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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Muxia

We sailed from La Coruna heading toward an anchorage inside Cape Finisterre but due to slow progress decided to put into Muxia. This proved to be a good idea as the town is interesting.

Here is the town from the top of the hill, Kapowai just by the cross.

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The town from sea level with the hill to the right.

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Tower of Hercules

This is the oldest functioning Roman Lighthouse, 1900 years old.

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Coruna had walk and cycle ways all over, fantastic thinking  by the planners and well used by residents of all ages. We cycled along the coast to see the Tower.

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Strictly speaking the roman tower is inside this one which was done in the 1700’s and then renovated later. Still impressive.

As we saw it first.

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La Coruna

Coruna is antipodal with Christchurch in NZ, my old town for many years. Things you learn.

It does not seem like a tourist town but one of the Queens dropped in for a day.

Some excellent Museums but very little in the way of translation. I enjoyed the military museum and the fort which can be seen behind Kapowai.

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It was the scene of a battle in the Napoleanic wars with the British army being evacuated from here. The British general, Sir John Moore, was killed and as per his wish is buried here.

The markets were full of fruit, fish and vegetables which made shopping for food fun.

The architecture is something to see.

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Passage to Spain

Repairs completed we got ready to go but ended up waiting on weather for a few days.

Sailing down the Solent past the forts:

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White Cliff on the south end of the Isle of Wight.

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The forecast was not good, rough to Ushant and improving after that. But it got uncomfortable quickly and at 2200 that night the MetOffice issued a revised gale warning so we altered course and ended up next morning anchored in Tor Bay.  We had wind speeds over 4o knots while at anchor so it was the right thing to do.

The next night it looked better and we had a small window to get round Ushant so the anchor came up at 2000.  Rough but OK and we rounded Ushant at 1200 the next day. From then on it was just a big swell, wind died down and eventually the stabilisers went off and we crossed the Bay of Biscay without too much discomfort.

Eventually Spain came into view and by 1000 we are tied up in the Marina at La Coruna.

Entering the bay as dawn breaks.

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Portsmouth

Back in Hamble we took a short train ride down to Portsmouth. It was wet and cold so not the best day but one thing I had to see was ‘Victory’.

Still a commissioned vessel and the Flag Ship of the First Lord of the Admiralty.

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They are fitting a fire suppression system and getting ready to pull the masts for a major refurbishment.

The same ship Nelson sailed on although they estimate about 2% of it is original, including the keel, and about 15% from Trafalgar.

He did his duty:

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