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Friday, 6 October 2017

O Salnes in Galicia – Discovering the Beauty and Culture of Northwest Spain

One of my favourite regions of Spain, there is so much that draws me back to Galicia – Albariño wine, great fish and seafood, not to mention their scrumptious Empanada Gallega and Arroz Caldoso (the Galician seafood rice) all of which I have written about in detail in my earlier feature here.

Much as I love writing and talking about Galician food and wine, today, I am detailing another facet of this Spanish region and some of the things I got to do between meals.

 Sailing around the Island of Arousa

My third time in Galicia, this visit was primarily to the area of O Salnes, home to the beautiful Island of Arousa. With sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, this is where Gallegos come to unwind at the weekends or spend a few hours fishing.

We spent a great afternoon here sailing around the Island of Arousa, taking in the beautiful scenery and learning about the farming and fishing of seafood such as scallops, mussels and oysters.

Fresh, good quality fish and seafood is in every Galician’s DNA – it is served and consumed everywhere from the most modest of eateries to Michelin-starred restaurants, making Spain one of the top 10 countries for its consumption of fish.

Meeting Las Mariscadoras – The Women Seafood Harvesters

On the shores of Cambados, the harvesting of clams and other shelled seafood has been done by women for generations. Until just a few decades ago, the women would collect the seafood to eat and to trade with farmers for other types of food. Today, over 250 licensed women do this back-breaking work earning on average €1,000 a month.

We are on a tour with Guimatur, the Cultural Association of the Sea Women of Cambados, that works to spread the fishing culture carried out by the ‘Mariscadoras’ or shellfish harvesting women in the region.

From the beach we ended our tour at the fishing market plant where the seafood harvested by the Mariscadoras are classified, weighed and cleaned to make them ready for resale.

This fascinating tour was a glimpse into a world I was completely unaware of making me reflect on the provenance of, and the work that goes into sourcing, the food on our plate.

Las Pedras Negras Wooden Boardwalk

Not far from Island of Arousa, on the mainland, we went for a stroll along the wooden boardwalk that runs from the Pedras Negras Marina to the Con Negro area.

The long, winding path took us around cliffs to discover rugged seascapes, rock formations and various groves and stretches of sandy beaches along the Sea of Arousa.

A perfect location for walks and relaxation, Las Pedras Negras wooden pathway was one of the most stunning places I experienced in O Salnes, and I highly recommend a visit.

Manolo Paz Foundation

Away from the beach, near the charming town of Cambados, the Manolo Paz Foundation is where we headed next.

We were there to meet the man himself, Manolo Paz, the Galician artist world famous for his large open-air sculptures made of stone and other natural materials.

One of his most impressive works was a collection of granite sculptures, which Manolo Paz created in 1994. Inspired by the Neolithic menhirs, or standing stones, that are found throughout the Iberian Peninsula, visitors come to view the sunset or the Atlantic Ocean in the distance, framed by square holes cut through the monumental stones.

Coming from a small village where people were busy in the fields with no connection to the world of art, Manolo realized that if potatoes and corn could be planted in the area, then sculptures could be too. His idea was to have a place where he could both work and exhibit his works of art integrated into the Galician landscape.

The Manolo Paz Foundation is a unique space in Galicia - it receives visitors from all over the world and has placed Cambados squarely on the international artistic route of sculpture parks alongside those of Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth and Isamu Noguchi. Miss it at your peril!

The #InGalicia campaign was created and sponsored by the Spanish Tourist Office and O Salnes Tourism Board in partnership with iambassador. The London Foodie maintains full editorial control over all content published on this site as always.

Discovering #InGalicia via @TheLondonFoodie Instagram Page:

Travel Essentials

Manolo Paz Foundation
Apartado de Correos no.51 
CP 36630 Castrelo
Cambados, Pontevedra


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