Friday, October 6, 2017

Ria de Aldan

Beautiful view over the Ria Aldan from O Hio

Between the Ria de Pontevedra and Ria de Vigo is the small Ria Aldan. Ria Aldan is exposed to the north and, given the predominant northerlies, it can be subject to swell. It is also chock full of mussel rafts which tend to smooth out the waters some. It is a  popular weekend destination for the local yachting population and the anchorage does get rather full. It is worth every effort to find a spot, as this little place, with no marina, has plenty of charm and the warmest water of any ria.

The village of Aldan stretches from the fishing pier near the abandoned fish processing plant to the modern fishing facility on the other side. You can tie your dinghy off at the old pier and head to town along the main road or along a walkway built on the beachfront. The main road has a couple of tapas restaurants nearby, a small supermarket and an excellent bakery.

Boardwalk along the Aldan waterfront

If you keep walking through a residential area with new developments, you eventually get to the other part of town. There is a lovely park, a good butcher shop with deli and vegetables, a church, and other small shops and restaurants. Keep walking to the fishing facility and slipway and you'll find a water sports facility and more good quality restaurants. Village life is quite vibrant, with people out and about all over.

As the tide comes in, the locals come out in force. The broad expanses of sand heat up in the sun, then warm the waters as they flow back in with the tide. It really is the warmest place to take a swim in Galicia.

The waterfront of Aldan at low tide

Above the Ria, at the top of the hill is the village of O Hio. We were told the most beautiful cruceiro (crucifix) is there. So we took off on a quest to find it. Up, up and up we walked from the harbour, passing lovely homes and empty fields, farms and pilgrim rest stops. When we got to the crossroads we weren't sure which way to go, so we asked at the restaurant. They told us to go left. It was a dangerous spot to walk because there was no shoulder, only a wall, and the cars were blasting by.

Cruceiro at O Hio
A short distance away, we saw the church and the hacienda next to a restaurant that seemed very popular. The church was closed but the view from the grounds overlooking the Ria was magnificent. Indeed the cruceiro in front of the church, carved in three pieces of granite, was extraordinary. It featured Jesus being taken down from the cross by a man on a ladder and another holding from below; the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene were standing below the cross. Below them was the story of Christianity from Adam and Eve to the Crucifixion.

We visited the house across the street which is part of the public exhibit, ate our picnic lunch, then headed back down to the Ria along a different Camino route. At the bottom, we stopped and had an Estrella Galicia at the beach bar run by some enterprising young people.

We went back to the boat, relaxed a bit, then took the dinghy across the Ria to the fishing pier. We had dinner at the fabulous Restaurante O Con de Aldán while watching an amazing sunset. We had been told we wouldn't get in but we went early and got a seat right on the harbour side. It was an amazing couple of days. We cant wait to return to Aldan.

Small boats at the head of the harbour

Me in O Hio

Picnic lunch in a fabulous spot

The church at O Hio

The house across the street from the Church

Inside the grounds of the house
Carvings on the wall

Relaxing in the beach bar in Aldan

The lovely waterfront in Aldan

Talking to mom in Ireland...without roaming charges!

BBQ on board one night

Waiting for a ride

Feet in the water

Island in the sand

Beautiful day at the beach

A horse, a jetski launch and a dinghy tie up, lots of action on the slip

Fine dining in Aldan 

Beautiful colours at sunset

Fog in the morning 

Sunshine coming through the fog. 

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