Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Vigo, Spain: Part III, The Road Trip

After my long journey I was back in Vigo for a 3rd time, it must be a great town. Olalla (Azúcar Mamá) had dinner waiting. I was also corrected from a previous post. Olalla was a social educator but is now a consultant and researcher on where the Spanish government should spend their education budget... apparently I don't listen.

Since I arrived on a Sunday night I kept myself occupied during the week with running, long bike rides, sleeping, being a housewife and finally actually exploring the city of Vigo. Vigo is a city of many unique and interesting statues... here are some:

A naked lady riding a bull!

A naked lady riding a Dragon

Naked buff fishermen

The shadows block quite a bit but these men are very large

Road trip time! Olalla took Friday and Monday off work for a long weekend road trip with me. We hired a car from Vigo, a little 6-Speed manuel diesel, which was involved in a collision with a wild boar on the highway within an hour of my driving.

Just waiting for a mate! (Australian joke... search you tube)
That night we stopped in Ourense. We arrived at a little bar on the outskirts of the city centre. The food here was ridiculously cheap and good quality. Travelling in Galicia with someone that speaks Galician was incredibly handy. Olalla sorted out our accommodation in the city centre, we left our car at the bar and we (Olalla) managed to get an old couple to drive us to our pension (cheap hotel). We walked around the city, checked out some bars and got into a concert for free.

The next morning we were off to Las Médulas, a place I had wanted to see since Santiago de Compostela. Olalla was suggesting we go somewhere else first due the icy roads along the way but I had never driven on ice so I told her it would be good fun! I drove along highways, bendy mountain ranges and little towns.

The Romans dug this cave to dry up the river and collect the gold.

We were finally at the incredibly beautiful Las Médulas. This place was surrounded by trees losing their leaves, lakes, caves and red clay mountains.

My happy face!

Our long day was followed by drinks and tapas in local bar, where I discovered Spanish bartenders ring a bell every time they receive a tip. Then we were back on the road driving to O Barco to spend the night in another pension, where dinner and drinks pursued.

The next day we were off with a stunning drive through the mountains to the tiny town of Froxan.

We eventually arrived in the tiny Galician village Froxan. There just happened to be an Albergue (hostel) here. since it was pretty empty the lady said she could put us in a room by ourselves. We went to a near by village to explore. Most of the houses in the villages in this area are made from the stone of the mountain with no cement holding them together. It is a black stone that gives these tiny villages a very unique look. We decided to have lunch in the only restaurant in the area. We got the last 2 seats and just happened to be sitting next to the lady from the hostel and her family. This would be one of the biggest meals I've had in my life. The starters were bread and empañada (Spanish pie/pastry), Olalla asked for water and I asked for wine so out came a 1L bottle of water and a full bottle of wine followed by massive bowls of soup, then we ordered Wild Boar on chestnuts, along with potatoes and lentils, and we asked if we could try the mountain goat and patatas... 3 huge plates arrived. We couldn't finish and then came dessert Café Flan for me, pineapple flan for Olalla followed by coffee with a bottle of spirits (pour in as much as you want)... the bill, only 14 Euro each.

With our stomachs full it was time for some hiking.

Another village we passed through on the hike

A chapel alone in the mountains

270 degrees of cliff

It was dark once again for our hike back. In the morning it was time to return to Vigo via a visit to another little village where a man invited us in a showed us his home and a trip to Canón do Sil (a canyon and river). After Olalla opened the boot of the car parked behind ours we decided to put our bags in the right car. The front windscreen was completely iced over. Canón do Sil was very beautiful and we were the only people there. After a quick nap on a pier by the lake in the sun we were once again on our way to Vigo.

Mountain goats

The little village

We finally returned the car with an extra 210 Euro to pay due to the wild boar... things could have been much worse! That was the end of a 600km road trip across Galicia and back.

I spent 2 more nights at Olalla's before it as time to leave once more. 1 night turned into 18. This time I was off to the south of Spain via Madrid.

Maybe I said good bye to this amazing girl for the last time but she is welcome to visit me anytime.

Lessons Learnt:
Galicia has free tapas if a Galician orders.
My home is my backpack.
The least touristic area of Spain is one of the most beautiful.
You never know who you will meet on your adventures.
Cars, highways and wild boars are not good combinations.
Never worry about the past or things you can't change, always focus on what you can control... the future is yours!