¡Bienvenidas to La Coruña, Spain!
Nestled in the northwest corner of Spain, right above neighboring Portugal sits the autonomous community of Galicia. Located on the edge of the Atlantic lays one of Galicia’s most important cities, La Coruña. The city itself dates back to Roman times around the second century AD. The Romans utilized this perfect costal location to create a bustling port city that continues to thrive long after they left the Iberian-peninsula.
However, it is quite a trek to get to this little port city. The high-speed AVE train has not launched a route to Galicia, so the only option is a crawling twelve-hour train ride. Every part of the long train ride was worth it as I stepped out into a new world. This city is perfect for adventure seekers looking to escape the bustling city in search of a relaxed lifestyle surrounded by history.
Romans…. in Spain?
With its beautiful tight streets to tall statues its clear La Coruña is filled with history. Look no further than the rising centerpiece of the city: a beautiful ancient lighthouse called “El Torre de Hercules” or Tower of Hercules. This beautiful beacon of light was built by the Romans during the second century AD; a UNSECO Heritage site that is the oldest fully-functioning lighthouse. Tighten your shoe laces, grab a visitor’s guide and experience first-hand the wonders of Roman engineering. Ascend the stairs for breath-taking views of the whole city and the watch the ocean waves crash into the rocks. After picking your jaw off the floor, descend the stairs (make sure to hold on to the railing—it is steep) and meander the Tower of Hercules Route, a sculpture park surrounding the lighthouse. After the sun goes down, the bright beam of light continuous to circle the city guiding the fishing boats back home.
Ports of Calling
The Port of La Coruña is the center piece of the city from which all business revolves. In today’s world, La Coruña cannot solely rely on fishing to stimulate the local economy; however, it still remains a prominent element. At the La Lonja de La Coruña, a giant fish market in the middle of the port, Galicians can find the freshest seafood from all over Galicia.
I was lucky to talk to a member (whom wished to remain anonymous) of a local seafood distributor called La Asociación de Mayorista Exportadores de Pescados de La Coruña. As we talked in his office, he explained the difficulties that accompany the livelihood of a fisherman. With ocean temperatures slowly rising, fishermen are having a hard time bring in big catches. This is hurting the local economy and putting jobs at risk. Hopefully, the government and local businesses will support efforts to work together so the port continues to thrive. As we finished our conversation, the member wanted to make one thing about fishermen clear, “Fishermen are tough people with big hearts”.
La Coruña, a little slice of Celtic paradise.
As the seventh Celtic nation, Galicia, and more specifically, La Coruña takes pride in showcasing their heritage. As the Romans moved out, the Celtics moved in and influenced much of the Galician culture. Located in the Castle of San Antón guests can find relics and other Celtic artifacts in this beautifully preserved 16th-century fortress. Lucky for me, I planned my visit right around the festival of St. Patrick’s Day. Galicians all over the city celebrated in the streets. Watching the Torre de Hercules glowing bright green as Galicians partied in the street was the perfect ending to my Galician adventure.
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