Madonna

On top of the hill above the town was a large statue, we had a climb up there.

The hill seemed to be church, the path up having the ‘stations of the cross’:

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and an alter at the top

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A Crucifixion scene:

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and above it all a huge Madonna which looks like a memorial, or a blessing, to seafarers

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Plus beautiful views over the Atlantic:

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Baiona

Baiona was an easy cruise from Vilagarcia. A summer resort town but also the arrival port for the Pinta, and therefore the first town to hear of the discovery of the new world.  Columbus himself arriving in Lisbon a few days later.

A panorama of the harbour.

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A close up:

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Very nice harbour, it is a tourist spot for the Spanish.

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Santiago de Compostela

Our next port was Vilagarcia at the head of Ria de Arousa. The idea being to catch the train to Santiago de Compostela.

This was the final resting place of St. James the apostle who had brought Christianity to the Iberian peninsular, was beheaded in Jerusalem and his remains returned to Galicia.

The remains were lost in the 3rd Century before being found again in 814 AD. A church was then built on the site but was destroyed during the Moorish invasion. After the reconquest a cathedral was started in 1075 and consecrated in 1211.

It has always been an important place of pilgrimage but suffered through the many european wars. It has lately undergone a revival, in 1985 there were 690 pilgrims, in 2014 there were 237,886.

A university was added in 1495. Here are a selection of photos of the city and the cathedral. Unfortunately it was undergoing repair at the time.

A view of the cathedral for a park nearby.

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City architecture

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Cathedral interior

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Another

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Interior again, the activity is the installation of the traditional nativity scene.

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Cathedral exterior – it is huge.

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A famous shrine

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Virxe da Barca

Muxia is one of the final destinations on the St. James Way. Santiago de Compostela being the main one, pilgrims can then proceed to the coast.

We walked round the coast to the Virxe da Barca sanctuaryThis is a celtic shrine and sacred spot with a church built here in the 17th Century.

You can see why we were sheltering.

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The church interior was completely destroyed by a fire on the 25th December 2013, lightning strike being the cause. The interior when we visited:

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This is the Pedra da Barca, a rocking stone, positioned just below the church.

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Near the church is a memorial to the clean up efforts following the loss of the tanker ‘Prestige’ and the 70,000 tonnes of oil she had on board.

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When the weather cleared we set sail for Vilagarcia, here is the church and surrounds as we sailed.

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