We’ve now been in Combarro for a week, and, dare I say it, but I think we have a new contender for favourite Galician town so far. It is absolutely beautiful. The old town is a charming jumble of granite buildings, most of them residential, but with the obligatory souvenir shops and restaurants thrown in here and there, mainly along the seafront. The town is also dotted with horreos, which are 18th century granite sheds on stilts, mainly used for drying food back in the day.
In fact, it’s probably better if I just let the pictures do the talking.
On Friday, Nick’s parents arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed. Even after a 2am start they were keen to get out and explore the area. We showed them where they were sleeping, reminded them how everything worked, let them have a drink, and then we went for a long and boozy lunch.
The seafront of Combarro is dotted with restaurants overlooking the beach and fishing boat moorings, accessed by a narrow laneway full of shops all selling exactly the same souvenirs- namely, plates for serving octopus, bottles of local liqueur, and, inexplicably, little witch dolls. It’s a bustling place, especially late at night, where couples, friends and families- everyone, from the very young to the very old- sit down somewhere in the region of 10pm and start their evening meal. Right about my bed time, although Gwen and Marco, party animals that they are, made me push that back a couple of hours. We marvelled at the fact that, even at midnight when we were making our way home, children were playing in the playground or sitting at a restaurant with their families. The Spanish approach to family life is very different to the English or Australian one, and I think I prefer it. Why not let the kids run wild while having a late dinner and drinks with the grandparents? None of this 7pm bedtime nonsense. Where’s the fun in that?
On the Saturday we went for a drive in the car Gwen and Marco rented to Noia, a town at the head of Ria de Muros. We had a coffee and walked around, and while it was quite a nice medieval old town, we decided to move on to Muros for lunch. You might recall that we spent some time at anchor off the quaint village of Muros, so we were more than happy at this surprise return.
Unfortunately, our arrival on the outskirts of Muros coincided with what appeared to be a large cycling event, and we found ourselves stuck in a series of mini traffic jams while waiting for cyclists to pass. As we inched towards the city centre, we at least had plenty of time to admire the views and plan our lunch.
Eventually we made it into Muros, parked the car and walked up to the main square. We ordered a leisurely lunch of calamari, pimentos, and razor clams, which look like fat juicy worms, and taste absolutely delicious. Then we had dessert, a tart type thing, which was a delicious if slightly curious mix of creme brûlée, cake, and custard. Then we dragged ourselves back to the car, drove home and fell into bed for a nap.
On Monday we had another day trip, this time to Pontevedra, which is only a few kilometres up the road. This was, apart from La Coruña, the biggest town we’ve been to since arriving in Spain, and it had loads of charm and atmosphere. The architecture of the old town was impressively grand, very beautiful, and there were many pedestrianised areas. I’m sure there’s plenty of cultural activities to do there, but all we wanted was to wander around and enjoy the bustle.
While we were here, we saw a road sign that caught our attention. It pointed towards the house where Christopher Columbus was born. Interesting, considering he was born in Genova, Italy. Now, most of us (well, I) would see that sign, puzzle over it for approximately three seconds, then forget about it and probably never think of it ever again. Gwen, on the other hand, was determined to solve this mystery, and, to this end, took to questioning anyone who showed even the slightest inclination to chat. So, we got it from several locals that, based on what seems to be rather tenuous evidence, the Galicians have decided to adopt Christopher Columbus as their own. Fair enough!
We spent a lot of time in one particular restaurant called Entre Pedras, where we practically tried everything on the menu and, by the end of the week, were on first name terms with the waiters. The benefit of this soon became clear, as we were slowly given a little bit of extra bread, then our glasses of wine became a little larger, then, finally, after four days of being as charming as we possibly could, they plonked some local liqueur on the table and let us help ourselves.
We also found a bar called A Rosa Dos Ventos, which is a nautical themed rooftop bar with fabulous views over the beach and towards the old town. We signed their guestbook on the first night, and put the name of our blog down on the off chance they’d actually be interested. The next night, the owner and his sister told us they had both not only looked at it, but had read back at least several blogs. The owner, a man called Jose Luis was very friendly, who was happy to sit with us and chat, putting up with my non-existent Spanish, Nick’s improving Spanish, Marco’s reasonable Spanish, and Gwen’s excellent Spanish. In fact, here’s a picture of them now. If you’re in the area, go have a drink! At €1 a beer, you can’t really go wrong!
However, all good things must come to an end, and yesterday Gwen and Marco made their way back to London. We couldn’t have chosen a better place to spend a long weekend with them, and we had even more laughs than usual after the last couple of months apart. Nick and I were extremely relived that they were comfortable on the boat and there were no issues- not something we take for granted: boat life certainly isn’t for everyone. But Gwen only managed to crack her head half a dozen times, which we considered to be pretty good going, so all in all, it was a success and we can’t wait for them to come back and visit as soon as possible, hopefully with some more members of Nick’s family in tow.
We had planned to leave today, but even though it’s lovely and warm, it’s also very windy, so we’ve decided to wait. Tomorrow night’s stay in the marina is a freebie, so now we might just be forced to stay another day. To be honest, I could probably spend the rest of the summer here, but it’s coming up to mid-July and we’re not even in Portugal yet. We better get a wriggle on!