Reasons to Love Galicia Above All Else

Published by GQ España on 24 October 2013
Written by Lucía Taboada
Translated by Seth Brooks

Galicia is an emigrant nation, always coming and going. But just like its visitors, Galicians always come back. There are things that tug at the homesick heartstrings of any Galician expatriate, like rain. Rosalia de Castro knew it when she whispered “goodbye rivers, goodbye fountains” in her Galician poems. Galicia exudes fragas (not just politicians), animated forests, witches, salty sea mist, melancholy, and a long meal with crema de orujo and filloas. Galicia is all this and much more.

Galician forest (A Coruña).

Galician forest (A Coruña).


  • In Galicia there are about three million small villages, among which are real gems like Combarro or O Cebreiro.
  • That three million was a somewhat exaggerated estimate.
  • Galicians are prone to exaggerate a bit.
  • Galicia is bathed by the sea in the form the rías: the Rias Altas are wild, the Rias Baixas seem like lakes sown with islands. They are all used as names of Galician restaurants in Madrid.
  • The Galician geography does not favor the arrival of the high-speed AVE train, planned to arrive “within two years” since the invention of the locomotive.
  • Being optimistic, the AVE will reach Galicia before the Olympic Games in Madrid.


  • Galicia has cathedrals, like in Santiago. Stone granaries, such as Carnota. Thermal spas, in Ourense. Fortified city walls, in Lugo. Towers, like that of Hercules. Stone crosses, like Hío. Or castles, as in Soutomaior.
  • Game of Thrones could be shot in Galicia.
  • You can not leave Galicia without ever having dipped your toes in the frozen waters of the Cies Islands.
  • Nor without being asked “It won’t fall, no?” after seeing of botafumeiro in the Cathedral of Santiago.
  • Nor without ever having leaning against the handrail of Orzán Beach in La Coruna, at risk of flying away.
  • Nor without seeing a sunset over Cape Home.
  • Nor without having sitting with your “rock” in the Plaza del Teucro in Pontevedra.
  • Nor without your photo among the arched cliffs of the Playa de las Catedrales.
  • Nor without ever having dragged yourself up a hill in Vigo.
  • Nor without following the Miño River through the Sil Canyon.
Botafumeiro in Cathedral of Santiago (A Coruña).

Botafumeiro in Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela


  • It rains in Galicia. And there are storms. That’s how it is.
  • But not always.
  • Seriously, Not always.
  • Siniestro Total said that “in Galicia the rain is art.”
  • The Galician language has close to one hundred words for rain.
  • But if you wake up to a storm tearing off your roof, a Galician will always answer: “Don’t worry, it opens”.




  • Galicia created coffee liqueur. This section could end here but there is more.
  • Also from Galicia is the queimada, a mystical flaming concoction of brandy that supposedly has the power to drive away evil spirits. Especially from the third drink when you start seeing triple.
  • There is nothing comparable to an Estrella Galicia beer with octopus. The same with cheese.
  • If you have a pulpeira / percebeira close to home, about the best thing to do is that you propose marriage.
  • The broth of a stew from a Galician grandmother could even heal the region’s deficit.
  • A Galician grandmother with Tupperware is more dangerous than a flash drive from Bárcenas.
  • No one peels potatoes faster than a Galician grandmother.
  • If you want to eat (and drink, especially drink) good and cheap you have to go to a furancho. They are private homes where surplus wine from that year’s harvest is sold, accompanied by homemade tapas.
  • If you want to eat (and drink, especially drink) do not miss the gastronomic festivals. There is at least one every weekend.
  • If you become thinner in Galicia, you have done something very wrong.
Licór café

Licór café


  • If an accident occurs or there is a storm, the person with the strongest Galician accent always appears on television.
  • A Galician could respond to any question with, “bueno“. It can vaguely mean yes or no.
  • Bueno” is Schrodinger’s word.
  • If a Galician responds “Oh qué oh” or “qué carallo” he or she is slightly angry.
  • The term “carallo” is polysemic (having multiple meanings). It is used for absolutely everything, like the aforementioned broth.
  • If it is clear at dawn: “Fai a sun do carallo“.
  • If something is far “está no quinto carallo“.
  • If you’ve given yourself a beating at the gym “estás escarallado” (you’re fucked).
  • More curious is the story of “O Carallo, 29”. In addition to the expression, carallo in question exists. It is a block of granite located in Compostela at number 29 on Rúa Travesa, which has a phallic shape. The phrase “O carallo 29” is used in cases of doubt or skepticism.
  • In case of doubt, you can also use “malo será“.
  • One of the greatest contributions of Galician is, without doubt, dubbing American films. Perhaps the jewel in the crown is “a rañala, raparigo” translation of the legendary “Sayonara, baby” from Terminator.


  • Ask any Galician a question, they will be respond with another question:

-Are you okay?
-Why do you ask?

-Rajoy Sir, will there be more cuts this year?
-I beg your pardon?

  • Before Fraga or any other dinosaur is the “O Luar” program, a TVG (Television Galicia) program emitted continuously from the fifth century BC, which holds the record of having the worst playbacks ever.
  • Its host is Xosé Ramón Gayoso, a journalist from the quasi-priestly caste, who may as well be a blood relative to Jordi Hurtado. One of his major milestones was with a heavy heart to announce the death of El Fary, when he was still alive.
  • Every Galician boy waited to for his photo to appear on his birthday on Xabarín Club, the children’s program par excellence.
  • For people from A Coruña, people from Vigo are “Portuguese”; according to those from Vigo, people from A Coruña are “Turkish”. It has nothing to do with the Ottoman-Portuguese conflict, fortunately, but with football.
  • When the Apollo XI landed on the moon there was a Galician welcoming Neil Armstrong with a bit of membrillo and tetilla cheese.
  • If you look under your bed there will surely be a Galician.
  • If something previously written is not understood, you must blame Galician retranca.


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