Monday, 23 April 2012

Floating out of Foz and beyond Compostella to the wild Atlantic - April 15

Our departure from Foz had always been problematic once the rains started. Ten days of rain, the last 24 hours virtually continuous, had shown that the campsite has a problem - and we were sat in it. Mostly it is, for this much rain anyway, pretty well drained but in this corner of this one area a roadway has blocked what experience shows is a small, local stream. And our site was now a small local lake on its journey to the sea.
Not deep you understand although enough to squirt unpleasantly through our flooring. But this is a grassed site and it had only had one cut before our arrival. Thick, luxurious and not so much wet as imminently afloat. I hve to say i was less than confident. A straight tow out was not really on - too far and a bit uphill; even our 4x4 in low ratio would probably spin wheels. Going backwards gave us a tiny help from gravity on the shallow slope. But this  is a 1700kg van on two axles. However we do have our fancy flooring - 600mm squares of hard foam with 25mm holes spaced 40 mm apart all over.
So they were to be sacrificed under the car wheels - all four of course - and moved up like pyramid builders stone rollers by my personal pet pyramid builder herself. And it worked. There was water everywhere and a slight bow wave but at about 8mm per minute we rolled 15 metres onto the roadway, at an angle too. La Senora watched and was I like to think disappointed at the loss of a really good story to tell her friends. Oh and the flooring survived having 2000 kg of Kyron driven over it repeatedly.
So we set off to cross Galicia, passing Compostella and finally fetching up outside Ribeira, roughly between La Coruna and Vigo, within earshot of the Atlantic. Our campsite arrival was excellent thanks to good signage and the drive out along our peninsular (or is it an isthmus if between rias as it is? Geogrohers please respond) wonderful. The views were terrific and enticing.
And today, Sunday we saw it. First at a charming little harbour village facing onto the ria, so fairly gentle. And then the full majesty of the Atlantic at an amazing archeological site - Castro do Barona near Porto do Son. We have been lucky enough to see many neolithic sites, including the amazing Skara Brae on Orkney but this did not even slightly disappoint. It consists of two areas of walled enclosures in which sit a series of varied size ring huts also in stone. Which is why it has survived. It sits on a rocky outcrop, a bit like a smaller version of Tintagel actually. But the outcrop rises above and behind the 'village' so protecting it from the continuous westerly which assaulted us unremittingly. As our pictures show it is pretty impressive and rates among the best preserved in Europe. It is also a long hard walk DOWN to it and a longer harder walk UP from it. Nackered we retired to our campsite.
Earlier we had also visited a fine dolmen complete with capstone and been told by the charming site officer that it was one of 10,000 across Galicia all from the period 4,000 to 2,500 BC. Even the celts did not get here until 600 BC apparently. And we had picniced on smoked salmon and Philly sarnies at a fine Faro with views all the way to Spain's own Finistere (Land's End of course) about 40 kilometres north.
And the sun shone most of the day. After ten out of 14 days wetting on the Biscay coast this is luxury.

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