21 July 2015 | Ria de Cedeira, Spain 43’39.26N 8’03.74W – Ria Vivero, Spain 43’40.55N 7‘36.16W
Entering another country and culture you expect some changes. The Azores are old, their people are welcoming and the traditional food is scrumptious. In Spain the towns are old, the people are welcoming and the traditional food is scrumptious. These two countries and cultures, however, are so very different from each other and we have revelled in those differences.
The differences were clear as soon as we woke up after 10 hours of blessed sleep. After a month of being in marinas and a week of being offshore we were once again swinging on our anchor and we felt that once again we were travellers and not tourists.
Ashore the differences were also clear, Spain didn’t feel old it felt ancient The streets of the old town of Cedeira weaved their way up the hills and were so narrow that illicit affairs could happen between neighbours as their balconies nearly touched; marble steps were worn thin by the millions of feet that had pounded on them and the scars on the fishing docks showed where fish had been landed for eons.
The food was also different. Instead of plates full of fish and potatoes after a starter or Azul cheese that we’d grown used to in the Azores we were presented with pinchoes. As we supped our cheap beer out came bowls of chick pea stew, potato omelette and tuna pastries filling us to the brim. But then the bill came. The bill was right within out budget, a bill only counted the beer. Pinchoes were a gratuity to encourage us to frequent that bar over the neighbouring one. But all the neighbours also served Pinchoes. You’d have to frequent them all to select the best pinchoes.
Spain was being delightful and we loved the strangeness of its feel, we had however heard of more strangeness in the next Ria; Ria Vivero, just a stones throw away. Here the strangeness came in 2 forms; the local wildlife and the local customs.
Entering the anchorage the local wildlife spotted us. The dolphin who’d adopted the bay flitted around our bow and simply squealed with joy as our anchor played out, when the float on our anchor trip line hit the water he seemed to be beside himself with excitement.
He couldn’t get enough of the trip line float and spent hours nuzzling it, sinking it and pushing it back and forth. Love was in the air and he even seemed to be presenting it with gifts. He’d turn up balancing seaweed on his head and gently place it on the float, only for the float to dismiss his advances and discard the thoughtful gift. Nasty unemotional float.
Venturing ashore the strangeness continued. In the old town the winding streets gave way to chapels, churches, convents and shrines, all popping out at the most unexpected moments. Rounding a corner we were shocked, instead of a shrine being covered in peaceful candles it was covered in wax body parts. Feet, hands, heads and other worrying (wax looks very much like latex) bits of anatomy adorned every inch of its walls.
Local custom has it that if something is array with your body then you take a wax cast of the offending limb, tie it onto the shrine and hope for the best. From the look of the shrine there is clearly a lot wrong with the local populous. Taking this to heart we hoped that there would be a cure for Larry’s wayward thoughts and wondered where the best place to get a cast of a llamas head would be. On reflection though the task of curing Larry is even beyond the big man upstairs.
With Larry being incurable and with the possibility of an illicit affair between our anchor ball and Flipper its time to continue our journey along this country where the people are welcoming, the towns are ancient and the food scrumptious.
The rain in Spain (doesn’t) fall mainly on the plain.
Larry keeps a close lookout.
Fishing boats everywhere.
The fishing port is full of fish.
So Iain, just exactly where is the path?
Fishermen and the wives praying for their safe return go hand in hand.
Dude. It’s an anchor trip line not a toy.
That’ll be quite old then.
That is THE most bizarre shrine that we’ve ever come across.
Some of the fishing fleet has fallen into disrepair.
Even the new bridges are older than most countries.
Fiona gets into the Spanish way and takes a siesta.
The 1Euro, July 2015 Azorean vintage is as you’d expect.