The city of Ferrol is given short shrift by the Rough Guide. Their section on it consists of How to Get There and Where to Stay. Nothing else. My good friend Martin Lambert, who writes the comprehensive Galicia Guide, gives the place longer shrift, but not much. Which I think is a little unfair. Perhaps more than a little.
Firstly, Ferrol has some delightful buildings in the newer barrios of the city. OK, it's true they may be bookended by buildings whose architects deserve to be garrotted but this shouldn't detract from the appeal of the those which merit attention.
Ferrol also has an old quarter but more on this tomorrow, when I've seen it.
Anyway . . . After last night's late/early retirement to bed, we didn't really get going on a guided tour of the city until 3pm today. The first stop was a place – El Puerto Chico – down near the port buildings. This is run by the lovely Montse and her husband Pedro, both of whom really can sing. As can Alberto, whom we'd met up with last night and who was there with his aunt and cousin. I know they can all sing because, after she'd served us plates of cod cheeks and jibia, a type of squid new to me, Montse set up the karaoke and got us started with a superb rendition of a local favourite. After which, things rather took off, with even yours truly giving a rendition of the Beatles' Yesterday. Fortunately one that was heavily masked by Alberto's infinitely better accompaniment.
A few hours after arriving, we left El Puerto Chico for a tour of the stunning beaches and seascapes of Doniños further along the headland, where the surfing may well be among the best in Spain. Though not necessarily in November.
Next was refreshment in one of the odd constructions which line the pavement outside the bars in the port area. These are roughly 7 by 3 metres, have three glass sides and one plastic side and are there to accommodate the smokers who aren't allowed to light up inside the bars themselves. Technically – Richard and I agreed – they must be illegal as they're as enclosed as any normal bar. Which is where, we thought, the plastic side comes in; for this can be rolled up to open the construction to the elements and thus render it 'external'. I think I've commented on similar law-defying stratagems in Pontevedra.
Then to the bar Irlanda, notable for the frequency, size and quality of its tapas. By which I mean the free stuff that comes with your drink, not the dishes you pay for.
Finally, to the Cafelito de Gloria, a place which plays great music and which is presided over by the delightful eponymous owner Gloria. Who has a passion for opera and Maria Callas. Which is how we came to be singing/humming along to several renditions of the hair-raising Slaves Chorus(Va, Pensiero) from Joe Green's Nabucco. Followed by a stupendous rendition of a beautiful arrangement of the old spiritual Nobody Knows the Trouble I See, by a local choir who'd come in for a drink and whom Richard's lovely partner, Blanca, persuaded to perform for us. A capella.
All in all, a typically spontaneous Spanish afternoon and evening. Ferrol at its best.
And so to bed. Or, rather, to this post.
And now to bed.