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All Aboard A Coruña – Where we found out that the Irish came from Spain?!

A Coruña

Coruña
Arrived at A Coruña!
Weird snacks
Yeah, we took some weird snacks with us on the train… Box of broth anyone?

The train from Santiago to A Coruña was only a short 30 minute trip. On our arrival, we were famished so we had lunch at a small local restaurant. Juan introduced me to cocido – a typical Galician stew (there are also different variants from other Spanish localities) which includes meat, potatoes, and chickpeas. This one had many parts of the pig included like the pig ear and trotter. Juan made me try a bit of both but the ear made me cringe a bit… it was too gelatinous for my liking.

Cocido and swordfish
Juan had cocido and I had the swordfish. Engarde! Check out that floppy ear at the back…
Membrillo
We tried membrillo for dessert. It’s called quince cheese but it’s really just a paste made from quince fruit. I still don’t know what quince fruit is though lol

We trekked for a while to find our AirBnB. We were surprised to find it tacked on the side of a block of flats so it was easy to miss. The loft was super cute with a mini kitchen and spiral staircase up to the sleeping area. Very cosy and well decorated but I forgot to take a photo! Such error. 😭 After checking in to our AirBnb, we took the bus to the Torre de Hercules.

Torre de Hercules

The Tower of Hercules is the world’s oldest functioning lighthouse. Constructed in Roman times, the original tower still remains inside, although the exterior was restored in the 18th Century. Its name comes from the legend that Hercules buried King Gerion’s remains in what is now A Coruña and over it, he built this tower with a fire on top to guide sailors.

Tower of Hercules
This is what a Roman(ish) lighthouse looks like.

Statue of Breogán

At the base of the hill, there was a statue of Breogán. That name doesn’t sound very Spanish right? That’s because Breogán was a Gaelic leader. Spain’s not just all about flamenco and sangria.

Did you know Spain has a lot of Gaelic peoples? I didn’t, I thought Ireland was the birthplace of Gaelics (sorry I’m ignorant lol) but according to legend, they came from Galicia. GaliciaGaels… seems so obvious right??

Map
Historic map inside the tower.

The Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of the Taking of Ireland) is a Medieval semi-mythological recounting of the creation of Ireland and the Irish (aka Gaels). The Gaels had wandered the world for hundreds of years before conquering Iberia. One of the Gaelic leaders was Breogán who founded the city of Brigantia (A Coruña) and constructed a tower there. His son, Íth, saw Ireland from the top of the tower so the Gaels sailed to Ireland to conquer it. His son, Mil, completed the conquest and is said to be ancestor of the Irish.

Statue of Breogan
Breogán with the Tower! Pretty fricking majestic 😎

We went up the iconic tower and there were great views out to sea. The sun was out but it was very windy and chilly by the coast and especially so high up! My hair was doing all sorts of crazy things.

Just dicking around inside the tower
Just dicking around inside the tower 😂
Low ceilings
This passageway had such low ceilings at one point, it was hilarious!
Selfie with the lighthouse
“Selfie” with the tower… on the tower. It managed to make an appearance with its shadow. SHADEEEE
Gorgeous views at the top of the tower!
Gorgeous views at the top of the tower!
Windyyy
Recreating Pocahontas at the top of the tower…

Compass Rose

There was a mosaic of a compass (Rosa dos ventos) with the symbols of different Gaelic nations between each spire including: Galicia, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Scotland, Isle of Man, and Brittany. Bring out the bagpipes!

Compass rose
Beautiful view of the compass rose!
On the way down to the compass
Another great view of the tower the way down to the compass.
Compass rose
We tried to get a picture of the whole compass but my GoPro was not wide angle enough haha.
Panorama
This panorama is even cooler when viewed from Google Photos where you can swipe to move the view!

The symbol of Galicia is the scallop shell. The scallop shell is said to represent the “buen camino” and the lines of the shell symbolise the many routes that point to Santiago (if you missed my blog post about Santiago, check it out for more info about the origins of this famous hike!) Medieval pilgrims are often depicted wearing a scallop shell from their pilgrimage. The scallop is native to Galicia so these shells were picked up as proof of completing the camino. These days, the shell can be seen all along the camino routes and in towns that it passes.

The shell of Galicia
The shell of Galicia

We took a scenic route along the coast to get to the panoramic viewpoint, Monte de San Pedro, but weather started to change for the worse and the temperature dropped. . Along the way, we passed the beach, Praia Riazor and then took a bus since it got unbearably cold.

Monte de San Pedro

By this time, the sky was very overcast so we couldn’t see very far out to sea. There was an interesting glass building with a dome. We checked it out but it was closed/abandoned. Some googling revealed that building was the Cúpula Atlantica, an observation dome. I wonder if it’s open in summer?

Cúpula Atlantica
The Cúpula Atlantica… looks a bit eerie with this overcast sky!
Weather vane
I don’t know where I’m pointing to…

In the park, there were a couple of cannons from the 1920s and sealed military baracks. There were also some tunnels and a labyrinth. Unfortunately, the maze was closed for maintenance. 🙁

My gun's bigger than yours!
My gun’s bigger than yours!
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto
Firmo en las paredes de tu laberinto…

Pretending to walk through the maze for Snapchat. SOCIAL MEDIA IS FAKE Y’ALL, WAKE UP SHEEPLE 😂 loool

It was very cold and windy so after exploring most of the park, we returned to our AirBnB. Irrelevant but important: we saw a cute black and white cat during this route!

Where's kitty?
Where’s kitty?

For dinner, we bought a tortilla, salad, gazpacho and pepinillos de anchoa from Mercadona.

Low key dinner
Low key dinner

Since we had a very early train to catch, we just chilled at the loft and had a relaxing TV dinner to prepare ourselves for our hectic day ahead. We would stop at 3 (technically 4!) destinations the next day! 😱

Thanks for joining us on our adventure. Click that menu button on the top left corner and sign up to get updated on new posts! Ciao until next time 🤗

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