The unusual and fascinating north of Spain
It has been a month since I arrived in the Ria de Viveiro and I feel no desire to leave just yet. It might be the lovely and surprisingly lush landscape, the mild climate, the fair prices or the friendly atmosphere holding me here. Most likely a combination of all of those, sprinkled with the small problems which come with owning an old boat.
There is that stubborn windlass which refused to work in a crucial moment, that depth sounder I accidentally clipped the cable off and some other small improvements and repairsthat never seems to end. I guess it’s like owning an old house. Once the basement is dry renovated, the roof starts leaking.
But let’s go back to the good parts of cruising, or better staying in Galicia, cause let’s be honest, there wasn’t much cruising the last few weeks except of my little excursion to the beach when the windlass failed me.
The first thing that appeared after my Biscay crossing was the rough and rugged shoreline of northern Spain, with hills reaching up to 800m into the sky and their tops covered in clouds. A few hours later, first just silhouettes, the landscape started to shape out details and I could see green. Everything was green, the hills covered in dense forest reminding me of southern Germany, the black forest, an alpine area without the huge mountains. This region in Galicia is called Ria Atlas. An area which is made of several Rias. Rias are kind of like fjords, cutting deep into the land and offer great protection from wind and swell.
The main difference is, besides rocky cliffs, Rias also are known for their great beaches and so you’ll find those little bays in every corner. I however decided to go into a marina which is a few hundred meters up a river and very close to the city center of Celeiro and Viveiro. I needed some supplies after all.
While most of my time spent was used taking care of business, recording a podcast and tending to the boat, I also had time to explore the area. The first thing after doing all the necessary stuff was to get my SUP paddleboard inflated and explore the nearby shores and bays. And dip into the water of course, figuring that I am finally far enough south to experience some pleasant water temperatures. And i was right! 19 degrees the water has, not too shabby and enough for my naturally well insulated body to not freeze, even after hours in the watery heavens.
There is however one thing you might notice when traveling in Galicia. Which also explains the lushness of the area. It’s often cloudy, and rain is not unusual considering the average 150 days of rain that area gets per year. Unlike southern Spain, with then Mediterranean and almost arid climate, it’s not very hot here and that was what surprised me most. But not necessarily in a bad way. It’s just how it is and the short lived rain showers sometimes are very welcomed and refreshing.
And what is to say about the people of Galicia… very friendly! I met nothing but very friendly and very kind people here who helped me in many different ways. Trying to get me on a list for CoViD vaccination, offering me better prices for my stay in the marina and showing me the way. I feel like I resonate here, that people might be closer to my kind, my personality… all subjective of course but nevertheless a very pleasant experience.
The city of Viveiro has it’s own charme, snuggled up against a hill, the historic center is filled with small cobblestone paths through alleyways with shops and bars and filled with life. And my favorite place would be any cervezeria in the city. Small pubs which serve mainly beverages but as was very new for me, the waiters come around every so often and offer you tapas for free. Enjoy your time there and drink two beers, and you’ll not be hungry anymore. Fries with chicken nuggets, croquettes, a rib from the barbeque, a small bowl with beans… all is included in the otherwise cheap prices for the good ol’ Estrella Galicia. So next time you are in Spain and feeling hungry, why not go for some beers?
All in all, I enjoy my stay so much, I think I’m not ready to leave yet. Tomorrow I want to hike up a nearby hill, explore the forest and maybe also paddle up the river for a while, see where it leads me.
I especially enjoy this part of my journey. Ending up somewhere unexpected, and discover it for myself.
Nevertheless, I also have to work on a few things. I promised you to create much more content and I am in the process of creating vlogs and although the windlass works again and I can go on some more excursions with Serenity, there is always something to do I do not fancy much. Next up. Repairing my wind vane auto pilot.
So Galicia it is, at least for a few more weeks!
Anywho, thank you so much for following me along, it means the world to me! And if you have any questions, feel free to get in touch, I’d like that!