Thursday, 30 June 2011

Off on a boat ride.

Today I abandoned the chess player (as of yesterday scoring 3 points out of a possible 5 – 2 wins, draws and one loss) and went and caught a boat to the Isla de Ons. I was going to do it yesterday but when I went to enquire about boats they told me they had cancelled the 4.15 boat because there was “mucha mar”, the equivalent, I suppose, of a heavy sea. So today, to avoid problems, I went out for the 12.15 boat and had a fine ride out to the island.

Along with th
e Islas Cies, which I always praise to the skies, this island and a couple of others make up the Parque Nacional de las Islas Atlánticas de Galicia. This means it has the same restrictions about what you can and can’t take to and from the island. I was interested to hear the announcement about this on the boat telling us that you are not allowed to remove sand from the island. Hmm, I wondered if they were going to check all our shoes and look between our toes just to make sure.

This island was inhabited back in the Bronze Age, has a cou
ple of castros in it and the remains of what might have been a monastery or some kind of fortifications. I am told that it is even mentioned in Pliny but I have no proof of that. No doubt somebody knows what that illustrious Roman had to say about it. It’s one of those places that have changed ownership over the centuries but it became the property of the Xunta de Galicia back in 1984.

Unlike the Islas Cies the Isla de Ons is still inhabited on a regular basis. It was home to a fishing community in the past but I suspect lives more form tourism now. You can rent rooms or even self catering apartment there as well as camping. Because of generator problems however electric light is restricted to the hours of 13.00 to 16.00 and 21.00 to 02.00. Presumably this would apply to recharging your mobile phone and laptop computer as well.

I discover
ed what may just possibly be the ugliest little church in existence, from the outside anyway. The bell tower looks as though it is made from concrete and really is not a pretty thing. The main doorway and the interior are much more appealing though, quite pretty if you like that sort of thing and certainly worth popping your head in.

I understand
that some people go to the Isla de Ons just for the food as its pulpo is said to be very good but I did not sample the restaurant as tonight we are eating a special cena of arroz con bogavante with the chess organisers here in Sanxenxo. However the restaurant did seem to be doing a good trade.

The chap selling what I think of seaside tourist tat – ear rings and
other jewellery made out of sea shells and so on – did not seem to be doing quite so well.

I had a pleasant visit, walking miles and miles around the island – a good few kilometres anyway – following one of the trails on the information leaflet. I must walk a lot faster than most people though because a circular route which was supposed to take two and a half hours had me back at my starting point in one and a half.

To my mind the Isla de Ons is not quite as spectacular as the Islas Cíes but nonetheless worth the €14 I paid for my return ticket.

On the return
journey we were treated to the sight of fire-fighter planes dropping water onto a forest fire on the other side of the ría de Pontevedra. This is unfortunately one of the prices you pay for having hot dry sunny weather. I do hope they managed to get it under control.

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