Oct 4, 2014.
Jessica is a long-time resident of northern Spain so I’m starting off with her recommendations…
“OURENSE/RIBEIRA SACRA: This is my favorite area of Galicia. You can visit the Cañones del Sil (canyons of the river Sil), where the wineries have their vineyards along the cliffs. You can take the catamaran along the river (I think about 14€?, they do them every day at 1:30 and sometimes at 4:30). Or you can drive along the river and stop at the somewhat-marked lookout points. If you want somewhere fancy to eat nearby, try the Parador de Santo Estevo. It’s an old converted monastery that’s now a fancy hotel with a great restaurant.”
Accordingly, our first stop was the converted monastery that is now the Parador de Santo Estevo.
The outer grounds contained an old cemetery…
…and a church, whose altar was lit by the coloured light of the stained glass windows.
Spain is a country where people eat snacks all day long and by now we were almost in the groove. This is our second breakfast at the Parador café.
The public spaces of the parador showed off a masterpieces of stone architecture.
They were in the process of preparing for a wedding which added to the charm with its casually arranged hydrangeas and ivy draping over the stone walls. The wedding wine was all from the surrounding vineyards – too bad there wasn’t a wine-tasting set up! A close-up of the stone carvings on a supporting column.
Up these stairs was a permanent art exhibition that was a surprise bonus.
The art show featured bits and pieces of history together with bronze sculptures showing the history in action. (More about the permanent art show at the Parador on my Elizabatz Gallery Blog.)
The Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Shore) is in the province of Galicia, only about an hour’s drive from Santiago de Compostela on the highway. But I highly recommend taking the back roads which takes a lot longer and is full of small villages.
More about our October 2014 trip to northern Spain.
Jessica, who provided our great route info, has since opened a Bakery Café in Santiago de Compostela called Lusco & Fusco, and you can find her on Facebook at Lusco Fusco Bakery Café.