If you’ve decided to take a tour around Ribadeo to see what’s there, let us tell you, you have done the right thing. And you can start by approaching the España Square to see one of the emblematic buildings of the town: the Torre de los Moreno.
And why is it so emblematic? Well, because Ribadeo, like in many places in Galicia, has a past full of emigrants who went to America seeking fortune and whom on their return, couldn’t wait to build something big to demonstrate their success. Of course, only those who had triumphed.
The Torre de los Moreno is the most famous of the dozens of Indiana houses preserved in the area, and it was built in 1915 by one of those wealthy returnees in an amalgam of modernism, baroque and some other styles that crossed his way.
But the most distinguished place of Ribadeo is a few kilometres from the centre and is a work of nature. On the beach of Las Catedrales, you will find an impressive landscape formed by the unique shapes the water has given to the rock. Among the caves, the massive stone arches and other mischiefs the sea has had fun with. The place became so famous that tourists began to come in such amount that, in certain months of the year, it can get too crowded. In any case, make sure the tide is low when you go there!
A short distance away is the fort of San Damian, which is one of those enclaves with many stories to tell and scars to show. Around 1719, when half of Europe was allied against Spain, and the Duke of Berwick was busy invading places around the Basque Country, the British arrived in Ribadeo on a punitive expedition in which it wasn’t precisely flowers that they were bringing to those who defended the fort.
Of course, the bastion was reconstructed and reinforced in anticipation of more attacks. And the attacks came, indeed. In 1808 the Marquis of La Romana landed here with a lot of soldiers and a lot of anger against Napoleon, who he wanted to settle accounts with. The Marquis had gone to Denmark to learn about the things that the Corsican, who thought him as a friend, was doing in Madrid and Bailen. But the most curious thing is that it was the ships of the Royal Navy, which ninety years earlier had destroyed San Damian, the ones that brought them kindly to the Lugo coast.
Before meeting a heroic death in the War of Independence, the Marquis had time to organise a spying network against the French invader. For this, he turned to Joaquin Gregorio de Goica, a friend from San Sebastian to whom the English had sunk his ship a few years earlier. That sunken frigate, you see, it was called Mercedes. It was loaded with gold doubloons that the American company Odyssey would pretend to get their hands on many years later.