The Paris-Dakar ... In Santiago de Compostela!
The Rúa do Franco is not only one of the most mythical streets in downtown Santiago, where pilgrims and souvenir shops share vital space. It also hosts the Paris-Dakar route, which has nothing to do with the raids or the desert. Basically, it joins two bars with this name and consists of stopping at each establishment to have a cup of ribeiro. A much more heroic feat, if possible, than to achieve La Compostela.
160 METERS TO PATA
Participants: To their posts! The journey starts in the Cafeteria Or Paris, located in Porta Faxeira and ends in the Dakar bar, in the Rúa do Franco. The distance between the two is 160 meters, although the journey is neither straight nor fast. And although the pints of the first bar invite more to have coffee with Amélie, this is only the beginning. Inside, no waiter is scared if they see you appear with some friends with the intention of starting this rally. As useful information, it should only be added that the route will cost you about € 20 at most. Ready!
Or Paris, the starting gun © Javier Zori del Amo
The resemblance to a sport is not pure rhetoric, it has much more substance. It turns out that the Paris-Dakar began about 20 years ago promoted by a group of students who formalized it forming an association called Friends of Carallada Enxebre. It is true that the custom was earlier, but then it was established as a competition. It was held every Thursday before Carnival and in it participated groups of friends who could intercalate (it was not a matter of grabbing a deadly cogorza) until drinking in all the premises. The teams had a maximum of 8 members, and one had to be a woman. Also, depending on which bar, they had to pass a test that could be from singing to telling a chistand. To prove their feat, every establishment put their stamp or signed them on paper, their credential in the eyes of other competitors and judges. The award? For those who arrive more or less with speech, they were given a box of wine.
At present the thing has softened to become one more tourist activity. In part, the fault lies with the bars themselves, which have evolved from being lifelong wineries to inns with a daily menu and tourist menu, causing the number of 'required' stops to be smaller. This has also meant an increase in the feat. Before, prices were fixed and similar in all bars, now vary depending on the site's pinton. Further, before it was done bareback, with no cover or pintxo. However, today it seems an act of total cruelty on the part of the waiters not to accompany the wine with anything to eat. And more considering the delicacies of this land. Being a quieter and leisurely walk, your thing is not to go crazy, enter a limited number of establishments and enjoy each of your drink, nothing to take turns. What has not changed is the habit of going with a blank sheet (or cardboard, or whatever) where to accumulate signatures. In the end you can do a diploma with him and everything.
If you arrive at the Dakar, you deserve much more than a wine box © Javier Zori del Amo
CUNCA DE RIBEIRO
Tradition mandated that each participant bring their own cunca (cup) to be filled in each tavern. Obviously, that has changed and each bar puts its container. But what remains mandatory is that the route be based on local wines, either Ribeiro, Albariño or Monterrei, which are usually served in these containers. For the weakest they will always have the option of cider or beer culin.
IN HOW MANY BARS DO YOU HAVE TO ENTER?
There is no fixed number of bars. Of course, the old requirement to be recognized as a true adventurer of the Rúa do Franco was to enter (in groups) in 28 taverns and drink 15 cuncas individually. That's when the participant was already a legend. With the new times and customs, the geographical area also extends to streets such as To Raíña or Do Vilar. In total, 37 restaurants and bars with a friendly bar are counted. But, dear reader, as the intention here is not to provoke a hangover level 'go to breakfast at Albacete', it is best to select the top places.
Broadly speaking, the most visited are, of course, the Paris and the Dakar. In between, it is worth stopping at Porto, Orella, Nova Galicia, Carpe Diem, Cathedral, Submarine, O'42, Trafalgar, A Barbola, San Jaime, Orense, El Cayado or even in the Or black cat, considered the oldest of all Santiago.
A must for the route © El Cayado
The 'refined' stop © San Jaime
OUT OF ROUTE
Since we are in this mythical rúa, a couple of sites are recommended. Like for example, stop at the store To Basket, where you can taste and buy all kinds of pomace, local wine and Galician cheese, always well advised and taken care of. To eat more than good (here you eat well on all sides), we will always have the Passage restaurant. And, when time and the authorities allow it, the terrace is sublimated to the sun in both Casa Camilo as in the Plaza de Fonseca.
* You may also be interested ... - Five things to eat in Galicia (and they are not seafood)
- Places where to procrastinate in Galicia
- Five unusual destinations in Galicia
- All articles by Javier Zori del Amo
To Rúa do Franco, the route of the vine cuncas ends in the Dakar © Corbis