Graceful Galicia. It’s politely provincial, swarming with friendly pilgrims and backpackers. We’ve hit it at the right time, with spring blooming all about but before the summer crush. Stones, squid, sun, saints… sublime.
Having a fantastic crash pad helps. Our home this week is a newly remodeled flat on the upper floor of a family-owned building. It can’t be easy to remodel an ancient edifice, and as the first guests in the new space we took a little gamble booking the exchange before the remodel. We got lucky – with fine flair our HomeExchange hosts Suso and Maria eliminated space-wasting hallways and organized rooms around an open, airy kitchen-dining-living room furnished with just the right amount of amenities. With charming markets and quality local foods, Chef Sue made good use of the fine kitchen.
Thursday night Suso and Maria invited us downstairs for dinner. At 9PM. Because that’s when you supper in Spain. I love this place. It’s been months since we stayed and dined with Karen, Naftaly and Nathan in South Africa; the boys were starved for kid company and we parents enjoyed some fresh perspectives from our hosts. Suso is an empathetic school principal and Maria tested several careers and countries before returning with Suso to Spain and a happy teacher’s role. Good choices – they both inspire and enthuse. Daughter Marina is studying hard for finals and worrying too much – she’s going to change the world and prosper. And charming son Aldan will be a success at whatever he puts his mind to.
Their place was hospital-clean when we arrived so we take extra care to clean up Friday morning before loading into our Golf for half day drive to Asturias. To break up the drive we head towards Ribadeo on the northern Galician coast to visit Playa de las Catedrales. It’s spectacular at low tide, and the boys have a barefoot hoot stomping through the tides and sand-floored caves and natural bridges. The slate walls are lined with barnacles, mussels, crabs and critters, a feast for Sue’s shutter: