2003 08 09

Join Chris and Jackie Lambertsen and their two cats, Nevis and Saba, in Galicia, Spain during August, 2003.


Galicia, the northwest corner of Spain


SHIBUMI has arrived in the big city!  After weeks of sauntering around the small towns in the Azores, we are startled to reenter big city life of La Coruna with 250,000+ residents.  Blessed with cool weather in the midst of a European hot wave when Paris and Madrid experienced 100 degree temperatures, we slept under comforters at night as temperatures in Galicia dropped below 70 and daytime temperatures exceeded 80.

As we adjusted to crowded street life, we met a Spanish couple while trying to order in a tapas restaurant during Emily’s last meal with us.  Sitting next to our table, Javier Sanchez and Carmen Leis, who lived in Houston, Texas, during the 90’s, watched in amusement as we “cut and dice” the tapas menu.  To our relief, Javier interceded and helped us arrange a fine meal of sautéed octopus, pan-fried green peppers, grilled shrimps, and two bottles of local wine.  We meet them later in the week and discover the essence of travel:  the joy of seeing the region through the eyes of locals who obviously love it! 

We made landfall in a quiet bay across from the main port at 0200 on Tuesday, July 29th and slept. In the afternoon, we motored west to the main transient boating harbor east of the fort at Castillo de San Anton.  That’s SHIBUMI to the left of the lighthouse.   Formalities to check into Spain were minimal but since we were anchored in the harbor without paying for either a slip or a mooring, the Real Club Nautico employees were adamant to the point of being rude that we could not use any club facilities.  They would not even answer any questions about local marine services without payment.  A real adjustment after the friendliness of the Azores. We used another dingy dock and everything was fine.

Our next hurdle was adjusting to the Spanish time table.   Spain uses the same time zone as the rest of Europe which means that “sun time” is late.  The sun rises at 0730 and sets at 2200 (no kidding!).  Restaurants open at 1400 for lunch between 1400-1600 and 2100 for dinner at 2200-2400.  Nightlife starts at midnight and lasts until 0400.   This almost sounds like a watch schedule.  Whew! 

The plus to eating lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 10 pm  is that you also need to take a siesta after lunch to really adapt to the lifestyle.  This took no getting used to at all!

La Coruna is a modern city enveloping two older sections:  one from medieval times called Cuilad Vieja and the other created when the isthmus sanded up three hundred years ago called Real Puerto.  The city’s nickname is “the city of glass” or “the crystal city” due to the many glassed-in balconies overlooking the port and the streets of the older parts of the city.  The glass balconies allow the residents to enjoy the city in any weather and provide a heat source in the winter.  

Hercules Torre, pictured left, is the oldest working lighthouse in the world.  Built in the 2nd century during a Roman occupation to direct ships into the port, the original lighthouse was enveloped with the current facade in the early 19th century to protect the Roman ruins. It is visually striking from land and from sea. 

Municipal attractions include 13 museums, an aquarium, two forts, the tower of Hercules, a sculpture park, three fresh (open air) markets, great city bus service, a tourist trolley that encircles the peninsula, city gardens, and upscale shopping districts where you can literally find anything … in Spanish.

Which brings us to our next hurdle:  learning enough Spanish to successfully navigate our trips ashore.  Our Spanish courses on CD and tapes aboard SHIBUMI are unpacked as we venture into the unknown.  Jackie has the easier time since she creates words in English anyway!   Each morning at coffee, we announce the day of the week to each other:  “Hoy es Sabado, Agosto noveno!”  Very slowly, and not very surely, we learn Spanish.  Once again, we were spoiled in the Azores where English was a second language taught in school.

Galicia is on the same latitude as Boston, MA, and exhibits much of the features of the US northeast coast, including dramatic tides of 12-20 feet.  Their history dates back to prehistoric times and we look forward to visiting castros, the circular home-sites of prehistoric man, Celtic ruins, Roman ruins, and modern towns.

Once again, we adjust our schedule to stay awhile in this lovely region as we have no hurry to move south into the heat of August.  Our current plans are to winter in the Canary Islands so that we can haul the boat in January and then sail all winter.

Updated Pages:
bullet The Azores

New Pages: 

bullet Angra do Heroismo, Terceria
bullet La Coruna, Spain
bullet Voyage Log Volume 0307