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Un viaje a Galicia

Sleep, eat and drink
Villa Soro - San Sebastian
Akelare - San Sebastian
Palacio de Rubianes - Cereceda
Elkano - Getaria
A Quinta da Auga - Santiago
Pazo Los Escudos - Vigo
Villa Rosario - Ribadesella
Melia - Bilbao

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un viaje a galicia     along the green coast of spain

Josefina & Wolfgang Bleier
Austria, August 2011

Our plan for our summer holidays in 2011 was - guess what - to explore again the north coast of Spain, as a continuation of our journey last year. You could also see it this way: we just went back home for a couple of months to earn some fresh money, in order to continue our vacation where we stopped last year. Without doubt, this year's trip was as beautiful as last year! What else. This time we went a good way farther towards west, until we've reached the west coast of Galicia facing the Atlantic Ocean.

As in 2010 we have started our journey in San Sebastian, our favorite place in the Basque Country. At last we had to visit one of the famous restaurants decorated with stars by Michelin. It’s a food paradise. Gourmets will find the Mugaritz, Arzak, Akelaŕe or Martin Berasategui within close proximity, leaving them in the dilemma to decide which one to visit. From San Sebastian we toured along the coast to remote places in the green mountains of Asturias, in the back of beyond, further on to Santiago de Compostella and Las Islas Cies, a dreamlike island in the south of Galicia, 40 minutes offshore of the pretty town of Baiona. It is the genuine way of life combined with marvellous food, lonely bays and romantic fishing villages, which attracts us so much in this northern region of Spain. Not only, but most of all the landscapes of Islas Cies were simply breathtaking, or as we used to say, painfully beautiful. Our plan to travel to Galicia was a good one. Probably nowhere else is the seafood as fresh as there ...

From San Sebastian to Galicia and back to Bilbao

If you have read our travelogue about the north coast of Spain last year in 2010, you'll probably remember that we've written our fingers to the bone to praise the beauty of this part of Spain. Since we do not want to repeat ourselves, we'll leave you with our photographs we've made this year, except for a few words about Galicia and Islas Cies.


Galicia - el buen camino

Galicia's culture is distinct from that of the rest of Spain, mainly upon Galicia’s perceived identity as a Celtic rather than a Hispanic sub nation. It is remotely situated in the top left corner of Spain, its borders are facing the open sea to the north and west, Asturias to the east and Portugal to the south, making it a bit secluded in the Iberian Peninsula.
Santiago de Compostella is the main place visited by foreign tourists. The cathedral of Santiago de Compostella marks the end to thousands of pilgrims who walk the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago) across the north part of Spain and Galicia to see the tomb of Saint James, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ. In the rest of Galicia one won't come across many foreign tourists, which makes it perfect to us, as we prefer to mingle with locals.

Vigo - Islas Cies

Galicia is a very green, rainswept region, distinctive for the diversity of its landscape. On the rocky coastline stunning cliffs alternate with green lowlands, and fjords reach many kilometres into the mainland, like those near Pontevedra and Vigo.
Galicia occupies a special area on the spanish peninsula, and it seems that its climate has allowed a rich cusine to develop. Thinking of Polbo á feira, Pementos de Padrón, Empanadas, Caldo galego, Mariscos, Lacón con grelos, Churrasco, and sweets like the Tarta de Santiago, to name just some of the typical dishes of the region, the variety is amazing. Mostly the dishes are traditionally prepared with great affection and care. Fish and seafood in Galicia is extraordinary in quality and variety. It is certainly one of the best places on this planet to eat fish and seafood caught just off the coast: hake, turbot, sea-bass, grouper, sole, and many more. Seafood and shellfish, like the delicious shrimp, a much-appreciated starter, squid and cuttlefish, fried or served in their ink, oysters, crabs and lobster comes on your table fresh and tasty. Gooseneck barnacles, called percebes, develop all the quintessential flavours of the sea, followed by the shellfish such as the clam and the oyster. Octopus is eaten all year round and at every fiesta or market as Polbo á feira. Boiled, chopped into pieces, seasoned with red paprika powder and salt and sprinkled with olive oil, placed on top of boiled potatoes it is really yummy.

Islas Cies

Las Islas Cies - the Caribbean of Europe

According to ancient legends, god, after he has created earth, took a rest on Islas Cies. No one knows if this was true, however, the truth is that in 2007 the British newspaper "The Guardian" has ranked Islas Cies number one among the ten most beautiful beaches of the world - and this is why:
Mention Spanish beaches and most people instinctively think of the Mediterranean. Yet the wilder, stunning Atlantic coastline of Galicia, just north of Portugal, has far more dramatic praias – with far fewer people on them. One of the jewels of this coast is on Las Islas Cíes, a 40-minute boat trip from the pretty town of Baiona. Once a pirates' haunt, Cíes is now an uninhabited and pristine national park, open to the public only in summer. Galegos come here to spend long, lazy summer days on the Praia das Rodas, a perfect crescent of soft, pale sand backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear sea. Locals call this their "Caribbean beach", and the water is turquoise enough, the sand white enough to believe the comparison … until you dip your toe in the water. Then it feels more like the polar sea. You can sleep in an idyllic campsite, shaded by tall pine trees, with a view over the ocean. And, this being Spain, there's even a proper restaurant serving great seafood.

Vigo, Galicia

Traveling is all about the experience and it's great if two share the same passion. To visit once more the northern part of Spain was a good decision. It was another eventful journey through naturally beautiful regions from the Basque Country to Galicia and back to Bilbao. Marvellous! To adopt the genuine Spanish way was nice and easy, probably the best way to feel well.

Adios, hasta luego

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