Friday, 11 January 2013

Baiona and Playa América (Galicia, Northwest Spain)

After spending Christmas and Boxing Day in England, the Tapas family headed to Spain to welcome the New Year and make sure we didn't miss the Three Kings (Reyes Magos) as they came straight from Orient in their camels carrying gifts for all the Spanish kids, LittleT included.

While there I made sure I put my blogging cap on and took lots of photos to show you the place where I grew up. Actually, I grew up in Vigo (about 20-30 minutes drive from Playa América, locally known as Praia América) but we always spent our summers in this area. Back then it never occurred to me that it wasn't normal to close the house in town for the summer and go to my grandma's beach house for the summer (my grandma also lived in Vigo and closed her place there for the summer too). Totally normal, ¿no?

Let me take you on a little tour.

First off this is Playa América. Set on a beautiful bay with Baiona to one end and Monteferro to the other. This is a fantastic setting for sunbathing with a view, if you come before or after peak season you can enjoy the sound of the waves and the seagulls pretty much on your own.

Playa América, Monteferro and the Estelas Islands
My first attempt at taking a panoramic photo with my iPhone

This is Baiona, a historic town with crooked stone streets famous for being the first place that heard the news of Columbus' discovery of the Americas. You can visit a replica of the famous carabela La Pinta that arrived to the port on March 1st 1493. If you like getting dressed up in period costume, every March you can take part in the medieval Festa da Arribada to celebrate the arrival of the caravel. If you decide to come, the Parador is THE place to stay. If you can't stretch that far there are plenty of budget options in the area and you can still visit the Parador either on foot or by car, don't miss a walk all around the wall, finishing off with coffee and a snack inside. Make sure you take in the force of the Atlantic Ocean as you face away from the bay.

The port of Baiona from the wall of the Parador

Another view of the Parador with a glimpse of the Islas Cíes and the open sea

The rompeolas, where the waves break with impressive results on rainy, windy days

Old style lamp post in Baiona. Farola de Baiona

Atardecer, puesta de sol, Bayona

Farolas de Bayona
I seem to have developed a thing for street lighting, don't ask!

Back in Playa América for sunset before retreating for the night. There is something extremely special and soothing about sitting down to listen to the waves while watching the sun sink into the ocean.

Christmas weather Playa América
Winter sunset in Baiona, in the middle of the photo is the Parador

Farola de Praia América
See? Another one
Praia América, Galicia, España, Spain
The "castle" of Playa América, just a private beach house but LittleT loved it just like her mother before her
Fantastically friendly locals and delicious food complete the offering of this area, what are you waiting for? You can fly to Vigo itself, Santiago, Coruña or Porto (yes, it's in Portugal but it is feasible). Well? Go on, they will welcome you with open arms, a glass of Albariño and a cold Estrella Galicia beer.

Read more about sightseeing in Galicia here and its food here.

*All photos taken with my iPhone 4S

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