Although Galicia is small, it can be difficult to get around. Buses are somewhat costly, don’t run terribly frequently to some areas and are usually quite full when going to more populous destinations. Despite those challenges, we’ve definitely wanted to make the most of our time in this part of the world and see as many places as possible before we leave, so this weekend we took a short sidetrip to Lugo. It's kind of mid-way between us, about 2 hours each by bus. Lugo the city is the capital of Lugo, the province and Lugo the city is also located in Lugo the municipality
. Shannon lives in Lugo, the province, but lives in Burela, the city which happens to be in Burela the municipality. Brian lives in Santiago de Compostela the city, Santiago the municipality
, but lives in A Coruña, the province. Confusing, eh?
Our time here has also gotten us familiar with many of the booking sites for hotels, hostels and B&Bs there are out there so luckily Shannon found us a great deal on a pension with a private bathroom, internet and breakfast included in the price. We were pleasantly surprised when we arrived that it was
in an awesome location a mere minutes walk from the bus station and the old district, where we spent much of our time. Lugo is the only city in the world to be entirely surrounded by intact Roman walls. These Roman Walls, called a muralla, are also a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site. The old district is inside the wall and our pension was just on the outside of the wall. Perfect. We really enjoyed the Roman influence of statues and fountains and the beautiful church. A great experience we had was walking along the path on top of the wall surrounding the old town and giving us a great view of the city and giving us a neat perspective of the city.
The province of Lugo's motto is "e para comer," meaning "and to eat." and we definitely experienced that during our time there. We spent much of our time exploring tapas bars and drinking Albariño but of course took time to see the sights and take in the town´s undeniable charm. The tapa culture and food in Lugo is great. You receive your choice of a small tapa upon ordering each drink. This could be tortilla española
charcuterie on a thin slice of bread, for example. Then you have a choice of an additional tapa, usually something hot. This could be fabada
(bean soup with bacon and blood sausage), a meatball accompanied by fries or bread, a small sandwich or sometimes a cold pasta salad. Every time you order a drink you receive a quick tapa and whichever you request from the other tapa list. We found a bar that ended up being our favorite and got chummy with the girl behind the bar where we had a chance to try everything they had, including liver (in a sauce with french fries), caldo with tripe (a galician stew with beans and cow/pig stomach), patatas bravas
(a safe option of potatoes with a tomato type sauce), morro
(pig snout in a sauce) or marinated mushrooms. This bar was in the good tapa area and we liked the service and low key atmosphere.
Shannon also had a good time shopping in Lugo. It's hard not to buy too much and to remember that we are on a much different salary. Common goods are much less expensive here so it is hard not to go crazy. She got a few
things that she would have needed to buy in the States anyways and felt good to get some splurging out of her system.
On our last day, we chose to take late buses home to our respective cities, so we stored our luggage at the pension after checking out to go explore outside of the wall. We walked through the newer part of town and zigzagged our way down the hill to the Roman bridge over Rio Miño. Next to the Roman bridge there was also a hotel that housed some of the original Roman hot springs. Unlike Ourense, these were just to look at, not to partake in. The hot springs were free and open to the public on the lower level of the hotel and gave a history of the baths. One room was an illuminated cave with ancient rock walls and the smell of sulfur coming from the little water that came through the ground. Unfortunately, our camera had just ran out of battery. The other room had the ancient Roman walls, but was more of a museum. Not much to see, but we had a nice, slow day, while we waited for our buses.
Overall it was a nice relaxing weekend of walking through historic streets filled with energetic shoppers and people experiencing the wine/tapa culture. Lugo is definitely near the top of the list for best tapas. Best part - they were free. We didn't buy a meal the whole time we were there. It's definitely an advantage when you are traveling on a budget. We definitely recommend Lugo for its friendly vibe and great food. A difficult part of travelling is that you only have one chance to see each place you visit. If only we had more time and more money.
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