Parador Conde de Gondomar

Parador Conde de Gondomar, Baiona, Galicia, Spain

Parador Conde de Gondomar“We’re canceling the rest of our vacation” I said to my husband as we drove past one massive stone gate and approached a second one, leading up to the castle that loomed ahead of us, feeling like we’d been time-warped to the 15th century. We were approaching the Parador Conde de Gondomar—situated in a strategic peninsula, known as either Monte Boi or Monterreal, guarding the Ria of Baiona, which explains its previous life as a fortress. The sense of awe continued inside the front door, I expected Queen Isabella herself to descend from the massive stone staircase that faced the front desk. The interiors continued to dazzle and throughout our four-night stay we were enchanted with the ambiance, the service, the  room’s decor and even the laundry, delivered in a wicker basket. Paradores are famous for incredible, historic architecture and excellent regional cuisine. Conde de Gondomar did not fail. Breakfast was a feast—cured meats, cheeses, yogurts, eggs, breads, pastries, fruits, churros, all constantly replenished by the attentive staff. Dinners at the restaurant were as expected—spectacular. There are three restaurants. The main and more upscale Torre del Principe restaurant. Parador Conde de GondomarThere is “lighter” and more Galician fare at Enxebre La Pinta, a short walk from the hotel, where the views out to the ocean and the sunsets are spectacular.Sit outdoors while you enjoy a glass of vino while gazing at the sea. Wine is 0.30 euro more than a Coke! And there is a terrace in the Parador itself that serves light snacks all day. The only problem is their schedule, as the restaurants in the Parador—as in all of Spain— do not open for dinner until 8:00 P.M., not very accommodating to diverse touristic preferences or jet lag. Waiting for the restaurant to open at the first day while my sleepless eyes closed was sheer torture, but the reward was worth it. Parador Conde de GondomarCaldo gallego (gallician soup with beans) for my husband followed by a grilled rodaballo, with simple boiled potatoes.Flourless chocolate cake with nuts and a mango sauce on the side. I started with a selection of Galician cheeses with membrillo (quince) paste and nut bread, scallops with onion and bacon and a cup with four ice creams, chocolate, vanilla, turrón (nougat), and nata (cream). We were surrounded by not only tourists, but also well-heeled locals, seeking an outstanding meal. Another day, sitting outside on the terrace of Enxebre La Pinta at dusk, I had one of those “life is good” moments that I try to store in my memory to retrieve and savor during stressful times. Parador Conde de GondomarI observed a blue horizon with violaceous tinges that then turned into a blueish rosy layer to an orange yellow haze that turned purplish as the clock ticked.This spectacle enveloped the Cies islands while I sipped a crisp, cold Alvariño wine. Sailing ships furrowed the waters as they have for centuries. Schools of fish created black spots on the waters. Magical. Darkness and a chill enveloped us and we moved inside. Dinner was simple, yet delicious. Toast with Galician pork and cheese, followed by grilled baby squid as my husband dug into fried eggs, fried potatoes and peppers-chorizo hash.

Parador Conde de Gondomar is on my TO-DO-again list.Parador Conde de Gondomar