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Inicio arrow Departamentos arrow Inglés arrow INFORMACIÓN XERAL DO DEPARTAMENTO DE INGLÉS
INFORMACIÓN XERAL DO DEPARTAMENTO DE INGLÉS PDF Imprimir Correo-e
domingo, 04 noviembre 2007
rose

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Rosa Paredes García  (Head of the Department)

Begoña López Soto

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CURRENT STORY: Icons of England

Icons At A Glance The Pint
Pride And Prejudice
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GALICIA IN The New York Times

May 24, 2006
Frugal Traveler
In Galicia on My Trip Around the World
By MATT GROSS

I'd wanted to visit Galicia for a long time; Miguel was my tipping point. The landscape, on which few American tourists set foot, was reputed to have a wild, almost Irish beauty (indeed, Galicia's people are Celtic in origin), and the coast is famous for its seafood. In his e-mail and text messages, Miguel struck me as a kind person who knew his way around. Spending a few nights in the isolated countryside is one thing, but isolation itself is another. So the cousin of a friend of a friend was just what I needed.
After rescuing me from the roadside, Miguel took me to Os Petroglifos, a bed-and-breakfast that takes its name from the megalithic images of deer, snakes and other symbols carved into rocks nearby. It wasn't exactly a bargain — rooms were 51.60 euros a night (about $67 at $1.30 to the euro) — but it was the only lodging in town. Besides, I'd spent a free night in Porto with Gabriela, an extraordinarily cool woman I'd met through CouchSurfing.com, a kind of Friendster for travelers that a few readers have enthusiastically mentioned. Members open up spare bedrooms, sofas and even their floors in exchange for the same when they hit the road. I was an immediate convert.

That night, Miguel took me to Vagalume Pensión, where I had the best octopus I've ever tasted — pulpo ala gallega, dressed in olive oil, rock salt and pimentón. Along with two bottles of Estrella Galicia beer, the check came to 11.60 euros. Miguel refused to let me pay, so I picked up the drinks later that evening.

The next morning, we went to what passes for downtown Bealo to sample the homemade wine made by Miguel's cousin Chus. Every family makes theirs differently. The aroma was intense, almost as intense as the landscape, like a million mountain flowers condensed into a glass of slightly frothy light pink liquid.

Then we set off to explore the peninsula, from the free museum at the Castro de Neixón, site of a 2,000-year-old settlement, to the dune beach and lighthouse at Corrubedo (partly closed for preservation) and on to the Castro de Baroña, the area's largest and most impressive ancient settlement. The drive itself was marvelous — glorious green hills punctuated by villages with narrow streets and houses whose tiled walls resembled old pixilated Atari video games.

The busy day ended with dinner at Miguel's, where we ate a tortilla that his wife, Pili, had made and cheered as Barcelona managed to beat Arsenal and win the Champions League trophy. Firecrackers banged out in the streets. I sent a text message to a friend (of a friend) in the Catalonian capital: "Visca Barça!"

When I checked out of Os Petroglifos the following morning, the owner mysteriously reduced my room rate by 20 percent, asking why I'd stayed just two nights. I worried at first: Had he figured out who I was? Thankfully, no. But then I realized there might a useful tip here: by visiting only untouristed spots, you are such an unusual presence that everyone will go out of their way to be hospitable.

I found the same generous spirit in La Coruña, a city at the northwestern tip of Spain, a quick 4.85-euro train ride from Santiago de Compostela. The Zara clothing chain is based in La Coruña, making it something of a fashionable outpost in the Galician sticks. Once again, I was drawn there by a social connection. A friend who had briefly worked for Zara sent me a long list of people to see there. That evening I met some of them: José, a quiet schoolteacher; Paco, a bald Bukowski acolyte; and his lovely friend Diana. For hours we bounced around back-street bars like Casa Enrique, where writers and artists gathered in the 40's and 50's (and which is, alas, closing in July — so go now).

Despite my protests, they kept picking up the tab. In the end, they allowed me to pay a single bill, at La Postreria, the only fancy bar of the evening. Drinks came to 22 euros, a nearly budget-busting figure but a tiny price to pay for the hospitality shown to me by utter strangers. I considered it a deposit in the karma bank, from which all travelers, frugal or spendthrift, must frequently make withdrawals.

 

 


 
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