Day 1 and Day 2 of Travel in Spain were based in Baiona which is situated in a small bay, protected by its surrounding hills. The Monterreal Fortress is on a rocky promontory, Monte Boi, which juts out into the bay and which in the past has been occupied by Phoenicians, Romans, and Celts. The Parador Conde de Gondomar is situated inside the walls of the fortress. ‘Gondomar’ – doesn’t that remind you of Tolkien?
Don Diego Sarmiento de Acuña (1567-1626) was the first Count of Gondomar and an extraordinarily able man. He was a soldier, active in repelling a raid by Sir Francis Drake on Baiona and Vigo in 1585 during the Anglo-Spanish war. His fighting abilities were recognised by Phillip II and he was appointed Governor of Baiona and Keeper of the Fortress of Monterreal. From 1613-22 he was the Spanish Ambassador in England and particularly close to James I.
I found two gates into the fortress: the main gate or Philip IV gate is 16C and leads down to the Barbeira beach; the Sun Gate is the second gate and stands under the Clock Tower where the bell of 1510 was rung to warn of approaching danger.
There is a lovely walk around the fortress, at sea level, with beautiful views, and it is particularly wonderful in the evening.
In 1201 Alfonso IX granted the town a Royal Charter – his statue guards the fortress.
In March 1493 the Pinta sailed into Baiona, the first place in Spain to receive the news of Columbus’ discovery of the New World, and one of several replicas of the ship is moored in the marina.
I visit the town in the next post and then just enjoy some of the sights.