The island of San Simón in the Bay of Vigo

by Yolanda Castaño

Above (Issue I/2019)


View onto the Illa de San Simón. Photo: Alberto Pombo

If you stand at low tide on the beach of Redondela, you might think that the island, which consists of two islets connected by a stone bridge, can be reached by a short swim. The tranquility of San Simón, where a light sea breeze sways the crowns of the eucalyptus trees, does not suggest that monks lived here centuries ago, or that the island was once a quaint stop-off point for the sailors returning from the Spanish colonies, or once formed a home for orphans. Its lush greenery does not reveal that thousands of political prisoners were crammed here during the Franco dictatorship. In the Middle Ages, the island was sung about by bards in their songbooks. That is why people dream of it today as the mythical cradle of Galician-Portuguese love poetry and San Simón as a place where lovers meet. In the meantime, the island is part of Galicia's cultural heritage and an official memorial. Depending on how the light falls it alters the air and soul of the Illa de San Simón. Sometimes the island is a peaceful oasis, sometimes it brims with gloomy melancholy, sometimes a sarcophagus, sometimes a natural gem. Just 250 metres long and 84 metres wide, it preserves as many stories as it inspires new ones.

similar articles

The better America (Topic: Canada)

The end of an odyssey

by Alberto Manguel

How Canada became my homeland.


The better America (Books)

At the slaughterhouse

by Pascale Hugues

Humans have often overstepped the mark in their treatment of other living creatures. Corine Pelluchon's books urge more respect for animals and nature.


High. Ein Heft über Eliten (Cultural spots)

The Niah Caves in Malaysia

by Graeme Barker

Excavation site, burial ground and nesting site: A glimpse into the Niah Caves on the island of Borneo


Poorest nation, richest nation (Tomorrow's world)

Going green, literally

Short news from China.


Heroes (Survey)

78% of Moldavians believe their media is controlled*

commented by Natalia Sergheev

The media are a favourite toy of the Moldovan parties. Many television channels and news portals are openly or covertly linked to parties and the independent press is looked down on. Therefore, it is not surprising that two-thirds of Moldovans are convinced that the press is politically controlled.


Above (Topic: Mountains)

Distant and strange, cold and brilliant

by Esther Kinsky

Stories the mountains tell us: Walking in Friuli, northeastern Italy.