Sunday, 25 August 2013

Life is good when you are having fun

and time also flies, so they say, and that is exactly how it feels.

A few months ago, it seemed this was going to be the longest summer ever, but when I look into the calendar (not that often) it is amazing to see we are reaching the end of the month of August. But I am still trying to shape my new shoes and ... Slow down, please!

This was another fantastic weekend at the beach. I haven't had many this year, despite of being so close, but got many things to do. I insist.

A friend visited Galicia some days ago and I was sad and disappointed (without being sure that is the word) not to see him. I do not know, but I think I would have made the effort if it would have been the other way around. However, life has is surprises, and while 'mourning' my friend, a very distant and very young relative, of identical name, made his appearance in my life.

What I thought at first it would be a courtesy, turned out to be an extremely pleasant time with a very young person and early wine lover. 

The last few days I have enjoyed the nice, easy going, personality of the 'snake charmer' and had the great opportunity to review my wine knowledge thanks to his never-ending questions regarding wine.

It is actually so stimulating to find young people so eager to know and learn. Yes, I must say he did find my Achilles' heel and I have to thank him for the four days of good conversation, food and wine.

Looking back, the weekend started off by meeting my business partner (to be) and unleashing our thoughts and dreams, deciding to meet again in a week-time to lay down our ideas and build up our business plan. 

Driving, on Monday, my good friends Nacho and Yeni to Porto to catch the flight that would take them to the Salzburg Festival, where they were going to see, life, Bartoli's Norma (yes, I am jealous. Very) and taking a day off in Porto, visiting a winery, buying a vintage Kopke 'Colheita 1983' and walking around that, very close to my heart, city.

View of the Ribeira from Vila Nova de Gaia

My new 'baby'

On Tuesday, a very domestic day. Getting finally sorted my Internet at home was a top priority. One cannot inhabit the XXI Century without having decent Internet, whatever it takes. So I had to install a parabolic antenna at home in order to get something like broad band Internet. And it seems it works! Good.

Wednesday, time to go to the beach and the goal; to stay until the weekend. I took Rodrigo along and it was (please, excuse the capital letters) SO NICE, that time just flew. 

'Cloudy Thursday' took us to Viana do Castelo, where I had the chance to discover another lovely Portuguese town. I had been before, several times, to the 'citania' visiting Santa Luzia, the last time with Erin at the Pousada, having lunch before driving her to Porto airport, but never to the historic centre, and I must say it is 'quelque chose'. 

I had a great time discovering the town at the same time I was discovering Rodrigo, and laughing and enjoying just the fact of being there.

Viana do Castelo (I had to wait for a good five minutes to take this picture 'tourist-free')

Friday, time to visit a piece of heaven on earth. Roberto,the vineyard manager, kindly offered to show us the vineyards of 'Altos de Torona', a one-hundred hectare vineyard in Tomiño. At 17:00 (not so) sharp we were there to see the vineyards planted on the Rosal sky top. Jose gave us an extensive explanation about the terroir of this heavenly grape paradise. That night, Rodrigo and I shared a bottle of their young red wine. Very good. 

Altos de Torona vineyards in Vilarchan, Tomiño. (DO Rias Baixas)

Saturday, we spent a beach afternoon at the Cies Islands, dreaming about sailing and diving the oceans and then to Salvaterra do Miño, to attend their annual wine fest. Good company and good wine. Life is good.

Sunday: a 25+ bright sun day at the beach, and time for me to drive back to Ourense, and for Rodrigo to continue his journey. On our way, the 'vuelta ciclista' near Tui, and a brief farewell in Valença with the best wishes for a good stay in Portugal and a very business constructive week for me in Ourense.

Now, listening to Cecilia's 'Norma', drinking Grüner Veltliner and writing this entry. An ode to music, wine, beauty and friendahip.

Salud, and all the best to you.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Wining across Galicia

Long time no entries, sorry for that. However, I do have two great excuses. 

First good excuse. Erin came to visit for a week in July, a week that just seemed too short. It was so great seeing her after almost three months that while waiting for her at the airport I was so excited and happy, nerves in my belly, that I just could not wait to see her and show her around.

For one week we did some site seeing and lots of wining and dining across the region. Our first stop was Tui on our way back from Porto and later a finger food diner on the hill top of Casal de Arman, with a lovely sight overlooking the Ribeiro vineyards in Ourense.

Dinner with a view in Casal de Arman

The following days were a continuous driving back and forth to some of the close attractions around Ourense. We visited  the 'Ribera Sacra' and took the catamaran along the Sil River while contemplating the terraced vineyards between steep rock walls and later getting lost while trying to find Santa Cristina monastery on our way back, a challenge we did not manage to meet, but at least we did make it to San Pedro de Rocas, an amazing monastery excavated in the granite rocks of the mountain, surrounded by chestnut tree forest and small running creeks.

Hahaha, the experience was not as pleasant when we decided to embark ourselves in the catamaran from Baiona and spend a day at the Cies Islands. Half way to the coast, the fog made its appearance  and stayed. For over five hours we were at the paradisiac island, covered with all the clothes we had and trying to stay warm. The stress and disappointment had its reward in the way of an amazing diner at El Candil, in Baiona. Bogavante rice and a bottle of Godello, were a nice consolation price. 

The night before departure we went to the Rosal wine fest, a very typical Galician way of celebrating their 'fiestas' with nice local products and the fantastic Rias Baixas wine from O Rosal subregion. The 'charanga' made its way and everyone, without exception, danced and sang to the music of the young musicians. It was a very folkloric moment to take as a souvenir. 

It just went so fast, that by the time we realised the seven days were gone and the drive back to Porto from Viana do Castelo, a bit tight. I did not succeed in my secret plan to miss the plane so that she had to stay for another week... 

Well my dear friend, you must come to visit again. Soon.

The days between Erin's departure and Peter's arrival went between finalising my kitchen (still ongoing), meeting friends and other domestic tasks. 

On Sunday the day started out grey and not that warm, threatening thunderstorms, nothing to do with the summer ideal. Peter arrived to Vigo on the late flight from Madrid, just in time to suffer a bit of turbulences but when the worst had past, and from Monday on... Sun, sun, sun!

With my house in better shape, we managed to eat breakfast everyday in the new balcony set and prepare coffee in the new kitchen. A ode to modernity! Small quotidian pleasures, nice to have back.

Tuesday 30 July: my grandmother's 90th birthday and time for a family celebration I could not ask my guest to endure, so while I sang along a million times happy birthday dear mother, grandmother, greatgrandmother... He had wonderful day at the beach in Cies.

Heading towards the Cies Islands from Baiona

Tapas dinner in Baiona and a three day stay at the beach, working (hard) on our suntan. I must say he managed to get one much better than mine... :(

Time flies when you are having fun, and after visiting Santiago de Compostela on Saturday, and a lazy Sunday in Ourense, it was time for him to go back and for me to prepare for my next visit. This time it is my turn to travel to Madrid on the weekend to celebrate a very dear friend's birthday.

Pedro en Santiago de Compostela

While I was writing this post, the carpenter finished with the last details of my kitchen and the painter will come this afternoon to do the last bit. Oh yeah!

Well my readers, thank you for your patience and hope to see you soon.

On the meantime, enjoy and have fun.