Galicia, in the remote northwest of Spain is an area very different from the Mediterranean costas. It is a land of mists and mysteries, of bagpipes and witches. It is also the land we have called home for the last 13 years.
Why did we choose Galicia? That is a question I have been asked many times and can still only answer by saying that Galicia chose us. We first came to Galicia walking the northern coastal route of the Camino de Santiago in 2004 and fell head over heels for the place and the people.
Our first stop in Galicia was Ribadeo, a fishing town on the north coast and the gateway to Galicia across the river Eo. The bridge over the Eo can be seen from the air on some UK flights and is pretty spectacular. Below is an extract from my short story about our Camino… called surprisingly, Camino.
“We arrive at the bridge over the river Eo at 12.30pm and stop to stare. This is not a bridge like the others we have crossed. There is no need to stumble downhill by winding roads only to have to climb precipitously back uphill again this time. This is a feat of engineering. This is a bridge. No, this is a HUGE bridge.
The bridge crossing the Eo is some 600 metres long and sits high above the rio below, with the Cantabrian Sea clearly visible to our right. This bridge is so large that it can be seen clearly from the aeroplane window on some flights from the UK to Santiago de Compostela. It is white and gleaming and incredibly busy.
The guidebook says ‘cross the bridge’. This simple sentence gives no clue as to the dangers or difficulties involved in doing so. The windsock on our side of the river is blowing horizontally and we can feel the wind tugging at the backpacks before we even set foot on the bridge. The footpath is narrower than me, burdened as I am, and the lorries feel as if they are only a centimetre away…if that. S goes first and it is so windy I have to hang onto him for support. The view to the sea off to our right is beautiful but the barrier doesn’t look very high and I am pleased and relieved to make it to the other side. We are in Galicia.”
In the centre of Ribadeo is an attractive plaza, or square, lined with restaurants and pavement cafes. Contrary to public opinion it doesn’t always rain in Galicia and Ribadeo that day was warm and inviting. We ate chocolate and churros in the square. The chocolate was so thick you could stand a spoon up in it. The churros were stick-like doughnuts, sprinkled with sugar and delicious. That first evening we wandered the streets and found welcome in every bar we entered. We also found another Galician treat: free tapitas, or small tapas with each drink. It is no wonder we fell in love with Galicia!
Camino: A peanut butter, marmite and banana butty (writing home book 0) by Lisa Roe Wright is available on kindle from Amazon. http://www.smarturl.it/CaminoPeanutButty