Exploring Santiago de Compostela and the ‘Rias Bajas’

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.

Boarding the bus from Muros to Santiago de Compostela

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).

Tradicional Gallic dance
Ana enjoying the show!
Different folk attire

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.

Sorin in the ‘Museo do Pobo Galego’
Old rowing boat – much loved sport to these days
Hand made anchor!

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.

Approaching the Cathedral on the narrow stone paved streets
Getting closer…
Sorin admiring the Romanesque and Baroque style architecture
The interior of the Cathedral
The altar

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…

‘Customs’ ship asking for permission to board Mehalah
Spanish official completing the paperwork, with Tomy (our mascot)’s assistance
Job done!

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.

Beautiful forest crossed by a water stream
Sorin admiring the natural beauty
Approaching the top
Sorin (who grew up around horses) caressing a foal

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. 

A well deserved relaxing moment
Sorin having taken a dip in the natural pools

Happy to have crossed the water stream

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!!!

Spanish Volvo Ocean Racing boat

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.

Gas explosion on yacht

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.

Galician Cruceiro
Cruceiro at crossroads
Baroque style balconies
Oops! The tide went out…

Soon we will be setting off again towards the last Spanish Ria before reaching the Portuguese waters.

2 thoughts on “Exploring Santiago de Compostela and the ‘Rias Bajas’”

  1. Hey guys – that looks so beautiful, part of Spain we have never been to but looks like its worth a trip, Sorin I have you had your swim shorts on in the photo – don’t want to scare the wildlife !!:))

    FYI – we went swimming last weekend in the sea in the UK !!! I know it doesn’t happen very often but it was so warm, feeling like we are holiday at the moment, if only we didn’t have to go to work every week, you guys have the right idea . xxxxx

    1. This is what I keep telling him, Debbie!:) We are hearing about the unprecedented ‘heat wave’ in the UK. You, guys, make the most of it! And if you fancy joining us for the rum or the champagne, you are most welcome. Have fun!

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