We have been spending the day looking around a small corner of Galatia, Spain.
We tried to find the “Museo de Monte de Santa Tefla” which is an archaeological museum that has a massive display of artifacts and partial reconstruction of an early Celtic Settlement. Himself and I are both very keen to see it.
Traffic is suddenly thick for such a small town, (I figure out later we are caught in the pre-dinner-time mini local rush hour).
We, as we tend to do quite well, get “just a little” lost, clearly have missed the signs for the settlement and eventually find ourselves on the small road that leads to the Portuguese border… .
Sometimes thing happen that are apparently meant to be, because just as we debate turning back to find the settlement, the kids choose precisely this moment to get a little more than restless in the back seat and Himself and I decide not to take years off our lives by trying to convince the tired and unwilling to participate further in “wonderful new places to see”.
We know there’s no hope of winning any showdown with logic when all the kids now have in mind is the swimming pool back at camp.
Parental lesson Number One: Pick Your Battles.
The Settlement is close by and can wait for another day.
So this is how we find ourselves driving to a little quay that will take us over the border.
…this time to crossing is not over the water, but on it. We are taking the ferry.
We park the car and Himself goes inside a small plain ticket office to get the tickets. He comes out running, gets in the car in a hurry and we get into the queue,.
The ticket seller told him that he thought that we might manage to be the last car to get in on this round and the ferry is fast approaching the dock, so with smiling, friendly advice to “ hurry!“ ringing in his ears Himself didn’t need telling twice.
These moments are exactly what Dutch long legs are made for.
He said the guy at the desk seemed to appreciate the rushed “Thanks!“ in Spanish and Portuguese before he sprinted out with a wave.
Indeed, we have only minutes to get onto the ferry, the ramp is down in no time, cars from the Portuguese side are coming off and I manage a few quick photos, intending to take some from the ferry itself once we are on.
We hesitate on the quay as indeed we will be the last car on… but we have serious doubts if this larger rental car will actually fit into the single space that remains.
The ferry attendants motion us forward and then tentatively circle the car… they look doubtful, then smile and wave us forward,
…it’s just like packing the last sardine into the tin, no?
With their better skilled eyes they have judged correctly, but wow, “tight fit” is a complete understatement.
They fold in the wing mirrors and we creep almost millimeter by millimeter into the last spot, accompanied by shouts of “stop!” “go” and hard turns of the steering wheel as we progress.
We are so close to next cars that the paintwork on all of them must be breathing in, there’s less than a finger space left by Himself’s door. On my passenger side we are so close to some of the ferry’s mechanical bits that I hear some of the rubber hoses make their juddery rubbery contact with the car…
…still they squeeze us forward so that the butt of the car can go forward enough to allow the back ramp of the ferry to be raised.
Lots of other passengers are by now looking at the whole procedure with interest and the young male driver of the car next to us wants to get out of his car, taking the only option now left to him, rolling down and climbing out of his car window, much to Little Mr’s delight.
Smiles all round as we finally get in far enough for the back ramp to close and the instant that that is completed we are moving and on our way.
I’m still deciding if they knew all along that we would fit ,or if they too were not sure but at a certain point it was clear the reverse would never work to get us out again so it was a matter of persevering until we just squeezed in anyway.
So… the view as we left Portugal and entered Spain?… only boat entrails sadly.
Still, we know that we want to come back to A Guarda again to see the Settlement… hopefully the next ferry trip will come with a view.