A Coruna

I have read about A Coruna since I was a boy. It was always the port all sailors which started their cruising in Scandinavia made land to after crossing the fierce Bay of Biscay, seeking a well-deserved rest after encountering violent gales and massive waves. In their tales it was often with great relieves they found shelter in A Coruna, but I can’t remember anyone describing A Coruna, it was only about the crossing, I guess they were occupied with recovering themselves and repair what was broken. Of course, I built a picture of A Coruna in my head. I saw a small rugged but also cosy fishing village inhabitant by a handfull seasoned fishermen.  As we started our trip in the Mediterranean 4½ year ago I never got  the opportunity to visit A Coruna. Hence the detour via A Coruna on our way home to Lagos Portugal.

When arriving I quickly realize that my picture could not be more wrong, we arrived to a major historical town with ca 250 000 inhabitants

La Coruna

A Coruna Harbor

A Coruna is a very old town, 62 BC Julius Caesar visit A Coruna at that time called Brigantium. Another example of the very old history is Torre de Hercules, it is the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today. It’s structures 55 m was built in the second century and renovated 1791.

Torre de Hercules overlook the North Atlantic Coast and has helped many ships to safety over the centuries. Viking Björn Ragnarsson stop in A Coruna as he thought he saw a tower of Gold

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According to a myth that mixes Celtic and Greco-Roman elements, the hero Hercules slew the giant tyrant Geryon after three days and three nights of continuous battle. Hercules then in a Celtic gesture buried the head of Geryon with his weapons and ordered that a city should be built on the site. The lighthouse atop a skull and crossbones representing the buried head of Hercules’ slain enemy appears in the coat-of-arms of the city of Coruna.

Maria Pita

Maria Pita

Maria Pita (1565 1643) is a town hero from the battle against England and the privateer Francis Drake 1589. She took active part in the battle. She was at the defense line with her husband, after her husband was killed from a cross bow shot in the head, she toke a weapon and shoot an English soldier with a banner and then shouted “Whoever has honor, follow me!” ; and then they manage to drive the Englishmen off the land.

She was married 4 times, she must have been tough not only towards Francis Drake and his soldiers but also towards her own husbands!

Anyhow to her memory they have a festival lasting most of August, there are several scenes spread out in the city with various artist performing at no cost for the audience. To our surprise there was a concert with Patti Smith (if any young person read this she is a legendary poet and pop singer age 73)

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It was a lot of people attending on beach a very nice venue

 

A Coruna is very nice place indeed with both nice and impressive buildings

Such as the city hall and Square

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A Coruna is as most towns in Europe made for people and not for cars, which is a delight

A Coruna street view 4A Coruna street view 5

Street art is part of the city

Food Culture

The best of all by being back “Home” to Europe is the food culture. It is fantastic. Excellent raw materials

Such as

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Cheese, ham, wine and bread all excellent quality

or Sea food

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If you do not fancy to cook yourself, visit one of many good restaurants and enjoy very good food

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And all this excellent food at very reasonable prices. We have gormandized all kinds of delicious food, not good for waistlines but good for life.

Well there is a harbor in A Coruna also, I almost forgot that in my excitement for the place

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Part of A Coruna harbor in the Old Town.

We had e very pleasant time in A Coruna, meeting other yachties, A Coruna is highly recommended even if it far from an old weather-beaten fishing village that was pictured in my young head a long time ago.

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Azores part 2

It will be a lot of photos this time, I have difficult to decide which to exclude as most of them show the beauty of the Islands, therefore the many photos. When we left The Azores we said to each-other, what will Top this? It will be a challenge, definitely the most beautiful area we have seen. We just say go there does’t matter how you get there, just go there and enjoy

 

Pico

Pico is another beautiful island, known maybe for two things, the highest mountain in Portugal 2351 m high, and for wine production. Population is ca 15 000 people and not very touristic.

Pico Climb 4

Of course we had to pay the island a visit, and climb the top of the volcano

Pico Climb 3

The top of Pico as seen from Horta.

On the way up to the “base Camp” one passes a very beautiful landscape where the cows feast on the green grass and admiring the view, it looks as very ecological milk production?

Pico 6

Further up we came to this very special volcano crater

Pico 1

If you look carefully you see a gate in the entrance, our guess they bring the cows to the crater for milking.

Inside one has a great view of the top of Pico

Pico 3

Inside is very green and beautiful, I have used the word beautiful so many times describing the nature on Fajal and now Pico, and I can assure you I will use it many times describing the other islands that we have visited, it is amazing.

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inside the crater

Pico Climb 7

”Base camp” Pico is on 1100 m height to the right in the picture you see the broken volcano where we stopped on the way up.

At the base you buy a permit to climb and they give you a personal tracker so that they can keep track on everyone on the mountain. From here it is rather steep and demanding climb,

Pico Climb 1

Witch for the feet very sharp and aggressive volcano rocks and gravel make it sometimes very slippery. Often so steep than one need to use both feet and hands to climb not only walk.

Pico Climb 12Pico Climb 5

We had our daughter Emelie with her husband Axel visiting us, now they are smiling but further up their faces show more fatigue and admiration for the stunning view

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Pico Climb 11Pico Climb 2

A bit further up

A very strange thing we saw among the lava rocks at high altitude was spots with flowers,

Pico flover

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At the top of the crater 2300 m

The Top

There is an extra 70 meters to climb to get to the highest point, it is very steep and take maybe 30 minutes up and 45 minutes down, we felt very tiered and it was with great hesitation we decided to stay and admire the view and rest after ca 3,5 hours climb.

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On the way down I was very pleased we did stop a bit short of the peak, we were all very tiered and the way down is more demanding than the walk up and the risk of falling and hurt one self should not be taken easy on.

A few days later we returned to Pico for a more leisure full trip walking around the wine area. They started to produce wine already in the middle of the 15th century.

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And they have over the centuries worked very hard to cultivate the land picking rocks to protect the plants

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They are more proud over their white wines, which is much more expensive than the red wine.

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A windmill for grapes to become juice.

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The local cooperative for production of wine had ca 250 members and they produced just over 500 000 bottles of wine yearly so very small scale and manual production, they had a target to reach 800 000 bottles a year within a few years.

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Oak casket for storage and maturing of the wine, they had both French and US Oak casks

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And of course, we had to try and purchase a few bottles

 

But we also took a nice walk to one of the natural pools that exist on most of the Azores islands

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A nice walk to the Natural pools took us past these nice places

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Below some more pictures from Pico

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Sao Jorge

Sao Jorge is a smaller island with about 10 000 in population. We know of Sao Jorge before from the cheese they do produce, a fantastic delicious cheese, with a very pleasant and powerful aroma.

On this island we also got in close contact with the cows

Sao Jorge Cow

It was probably in excess of 100 cows walking from the field to the milking place that we had to pass, it took it’s time.

But we did not mind at all as we know how fantastic cheese, they produce

Sao Jorge Cheese 1

Cheese tasting at the local cooperative, and of course we had bags with cheese with us when leaving

Later on at an Airbnb

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We enjoyed the cheese and a bottle of Pico whine on the terrass

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Below some more pictures from Sao Jorge

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Terceira

Is a much more develop island with ca 50 000 inhabitants, larger villages better roads and more tourists.

We sailed to Praia Da Vitoria on the north side of the island, a well-protected harbor, luckily one boat just left when we arrived and we could take his place the only one free.

PDV MarinaPDV Beach

Praia Da Vitoria beach and marina “combined”

PDV House 2PDV House 1

The village itself is rather colorful and not without some charm

PDV Monument stairs

Climbing up the “stairs” one reach a monument

PDV Monument 1

And from up here one has a nice view over Praia Da Vitoria

PDV Monument view

Terceira has much more to offer

Angra Do Heroismo The oldest city on the Azores founded 1478 and an UNESCO world Heritage

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A very nice place and we could easily understand why it was an UNESWCO world Heritage

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The harbor loos well protected but there was a lot of swell coming in.

Heroismo Harbor 3

Heroismo Seafarer

Two seafarers one a bit more famous than the other Vasco da Gama

Angra Do Heroismo has a very nice garden as well.

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Of course there are Volcanoes also on Terceira

Volcano 1

Volcano Crater

Volcano 5

A tunnel into the interior of the Volcano, below the crater

 

Volcano 3

Now we are in the Volcano looking up to opening where the lava once up on a time was coming out.

Volcano 4

Stairway further down to the bottom where there is a small “lake”

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A cool place to visit

On the way “home” again we encounter a lot of cows on the roads

Terciera cows

And natural pools for swimmers

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Sao Miguel

The largest island is Sao Miguel with ca 140 000 inhabitants, a much more modern place with plenty of tourist and motorways, so our first impression not so impressive as for the other islands, but we were wrong.

The main port is Ponta Delgada with ca 45 000 people residing

The waterfront is not very charming with hotels etc, but just a block in one found a charming old town.

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Traveling on the island offers many interesting places one is the hot springs

Hot Spring 1Hot Spring 2

Smoke coming out of the ground on many places

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Boiling water

Hot Spring 6

Kerstin enjoying a warm shower in the Waterfall

Hot Spring 4

Pools with warm water

All this in a stunning environment

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Walk along a water pipeline

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And another walk to a waterfall

Waterfall 1

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Now we are tiered

Waterfall beer

so enjoying a well-deserved beer

Are you tiered of all the pictures? if not below follow several pictures to illustrate the beauty of the island San Miguel, but no text only pictures remaining

Sao Miguel 1Sao Miguel 2Sao Miguel 3Sao Miguel 4Sao Miguel 5Sao Miguel 6Sao Miguel 7Sao Miguel 8Sao Miguel 9Sao Miguel 10Sao Miguel 11Sao Miguel 12Sao Miguel 13Sao Miguel 14Sao Miguel 15Sao Miguel 16Sao Miguel 17Sao Miguel 18

 

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Arrived

Yesterday we arrived 22:15 after 890 Nm, we called the Marina Real and they gave us a good place to more Kerpa, the marina is in the middle of the old town which we will explore with great pleasure. Looking forward to have some nice sea food. The coming days will be  very windy but we are securely moored.

cof

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The wind came

Yes the wind came around 18:00 yesterday, and we made relatively good progress. By morning when we had to pass just south of the 22 nM traffic separation zone the wind picked up and we suddenly found us closed hauled at true wind 18 to 20 kn, we furled the genoa and unfurled our stay sail, worked OK. Rain of course and sometimes a lot. Wind picking up further soon 20 to 25 gusting 30 kn. Closed hauled for 22 nM and a lot of large vessels very poor visibility and building sea. A rather large contrast from conditions earlier with calm sea little wind and sunshine.
We got close to two of the ships in the very busy shipping lane. One that we hauled up and he altered course so we could pass safe in front of him. Just as we passed him the block for the stay sail sheet parts and the sail starts to flog violently before we manage to furl it. I took a more solid block and of we went again a few minutes later. Have to invest higher quality blocks, this was Rutgerson block, similar to Lewmar, original on Amel is Antal block, high quality from Italy. I noticed that we had lost one of the battens when we again unfurled the stay sail.
Yesterday the question was will we make it to A Coruna before it gets dark? Probably not but before midnights wind is strong and I would prefer to use the genoa but not sure it will survive the strong wind, now we making just below 7 kn on a broad reach guess we would make close to 8 with the genoa , and then we would be in before dark. Will ask the Admiral when she wakes up, either arriving in the dark or push a little bit to arrive just before 20:00. Distance last 24 h 161 nM
Distance to go 65 nM
Time 11:00 UTC
Position just outside Cabo Finisterre

Yesterday night we were contacted on VHF by a French sail boat, he just wanted to say he was in front of us and only have receiving AIS I.e. he saw us but we could not se him on the AIS. He’s navigation lights was clearly visible so no danger but The only sailing vessel we seen since we left 6 days ago and he was spot on in front of us. I had to alter course else we would probably sailed right over him.
Just heard on VHF that they have issued a gale warning, According to PredictWind the gusts will increase to 30 to 35 kn Hope we arrive before it gets really bad out here

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Not much wind

Almost becalmed since midnight. Engine has worked on low revs since until this morning. A bit boring to motor, but if we believe the latest forecast wind should pick up around 1300 to 10 kn and go from westerly to southerly and by midnight wind between 12 to 18 kn and if so we might reach A Coruna just before dark. So some excitement! Will we make it before it gets dark? We do not like to enter a marina we never been to during the dark hours unless they have someone there to guide us in. We have mailed the marina hopefully we get an answer if we can enter after dark. With southerly wind it should be very well protected. We do now long to get our feet’s on solid ground so we have taken an optimistic view, the wind will come! hence we trottled up the engine at 09:00 this morning so now we are motoring at 6,5 kn, urgent ETA is 2100 tomorrow so if wind picks up we should beam reach at + 7 kn and make it before dark. Pos N 42 29 W 13 08 UTC 11:00
Distance last 24 h 138 nM where off 57 by engine
Distance to go 225 nM

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