Although it has been on the menu as far back as O Cebreiro, pulpo (octopus) doesn’t seem to garnish much attention until Melide. Despite its apparent disconnect with the sea, Melide’s thriving Thursday market meant that shipping pulpo was a profitable enterprise. It is served today as it was then: on a wooden plate, garnished only with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and a shake of paprika. It is eaten with a rather crude looking toothpick, alongside heavy Galician bread and a bowl of the local Ribeiro wine. One of the better places to try it is Pulpería a Garnacha, the last door on your left before you get to the main road in Melide.
Melide, long the crossroads between territories, is also the meeting point of the various camino routes which come from the north, including the part of the Camino del Norte and the Camino Primitivo. Because of this, and the proximity to Santiago, the road become a great deal more congested. The melindre is another of Melide’s favorite foods. It resembles a glazed donut and is sold from dozens of identical booths during festivals.
Melide is an ancient settlement and despite its importance as a natural crossroad since Neolithic times, it has never been protected by a wall. In Medieval times the overwhelming bulk of the town industries were tied to the camino.
The traffic through Melide can be dangerous, particularly on market days when booths line the crowded streets and the arrows through town become difficult to spot. Arrows direct you towards a small side street through the old part of town that parallels the main road. There are many other yellow arrows that direct you towards the many albergues in town, they are often attached to adverts or are painted alongside a simple ‘A’. These can be ignored.