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26 October 2013 @ 05:16 pm

Coruña harbour.

In mid September I ended up spending several days in Coruña, in northern Spain, at a conference (as usual). The trips there and back were slightly nightmarish, taking roughly 12 hours each way which seemed a bit unreasonable for somewhere in spitting distance of Dover (give or take). Both journeys featured travel excitements. Heathrow, unaccountably, couldn't cope with rain and refused to let my outgoing flight even take off so I missed the Heathrow connection. However British Airways bunged me on the next flight to Madrid and, miraculously, I arrived in time for the final connection. On the way back fog at Coruña involved the whole flight being packed on a couple of coaches and driven to Santiago de Compostella airport.

I have recorded the fog at Coruña for posterity since I was very struck by the way I could see nothing if I looked out the front of the coach, but there was blazing sunshine if I looked out the back of the coach.

Unsurpsingly, the excursion the conference laid on was also a trip to Santiago de Compostella, via a quick drive around Coruña's own tourist attractions.

This is the Tower of Hercules a 2nd Century lighthouse and the oldest Roman Lighthouse still in use today. That said, if I understand matters correctly, the exterior is 18th century.

Our guide was a talkative man called Jesus (though even he eventually ran out of things to say about the Spanish motorway system as we drove to Santiago). The arthurians among my flist will be interested to discover that he had written a book and had a theory that the Holy Grail could be found in Galicia. I briefly contemplated attempting to discover his surname before concluding that I didn't really need a book with a mad theory about the holy grail in it. Jesus also had a theory that Hypatia and St. Catherine were one and the same, which didn't exactly convince me either.

The front of the cathedral at Santiago de Compostella. It was rather ambiguous whether you were allowed to take photos inside, so I didn't take very many and none of the box which allegedly contained the apostle's bones.

I photographed this detail of some carving since I thought to myself "that skull looks rather jolly". I realise, with alarm, this is a phrase of my mother-in-law's.

Statuary of St. James. You can tell it's St. James because of his very fetching hat which he wears in nearly all the many statues in Santiago and which, I'm sure, is exactly what he wore in real life.

A Galician bagpiper. Galicia, like Scotland, is very keen to stress it's celtic roots.

We also had a conference meal in the local "House of Man" (the world's first interactive museum of the human being - though sadly we didn't get to see any exhibits). The meal concluded when we were invited outside to drink a flaming alcoholic beverage, while someone declaimed a traditional poem in Galician. I gathered it was a kind of cross between Christmas Pudding and Burns' Night - except that the Ode to the Haggis doesn't not contain the immortal line "farts of the infernal arses" (we were supplied with a translation).

Burning alcoholic beverage.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/106523.html.
bunnbunn on October 26th, 2013 08:04 pm (UTC)
I love that first photo of the sun on the waves and the town rising out of the mist.

"farts of the infernal arses" !!! what an excellent line!
louisedennislouisedennis on October 27th, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
I'm pleased with that one. I forgot my camera, so was relying on my phone for pictures and, in general, it wasn't really up to it. But the sea mist at the harbour mouth is lovely.
fififolle: Warren Cup - Intellectualfififolle on October 26th, 2013 08:13 pm (UTC)
Hee! Awesome. And it does look a jolly skull. Jesus sounds very interesting!! Fascinating fog, there. Thanks for sharing :)
louisedennislouisedennis on October 27th, 2013 09:22 am (UTC)
Kargicqkargicq on October 26th, 2013 09:14 pm (UTC)
Looks great! Nothing about Sir John Moore? (Coruna was the Dunkirk of the early Napoleonic wars, with a valiant rearguard action to evacuate the BEF.)

Hypatia - clever pagan woman, killed by Christians. St Catharine - clever Christian woman, killed by pagans. Obviously the same.
louisedennislouisedennis on October 27th, 2013 09:24 am (UTC)
Jesus mentioned "the famous English General Sir John Moore" on several occasions and Woolfe's poem which "all English children learn". I didn't disabuse him, I'm afraid.