Visiting Santiago de Compostela was our first day trip – short ‘pilgrimage’ from the boat to the bus stop and from the bus stop in Santiago to the Cathedral.
The impressive some thousand years old Romanesque style cathedral is the ultimate goal of the ‘Camino De Santiago’. The Cathedral attracts hundred of thousands of spiritual seekers every year. Of course for the pilgrims ‘El Camino’ not only has a deeper meaning, but represents a huge challenge from all perspectives. For us it was only a good day out.
In fact, the best thing about visiting Santiago was that we got first hand exposure to the Celtic influence in Galicia, encountered nowadays mostly in music and dance. And by some strange working of the brain I remembered Asterix and Obelix – characters of some French comic books long forgotten (about the Gauls resisting Roman invasion).
On the way to the Cathedral, we visited the Museo do Pobo Galego, testimony of the Gallic people being not only skilled fishermen, but also accomplished craftsmen.
We eventually reached the famous Cathedral. Along with the monastery, this covers an impressive area of the town. We queued for an hour to see and touch the shrine of the Apostle St James.
When our mission was accomplished we caught the bus back to Muros.
During the rest of the week we made more progress towards south visiting each of the Rias Bajas. The scenary gradually changed. The high green shores were replaced by bare rocky shores with significanly less vegetation. It also got warmer, which is always good news for me.
When we were approaching Ria de Arousa, the Spanish officials paid us a second visit, this time on the water. The Spanish authorities do take their jobs seriosuly; and we don’t mind a little interruption and a brief chat, only that our ‘guest’ this time did don’t speak any English and our Spanish is not of much help either! But as long as the paperwork is in order, there is not much verbal communication required…
We anchored in the ria near Marina Ribeira to do our food shopping. The following day we adventured further in to visit one of the most beautiful natural spots we’ve seen so far in Spain – a place recommended on social media by a fellow cruiser. From Marina de Caraminal, we made our way up the hills following the marked route, meandering amongst pine forests, vineyards, little villages, crossed by small water streams. The natural beauty was breathtaking.
Being a cloudy week day, we hardly met anyone en route. When we arrived close to the top we were astounded by the beauty of the rushing mountain river. On its way over the rocks it was forming currents and natural waterfalls amongst the fresh green vegetation. I took in the surrounding beauty and peace (only disturbed by the rushing stream), whilst Sorin dipped in for a refreshing swim in the natural pools.
The follwing day we continued south towards Ria Pontevedra where we stumbled upon the Spanish Volvo Ocean racing boat. We found out that the race had ended and the Spanish team came in second. Ole!!!
After having sailed the entire day we anchored towards the end of the estuary; it was a warm night and whilest we were watching a movie on deck a sudden loud bang with a flash made us jump. The noise came from a boat that was moored around 300 metres ahead of us. This was surrendered by smoke and a rescue boat from the marina attended to it immediately. We were to find out the next day that it was a gas explosion on a small sailing boat and that the owner, luckily, had only minor injuries.
We spent the day wondering around the small charming village. The cruceiros, one of the most genuine (and often encountered) expression of the Galician architecture were omnipresent in Combarro. The old fishing village was a maze of narrow streets and small detached houses with elaborate stonework. The external appearance of the houses was representative of the social position of the family – the more stone pillars the baroque style balconies were built on, the wealthier the family.
Soon we will be setting off again towards the last Spanish Ria before reaching the Portuguese waters.