My daughter's friend nearly missed her train to Madrid early this morning. This was because there was no indication we needed platform 2 and so we spent five minutes trying to find her carriage on platform 1, where the night train from Madrid was parked. The woman at the ticket counter appeared astonished I needed to ask her where the 8.45 train was.
But, anyway, driving back home at this early hour, I did a double take at the surreal sight of a blind woman walking along the pavement wielding a white cane and dressed entirely in medieval garb. And then I remembered we have the big Feira Franca fiesta today. Passing the Alameda, I was impressed to see dozens of folk working on setting up their tables/stalls at the equivalent of 6.45am in other countries.
Talking of travel problems . . . I might have already said that Vigo airport's parking arrangements could well be the most user-unfriendly in the world. Firstly, if you go where you used to go to drop off/pick up someone, you end up against a sign that says Taxis and Car Hire Returns Only. And have to turn back. Secondly if you try to get to the terminal via the multi-level car park and take what looks like an access road up to the dropping-off point, you eventually end up back where you started on the main road. Thirdly, if you do it the only way possible and go via the car park itself, you have to climb at least three floors before you get to the airport level. Then, when you've had half an hour or more to get over the irritation all this causes, you have to face the obstacle course of getting out of the car park. The first problem is that the only pay machines are located on the top floor, round the corner from the entrance and the lifts. Where you can't see them. If you assume there's one on the floor where your car is, you have to return to the top floor to pay. Using the world's slowest lifts. When you've returned to your car, you find that the sign for the Exit (Salida/Saida) is so positioned you can't see it until you've gone past it. Then, after you've returned to the spot where you have to turn left up the ramp, there isn't enough space for even a standard size car to do this in one go. Finally, there's only one lane for the Exit, not the normal two or three. But that's not all . . . The piece de resistance is that there are not one but two barriers to go through and, for God knows what reason, you have to wait between the two barriers before the second one lifts. There's a sign telling you to stop, wait and not crash through the second barrier but, naturally, this is only in Gallego and unintelligible English (Place Here). The upshot of this last night was a long queue of cars waiting to get out. And this despite the fact the utter inanity of the system was being demonstrated by a guy at the first barrier taking your (possibly unpaid) ticket and hurrying you through both (raised) barriers. A system override, in other words. Without this, I suspect we'd have been there until dawn, waiting to have fun with the barriers. Whoever designed this facility should be hung, drawn and quartered. Or, better, made to drive round the car park for the rest of eternity, vainlessly trying to get out. Meanwhile, I shall coin the phrase airport rage. You heard it here first. Possibly.
Here's a picture of the infernal pipe-player and his streamer-twirling accomplice.
They're heading down into town, at 11.30, for their morning/midday labours. My guess was they'd spent the night at the gypsy encampment below my house. But they might merely have been there for supplies of something or other. Perhaps charcoal for a barbecue. Or meat for the two dogs that were scampering after them, out of picture. By the way, have you noticed it's the girl who's carrying all their stuff? Possibly because it's mostly her accoutrements. Nice to see equality in the world of panhandling.
And here's a picture of something you don't see every day, even in Galicia - a couple of oxen and an old woman in medieval costume and sunglasses.
Her job was apparently to hold the female ox and tap it every few minutes on the nose with the stick in her left hand. Affectionately, of course.
And here's a slogan my daughters and I saw on a wall as we walked to my car. And with which we were all in agreement, while expecting it to be some time in arriving.
Finally . . . Here are said daughters and me, having just polished off a hearty churrasco before taking the younger one to the airport.
Postscript correction: I can now tell you there's no way to arrive at the Pick up/Drop off point at Vigo airport by climbing up through the car park floors. The only way is to ignore the sign that says Taxis and Car Hire Returns Only and then blague your way out of trouble, if you get stopped. "But it used to be this way, the last time I came here last year". The cop will know you're lying but will admire your chutzpah and let you off. But don't mention my name . . .