By Regina Winkle-Bryan
I ended up in Galicia last month thanks to fellow Scoopette, Nancy Todd. She told me that a Spanish friend from Galicia had told her that the Cies Islands have ‘the most beautiful beaches in the world’. I’ve got to see this, I thought, skeptically.
Two weeks after she shared the Cies Islands tip with me, I was there on with my main-squeeze, Adri. He and I took the ferry from Vigo through the Galician fjords to get to the Cies Islands where we camped a few days. Normally a rainy area, while we were in Galicia there was a heatwave rolling over the region. The bright sun streamed through the ferry windows as we jetted through the Atlantic Ocean.
I expected greatness from the Cies Islands. Usually when I have high hopes I am setting myself up for disappointment, but such was not the case on this Atlantic archipelago. We were both completely stunned by the beauty we encountered upon arrival on the islands. The happy beach-goers, the pine and eucalyptus forests, the purest water lapping up on shores the color of sugar. It was all too much. We’d found the island of Eden. We knew we were in a magical place.
We set up our tent on a small hill under a cluster of pines overlooking a sea-fed lake. Fish jumped for bugs and gulls dove for fish as we stared out across the water. It was then and there that I felt incredibly stoned. Stoned on nature, because goodness knows we didn’t smuggle pot with us on the plane from Barcelona. My mind went quiet and putty-like. Time disappeared. Peace prevailed. What I have been trying forever to get right in my yoga classes was easy to do on the Cies Islands: think of nothing.
The days went on like this, the two of us enjoying the island in our blissed-out state of mind. We hiked to the Faro da Porta, a lighthouse on the southern tip of the island where lots of gulls lay their eggs. For a good hour we sat at the lighthouse watching the gulls and their chicks, talking about plants, laughing, staring at the fog moving across the water.
I told Adri, “Once I get in rhythm with nature, time goes really fast. Whole days pass and I’ve done nothing but look at trees and eat lunch.”
“That’s good,” he replied in a zen way. Neither one of us had any desire to know the time.
We had brought food from Vigo with us, and ate simple sandwiches on a boulder off the trail. Baguette, bread, cheese, an apple. We didn’t talk much, but just enjoyed the sound of birds and waves and nothingness. At night we’d go to bed early, at maybe ten or eleven, and sleep late. We were not in a rush.
Our trip to the Cies Islands was by far the best trip he and I have ever been on together. It brought us closer in that we both enjoyed it in a very similar way and both needed the disconnect from Barcelona. For me it was one of those trips that I will always remember as a moment in which I fell in love with Adri again, or perhaps just more deeply. It has also become one of my ‘happy places’, the place I think of when I’m down or just want to escape into my own little universe.
So are the Cies Islands indeed the most beautiful beaches in the world? I can’t say, but they are certainly some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain.
Note that only camping is available on the islands.