31.08.2012 23 °C
Hola from Espana
Pontevedra spreads on both sides of the river with eight or nine bridges to choose. Drawn by a market, we crossed by a stunning cable suspension bridge which hummed in the breeze. Women in aprons sold bunches of fresh fruit and vegetables and mysterious bottles we later found were their own liquors. Stalls were heaped with cheeses and salamis and massive stacks of jamon. There was lots of knowledgeable squeezing and sniffing. But then came our octopus moment, at a pulperio. Outside a big tent, octopus were being cooked in big drums, hauled out and roughly chopped. A portion heaped on a wooden platter, drizzled with olive oil and smoky red paprika was dropped onto the trestle table for us to share, together with great chewy bread and white ceramic bowls for red wine. The wine was so dark it was opaque. The noise was tremendous, the pulpo was good and we could see why pulpo Gallego is esteemed.
Pontevedra has some lovely plazas in the old city, which are part of daily life, not some tourist zone. One day, there was a thumping basketball carnival set up, and music on others. Lots of kids and families meeting up, until about 8 when the youngest left. A really nice way to end a day.
Using the local bus, we explored along a Iittle of the rias baixas, to visit Combarro. This is a tiny fishing village of great charm in its oldest winding oldest streets, with lots of the local horerros or stone storage "sheds". We were early enough to enjoy the calm water of the sheltered bay, the quiet back lanes and local chat before crowds arrived. The next bus took us all the way to the end of the peninsula to O Grove. The route went past good beaches, lots of people taking advantage of them, and wound in and out of grape covered slopes.
The next day, we found a different bus to get to Cambados, for a pleasant wander along the bay, and out to ruins of an island watch tower. Lots of mention of the dastardly Sir Francis Drake!
We could see why this area has attracted so many invaders, with easy access via many rivers, good sheltered bays, farming country and forested hills. We enjoyed a super lunch of fresh tiny squid and sardines and salad.
There are lots of posters around for the Vuelta! Have to arrange to be in the right place for a stage.
Meeting so many helpful or friendly people, which makes traveling easier, from finding a laundry to knowing which bus to catch.