Northern Spain - a very special cruising ground. 

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Well we cannot begin to say how much we have enjoyed travelling in Galicia Northern Spain.  We based ourselves in A Coruna for seven nights and were fortunate to have a berth in the inner area of the  harbour away from the entrance swell and looking out to the promenade of La Marina with rows of buildings lined with glass window frontages for protection from the harsh winds. Theses windows which reminded Lee of Playschool windows apparently are the reason for A Coruna being known as the city of glass. For us it provided a very picturesque view each evening from our cockpit.  

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Our first trip out of A Coruna was by train in the company of  Andrew and Carolyn of Askari to Santiago De Campilio, just a short twenty minute ride away. Since the middle ages the town has been a place of pilgrimage that continues today with walkers from all over the world following the Camino Trail to the Santiago De Compostela Cathedral, where it is claimed the relics of St James are buried in a crypt beneath the original 9th century foundations of the Cathedral. Praza do Obradoiro surrounded by beautiful buildings and the main entrance to the cathedral was overflowing with walkers, backpacks, sticks and the symbolic scallop shell. The lines on the scallop shell are said to symbolise the many roads that can be taken to lead to Santiago De Campilo. We spent the day simply wandering the streets of the city admiring the historical buildings. The food experience of the day was sampling Percebals or Goose Barnacles in English. Certainly not something to be selected for their looks or for the messy way in which you need to get to the flesh - but the taste was delicious. 

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On another day we ventured out in a car and drove south to the town of A Garda. Why A Garda a small fishing port - because we had the time and it was the last port before Portugal that we knew we would not be stopping at due to the size and safety of the harbour entrance. It turned out to be a lovely destination renowned for its Lobster which certainly didn’t disappoint. On route we called into the town of Pardon with the intention of visiting the old town and having a coffee but huge crowds on the entrance to town caught our curiosity and we stopped at what turned out to be the local Sunday market with more shoes, clothing, brewing equipment and Pulpo then you could imagine on sale. Continuing South we stopped into the town of Pontevedra searched out the old town and found a quaint restaurant on a back street where we enjoyed once more, more seafood! Here we also met two local couples out for lunch. They were rather curious to know how two Australians ended up eating in their favourite restaurant and rather off the normal tourist trail. We enjoyed their conversation and information about Galicia including one fact that we had already come to realise - Galician people are happy and embrace food, it is not just about eating it’s about enjoying the meal in the company of friends and family. Thats definitely a healthy attitude for both life and food. Our accomodation in A Guarda turned out to be the historical building Hotel Monumento Convento de San Benito a convent for nuns of the St Benedict Order established in 1558. Throughout the hotel original elements of the building had been retained along with furniture and an amazing collection of books.

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Harbour of A Guarda Pontevedra Spain

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Monday morning we were on route back to Katherine and chose to drive the wine trail of the Ria Braxis area. Didn’t find the winery we were looking for but did enjoy some stunning views of the vineyards from which the Alburino wines are produced. The coffee break for today was in the town of Tui, a hot spot on the Camino Trail. There was no chance of getting lost here as corners were signposted very clearly in which way the pilgrims should proceed. 

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Back onboard Katherine we left the bustling harbour of A Coruna which had been celebrating summer with concerts almost every night for the tranquility of anchoring out in some of the four large rias or inlets of Southern Galicia. First anchorage was in Ria De Camarinas a good safe harbour surrounded on one side by Pine forests and the other by the small town of Camarina that had a strong link with Bobbin Lace. From what we could research Camarina for centuries had a “palilladas”  a school held in a small room where girls during the winter months would attend  to learn the art of making lace taking lessons for hours each day.  Today the craft appears to be still very strong in Camarina.

Our next anchorage In Ria De Muros though also pretty was not so secure as the inlet was strewn with mussel beds and many of the old ropes have obviously over time fallen to the sea bed making it a bit of "pot luck" for holding. When we brought up our anchor on our day to depart it was completely covered in old rotting ropes. 

The highlight of anchorages was definitely Isla Ons an island that is part of the Spanish National Parks. During the day the harbour was full of boats but at night just three boats remained on anchor to enjoy the peacefulness of the island. Cangas in the Ria de Vigo was to be our final anchorage of the week, overlooking a beautiful white sand beach that during the day appeared to have every inch covered by sun seeking bodies. 

From Cangas the final two nights in Northern Spain were spent in the port of Baiona historically important as it was the place that the Pinta one of the ships from the fleet of Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493 with the first news of the discovery of the New World. The small old town was bustling with tourists making the most of summer. 

So comes to an end our time in Galicia moving south we are heading for Portugal. It will be the first time we have flown the Portuguese Flag onboard Katherine and the first time that Andrew and I have been to Portugal. 

Excited as always!

(For more photos click this link)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain