One of our favorite places to hang out when we are not on the road is Charlot. The cafe’s food is good, the ambience is good and, most importantly, they have WiFi.
Another selling point is Sabela Corral Álvarez.
Sabela is our waitress almost every day. She always has an encouraging word when I stumble through my Spanish. She is learning English, and between she, Ramona and I, we manage to not only communicate, but also to learn from each other. Admittedly, there are a lot of blank looks and laughter as we do it, but she is always friendly and gracious.
Sabela studies pedagogy in Santiago when she is not home for the summer.
Yesterday, she asked if we would like her to drive us around the outskirts of Corme to see some of the sights? Of course, we took her up on her generous offer. At 6 p.m. this evening, we met at Charlot. She had invited her friend along, Ana Alvarellos Figueroa, who is studying to be a teacher — who has the added bonus of speaking pretty good English.
We paid a visit to the lighthouse, a place we had visited on our first day in Galicia. This time the wind was a manageable gusty — as opposed to the gale force winds that threatened to cast us off the cliffs the first time. While Ramona clambered over the rocky cliff in search of the perfect photo, I took a couple and interviewed the girls (such is mentality of a journalist). It was an interesting give and take. The girls tend to take the sights for granted, and acknowledged that sometimes it takes outsiders to remind us of the beauty that surrounds us.
There are three crosses close to the lighthouse that have been erected by family and loved ones of people killed working there.
The girls told me that the percebes (barnacles), which we love to eat, are collected mostly by women. It is dangerous work and consists of running between waves to peel the barnacles from the rocks. Often, they work in pairs with ropes connecting each other so one can pull the other. That is why, the girls said, the percebes are so expensive, although a plate runs 20 euros, which by U.S. standards is not expensive at all.
From there it was off to Corme-Aldea — little Corme— to see the serpent or snake rock. Legend has it that the area was overrun with snakes and St. Adrian struck the ground with his staff and the plague of snakes left, led by a winged serpent. The rock sits atop a hill, underneath a large stone cross, with overlooking a valley.
By the way, it is fascinating to see the small towns here. As one drives, one leaves a small town, only to enter another one just a kilometer away. Yet each is is its own entity.
That these two young women would give up a couple of hours of their time to drive a couple of Americanos around says much about the generosity of the people we have encountered in this beautiful town, far from the urban tourist spots.
We spent most of the day on an aimless drive to find purple flowers among ferns that we passed last week on our way to Seville. We had no idea where they were or where we were going. Apart from a few, “Oh my god, I don’t really think this is a road at all,” and “How the hell do we turn around on this one-lane road on a 20-degree hill,” we captured the spirit of true explorers — stopping on the side of the road to wander off down a dirt path just because the view was fantastic.
This is our vacation — having the time to find things. We will never be ones to sit on a beach or at a camp site — we are far too urban for that. But give us six hours, a GPS to find our way home, and a few Euros for lunch, and just turn us loose.