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Religion and Rumbas in Santiago and Muxia.

13th June 2012
Santiago, Spain


Santiago and Muxia, the Way.


A Coruna

When we arrived in A Coruna we only intended to inflict ourselves upon the locals for a couple of days but ended staying for a month.  Angelina and the boys were enjoying the big city lights and we also got chance to go inland and see more of Galicia and its capital Santiago de Compostela.

In the marina we had a wonderful Spanish neighbour called Manuel who would bring us fresh tuna pies that had he had just baked. Manuel summed up the spirit of A Coruna and it was hard to leave such a lively and friendly place.


Santiago de Compostela

Mark in Santiago

Mark in this amazing city

One of our excursions took us to Santiago, the capital of Galicia and probably the most beautiful city we have seen. Believe me; Milton Keynes is a good reason to bring back carpet bombing when you see this place.

The city is not that big but has a myriad of beautiful small streets winding their way like a hydra through its ancient heart. There were ornate churches everywhere and beautiful music being played around every corner. I agree that the blues player wearing a black mask with big red lips may not have been totally politically correct but that is Spain. The only loud parts of Santiago were American Tourists who seem to have lost the volume control on their voices. Will someone please, tell them that forty stone of woman in size ten shorts and white ankle socks don’t go together.

Unbeknown to us Santiago is a place of pilgrimage for the Catholic faith as it houses the tomb of St James. We don’t know how we got there but we ducked through a small doorway in the cathedral and there was the small silver chest which houses his remains. There are many stories of how he got there. One is that he was beheaded and his remains brought to Santiago where they built the cathedral around them. I suppose being beheaded is one reason the casket is so small.


Kissing St James behind the altar

Angelina and Santiago

Angelina with the old town of Santiago in the background

We also ended up, and don’t ask me how, behind the main altar where the pilgrims held onto the shoulders and kissed a rather large silver head. Not being a big believer myself I thought I might as well give him a pat on the back, just to hedge my bets a little. Angelina, being Catholic was in two minds as to what to do. She seemed to be deliberating between a full-blown kiss and a quick rub. In the end she went for the friendly two armed hug.

The 1,000 year old pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is known in English as the “Way of St. James” and in Spanish as the “Camino de Santiago”. There are over 100,000 pilgrim’s that make their way to the city each year from points all over the world. Many of them will walk to Santiago from other countries taking months to do so. The one thing I know is that the town is beautiful and well worth making the effort to see. I know for us it was one of the highlights of the year.

Eventually I persuade my motley crew that against their beliefs Cygnus was a sailing boat and with a little encouragement we could actually get her to move away from A Coruna.


On the rocks, well nearly in Corme

Our next stop was Corme, a small fishing port where we could anchor for the night. Now I won’t go on about the large underwater rock we nearly hit or the incompetent skipper but maybe the tap on the shoulder of matey-boy in Santiago helped a little. Should anyone go there give him a big kiss from me and say thanks.

Corme was just an overnight anchorage before we set off in what should have been ideal sailing weather to Muxia in the Ria de Camerais. When I say ideal I may have also got that slightly wrong as well. Some people may think sailing into big winds, rain, no visibility and big seas is fun. We were being thrown up and down more times than a female jogger without a bra and to us it just was not funny at all. I know the crew were muttering about cheap air fares and cutting something off but I am sure they didn’t mean it… did they? For some reason the Spanish have named this coast the coast of death and no doubt my crew would like to add one more person to its roll call.


Cygnus III’s pilgrimage to Muxia


Aiden taking time out

We went into the new marina in Muxia and found the only other occupants there were the seagulls. Apparently the marina is sort of open but there is no power or water. What was even better was that it was free as no one seemed to own it. Muxia is a very small town and the third most religious place for Catholics to visit. It is the end of the pilgrimage between Santiago, Finisterre and Muxia.

It is a wonderful little town and we ended up making friends with many of the locals. We had only gone in to see what it was like but ended up staying a week. At the weekend there was a fiesta with bands, fireworks (more like SAS stun grenades with a bit more clout) and dancing. We ended up doing our own version of the rumba at two in the morning. I think ours rumba was missing something they call rhythm but who needs it anyway.

After a week the crew again rebelled as we were getting limited by lack of power to charge laptops and they even wanted to shower. I was going to say they were up in arms but believe me, the last thing you would want was Cygnus’s crew with their arms up.


Up the Ria in Camarinas


In front of Cygnus

We made a 20 minute trip across the bay to Camarinas where we could hook up to electricity, get water and a very long shower. They even had super-fast free wi-fi. This may have been a mistake as now they all think they have arrived in heaven. Even the sun was beating down and we spent a wonderful night with Ian and Judith aboard their boat “Zaurak”. The trouble was, staying there was costing money. I had devised a cunning plan which involved an anchor, some deep water and a rubber dingy. It may mean waiting until they are all asleep but if it saves some money…

Our next foray into the unknown will be to round Cape Finisterre which in Spanish means the end of the earth. It is the most Westerly part of Europe and we shall be looking out for the green flash caused when the sun dips just below the horizon.


Work harder children!

work harder childrenAnd finally to all those who need to persuade their children to work just that little bit harder in school….


If you want to see more of our images of Santiago de Compostela you can find them here.



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