September 23, 2019

Road Trip to Ribeira + Padrón

While I was stationed in Santiago de Compostela in the Galician region in the northwest of Spain for a week, I embarked on my own version of a pilgrimage. My pilgrimage just involved food and roots, instead of footpaths and relics.

Marc's Spanish side of his family heritage hails from the bustling fishing port town of Ribeira (also written as "Riveira"), which is only a one hour drive from Santiago. Over the years, we have all worked on making various connections with the authentic Vilas familia, meeting cousins in New Jersey and London. The actual family tree is a bit crazy to try to figure out, but everyone can be happy with being cousins.

Fortune would have it that as a I researched the route to drive from Santiago to Ribeira that the city of Padrón popped up right along the way. The popular tapas menu item of pimientos de Padrón has been a favorite of Marc's and mine for a while now. Of course, I made a snack stop! The little green peppers were delicious, but the only convenient difference I really noticed was that they clipped all the stems so you could just eat the whole pepper. Still glad I made the stop, though!

Ribeira itself sits in a harbor of beach and port, smelling like salt and fish with the sounds of seagulls and sailors. It unfolds itself from the green hills that tumble into sandy coastline in Galicia. I had a lovely time with Ana and Maria, who patiently dealt with my weak Spanish, took me to an unbelievably delicious restaurant, a tour of the ocean viewpoints, and graciously hosted me for the evening! ¡Muchas gracias!

I am so happy I was able to make this little day trip and hope to bring more of the actual Vilas family with me next time!