My summer in Vigo

Posted: September 8, 2012 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous, Photography, Travels
Tags: , , , , , ,

Vigo’s harbor

That’s the sight from the Town Hall’s Conference Room. I was there many times during the Summer of 2010, when I got an internship at Vigo’s small local TV Station  Localia, property of Cadena Ser.

Front door to Cadena Ser and Localia TV

Cadena Ser (standing for “Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión” in Spanish) is the oldest radio broadcaster in the country, and it can also be tuned outside Spain in Andorra and Portugal. It is controlled by Grupo Prisa, the most powerful Spanish information empire.

Foggy morning at Stavangerweg, student dorm at Amsterdam

I’ve got the internship at Localia after sending dozens of letters to Spanish media while I was attending to my semester in Amsterdam. The cold winter in that city was driving me so crazy that I needed to find some warm place to spend the summer. Lucky me, I’ve got accepted by Localia.

Vigo, located in the autonomous community of Galicia, is one of the most important cities in the Northwestern side of Spain. Very close to the Portuguese city of Oporto, its harbor gives a lot of life to this otherwise quiet town. It is said that the port is the point of entrance and exit of a lot of the drugs that Spanish consume, but other than a few syringes thrown in the streets after a night out, that could be there for any innocent reason anyway, I have not much evidence to back that up.

So, after Amsterdam, Vigo looks like Heaven.

Galician landscape

I landed in Santiago de Compostela, the capital city of the community and continued by trip to Vigo by train, getting the chance to see the most extraordinary sights and landscapes.

Vigo is the most populated city in Galicia with around 300.000 unhabitants who like to call themselves Vigueses. In Galicia, as it is in Catalonia, and the Basque Country, people have strong nationalistic feelings and some of them believe they are not Spanish as the people from the heartland, ot at least they are of a different kind. Still, in my impression, Galicians have toned down that argument in comparison to Basques and Catalonians. That nationalism is expressed mostly in the support to the Bloque Nacionalista Galego and the widespread interest to keep alive the local language, Galego or Galician.

The summer is a very nice time of the year to live in Vigo. It’s warm, too much at times. People are quite cheerful, considering the particular Galician temper. And there are awesome beaches that can make your life so easy. Nothing to be really amazed if you were born in the Caribbean, by the way, and are used to cozy sea waters where you can spend your whole day, but for whom has spent a winter and The Netherlands and an autumn in Aarhus, Denmark, this is as good as it can get, even if it means that you can only be a few seconds in the water because you feel it ice cold. Though it’s refreshing, I admit.

During the summer, Vigueses celebrate their festivities, among which it is the Festiclown. Clowns of the whole country and beyond gather in Vigo. Most of the money they make is  devoted to help the improvement of the craft and the artists. That particular summer, director and founder of the festival Iván Prado was advocating the idea of sending a mission of clowns to Palestine, in order to bring laughs to Palestinian kids.

The other main festivity is the Fair. For around a week, merchants from every corner of Spain come to Vigo to show and sell local products that go from cheese, jams, pies, meat, handcrafts, souveniers, paintings…

However, one of the most important experiences that I lived in Vigo was the World Cup 2010, when Spain became world champion for the first time ever, and not even that stupid kiss from Casillas to Carbonero could shadow the joy. I was in Bar Cabiria watching the final match with some friends. Even if the mood in Vigo could not be as accelerating as it was in Madrid or Valladolid, Spain’s heartland, it was indeed something to remember:

This is the bar when the match was about to start:

I don’t have pictures of the aftermath, because I was sincerely not in the mood for taking pictures but drinking my beer.

There are indeed plenty of things to do in Vigo. Free concerts, I went to see Norah Jones  and Patty Smith for free that year.

But traveling around is indeed the must do thing if you ever get to Vigo. There are places of great beauty, and for sure, no matter where you come from in this world and how much beauty have you seen, you can still be amazed by what you’ll get to witness in Vigo and the entire Galicia.

Let’s say, Portonovo:

Portonovo: a camping spot for Galician youngsters

Or just this hill in the outskirts of Vigo:

Or this alley in the Casco Vello:

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