Cambados - Vuelta a Iberia - CycleBlaze

September 20, 2019

Cambados

On our first night in Santiago we slept poorly because of the unhappy convergence of jet lag and street noise that continued long into the night.  Our second night was even worse - the noise outside never really stopped, even though we’re five floors above the street and protected by windows that block out most of the noise.  By the time we finally give up and head down to breakfast, Rachael is feeling so sleep-deprived that she’s almost nauseous.  When Rocky isn’t sure she can face breakfast, you know there’s a problem.

Over breakfast, I upload the photos from yesterday’s tour.  As I look again at the photo of the couple in Alameda Park whispering to each other along a concrete wall, I have an epiphany about the street noise and our room.  Our window faces straight up a long street whose sides are both uniformly lined with tall, flat surfaced buildings.  It’s a sound cannon, channeling all of the local sounds from blocks around straight at our window.  I’ll bet if we were shifted two rooms in either direction, it would be much quieter.

Looking up our sound funnel toward the City of Culture of Galicia, the structure we saw illuminated the night before. Also, note that is foggy this morning. The weather is changing.
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One of our intentions for this tour was to approach it with more flexibility than we have in the past.  With that in mind we’ve changed our plan for today to align to the realities of the local weather situation.  After several weeks of excellent weather, the rains are due to arrive later tonight and soak northwest Spain for the next two weeks.  As today looks like the best riding conditions we’ll see for awhile, and since we want to get some sleep in a quieter place anyway, we decide to cancel our third night in Santiago and hit the road.

Off to Cambados!

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Cambados is a small coastal town south of Santiago, in the Rías Baixas: a series of four estuarine inlets between Santiago and Portugal.  The route we follow today is inland and generally follows the Portuguese Camino, the pilgrimage route from Porto north to Santiago.  Throughout the day we will regularly pass walkers going the other direction, Santiago-bound.

It’s a remarkable route, with most of the day spent on slender low traffic lanes that pass through a scenic agrarian landscape unlike any we’ve seen before - green, lush, with oak forests interspersed with small holdings raising crops of all kinds - vegetables, corn, vineyards.  Intermittently we find ourselves on busier roads for a few miles where no quieter alternatives exist, but they’re all quite safe.  This is the Camino, and even where it follows these busier roads there is an adequate margin.

On the Camino del Norte, going the wrong way. Note Rachael’s new bike shirt, off on its first outing. Bonus points for anyone who can deduce her favorite colors.
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The vegetation here is fantastic and varied. Here we have a massive chestnut being strangled by a thousand vines that have been severed at the base to protect the tree.
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Moss and lichen-encrusted stone structures are a recurring sight all day long.
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On the Camino, biking against the stream.
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In Galicia
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We’ve been biking past clusters of showy pink lilies all morning.
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Andrea BrownThis is lycoris, “Surprise Lily”. It sends up its leaves in the spring/summer, then dies down to nothing, then throws up the blooms seemingly overnight, hence the “surprise”. This is a very nice bunch.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownThanks! They sound a bit like soldier mushrooms, that appear overnight also. I did some of my own research for a change, but couldn’t find anything quite right.
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2 months ago
The forests here are dense and varied. Oak predominates, but chestnut, pine and many other species are present.
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This is an hórreo, a small granary common to Galicia, northern Portugal and Asturias. Standard features include slatted sides to allow ventilation, and an elevated base with a concrete flooring to prevent intrusion from below by rats.
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Identification, por favor?
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Andrea BrownWhile the leaves look a lot like a mimosa, some acacia species have similar ones, and the flower/bud habit of this guy would suggest one of the many acacias, perhaps Acacia dealbata, or silver wattle.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, of course. Acacia. I’ve seen this before, but couldn’t place it.
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2 months ago
Details of a small roadside church.
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An awesome spot to bike, latticed by a dense network of small, twisty roads and paths with an air of mystery - you’re always wondering what’s around the next bend.
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In Galicia
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In Galicia
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Washing station and fountain.
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Fantastic cycling, between stone walls and beneath concrete-trellised grape arbors.
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Our lunch spot, sitting on a concrete slab beside the road and looking across the vineyard at a pair of hórreos. Beneath the hórreo on the left is a chicken run - when I approached thy all rushed to the mesh fence to stare at me.
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For much of the day our route followed the train line, periodically crossing under through tunnels low enough that I even scraped my helmet on the roof of one. Keeps the traffic down very effectively.
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This graceful bridge, almost a mile long, crosses the mouth of the Ulla River, one of the rivers of Rías Baixas. The bridge is new, not yet in use, and. Or even shown on the map.
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Jacquie GaudetVery cool design! Makes me wonder what it's made of...
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jacquie GaudetI’d like to know more about this one too, as well as the highway as a whole. I was following it as a whole and it looks like it extends for twenty or thirty miles, all empty and not yet on the map. It looks like it would be a great bike ride now if you could get through it without getting arrested.
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2 months ago
One of you told me what this is once in the past, but I’ve forgotten. Please refresh my memory.
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Andrea BrownThe evil Pokeweed.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, right. Poke me with a sharp stick and maybe I’ll remember next time.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekWeeping hydrangula. Native to east Hydrangsylvania.
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1 month ago
Ría Arousa, the bay at the mouth of the Ulla River. Cambados, tonight’s destination, is straight ahead on the left, about seven miles away still. Note how overcast it has become - for the last several miles we’ve been wondering if we’ll arrive dry and have picked up the pace.
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The weather changes, and we arrive dry. This is the plaza and palace of Fefiñáns, the most important plaza in Cambados.
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An excellent first day of the tour.  After we arrive, we both nap for awhile and then I step out to explore the town while Rachael continues catching up on some badly needed sleep.  We’ll be in Cambados for two nights, planning to sit out the expected squall tomorrow, so we’ll save what I saw for then.  Plan on coming back to look though - Cambados is beautiful!

We celebrate our first miles on the road with a fine meal accompanied by a half bottle of Albariño (the Galician name for this local grape; in Portuguese it is known as Albarinho).
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Ride stats today: 37 miles, 1,500’

Today's ride: 37 miles (60 km)
Total: 37 miles (60 km)

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Carolyn van HoeveWishing you well on your travels through Spain. We will be arriving in Puglia on the 6 October and in Andalucia on the 16th. Looking forward to following your tour. I was reading about the big floods they had in the South East a few weeks ago and hoping that was the weather event done and dusted with no more to follow. Fingers crossed.
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2 months ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesNot wanting to be difficult, but is not the Camino del Norte the route along the Northern coast of Spain? Thought the route you are on, from Portugal north to Santiago, was called the Portuguese. .???
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesYou’re correct, Steve. Thanks for pointing that out. We have one friend walking the Portuguese Camino now, and the couple we met in Santiago that walked it also. I must have misunderstood what they were saying.
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2 months ago