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  • Day660

    Praia do Rostro, NW tip of Spain

    April 17, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    It seems both of us may have a bug which is leaving us feeling drained after the slightest exertion. It was a struggle doing the hand washing, using the van services and driving on to our next stopover, but oh boy was the drive worth it!

    On the Northwest tip of Spain, Rostro Beach is an incredible place. We stayed in a small circular gravel car park that formed the end of a sloping, single track lane. Red, black and white signs warned us of the 'Praia Perigosa' (dangerous beach) but there were also information boards with photographs of rare plant species growing in the dunes. From the top of the lane we'd seen the incredible Atlantic waves crashing into a white froth of wild surf and even before we opened the door we could hear their roar. Wooden posts connected by weathered, off-white rope, ran alongside a freshwater stream that flowed behind the dunes and beside the base of a gorse covered cliff, to reach the ocean. Taking Poppy with us and crossing a makeshift wooden bridge, we stepped carefully amongst the red tinged sedum and sea holly, to climb the virgin sand dune, its surface windswept and smooth. Poppy was in her element and after paddling and slurping up stream water, she ran with labouring breaths up the mound, only to stumble and nose dive into the soft sand! She does sometimes forget that she has in excess of 100 doggy years on the clock!

    Bridging the crest a wild scene was layed out before us. A narrow band of pristine beach divided us from a frothing storm of an ocean. Situated on one of the most westerly points on the Iberian peninsula, this beach bore the full brunt of waves whose fetch ran all the way from America. The offshore wind blew the Atlantic rollers backwards, but only succeeded in skimming spray off their peaks. Towering above us, the roar they made when they folded was immense and they rushed up towards us, covering metres in seconds. Observing all this we felt awestruck by the power of nature.

    Back in the van, we watched as the tide rose and waves were funeled up the stream in a surge that made us consider moving further up the hill. The strength of the surge uprooted several of the wooden posts that cordoned off the waterway and at one point we saw the makeshift bridge being sucked out to sea!

    Morning came with a chorus of birdsong and a mist that crept down the hillside and shrouded the shore. It didn't last for long, as the intense rays of sunshine soon burned it off. Although there were some exciting looking clifftop walks nearby, we spent most of the day in the van, trying to regain our energy. We did however take little wanders up the lane, noticing the field of yellow flag iris and the occasional flying cicada, its wings clacking together noisily with each beat. Down on the beach, the waves, while still powerful, had calmed from yesterday's wild rampage. Butterflies flitted around the car park verges and just in front of the van, a group of Common Waxbills picked at seeds in the grass, the bright red beaks and eye stripes, striking features on this otherwise mousy brown little bird. They are natives of Africa but small colonies are becoming increasingly frequent in Spain and Portugal.

    Praia do Rostro was a wonderful place to spend a couple of days and it was with some reluctance that we moved on.
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