An excursion to Lugo, our provincial capital, usually spells trouble. As the administrative centre of the province of Lugo, most official undertakings are resolved there. However; as anyone who has lived in Spain will tell you, the wheels of Spanish bureaucracy turn immeasurably slowly and often slip a gear and judder into reverse. Thankfully, today’s visit did not involve officialdom: today’s trip was purely for pleasure.
Compared to our home village of Canabal with a population of less than 100, Lugo, with a populous approaching 100,000, feels like a sophisticated and cosmopolitan metropolis. But despite being the fourth largest city in Galicia, it has managed to maintain a warm and inviting atmosphere. Credit for this must surely go to its 3rd century roman wall. Protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site, it is the only roman wall in existence that remains fully intact: completely encircling the old town and giving the city centre that small town feel.
Over recent years, our travelling time to Lugo has been slashed. Once the new C546 link road is completed it will take a mere half an hour. Where the money comes from to build these superb new highways I have no idea. I’m just grateful for stress-free motoring along traffic-free highways.
On reaching Lugo we parked in the underground car park opposite the Porta do Bispo Izquierdo entrance to the old town. In total, there are ten gates or Portas through the ramparts. We strolled through the gate, turned right and within 100 metres found the access steps up onto the wall.
From here one gets a real sense of the enormity and wonder of these 1700 year old defences. I suspect its longevity is due in part to the materials used in its construction. The wall is built mainly from local slate. These flat and irregular stones are extremely hard wearing and of little recyclable value.
The weather was perfect for a gentle stroll around the town: clear blue skies and hardly a breath of wind. A full circuit of the wall is just over two kilometres: the perfect distance to build up an appetite before lunch. Within minutes of beginning our stroll, an older, yet muscular looking gent; shirt off and chest exposed, came dashing towards us. In the blink of an eye he’d sprinted past. Before we’d completed our single circuit, this ageing jogger had zipped past us another four times. I couldn’t help thinking what pleasure he must garner from the knowledge that he may very well outlive his peers and go on to claim the title of, ‘The fittest corpse in the cemetery’.
The Praza Maior in the heart of the old town is a great place to dine. A number of restaurants line one side of this picturesque square. On this occasion we decided to lunch at one of my favourite Lugo eateries, Cambalache located just outside the ancient walls. It’s an Italian bistro with a twist. Their dishes are inspired by Italian immigrants settling in Argentina during the early part of the twentieth century. For us this is a real treat but hopefully, when the new highway is complete, our visits to Lugo will become more frequent.
Copyright © 2014 Craig Briggs
Craig and Melanie own and operate a luxury farmhouse rental property called Campo Verde. To find out more about a stay at Campo Verde and Galicia in general, visit our website getaway-galicia
Craig’s book, Journey To A Dream, is available exclusively from Amazon, to purchase your copy click here for your national Amazon store.