Our bus left the port of Vigo, Spain at 9 am on an overcast day. Royal Caribbean shore excursions offered the Typical Galicia Cellars Tour.
The excursion began with a history lesson explaining how people migrated from Vigo to America and other European countries during the 50’s and 60’s. The tour guide shared the value of fishing to the town’s economy and spoke about the Battle of Vigo Bay (the War of the Spanish Succession) fought in 1702.
We traveled along the estuary of Ria de Vigo, a beautiful waterfront with mussel farming and oyster beds. We stopped at the city of Cambados Galicia, a province of Pontevedra. The region averages 80 rainy days a year and is renowned for its production of white wine called Albarino. The old town with cobblestone streets, elegant squares, and stately manor homes has 12,000 residents.
Our guide took us to the Church of San Bieito, and we then had 40 minutes of free time to wonder about the town. Unfortunately, on Sunday morning, most businesses were not open. We roamed around the backstreets before making our way to our meeting point at the town center. As a group, we took a short walk back to the bus, leaving this stop at 10:50 am.
Sitting on the left side of the bus is now best as we traveled through the town of Pontevedra Galicia and past the second bay for the day. Legends speak about building the Santa Maria, a ship from the Columbus expedition, in this bay.
Our next stop was Agro de Bazan, S.A. (Bodega Granbazan) in the beautiful Salnes valley. This site features a magnificent bold blue manor house finished with a welcoming wrought iron gate. The curator of the winery gave a one-hour guided tour identified on their website as the Arousa Estuary Visit.
The tour began with an explanation of winemaking. The guide pointed out that trellising the grapes is necessary to prevent disease induced by the region’s humidity. In the vine fields, a beautiful granary storehouse made of stone sat amid the vegetation. These primitive granaries and storage areas exist throughout the Galicia region. Most of the production from Bodega Granbazán exports to the United States.
The tour progressed to the fermentation room where Albarino wine begins. The room held many stainless steel tanks for refining the grapes. Occasionally the curators run a batch using authentic French Oak barrels. The smell inside was a little overpowering, but we did not stay long.
The next stop was in the main house where we went upstairs for the tasting. I spotted a small museum of winemaking history on the first floor but did not go inside. At the tasting, we sampled three wines; Grabazan Etiqueta Verde, Granbazán Etiqueta Ambar, and Granbazan Limousin. A light snack of cheese and crackers accompanied the samples.
After our tasting, we visited the Wine Store and Gift Shop. With the tour complete, the bus left at noon.
Our last stop was at the Hermitage of La Lanzada at 12:20 pm. We visited the Chapel of Our Lady of La Lanzada and saw spectacular cliff-side views of the Atlantic from this vantage point. We spent about 40 minutes here with a 1 pm departure. Since we were on the right side of the bus on arrival, we missed noticing the necropolis of Castrexo village. The ancient site is a couple minutes stroll down the entrance road.
On the return trip, we got pictures of the Cies Islands from the coach. This landmass is a nature reserve included in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park.
At 1:50 pm we arrived at the pier after spending a delightful day in Galicia.
Cruise Port: Vigo, Spain
Cruise Line/Ship: Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
Tour Name: Typical Galicia Cellars Tour
Tour Operator/Guide: Baleares Consignatarios Tours; Ana
Steps logged: 5,136