We hired a car from the lovely Carmella at the Marina at Portosin, a first time drive in a Fiat 500, great little car and it had A/C!! We headed over the many modern viaducts via the fishing town of Noia towards Santiago de Compostela.
Santiago may be familiar to you, its the city where all the pilgrims and there modern day equivalents finish the Camino de Santiago ( The way of St James) a sometime 500km+ route dependant on which one you travel, as there are several.
Pilgrims have a passport that they have to get stamped along the way, generally at hostels or recognised accommodation on the way, demonstrating you have completed the pilgrimage, when we left we had intenerted to do the “lite” version of just the last 100kms but we just run out of time as that can still take a week.
When the pilgrims eventually get to the city the congregate in the square infant of the cathedral and after getting the passports verified, queue to kiss the figure of st James at the alter inside the church. On Sunday they hold a Pilgrims mass, where they swing a huge incense burner, back ad forth across the nave.
We stayed overnight in Santiago before moving onto the Canon de Sil (one of Spains best kept secrets). Canon De Sil, is the Spanish equivalent to the Grand Canon, but instead of a dry arid place, this mysterious Valley is lust, green and very fertile, its no wonder that it is also one of Spains finest wine regions, This is the “Ribeira Sacra”, the birthplace of the legendary “Amandi”, a wine that was so treasured by the Romans that they considered it the “gold of the River Sil”. A wine that centuries later the Benedictine monks produced exclusively for the wineries of the most refined popes, the terraces on some of the escarpments are so steep that you cannot begin to fathom how on earth they cultivate them, for this reason they are called “Heroic Viticulture”
We stopped overnight and had dinner here too, at a renovated monastery, called Santo Estevo which is part of the Parador group of hotels.
After Purchasing the obligatory Wines from the region, we drove our way back to Portosin and the boat for the next part of our adventure.