In the article O Barco de Valdeorras: The Treasure in Galicia written by Clive Burkinshaw, he reviews the architecture and traditions of O Barco de Valdeorras in Northern Spain, Galicia area. We lived in O Barco for just over a year, and had so many amazing experiences there.
Here are some of the other draw cards that exist as a must-see in this magnificent area:
The River Sil:
The tranquil gorgeous River Sil, that winds its way through O Barco, is home to ottos, ducks, and other wildlife. The Sil is a river in León and Galicia; a tributary of the Miño. Its total length is 225 kilometres (140 mi) and the source of the Sil is in the Cantabrian Mountains in the Leonese town of Villablino. It flows through the provinces of León and Ourense, flowing into the Miño upstream from Ourense. There are many beautiful places to sit along its wide grassy banks, on top of rock outcrops, and in the cool forests, and enjoy the quiet, calm and peace of the area.
Popular international and local Canoe / Kayak races on the River Sil are common in O Barco de Valdeorras, and bring much festivity and fun with them.
Music concerts are performed on the river banks on stages erected really fast and professionally. Sitting there surrounded by nature, listening to the talents of many different types of musicians is an out of this world experience.
Unique Art Exhibitions are held at diverse venues throughout the town. You can see incredible wall art paintings, t-shirt art showcases, tin can monuments, and tv screens set up to display beliefs, and encourage reflection upon certain topics. These are all striking ways to unbox people’s way of thinking.
Open markets of various kinds, i.e. book fairs, markets to raise awareness of animal care, clothes bazaars, and fresh food stalls can be found in different locations throughout the town.
All the many festivals and celebrations of Galicia, Northern Spain and Spain are celebrated here with cannon shots, fireworks, dancing, music, marching bands, floats in processions, and wonderful costumes all ending up in the heart of the city by the regal town hall.
Jesus de Nazarene Bodega Co-operative is here, and is where the local wine is made. Tractors queue in the street by the dozen, pulling trailers full of colorful grapes waiting to be weighed and paid for their produce on certain days of the year. It is quite a sight to see!
Fantastic fresh produce can be found in abundance in this area, and neighbours give of it so freely and generously; such as rich brown chestnuts, kiwifruit, huge red and green peppers, lettuce, onions, strangely shaped apples…
The views are just wonderful! Views of the river, mountains, lush grassland, forests, traditional houses viewed from a hill or an archeological park.
Amazing stone walls and buildings that are still in very good condition. Everywhere you go you see the work of real stone masons. The magnificent thing about stone is that no two are identical, so every construction is unique. If you have the time to look closely at a home built from rough stone that has been dressed by a mason to form the structure, you can become inawed by the personality of the construction.
Camino de Santiago:
O Barco is on the Camino de Santiago route, the very famous Pilgrims’ Walk. Wikipedia describes it as: “The Camino de Santiago, known in English as the Way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims’ ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.”
We will be putting together a review on the Camino, so keep a look out for that if you are interested (click on the subscribe button at the bottom of this page to be notified)…
We met a lady from America, Laurie Ferris, the one day outside our apartment in O Barco de Valdeorras, and we discovered that she was doing the Camino for the fourth time. She has set up a website about the Camino called The Camino Provides.
To quote from her website:
“This blog is focused on all great things about the Camino de Santiago, and keeping the spirit of the Camino alive in our every day lives. My mission is to celebrate the Camino de Santiago and the pilgrim’s journey, from the calling to Compostela and beyond. I do this by sharing informative tips on training, gear, and routes; by promoting Camino related events in the Bay Area; by interviewing pilgrims and sharing inspiring stories; and by curating content relevant to the Camino.”
This is her badge in the photo below this. She has a fascinating website, check it out here if you are interested, The Camino Provides.
There must be plenty more to investigate and experience in this treasure that was revealed to us, in the year that we were there. We hope to go back and see more of the area. Keep a look out for updates to come…
In case you are interested or just wondering, the above photographs were all taken by Clive Burkinshaw.