I'd left Sweden in July with barely enough money for a bus fare into town. After that I'd got a horrific temp job which at least got the cash flow going again, before with amazing luck and fantastic timing, I got a job back in astronomy. I could afford to travel again, and with John and Dan I headed to Santiago de Compostela to visit Dave, who I'd last seen in Ecuador eight months previously.
The first time I'd been to Santiago, it was stunningly hot. This time it was emphatically not. Rain lashed down for most of the time we were there. We spent a lot of time in bars.
Until Dave moved to Galicia, I can't honestly say that I knew that the region had its own language. Even though Franco was from here, he still rescinded the region's autonomy and discouraged use of the language. We went to the Museo de Pobo Galego and learned more about these things. The museum building used to be a nunnery, and the nun's dormitories were reached via triple spiral staircases, allegedly to confuse rogue Galicians trying to visit the nuns during the night.
We had a fairly huge Saturday night out. Spanish nightlife is all about late, and Santiago's is later than anywhere else I've been. It's still the only city in which I've been outside a club at five in the morning, with people saying it was still a bit early to be going in. They were right as well, it was really quiet. But by six it was heaving. We left at 8am, had a breakfast of churros con chocolate, then crashed for a few hours.
We didn't waste the whole of the next day though. We decided to go up a hill near town and then walk back down. Forest fires had torn across much of Galicia during the summer, and from on the hill we could see the scorched swathes across the green hills. Dave said the scene had been apocalyptic, as fires burned on the hillside and thick smoke drifted through the streets. It was hard to believe anything could burn here, with the amount of rain we'd seen. Today it was dry, though, and we walked back into town.