Category: Photography

Razo to Trabadelo

The morning was a bit misty on the beach in Razo but the surfers were already out.  We got going before noon, looking for the isolated beach aire we were originally trying to find.

We wound up and over some very narrow roads and finally saw the lovely beach, but there was nowhere to park and we almost got stuck in a field.  After I’d gotten out so I could direct Colin back to the road he started shouting ‘Get in!  Get in!’ so I quickly jumped in and shut the door – there was a swarm of very large, very angry hornets at the front of the van and they followed us, attacking the windshield as we got going up the road.

We finally got onto a better road and had a little break at the beach just outside the town of Ponteceso.  It was a lovely area, but marred slightly by an older fellow telling us we couldn’t take the dogs onto the beach – which we weren’t going to do anyway.  Another older guy got into a discussion with the first one and we wondered if it was going to get physical they got so heated about it.  We just continued on and went to the cafe/bar where we had a very nice coffee.

After our short break we continued around the northwestern point of Galicia, and stopped at a nice campground just outside the town of Louso.

We took a walk along the beach – dogs are allowed here! – and had a nice chat with a couple originally from Wales that now spend three months a year here – they have their own spot reserved and everything.

The next day we took a walk back into the town, all on paths and sidewalks overlooking the ocean.  Partway along one of my flip-flops broke – I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to walk with a broken flip-flop!

I managed to make it to the restaurant where we ended up – finally – having a nice lunch.  The place was very busy and apparently they only had one waitress that spoke english to serve us, although we could have made ourselves understood to anyone – it took forever, but ended up being pretty good.

After a very hot afternoon it finally cooled down a bit, but we noticed that we suddenly had very little battery power left.  In fact we had to shut down the lights and the fridge even went off.  The solar panel should have been plenty so we hadn’t hooked up to the electrics – we think there’s a problem between the solar panel and the battery – it works fine in the daytime, and charges while we drive, but suddenly seems to be losing power quickly as soon as the sun goes down.

Wednesday morning we left the campground and headed inland past Santiago de Compostela and on to an aire in the town of Portomarin, another of the many large stops on the Camino.

This close to Santiago there are now hundreds and hundreds of walkers as the various trails converge.

We walked around a bit, then chose a restaurant to have dinner in – it was quite nice.

The town is just packed with walkers – almost every business in the place is something catering to them – cafes, bars, pensions/auberges, pharmacies (we’ve seen the walking wounded, with every kind of bandage possible!) – good business for the locals, I hope.

Again in the night the power all failed, with the fridge going out in the very early morning.  We can’t even make tea in the morning as the gas goes out automatically when the power fails.

We took the ‘scenic route’ to Ponferrada the next day to stock up on groceries – the GPS spent almost an hour trying to get us to turn back and go north thru Lugo before giving up and acknowledging that we were taking the more southerly route.

Along the way we experienced an interesting incident – we got behind a line of vehicles that were all slowed down because of a very large, wide loaded truck ahead.  There was a huge dump truck on the deck of a low-bed, with the tires stacked with it.  It was moving extremely slowly and then it wasn’t moving at all – it had become stuck under an overpass that was just inches too low.

Luckily it was right near a slip road that everyone behind snuck around on, but the oncoming traffic was held up by police as the low-bed was going down the middle of the road where the overpass was supposed to be high enough to clear – not!

We made it to Ponferrada, did our shopping, then continued northwest a bit to a campground we’d found four years ago just outside the town of Trabadelo.

Exploring Galicia – Foz to Razo, and Places in Between

We had a couple of fairly quiet days, with nice walks along the shore trails.

The weather was a bit crappish so we didn’t go far, and never even bothered to get out the bikes.

One morning there was a man that was teaching his son to surf – and the little fellow seemed to like it.

After a couple of days of rest we decided to head a bit inland again, and ended up in an aire at the edge of the lovely village of Castro de Rei.  It even had free electric.

We got parked, then took a walk into the village, where we encountered an elderly couple that were just leaving their garden and crossing the road to their house.  They took a great interest in the dogs, especially Henry.  We managed to converse a bit, even with my very poor spanish, and they were so sweet – wanting to know the doggies names, and also where we were staying.

We then walked back a bit and stopped at the bar to have a drink, and then a couple of very small tapas.  The bill for a really nice glass of rioja, a beer and two tapas was a grand total of three euros!

On the way back to the campervan I tried to take some photos of the almost-full moon – I was fairly disappointed with the results…it was much more colourful than I seemed able to capture.

We left Castro de Rei mid-morning the next day and continued on the short distance to A Feira Do Monte, which was also very nice, although quite a bit larger town.  The aire, however, was in a really beautiful area right next to a bird sanctuary.

It was a fairly busy parking area actually, with lots of cars coming and going – there are several nice trails going around the ‘lake’ and to various places in the town.

We took a lovely long walk around the ‘lake’ – it has many informative kiosks as well as a few strategically placed bird watching towers.

(No – this is not a real bird!)

The next morning we took a short walk along one of the many paved trails – it eventually led to a museum in the town but we didn’t follow it to the end, opting to get going to our next stop instead. I must say they’ve done a really good job with the trails and info in this area – very nice to see.

We went a couple hours almost straight west to what we thought was going to be an isolated beach aire on the coast near the small village of Razo.

It was a beautiful place, but not what we’d expected.  It was just bustling – mostly with surfers, but at least it had a couple of nice bars and restaurants.  We parked for the afternoon right across from the beach – directed by some fellows that looked fairly official, but we weren’t asked for any money.  We squeaked into a space, slightly scraping the canopy holder on the side of the campervan on a sign on the way in.

After a nice walk above the beach – no dogs allowed on the actual beach – we tried to order a drink at a bar, but no luck.  They were incredibly busy but didn’t seem to have nearly enough staff to service half of the folks.  Two people at the table next to us were able to order some of what they wanted but then the waitress pretty much ran away without taking our order.  When I said ‘well…maybe tomorrow!’ the two laughed and said ‘she’s very stressed’ but we’d waited long enough and left for another place.

At the second place we ended up not only having drinks – a very nice bottle of Rioja – but also lunch.

We relocated where we parked a couple of times to find the right place to spend the night, ending up on a large paved area at the edge of town, again right across from the ocean.

The sunset was beautiful.

From Rio Luna to Foz, with Lots of Aires in Between

On Saturday we took another ride into San Emiliano and Colin watched the barking/howling dogs – he thinks they’re enjoying the ride and are actually making happy noises.  I like that idea a lot better – they’re sitting up and looking forward, their ears flapping in the wind – who wouldn’t enjoy that?

There’s a large rock outcropping at the edge of the village and on top are some storks roosting – very large nests and all, but I couldn’t actually glimpse any babies.

On the way back one of the wheels on the chariot came a bit loose and began to rub against the side so I had to stop – it took Colin a bit to return for us as I pushed the bike along the edge of the road.

I envisioned him starting his second beer by the time we got to the cafe, but he did notice we weren’t behind him anymore and turned around fairly shortly.

He fixed the wheel and we were on our way, stopping for a refreshing beverage at the cafe in Rabanal de Luna.

In the late afternoon we headed down to the campground bar and asked if the tv could be changed from the soccer game to the Vuelta a Espana – it’s the first stage and is a time trial around Burgos.

At half time of the soccer game we got our wish and were able to watch the last hour or so of the time trial, with Roglic putting in the best time and taking the red jersey on day one.  We were told – in a very friendly way – that the channel would not be changed for us again tomorrow as some of the locals were coming to the bar to watch the next soccer game on the big screen.

Two of the little boys staying next to us approached me one evening offering me one of several braided strings they’d made but I said no.  I regretted my dismissal of them and as they came back around a little later I waved them over.  They were so sweet – I chose one in purple and pink and it cost me a whole euro.  I’ve tied it to my camera case and when I showed them the next morning they were thrilled.

We weren’t in any great hurry to leave on Sunday morning and didn’t get away until almost noon – we followed the same road north that we’d taken two years ago towards Oviedo.

There’s a nice pullout near the border of Castillo Y Leon and Asturias with great views south back towards San Emiliano.

We had intended to stop at one of the aires near the top of the Bear Trail so we could take a ride, but it was so packed we didn’t even try – we kept going downhill to just past the town of Proaza where we’d stopped two years ago.  Once again the lot looked very full but we pulled into a space marked ‘bus’.

There were so many people coming and going off the trail that we decided we’d take our ride some other time – August seems to be when everyone in Spain takes their vacation all at once and we can’t stand the crowds!

We did spend the night in the parking area, along with about a dozen other vans.  It’s a fairly busy little road but nothing kept us awake.

There’s a very interesting mural on the side of a building in one of the towns on the way to Oviedo – all about the mining that was prevalent in the area in days gone by.

We had a bit of a time finding the Lidl’s store as the campervan’s GPS took us miles and miles from where we were meant to be.  Luckily we have the backup of Waze and eventually got where we were going.

All stocked up once again we headed west and a bit south to find another aire, intending to stay away from the north coast a bit longer in order to avoid the crowds.  And once again we got mis-directed, so had to back-track and try a different aire.

Along our ‘scenic route’ we did get to enjoy some great sites, and much of it was, of course, near one of the many Camino routes.

The aire we ended up at was not bad, and was located in the lovely village of Sta. Eulalia de Oscos.  We parked the campervan and walked the doggies to a nice bar with outdoor seating for refreshments.

They had a large tv that I could see from my outside chair and the bartender eventually gave in and changed channels to the Vuelta so we could see the last of the day’s stage up Picon Blanco.

The village itself has put some effort into being attractive – there are several displays and murals, and all of the buildings are well maintained and don’t look derelict, like in some places.

There’s a large field next to where we’re parked and it has a very lonely donkey in it – they’re much happier if they have a friend, even if it’s a goat or horse.

Colin fed it some carrots and we saw that it has some sort of skin condition, maybe cysts or tumours.

As we left the village just after 11:00 we saw yet another interesting sculpture – I like that the cow is wearing her helmet, and is also signalling a left-hand turn – haha!

As I walked down to take a photo of the cow-on-moto I also some more wall art.

We still wanted to stay a bit away from the coast so headed to our next chosen aire in the village of Taramundi.  The village looked quite nice but seemed to be teeming with visitors so we kept going.

The next aire on our list was in A Pontenova – yes, that is the name of the place – but we couldn’t find it.  There was an occasional sign saying ‘800 metres’ but then nothing but going in circles so we continued on to the next place – Mondonedo.

We found the aire but the spots weren’t really big enough for campervans – we parked temporarily to have a bite to eat and I did a bit of exploring with Mo.

The town seems fairly nice and has some interesting buildings – also it’s a big stop on the Camino.

There was an adorable little kitten on the ‘Juliet balcony’ of an apartment across from where we were parked – it was out on the ledge for a bit and wasn’t concerned about the drop.

He made it safely back inside and we left shortly after.  We changed our minds about going to the coast and decided to head to a campground we like just west of Foz, stopping in Ribadeo on the way to refill our cooking-gas supply.

It was an extremely frustrating endeavour, but successful in the end, finding what we needed at a Peugeot garage.

The San Rafael campground was open and quite busy, although the nice bar – with the big tv – was closed.  We got settled and I made a vegetable soup with bacon and mushrooms for dinner – it was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

I took a nice walk to the ocean after dinner, encountering a couple of kite-flyers on the way.

I don’t doubt that kites fly well here as the wind was fierce.

Back to Rio de Luna

A beautiful morning greeted us at the little aire – such a lovely place.

The drive to Rio Luna was pretty flat and a bit boring, at least until we passed Leon and got into the foothills of the mountains.

The dam at the end of the reservoir didn’t look like it’s letting any water out and the lake does look higher than when we were last here.  There were lots of boats out and the marina was pretty full.

The campground was much busier than it was two years ago, but we ended up on the exact same pitch.  First thing I did was shower, and did the hot water ever feel good!

Down at the campground’s bar we had a nice conversation with a british couple that now live in southern Spain and are up here for a vacation.  As with most brits we talk with they are frustrated by England’s ever changing covid rules – visitors are hesitant to come over as rules may change while they’re here and they’ll have a huge hassle getting back to England.

One afternoon we looked up and there was a rainbow in the clouds – no rain at all, in fact most of the sky was bright blue – a hot and sunny day.

We’re having a little vacation here before heading to the north coast.  The first ride we took was on Wednesday into San Emiliano where we saw the fabulous horse fair two years ago.

We had a coffee at one of the cafes and I asked the waitress if the horse fair was going to be on at the end of the month – I showed her some photos I’d taken two years ago and she said, very sadly that no, the fair was off because of covid.  Darn!  We were really looking forward to it.

I then went into the small supermarket to get some cheese for the pasta to go with my bolognese sauce, and a local interpreted for me and sent me to the proper area of the store to get the best cheese – made just down the road.  Unfortunately I’ve let my Spanish lessons slide a bit in favour of Italian and haven’t brushed up enough – I’ll have to do better!

The little ones were pretty good in their chariot on our first ride into San Emiliano, but the second ride when we went up to Abelgas wasn’t so pleasant – at least for me. 

They’re sharing one chariot as Colin’s bike doesn’t have the proper connection, and both dogs did nothing but bark and howl the entire time up and down to the village.  At one point on the way back we were chased for quite a while by a big dog – that was something I just didn’t want to deal with!

It gets quite cold here at night – just above freezing, but by mid-afternoon we want to hide in the shade.  Yet it’s not nearly as hot as some places – it reached 48.8 in Sicily yesterday, and the fires back home are so bad.  We feel very fortunate, and don’t take anything for granted.

Even though the campground seems pretty packed and there are a lot of kids, it’s very quiet, especially in the mornings.  We had a very late sleep in this morning and didn’t arise until 9:30 – quite unusual.

We did take the doggies for a nice walk on the trail behind the campground – we’d followed it all the way around 2 years ago but turned back partway this time as it was getting hot.

When I downloaded my photos and then compared them to the ones I took last time I wasn’t too surprised to see that some of them are almost identical between the two years.  I like what I like!

They had recently cut the weeds, etc along the path and right around a new thistle were dozens of tiny blue butterflies – you can’t see them that well in my photo but they were awesome.