Ribadeo to Santiago de Compostela and beyond

This is certainly a post I was not planning to write but very often the best laid plus go awry, the one advantage of travelling with the motorhome is that if the description of your destination does not match reality you can move on and find another place to stop.

Street Art in Ribadeo

Our first stop on this leg was Ribadeo, again a port we had visited on the boat but only had a brief overnight stay so wanted to look around. We planned to stay one night and found a camper stop by the marina, after morning coffee we went to explore the town. After walking around for a hour apart from the odd mural and interesting looking buildings nothing stood out apart from the presence of street cleaners at every turn. We returned to the van to find a street cleaner on hands and knees raking weeds from the pavement. He had a very impressive two dustbin cart with locking compartment, broom and an umbrella, presumably so he could work in the rain and secure his bonus, he was certainly happy in his work.

Street cleaner in Ribadeo with his umbrella on the cart

Ribadeo had proved not to be what we imagined so we decided to cut our losses and move on to Santiago a day earlier than planned.

The drive to Santiago was only a couple of hours, a mix of motorway and back roads that confused the hell out of the Sat-nav.

En route we did discover that Galicia has its own version of the “herreros”  a granary that every house of a certain age should have, and of course there was the modern version in Spanish concrete, great than I can add it to my collection of quirky structures and English telephone boxes.

A Galician Herreros (granary)

As we approached Santiago it was certainly not what I was expecting, the whole area seemed to be a jungle of 1960’s concrete apartment blocks. Our talking map gave us directions to the camper park and we pulled up at the barrier to pay our dues, a strange arrangement €3 up until 8pm the day you arrive and then another €12 that will take you until 8pm the following night. The lady attendant was the most enthusiastic ambassador for the town you could ever imagine, she wanted to explain everything in the town to see, how to best get there and what times the busses run as well as giving us a map with her own hand written notes, I am sure this was a lot more than she was being paid for.

After parking up we decided to walk into the old town and do a recce of tomorrows site visit. Approaching the Old Town is a very modernistic glass covered walkway that was cordoned off with “police do not enter” tape directing you to sharing a very narrow path on the other side of the road with a school and college traffic. Once this obstacle was negotiated there were street sellers at the entrance to the Old Town. When we got to the cathedral, it was covered in scaffolding and tarpaulins and I can understand the need for restoration work so I was sympathetic to the fact. Entry to the Cathedral was available until 8pm so we decided to have a look , admission was by donation but once inside I was just not impressed, I have seen grander and more interesting buildings and for fear of upsetting my audience I will leave it there.

Overall I was very disappointed, the place was surrounded by shops selling cheap tacky souvenirs, there were people dressed as clowns, weirdos shaking tambourines and chanting and beggars everywhere doing their best to prey on the generosity of pilgrims and I found it quite distasteful, in fact if I had walked a few hundred miles to get there I would have felt sadly let down.

We left the Old Town and decided we would not stay but would move on tonight. I have to admit we went into McDonalds on the way back for a quick meal before departing and yes we were disappointed, as we sat eating we were watching a couple outside eating there meal in a car, as they finished each item they blatantly threw the packaging out of the window onto the ground, the McDonalds staff said nothing but walked out and picked the litter, there seem to be a certain demographic that sees this as an acceptable practice, I was seething.

Kaye had located an overnight Aire at Milladoiro so we moved on to pastures new, a camper stop car park that was about 300m long and doubled as a running and exercise circuit and we were pleased to see it being used until well after sunset by young and old.

The following morning we set into the Satnav co-ordinates for a camp site at Ponteverdra only to be disappointed that it led us to a patch of rough ground that you would not want to camp or leave a vehicle unattended, so another wasted journey. Undeterred Arcade was our next destination but this pitch was next to a sewage farm and a funfair was just setting up next door.

Next up Viana do Costelo across the border in Portugal, another port we sailed into and this time we were not disappointed ,  a camp site(1) with full facilities for a few Euros per night, we will stay here for couple of days to get the washing up to date and go cycling , we have plenty of time to explore and our experiences over the last couple of days reinforced our belief in the benefits of our Motorhome as a roving hotel.

(1) Campsite: Parque De Campismo, Rua Diogo Alvares, Cabedelo.  N41.67607° W8.82360°

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