3rd – 8th September ~ Ría de Muros e Noia
This was to be our first sortie into the Spanish Rías, somewhere everyone told us is very beautiful and definitely not to be missed as we head south towards the Spanish/Portuguese border!
We left our lovely anchorage at Finisterre, Enseada de Langosteira on a lovely morning and set off for the Ría de Muros e Noia. The weather was beautiful, warm and sunny and with wind so that we could sail!
Muros ~ 3rd to 7th September
This was our first stop!
We had a very pleasant sail for about an hour and half when another sea fret arrived! On went the radar, this time without any problem, and with only 19 nautical miles to sail, it wasn’t at all stressful!
The weather cleared as we entered the ría and as you can see from this photo the beauty of ría very quickly became apparent with the steep wooded hills making a dramatic backdrop, down to the water with little towns interspersed between the numerous beaches!
We arrived at lunchtime and having called the marina up on the VHF radio to request a space, we followed a fishing boat in and there, waiting for us was a very helpful ‘Marinero’ to direct us to our berth. He turned out to be a German sailor who had arrived in Muros some years before and just stayed!!
Our fellow cruising friends Val and Paul Lingard with S/Y “Calypso” arrived later on in the day. We had arranged previously to meet up with them for dinner and so our first evening in Muros was a very pleasant mix of catching up with where they had been and meeting their friends Sue and Mark.
The marina shared it’s space with the smaller boats of the fishing fleet. The large fishing boats were close by though and there was much activity every day. In fact daily at 5.30pm the general public could go and buy fish on the quay which was fresher than fresh! Here are some of the large fishing boats, one of which we noted was registered in Santoña, a continuation of Laredo, a port we had visited soon after our arrival in Spain back in July!
The following day after the house keeping chores, ie. laundry, cleaning and shopping we felt we had earned a proper wander around the town! Unlike many of the places we had visited where the harbour front was what the town was all about, Muros wasn’t like that at all. The harbour front was picturesque, full of restaurants and bars and pretty colonnaded walkways! But….
……..the back streets were absolutely charming. There were narrow windy lanes and even narrower alleyways and then a square would open up! It was all very surprising!
A square and a narrow, stepped alleyway!
As always there was a strong religious influence, with many chapels and churches in varying states of repair and style!
The current parish church of San Pedro de Muros, Santa Maria del Campo, dates from the 12th century and was built in the Romanesque style. It has seen many incarnations since then. The tower and the portico are Baroque in style but the predominant style is Maritime Gothic and dates from the 15th Century!
The Chapel Nuestra Señora de Los Remedios is a private chapel but dates from the 17th century. It is in a very poor state of repair?
The Chapel of the Virgin del Camino is Gothic in style although it is not known when it was built exactly, only that it was built after the current parish church of Santa Maria del Campo. This Chapel is linked to the pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago and to sailors, the Virgin Carmen being the patron saint of sailors! The Chapel faces directly out to sea.
The Chapel of the Virgin del Camino
The Tidal Sea Mill ~ Pozo do Cachon at Muros
Continuing our walk we came to the Pozo do Cachon. It is one of the most important sea mills on the Iberian Peninsular and was built in the 19th century as the cultivation of corn increased.
It was designed by Ignacio Pérez Bazarra who recognised that the existing river mills were unable to cope with the increasing production of corn. The sea mill harnesses the power of the rise and fall of the tides to open and close sluice gates forcing water in which in turn drive the mill stone mechanism to grind the grain! Ingenious!
The mill at Muros was in use right up to the 1950’s when the emergence of electric mills forced it’s closure. Naturally the mill fell into a state of disrepair after it was completely abandoned about 30 years ago.
In 1985 an idea was hatched to begin a restoration project and this was completed in 1999. It is now a cultural centre and a very interesting part of the history of Muros. We found it fascinating as we looked at the mechanism of the mill which was both simple but very clever at the same time!
The Spanish Horreo!
Following on from the Tidal Sea Mill, it seems appropriate to mention the Spanish grain store called an (h)orreo, the ‘h‘ isn’t pronounced in Spanish I’m reliably informed! They are usually built of stone but some are wooden. The horreos are raised from the ground on stone pillars and rest on a staddle, a flat stone. This prevents vermin from being able to get up and into the grain! Their original purpose obviously was to store grain but nowadays, they appear to be commonly used as garden sheds!
The Galician Horreo!
We have seen many of these as we have made our way along the Spanish coast, the first one was in Ribadesella, Asturias! This one was built in wood!
A bit of cheer for a lone sailor!
Before we left Muros, we met up with a British fellow who, unlike us going south, was heading north to go back to Lowestoft. He had been in the marina for some days waiting for a weather window to set off up to and across Biscay but was facing unhelpful winds, not too strong but coming from the wrong direction! He seemed so dejected that we took pity on him and invited him on board for supper!
I went to the fish market in the port and bought some Almejas (clams) and cooked Linguini à la Vongolé! Here is the result, he was pleased anyway?!
I’m happy to report at the time of posting, that Andy and S/Y “Marique” are now safely in British waters, not yet in Lowestoft but nearly home!!
7th September – Puerto de Esteiro
After four days in Muros we decided that it was time to move on! We found our helpful German marinero so that we could settle up and leave. He seemed genuinely dismayed that we were going. We assured him that we had very much enjoyed Muros but there is always a right time to leave and besides we needed to be getting further south!
We set off and enjoyed a very short sail in lovely conditions and picked a good spot to drop the anchor, we were the only boat there and so the choice was ours! We launched the dinghy and went ashore for a short walk. There was very little to see in Esteiro, in fact sadly there was evidence of a downturn in trade with several closed down shops. It was a shame as it was very pretty. We walked back along the beach to our dinghy and I couldn’t resist taking this shot of Musetta looking particularly beautiful all alone at anchor!
We stayed here for one night only. It was very peaceful and relaxing after being in the marina in Muros for four days! Great to have the flexibility of both scenarios though!
Onwards to the next Ría…..