Spanish Travels – Navarra and Galicia

When I first started this blog, I had intended to post weekly, but somehow work caught up with me and I had to postpone much that I wanted to do. I confess also that I’ve been enjoying the lovely weather, spending time in the garden pretending to be caring for the flowers and vegetables, but really, just pottering.

 Vigo, Spain
In between times I’ve been travelling in Spain for work, writing about the wondereful Province of Navarre which is seldom visited by tourists and that of Galicia. With regard to Navarre, tourists do visit but most of them are walkers because the area’s hills and mountains, rustic hotels and great food and wine (and the secret – cider) make it very worthwhile. Part of the famous Route of St. James to Campostela de Santiago passes through Navarre and it was humbling to walk just a few kilometres along the road that sees pilgrims walk 15-20 miles per day for up to 30 days. Next year is the big celebration of the walk and Santiago is gearing up for a massive influx of tourists. I’m toying with the idea of doing part of the walk but I fear I may not have the stamina.
 Lots-of-ponies-on-the-mount

Galicia was a great contrast to Navarre. Spain’s northern coastal area is visited mainly by the Spanish happy to leave the southern costas to the rest of Europe. I would hate to spoil it for them but I have to say that I plan to go back as it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Spain, unspoiled by high-rises and bars and restaurants serving “chips like at home” and “mama’s apple pie”. Instead we had steamed mussles, scallops, oysters, languoustines, prawns and every type of fish imaginable, including sole, turbot, sea bass and hake.

Although neither province sees a lot of foreign tourists, there are a couple of Michelin recommended restaurants with food and prices that will astound those used to paying a small fortune in such establishments. Vigo in Galicia has a superb 5* Hotel, The Escudos, located just outside the town and overlooking the bay. There are beautiful gardens and a 200 year old camellia tree (in full blossom when I was there last week) and a few steps lead from the garden down to the beach.

 Vigo Bay, Spain
I returned from Galicia only two days ago and the temperature then was still in the mid-twenties, something I hadn’t reckoned on when I decided on the area. I had packed mainly autumn clothes, never imaginging I would be sitting in the main square at 2.30 in the morning in tee-shirt.
Now back in the UK with dark nights and rain lashing the windows, I shall settle down to working from my notes and uploading some more articles on http://www.suite101.com/ about my travels. Next week sees the World Travel Market at Excel in London where I shall spend a few days renewing acquaintances with friends from around the globe and finding out what different countries are planning for visitors for next year.
If any earth-shattering news comes my way, it will be in my next blog.
Till then …..
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