An Archaeology Adventure: The Journey and Day One

imageAs a bit of an introduction, I am currently doing two weeks of archaeology volunteering in Spain at the A Cabecina which is an iron age hill fort and bronze age rock art site. This series of blogs will follow my adventure here and of course have lots of stunning photos of the area.

As happy and relaxed as I am now at the end of my first day, the journey here was far from that. My plans were perfect and absolutely everything was booked but you know what they say about the best laid plans…

Firstly, the train from Leeds to Manchester Airport was cancelled and I had to then wait for the next one to Manchester Picadilly where I could catch another connection. The connection was then delayed by 45 minutes and by this time I’d had enough- I had only finished my gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition the day before and it was about half ten so I ended up in a very expensive taxi to the hotel for a measly 5 hours sleep before getting up for the airport. Oh joy.

The plane was then delayed for an hour. Of course. This meant I missed my next train from Porto to Vigo (somehow it was cheaper to do it this way than fly straight to Vigo) and being a Sunday, the next train wasn’t until 7.30pm. So I sat in the station for hours reading Bill Bryson before managing to arrive at the hostel by about 11pm. That’s over 27 hours since setting off from home, so you can imagine how I felt!

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Anyway, enough with the rant and onto today, which has been fabulous. We’re staying in a hostel in the coastal village of Mougas in Galicia and the site is just above us on a hill, with amazing views over the sea.

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The day started with a little guided tour of the site and explanation of what was going on, and then the technical kit came out. The experts were aiming to get gps points fixed to make a very detailed reference grid for the site, but the explanations were all in Spanish and I wouldn’t have a clue what to do with the machines anyway so spent the morning exploring the site and getting to know the other people.

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Lunch was seriously impressive- a huge dish of freshly caught seafood paella which tasted so good and really got us into the Spanish mood. As did the wine at lunchtime to be fair! I am seriously looking forward to the next fortnight in terms of food, but a little wary that the summer diet might fail very quickly!

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We then wandered into Mougas to have a look around, have an ice cream and ended up visiting the 17th century church at the top of the hill. We forget in England how beautiful Catholic churches are since we don’t really have many and this one was simply lovely, with huge gold alter pieces and a great view from the tower.

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The day ended with dinner on the terrace of some kind of pastry calzone style thing with pepper, onion and tuna, with a great, fresh salad nicoise and then a few drinks with the team. I am a bit ashamed of my lack of Spanish- there are other English people here who don’t speak it either but that’s not an excuse. I’ll be revising the pocket dictionary tonight!

imageIt really is lovely here- the sun is shining, I can smell the sea, I’ve had good food and drinks with new friends and am looking forward to learning something new. I’ve even forgotten about the stress of travelling!

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