The fastest way / Tyler Brule
Ripe for exploration
Do you remember the last time you landed in a city, region or country, found yourself completely disoriented and had to spend most of your first day recalibrating and trying to give a meaning to the new environment? When I decided to finally block off a few days to visit Galicia, book a flight to Santiago de Compostela and organize a short trip around the region to visit friends, I thought it would be a small pleasant summer break but not so difficult in terms of first and lasting perceptions. Allow me to illustrate.
The approach to Santiago de Compostela airport was low and smooth; the pilot made a few easy turns over gently rounded hills, dense forests, wind turbines, herds of cattle and well-kept farms. Where were we? Was it really a part of Spain bordering the Atlantic or were we above Bavaria? A few minutes later the wheels were off, we hit the wet track, rolled to the gate and disembarked. Inside, the terminal had the same signage and iconography as any other Spanish airport; for some reason it was reassuring to me, as if to confirm that we hadn’t landed in some lush part of Austria or Slovenia.
My friend Sagra was there to meet us in Santiago. She grew up in the city and after a coffee and orange juice she showed us around the city pointing out key sites, guiding us to cozy little shops and explaining how the Galicians clearly helped create what we now call mass tourism. with the creation of the silver pilgrimage. A quick stop at the ceramic shop in Sargadelos was good to stock up on locally made gifts, while a round of beer and wine at the modernist Café Bar El Muelle smelled more São Paulo than I expected. expected from Santiago. So far, so surprising.
We said goodbye to Sagra, jumped in our car and drove to Corrubedo to visit our friends Evelyn and David. Along the way, a flurry of text messages diverted our trip and Evelyn suggested a visit to the factory of Galician fashion brand D-due. As we had already presented the company in Konfekt, I was somewhat familiar with their silhouettes and their commitment to fabric innovation, but the immaculate factory, the quality of the collection and the fact that over 80% of D-due’s sales are in Japan have been a revelation. It was also an introductory explanation of why Galicia also gave birth to much bigger players, such as Inditex and Adolfo Domínguez, and why the region is one of those corners of Europe which still has the capacity to make a little bit of everything – cars, ships, good beer, excellent wine, furniture and leather bags for the likes of Loewe.
After our factory tour, we entered the fog bank that had enveloped Corrubedo, changed into bathing suits, and took a long walk on the beach. Along the way, David offered a comprehensive socio-economic and geopolitical briefing on Galicia. As the sun tried to break through, David explained the ambitions and opportunities of this unique corner of Europe. Was he selling me real estate or was he just laying out his hopes for this determined and self-sufficient part of Spain? By the time we got home, I had a better idea of what the area was rocking and suddenly felt that another 48 hours wasn’t going to be enough to fully master the other major cities, let alone the city. inside. .
The next morning we headed to La Coruña, home to Inditex and thousands of young Spaniards who want to work in the fashion industry, while enjoying the beach life. The city has a presence and sense of scale that was a little surprising – in the most positive way.
I had never heard of Sanxenxo but there it was on road signs and GPS. Our destination was the beach house in Sagra, and as the miles ticked by and the road meandered along the coast, I remembered being in Santa Barbara, leafier suburbs north of Auckland or parts of Sydney. Sagra has one of those setups (dogs, kids, parents, rosé, and a hiking house) that immediately puts you at ease. The reappearance of the sun sent us down to the beach a few minutes after unpacking.
Vigo. Wow! We did a story in Monocle fairly recently but, to be honest, we didn’t do it justice. It is often ranked as the Spanish city with the best quality of life but also the rainiest days. I was completely taken from the moment we parked by the beach for lunch and then drove into town to admire brutalist apartments, 1950s office buildings and grand boulevards. It’s one of those places that makes you look up at lush balconies and wonder what these families do for a living, what their weekends are like, and how you might decorate a sprawling 300 sq. 1960s.
Don’t be surprised if you start to see a little more Galicia on our pages over the next few months.