The weather forecast for the coming week was unsettled. We were hoping that with a move to a more southerly latitude we might exchange liquid sunshine for actual sunshine. However we got a lot more than we bargained for. We reached Vigo and it was then that we were alerted to the weather warnings for incoming Storm Babet. Torrential rain, 10-14m high waves with winds gusting up to 130km/hr was aiming right for what was to be our beachside campsite for the next few nights.
Storm Babet on approach
Safety first, we decide to stay two additional nights at a camping car park (Aire) in Vigo. It was not very glamorous but it had the essentials. Most importantly we were sheltered, away from trees, poles and on higher ground. We had cozy duvet days and movie nights while the rain came down in buckets and the wind buffeted us. In between the rain bands we did get out for some fresh air and to stretch our legs. We also had the unexpected pleasure of exploring our local neighbourhood of Monte da Guía and the town of Vigo.
Situated on the south bank of the Rías Baixas estuary, the fishing port of Vigo stretches back up into the hills, from a wide waterfront park, through the historic old town and up to the Monte do Castro. From the grounds of the castle you get views of the estuary and onward to the Cíes Isles. This trio of islands provide a natural shelter for the port and are a much visited National Park.
With a turbulent history of Viking, French and Roman invasions, dating back to the early Middle Ages, Vigo was the first city to free itself from Napoleonic rule. An event celebrated to this day at the annual Reconquista Festival on March 28th. The narrow, hilly streets open up into plazas, with stunning architecture. Trees and green spaces are a feature throughout the town. It also has an excellent roundabout art scene with large statutes and monuments and even an entire boat on the middle of one roundabout.
There is an extensive bike/walking greenway through the city, partly along an old train line. We hiked to the hilltop hermitage on Monte da Guía and watched a spectacular sunset over the marina. Vigo was to have been a quick stop along our way south but we are so glad we didn’t fly by and miss it. We hope to return another time to explore the Cíes Isles when the weather is more favourable.