I managed to find the station, though Manuel must think I have legs of steel if he thought five minutes would be all it would take. I got here in plenty of time for the 10.40 train, but neglected to factor in the agonising slowness of the way things work here. Plus the complacent indifference of the ticket sellers does not help. I watched helplessly as the minutes ticked past and the queue got no shorter. Then the boarding light flashed on and off, and still I'm no closer as the lady in front of me gets about a hundred tickets. Finally she is served and the fellow puts up a closed sign. Boarding light goes out, and I change queues. Finally I get my ticket but must choose a return time. I of course cannot understand what she is saying, so as always, she thinks if she shouts and jabs at the computer screen I will understand. I guess it worked as I pointed at 17.00 and crossed my fingers as all but the times were in Spanish. I now have a ticket for the 11.23 train returning at five. Well I hope that's what I have. The ticket cost ten euros fifty five cents. As I was heading for the station cafe to wait, I saw an automatic ticket machine. I consoled myself with the fact that I would have had no idea how to use it.
The trains are super fast and incredibly modern, with toilets, vending machines, and if not lucky enough to get a table seat, there are drop down trays on the back of the seats. They seem not to have special short trip trains, so the same trains are used as would be for long distance travel. This trip is half an hour and 74 kilometres.
FOUR O'CLOCK. (Writing on the train. Photos inserted later).
The train on the way in was packed solid so I had to stand. There were dozens of older teens dressed up in the most bizarre outfits: fairies, monsters, green hair, girls with beards and even one or two Spider-Man outfits. I later found out that there is some sort of Manga fan club meeting in town which is why they were all dressed up.
There was a young couple canoodling next to me, and after a while the young man, whose name was Sergio asked if I would like to sit down. He promptly put his girlfriend on his knee, and said that was just his excuse to get her closer. Her name was Marta and she is a nurse. They were a lovely pair and he had good English, so was very helpful.
When I got to the statin in Coruna I was surprised at the size of the place and wondered how on earth I would find the coast. The population is over 246,000, as opposed to Santiago which is just over 95,000. Here was i thinking it was a small sea side town. I asked direction of a man in a little kiosk and he pointed out the bus stop. Well I got there and was faced with various numbers and names. I asked an older gentleman if he could help me. He said we needed the number 5 bus, and had perfect English. It transpires that he is a retired physicist and he studied in Japan where he had to learn English to speak with the lecturers. Two number 14 busses came, but no number 5, so when a 12 came along we both got on, which meant a short walk to the beach. When we got there he insisted on showing me how to get to the beachfront. What a lovely man he was, and the only reason he was at the bus stop? He had driven in, but his wife came and took the car as she needed to go somewhere out of town. How lucky was ?
Just a few steps from the train station in Coruna.
The weather was very different to Santiago, it was a little overcast when I got there, but nowhere near as cold. Plus it was much more open, not closed in like Santiago as the roads were much wider and it all seemed cleaner.
I spent a few hours just wandering along the beach front. The area I was in has apartments all around the beach front, and they seem to go for miles in both direction. There is a path, or promenade, around the whole area which would make a fabulous walk. There were very few people walking on it though, just a handful of dog owners.
Area I headed for.
To the left of where I spent most of my day.
To the right.
Where I spent most of my time, sans windbreaker and jacket. It was obviously a popular little spot for a dip as there were clothes hooks screwed into the rocks. One woman donned her bathers and didn't go in the water at all, but stayed on the steps the whole time. The local lotharios strutted their stuff but only one went for a splash around.
Ain't I cute?
Not sure why she bothered.
I might have got a bit too close here.
I decided I would go back earlier than planned, so after a coffee in a cafe near the beach I asked where would 'bus go station' and showed my train ticket. No bus on Saturdays I was told. Oh, well back to where I got off the bus, but unsure which side of the road I should be on. Then along came a number five, I hopped on and showed my train ticket, and he nodded and off we went. A helpful young fellow on the bus told me where to get off. While I was waiting for the bus I heard birds squawking and blow me down a bird was feeding her young from a rubbish bin! I could not get close enough to get a good shot, so haved cropped this one to give the idea.
I got to the train station and here they had people on the gate. My ticket wouldn't work, so I was sent off to get the time changed. Dear God, what a system! Back in I trudged and changed the ticket for the next train, and I got a 45cent refund. Why one cannot just buy a return ticket is beyond me. I suppose I will never know why I got a refund.
The lovely seats. I got a table.
Space age train.
I shall now wander off in search of a meal. It is so cold here compared to Coruna.
Finally, a fair shot of the front of the cathedral which is under repair.
Amazing the nearly deserted street.
I had a fabulous night tonight. I went first to the information office and got details on how to get to the Cidade Da Cultura. I keep seeing this amazing building high up on thr hill looking like some sort of space craft. It is open on Sundays and is free entry . I found out where to catch the bus which is near my hotel. Apparently this is a good time to go as they have art works from all over the world.
I was going to find somewhere to eat but every cafe and restaurant had the football match between Madrid and Real Madrid playing. I decided then to go to the tapas bar which is so nice.
When I got there I overheard a fellow (Randy) saying to his mate that he might try to pick up some random woman for thr night. I said, as I walked past, ” yes, good luck with that”, and his friend, Kemton, laughed and that was that, we. Exams instant friends.
Under the counter they have hooks to put bags on, and as I put my bag on the hook I touched a fat man's leg. I said sorry and he muttered something in American English and just ignored me. I must have pulled a face as the next minute Kemton came over and made jokes about the fat man. I said maybe I have a third eye or something as usually if someone has the same language it garners instant conversation. Not with the fat man, he just steadily ate his way through dish after dish, cumilating in a large creme brûlée. By now Elizabeth, Kemton's wife had joined us and we all got on so well, We .just laughed the night away. Randy, which is an apt name, has supposedly found real love on the Camino, which did not stop him from ogling every girl in sight.
Elizabeth was an absolute delight to know, and she and Kemton gave me lots of information on Barcelona, and I now feel very comfortable about where I am staying. Kemton and Randy are cyclists and also tour guides for cycle trips around the world. Elizabeth rides too, but not all the time.
I was telling them about the tomb we saw at Suso, and they said there is a tomb everywhere we go. Yes, I said, I think there is one under my bloody bed. At that stage every thing was funny, so we all hooted with laughter. Elizabeth has a delightful laugh. I then said maybe the fat man was practising taxidermy on himself. We all fell apart at that one. By then we had had tequila shots, red wine and Pacharan, which is a delicious apparative, which no doubt made everthing funnier than it was.
Cindy was also one of the group and I think she sampled everything, some of which I wish I had tried. She, like me, had trouble getting on the stools, and that was before said drinks. She was a hoot with her prawns!
Cindy giving a puppet show with her prawns.
I went to pay for my food, and drinks, but Elizabeth and Kemton, who are from Seattle, had paid it for me. I protested but they said it had been such fun being with me that they wanted to pay. How lovely of them, but I don't think I was worth that much. Kemton said where else in the world would people fromSeattle meet someone from Perth, if not on the Camino, and they were paying so shut up! They were such a lovely couple, and Cindy plus Randy were also fun to be with. They said if ever I got to Seattle I must visit them. Maybe I'll win Lotto!
Cindy, Elizabeth, Kemton and Randy (at the back).
Elizabeth gave me a rose when we parted. She is such a lovely person.
The rose with my apparitve.
I really enjoyed tonight and I am glad the football was on or I would not have sought the peace of the tapas bar. (Thanks, Carol).
It is my intention to go to the cultural centre tomorrow. I just hope I wake up in time!