Noia started out as a small fishing village over one thousand years ago. Today, it's still a small fishing village, but a decent-sized city has grown up around it, with all the modern trappings you'd expect to find. Not having much of a destination in mind, we opted to walk around it. Literally. Around it.
When we got there, the tide was still out and not due back in until around 9:00 that evening. (No, it's Galicia. 9:00 is like late-afternoon here!) Because of the very shallow bay, the tides look quite extreme here. There isn't a giant surge of water as the sea rushes in or out like some places. But at high tide, the bay is full of water from edge to edge. At low tide, boats that didn't go out to fish that morning are stuck in the mud, awaiting the sea's return in about six hours.
We now know that there are two ways around the bay: A long way for cars and a long way for walkers. We didn't know this at the time, and the modern suspension bridge looked like a good place to take some pictures from. We were wrong about that, and quickly learned the long way for walkers. But turning around isn't in our nature, so we pressed on across the bridge to to the other side of the bay, following along until we reached Obre on the western shore. It's a typical European town built on the side the hill, complete with blind driveways, sidewalks that turn into little more than trails, and the oddest little doors. Yes, they're even smaller than Sheila-sized doors. Go figure?
Walk far enough into Obre, and you start to reach Noia proper again. And by far enough, I mean a little more than nine miles from where we started, and with plenty of vertical change. Nothing that you'd need climbing gear for, but enough to break you into a sweat (which we did), make you wish you'd have brought sunscreen (which we didn't) and leave you more than a little hungry (which we were.) And all of it in the middle of siesta, when most businesses -- including restaurants -- are closed. Oh, and you'll probably have to pee. Did I mention nine miles? The good news is that once you've finally reached a place that is open, like Albomar, there's a pretty good chance you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality and price of the food. Sheila had the fried calamari, and I gorged myself on chorizo. And drank a few beers. The bill came to about €17, and the squid wasn't even close to chewy. Damned fine food. Oh, and it was also right next to the other bridge -- the one that's great for walkers but makes for long way around (as in winding through residential areas) for cars. The good news is that we found it, if a little late. But we'd eaten and had beer, so we were ready to press on.
The bottom -- the south end -- presents a lovely view. Albomar has a beautiful back garden that borders the bay. They, like many places, grow much of their own food, including citrus and grapes. That's quite common here among businesses and residences. The Galician people are fiercely independent and quite used to self-sufficiency. It's the odd house that doesn't have a large garden of fruits and veggies, and we're pretty sure that everyone is required to tend their own grapevines. Winemaking is another proud tradition. We've not yet sampled the homemade vino, but we're not opposed to it.
Having already been north (the big bridge), west (Obre), and south (food!), we had little choice but to explore the eastern part of Noia. Yeah, we hit the center, too. But it was siesta time, and very few things were open. It looked a little creepy, to be honest. So we headed east where the Rio de Vilacoba enters the town. Follow long enough, and you'll see how the town has grown all the way to the edge of the river, making for some pretty peaceful nights sleep, we'd imagine.
After that -- some 10 miles later -- we were pretty tuckered out and were ready for the bus ride back to Brión. We wanted to stay for the nightlife, which we hear is quite lively. But that's an adventure for another day.
Cheers from Noia!