21st November, 2019
A sunny day at sea northbound on Wednesday, skirting the west coast of Portugal, saw as making tracks at maximum speed towards Vigo.
In the early hours of Thursday morning we entered the bay of Vigo via the Canal del Sur, (southern entrance) before embarking our local pilot at 09:15 for the final few miles of passage towards the berth. The sun shone as we came alongside at 10:00, but the forecast threatened the chance of a shower or two during the day and so I duly warned our guests that they might wish to pick up one of our complimentary brollies at the gangway when heading out – just in case.
As it happened, it was a delightful day up until about 14:00, when the heavens briefly opened with a heavy downpour. Of course, most people had forgotten of the chance of rain by that time, and so a few returned after lunch looking rather wet…but as always for us Brits, seeing the funny side.
Anyway, let’s talk a little more about the region which we have come to visit: Galicia. Well what a marvellous part of the world it is, ladies & gentlemen. Stunning scenery, mountains, coastline and to top it off some of the best food in the world, in my opinion. Galicia is famous for its tapas, and particularly its seafood. It is also famous for a place called Santiago de Compostella – the charming old pilgrimage city with a stunning cathedral & old quarter.
There are many other superb spots to explore in this region: the old city of Tui set in the hills near the Portuguese border, for example, as well as stunning medieval Sotomaior Castle just a short drive from Vigo. For those wishing to stick close to the coast, we ran a trip to the beautiful Atlantic coastal town of Bayona, as well as Mount Castro, which provides superb views over the aforementioned establishment as well as the sea.
For those wishing to stay closer to home, Vigo also has plenty to offer. Steeped in history itself, this age old fishing harbour renowned supposedly for being the largest in the world, offers attractive marinas on its coast, 17th century architecture throughout the town, and a charming old town with a labyrinth of winding narrow streets and shaded squares.
Being somewhat of a foodie myself, I indulged in the delight of a having a night in port here and so once my daily duties were complete I set about finding the best tapas restaurant in town. I am pleased to report that I was 100% successful, having found a little tavern bustling with locals just 10 minutes’ walk from the ship, which served every type of tapas imaginable. Suitably stuffed, I returned to Saga Sapphire to enjoy a nice rest in the calm sheltered waters of Vigo harbour.
Friday morning at breakfast time, it was time to sail homeward bound to England. The weather had taken a turn for the worse, with gales and rain battering the ship’s starboard side as we let go our lines. Fortunately, the wind assisted us in our manoeuvre off the berth before turning the ship to point westward out into the Atlantic. We were just in time to run ahead of the next north Atlantic winter weather system pushing in from the west, meaning a relatively comfortable trip across the Bay of Biscay should be in ahead of us, permitting easy bag packing for those who had dozens of clothes & souvenirs to take home with them…
Captain Kim Tanner
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