This city is first-rate. You likely need three full days to take it all in, but we managed a good walk about to see the sites. There is a Parador here, which we spent a good two hours exploring. Paradors (Poussadas in Portugal), are historic buildings that become part of a luxury hotel chain, usually run by the government, with emphasis on restoration, cultural and historical reference.
The Parador in Baiona is a castle – Mont Reale which has ties to Sir Francis Drake in the 1500s, with its modern day hotel name: ‘Conde de Gondomar’.
It was a one Euro fee to walk the grounds – we stayed atop the castle walls and used the simple map from the main Tourismo office (it sits at entrance to the castle), as a reference to the main sites along the way – the Friars garden and beach, the main gate, the bastions, cistern and ammunitions warehouse. The views were incredible, and the restoration excluded much of the current bylaws/codes for public spaces, as well as typical wayfaring and information signs, so the authenticity wasn’t interrupted with safety signs.
After a well deserved ice cream, we paid one Euro to go aboard a replica of the Caravel Pinta – it’s a to-scale reproduction. Pinzon, the Pinta’s Captain lead a group of sailors to discover America in 1493 on (what I feel is) a very small vessel. The boat has no flat sections – with a narrow fulcrum I was shocked to see how small the boat was, and it must have been one bouncy ride over the Atlantic and back. Baiona was the first place in Europe to hear news of another land mass.
After a walk through the cobble streets, Kara hit the hotel to rest and I hit the beach for an hour. Another fabulous seafood dinner on a busy street. Tomorrow we start back on the Camino – just a few more days until we join the main pilgrim route.