The Glass City and the Sea – Visiting La Coruña in 2017

la coruna street

They call this the glass city.

I can see why. It’s filled with galerias, endless lace-like enclosed balconies covering the outsides of buildings.

They look down upon you as you walk the endless streets, their tapas bars spilling out, their patrons laughing with tiny dogs looping their ankles.

There is nowhere where you are not dwarfed by glass. On the marina promenade the galerias are so many, the sun finds itself in a hall of mirrors, bearing down on the fishing boats and the lounging teenagers.

la coruna galerias

I have been here for a fortnight. Or is it longer?

The north wind is keeping me here, pounding the coastline on which this city stands. I cannot escape. But why would I want to?

I was here three years ago. I arrived after my first ever overnight passage – and it was five nights. I learnt to sail in the wilds of Biscay, dolphins alongside, cheering me on in my seasickness.

I arrived in La Coruña and would’ve loved it had it been a ruin, for all the exhaustion of the journey. But it wasn’t a ruin. La Coruña is a marvel, out here on the furthest bit of Spain, ignored by the foreign tourists and overshadowed by the saintly Santiago de Compostela to the south.

la coruna street

There is no end of things to do. The city is sprawling but always pleasant, even when it’s not.

Do you know what I mean?

On Galicia Day, the celebration of San Juan, the entire city was alight. Fires everywhere. The city had piled tons of firewood along the beach promenade for the public to take and build fires on the beach.

So many fires. From a distance it was like the beach was alight. They raged all night, huge and hot and roaring. Surrounded by drunken teenagers and old ladies in camping chairs. Babies in pushchairs, dancing children and everyone, everyone jumping over the embers of dying fires before setting alight the next one they had built.

The city raged and burnt and celebrated, Chinese lanterns filling the sky and tiny boats anchored in the bay to watch.

No one parties like La Coruña parties.

la coruna street

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