Friday, April 13, 2012

Rob in Spain!

Rob at Cabo Home!

One of the greatest things about my wanderlust is that I'm lucky enough to have a family that goes along with my crazy schemes and follows me to the different corners of the globe! My brother Rob is pretty happy with his life in Ohio, but he's cool enough to stick out the more-than-24-hour plane flights to visit me--wherever I end up! This year he came to Galicia for Semana Santa, and it was definitely an adventure!

In my not-so-unbiased opinion, Galicia is a special place with some of the most beautiful sights, delicious food, and friendly people that you can find anywhere, and I was really excited to share all of my experiences with Rob. With just a week to see everything, we managed to hit some of the basics.

Just after he arrived, I took Rob to the Areeiro, the bar I live above, to try one of the Galician staples: Pulpo a la gallega--Galician octopus! The day I came to Galicia, exhausted and jet-lagged just like Rob, I went on a quick tour of the Instituto and then some colleagues took me to the same place to sample the local flavor. I love pulpo, and I was really excited for Rob to try it, but he had a slightly different reaction. . .

Rob's reaction to his first bite of octopus...

a contrast to my love of Galician octopus!

The best part, as a big sister, was when Mucha came by to check if Rob liked the food... and then made him eat another bite! His face of horror, only even more disgusted, was quite satisfying! (Revenge for all the ways he tortured me as a child!) So the octopus wasn't a win, but even if you don't like squiggly tentacles Galicia has some great food options! We had some fun with the savory tetilla cheese, and Mucha made us a Spanish classic: Churros! People say that Mucha is like a mother to everyone at the Instituto, because the Areeiro is right across the street, and whenever they have a chance teachers are always running over for a quick café. I don't think I could have been any luckier when looking for a place to stay in Spain! As soon as Rob arrived Mucha welcomed him and immediately started searching for a jacket (It's hard for anyone to understand Rob's temperature preferences!), and one night when I stopped by to ask if they had any churros, she said that didn't, but then showed up at my door with a huge plate! Octopus isn't for everyone, but I doubt that anyone would say no to churros!

Can you can guess what "tetilla" means?

Drinks in Spain come with a snack!

This was the most attractive photo we were able to manage, but the churros were amazing!

Mucha and her delicious churros are just one example of the incredible hospitality here in Spain. When people found out that Rob was coming, they immediately started making plans for what to cook and where to take him! With our new friends, Rob and I visited some of the most typical places on the Morazzo peninsula: The Masso factory, la Fraga, and Cabo Home.

The Masso factory is one of my favorite places to visit near Cangas. It is an old cannery that closed about 30 years ago, and now the building is in a slow but surprisingly beautiful state of decay. There is another abandoned factory nearby, this one for whaling, and a few of the buildings have been converted into a kind of commune for hippies. The area is one of my favorite places to walk to, and Rob and I spent a relaxing Friday afternoon checking out the cool graffiti and resting at the beaches.

Creepy but cool graffiti!

Rob being majestic.

La Fraga is the Galician word for a typical forrest found here, mostly populated with Chestnut and Oak trees. In the neighboring town of Moaña, there is an excellent trail that starts on the beach and follows the river all the way up into the hills through the fraga. Along the way there are many scenic molinos, or traditional Galician mills. My friend Salva is a local authority on Galician history, and knows a lot about the mills in particular, so on Sunday morning we joined up with a group he was taking to the fraga to earn that plate of churros with a hike up the mountain!

Rob starting the ascent.

Almost there...

Perhaps the most typical sightseeing spot on the Morrazo peninsula is Cabo Home, or Cape Man in English, and with good reason! From the cape you have a beautiful view of the Islas Cies and the rías. There are a number of trails you can walk, either to the lighthouses, the overlook, the beaches, or to the castros--ruins that date to pre-Roman times. Some of my coolest students took Rob and I on an adventure to see the Cabo and some nearby sights.

David, Susana, and David--our friendly guides!

Rob peeking through a pre-Roman rock!

Rob and I at the cruceiro in O Hío
(If you're from Ohio, and you've been to the Morazzo, someone has probably cracked a joke about O Hío!)

Golfo came with us to Cabo Home, and his cuteness combined with an insufficient respiratory system became the motif for the rest of our trip!

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