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Escaping to Tranquil Pontevedra: A Refreshing Retreat in Galicia

As much as we enjoy touring the highlights in new cities, we approached this latest trip quite differently. We wanted to go somewhere because we had about a week before school started. But frankly we were also exhausted after two months of travel and the past two months getting settled in Valencia. 

So kudos to Dave (who has never met an old city walk or historic site he didnโ€™t want to visit) for recognizing that what we needed was an escape from the oppressive heat and to basically do nothing. Weโ€™d never been to Galicia in northwest Spain, so we decided to rent an Airbnb with a yard and a pool in Pontevedra, a 45-minute drive south of Santiago de Compostela (the regional capital and a short flight from Valencia). Although itโ€™s known to rain a lot, we lucked out with only some brief rainy periods during our stay. 

Pontevedra, and this Airbnb, ended up being Jacobโ€™s happy place. He loved playing in the pool and chasing the two resident cats around. The home was impressively furnished, quiet, scenic, and most importantly, Pontevedra was 20 degrees cooler than Valencia and with no humidity ๐Ÿ˜. Though we were a bit daunted at the prospect of six days with no babysitting, the quality time together and absence of an itinerary ended up being relaxing (and I never thought Iโ€™d use that word to describe a trip with a 3-year-old!). We were also intrigued to observe how Jacobโ€™s behavior improved over this trip, and he generally slept and ate better than he had in quite awhile. 

The best part was having no plan. Most afternoons we just hung out at the pool. One day we explored deserted beach coves. Another day we found a random suspension bridge in the forest and skipped rocks in the river. Randomly we happened to be in Pontevedra the weekend of its lively renaissance fair (Feira Franca), with many family-friendly activities. We also found ourselves returning to an excellent pirate ship-themed playground, where Jacob played with local kids and we enjoyed beers and olives. The last day, we spent a mostly rainy morning in Santiago de Compostela to see the famous cathedral at the end of the Camino pilgrimage route.

We loved Galicia and look forward to returning again soon!