|Robin in a quiet Praza de San Agostin|
Sunday is our day off from the chapel in the cathedral. There are no English language services on Sunday. Day began with clear skies. The full sun, rising quickly, gave a clear sign that today would be a bit toasty (90 F). The one benefit of the heat would be that our laundry now swishing around in the machine would quickly dry on our pull line next to our sitting room window. At 10:00 Robin and I headed out to our corner coffee bar, the Cafe Tertulia, for a couple of cafe con leches. Our plan is to attend the noon mass at St. Augustine's mass, and then look for a shady spot for lunch. We lingered over coffee and toast and eventually sought the retreating shadows for relief as we walked back to our apartment to hang out the laundry before setting out for mass. It was a pretty, quiet, and ordinary morning that simply said relax (tranquilo), and so we did. The streets around the cathedral were busy with tourists and arriving pilgrims, as we made our way up Rua de Xelmirez towards the market and the church of San Augustin. A sense of quiet returns as you separate from the few streets closest to the cathedral and its front door, the Praza de Obradoiro. The stone streets approaching the church were freshly scrubbed by a very compact cleaning machine that left the cobbles glistening in the morning sun. Our footfalls echoed quietly in the narrow streets as we approached the Praza de Santo Agostino. In this part of town, and at this hour, the coffee bars were still very empty. We made our way past tables that would soon be filled. The church was just ahead and offered us cool repose as we stepped into the door and found our pew.
Mass, as always, is a special time for us. A young Jesuit priest presided, and seemed to have an energetic style of peaching. Our Spanish is way too basic for Robin and I to follow his homily, but his manner suggested that he was doing well and the congregation seemed to be paying attention. I did not see anybody nodding off. Always a good indication that something is being said that people want to hear. An hour later we were stepping back out into the heat. As predicted the bars and restaurants in the plaza were now doing a great business. Many cold beers were being consumed, and we would soon add to that number, but not just yet. We headed up a narrow alley to the Praza de Cervantes and then headed down towards the cathedral and turned right on Rua da Troia that took us to our lunch destination, the back garden at Casa Felisa, just a couple blocks further on. We had enjoyed a meal here once before an knew that today with all the heat the coolness of the shaded garden tables would be much sought after. We got there early to ensure premium seating, and to avoid pushing that cold beer back any further than necessary. Can't be too safe about these things. We settled in and ordered the beer followed by roasted vegetables with goat cheese, and a platter of assorted ham and cured meats. A bottle of aqua frio was added just as a precaution (and we drank all of it, and the beer). The shade and quietude was absolutely perfect and the food did not disappoint. By 2:00 we were getting ready to move along home. So off we went retracing our steps until we found ourselves passing in front of the Parador Hotel and down into the Rua de Campos de Hortas our path back to the apartment. We will try a little siesta and then see what awaits once the day cools off a bit. Ciao for now.
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