Ría de Arousa

8th – 11th September ~ Vilagarcia

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Beautiful Bouganvilia in the Old Town!

We had very much enjoyed our night at Esteiro but we had an arrangement to meet up with a cruising friend in Vigo and so we had to up anchor and head off to the Ria De Arousa! The weather was beautiful but sadly on this occasion there was no wind and so we had to motor the whole way?  Luckily it was only 34 nautical miles, so not too far!

We arrived at the marina in Vilagarcía at about 2.30pm and were welcomed by our friends Val and Paul with “Calypso” and a lone dolphin!! The dolphin was swimming around in the marina for quite a long time but it was impossible to get a photo with all the boats and pontoons in the way.  It was almost as if he was saying “Welcome to Vilagarcia”  A bit like the dolphins who came to “show us the way” to Finisterre!!

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…”Come this way, follow us”… they seem to say!!

Probably more importantly, there was a marinero waiting for us on the pontoon to show us where to go! He didn’t speak any English but we managed until the marinero who seemed to be in charge came along and who had good English! With him and Paul on hand too, everything was easy and we found out all we needed to know about the marina!

9th September – Train ride to Vigo!

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Old and New in Vigo!

We had arranged to see Derek in Vigo before he left his boat and flew home for the winter!  We had hoped to sail in company with him but the timings didn’t work out and so this was the next best thing and another chance for us to experience the brilliance of the Spanish railways!  They are spotlessly clean, fast and on time to the minute!  Derek met us at Vigo station and we spent the next few hours looking at Vigo and catching up with all his news.

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Outdoor dance classes!?

We came across these dance classes close to the port, in public and in the open air?!! Possibly not up to ‘Strictly’ standard yet?!

We knew that we probably wouldn’t be bringing Musetta into Vigo and so it was nice to have the  opportunity to see the town which we had heard so much about! The old part of the town was very attractive, and seeing it on yet another lovely day meant we saw it in its best light! Even the cranes and all symbols industrial look ok when the sun shines!!

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Classic Spanish eating al fresco!

There were several marinas catering for all the needs of the sailing community, the ones close to the town were mainly concerned with racing whereas the out of town marina, ie further into the Ría, catered for the cruising fraternity and was excellent for winter storage ashore or in the water and for any work that needed to be done to your boat.

We returned with Derek to his boat, Manketti which is a Hylas yacht like Musetta only Manketti is a metre longer than Musetta and designed by a different marine architect.  We ate lunch on board and chatted long into the afternoon about each other’s cruising plans.  Time ran away with us and we suddenly realised that we needed to return to the station to catch the last train back to Vilagarcia!

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Derek!

It had been good to catch up with Derek, our English speaking tour guide!! He came to the station just to make sure we left!!

10th September ~ a day in Vilagarcia

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A roundabout featuring the maritime influence on the town.
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The pedestrian shopping area!

We had an excellent day here, fitting in all the domestic ‘stuff’ with a little exploration too.  We soon discovered that we liked the town immensely and were happy to see that the mixture of old and new architecture seemed to blend in seamlessly.  Here is a photo of the pedestrianisation of the shopping area which leads to the old part of the town!

Walking further along any one of the streets we came to the Pazo of Vistalegre which was built in the 16th Century, a stately home where the first Marquis of Vilagarcia lived.  His coat of arms was most impressive!

The Coat of Arms of the 1st Marquis of Vilagarcia and his Pazo of Vistalegre!

That evening we walked along the sea front to the fishing village called Cavill, it was so pretty!  The sea was crystal clear as it lapped against the sea wall and it was so good to see families enjoying what was on their doorstep at the end of the day! The children of all ages playing in the sea under the watchful eye of their parents – and me!!

Promenading to Cavill!

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So much to choose from?!

Time to return to the marina and prepare for leaving the next day!  I had promised Val and Paul that I would cook for them when we met them again the following day.  They love fish and we do too so I found the fish market which just happened to be open the next day in time for me to buy what I needed before we left – luckily!

We spent a relaxing evening on board Musetta and were treated to this beautiful sunset….

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Sunset in Vilagarcia!

11th September ~ Praia Ribeira!

We had arranged to meet “Calypso” in a little bay where we could anchor off Cabo Cruz.  It was so peaceful and still, very different from  being in a marina!

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Musetta at anchor in Praia Ribeira!

We had a great evening on board with Val and Paul and as they were moving on the next day we made plans to see them in our next stopover, A Pobra da Caramiñal!

Matching colours!

Fishing is such a huge part of the economy of these little places and we found ourselves surrounded by colourful boats and on shore, colourful houses too!  It is traditional to paint your house the same colour as your boat using the same hardy paint on both to withstand the harsh marine conditions! It also serves to identify boats and owners!

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A typical Batea!
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All those Cockles and Clams!

The next day we went around the headland in the dinghy to the fishing port and marina at Cabo Cruz taking in the bateas where they grow mussels, en route.  The harbour was buzzing with the small boats coming in all the time to land their ‘catch’ of clams and cockles!

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A happy chappie!

This fisherman appeared to be very satisfied with his morning’s work and kindly allowed me to photograph him and his ‘catch’! We estimated that it was probably in the region of 20 kilos, no wonder he was smiling!

I guess his catch was going to join all the others of the day in a big hall where they were weighed and graded before being put up for auction!  As ‘Joe’ public, we couldn’t buy any directly but it was very interesting to see the process!  It was also interesting to note that there were mainly women in the market?  Perhaps this is where the term ‘fish wife’ originated? After their husbands efforts in catching the fish or clams etc, they faded into the background as their wives took over the sale?!

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The auction hall!

There were one or two men but mainly it was full of women!

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Delicious langoustines!

We made our way to the ‘yacht club’ attached to the marina to have some lunch. This turned out to be a very wise decision as it was delicious! We had a beer and a plate of Langoustines cooked in butter and garlic and to perfection too!

The village was quite tiny and so having looked around and taken some photos we made our way back to Musetta!

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The drying harbour and tiny entrance at the old port of Cabo Cruz!

We decided that being at anchor was really lovely, especially with sunsets like this!!

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Sunset in Praia Ribeira – almost biblical?

13th September ~ A Pobra do Caramiñal

This was to be our last stopover in the Ría de Arousa but also our last cruise in company with “Calypso” and her crew?!  Although they had planned to stay in the Ría until the end of the month when they would be lifted out, it was kind of them to fit in with us and great to have their company!

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Arriving in the bay at A Pobra do Caramiñal

We had a very pleasant trip across to Pobra to meet up again with “Calypso”. They had spoken of a very good restaurant in the town when they visited with their friends earlier in the month. We were happy to be caught up with their enthusiasm and so enjoyed an excellent dinner, it was very good!

Amazing rock formations and pink boulders!

The next day we walked around the headland to a beautiful beach taking in amazing scenery on the way!

After lunch we had a swim on a beautiful beach, very cold but gorgeous!  We had a shower from the beach shower whose water was actually hot, it took a while to cool but it was never cold!!  We decided then that it would be fun to come back the next day with Musetta to anchor where another boat was and swim from the boat!

What a view of Praia da Illa!

This we did, Val and Paul coming with us too. Paul brought his diving kit as he intended diving for scallops but unfortunately the water was rather murky at this anchorage and so he very kindly joined Alan in cleaning Musetta’s water line!

The boys at work!!

Meanwhile Val and I swam to the shore, had a walk along the beach and then swam back to Musetta after which we felt invigorated! This time we showered off the back of the boat being very thankful that we had hot water to rinse off with!!

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Val and me, nicely warmed up after our bracing swim, followed by a hot shower!
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Val just chilling!

 

We had had a really lovely time, great company and fabulous scenery but now it was time to set off back to the marina, avoiding the bateas but going close enough to suddenly be aware of some dolphins having some fun around them.  Mesmerising stuff especially when they leapt right out of the water!! Sorry, no photos this time only one of Val sitting on the ‘gin & tonic’ seat at the back of the boat, looking relaxed!!

The Festival of – O Nazareno – As Mortallas ~ 14th – 17th September

A weird and wonderful festival….!

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The festival of O Narazeno

Our stay in A Pobra do Caramiñal coincided with a festival which dates back to the Middle Ages and attracts thousands of visitors every year. The festival runs over four days but the main event is held on the Sunday when there is a procession through the town. A statue of Jesus is carried shoulder high from the church of O Castelo through the narrow streets and back to the church.  

Hundreds of people walk in the procession, carrying candles for someone they have lost or wax effigies representing someone who is unwell and offering prayers for them.

Masses of people gathered to process through the town, ‘penitents’ dressed in purple and walking bare foot, carrying candles and a ‘Romero’ carrying his own coffin?!

Las Mortijas – a person or persons are chosen to be a Romero, a great honour! This person has a coffin built for him or her and then he along with friends and family as pall bearers carry the coffin as part of the whole procession. The Romero is supposed to be someone who owes their life due to the ‘intervention of Christ’ and by taking part in this procession he is offering his own life back to God in payment!?

It was all very bizarre and slightly spooky!  We watched and even walked in the procession for a while before sliding off into a side street and going to have a coffee to recover from the sight of it all!

The bell tower and inside of the church of O Castelo and surrounding areas!

The festival was a slightly surreal experience but the photos above depict A Pobra do Caramiñal in a less serious mode, it was defnitely an interesting town!

17th September ~ Leaving A Pobra do Caramiñal!

Monday came around all too quickly and it was time to leave.  The Ría de Arousa was superb and very pretty, we had enjoyed our visit and it was good to sail in company with “Calypso” and her crew! 

Off to pastures new…. further south!!

The beauty of the Ría de Arousa!

Chau!!

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