We are taking the motorway northwards into Spain, I have a specific destination in mind (more to revealed soonest) and it’s almost an hour and a half drive from the Portuguese border. That’s motorway time according to the SatNav.
I calculate the route back via the winding coastal road… almost three hours, so we will do the fast route up and then the long way home with the option of cutting back to the motorway if stomachs decide not to comply with the coastal plan.
Motion sickness pills have been taken so we hope for the best and the day is glorious and shaping up to be a hot one, so great so far…
We are heading first for Vigo, and then further north… the scenery is somehow quite different to Portugal, Portugal seems neater, more uniform and better kept.
In comparison Spain seems so much more ramshackle and untidy. We see beautifully kept buildings next to disheveled ones, half completed ones, vacant lots. In lots of places it looks really run down and there are billboards and advertising everywhere, other bits are old and beautiful, then you round the next corner and it’s a dump again.
It’s a region of the country that attracts Spanish tourists rather than international ones, and we are hard pressed to spy a foreign number plate anywhere, Even Portuguese ones are scarce. Certainly when you stop anywhere there is no English spoken, it’s Spanish or nothing…
Fortunately Himself hunts languages in his spare time for fun and his own face pulling admission of ” having a few words of Spanish“ is way off beam once he starts to put it into practice, he has Spanish enough to chat basic menu’s, ask directions, ask questions that people actually understand… and interpret the replies.
Yes I know, that level of language sponginess is sickening to those of us for whom learning one is a blood, sweat and tears event (in about that order too) but it’s also darned helpful if you are travelling off the beaten track in the non touristic area where no-one is able or willing to utter a single word of English.
We wend our way over beautiful bridges…
past glistening bays with I think what might be floating mussel farms in them….
past a sign that appears to warn fluorescent cars against hitting fluorescent deer … ( does it mean: “Beware, in the Twilight Zone our deer hunt cars in pairs!?”)
an unexpected lighthouse…
a monastery that serenely overlooks the water…
and buildings that range from plain crazy to delightful.
I even spy a Spanish postbox… now, you know by past posts that I like post boxes don’t you?… This one gets top marks in my view… it’s an art form. I’m adding it to my collection here:
http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/just-as-i-promised-you-its-in-the-mail/ and the ones featured in this post: http://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/airport/
Later, off the motorway, the SatNav cheerfully takes us over a small bridge into a small town where the streets suddenly shrink rapidly, and we eventually end up taking an unexpected shortcut though a little maze of alleyways that the car barely fitted in.
After ignoring a few impossible instructions (turn right into a side “street” that was barely the breadth of a single human being, let alone a car) and getting sick of the “turn around when possible” chant. Luckily Ms SatNav goes silent whilst she recalculates our route and we spy some signs that do a better job than she did until she recovered her wits.
Someone needs to add ” Oops sod it, sorry, Crap, now I’m lost too” to her vocabulary… or at least “ Sorry, fouled that one up royally, didn’t I ?”
Still, in taking the ” scenic route” we manage to see a little more of some small towns than most locals probably do… and I get some funny photographic shots, like this building there someone’s seen fit to put roof tiles on the side of the building … not all of it mind you, just three quarters of it. Probably they were left over from doing the roof and they just used them on the side as well until they ran out?? Who knows… local eccentricity at it’s best.
I also manage a very bad shot of a statue on a traffic island of a hiker… it was beautiful but we were about to make a shady slightly illegal, oops am I really in the wrong place? U turn, in order to not end up in another street to seemed to lead back into the ally system that we just escaped from, so this blur will have to give you an impressionists idea.
It’s an interesting journey and the sudden appearance in the last 40 minutes of the trip of Nintendo’s are keeping two little restless monsters in the back seat blissfully silent in the back seat. (Nintendo’s in our house are reserved solely for plane and long car trip use and are therefore very much the novelty)
We are almost there !…..