We were keen to visit Vigo, but we discovered that four weeks living in Cambados was never going to be long enough for us. The town has a very welcoming vibe, while keeping a serenity which allows us to relax in its ambience. One of our favourite elements of Galicia is definitely the food. Twice a week we have collected a lovely array of fresh produce from the local market (enormous for a small town), despite mustering all our will power, we could not resist the fruit and nut wood fired bread particular to this region. Each loaf is big enough to feed 50 people, so fortunately they cut you off a section.
Apart from eating all the abundant fresh seafood, we have been enjoying our own Galician style cooking too. John is becoming an expert at making the tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette with potatoes). Another favourite of mine is the Galician white bean soup, to which I added grated ginger. Only problem was with the nut sprinkle I added to the accompanying salad………….it was a tooth breaker, I actually added raw lentils – I didn’t have my glasses on!
Exploring the Ria Baixas included a visit to the energetic city of Vigo, which is well known for its art scene.
I was not disappointed; stumbling immediately upon one of the most awesome public sculptures, monumento de trabajo, one of the key figures of Galician art of the 20th century. This was created by a sculptural group in dedication to the many extraordinary fishermen of Galicia. It is also by far, the best depiction of the gluteus maximus I have ever seen.
I then struggled passed many fabulous shoe (zapatos) shops, along the very ornate promenade of Vigo down to the main plaza. We could not resist the great selection of vibrant cafes packed with locals dining alfresco, soaking up the first sign of sun in Galicia in the previous two weeks. It was still a little ‘alfreezo’ for us Aussies, so we sat inside. More kind thoughts for the fishermen who risk their lives daily in the Atlantic Ocean, as we devoured the most succulent octopus (pulpo) we have tried anywhere. Galician style slow cooked pulpo is then seared in butter with potatoes and sprinkled with paprika. I think we are getting the hang of the long boozy Spanish Sunday lunches.
Stomachs satisfied, we climbed up to the highest point in Vigo within the Parque Monte del Castro. Here, we took in the 360 degree breathtaking views over the Ria Baixas and city of Vigo. The park and city contain historical elements of over 2000 years, too much to detail here. Vigo’s fishing port rivals some of the biggest in the world, the Ria also being full of mussel rafts. The Rias of Galicia contain over 3000 mussel rafts and supply over 50% of the world’s total mussel production. Guess what’s on the menu?
All through Galicia, even the smallest village, you will find stone crosses created on long thin shafts. They are mostly found in the town central plaza and may be used to denote a social or religious area. Each one is unique and it was in the park of Vigo where I found an exquisite cruceiro.
DONON: Faro de Carbo Home
It was a long and windy road in to the coastal town of Donon. No direct route, but we now know to avoid trying to drive through the maze of narrow lanes in villages, where you can easily end up down someone’s driveway with nowhere to turn around. Barely noted on the map, we drove until the end of the road in hope of finding a headland with lighthouses (faros) of which we had seen enticing photographs. Where every road ends, fortunately in Spain, you usually find a cafe. After John had his caffeine fix, where the road finished we began walking with a picnic on our backs. Eventually, we came across the most rugged, gnarly mountains towering over the threatening ocean, protecting the land behind.
I love the wildness of the Atlantic Coast, being exposed to every element. It was refreshing to hear and see all the bird life here; just gliding gracefully while we were bracing ourselves from the incessant icy wind gusts. We walked to both the light houses, then randomly made our way along bush tracks to the more protected side of the headland, hoping for a sheltered picnic spot.
As we came over the crest of a hill, we knew we had found our picnic paradise.
The drive and walk well exceeded any expectations…..Galicia is full of surprises and we look forward to many more! Unfortunately, we said ‘adios’ to Cambados last week and have headed North to the Costa de Morte (coast of death); the land of shipwrecks and witches…………John said, ‘they don’t know there is another one on her way.’