Monday, July 24 –
You know that famous line “the rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain” from the musical, My Fair Lady? I learned today that it’s all a lie. In fact, the most rain in Spain falls directly on its head. That’s because it rains more in the region of Galicia off the Bay of Biscay than any other place on the Iberian peninsula.
At 8:40 a.m. my overnight train arrived from Madrid in A Coruña in the morning fog, typical of a Galician morning. The surrounding greenery and cooler temps were a world away from the high plains of interior Spain with its hot July temperatures. I was in Celtic Spain, a land of bagpipes, kilts and the Gallego language.
In the evening I would meet up with my brother at our hotel, so I left my luggage at the Hotel Avenida (at 30 Avenida Alfonso Molina) and went out to tour the city. Walking along the Atlantic seafront and through the old town, I first visited the Palacio de Exposiciones Kiosko Alfonso. I saw a special exhibit celebrating 500 years of Spanish art from the Americas. The subject was art of la plata de las joyas (the silver of the jewels).
Walking through the Old Town, I finally arrived at the Hercules Tower 1.5 miles later on a peninsula. It is a national monument and the second-tallest lighthouse in Spain. The structure is about 180 feet tall and overlooks the North Atlantic coast of Spain. Incredibly, parts of the structure are almost 1,900 years old, making it the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today. Galicia is notorious for shipwrecks and was called the Costa da Morte, “Coast of Death.” It was also called Finisterra, the end of the earth, by the Romans. At the top of the tower, I was surprised to run into my brother and gave him a big hug! Then we viewed the sculpture garden featuring works by Pablo Serrano and Francisco Leiro.
On the way back to el Centro of A Coruña, we visited the Museo Militar Regional – part of the larger Minsistro de Defensa network of museums in Spain. We saw impressive artifacts dating back to the conquistadores era to the Spanish Armada to the present. Back in the centro, we walked by the Dársena Deportiva yacht marina on the waterfront and admired the famous glazed window balconies, called galerías, which use the shapes of the backs of a warships in their structure. They almost seem appropriate for all of the wet weather!
We also saw the María Pita Square, the most important square in the city, along with the beautiful City Hall. Later, we took a touristic tramway back to our hotel. It was great traveling with my brother in Spain for the first time together.