I don’t know where to start while sitting down to write a blog post about Vigo, Spain. My home across the ocean, I spent too much time there to write just one post. I’m stuck in a quandary, because although I lived in Vigo for 5 months and feel I have too much to write, I have limited amount of photos, or experiences to share. Vigo is not a tourist destination, so there’s not as much to do, and the majority of my time spent there was in class. While school was a much more relaxed setting than back home, it did still create a weekly schedule. When I visit a new place for a few days, or a few weeks I’m running around constantly. I want to see everything I possibly can. But when I had a 5 month period, it felt like there was so much time to do everything up until the day before it was time to leave and I looked back and realized I missed out.
Vigo is located on the West coast of Spain, North of Portugal, in the region Galicia. In the winter, it rains nearly 24/7, and my umbrella broke within a week. I learned to embrace being wet; my notebooks were constantly damp, I could never tell if my clothes were dry after washing them, and even at school the buildings were always leaking. We were pretty miserable a majority of the winter, which was why during the first full rainy day once I was back in the US, I was shocked how nostalgic I felt for the cold, rainy days. The summer was the exact opposite, with warm, sunny days. Unfortunately we only had nice weather for a few weeks before I was leaving to backpack through Europe. But we hopped to the beach and enjoyed what we could. Off the coast of Vigo are Las Islas Cíes, three nature preserved islands with hiking and camping opportunities. I didn’t have a chance to visit the islands before I left Vigo, so someday I’ll have to return to the city.
But beyond the weather, living in Vigo allowed me to fully embrace Spanish culture. We bought produce at the Fruterias, bread and pastries at the Panaderias, and we found our favorite places for tapas. We learned to navigate our days around siesta, the time of the day when every business was closed, and adapted to eating supper between 9 pm and midnight. The discotecas (dance clubs) didn’t open until 4 am, and we were shocked to find that when we headed home at 6:30 or 7 am, people were still only showing up to start dancing. A 15 minute walk to the bus seemed short, and our legs stopped burning after a week or two from constantly climbing up and down the steep hills of the city.
Galicia also provided a regional culture and language. Galician (Galego) is a West Iberian romance language, that stemmed from Galician-Portuguese, otherwise known as Medieval Portuguese. In my experience, it seemed like a cross between Spanish and Portuguese. I enjoyed Galician regional foods such as pulbo á feira (octopus), licor café, and tarta de Santiago.