After my watch and a snooze I’m woken to the sight of our first Portuguese destination, Viana do Castelo, which looks dreary and drab. How wrong I was! This town was just completing the four day fiesta Romaria de Nossa Senhora d’Agonia, or Our Lady of Sorrows. If you didn’t know the festival was called this you could have guessed by the local folk music that was playing from every bandstand and stage. Whilst the instrumental music is great it’s unfortunately accompanied by banshee wailing. This is normal, so I’m told, but it sounds rubbish.
As you should be able to see from the photos Islas Cies is idyllic. Despite the fact that ferry services cart many hundreds of Spanish every day to and from the mainland, it still retains its desert island feel. There are very few buildings on the island save a tourist centre, a restaurant, a shop and a lighthouse.
I was surprised that the majority of tourists in Santiago were Spanish. Santiago is one of Europe’s primary religious destinations, second only to The Vatican, yet we overheard no other language other than Spanish, save for an American couple arguing over whether they should go shopping or have a cup of coffee. That said, the streets are packed.
Am convinced I have developed scurvy of the feet. Every few days I treat myself to a good old strip down wash (yeah, I know, call me obsessive about personal hygiene – you should smell the others), yet despite smashing my toes on deck from five times a day to two my poor feet get very little attention.
Camarinas should be renamed ‘Retard Town’. Its 2,000 inhabitants appear to all be related, many not legally I’m sure. From the kid who rides his bike round the streets shouting obscenities to the local lace-makers who line the streets outside bars, to the ‘Happy Bus’ day out, to the familiarity of each and every shop assistant, I felt a little wary of Camarinas to start with.
El Ferrol is a major naval and commercial port, though there is little to entertain the yachtsman on land. That said the ria has a spectacular entrance, lined by forts either side. We anchored up but didn’t go ashore, which is why I didn’t send a postcard from El Ferrol. Instead we watched the red moon replace the golden sun and change the landscape from a heady mix of green vegetation and mountains into a twinkling Rupert Bear bay.
Boy do the Spanish love to party! In the main plaza of La Coruna, Plaza de Maria Pita, a huge stage had been erected to host a number of Galician bands who played into the night: I think they eventually turned the music off at 1am, which is completely unheard of in the UK considering this was in the town centre.