|Boiro, seen from my plane window!!!|
The whole region is broken down into various concellos (municipalities) each with their own town hall in the main city center. But each concello is divided into several administrative parroquias or parishes since so many people have their own homes and family farms scattered around the built-up core. So the concello of Boiro was, indeed, where I was destined to work, making Abanqueiro the rural parroquia my school was at, a five-minute drive south from downtown Boiro.
I’ll talk more about Abanqueiro—the village and the school—later this week. But right now I want to talk about the urban setting of Boiro, which I think is a typical Galician coastal town.
|Church of Santa Baia|
Boiro’s main industry has to do with seafood caught from the ría or inlet of the sea that laps at the beach just minutes from town. The Ría de Arousa provides locals millions of bright-orange mussels, which they grow and harvest on floating structures called bateas. These and other shellfish often get taken to factories where they’re cooked, canned, and sent off to the rest of the country and the world.
To be honest I never really spent that much time in Boiro since I carpooled to and from work directly with other teachers, Abanqueiro was a good half-hour walk from downtown Boiro, and I wasn’t in favor of taking the expensive, long, and nausea-inducing bus from Santiago just to check out the town every now and then. One weekend in April I did come for a proper visit, and when I went out for dinner with all of the local language assistants, they were so surprised to finally meet me, the “mystery auxiliar” after seven months in the program.
Where to eat
|Pedestrianized street with terraces for sipping a coffee at|
Restaurante Asador Arume
We came here for dinner my first week in town: a classy yet affordable establishment on the west side of town that serves quality Galician food like steamed mussels, barbecue ribs, or boiled octopus. The name arume is the Galician word for “pine needles,” a common sight along the forested western coasts. (Avenida de Compostela, Nº 30)
|View from the western edge of town|
This casual, cozy restaurant in the city center is Boiro’s answer to Chili’s: a trendy joint where you can get anything from hamburgers and chicken wings to octopus and paella. As their name would suggest, they offer a wide selection of pinchos or canapés of bread with little bites of this or that on top, and they also have a promotional card where if you get nine 10€ menús del día, you get your tenth meal free. (Rúa de Robustiano Pérez del Río, Nº 5)
If you’re craving Italian food (and let’s be honest, by that we all mean PIZZA), this is Boiro’s place to get it in an admittedly stark interior. If you come here for the lunch menú del día, be prepared to receive a massive, entire pizza if you order it for your second course—but no worries, ‘cause they’ll let you box up the half you don’t eat. (Rúa Bao, Nº 16)
|Half of a fried calamari sandwich at A Capilla|
A Capilla is a great place to fill up at when you hop off the bus from Santiago in front of the town hall; it’s mere feet from the bus stop which means you don’t have to run far if it’s (most likely) pouring down rain. I like A Capilla because they serve gargantuan sandwiches on the cheap: an entire loaf of bread, sliced down the middle, stuffed with tortilla (potato omelet), grilled pork loin, or (my personal favorite) fried calamari and aioli sauce. (Rúa Principal, Nº 76)
La Taza de Pandora
There is a time and a place for old-man bars that boast grumpy baristas, shiny stainless steel counters, and quality toast and churros. When you’re in the mood for something more along the lines of a coffee house, check out this café, which means “Pandora’s Cup” in Spanish. The warm interior has a variety of seating options, a playplace for the kids, and lots of big-screen TVs for watching the latest soccer game. What really impressed me about La Taza (just down the hill from the town hall) is that they serve smooth, quality coffee roasted by A Coruña-based Cafés Siboney, not any of that harsh torrefacto stuff you’ll find in many other Spanish cafés. (Rúa de Norberto Pizjuán, Nº 5)
|Barbecue ribs at Don Paquito’s|
Although not in central Boiro—it’s in Escarabote, about a 20-minute walk along the beachfront esplanade from the city center—Don Paquito’s consistently served up quality food, with good service, at a decent price. For 10€, the menú del día includes your drink, baskets of bread, a first course (like tripe + chickpea stew or a mixed salad), a second course (think barbecue pork ribs or fish caught in the ría), dessert, and coffee. I spent many a cold, rainy winter Tuesday afternoon warming up with a bottomless bowl of stew and crusty bread and always looked forward to the sobremesa or after-dinner conversation over a café con leche and cake.
How to get thereYou can either drive here or take the Arriva bus from Santiago de Compostela, which stops at Padrón along the way and drops you off in front of the town hall. You can buy your ticket on the bus, but make sure you have change because the drivers get grumpy if you hand them a 20-euro note.
Have you ever been to Boiro or one of the many fishing villages along Galicia’s Rías Baixas? What restaurant would you pick off of my list of recommendations? Tell me in the comments below!
For more pictures, check out my album on Flickr.