|The cathedral’s west façade…before the scaffolding went up|
1) The granite old town
|Rúa do Vilar in the old town|
Two of the major streets in the southern half of the old town—Rúa do Vilar and Rúa Nova—are bounded on either side by soportales or arched, covered walkways that spring out from these homes and provide shelter from the rain. It’s fun to dash back and forth across the street from one side of the road to the other in an attempt to stay dry when it’s pouring rain.
When the rain does inevitably let up in the evening, the granite streets glisten in the lamplight. Some of the sett stones used for paving the many rúas in Santiago are earthy and brown, others cold and gray. But wander around at night when the old town is reflected in this mirror, listen to the baritone of the cathedral’s bells calling out the hour, carefully avoid the puddles that hide in the middle of the road as you hop from tapa to tapa—and you’ll catch Santiago at its most dazzling.
2) The generous free tapas
|Tapas for two at Café Venecia|
Santiago is no different, and no matter what you order—from a sweet glass of Albariño to a cup of Coca-Cola—you can expect to get a little something to munch on while you drink your beverage. It can be as simple as in-house marinated olives with peanuts and Iberian cured ham to the amazing spread pictured above of green peas and ham, a cube of potato omelet, a slice of tuna meat pie, and a dollop of “Russian” potato salad.
3) The surrounding green spaces
|An abuelo goes on paseo|
What are three things you love about your favorite city? Tell me your list below in the discussion thread!
Full disclosure: I wrote this as part of Accor Hotel’s A Tale of Three Cities promotion in which bloggers create a post or video around the theme “three things I love about my favorite city” and compete to win a nine-day vacation split between London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Seeing as fellow travel blogger Jessica Wray of Curiosity Travels is currently living it up in Brazil because of a contest she won, I’m not going to pass up such an enticing opportunity. (And like I needed an excuse to keep talking about Santiago!)