This was a really relaxing drive as we travelled along the elevated sections of the motorway at and at approximately the same height as the tops of the pine trees we admired the views all around. Galicia has preserved dense Atlantic forests where wildlife is commonly found and is relatively unpolluted. The untouched countryside is composed of green hills, steep cliffs and estuaries and is very different from anything that I had imagined as typical Spanish landscape. In a very short time we were back at the dreaded Pontevedra where we left the motorway and headed west out to the coast and to the resort of A Toxa at the end of a long peninsula.
An important geographical feature of Galicia is the presence of many fjord-like indentations on the coast. These are called rías and are divided into the Rías Altas, and the Rías Baixas and they are important for fishing, and make the entire coastline an important marine area. They also make for long journeys because the roads follow the coast and seems to go on endlessly.
The reason for driving to A Toxa was simply to see its only famous tourist attraction; the small twelfth century church of San Caralampio set in beautiful gardens and which is completely covered in scallop shells. We crossed the bridge from O Grove to the island and by a combination of a stroke of luck and by driving the wrong way down a one way street we found it almost immediately. It had been a long way to drive but it was really worth it and the church looked magnificent in the late afternoon sun and framed against a perfect blue sky with its gleaming scallop shells bleached even more brilliantly white by the sun.
We left A Toxa and followed the coast road, which was tortuously slow drive through all of the little coastal towns on the way and culminating in a massive traffic jam in the scruffy town of Villagarcia de Arosa and with my patience only just holding out I was pleased to get through it and onto the relatively open road back to the hotel.
It had been a long but rewarding day and I was really pleased to reach the hotel bar for a glass of cold beer and a plate or two of appetizers before eating once again in the hotel. The restaurant was interesting, there was a section for the coach party and a separate part for others including a table for a team of road workers who arrived late, still in their work clothes, and quickly demolished plates of specially prepared food. We had fish again of course, a last drink and a game of cards in the hotel lounge in the company of the Spanish coach party from Alicante and then followed by a wonderful undisturbed nights sleep.