Although Spain wasn’t necessarily high on my list of places to visit — since I was there when I studied abroad — my former coworker (who is from Spain!) happened to be in Europe just as I was arriving. So my fiancé and I took a long weekend over the 4th of July to visit Galicia with the perfect tour guide!
We packed a lot into our short weekend there! First, Alberto took us on a hike around his local town that took us all the way back to a waterfall he used to explore when he used to live there.
And that was just the first morning! That afternoon, we hopped in the car for a little bit of a drive to visit some Celtic ruins. Yea, I had no idea that there were Celtic ruins in Spain. The more you know! We explored the Castro de Baroña, which was built some time around the 1st century BC (according to Wikipedia, at least). It was a very rocky hill fortress — I’d hate to try to scale that wall of rocks to get to the city! Pictures don’t do the sight justice, but this video shows a pretty cool view of Baroña.
That evening, we met up with some of Alberto’s friends for drinks and tapas. Tapas are small dishes that everyone at your table shares, instead of everyone ordering their own meal. It is a great way to try a lot of different things! And boy, did we try a lot of different things. Some of the most notable things were octopus (top right photo) and pig’s ear (bottom right). Those Galicians really don’t like to waste any part of the animal apparently! My personal rule is to at least try everything that’s put in front of me, but that pig’s ear was hard to get down. I couldn’t even tell you what it tasted like — the texture freaked me out way too much! But it was an experience.
Along with trying to speak Spanish, tasting Galician wines and liquors, hearing the Spanish version of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, trying lots of new foods, and all without evening getting ready to go out until 10 or so, it was a perfect end to our already packed first Galician day. 👌🏼 Between the hike earlier, our Celtic adventure, and going out, we walked about 20,000 steps our first day. Needless to say, the next day we spent recovering!
Alberto’s parents were very gracious to let us stay at their house for our quick trip. And also gave us an unending supply of Galician food! I ate more seafood that I have probably in the last 5 years combined. While I am normally not a huge fan of seafood, everything I had was delicious and tasted so different than what I’ve in the States.
Our second day was a much more relaxed pace — we slept in, ate a lot of food, and hit the beach! It wouldn’t have been a real beach trip with these Galicians if there hadn’t been some beach soccer involved ;).
We flew out Monday evening from Santiago de Compostela, so we got a (somewhat) early start on the day and explored Santiago. The main attraction here is the big cathedral that serves as the final point on the pilgrim trail called Camino de Santiago. Although much of the cathedral was under renovations or was being cleaned, we found our way inside along with hundreds of other visitors while a service was going on. In the afternoon, Alberto showed us a quaint Galician place for lunch, and we wandered through the alleys and shops that make up the main part of town.
My trip to Galicia was very different than when I had visited Madrid a few years ago. It was cool to see a different side to Spain (especially after hearing about it at work for so many years!). We had a great tour guide, and if you are interested in a more off-beat Spain experience, Galicia is a sweet place to explore!