Multiple sources here in Finisterre pointed to O Centolo as the place that was still cooking up the authentic Galatian soup that I have been craving. Finding a place that cooks it here in summer is another story.
We passed by the place on our mid day walk earlier today, where we looked through the glassed-in entrances to see people enjoying lunch at the far end of the large dining room. Both Marcia and I assured ourselves that in a few hours, we would arrive here early, in order to avoid yet another night of settling into bed after 10 PM with full stomachs.
At 7 PM, with almost visible salvatory anticipation, we walked up the worn stone stairs to the O Centolo street entrance off the town Circle only to find the door still locked. The evening’s special perigrino menu choices were freshly posted on the glass of the entrance. We were baffled, but conjured an explanation that any establishment at this level of gastronomy would likely fill, even if starting at 9 pm. Shops and restaurants close in the afternoon for siestas. People eat dinner late here.
Plan B: we decided to march up to the grocery store where we purchased a €1 liter of local vino tinto and a small package of roasted cashews and returned to our room to leisurely pass the hour, with vivid pictures of that bowl of soup seeping into my consciousness.
Then back up those same stone steps where the mahogany door was still locked and through the door glass, the large dining room was empty still. What? We definitely saw people eating here at lunchtime, however, there were no business hours posted anywhere on any of their printed material. With a heavy heart of hope wrung weak with disappointment, we trudged onward toward the shore of the harbor to comb the seafood establishments there for any semblance of the surprisingly elusive bowl.
Then it happened! So quickly! We turned right along the road that ran between the harbor and the last row of building when I happened to look up and saw this incarnation of holiness, embodied in a red plastic sign!
It was all there, my Galatian soup, our vino tinto, and a great atmosphere. Some chinks: our waiter initially claimed he spoke no English, but then returned to our table 10 minutes later to fluently explain that one of our main course choices was sold out.
In a related aside, it is a given that local residents may not always be dependable sources of information.
One of these grand disappointments happened yesterday in Finisterre. At a lunch spots where our waiter was one of numerous physically fit young Spanish men, I asked in Spanish, “Can I rent a bicycle in Finisterre?” He held up his finger and then went back and brought out a colleague who was fluent in English as well.
He told me, “Sorry, it is not possible to rent bicycles in Finisterre.”
Fast forward to this morning.
On the bulletin board above our breakfast table right by the bus station, a stone’s throw from the restaurant was this poster. advertising Finisterre bike rentals :