Last month, I got the opportunity to watch the World ITU Multipart Championships. When I heard they were in Spain, I was so excited. When I heard they were in Pontevedra, Spain, my heart sunk just a little. I had never heard of Pontevedra. It looked isolated on the map. It would take us 4 flights, 1 taxi, and a train ride to get there.
Exhausted, I climbed out of the taxi in what I assumed was the middle of Nowhere, Spain, and trudged through the rain with the luggage into our Airbnb. The rental was absolutely lovely, and my mood lifted. But we were cold, wet, and hungry, so thought we’d walk around town and find a bite.
Of course, everything was closed or closing. It was 2pm. We had timed our arrival just as many restaurants closed for midday, only to reopen again later in the evening for dinner. We found one restaurant that seated us, and the waitress apologized that the kitchen was closing in 5 minutes, but they would rush our order. To make life easy on all of us, we ordered a simple bowl of soup, wine, and bread.
It was phenomenal. It was huge!
I started to kind of like this place.
When the rain lifted, and we walked around town, getting ready for the Championships, we learned that Pontevedra is a hidden gem. It is a quaint town, with the inner area closed to traffic, leaving it a wonderful walking adventure, through cobble lined streets, from fabulous restaurant to fabulous restaurant.
The locals were very patient with our poor excuse for Spanish, and helped us through menus- most menus were written in Spanish and Galician. The proximity to the ocean meant that fish was an option on many menus, including many pulperias offering a variety of octopus dishes.
The town is a virtual walking tour of ancient history, with influence dating back to the Romans. The historic quarter is speckled with cathedrals and ruins, such as the 14th century convent of Santo Domingo.
Pontevedra is also along the route of the Camino de Santiago, as pilgrims make their trek toward Santiago de Compostela. There are lighted pathways marked with a shell symbol to show trekkers the pathway and, especially in the morning hours, you can see trekkers with their backpacks and trekking poles heading out on the journey.
Most restaurants offered tapas throughout the evening, despite the online research that told us we could only get those earlier in the evening. With a few tapas to share, and a glass of wine or beer, we were able to get more than enough to eat. Usually the two of us walked out for less than 30 Euros.
We occasionally ordered the Menu del Dia, which was comprised of a 1st plate (usually a salad, soup, or one of the fish pies), and a 2nd plate (more of an entree style, often with a fish option), and either a Postre (desert) or a coffee included in a set price. Many included 1 drink in the price, either a wine or beer. Often, then Menu del Dia was priced 8-9 Euros per person, a few of the fancier restaurants advertising slightly higher prices.
As you can see, Pontevedra was wonderful! I’ll be reviewing some of the local restaurants in Pontevedra soon, along with our trip to Barcelona, Madrid, and our bus tour to Segovia and Toledo.