Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Perfect Pontevedra

Day 37 - 29.05.12 Pontevedra

We have a lazy morning in Noia waiting for the traffic in our car park to thin down.  We need to back out onto a somewhat busy road but noticed yesterday that most people leave the car park at lunchtime so we’ll have more room to manoeuvre.  Sure enough we get the space we need after an early lunch and head to Pontevedra.  After some difficult to follow Sat Nav instructions we end up on our first toll road (dammit!), thankfully the 25km or so only costs us just over 2 euros.  When we arrive another bit of iffy Sat Nav-ery winds us up the wrong way on a one way street and the wrong side of the river for our car park.  Easily resolved though and we pull in a great spot alongside the river.

Pontevedra is quite frankly a fantastic city.  It has a lovely river running alongside the city with a number of very unusual-looking bridges across it.  The centre itself is full of stunning architecture.  Whether it’s in the historic churches or striking balconies outside ordinary flats, everything here has a touch of flair.  The streets are on the whole are quiet, it appears everyone is out to lunch as the cafes in the pretty squares are bustling with ladies lunching and couples chatting over drinks.  There are some nice parks and lots of great sculptures and statues dotted around.  On our travels we stumble across the ruins of a 14th century church which has been incredibly well preserved and is full of interesting features.  

Chris soon spots a sign for a museum exhibition on the history of motorbikes and we head over once it opens.  It’s completely free and features some very rare vintage bikes and a comprehensive collection of old BMWs, much to Chris’ delight.

After dinner we go for a walk along the river and spot a small but very nice man-made beach half way down that’s really popular with the locals, it looks like a great spot to chill out.  On the other side of the river there’s a ‘sculpture park’ but it’s a bit of a let-down.  There are loads of people out walking, cycling and jogging alongside the river.  I’ve been really taken aback my how healthy everyone is here (aside from their smoking anyway), almost everyone you see is in great shape and even people in their later years seem very active.   Parks are always very busy too and families seem to spend a great amount of time together keeping the little ones entertained.  It makes for a wholesome and safe kind of feeling which makes an awesome change from Nottingham!

All in all I so far really, really like it here.  The city centre is just gorgeous and full to the brim with interesting buildings, cute cafĂ© lined squares and pretty parks.  Our parking spot by the river is equally lovely.  There’s no tourist tat in the city, no hassle or crowds.  It’s just a laid-back, architecturally stunning place that has managed to retain its charm and not fall foul of the tourist trade.  A great find.   

Aaaand as you can tell from the mass of blog updates, I gots me some local wifi ;-)

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