Galicia- by Don Harris
Our family loves to journey to Galicia, a place where we can relax, enjoying life among cordial Celtic fisher folk and those who work the fields and tend the flocks. There is nothing quite like wandering the rias, or fjords, formed by mountain streams as they wend their way to the sea.
We love to drive along the lapping tidelands and the wave-pounded cliffs of Galicia. It is there, by the cliffs, that young men risk their lives to harvest seafood treasures from the ocean. Seafood, shellfish, octopus – it is all there in amazing abundance, celebrated in more than 300 gastronomic fiestas each year.
Central to the culture and piety of the region is the Camino de Santiago, where for 1,000 years, people have walked from all over Europe to Santiago de Compostela. Many years ago we traveled deep into the mountains on the eastern edge of Galicia, to visit the rustic pilgrimage way-station of Cebrero, with thatched shelters dating back to pre-history. Within the wind-swept chapel we saw what is believed to be the Holy Grail.
Santiago de Compostela is the amazing medieval pilgrimage site along which our family has journeyed many times. We always spend some time in the cathedral where the relics of Saint James lie. It is hard to put into words the effect of visiting a holy spot which has been visited by countless faithful for over 1,000 years. In addition we always find the granite arcades and the cobblestone streets of Santiago de Compostela alive with young university students and international pilgrims relaxing at the end of their journey. The scallops are amazing, and we think Galician bread is the best we have ever tasted.
Invariably we drive through the lush meadows and hidden valleys on our way to the city of Lugo with intact walls from medieval times. The municipal market is always bustling with local shoppers buying fresh produce from the local countryside, mellow Tetilla cow’s milk cheeses, countless shellfish and fish from the local stores, and bottles of light sparkling Albariño wine.