What a wonderful day we had in Vigo, Spain. We were up before dawn to catch a quick room-service breakfast and down to the pier to catch a bus for a tour to Cambados Village in the heart of Albariño wine country and then on to a vineyard.
As we rode along we caught a beautiful sunrise coming over the Vigo estuary. All along the coast you could see neatly arranged rafts for cultivating mussels.
We arrived in the Cambados Village and took a walking tour through the town with our wonderful guide Tito. The first thing he pointed out was an odd looking rectangular structure on pedestals. He explained that these were called ‘horreos’ and were used to store grains and that have become symbols of the country’s architectural heritage. He went on to explain that the pedestals are to protect the stores from rodents and the slits on the sides are for ventilation. On the roof was a cross at one end and a pyramid on the roof.
The small village was beautiful with its narrow and sometimes winding streets, little shops and sidewalk cafes. At the far end of the main street was a large plaza with a beautiful church at one end. There were flowers everywhere. Down the main street were many bodegas selling the wines produced in the region.
The Igrexa de San Bieito church (Saint Benedict Church) was built in 1784. The sanctuary was small but beautiful. There were several townspeople in the church so we were very quiet as we glanced at the simple but beautiful altar, wood pews and statuary. We walked around outside the church and discovered a small alley with several traditional granite houses and gardens. We also discovered a very friendly black cat with white paws. We spent a few moments playing with the cat before moving on back towards the town.
We stopped at the Vinoteca-Café Bar for a quick café latte before the bus returned to take us to the Agro de Bazan Winery nearby.
We arrived at the winery and had to park some distance away because the driveway was too small for the tour bus. Our guide gave us a short tour then explained how the wine is made and where it is stored. We were then escorted to a separate building for the wine tasting. The room was set with tables covered with wine glasses, water and plates of cheese and crackers.
Our guide explained that the wines are made from a variety of grapes called Albarino. The Albarino grape is a small, green, thick skinned variety that is well suited to resisting fungal disease in the damp climate of the Rias Baixas region of Spain. We tried four wines; two white, two red. We tasted the Granbazán Verde, Granbazán Ambar, Mas de Bazán Syrah and the Mas de Bazán Reserva. All the wines were tasty. We checked out the gift shop and then went out to the fields.
Randy was amazed at how high the vineyard was. “These grapes vines tower over me,” Randy remarked as he walked among the grape-bearing vines. We then walked around the grounds stopping here and there to take pictures.
It was fun exploring the vineyard but it was time to return to the ship. We stopped at the Central Park Café for a bite of lunch then up to the cabin to rest a while before going to a special Crown & Anchor special champagne event on the ship’s helipad as we slowly leave port.
The Oasis had never docked at this port port and the people from Vigo and surrounding areas were very excited. Residents crowded the pier and surrounding areas to watch as we pulled out of port. Randy and I watched as more and more people crowded the pier, streets, shopping area and watched as small vessels appeared in the bay. As we pulled out of the port Randy said excitedly, “Look they are all cheering. Every time the ship’s horn blows they cheer some more”.
There was a wonderful Galician bagpipe band called, Banda De Gaitas playing traditional bagpipe music wearing wonderful and colorful folklore clothing that was worn in the late nineteenth century. They were wonderful. Several times members of the band danced in the middle of circle.
Many smaller vessels escorted and followed the ship for miles and part way out of the harbor. We were watching the boats and all of a sudden we watched as fireworks burst over the city. “This is amazing,” Randy said. As we made our way down the coastline hundreds of people could be seen waving and cheering our departure. Randy looked down at me smiled and said, “Talk about a send-off. This was amazing. It was awe inspiring”.
For the next two days we will be at sea making our way up the European coast to Rotterdam.