One of the curious aspects of traveling though Galicia is that tourism is predominantly made up of Galicians, as opposed to Andalucia where the autonomous region is flooded by millions of sun worshipers amongst the already desperate Andaluces searching for the beach.
In Galicia, small coves are frequently populated by residents or city dwellers from Coruña or Lugo down for the weekend. Of course there are those spiritual travellers on the Camino, but they pass by relatively unseen after the first few. .
On the campsites you will always see the obligatory French and Belgians, some Germans, even a Portuguese but few Brits.
Irish yes, but Brits no. The Irish I have spoken to seem to find an affinity in the green landscape, the drizzle and the fishing economy of the region. Not that I know the emerald isle well, but much of this coast somehow reminds me of what Im told the south is like. Then again, given the number of Dubliners living in Andaluica there are clearly alternate theories.
For many years I have wondered what the Med coast must have been like before the onset of mass tourism. After reading the adventures of those brave travelers edging their way along the littoral during the 40's and 50's I was left with a dormant perspective and vision that has only just been revived here in the the Rias Baixas.
There is an impression - as you stumble through one cove after another, with gleaming white sand, green forests tumbling down to the waters edge, an absence of hotels, kiosks or shops to buy flippers and a post card - there is a strong suggestion that this is perhaps what Spain's Med must have once been like. .
And our incomphension of this language, the lyrical almost Argentinian lilt, the song of the Gallegos - this vaguelt familiar Castilian, yet distinctly separate tongue leaves you with an altogether foreign flavour.
Iberian beaches, 1950's, Latin America, good beer, good food, fresh food and a hospitality long absent from those suffering southern shores.
Of course, there is not the intensively of the invasion of Andalucia nor the long history of exploitation and of development of the costa brava...but still, the Gallegos hang onto something long lost in other regions and it is this undefinable quality that will bring me back.
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
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