Friday, April 20, 2012

1st Week in Galicia

On the way to our village

Our first week has flown by. Eight days, to be exact. That is, eight days after the evening of our arrival. We've been socializing, entertaining with Indian food, and we've had overnight guests. And still we've managed to squeeze in a bit of Spanish study each day and, in my case, work on a rewrite. The rewrite is still in the research phase for new information I need to work into the story.

Mornings begin with hot chocolate, and then coffee, at our little table in the galeria, an indoor hallway lined with windows) staring out at the small pasture across the sheep path, with its little apple tree. (It looks like this when it isn't pouring rain. Since we've arrived, though, it's rained quite a bit with only intermittent sunshine.)  
The field beyond our gate

The apple tree
Then my husband showers while I write in my journal, and then it's my turn to shower. After that, we usually go into a nearby small town called Escairon. It's really more a large, village than a small town -- a town only in relation to the area villages, especially ours, which has only 8 continuous inhabitants during the year, and a sprinkle more during summer months.

In Escairon we stock up on most of our daily groceries at a little market called Alipro, and it's also where we refill our butano (butane) tanks for heating water and cooking. Then we go to a small café called Circulo do Saviñao (where I'm sitting now) and have a second cup of café con leche and do our work. (My husband is a design engineer and often has Skype conferences here in this café.) The wifi here is free, and everyone seems to come to use it. We often see regulars seated at other tables, online with their computers or Skyping. The proprietors are quite happy with this arrangement. And this is not the only place where this is true. A number of café/bars in Monforte have a similar set up. 

Then we usually go home for lunch, though sometimes we drive into Monforte and do some shopping or meet friends for lunch or simply snack at one of the café/bars. We are not big eaters, so for us, lunch usually consists of two raciones and wine at about 2:00 p.m. (which is lunchtime in these parts). A ración is a portion that is bigger than a tapa but smaller than a meal. We're vegetarians, but we eat fish and seafood, so we always find something we like. One of my favorite raciones is pimientos de Padrón, tasty little green peppers fried in olive oil and salt, and they are just coming into season. 

All the stores close down for about two hours so that all the workers can either go home for lunch or to one of the cafés. If you think that's late, suppertime starts at 9:00 p.m. We thought we would never adjust to this on our first visit, but it's amazing. One or two days after our arrival we are totally into it as if we've eaten such late suppers all our lives. 

After our lunch, we usually take a walk on one of the country roads, even on a rainy day.  This area is lovely in any weather, and if you are bundled up right, the fresh, wet air is just invigorating. During the afternoon we may drive around the area, or read, and in the evenings, if we aren't entertaining or meeting friends, we also read. Being a writer, I read all the time, whether traveling or at home in Sacramento. My husband loves to read, but he often doesn't have time at home, since he is busy designing during the day, then reading the newspaper in the evening. Here, he can just kick back and read, since we can't understand any of the newspapers or even the newscasts. (Well, soccer, yes, because he grew up with soccer in India, and can tell everything that's happening, but that's about it.) In warmer weather (usually on our fall trip, but some years on our spring trip as well) we meet our neighbors at the village bench and just talk until sunset.

So that's our day, and the time just seems to drift by. Already eight of them are gone. 


writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

Wish I could live like that.

Again, your travel writing is interesting--makes me want to be there--and the photos are excellent. Kudos to your husband (I think he's the photographer).

Anonymous said...

Wine at 2 in the afternoon! Sounds truly idyllic.

Enjoy the rest of your stay, and here's to much lovely reading & writing!

Rosi said...

Sounds heavenly. Enjoy your stay and your quiet writing time.

su02420 said...

Hey There. Thanx for the photos. It looks all fluffy like that around here, too. We finally got the Netflix movie about the Pilgrimage you told us about. We'll watch it tonight and think of you both. Enjoy it all while you are there. More pics, please.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizabeth really interesting Blog, thank-you for posting. If you are near Escairon then you must the winery Abadia da Cova the two owners are friends of mine Jose Manuel and Evaristo - see my website for more information

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Richard, I passed on your comments to my husband. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying your book.

Naomi, yes, it is. Of course, here, 2:00 p.m. is like having it later in the evening. Totally different way of life.

Rosi and Sue, thanks for the good wishes. Reading and writing both going well. Enjoy the movie, Sue, and I think you would like it too, Rosi: The Way, starring Martin Sheen and directed by his son, Emilio Esteves.

Mark, I checked out your website, but couldn't find the winery you mentioned, or a map. But we would love to check it out.

Libby said...

That sounds wonderful and restful!

Julia Hones said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. A part of me is traveling with you.

Hektor Karl said...

Beautiful. Enjoy your trip!