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Know thyself: philosophising for Galicia

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The Ría de Muros Noia, reason and heart to become the most fashionable destination in Galicia.

Philosophy, like poetry, requires the right frame of mind; and environmental factors have an irresistible influence on people’s moods. It is hard to imagine the wretched Goethe writing his woes on a noisy Madrid metro platform. To compensate visitors from the meseta, we will admit that the Castilian expanses have always been more suitable for mysticism than our Galician orography, so full of nuances. But this time we are going to talk about a singular Galician territory, a setting where the variety and beauty of the surroundings do not distract us, on the contrary: they reinforce the feeling of being in an eternal territory.

We are going to contemplate the Ría de Muros Noia as if we were looking inside ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning, let’s accept the Greek aphorism: “know thyself”. It’s not a bad principle: what have you come to look for? Be wary of tourist destinations that offer you everythingA tourist destination is not a Chinese bazaar. Nor should it be a specialised site – life is not a theme park – but it should be clear about the essential principles of its identity.

Let us leap back in time and employ an analytical procedure to unravel the essence of this ria. Descartes would be pleased.

Two are its key elements: authenticity and sustainability.

Authenticity we perceive with our five senses: it is easy to recognise what we are dealing with. Locke would use trial and error: we are facing an unfiltered territory, just as it is. The sensible and the intelligible mingle as equals.

Plato would be disconcerted to discover that his idea of an ideal territory is confronted with a real territory. Fish and seafood are shown as they are, without preparations that mask their flavours. Museums do not welcome creations, they welcome traditions.

If we reflect on time, we remember Parmenides: being is, not being is not. And it is clear that the estuary of Muros Noia is… and wants to continue being.

Here we find the second key element: sustainability. This territory has freed itself from annihilating developmentalism, and knows that this is its great treasure. Kant would agree with us, since in a way we follow the precepts of his categorical imperative: we want our understanding of responsible tourism to become a universal law. For many it is too late, but not for this estuary. And it is something you will enjoy from the moment you arrive.

The Latin quote is “primum vivere, deinde philosofare”. But although we have left it for last, what we propose is to live an extraordinary experience in a territory that knows it will last forever. Ride on horseback, descend ravines, sail, but knowing where you are and what this environment represents. Heraclitus would not bathe twice on the same beach, as he would have dozens of options. Take advantage of our suggestions for activities and enjoy yourself. Go to Mount Louro, go hiking in the Enxa; visit the mining museum of San Finx or the incomparable Castro de Baroña; surprise yourself in the tombstone museum of Noiense or in the alleys of Muros.

In short: “Philosophize, but live”.