Las Médulas: Roman gold mines near Ponferrada (León)

Jorge’s father was from Galicia. We usually get out there once a year to see the whole cluster of tíos, tías, primos and sobrinos. But it’s either an a) shitty combo of trains and buses or b) a long road trip. So, if Jorge and his Ma allow me, I try and squeeze a mini-excursion in to break up the journey.

A few years ago we visited Las Médulas. Pertaining to the Ponferrada region in Castilla y León, it is basically on the border with Galicia. The stop was so sudden, and we were ill-prepared as far as photography goes. So pardon the pix!

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To get to the town of Las Médulas, we had to veer farther off course than we had originally hoped but whenever we leave Galicia, the trunk is stocked up with typical Galician delicatessens: Empanadas (empanadas are outdone by no other province in the country. The traditional route is bonito but our family also loves the cod fish or meat. When the animal is not specified, “carne” usually means pork), bread (gotta be the round, rustic looking one with the knot on top), cheese (it’s called “queso tetilla” or “little boobie cheese”), and one of the only decent beers on this great Peninsula, Estrella Galicia. So, we ALWAYS leave Galicia with a pre-packed picnic.

What are “las médulas”? The reason it looks the way it does is because of an explosion. It was the most important, above ground Roman mining site back around the year 20 BC. Um, what?  Yes, the Romans were mining gold that long ago. And our generation invented Snapchat!

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There are various hikes to get to the lookout spot which will give you these views! We started from the bar Agoga, in Las Medulas town, which is where Suegra waited for us while we braved the heat. The garden area at the restaurante alone was worth it, because of the kitties and the flowers. And I bought some art. I’ll never forget that morning.

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Bring water!

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P.S. you can drive up 😐


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