A video summary of our roughly 950nm tour this summer from Cork, Ireland, to Lisbon, Portugal.
We meant to spend a little more time cruising the southern Irish coast and ideally round Fastnet Rock before heading south. However, the weather convinced us to leave right away to take advantage of the northerly winds (and to avoid the upcoming strong southerlies).
While the water remained cold all the way to Lisbon, it was clear that we were moving south as day after day we were wearing less and less layers.
While La Coruna does not look that pretty from the water, we were quickly convinced we found a hidden jewel when walking down the old town alleys with endless rows of restaurants, bars and an amazing atmosphere until late. That in combination with outstanding food and endless opportunities to visit historic sites made for a good start into the Iberian part of our tour.
Santiago de Compostella did not disappoint at all; neither did Lisbon – fantastic destinations on their own.
What surprised us was the natural beauty of the Islas Cies (a must stop for any visitor in Galicia!) as well as the atmosphere of Porto. We wish we had been able to spend more time in either location.
On the downside, the water was much colder than expected and we therefore sailed in a fair bit of fog (we never saw the Portuguese coast north of Lisbon…).
Should YouTube not play this video in your country, try this link instead: https://goo.gl/photos/94mEV21sn4vgUT1j9
Today’s highlight was another UNESCO world heritage site (2 in 2 days now), Santiago de Compostela – the famous city at the end of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. The train ride took less than an hour and the old town was just amazing, like a Disneyland for history buffs.
While the inner city was filled with tourists, we had a great time strolling around, waiting in line to see the tomb of apostle Saint James under the cathedral and many, many other very old and beautiful buildings… – and most importantly:
We found a restaurant that served paella!
Ordering various kinds allowed us to sample a wider variety and finally satisfy Alex’s craving.
We enjoyed that nice lunch, took the train back to A Coruna and took care of groceries and numerous other errands. A burgee was exchanged with the Real Club Nautico Coruna and the first course of our dinner organized at El Rey del Jamon.
After the outstanding appetizer at the King of Ham, we went to our favorite place around the corner and enjoyed another typical Galician meal. The by now obligatory ice cream stop at the local ice cream parlor rounded off the day.
Tomorrow, we will tackle the first half of the sail around the corner.
We hate to start our blog post on a negative note, but
there is not paella in Spain,
not every waiter is friendly and
it is ok to move to another restaurant if needed…
We had another great day in A Coruna, strolling around, absorbing the history and Spanish way of life around us. We went to the around 2000 year old light house, Torre de Hercules, checked out the old sailor’s church from 1300 and meandered around town.
Due to the holiday, most stores were closed and we postponed our grocery shopping etc until tomorrow. Philip found some internet access at the Real Club Nautico A Coruna but was not able to exchange burgees yet (planned for tomorrow).
Back to the above – we followed some local advise on our hunt for Paella but learned that despite prior inquiry and confirmation by the waiter, that not everything is as it seems. We went on to find another very nice tapas place and enjoyed lots of pulpo and other local delicacies. Our favorite were the Boquerones (anchovies).
Back at the boat, the fog had subsided and we decided to take the drone for a first night flight (and even got some standing ovations when we landed it again at the dock).
What a finish to the day!
We had a pretty perfect day on the water already and did not expect much from A Coruna. The feedback we got when calling the marina closest to the City was that it was full, fog had come in and the initial building facing the ocean were not exactly elegant…
we were pleasantly surprised:
– when calling the harbor master again, he confirmed they had space in Marina Real -(the tall-ship event had just ended and cleaned out the harbor, also explains why we met all these beautiful large sailboats hours earlier when approaching Spain) – check!
– motoring into the harbor the fog lifted and the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today, UNESCO world heritage site – Torre de Hercules – became visible – check!
– instead of the somewhat industrial look, a lot of historical or nice building revealed themselves around the marina – check!
– although we arrived relatively late at 21:00, the marina office was still open, had an efficient check-in process and lots of good local advise – check!
– showers are free, wifi reaches the boat and LTE reception is very good – check!
– we found a great little restaurant at the corner of the beautiful square and had a simple but amazing dinner – check!
– the downtown maze of narrow streets was still packed way after midnight with endless bars etc full of lively activities – check!
The fact that we were given the half-full bottle of Aguardiente as a present since we inquired about buying one (they poor it into the espresso…) rounded off the day even more 😉 (it is always worth asking “what is in the jar?”).
After that sensory overload we went to bad happy to have finished a long and very nice sail with such a memorable finish.