Yesterday morning, as we were gathered in the cockpit for breakfast, John spotted the dolphins again! One actually came into the harbour here to flush out the fish sheltering amongst the pontoons. This time they went about their feeding undisturbed and when they had finished we settled down to our toast.
The previous evening we had discovered the old town of Cambarro, which is magical. We had headed off into the big concrete open area at the end of the harbour to go to a rather attractive looking restaurant by the sea. John suggested we explore up the wooden steps at the side of the restaurant first. Up we went and found ourselves walking along a narrow passage, with shops on one side and tables set out in alcoves overlooking the sea on the other. The shops were awash with tacky souvenirs and witch dolls of assorted sizes. Also facing the sea each building had one of the stone crypts on stilts John and I had first seen in San Vicente. I speculated they might have been for storing grain, as the stilts had dome shaped tops like the stone mushrooms used for keeping vermin out of haystacks back home. Lara found a plaque, explaining they were designed to store potatoes, corn and even hams and are called horreos. We wandered along the winding passage with people chatting or sat on stools drinking on either side. Vendors called to us in Spanish, extolling the virtues of their shops. Lines of even smaller streets led off up the hill to our left, lined with doorways displaying washing and bright plants in pots. The warren opened out to an area of tables set out under large umbrellas, where people were eating. The restaurants were somewhere up the back alleys, but each had a large rusting hulk of a barbecue on which sardines sizzled. We hesitated for a moment and they rustled up an English speaker, who disappeared off for a word with the chef and came back with an offer of vegetarian pasta, so we were in. To start we carnivores shared sardines and ham and there was tortilla, bread and cheeses for the veggie’s. Then John and I shared the house paella, Emma and Katie had salad, Lara the pasta and Johnsey ordered steak, which turned out to be pork and worryingly rare. He was loathe to leave food and fortunately has a strong constitution and suffered no ill effects.
We made a circuit of the old town again in daylight. Outside one bar octopus were boiling in a large zinc tub, pink suckered tentacles undulating in the rolling steam. Out in the estuary nigh on a hundred people stood in the sea, heads bent combing for shellfish.
We threaded our way down onto the shore, where a woman was stooped washing her catch in a stream. All the way down quaintly shaped buildings with immaculate pantiles and potted plants sat cheek by jowl, with enticing derelicts. We then climbed back up the hill and emerged onto the main road, which quickly led back down to the port. It was hot and we headed off to the restaurant we had originally planned to eat at last night for coffees and cold drinks. The cold drinks came with Russian salad and the coffees with cake. We swapped and traded.
Then we trouped off to the taxi rank for our planned visit to Pontevedra. Our neighbour, an Irish man who had set off with his wife to sail, loved the Rias and stayed, passed us as we stood there and advised we go back and ask the marinera to call us a taxi. This turned out to be excellent advise, the “Captain” was extremely helpful and sorted out in Spanish to have us dropped in the old town in two taxis. The cars were air conditioned, so it was something of a culture shock to emerge into the heat of a town. We headed off into the old streets following purple signs for the Site of Apparitions, we made an interesting circuit, but it failed to appear. We trolled up and down the streets, which all seemed to lead back to the same street cafe. With its red chairs and parasols it would have been irresistible, but for the vicious mix of slopes on which the tables and chairs were all teetering, as each street approached at a different angle. We carried on and found a place where the tables were set up a single street in the shade of the restaurant. The waiter brought Emma and Johnsey a menu in Spanish on the strength of their Cornish tans, the rest of us were given an English translation, which we all then shared. Amazingly for a place that specialised in ham, great cured joints of which hung en mass behind the bar, amongst chains of garlic, they offered mushroom stuffed peppers, a new veggie option. Sadly the cathedral was closed for mass, we could hear the lovely singing within. We had forgotten also that museums were closed on Monday, so decide to head back, having probably not done justice to the place.
That evening we finally ate at the restaurant by the new square and had a lovely evening. It was clearly family run, father and son taking turns to serve us. The fish was superb, the steak was beef and they made a wonderful veggie version of their house salad specially. At the end of the meal they brought out complimentary liqueurs, in chilled glasses, the senoritas being offered the cream version. The ladies in San Vicente could have told them I was up to the hard stuff. We wandered back to Lyra happily and all slept well in spite of the heat.
Next morning Johnsey woke first and sat sketching on deck, so as not to wake anyone. There was a splash and a dolphin surfaced next to the boat at the side of him. He shook Emma awake, she knocked on the deck and we were all up, well all except Lara. There were lots of them, circling out in the bay, with one flushing fish out of the harbour. Shoals of fish gathered alongside us, but the dolphin came no closer. Still, we could hardly complain. After another spectacular dolphin watch, John, Emma and Johns headed off to the market in the square and bought us figs and cherries and chocolate, nut scattered bread for breakfast. Afterwards we all went back to the market to look at the straw hats, but there was nothing the equal of Monty Don’s. On the way back we watched aline of small dinghies being towed out for a class, like ducks in a row.
John called in to pay and we were given a ten precent discount because they had noticed our Cruising Association pennant. We would not have thought to mention it, but they had noticed and acted accordingly, so typical of the kindness and generosity we have experienced.
We set off and had a great sail down to Portenova, beating down the ria against a force three wind. It was so good, we took another reach across and back before coming in to moor across the hammerhead. We had a late lunch, a siesta, while Emma and Johnsey went for a walk and then all went to the beach for a swim. The beach is a marvellous long sweep of fine white sand. This evening the shore was a shanty town of bright parasols around which a bronzed hoard of all ages basked and played. Not many braved the water, but we are hardy creatures now and had a lovely swim. This evening Emma and Johnsey are cooking a veggie feast, the music below deck is loud and everyone is dancing.