Viva A’Vouga

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday 19/20/21stMay – Days 24/25/26

Well, we have had a fun-packed few days at Camping A’Vouga, right on the beach just outside the little village of Louro. We were headed for another campsite in the village but the allure of beachside camping (see photos) and the promise of watching dolphins in the bay while we ate our breakfast proved too strong. 

The whole area is dominated by the distinctive hump of Monte Louro a big rocky outcrop that sticks out into the bay. I can tell you that Monte Louro is 300m, high give or take a couple of metres, and it takes two and three quarter hours to climb up to the top  and down the other side, take photos of its lighthouse, Faro Louro and then scramble across the rocks back to the campsite because by now it is high tide. A total distance of 10km. The view from the top is breath-taking and gives you a good view of Cabo Finistere (Cape Finisterre), famous for being a sea area on the shipping forecast and for centuries thought to be the most westerly point on mainland Europe (it’s not!); and of our campsite.

We got back just in time for the table we had booked at the restaurant attached to the campsite. This was an excellent restaurant and catered for non-campers as well. We met an Englishman in the bar who lives just down the road and comes most evenings to watch the activity in the bay over a beer. That evening he had been teaching Spanish to James and Lynne, a couple from South Wales (Beddau, Mum!) who live on the campsite for six months of the year and were a fount of knowledge about the local area.

The meal was excellent, we had chosen the gourmet menu, with seafood platter for starters, followed by a meat platter with three different types of meat, cooked in Galician styles. We thought we were only getting one type, so there was plenty to give to the dogs the next day. The particularly fine brandy convinced us, we are going to stop here until Wednesday.

The following day, Monday, Andy drove us along the coast to the village of Finisterre with the plan to walk the three kilometres to visit ‘the westerly tip of Europe. After our morning coffee at a harbour side bar we found that, instead of walking the ‘fairly average’ road to the Cape, we could do it by boat. It was a particularly benign day and the sea was flat calm, so we didn’t get the full Finisterre experience, or photos of waves crashing on the rocks, but Wendy didn’t need the Stugeron either.

Apart from the Romans and other believing it to be the end of the world it is also the end of the Camino de Santiago for many people, who choose to carry on past Santiago until they run out of land and some ceremoniously burn their socks – which are probably past washing after 500 miles. On the boat we got chatting to an American woman who had finished the Camino the day before and had decided to visit the Cape again by sea. It turned out she had an ulterior motive, as the walk was a challenge she had set herself to do for her 70thbirthday, having previously completed the Appalachian Trail, and she had carried some of her recently deceased husband’s ashes with her. She surreptitiously cast them over board as the boat rounded the Cape. As to her socks, she kept hers because she said she had grown very fond of them over the last three weeks.

On the way back to Louro we took a left to discover the Cascade Ezaro, an impressive waterfall James and Lynne had recommended we visit. Even after the dry weather we have had it was a remarkable sight. 

The river at the top of the cascade has now been dammed to provide water for a hydroelectric scheme and the steep climb up to it must have been very photogenic when it was used as a stage in the Vuelta a España cycle race in 2012

On Tuesday we had a rest! After a frantic session of van sweeping and washing of laundry the rest of the day was spent on the beach. Apparently, you can still keep a look out for dolphins with your eyes closed?

Camping A’Vouga is our favourite campsite of the trip so far. It’s great location (eat your heart out Bayona!) and wonderful bar and restaurant more than make up for its few shortcomings. We will be sorry to say good bye, but there are more beaches to discover.

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