Showing posts from November, 2014

Spain’s Cíes Islands: The Best Beach in the World?

As last school year was drawing to an end, the weather had heated up and the sun had decided to come out, so a handful of friends and I decided to hop on the train south to Vigo to catch the next ferry for the Cíes Islands, which are home to what was called the “world’s best beach” in 2007 by the British newspaper The Guardian.  It was a glorious daytrip from Santiago and a much-needed break from the rolling hills and rain of inland Galicia. No caption necessary The three Cíes islands form an archipelago that guards the entrance to an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean called the Ría de Vigo . From north to south, the three islands are named Monteagudo  (“pointy mountain”), Montefaro  (“lighthouse mountain”), and San Martiño  (“St. Martin’s”). Why are the beaches the best? Sandbar connecting the middle and northern islands The beaches on the Cíes Islands (pronounced “THEE-ays” [ˈθ]) are so wonderful partly because they belong to the Atlantic Islands of Galicia Nation

Santiago de Compostela’s Cidade da Cultura: Fab or Flop?

When you think of Santiago de Compostela, you usually think of moody Romanesque architecture, over-the-top gilded Baroque churches, and charming homes with glassed-in balconies and overhanging arches. So it might come as a surprise that the city is actually home to a huge project of contemporary architecture built on Monte Gaiás, a hill southeast of the city center. Called the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia  or “City of Culture of Galicia,” this ambitious arts and cultural center was designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman and constructed between 2001 and 2011. Cidade da Cultura The Cidade currently consists of the following four buildings: Arquivo de Galicia: the “Archives of Galicia,” which stores the archives of all newspapers and publications in Galicia Biblioteca de Galicia: the “Library of Galicia,” which is a repository of all books published in the Galician language or dealing with Galicia in other languages Museo de Galicia: the “Museum of Galicia,” which is

Photo Post: Pizza & Roman Art in Sketchy Naples, Italy

View this post on Instagram Pizza margherita alla romana: tomato sauce, fior di latte cheese, basil leaves, and anchovies. Eaten at one of Naples' classic pizzerias, Trianon. Modern pizza originated here in the city of Naples (Napoli). // #pizza #food #naples #napoli #campania #italy #travel #vsco #vscocam #whitagram A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Dec 26, 2013 at 12:18pm PST While traveling around Italy last December, I dipped out of Rome after Christmas Day and took the train south to Naples to do three things, and three things only: Explore the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii , sealed for ages under volcanic ash Eat pizza in the city where it was invented Check in to the archaeological museum, where all of the treasures and wonders of Pompeii were taken for safe keeping. I hadn’t heard great things about Napoli proper, so I (perhaps ignorantly) decided to crash in a hostel for t

Padrón, Spain: Peppers, Pilgrims, & Poets

Everyday on the way to and from school , I pass through the town of Padrón,  situated about halfway between Santiago de Compostela where I live and Boiro (on the coast) where I work . Just barely inland, Padrón straddles the Sar River before it empties into the estuary called the Ría de Arousa. Sar River A small but proud village of almost 9,000, Padrón dates back to Roman times when it was known as Iria Flavia (which is still the name of a parish to the north of the city center). Today, it’s known for producing peppers of the same name, for being a major stop along the Camino de Santiago, and for being home to two significant poets in the Galician language. Peppers Pementos de Padrón (ignore the eggplant) Even non-Galicians have heard of Padrón at least once, if only for the famous peppers that originated just outside the city center in the parish of Herbón. Brought to the area by Franciscan monks after the Spanish conquest of the Americas, these  pimientos de Padrón

Culture Shock in Spain: It’s the Little Things

Whenever you move to another country, you’ll inevitably experience  culture shock,  a roller-coaster of emotions that you experience while dealing with the obvious (speaking a foreign language, listening to weird accents) to the benign (nothing open on Sundays) to the problematic (Epiphany parade-goers in blackface). I’ve talked about culture shock before on this blog, from the differences I’ve noticed in Spanish elementary schools and Spanish apartments to saying  “see you later”  in the street when you mean “hi!” or wishing  “enjoy your meal!”  to complete strangers. View this post on Instagram de volta na miña galicia A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Sep 28, 2014 at 2:05pm PDT Although some people might complain about how everything here in Spain is sOoOoOo different from cultures in the U.S., the UK, etc., I don’t believe there are that many huge cultural hurdles to leap over when moving t

4 Reasons Why I Love Galicia in November

While there’s probably no one here in Galicia who is excited for the changing of the seasons and all of the miserable rain and bone-chilling cold they bring, there’s something really special about November here in northwest Spain that makes me really look forward to the month. It may not replace that warm fuzzy feeling I get from spending Thanksgiving with the family (and Mom’s cooking!), but Galicia in November is still a festive month that makes fall a wonderful time in this part of the country. 1) All Saints’ Day View this post on Instagram Huesos de Santos—"Saints' Bones" are a typical Spanish sweet on Nov 1st, All Saints' Day where Spaniards remember lost loved ones and bring flowers to their graves. The almond/marzipan-based confection has a sweet "marrow" filling. A little macabre, but hardly out of the ordinary from American Halloween treats. // #candy #sweets #dessert #halloween #allsaintsd

Thoughts from a Road Trip Across Spain’s Northern Coast

This past weekend, my American housemates and I all happened to have the same four days off of school due to a fortunate overlapping of three-day workweeks and school breaks for the All Saints’ holiday. Taking advantage of some of the last non-rainy days in northern Spain of the season, we hopped in a rental car and drove from Santiago de Compostela out to San Vicente de la Barquera, a small fishing village on the Cantabrian coast about halfway between Galicia and the Basque Country. View this post on Instagram Lastres, merely "one of" the most beautiful villages in Spain 😌 // #ocean #pueblosconencanto #lastres #colunga #asturias #spain #travel #vsco #vscocam A post shared by Trevor Huxham (@trevorhuxham) on Nov 2, 2014 at 11:05am PST We crashed at our housemate Rachel’s boyfriend’s apartment and used San Vicente as a home base to explore the northern coast of Spain, Asturias and Cantabria. On Friday,