06.09.2012 24 °C
Lugo, once a Roman city, where Rua Nova is still the street on a line between here and the next Roman city, now A Corunna. The inner area is still ringed with a stunning complete wall, mostly of stacked schist , elegantly rounded towers and arched portals. Inside, floors can suddenly reveal a window down to Roman mosaics, a wall, a fresco- fragments of what stretches below in all directions. And over this is the life of a modern city with two thousand years of building styles rubbing shoulders. We walk along the top of the wall and look down to slate roofs and then out to a modern city of apartment blocks.
Although this is part of one of the camino routes, there are fewer obvious peregrinos and most map carriers ( a clear sign of tourists) are Spanish. And so we have specially enjoyed contacts with the more limited number of English speakers here. They always apologize for their poor skills!! there was the passionate archaeologist we met , down a narrow stair to dimly lit treasure of mosaics and fresco; a young man who returned to run the family business from time in Rotterdam and Edinburgh; and Patricia who came from Romania to study to teach English and waitresses to live as well. She spoke disapprovingly of the level of corruption here
There is a definite style with a preference for strong colors and careful grooming. Men do the sweater thing across the shoulders with flair, and their are some serious pockets of "ladies who lunch" with jewels, elegant outfits and meticulous hairdos. Everyone has amazing smooth tans. Shoe shops are in great abundance with lots of Spanish products. Children are started young, with stunning outfits and shoes as they do the evening walk. I have never seen such gorgeous baby clothes.
And then, straight out of central casting, a couple of elderly women in total black. We muse over their destination. Is it the fresh produce market or into the cathedral which mixes a steady trickle of the devout as well as tourists? Both?
That market, like all we've seen, is a delight with stacked regional cheeses and cured meats in stunning profusion. I am determined to try the local morcilla, black pudding/chorizo style. Wine is a staple, available in supermarkets even in small casks, priced from very low and up. The house wine has been often poured from an unlabelled bottle- uncle Alberto's? Usually, quite acceptable. And then there are the liqueurs called orujos, which are traditionally home made. We have tried a couple, and been wary of their power.
In the search for experience, we have checked out some Rioja reds. Very nice! We know we are not buying at the top of the market, but E15 or so buys a mature, interesting and complex drink to match to local food.
The bus took us today over the hills to the north coast. Steep slopes covered with forest, deer crossing signs, timber mills and many small clusters of houses. Some great twisting roads and layers of hills in the distance. Once again, we were the only tourists on the trip. I am getting really good at interpreting transport timetables and we rate the estacion de autobus in each town. And often choose hotels by how easy it is to navigate from there.
Busses here are cheap, on time and comfortable. To be recommended!