Gijons on the beach


(This is where we are)

We arrived in Gijon yesterday afternoon in bright sunshine. Gijon is a large town or it might even be a small city, by the sea with a beach, maybe two. Our hotel is close to one beach and about a fifteen minute walk to the old center. But we never made it there! We were both very tired after the journey from Santiago de Compostela.

When we arrived here at about 3pm we both contemplated going to sleep, but we’ve been reading the book Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (He wrote The War of Art, about being creative) so our battle cry at times of tiredness on this trip has been “Do the Work”. It means, get the work done first…. then rest or play.


(Green Sea)

So I wrote my blog and Denis did his Pomodoros. That’s another thing he got from a book. Pomodoros are a way of working in efficient chunks. The original idea came from a guy called Francesco Cirillo and he used a tomato timer to assist him – pompdoro is the Italian word for tomato. Anyway, the way it works is, you work for twenty five minutes, then you take a break for five minutes, then you get back to work for twenty five minutes and so on throughout your working day (there’s a longer fifteen minute break after you’ve done four pomodoros). There is a science behind it – I don’t know what it is! But Denis liked it so much he wrote an app for it! And he uses that app to work efficiently. So every twenty five minutes I hear the timer go off and he gets up to walk around or talk to me or whatever, then another timer goes off after the five minutes break and he’s back to his desk again! Strange but true!


(Natural Harbour)

So by 9pm (the normal start time for dinner around here) we were ready to fall asleep or eat some dinner. So we needed to walk. We set off in the general direction of the old town. It’s a very pleasant walk along by a marina with a few cafes and lots of yachts. There’s also a cycle path, which the Gigoner’s take very seriously. We were wandering along when we heard some shouting from behind then the whoosh of air as a bike sped past us. He was probably saying “Get off the cycle path, please” but we’ll never know, I stayed well clear of the bike paths after that.



After about ten minutes we got tired again and sat outside the nearest restaurant. The friendly waitress suggested (by hand signals) that we might like to sit under the heater and we were delighted to. We said the magic word, which sounds like “come air” and she brought us some menus. Oops, we hadn’t checked the prices here before we sat down. Even though it was in English the menu was hard to read because the prices were so high – kind of startles the eyes into temporary blindness…



(Our beers)

So picture us, eyes popping out of our heads and then we spot the lovely waitress coming towards us with the paper table cloth. We have found this to mean “dinner will be served here”, so I had to stop her. Denis was very quiet, but I was going “No, no”, nice and gentle, but insistent enough, while pointing at the table cloth. And Denis pipes up “dos cervezas, por favor” . Good man, distract her, don’t worry that I don’t drink beer. She does look a little deflated but she rallies, and in time two (very nice, I must say) beers arrive. In a few more minutes two little pieces of bread with something yummy on top arrive. Oh dear, she hasn’t given up hope.


(Our bread and yummy topping)

The beer on empty stomachs and tired bodies did it’s job and we were filled with enough courage to leave, not before paying of course. And the lovely waitress came to wave us off. On the way home, Denis spotted something we never thought we’d see in Spain – an “all you can eat” Chinese buffet. And since we hadn’t had dinner yet…… Yes, we did. We went in. The very friendly waiter (who went off to ask someone how to say “drinks” in English) taught us the rules. You pick your vegetables and meat or fish and then bring it up to the chef who cooks it in a wok. And you can keep doing that all night if you want! Every time he passed the waiter encouraged us to go up and get more. We didn’t…. but we had loads and really enjoyed the experience.


(The place mat is also the menu… and it’s in English as well as Spanish)

You know, at the risk of repeating myself it’s always the people we meet and the connection we make with them (however minuscule) that makes our time here so much fun. Their outreach to us has an impact. And unless we are very odd (…hadn’t really considered that yet….) I’m guessing that might be true for others too. So…. I was thinking again…. we have it in our power all the time to make connections by smiling, nodding, speaking – even one word, to another human being. Now I’m not talking about inviting anyone home, or giving them your credit card number, just a little nod in their general direction. Like you mean “I see you, you matter”.


Tener un buen día (Have a good day), Mairead.