you vaguely know and who would not under any circumstances be in your house, let alone observing your morning fluster (not a ritual, not that).
An anxiety dream, of course, but so real...

04 December 2012

#011: tumescent


you know... because... sometimes you can make things happen...

03 December 2012

#010: seething


oh, I was...
I am not good at being corrected...

02 December 2012

#009: roiling


Today's word selected to suit the image more than anything else. Yesterdays image was from San Diego, tarted up a little in Photoshop, and it got me looking through the other pictures I took at that time. Here, a simple crop, no trickery with Photoshop, a slice of the Pacific.

01 December 2012

#008: nuance


this is what I miss, the ability to shade and highlight in conversation, to say something is a slightly different way so it almost but not quite means the same thing.
I took my car to the garage yesterday, and in my kindergarten German was able to understand that no, they couldn't say exactly what was wrong with it now, that I should bring it in again on Monday where they would take a look at it, and then I would have to wait for an appointment to fix whatever they find. It took about 10 minutes to get to that point... would be maybe 30 seconds if we were both fluent in the same language... I miss not being fluent, and then, embarking on this self-set word a day challenge, I muse on how many people aren't fluent in their own language?

30 November 2012

#007: volatility


Just because I love the sound of this word, it fills the mouth with Merlot, it rolls and it flows, it holds streams and lava and shifting sands. Today the snow clouds blew in and stuck themselves in the corner of the sky, tumescent oysters and dirtied pom-poms alike; but they hurried themselves away without letting their flakes fall. Maybe tomorrow?

29 November 2012

#006: enervate


A late late working night... working from the comfort of my living room after leaving the office... presentations finally prodded into shape around 10pm... in touch with colleagues in Brazil, several time zones away... global working...

28 November 2012

27 November 2012

#004: susurrus


today, I was reading John Banville's The Infinities... his prose is pebble-dashed with beautiful & descriptive words, and I just liked susurrus... it wasn't even the best word in the sentence but it pulled it all together.

"Presently our faithful blackbird will try out a splash of liquid notes in the dimmened and newly oppressive air, and then will come the first and faintest susurrus of rain, like the sound of a blind man's fingers reading braille."
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