Europe, Galicia, Spain

Galicia Road Trip: Day 1

May 15, 2021

The trip begins! The first day, my friend Corrine joined. We left Pontevedra around 8:30 AM via train and headed to Vigo where we would meet up with the two others, Sri and Priya, and go to Vigo Airport to pick up our rental car. We arrived and were on the road by 10:30 AM. The weather was immediately proving to be poor: windy, cold, and rainy. We were determined to make the best of it, and after all, what would a Galician road trip be without some rain?

Dunas de Corrubedo

The Dunes of Corrubedo Natural Park is approximately four square miles and is the most visited of the six natural parks in Galicia. It’s prominent site is the grand dune which is about 1000 meters long, 250 meters wide, and 20 meters high.

Castro de Baroña

After visiting the dunes, we found a coffee shop and grocery store to stock up on caffeine and snacks. Then, we were on our way to our next site, Castro de Baroña. This is a settlement built on the peninsula that was occupied from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD. There are remains of 20 houses built out of stone in circular or oval formations. It was not discovered until 1933. We walked uphill, through puddles and trees, and in the pouring rain to the top. We were able to see the formations in the distance, and I’ve also included a photo I found online that shows them close up during a normal day.

Punta Queixal

Our next stop was in Muros to see the lighthouse on Punta Queixal. This is approximately where the Coast of Death (Costa de la Muerte) begins and spans the next 200 kilometers. It’s charaterized by coves, cliffs, abandoned beaches, dozens of lighthouses, and violent and choppy waters responsible for many shipwrecks and deaths over the centuries.

Hórreo De Carnota

An hórreo is a granary from the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula made from wood or stone raised from the ground by pillars ending in flat staddle stones to prevent rodents from entering or flooding during rainfall. They’ve been used since the 13th century, and they are a protected cultural artifact. We passed a few dozen on our way and made a stop to see Galicia’s longest at 35 meters in Carnota.

After looking at the main hórreo as well as many smaller ones, we walked over to the Igrexa de Santa Comba de Carnota and saw this town’s church and cemetary.

Praia de Carnota

After piling back into the car, our next scheduled stop was the local beach, which was supposedly beautiful. As soon as we arrived, it was clear that it was not a very worthwhile visit on such a rainy day, so we quickly returned to the dry shelter of the car and moved towards our next stop.

Cee

Our next stop was about an hour north, and the fishing town of Cee, Galicia. After walking along the coast for a little bit, we drove Corinne back to the bus station as she was only joining us for the day.

Fervenza do Ézaro

The Ézaro River is the only one in Spain and one of only a handful in Europe to fall directly into the sea as a waterfall (fervenza). You are also able to drive up the windy road to an outlook (miradoiro) and see it from above.

This quickly unfolded as a very adventurous stop. First, I followed some incorrect Google Maps directions and began driving up a very tight, windy set of residentials streets. Roads in Spain are very narrow to begin with especially in certain communities. As the roads got more and more narrower, I kept thinking, “It’s gotta be close. Just keep pushing through.” Well, pretty soon, it was obvious this was not the case. I got us stuck. Between low visibility and the need to do about a 100-point turn to get us out, I was extremely grateful for the car insurance we added on at this point. Thanks to Priya for being a trooper and standing in the pouring rain directing me.

After that crisis was averted, we made it to the base of the waterfall. Again, this was another site that lost some of its charm due to the rain and fog. We still went up to the outlook, but we saw nothing except fog. Our umbrellas also barely survived the journey up there. If nothing else, it was filled with laughs, soaking clothes, and more memories to add to the list.

From here, we made a quick stop at the Praia do Ézaro across the street, and then we were on our way for about another hour and a half to where we settle in for the evening.

Cape Finisterre & Fisterra

As I mentioned in the introductory post, my desire to go to Finisterre is what prompted the planning of this entire trip. With no realistic way to get here except via rental car, it made sense to make a more robust trip out of it.

We arrived in Fisterra and continued down the cape to Finisterre. This was once thought to be the “end of the earth” and is marked with a lighthouse. What’s amusing is that when we arrived, the fog was so thick, we couldn’t find the lighthouse! We decided this was a failed first visit to Finisterre and headed back down to the central town of Fisterra. After exploring briefly along the coast, we drove towards our AirBNB.

Fully soaked and very tired from our exploration, we were ready to settle in. We had a pretty rough time getting in touch with our host, getting into the garage, and finding where to enter. It was at least 30 minutes and a bit stressful. We finally got in touch and after three of us worked to interpret some very rapid-fire Spanish, we got in with the help of a neighbor. We ate some dinner that we had picked up at the grocery store, watched some TV, and went our separate ways for the evening. The weather was looking more promising for tomorrow, and we were excited to continue the rest of our trip.

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