Thursday, 13 June 2013
With poor weather forecast for the next few days and chances of cycling diminished, we decided to use the time to explore as far west as we could, into Galicia and specifically Santiago de Compostela. There are various pilgrimages but the main one is from Leon in Castilla, further south. An ancient holy town visited by modern day pilgrims and long distance walkers.
First stop, A Coruna, the capital of Galicia. Road signs with O, instead of El and A instead of La, and lots of xs, gallego language is more akin to Portuguese, with Praia instead of playa (beach), and igrexa, instead of iglesia (church). Most road signs which describe the town in Castillian have been corrected by spray paint or damaged to rub out the el or la and replace with gallego term.
The motorway over from Asturias, which hugs the coast for most of the way, the Autovia de Cantabrica, is an amazing piece of infrastructure, probably EU funded. Hardly a mile goes by for 300 miles, which is not a viaduct or tunnel. The landscape is stunning, with steep wooded hillsides off inland, and rivers, ravines and estuaries nearer the coast. As the rain and mist came down, it still looked atmospheric and beautiful.
Arrived at A Coruna in the rain, and a campsite a couple of miles outside the city, set in landscaped gardens. Expensive and still no hot water to wash up in. A very nice restaurant on site, frequented by the locals, so maybe not encouraged to make your own. A short taxi ride into town, took us to the" parte vieja". Didn't really live up to its name, as not much old Coruna to see. Proper industrial port and industrial architecture. It's impossible to get bad food in Spain. Even little back street cafe/bars like the one we called at did fantastic chipirones, the bar being named El Chipiron, which were big enough to be small sepia, or cuttlefish, and we had pulpo a la gallega as well- octopus thinly sliced and cooked smothered in a pint of olive oil and lashings of paprika- delicious!
The weather deteriorated and we decided that we might as well walk around nearby Santiago de Compostela, as hang around in A Coruna, so off we went.