A lush and green vegetation with hills covered in forrests and little creeks within running down into the valleys, that’s what you can expect when hiking in and around Viveiro. I wanted to see for myself and picked a route that should lead me to “Mirador de San Roque”.
On a warm spring day in late March this year I prepared to set off for a hike to the mountain top of San Roque. I knew that it would be a challenging hike, although just barely topping at 360m above sea level, my physical fitness leaves much to desire. I’m a slob and surely not just a little overweight, but Today I would at least for once break with the laziness. I packed a backpack with 1.5 liters of water, my camera and a windbreaker in case the sunny morning will suddenly turn into a misty and rainy afternoon which it does quite often here in northern Spain, where the clouds seem to get stuck in the mountainous terrain.
I am walking past the Marina where I had my berth for Serenity and walked into the city center of Viveiro, which lies nestled in a narrow strip between the river Lando and the hills making up the typical sight you’ll find in the Rias Atlas area. Already making some meters in elevation, I am following a tiny road out of the city and suddenly I am in the middle of a countryside picturama of small family villas, old houses, each with their very own lemon or orange tree, in between the gardens little creeks crossing the road multiple times, the water more often falling and gushing than calmly meandering. A lovely sight!
I came across a fork in the road where I was handed three options. I could continue following the road, start followig the official hiking trail or just strive off the beaten path and follow the creek. I figured that all options would take me uphill so I chose the latter. It’s just more fun when you’re closer to nature, when the ferns wipe your legs and every step sounds different. Now here I should mention that the woods around Viveiro and probably all of Galicia are also full of brambles and other prickly pricklers so you might at least chose wiser than I did and go for some long pants, otherwise you might get a free bloodletting session you never asked for.
It is however magical to be in the nature just by yourself. I rested a while at the creek as it started to get hotter and at one point I had to figure out how to go on from here to scale the mountain I actually want to go to, so I made choice to leave the creek and try to fight my way upwards through nasty and thrick brambles. The occasional deer path made it easy in some places, in others I was not as fortunate. Here and there I crossed what it seemed the official trail but it did not look too inviting and I was constantly weighing steepness of the terrain and lenghts of the path to find the perfect balance of efficient hiking.
I probably don’t need to tell you that any kind of energy and dexterity management was in vein… half way up the hill I was already done for, only able to hike a dozen meters in elevation before I needed a break. But I was more determined than ever. two thirds up, I’m not going back down in defeat. It’s now or never, the last 50 meters in elevation and then I would be at the top.
Short of breath I finally reached the top. It was a surreal sight at first as I’ve been in the middle of nowhere for the better part of the Day and suddenly there is a whole animal and adventure park on top, with kids running around and parents laying out their picnics in the gras and on the benches dotted all around the top. It seems to be a tourist attraction after all and most people just go there by car. On the very top, there is an old church overlooking the Ria de Viveiro and offering a beautiful spot to rest. The view truly is marvellous and all the pain, bloodshed and work to get up there was worth it. Good excercise!
Vast eucalyptus forrests on waving hills are a typical sight in Galicia
The way back down was rather uneventful, I just followed the road back into town. Too tired to think about every step I take, I figured I kick in the autopilot and hope to be on sea level again.
If you find yourself in Viveiro, consider visiting San Roque by whatever means. You can take a taxi up there for about 10 Euros, hike along the road, many official hiking trails or just go offroad through the valleys following creeks until you branch off to any hilltop you like. There is no climbing involved and the trails are safe even for beginners like me. Happy hiking!