Day 2 – Lugo. Not at all lugobrious.

Monday 29 April 2024 – We squeezed rather more into the day than had been our original plan, because today the sun was shining but the weather forecast for the coming days was gloomy at best, dire at worst. We had originally planned just to potter over to Lugo via an archaeological site today, and leave the morrow for wandering around Lugo itself. But time permitted us to do both in the one day, and the good weather encouraged us to adopt that as plan A. The result was a good day – we even had time for another decent and copious lunch.

First challenge, though, was to get the panzer tank beemer out of the underground car park at the hotel, which we managed without incident by dint of Jane watching closely from outside the car as I negotiated exit barriers. It’s a lovely car in many respects, and probably not actually that much larger than my old Citroën. But it feels fucking huge!


Jane had, as ever, spotted a potentially interesting site to visit as we made our way to Lugo. I tried putting the name Viladonga into our TomTom satnav, and it was not at all impressed. But Google Maps came to the rescue and so we found ourselves at Castro Viladonga, the site of a mainly Roman hill fort, where there’s a rather nicely laid-out and totally free museum beside the remains of the castro itself. The museum has a model of what it’s imagined the place looked like in its day.

and, particularly given the lovely weather, this cried out to me that I needed to get the drone up and over the site.

Whilst I was busy dealing with the drone, Jane was taking photos of the site itself, which has some quite remarkable stonework still visible.

There’s a lot of detail visible for those who want to dive into it.  For example, as you enter the site, there’s a stone in the middle of the path.

The groove in it indicates that at one stage a gate would lodge in place there, and one can see at the sides the ridges which would support the gate.  Looking at the stone from further away

shows that there would be a second gate, for added security. The museum also has several interesting artefacts, including fragments that show that glass was being blown during the time of the greatest occupation of the encampment (2nd – 5th Century AD).  They also had a booth with a cute video simulation of some of the activities that would be daily tasks of the time.

All in all, it was a pleasant diversion from the journey to Lugo and we’re glad we took the time to nose around it. There was a tiny treat for us as we drove off the motorway to reach it – a stork’s nest with a stork on it! Sadly, traffic meant we couldn’t stop without causing an unacceptable amount of tutting from the drivers behind us, but it was lovely to see. On the way back from the Castro, we did manage to stop, and Jane got a snap of the three chicks that were in the nest.

With luck, we’ll see more of these during our time in Galicia. We saw plenty of nests here last autumn, but never ones with actual occupants.

Lugo is a town best known for its Roman Walls, which was the main reason for us to visit, obvs. Our hotel is the Hotel Méndez Núñez. Now, this is the second time we’ve come across the name, as, you’ll of course remember, there was a park of this name in A Coruña. It turns out that Castro Méndez Núñez was a Galician who fought Filipino pirates, won a war, scared and intimidated the British and American navies and was the first to sail around the world in command of a battleship. Who knew, eh?

Anyway, we arrived with a determination to exploit the day’s nice weather to walk the Roman walls which have made Lugo world famous in Spain. First , though, we had to wrestle the tank beemer through one of the Roman (i.e. chariot-sized, rather than SUV-sized) gates and along a typically Roman Old Town set of narrow streets to find the recommended car park somewhere near our hotel. Remarkably, in another of the day’s small and somewhat unexpected treats, not only did we manage to get into the Anxel Fole car park with the paintwork intact, but there was also a space big enough for it there. What larks!

We were further delighted to note that we had time to eat lunch and use the walls as a post-prandial constitutional, since it was only about 2pm when we got to Lugo. Conveniently, the hotel features a restaurant and the receptionist told us that it would be open for lunch until about 3pm.  So we headed with alacrity to the 6th floor terrace, where it looked like we might have a desultory hotel lunch alongside the other couple who were there.  We ordered food and noted that after a while a few groups came in. And then a few more.

By about 3.30pm, the place was practically full, so our rush to get there was, after all, not necesary. It did, though, enable us to have a decent and copious lunch whilst still having plenty of time to walk the walls.

The walls that I’ve been banging on about are ancient Roman defensive walls stretching a couple of kilometres and completely surrounding the Old Town – I think it’s the only city which has an intact set of completely surrounding walls; York runs it a close second, but there are a few gaps there. The Lugo walls were built in the third century AD to defend the ancient Roman town of Lucus Augusti. The fortifications were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Deservedly, they’re a popular tourist attraction.  Here are some photos from our walk round them.

It looks to us as though the walls have had some restoration work done on them, even if we can’t immediately find verification one way or the other.  They’re just somehow in suspiciously good nick for construction that old.  Sure, the Romans knew how to build stuff, but still….anyway, they’re wonderful to behold, and the city obviously takes great care of them.

Jane had a quick chat with these guys and, yes, it’s a year-round task to keep the walls looking good.

The feeling we’d got from various sources was that there wasn’t much else to see in Lugo apart from the walls. On the basis of our short stroll around today, I think we’d beg to differ; it’s a charming place

This chap was outside the place we stopped at for a well-deserved coffee after walking the walls

and we haven’t explored the cathedral or other churches yet – we’ll leave that for the morrow. There’s even a statue of the chap who lent his name to our car park.

Anxel Fole was a writer, well-known in Galicia, since he wrote books, poems and stories in the Galician language.

As the evening drew to a close, we wrung the last photographic drops out of the city, as it’s quite attractive lit up at night.

First prize for photogenicity has to go to this view of the back of the cathedral, though.

We really enjoyed the day and being able to take advantage of the good weather. Tomorrow – who knows? If it rains, perhaps we can find some indoor places to explore.  Come back soon and find out whether we were lucky or not, eh?

3 thoughts on “Day 2 – Lugo. Not at all lugobrious.

  1. Kate Burridge

    I am living Roman antiquity thru you – TY, sir, as it is my favorite. I used to spend hours at ruined abbeys in Ireland, breathing in the history.

    Still loving you being large & in charge in the beamer!


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