Rianxo, oh, Rianxo

I’ve fallen in love with Rianxo – not some hot young Galician clam fisherman, but a delightful town tucked into the northern corner of the Ria de Arousa. We spent two nights on a pontoon at Rianxo’s Club Nautico, the only people aboard one of the few yachts amidst small fishing and power boats. Most of the harbour is taken up by the larger fishing pontoons, home to the town’s many mussel and oyster boats.

DSCI4144Arriving on Monday morning, we ran the gauntlet of a fleet of small cockle-fishing boats across the harbour mouth, taking up the prime cockling sites. In each small open boat one or two fishers used rakes on long extendable poles to rake the seafloor for cockles. We barely had space to squeeze through, but the sight was impressive.

DSCI4150I have a weakness for working boats and boatyards, and having to walk amongst the fishing boats in the boatyard every time I left Carina was sheer delight to my quirky senses.

Is it just my imagination, or are there more tall blond Spaniards here than elsewhere? Well, the Vikings did invade back in the 11th Century, and a festival is held each year to commemorate the invasion, complete with replica long ships and locals dressed as
Vikings. Along the seafront a street sculpture recalls the prows and oars of a long ship.

DSCI4164Rianxo’s public spaces are many and varied. On the seafront, in the centre of town and elsewhere, are large open, but shady tree covered plazas, with benches, sculptures and busts of celebrated locals. They are cafe free, and the largest of them, The Xardina, was and continues to be a public meeting place. One can imagine rousing speeches from the steps of the town hall located at one end of The Xardina. On market day it was filled with market stalls selling clothes, shoes and household wares.

IMG_20140729_161858Rianxo has a housing style known as casas de remo. Remo means ‘oar’ and the tall narrow houses are only the width of an oar. The streets are narrow, some tiled, some cobbled, with cafes, butchers and bakers tucked away down narrow alleyways. The town rises from the seafront and from the streets running parallel to the sea one can catch occasional glimpses of the deep blue sea and the hills rising up on the opposite side of the Ria.

DSCI4168It was one of the most delightful towns I’ve encountered so far, and something about its quirkiness captured my heart.

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The skipper speaks

DSCI4137My tea has nearly been knocked over by a fairy princess ballerina waving a polar bear. Martina is sunbathing on the deck reading her book. She finished one book and has immediately started another. We ate dinner extremely early this evening, 7 o’clock! A meal of stir-fried whatever was left in the fridge, overcooked in the pressure cooker. Really tasty though*. Katie’s dinner has just been finished off by Martina, Katie having left anything that cannot be listed under the heading ‘carbohydrate’.

Today has been hot and sticky. We have been on anchor for 5 days and we have not left the boat today for the first time since I cannot remember when. Rianxo looks lovely, what we can see of it from the south, all tall trees and beautiful buildings. The beach is crowded with colourful parasols; power boats of all kinds race about, usually with a man standing up precariously at the wheel and a slim woman lounging in a bikini. If only our fridge wasn’t the hottest place on the boat, due to power considerations, I could be relaxing with a cold glass of G&T. Well I could if the only alcohol on the boat wasn’t my uncle Ian’s marrow wine.

Tomorrow morning we plan to go into the harbour here. I am quietly bricking myself because none of my sources of information seem to agree with each other. The 2000 Atlantic Spain and Portugal pilot book, the 2007 Galician pilot book, the 2014 Almanac, the paper chart, the electronic chart, the tourist leaflet from Boiro, the bloke in the chandlery in Vilagarcia and, last but not least, the tall blonde Finnish lady in a bikini shouting from her position draped across the front of a yacht as we left our last anchorage. If only I had been bothered to run the gauntlet of speedboats and parasols to recce the harbour by land I would lie easier tonight. Goodness this is a hard life!!

*Editor’s note: I didn’t force him to say it was tasty!