Saturday 23 July 2016 A Coruña, Spain.
My house is in the south-east of England. There’s lots of old stuff there, indeed there’s a castle 500m from my back door and a Roman villa just down the road. So I’m not normally that impressed by old stuff I see elsewhere. There are exceptions though. Like the Pyramids. And the Forbidden City. And Falmouth. Yes, Falmouth. Anchored off the town quay there I was very much aware that for hundreds of years sailors have been anchored in that spot, off that quay, looking at the clouds and sniffing the air, just as I was, wondering if it was a good time to set sail for Spain.
And A Cornña. It’s not awesome, or gorgeous. But it is rather nice, and very old. Very old in a matter-of-fact kind of way. The old stone buildings are still in use as part of the day-to-day life of the locals. Emerging from a shop one glances up to realize that it’s probably been there since the time of the pirates.
Speaking of which, there’s another similarity with the south of England. At my school there I learned about Sir Frances Drake, national hero and part time pirate, who saw off the Spanish when they came sailing up the Channel. A big statue of him takes pride of place in Plymouth. Here in A Cornña, pride of place is taken by a big statue of Maria Pita. She saw off Frances Drake and his fleet when he attacked A Cornña the year after the Armada. I didn’t hear about that at school.
The other notable feature of A Cornña is that the locals are friendly and helpful. It may be the same all over Spain but this is my first exposure to them. Having spent the last ten years working in London this is going to take some getting used to.