Four Days in Galicia: History, Culture, and Beauty

This week’s post comes from William Tsai and Morgan Yee, two students from the University of California Education Abroad Program in Madrid. William and Morgan describe the breathtaking beaches, delectable seafood, awe-inspiring architecture, and the rich cultural traditions of Galicia, an autonomous region in northwestern Spain.

On July 13th, we began our 4-day excursion to Galicia led by ACCENT’s very own Raquel del Pozo and our tour guide Patricia, both of whom are native to Galicia. Since we had only been in Madrid and Barcelona at this point in our stay, we had only been acquainted with the bustling, high-energy city life of Spain. This made the trip to Galicia particularly exciting for us, since it would give us a different perspective of Spain. Our trip was somewhat like traveling in a time machine, beginning from an ancient Celtic house in O Cebreiro, all the way to current day A Coruña, a city with a blend of historical architecture, modern tourist sites, and breathtaking beaches. There was so much from our trip that words cannot describe, so we decided to share a couple of pictures to try to capture a little bit of our trip. Here are a couple of snapshots from our excursion!


This is a picture of an ancient Celtic house dating all the way to 1,500 years ago in O Cebreiro. It used to be a family home until the 1960s, when it finally became a protected site. Inside, we found a main room where the ancient residents kept their animals, and another small room where the whole family would cook, eat, sleep, and live. It gave us a glimpse into the life of 6th century Celts.

When we arrived at Santiago de Compostela, we were invited to join a group of traditional Galician dancers for a night of music, dancing, and singing. Some of us even got to try on traditional Galician clothes! We learned to sing a short folk song, and even learned a couple of dancing patterns.

The next day, we visited the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, the presumed burial site of St. James the Greater. Thousands of people from around the world take pilgrimages to this site through the Camino de Santiago every year. It is a journey of spiritual growth and great conversation with others on the camino.

 

Galicia is known to be the best place to eat seafood! The cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean make the seafood particularly flavorful and sweet. We had some delicious chipirones a la plancha, pulpo a la Gallega, and other delicious mariscos in local restaurants, and it was some of the freshest and best-tasting seafood we have ever had!

Next, we travelled to Cíes Island off the coast of Vigo. It is a popular destination for day trips and camping, boasting pristine white, sandy beaches with unbelievably clear, calm waters to all who visit. We also took a short hike to one of the many lighthouses on the island, which rewarded us with a 360 degree view of the island and the ocean. This is the first time that ACCENT has gone to Cíes Island as part of the Galicia excursion, and it was definitely the highlight of our trip!

~William Tsai and Morgan Yee, UCEAP Madrid

If you’re faculty or a study abroad office looking to collaborate on a custom program with ACCENT, check out our program design FAQs (link: http://accentintl.com/program-development/program-development-faqs/) or contact us for a quote at prog-dev@accentintl.com.