Saturday, December 31, 2005

 

The city of A Coruna, Galicia

Next month should see the new city guide to A Coruna (also spelt Corunna in English) uploaded onto galiciaguide.com.

A Coruna is one of the few cities that I did not manage to spend enough time in to do it real justice. It is a pretty big city, but it has a great harbour area with a very long promenade and some very distinctive buildings – many featuring the Galician “galeria”, or enclosed balconies.

Other attractions are the Roman lighthouse – only the oldest parts are actually from that era, but it is something to see and it still functions today. There is also a seaside tram system that is really intended for practical use, but tourists get on to it purely for the ride.

A Coruna also has some interesting plazas and a medieval area and lots of history into the bargain. Unfortunately, tourists tend to miss out on this city in favour of the more famous Santiago de Compostela, but they definitely lose out on one of Galicia’s most interesting cities.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

 

Lugo’s secret treasure

We thought Lugo was a great city, or a least the older parts of it were. The Roman wall is the obvious attraction, but the cathedral is also worth a visit and in particular a series of five small chapels in the apse at the very back of the building.

If you take a look at these little chapels you will find that the central, and largest one, is nothing short of spectacular with ornate detailing, a decorative altar and some amazing vaulting.

Most of the cathedral’s visitors are so captivated by the main altar, that glistens with gold, that they never bother to explore further, but that is their loss. The little chapels are the real treasure and especially the central one.

Other than the stunning chapels, the cathedral also demonstrates a range of architectural styles from the baroque to the neo-classic making it a high point of any visit to Lugo.

Lugo city is the capitol of Galicia’s Lugo province.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

 

Lugo’s Roman wall

Lugo city is the capitol of the Lugo province and has, at its heart, an old town that is totally enclosed by a 1700 year old Roman wall.

The wall is totally intact and you can reach it via one of several stairs (recent additions). Aside from the enjoyment of actually walking on a structure of this age, you also get some good views of both the old and new town and you can descend at numerous points around the walls perimeter.

Visually the wall has a series of curved turrets and a number of gates, some original, but some added later. Amongst the most famous of these gates is the “Santiago gate”.

If you want to find out more, use the link to the left (galiciaguide.com), and navigate to the Lugo section.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

 

Ourense old town, Galicia

I’ve just uploaded our new Ourense section over the last few days and it brings back memories of what a great place it is. The approach to the old town takes you through some shabby areas of the greater city, but once in the medieval district things take a turn for the better.

Ourense’s historic quarter is fairly compact and you can see everything you need to in a day, but that does not demean it, there is plenty to see.

Aside from the cathedral there are two churches with stunning facades and a beautiful square (the “Maior”) that, although small, really is a gem. The whole of the old town is well restored and has some great plazas plus a Roman spa, or the remains of it.

The only real downside to Ourense is its situation – in the middle of nowhere. Unlike Galcia’s other provinces there are no other major cities in Ourense, so the city itself is your main tourist stop.

Monday, December 12, 2005

 

A Pobra do Caraminal

This is a beautiful coast side town in the ria de arousa and has a stunning alameda with gardens, trees and fountains. It is famous for a festival that involves carrying a casket (coffin) around the town, but this should not put you off visiting it.

Beach wise, A Pobra has a clean and protected beach with small waves and a calm sea. The town itself has some old buildings, plenty of shopping and lots of bars. Although rarely mentioned in tourist guides, this town beats the pants off just about every other Galician sea side town and is well worth a visit. It also has a natural harbour and two keys, one for commercial and the other for pleasure boats.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

Ribeira Galicia

Ribeira is a large fishing port in the lower bays of Galicia’s coastline. It is the third biggest recipient of fish in Spain and historically the most significant. The port is large and public access to the dock is prohibited (quite possibly to stop someone uncovering the massive numbers of illegally small fish that Spanish vessels continue to catch and sell).

To a tourist, Ribeira is interesting as a port, but not especially attractive to look at. That said it does have some great beaches, both the large one at the end of the town and a whole host of smaller ones littered around the area. It is also famous for sardines.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

 

Tapas in Galicia

Everyone’s taste in tapas is different and depending on which part of Spain you visit you will be presented with a different selection.

In the south, especially cities like Barcelona, there are amazing taps bars that offer dozens if not hundreds of different options, but in Galicia things are a bit more limited, but also more focused on seafood.

The favourites tend to be “pimientos de Padron” fried chili peppers from the town of Padron, “pulpo” (octopus cut up a with scissors and boiled”) and “calamares” (deep fried sliced squid with a light batter).

Monday, December 05, 2005

 

Samos Monastery

Samos monastery is in Lugo province and is about one to one and a half hours drive from Lugo city.

The monastery is large and dominates the small town in which it is located. Other than its size, its most prominent feature is the detailed façade to the attached church which is both imposing and attractive. The monastery is also an important stop on the Camino or pilgrims route that runs through Lugo and a statue to the pilgrims can be found a short distance from the monastery.

To find out more, click on the galiciaguide.com link to the left.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

 

Castro de Barona

This is the ruins of an ancient Celtic settlement in Lugo province. It is around 20 minutes from the main city and has a museum with exhibits, descriptions etc from the ruin.

If you have never seen or heard of a castro, then this is a good one to start off with. The Castro de Barona is pretty large and the shape of the house/cell units can clearly be distinguished. It is not yet fully excavated, but the main sections are all visible and you can wonder around them. The museum is free and there is some support in the form of English guide books.

To find out more, click the Castro de Barona title at the top and you will be taken to some pages about it.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

 

Muros

Muros is one of Galicia’s larger former port towns and although still active today is perhaps more popular with vacationers than fishing vessels.

It has a natural bay, a man-made jetty and a promenade that runs the length of the main town with the ocean on one side. It is a great place to do some window shopping, or to have a drink and some tapas at one of the many bars lining the sea facing side of the town. Muros also has an older and more austere district behind the mainly white facade buildings that a visitor first sees on arrival and bars and shops can be found there too.

Leaving Muros and heading north you can travel to Cape Finesterre, or alternatively, south to Noia and beyond that Ribeira.

To find out more about Muros click on the title.

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