A promise kept


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Europe » Spain » Galicia
August 22nd 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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Gallego, the Galician language, is a mix of Spanish and Portuguese. I recognized the name of this store, Araujo, as the Portuguese last name of a crappy Brazilian basketball player that used to be on the Raptors.
Geo: 43.3718, -8.39592

A deep sleep ... I didn't want to wake up from such serene slumber ... 7 solid hours - way better than the 3-4 I've been averaging the past couple of weeks. It was much needed, but I needed even more - unfortunately the insane backpacker within reared his ugly head and dragged me out of bed so that I could get this trip started!

Off to San Agustin market for breakfast, and then off to pick up a SIM card for the unlocked cell phone I picked up in Chile. It'll be useful for booking hotels, and for executing a grand plan I hatched in South America ... (see blog entry entitled "For a good time, call ..." http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/7/1230345480/tpod.html)

I went to a Movistar store to inquire about the SIM card, but they didn't have any. They did however, offer a promotion on a pre-paid phone for 19 Euros, which would probably be about the same price as picking up a SIM card anywhere else. It was a no brainer just to get a new phone because tracking down a SIM card would have been a time waster, and given how often I travel to Spain, I might as
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San Agustin market.
well have an actual Spanish cell phone.

The weather was cool this morning, and not too hot - quite pleasant. I killed some time, doing nothing in particular, just enjoying walking around in my fave country. La Coruna is quite spread out, which makes for some nice long walks. After, I went back to the same empanada lady at the San Agustin market where I picked up breakfast, in order to pick up a picnic to take over to the Torre Hercules (Hercules Tower). I also picked up some local cheese - though a number of stalls offered this local specialty, my decision was a no-brainer. Yup, you guessed it - I went to the one with the hottest senorita working there. When I think of cheese ladies, I think of some butch old lady in lederhosen with an accent like Arnold Schwarzenegger's. Well, this cheese lady certainly shattered that perception, and surprised me that all that cheese didn't melt under such natural Spanish hotness!

The tower is actually a lighthouse dating from 2 BC, and is the oldest functioning roman lighthouse in the world. Torre Hercules is a bit of a misnomer I think, because as a lighthouse, it should be
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Breakfast - a Galician-style meat empanada, a bit burnt and too crunchy, but pretty good.
called a faro. This brought back some traumatic memories, as I remembered the faro in La Serena, Chile, where spending an afternoon on the beach contributed to a horrific facial sunburn (see blog entry entitled "I'm hideous!!!" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/7/1199241780/tpod.html)

After, I went for a bit of a walk and grabbed the first cafe con leche of the trip. Not very good. I caught a bit of the qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix as I watched, and lamented not being able to catch an F1 race this summer, as originally planned. Being there for the Valencia race would have also been nice, but I can't imagine sitting and watching in the +40 C heat you commonly find there.

Caught a bit of a newscast, and they were talking about the high temperatures in Sevilla. Local authorities issued an orange alert, advising locals to take care, stay in the shade, and carry water with them wherever they go. The temperature? 42 C - that is quite high, but I thought this was normal for Sevilla! But it makes you wonder - if 42 C is only an orange alert, what's considered a red alert? 50 C???

I couldn't help but feel sorry for
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And finally - the Canary Island flavour of my favourite brand of juice, Pascual. I was never able to sample this while in the Canary Islands, but have finally done it outside of them. Unfortunately it wasn't all that memorable, as the flavour was dominated by banana.
the poor schmuck of a reporter, as he was standing in the streets of Sevilla reporting on the story, wearing a dark suit! I could almost predict the next headline - "Spanish reporter dies of heat exhaustion, live on air" Also noteworthy was the news anchor Meritxell, a prime example of why I always return to Spain. Ahh ... Spain ... how I love you ... and especially your women ...

Off to the beach, but only for a quick stroll, as I was too lazy to change into my swimsuit and slather on some suntan lotion. Playa del Orzan was absolutely packed on what turned out to be a hot, sunny day like today. There's only one thing better than beautiful bodies on the beach - and that's beautiful Spanish bodies on the beach! It's really the first Spanish beach I've been on that's been full of Spanish people.

Though I guess there was the beach in Las Palmas, but it was a bit chilly that time of year for too many people to be there (see blog entry entitled "America the beautiful" http://www.travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/pwong/canaries-2007/1199402340/tpod.html). The only bad thing about the beach is that it's more gravel than sand, and also
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A sign looking for families to adopt cats. An Asian family walked up and after seeing the sign, said "Ahh ... that will be our special tonight at our restaurant ..."
that the water is supposed to be quite cold. A client I've been working with used to live in La Coruna and he told me that the ocean in Galicia is good only for fishing, not for swimming. I'll have to drag Mary here one day, because there are tons of guys that are right up her alley. And since anywhere in Spain has tons of women that are right up my alley, it's a good vacation spot for both of us!

So far, I have absolutely loved La Coruna. Who knew it was so good? If I did, I would have visited long ago! Though there is a bit of a story for why I chose to come to La Coruna. On my first ever trip to Spain, I took a very early morning train (5 AM or so) from Salamanca to Santiago. I was coming in and out of consciousness, and I remember waking up at one point and seeing the most beautiful, shimmering ocean, absolutely dazzling under the brilliant Spanish sun. "Wow ..." was the only thought that came into my mind at that moment, as I sat on the train, completely awestruck at such a mesmerizing sight.
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It was already early afternoon and having not eaten lunch yet, a pick-me-up was in order - a crappy granola bar.


I made a mental note of the next train station we pulled into - it was La Coruna. At that moment, I promised myself that I would one day visit La Coruna. Of course, at the time I knew I'd come back to Spain, but never would have guessed that I'd come to La Coruna on my sixth visit to Spain! A lot of promises are never fulfilled, but I'm truly glad that I kept this promise to myself. In fact, I think I'll make another promise to myself to one day return to La Coruna, once more.

After the beach, I headed over to FNAC to see if I could buy a pre-paid card to recharge the minutes on my cell phone. I realized that I've crossed a very dangerous line with my Spanish - the girl wasn't understanding me, and I wasn't understanding her, when she was trying to explain that they don't bother with pre-paid cards here because you just go to the till and they do it there.

Anyway, I think my Spanish has improved to the point where people I talk to think I actually live there. It's still obvious that it isn't my first
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It's a bit of a trek out to the tower from the old town. Along the way, I passed a cemetery, which offered some surprisingly nice views of the ocean.
language, but I probably speak it at a level of somebody who has lived there for a short time. So at times when I'm just not getting what should be a simple idea, people (like this girl, for example) give off a vibe of "Are you stupid? Why aren't you understanding what I'm saying?" They'd probably be more forgiving if I still bumbled through the language like I did my first time in Spain.

So when I figured out what to do, I went up to the till, where the girl asked me for the cell number. "Uh ... I don't know?" Again, a look of "Are you an idiot? How do you not know your own number?" Give me a break, I just got it this morning! So I went back to the pension to grab the documentation, and later returned with the number, to the same girl. And after all that effort ... it didn't work! Apparently, there was an issue with the FNAC computer system.

Back to the pension for a quick chill, and to see if the owner had any restaurant recommendations. He suggested Meson del Pulpo, which turned out to be only an OK recommendation. After,
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Not sure if this was a pick up soccer game, or a practice for a club team.
I went for a walk down along the waterfront, then back to the old town. Spain is always hopping at night, with one particularly popular tapas bar so busy that its patrons all spilled out onto the surrounding streets. In fact, there were probably more people outside of the packed bar than on the inside. Times like this make me wish I had a travel companion 😞 Tapas bars just aren't the same when going solo!


Additional photos below
Photos: 41, Displayed: 28


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I think this fat dude is Geryon, a giant from Roman mythology, who was killed by Hercules after a battle that lasted several days.
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Giant sundial, with a shot of the beautiful sea in the background.
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Torre Hercules.
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Picnic at the tower - the local cheese was quite yummy, soft and sweet - kinda like the cheese lady's voice, and like the voice of any Spanish senorita, for that matter! The cheese did have a bit of a waxy shell that detracted from the taste. The tuna empanada was a bit fishy, to no surprise, but still good. Tough to see because it's coated in powdered sugar, but in the top left hand corner of the rock is the Santiago tart. I may have had it before, but who knows, since Spanish food is so forgettable! Almond, with a macaroon-like texture - soft, chewy, and moist, it was a bit too sweet but pretty good.
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More views of the beautiful Galician coast.
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And one more for good measure!
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A little break - the first cafe con leche of the trip! Pretty average.
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There's a couple of main beaches in town. I think this is Playa del Orzan.
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Some would call this an overly confident man. Some would call this inappropriate. I call this a crime against humanity. Just because you can physically fit into a Speedo doesn't mean you should wear one! I suppose it's like the Yin and Yang, two complete opposites - if you have incredible beauty such as beautiful Spanish women on the beach, you must have the polar opposite, which is unfathomable ugliness, such as this man's 2-sizes-too-small Speedo.
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After seeing that last photo, here's something beautiful to cleanse your eyes.
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Cool fountain along the beachfront paseo.
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Another cool fountain.


7th October 2009

You're not supposed to eat the wax...
11th July 2010

The official name of the city is A Coruņa, after decades being banned.

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