Photo Post: The Old Town of Pontevedra, Spain

Pontevedra, Spain
Bridge over the Lérez River

Out of Galicia’s four provincial capitals (A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Pontevedra), Pontevedra was my last to check off the list, despite being barely an hour south of Santiago. An almost-coastal town, it straddles the Lérez River right before it empties into the Ría de Pontevedra estuary on Galicia’s western coast.

Pontevedra, Spain
Virxe Peregrina Church

I spent the better part of a day in Pontevedra back in January when I went down south to Vigo to meet up with some friends from college who were now teaching English together there. Pontevedra surprised me: the town was one lively plaza after another where terrace cafés stretched out beneath soportales arches and children bothered pigeons with their impromptu soccer games.

Pontevedra, Spain
Weathered walls in Praza de Ourense

The old town reminded me a lot of Santiago de Compostela, as it was also built almost entirely out of local granite stone. Huge slabs paved the roads and sidewalks, and stately mansions and humble apartments alike were constructed with this igneous rock. The Virxe Peregrina Church welcomed me into the historic quarter, a tall Baroque church with a floorplan designed to resemble a scallop shell, the symbol of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Amazing, right?

Pontevedra, Spain
Restaurant terraces

At around 83,000 residents, Pontevedra is no big city, but it’s still strategically located in between the Galician capital to the north and Vigo to the south—and is only a short bus ride to countless beaches that line the estuary to the west. Like Almería or Logroño, Pontevedra felt just plain comfortable, like a place I could have called home in another life, especially since I didn’t meet a single tourist the whole time I was there. But I had to say goodbye all too soon, as my train for Vigo would leave in the evening.

Pontevedra, Spain
Pontevedra’s plazas

Have you ever visited a city that you felt like you could live in? Tell me below in the discussion thread.

Pontevedra, January 8th, 2015

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