First, let me clarify my misleading title; I was actually in Somo for eight days (tues-tues) and I surfed on five of those days, but ‘seven days of surf’ seemed like a catchier title.
Anyway, I digress. A few months ago, around 2am, after a several cocktails (as per), I made a last minute decision to go on a weekend trip to St. Ives with my university’s surf club. That weekend ended up being a lot of fun, so when the summer trip to Spain was announced, I was quick to say yes to going.
Here is an overview of my week there:
I woke up an hour late and hungover 2 hours before I was supposed to meet the surf club in town to get a coach to the airport, and thoroughly regretted those 2am shots of rum as I ran around campus saying a few last goodbyes and handed in my room key. The coach, airport, flight and second coach can be summed up in two words: sleeping and eating. The house we were staying at was really cool; the rooms were cosy, there were hammocks, a huge sofa seating area and a fire pit outside, and inside there was a large flat screen, a pool table and lots of bean bags. When we arrived, we were given free beer/wine (which set a good tone for the week) and hung out in the court yard till late (I went to bed ‘early’ around 2am).
Waking up at 9am on holiday was not ideal, especially after just 6hrs sleep, but I learnt very quickly through the week that I could get out of bed at 9:57 and still get breakfast and get dressed in time for surf lessons. Breakfast was poor on vegan options but the weather was not as awful as expected and before 11am we were on the sandy beach, wetsuit-ed up and ready to surf! I caught many small waves in my first lesson of the trip which built my confidence for the bigger waves later in the week. Lunch was really nice and the afternoon was spent siesta-ing, with a quick trip to the supermarket for snacks and sangria, as the sea was too flat to surf. I made a mistake buying shitty plain crackers that tasted of cardboard and chocolate so thick that I had to bash it on the ground to snap a square off, but sangria (€1.95/L), was by far my best purchase of the week. Dinner was great and the evening was spent hanging out in the courtyard again, drinking and dancing till late.
Lunch and dinner were consistently amazing through the week and I had seconds of almost everything. Breakfast, however, was always the same: slightly disappointing. Although, I think a choice of almond milk instead of soy would have improved the situation immensely.
The offshore wind gave us some good waves, so my morning surf was a bit better than the day before. In the afternoon, I sunbathed and continued reading ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat’, a compilation of cases of patients seen by Dr Sacks. The book is targeted at psychology students/academics I assume (based on the terminology used) but the short stories in it are very interesting and enjoyable to read, nonetheless. In the afternoon I returned to the beach for another surf session and in the evening I went to a boat party with the whole surf club, which was very fun!
I woke up a mixture of tired a hungover but caught the best waves of the week that morning! We finally got a bit of the rain that had been forecasted all week but we also got enough sun to spend a good couple of hours sunbathing before lunch. I was too tired to battle the rough waves that had appeared in the afternoon so I relaxed in one of the hammocks for a few hours and took part in the surf club quiz night that evening.
I wet-suited up in the morning to some feel good music and headed to the beach at 10:30am. We moved a bit along the coast to catch better waves although the onshore wind meant they were less stable than the previous day, however, I think the increase in difficulty made catching a wave all the more rewarding. I felt utterly elated on top of the waves and after learning to be more selective about the ones I went for, I found myself tiring less quickly than on previous days and enjoying myself for longer.
In the afternoon I went back to the beach with some friends to surf (and try a bit of cheerleading) and in the evening the whole club came down to the beach to watch the sunset and play a rather lethal version of Frisbee.
After finishing the last of my sangria I went to bed with hopes of waking up early to see the sunrise.
I woke up late after several stress dreams but had an awesome morning surf session. I felt quite relieved it was one of the last days of surf as my body was just exhausted. I missed the afternoon surf session in favour of reading and napping and in the evening I played card games and drank wine (for €1.50 per glass, how could you not?).
I can’t remember the last time laughed so hard. As I was falling asleep I was reminded of the phrase, ‘the frequency of happy experiences is, more often than not, more important that their quality’, and I couldn’t agree more.
The sea was looking pretty flat so I took a boat to Somo city centre after breakfast to explore. I wandered quite far while looking for somewhere to have lunch and through some misunderstanding, ended up agreeing to having a three course meal.
So there I was, literally the only person sat in this restaurant, waiting for my starter after having the entire menu translated for me (because all I remember from my one year studying Spanish in year 8 is a song about a cockroach) and I just felt so content. It was the first time I’d ever eaten out at a restaurant by myself and it felt good to treat myself and just enjoy the food.
Afterwards I bought some postcards and wrote to a few friends on the boat back to the other side of Somo. During the day I had started to feel quite feverish so when I got back I went straight to bed til dinner. In the evening we played more card games, lit a bonfire and sat around it til it started raining, just past midnight. Despite feeling unwell, and literally shivering by the fire, I had a lovely night and it was such a happy end to a fun trip.
The last day of our trip was a lazy one. I felt more ill and it was so windy outside that I couldn’t even get onto the beach without being attacked by sand. So, after packing my bag, I spent most of the day eating, napping and reading. We left Somo at 8pm. the journey back home was full of delays and we got back to Bath at 5am. Although I felt crappy, I was still happy with my purchase of 2L of duty free gin, €10 (~£8.77) per litre.
Overall the trip was great! I would highly recommend surfing, surf trips, siestas, sangria, bonfires and sunsets on the beach. I’ll part with a diary entry from day 5:
‘I felt so content and peaceful out at sea, spending time alone, in my own head; something I hadn’t done much of since starting uni. Away from the regular stresses of daily life where my only responsibility was showing up on time to surf and I had many hours to nap, read, write and think. I felt a recovery in my mind and soul and a level of mental clarity and self-awareness that gave the rest of my life perspective. To be happy in the company of others is a wonderful thing but to be so contented in solitude brings a different kind of joy.’