Monday, 23 April 2012

A major Roman town - but they have to tell us; Lugo - April 10

We may be in the province of Galicia but we are in the department (county?) of Lugo and that is the name of the small cathedral city which governs it. Now, for the benefit  of those who care, this cathedral has an honour (papally bestowed) which we are told is rare. They are allowed to have the consecrated host permanently on display. My assumption is that this was a deal struck to encourage pilgrims and thus enhance trade. But then I am not just an atheist but a heathen! Oh and we have no idea whether we saw it or not.
Lugo's major claim to fame  is its city wall. All of it. For it stands up to 10 metres or more high enclosing the entire central area. And it has 52 towers. The wall was first built by the Romans, then re-inforced on their foundations in the middle ages and amazingly has survived. There are some eight or nine gates of which it seems four serve for modern traffic, which circulates the wall on an anti-clockwise three and four lane road.
The cathedral is gothic with a rather plateresque west front - that is, the enhancement is rather like silver plate work. But the east end is an amazing gothic take on romanesque - all circular apses but decorated to within an inch of collapse. The overall effect is terrific; but maybe not actually beautiful.
But Lugo was a major Roman town, a castrum I believe, and so has been a place of governance for approaching 2,000 years.   It stands on a huge plain but surprisingly at 500 metres. Protected by encircling mountains twice or more as high it is a mild climate that has promoted good agriculture. And Rome, of course,  was a voracious consumer. Lugo today is in two  halves - one is prosperous and lively; the other will be if they ever finish the major refurbishment being undertaken. This is the older sector so there are some splendid buildings to be worked on.
Surprisingly we fould a menu del dia for 8 euros and very good it was. A delicious plate of jamon sec laid over thin cut tomatoes, showered with chopped mild onions and slathered with very good olive oil. Rough and excellent Spanish bread finished it off. My bacarlat al la plancher (cod) was excellent; Janet's middle cut of salmon a bit plain. A brilliant tarte de queso finished it off.Asking for a vaso of vino tinto produced an entire picher of more than two normal glasses. Water for Janet, sin gas. And for just two euros more two excellent  cafe cortado. That's 18 euros or about £16.
After a day dodging of showers and exploiting sunny spells we returned to Foz to find yet again it was bathed in warm sunshine - it comes with the change of the tide at low. By near high tide the showers resume. and  last all night...

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