Locally traveling Galicia
Ria de El Ferrol
June 25th: Here I sit now, at my third anchorage in the Ria de El Ferrol, below deck and write. Today is Saturday and since last Monday I am alone on board.
Itīs unbelievable warm outside (89 °F and no clouds, usual at this time of the year are 72°F)
It was a violent disaster with the anchor this morning. After solving this I named myself the "Grand Master of Disaster".
What happened: I anchored too close to the buoy field off La Grana and underestimated the effect of the current of the tide. I had to realize that not all of the buoys are moorings for boats. They are anchor buoys marking the pulling lines of the basket fishermen. The pulling line’s fixed on one side at the buoy, at the other side it is also fixed at the ground at a decent distance. The other point is unmarked. Means this type of buoy is not able to swing with the current. Basket fishermen have a basket of about 60x60x30 cm on a long plastic tube. They scrape the bottom for large crabs and lobsters at a depth of 8 meters. For this to work they need the pulling line and the mooring!
Boat, buoy and pull line moved over night tide-conditioned with the flow of the water, the boat additionally still by the wind. In my case always “beautifully around each other”... Well, finally I had this morning the “Gordian knot”, which it had to solve. Two hours swimming, diving, pulling, relieving whereby the falling water came exactly suitably. In the end I solved the issue: anchor and anchor line saved!
But now writing about Ferrol: hardly any tourists or sailors go here. I used the dinghy for the transfer from the anchorage to the city marina and there is only one guest! At the marina, however, I got immediately a good cappuccino! Ferrol is the largest military port in Spain, also shipyard, wind turbine industry, an LNG terminal and in the outer area a container terminal are available. The Container terminal should be the second largest in Spain. The guidebook says: "Ferrol has no chocolate side, no must-see tourist attractions". Nevertheless, I find the city charming with its spacious 18th/19th century layout. Partly very well-kept, busy, but on the other hand with some decaying houses, especially in the old town at the port very "rustic". I went 2.5 km (1.6 miles) through the city, at the end I shopped in the supermarket and with the felt 10 kg heavy bag back to the dinghy. A small break with a glass of Estrella Galizia and a small lunch interrupts this appropriate.
The day before I had visited the Castello de San Felippe, where I had also anchored in the bay off Pereiro. My recommendation has the visit: 5 stars on Google. Itīs an impressive castle. To visit costs nothing and where you go, what risk you want to take when visiting the individual parts, is up to you. An extended walk through the picturesque town makes my shore excursion complete. But the event of the day is the visit of the Coast Guard with a complete check of papers (ID, boat registration certificate, insurance) and questions about the where from and where to. Now I have another certificate on board. I compliment the helmsman for his careful, excellent driving with the guard boat.
Today I wait for the evening to be able to use the fresh water shower on the beach. Three days of salt water bath scream for desalination before going to the bunk. Otherwise: wait that tomorrow no longer over 30 degrees are! It should still sail to Sada Marina and it might be a great sailing day.
What happened before: Santiago de Compostela
On 04.06. my wife Birte comes to Galicia for 2 weeks. She arrives at the airport Santiago de Compostella. So it is obvious to visit this famous city first. At the latest by Shirley Mc Lanes book “The Camino – A journey of the spirit”, written in 2001, also lots of American people know this town. I rented a apartment near the cathedral and the city catches us immediately with its fascination. Some Spanish people used to say: Viego, (Town at the Atlantic cost close to Portugal) works, Santiago de Compostella prays and A Coruņa .... I'll get back to it later! In any case, Santiago is a World Heritage Site and holder of the European City Award for the best restored old town (1996). And indeed, a certain transfiguration in the looks of the pilgrims lying in the sun on the forecourt of the cathedral is unmistakable. May it be the city, the arrival or the feeling of being so close to the apostle Jacob now....There it disturbs only a little that the former central pilgrim hostel from the 15th century is now the most expensive hotel in the city (Parador Hostal dos Reis Católicos, from about 250 € / night.) Also the treatment in the restaurants, fast food-like, disturbs only a little bit. To be here seems to be the motto, leaving everything behind.
We let ourselves drift a bit and are addressed in German language at a corner where we seem obviously disoriented (we are just wondering...where do they come from, the pilgrims....?). Thomas has lived here for 30 years and waits for his wife, who is at the dentist. On his advice, we order a cab and drive to Monte do Gozo (Mountain of Joy). Here is the last landmark of the Camino, still 4.7 km (2.9 miles) left and we want to hike it now. There is no pilgrimage certificate for that, but still, just a little bit... we let us overtake or stay a bit behind of others and then we know where the pilgrims arrive, it goes over the Praza de Inmaculada through the archway north of the cathedral, "stylishly" received by a Catalan bagpiper (always only one, but changing every hour... ), and finally on the longed-for square, oh no, just another 250 meters to the registration, by QR code and then the printer spits out the pilgrim certificate, photography prohibited. And then, at last on the square!
In the evening we went to the pilgrim mass, which impressed me immensely although I understood nothing. It is the incredible sound of the organ, the singing, the communion. The cathedral is filled to capacity and we are lucky to be let in. Finally, the 60 kg incense burner is swung under the dome by 8 men. It describes thereby a semicircle of nearly 50 meters of diameter and is thereby scarcely 70km/h fast.
Thomas told us that this was introduced because the smell of the pilgrims after the long march was so unpleasant that it should be neutralized by the incense. Today, however, everyone was freshly showered and the barrel swinging was a spectacle. Afterwards, the people then danced in the street to the sounds of a band in traditional costumes.
I spot off the visit was a guided tour to the roof and tower of the cathedral next morning. We were lucky to be able to go along with an English-speaking group of students. The roof is made of granite and since 2004 walkable again. What should I write about it now, it overwhelmed me, the dimensions of the building, the view over the city, the view from above to the altar and the organ. Whoever comes here, I recommend not to skip this.
In the afternoon we traveled by high speed train to A Coruņa, back on the boat and it is first to arrive for Birte. Not for long, rain is announced for Thursday and we want to escape with a trip to Porto. Shortly decided we borrow us for 2 days for 57€ a Fiat 500 and make us on the way to
There are about 155 miles to go, it goes through an impressive landscape to the most beautiful city in Portugal. We actually have no plan what we want to do. On the first evening, after an adequate tapas dinner, we just stroll through the alleys of the old town. The next morning we stand on the promenade and enjoy the view of the river Douro. Behind us a HopOn-HopOff city tour bus stops and that's it, we jumped in and off we go. Cool, with headphones and German announcements. Nevertheless, Google stars: maximum 3!
Positive: we go over the Rio Douro to the south side and had an indescribable view over the city. We walk across the Ponte Luis, the historic railroad bridge which is still used by the metro today, vibrating and swinging alarmingly (what bends does not break....). Never mind, unforgettable! We left the bus at the bridge stop.
Negative: the frequency of the buses is poor, felt we wait more at stops than that we go, either on the next bus after a HopOff, or because the driver must make his tariff 15 min break.
What the heck, we do not let us take the fun, visit the impressive forecourt of the cathedral and let us at the end we again drifted on the banks of the Douro through the bars and restaurants, past street musicians and cabaret artists.
For the journey home from 08pm we have decided to drive until dark on the Atlantic Ocean along the coastal road. Has my absolute recommendation!
Back in A Coruņa
Anna and Malin, two famous young sailors, in Germany well known from their U-Tube videos are suddenly there. Gladly they come to us on board for a talk. The two have already lived on the boat for three years and earn their money with social media. My respect for their professional and yet authentic films on U-Tube. But the two have also written a book that I buy from them and devour with enthusiasm: Great, loose, entertaining written, has my unconditional recommendation ("Two girls, a boat, no plan"). Funny that it turns out later that my daughter Elisa on a Baltic sailing trip in 2021 celebrated on the Alands Midsummer Night with the two.
Vivero, Cedeira and Ares
We decide to sail the next day to Vivero and on the way back Cedeira. The wind is favorable to little, but we have enough fuel and the engine runs well. I had already visited Viveiro on the outward journey, and now I would like to climb with my wife again on the Mirador San Roque to enjoy the magnificent view of the bay, I had already written about that in report #3.
In addition an appointment with Jochen (report #1) lures here. He sailed with Niels from Svendborg over the Biscay. It was a joyful reunion. On the way back to A Coruna we go together to Cedeira, Jochen has arranged a meeting with Jonas Manke, a young sailor who also earns his money with videos on U-Tube and charter and has been sailing for three years. It was be a nice barbecue on the beach with partly senseless topics, but not everything has to make sense! The darkness finally dissolves the party.
This time, before departing for A Coruna, we go on an extended tour of the town ashore: Surprise! Super infrastructure, cafes, stores, bars, everything there! Here is probably in the summer rally a lot of activity. And, I finally got in a tool store the long sought-after wrench for the oil filter. The filter was not to get tight by hand; it always lets a little oil out. This is with the new Baco tool from Switzerland in the evening then finally solved!
We sailed on to Ares, Vis á Vis of A Coruņa. A perfect day, initially nice wind and finally the visit of dolphins. First time for Birte.
I recommend Ares very much. Very friendly people in the marina and also a nice, well-kept place with great beach. Also here, no guest sailors but two wooden boats with whose owners I am quickly in conversation.
A Coruņa, there was something else: What does A Coruņa when Santiago is prayed: “A Coruņa used to dance”, the people are in a good mood and celebrate in the streets of the old town. Birte and I really enjoyed this once again. For Birte it goes back to Kiel on Sunday. They were beautiful days!
I'm on the voyage for two months now: I'm also going home for the turn of the month on June 28. Birte sings with her choir Jazzica in the Elbphilharmonie, our daughter Elisa has her birthday and we also have to celebrate her acceptance to study music teaching in Hamburg.
On July, 5th Klaus and Roswitha will come on board, we will sail along the Spanish north coast to the east and cross the Biscay with a small blow to
La Rochelle. Iīll continue the story in the next report from aboard!