Vigo, Spain – the City of Emotions. A little northern Spanish city that has given us the nicest weather we have had to date. Although it is only 11 c at 8:30 in the morning, the skies are clear and it feels much warmer.
A quick bite and off the ship for…more walking. With no real plan or tour for the day, the city itself gives 4 street guides to easily see different areas. They are located on large maps at (of all places) a taxi stand. However, they are posted on the wall of the shelter so you really need your own map and a pen to draw it for yourself.
A map and a pen are both in my pocket, but a decision is made to simply wander rather than follow a set path. There will be enough of those in days to come.
This city seems reminiscent of other European cites and towns…no matter the direction taken, it’s still uphill. Fortunately, with the better part of the day in front of us, speed is not an issue.
Another thing that seems almost mandatory throughout Europe is the little parks and squares that spring up everywhere. The road we travel today follows a park, that while broken up by cross-streets, carries on for 5 blocks. It separates 2 one-way streets and is replete with flowers, mature trees, statutes and benches. Most North American cities could learn something from this.
Where we are, and without going off the beaten path, the city shows its age in both directions. The old is being overtaken by the new and yet it remains plainly visible. Even more apparent is the economic downturn as many storefronts are not only closed but entirely empty.
The shops that are open run the gamut of tourist-focused to the full-fledged be-here-when-we-open markets providing fresh fish and fruits. Hams that have been hanging, for much longer than we might think proper back home, frequent those same stores along with home-made sausage. If you look carefully you’ll even find a really superb Rioja (Spanish red wine) for under 5 euros.
Most of the shops in downtown Vigo shut the doors between 1:30 and 4:30 for lunch (how do you go back to work after a 3 hour lunch???). Stopping for lunch however (because, really…go to Spain and NOT have tapas???) brings its own difficult decisions. Which one to choose? Not being overly familiar with the language (Cerveza, por favor is bordering on the limit) reading a menu is a challenge. Fortunately, having passed several restaurants and cafes we’ve seen a lot of pictures on a wide variety of menus. A friendly young lady guides us to a table at her restaurant and speaks enough English that ordering won’t leave us wondering if we’re about to get a fish-head soup.
Thirty euros later (which did include a glass of wine, a very large glass of beer and tip) left us with great food in our stomachs and new ideas for dinner-party menu items when we return home. Eating at a port town or city definitely should provide good seafood and this one certainly did not disappoint.
A comfortably full tummy lends itself for the leisurely stroll back (downhill !!) to the ship.