A unique town: Pontedeume serves as the gateway to the Fragas do Eume Natural Park, one of the last Atlantic forests remaining in Europe, whose origins lie in the Tertiary Age, with a dense covering of oaks, chestnut, laurel, strawberry trees and firs. It is also the home to an extensive range of fauna. The Romanesque-Baroque Monastery of Caaveiro in the heart of the forest offers excellent views over the area, giving visitors an idea of its grandiose nature.
The park area and the vicinity of Pontedeume play host to the pioneering project known as the Eume Cantina Network, with a series of typical restaurants offering local and regional dishes based on the strictest quality criteria, to the delight of visitors to the area.
Don’t miss: The feirón, an attractive weekly market held every Saturday where it is possible to buy nearly everything, although the emphasis is on small stands selling local foodstuffs, and it is the ideal location to buy the local specialities known as costradas (pies made using puff pastry), or local pastries such as the proia mantecada (a flat, sweet butter cake), fritters, almond cakes or sponge cakes.
The Festa das Peras (Pear Festival) is held on the first Sunday in September in honour of the Virgin of As Virtudes and San Nicolás de Tolentino, where it is possible to enjoy the fruit prepared in a multitude of different ways. The festival is accompanied by the sound of bagpipes and drums, as well as sporting events that include climbing a greased pole over the water, fireworks and a large barbeque.
Pictures taken at Bakery Panaderia Mollete Bolleria in Ferrol, Galicia where the owner, Jose’s friend allowed us an exclusive look at how Galician bread is made.
Since the Spanish eat bread with every meal, bread is a big deal for them. At Mollete, bread is prepared by hand (and love) then baked in a wood-fired oven. The bakers arrive at 2am and continuously bake all day. What blew me away is the price of each baguette. One sells for 0.95Euro (about 1 US dollar). Isn’t that crazy? In New Zealand it would be quadruple the price of that. And apparently, even so, the locals still complain that the bread is too expensive. Can you believe that? Anyways, we bought a cod and raisin empanada. BP. B for bacalao (cod) and P for pasa (raisin). C for carne (meat). Typically, Empanadas are eaten cold so we had ours later in the day for lunch. Guys, I am getting fat.
“What must you break apart in order to bring a family close together? Bread, of course.”
― Jodi Picoult
“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells… there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ― Mary Francis Kennedy Fisher
“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” ― James Beard
“All sorrows are less with bread. ” ― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
“Let it never be said / there can be a Heaven / without fresh bread.” ― Glenn Logan Reitze
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ― Virginia Woolf
(Can you see the cut empanadas in the back?)
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.” ― Oscar Wilde
This is Betanzos, one of the best preserved old quarters in Galicia.Meson Pote is known as one of the best places in the whole of SPAIN to have Spanish potato tortilla, a sort of Spanishomelette with thin potato slices. What makes Meson Pote’s tortilla stand out, is its juiciness. We also ate fried squid, a green peppers side dish and a tomato salad. For dessert, Jose’s friend, a renowned Spanish chef (whose restaurant I will be visiting) and her son, shared a cheesecake. I was given a teaspoonful to try and it was DELICIOUS.
Food is always served with bread here. Good bread. In this restaurant, its plate cleaning abilities are utilised best.
Are you salivating, yet?
Typical Spain: tapas.
Jose pointed out these boats to me. They’re interesting because they have a large dinner table in the middle of them. “Look, most of the ship is a table,” he says laughing. Then, “everything in spain is at the table.”
This little cutie is Jose’s friend’s daughter and, my new favorite! That face!
Here she is singing some international song with the word “konnichiwa”in it (Japan is with me). Too cute!
Nestle rules Spain. Kind of sad because I hear they exploit child workers.
Wholegrain Special K with wild fruit picked by little hands.
A traditional convenience store.
And I thought Japan had strange vending machines…This thing makes fresh orange juice!
Okay, things just got weirder! This one’s for fresh milk :O
What did I say? The good life.
Went for a bicycle ride with Jose and the kids and stumbled upon fresh grapes (white and black).
On the way home, we visited their elderly neighbour, a sweet woman in a floral dress, to ask for parsley for a dish we were to prepare later. When I casually told Jose her house smelt delicious, he asked her what she was having for lunch that day to which she did this:
I still can’t believe how much fresh, organic and FREE fruit there is in Europe. So, our favorite activity (and by that, I mean MY favorite activity) is sourcing and eating it.
Tonight we were invited to a typical summertime Spanish BBQ AKA pork fest. I made this vegan platter (hehe). #changingtheworldonevegetabledishatatime.
Can you see this lady’s glasses?
Traditional Galician food: boiled octopus seasoned with salt, spicy paprika and olive oil. So so good!
Yesterday we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked lunch by Jose’s mother. This ham leg casually sitting in her kitchen is entirely for her!
Potato salad with tuna, egg, olives, tomato and green beans.
The white asparagus were delicious!
Homemade pickled capsicum. This was my favorite dish! Amazing with bread.
For dessert, fresh cheese with honey and walnuts. Seriously, I can’t even!
The preparations for melon gazpacho. Ingredients include: melon, green tomatoes, cucumber, water, olive oil, some white bread, salt and pepper.
This bakery bakes ham and bread in the same giant oven.
A traditional sweet bread:
These kids are always asking for bread!
Spain has turned me from a wannabe vegan to a full-blown carnivore. I’m afraid there’s no going back.
The most amazing roast vegetable salad. Never tasted anything similar. YUM.
Tuna and capsicum empanada. I asked Jose why the dough is so orange and he explained that the juice from cooking the capsicum and onion filling is added to the empanada dough mixture. Also, that each area of Galicia has their own style of Empanada. This specific one is from here.
For dessert, the sweet bread from earlier and a diabetes inducing ice-cream sandwich cake made from Nutella, margarine and melted chocolate.
I can’t believe I’m living here. I want to cancel all of my future travel plans and stay here forever. Seriously, how can such a place exist? It’s so romantic it hurts.
The black dish is used to make a giant paella.
In Japan, it was vending machines, bicycles and noren. In Spain, it’s doors, cats and benches.
Jose and Bea insisted I photograph this bench. They love how it has been levelled to fit the slope of the street.
Just like the Before Sunset series.
This is Noah, Hector and Sara’s cousin. Their mother and Noah’s mother are sisters. In the short time that I have been here, I’ve noticed that they do everything together. I hope to be the same with my sister in the future. Babies, picnics, outings, all of it, together.
Jose says that is a whale’s head.
These rods were used to hang nets – redes in Spanish and the name of the town today.
Wild berries everywhere!
Veal hamburger with garden veggies and fresh bread for dinner at…10pm! Yes, so I have to tell you this: Jose says the times in Spain are different to that of the rest of Europe. The days are much longer here. These guys typically eat lunch at 3 and dinner at 10! I can’t believe it! But I am starting to enjoy and appreciate how much adventuring one can pack into a single day – though of course, I am a little tired. Maybe it’s jet-lag, still. Also, I cannot tell you enough how great it is to be living with a family again. My mood and overall health is so much better. There’s only so much solitude and mountain life a girl can take. Humans are meant to connect. Also, I am loving the endless hugs and kisses – again, and sorry to compare or not sorry to compare, a huge difference to Japan.
Dreams come true and imagination is key. I want to introduce you to my new family: Jose, Bea, Hector (6) and Sara (4). I will be staying with them in Redes a port-town in Galicia (Northern Spain) this September, teaching the children English. I am so incredibly lucky because Jose is a seafood chef, he cares much about food quality and organics, their house is literally a palace and their town, absolute paradise – a place I have imagined visiting since I was a little girl. Believe me when I say it’s breathtaking. But don’t worry, you can live vicariously through me (hehe).
And for those interested, I found Jose and family through workaway.info. It’s an organisation with hosts and volunteers from anywhere and everywhere and it’s relatively safe. I Skyped Jose and his family several times before coming here. Also, do you remember my friends Hiromi and Olivier (the yoga instructor/baker)? They are also hosts on Workaway. Actually, why don’t you go and stay with them? They live in a completely different paradise and they have fresh bread!
Sara has kindly lent me her room.
Having fun playing with Japanese magnets. Jose says I am a world citizen because I get to teach him and his family about Iran, Japan and New Zealand.
A typical breakfast: squished cherry tomatoes, salt and olive oil on bread. Jose tells me the best olive oil comes from Spain and that most of the olive oil advertised as coming from Italy is actually from here.
Spot the Japanese (hehe).
On my first day, the children had a birthday party so Jose and I hit up their town and its Friday market.
Just on the street! For free! Same with lemons, apples and oranges. In Japan, a small punnet of these is 800 yen! About 10 New Zealand dollars!
Baguette delivery is a thing and we all need it!
Isn’t Spain just gorgeous?!
Trying my best to photograph the locals.
My first view of the market :O
Spain is food heaven!
Jose made a phone call to order his fish. He said if we go early we will have to wait an hour for the old ladies of the town to finish their business. Sure enough, as we walked by, this was exactly the case! The locals here are priceless – such strong characters. I really hope my pictures can capture their brilliance – I’ll do my best.
This frightening thing is a sea spider! I don’t know about you but I will never swim again.
As I said, their house is a palace.
Jose says the Spanish locals find it funny how people are so into kale as a “superfood” these days because its simply chicken food in Spain! Also, I posted this image on my Instagram and a regular follower commented this, which I found hilarious: “That chicken is peering into my soul and judging my ambitions.”B E A U T I F U L desu ne.
Before I show you more pictures that’ll make you want to quit your day job and move to Madrid, I will just say that there are a lot of pigeons and homeless people here. Pigeons, I can deal with but the mass number of homeless people breaks my heart. Of course it also makes me further appreciate my freedom. Why do I get to travel and enjoy the world whilst others are so so unfortunate? It’s not fair. I must actively work for a change. Which is why I love my religion.
As Jose told me today and I myself first-handedly experienced, a lot of these homeless people are airport dwellers. This is because the airport is comfortably cool (in the summer) or warm (in the winter) and safe. Also, they can beg from travellers and/or eat from unfinished plates. When I was passing time in the food court, waiting for my flight to Santiago de Compostela, I was approached by three different beggars. What are you supposed to do in such a situation? Do you help? It’s so tricky. Anyways, I am telling you this because I think you should know the real Spain (or the real Japan) especially when such things are seldom talked about amongst travel bloggers. So as always, I will try my best to give you the whole picture.
Fresh carrot, apple and ginger.
A secret garden.
A secret door.
Is this real life?
How random! I bumped into an Iranian store filled with Persian goods ranging from Rumi books to handmade jewellery chests. The Iranian owner gave me gaz (persian nougat) and her website details. She hopes I will return.
I have arrived and I am in heaven. I shared some pictures on my personal Facebook account telling my family and friends how much I love it here and how different to Japan it is (the fruit are not wrapped in plastic, the people are happy and care-free, there’s much colour and diversity). Then my dad told me off. He said, I shouldn’t be comparing countries because each flower has its own beauty. You’re right papa! That was not my intention. Just, I can’t believe I’m actually here. It’s so damn romantic and it looks just like its pictures.
More delicious than expected. According to Jose (my new host-father), the chocolate sauce/drink must be so thick that when dipped, your churro sticks up-right in it. Oh mama!
A real espresso.
I found this man and his chess board alone in the park. I asked him (well, gestured) if I could play and he said, “SI” (yes). Of course I lost because he was an expert but wow what an experience. We had no idea what the other was saying.
Sorry dad but I have to compare. I mean, look at this! No plastic and so fresh and cheap and organic. Ugly but delicious. No gigantic plasticky apples here.