The summer is here. We have had our fiesta, much reduced this year due to the financial crisis and now we move on to days out.
What we like to do is to drive to the beach, spend all day there and then find a completely different route home.
First research is based on what Google says…
If we have lots of sunshine and temperatures up at the late 20s or more, then things look good.
Next, off to MeteoGalicia, the website that shows us a regularly updated satellite photo and a pretty good forecast for Galicia.
If the north coast (the Costa Cantabrica) looks good – with no wind and no cloud then we can go. Any wind and we are forced to shelter from the sandblasting gusts and any clouds, then we know that as soon as we drive over the summit of the Cantabrian montes, that the beach will be shrouded in gloom and mist.
It’s a long drive – 3 hours from home to car park, but if we start really early – let’s say, 7 am then the first hour goes without much consciousness.
We always stop at Rabade and head into our favourite café – Café Cruz and wake up with a good shot of coffee and maybe a few churritos or a croissant.
Then off we go, vaulting effortlessly onto the A6 and off again at the A8 junction. We watch the oil temperature carefully, as it has a tendency to climb and hover around the red area, but there’s a decent balance of climb and free-wheel to our next junction.
There’s a possibility of a new route here. Do we continue on to As Pontes de Garcia Rodridgues or do we come off at Chao and on to Viveiro…
Right now, we’re doing our trusty old route of taking the A100 at As Pontes, which is famous for its enormous chimney and powerstation. The first time we encountered this town, all was black, but since 04, the air-scrubbers have taken out the coal dust and the town has been hosed down. It’s quite prosperous.
There was a very large open-cast mine there, which has filled with water and which is now being landscaped all round. By next year, it will look very different and possibly be a centre for all sorts of water-based activities.
We climb now, up and up to the summit, where there is some sort of early-warning or radar station, which may have been there from the second world war, as the Germans did place one to cover the northern coast of Spain, but I doubt we’ll ever know. How it’s survived the various storms, I don’t know.
The mountains are green, with sporadic pine plantations and thousands of wind turbines. We’ve stopped many times for a quick pee and I can’t say we’ve noticed any noise, dead birds or anything else that wind turbines are supposed to do. I like them, to be honest. The mountains aren’t like the Alps and are generally the recipients of vast quantities of rain and wind. Why not use them?
Finally, we turn off the mountain road, freewheeling down and then up to the turn off to O Barqueiro. 20 k of downs and ups and more downs, kilometres of Eucalyptus plantations (not my favourite tree) and then more downs, towards O Barqueiro, where we turn off to our favourite beach.
There are many to choose from.
Find your own. We’ve decided that this year, we’ll move around to various beaches and spend at least ten hours sitting by the sea, with one day for lunch. The other trips will involve picnics, but we owe ourselves a good lunch out once per year.
If you spend enough time on the beach, it changes your brainwaves, smoothing out the nerves and resetting the stress and let’s face it, we’ve had plenty of stress for the last six months.