What I never did consider, while trying to pay attention during Geography class, was that a portion of Spain comes over the top of Portugal. Portugal doesn’t ‘own’ the whole western coast.
The town of A Coruna is just about as far west as you can go on mainland Europe – but we’re still in Spain… But not for long!
Travelling an hour or two south(!) past Santiago de Compostela finds us in a different time zone! Suddenly we had gained an hour? Portugal is in the same time zone as the UK, however, the Spanish towns to the north are on continental time. Very strange indeed.
This was another great drive with steep hills and thick eucalyptus forests. We took the N550 past Pontevedra and Vigo and crossed the Minho river which forms the frontier between the two countries. From there we hugged the coast on the N13 towards Vania do Castelo.
Vania do Castelo
In the drizzle that has been following us for the past two weeks, we come into the town of Vania do Castelo. After having traversed half a dozen other villages this seems rather a lot bigger.
We cross the Limia river on an old iron bridge with a dogleg jink at the top of the access ramp. We later find out it was designed by Gustave Eiffel himself and carries his name. A nice bit of charm.
On the other side of the river, we turn towards the beach and try the camping Inatel, but are refused entry. It seems to be reserved for locals only or something weird. Next door is the campsite Orbitur where we manage to secure a spot for a couple of days. And set up camp in the rain…
The next day brings sunshine and also a surprise. It seems to be that the beach just behind the dune is home to half of the kite surfers in Europe (I kid you not – check the video below). Five dozen or more kites are in the air. The wind is blustery but good and the beach sand is pretty fine (pun intended).
Surfers and Campervans
The pitch we are on is not big at all. And is also not quite level. But we don’t mind this, having spent many a night on a sloping pitch. In fact, I have never really cottoned on to the amount of effort campervan drivers put in, to park on those little plastic levelling wedges under the tyres. Reversing ever so cautiously, with each millimetre forming a tightrope act between success or the certain ruination of a day.
And the surfers on the beach? Well, they’re all camped out here (of course) and I can’t help but feel that our credentials are missing a vital ingredient – like a surfboard…
Cold Water, Nice Vibe
The showers are cold. No heating to speak of. Nor any power to them at all. Just a slight trickle from one or two unblocked holes in the showerhead.
There is a pool, however, and a bar/restaurant on site. And quite a few chalet/cabanas for rent.
The setting under the tall, thin pine trees is nice. Underfoot there is no grass but pine needles. A drizzle accompanies the evening meal. Some music resonates from somewhere. Laughter and idle banter. The vibe is nice and chilled when we come back from a long beach walk in the sun.
This is not the surfer vibe I would instantly connect with this campsite though. When you arrive the camping seems organised, well established, orderly and efficiently set up. Something I equate with northern Europe (although the tent sites are pretty stacked).
Perhaps I need to revisit my views on surfer life and the distinction between a northerner and someone living in southern Europe? But, then again, that’s exactly why we’re here…