Ourense to Mombuey

“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.”  

Friedrich Nietzsche

In the blog after this, an extraordinary Spanish memory by a beautiful 91 year old lady Visitacion, in a chance encounter… By way of introduction, how lesser memories play havoc with 3 lesser beings! (Aye, us.)

Starting off with some notes on the road. Listen to El Super O giving a cycling update, somewhere in the hills of Galicia:

Liam among the Cowbells

Viaxeiro, que vés de lonxe
e vas de paso….
Repudio as inxusticias
i a liberdá procramo

Words by Celso Emilio Ferreiro; Luis Emilio Batallan‘s song ‘Viaxeiro’
Turns out, St Christopher was soon to be

Eddie and I felt we had just cause to confront the Great Organizer. Liam, however, remembers conversations and agreements Eddie and I had seemingly, conveniently, misrecollected:

El Super’s Performance and Development Review

It’s not all talk. This was about the third time we’d cycled up the equivalent of a Munro:

So cold, so high, Eddie’s got his oxygen supply

That tête-a-tête seemed to have cleared the air. But, the very next day, a slight mistake of mine (which admittedly added about 10k to our journey to re-collect a forgotten item) inspired the Whistlin’ Duco to poetry doggerel:

Lament for a Lost Violin
by Edward Topaz McMorrison
(Write in, those who get that!)

For those who wish to ponder such profound verses, here they ur….

Lament for a Lost Violin.

See ma pals?
See ma violin?
I pit it in ma room
And they cycled oot a toon.
See they hills we didnae waant tae climb?
Ah said, ‘fancy goin back doon, lads, and dain them
wan mair time?
Eddie said, “Qué pasó, macho?”
It’s ma fiddle and ma bow.
Ah pit it in ma room
And youz cycled oot a toon.
Liam said, “Ye left your fiddle in Ourense?
Chris, have you NAE common sense? Eh?”
You pit it in your room an’
WE cycled oot a toon?”
Frae now oan, Chris, you cycle in the middle!
So at least wan of us can clock it
If you huvnae goat yir fiddle!”

After Margaret Hamilton’s Lament for a Lost Dinner Ticket.

Unfortunately, the instrument was recovered, so the world must suffer again:

In my defence, it’s hard to keep a tune when you’re feart of slipping on wet tiles and falling, oh, a couple of hundred feet… And geez, ain’t everyone and their dug a critic:

‘In the street I take my stand / with my fiddle like a gun against my shoulder….’
(Laurie Lee: Music In Spain)

Coming out of the Spanish Celtic lands we met some fellow Celts. The Power brothers and friend from Co Cork. On their way to Santiago, on mountain bikes, off road, they were covering as many miles – from Seville to Santiago – as we were, in less than half the time. Show offs. More from Dan and his pals and family to come….


And so, finally, we leave Galicia, where it all started for me. Also where the three of us first cycled together. Beautiful country, fantastic people, music, food and roads. We’ll be back, Galicia.

Below, Liam’s map. Where we’ve got to – slowly by the Powers boys’ standards. But they ain’t carrying laptops and camera equipment, fiddles and ukes, and the weight of the world’s problems on their backs…

The final note from Galicia’s great poet, Rosalia

Adiós, ríos; adios, fontes;
adios, regatos pequenos;
adios, vista dos meus ollos:
non sei cando nos veremos.
Miña terra, miña terra

Rosalia de Castro (From ‘Goodbye rivers, Goodbye Fountains’)

We’ll post the next blog very soon. Get ready to meet Visitacion Lastre and her memories of 1936, and our new friends Maria and Angel, and the poetry of Leon and Castile. Hasta pronto, amigos.

9 thoughts on “Ourense to Mombuey

  1. Loving the blogs, guys – endlessly entertaining. And I’m sure both McGonagall and Topol would be equally amused…


  2. Hi Guys,
    Keep at it. You`ve done the hard bit.
    I`ve attached a link to an advert that Mairi produced about cycling safety. It`s on STV here now.
    She had trouble getting stunt cyclists & drivers so she had to get some people from London to do it. Looks like a wee operchancity for 2 retired expert cyclists when you come home.


  3. More inspirational anecdotes, poetry?, and rooftop strings.
    Loving the banter, but what did local delicacies are keeping you spinning? 😀🍗

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure that even I understand my post! I hit send before I could edit, edit like the 💨 I hope you’re just kidding about the goats milk…


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