National Geographic : 1978 Mar
Tourist brochures don't call it that, but the fishermen know the name well. Many boats have sunk here, from the Cape of St. Adrian to Cape Finisterre. A lighthouse keeper says it's the fog and the wind, the huge waves and the rocks just under the surface. Sunbathers cluster on gentle beaches farther south. I note a construction boomletatCamarifias; the men have been away, making good money on oil rigs in the North Sea. But on the whole, Galicia still is one of the poorest re gions, with a traditionally high emigration rate. Inland, at Santiago de Compostela, the old pilgrimage center and university town, I ask about the spray-painting on the wall. Ga licia Ceibe? That's galego for Free Galicia. In deepest Galicia, in the valleys of the Si erra del Caurel, I meet sturdy characters of another time. A woman walks on a mountain path, twisting fibers onto a spindle as she goes. The result, eventually, will be wonderful socks. A man who puts me up for the night walks nine hours every other day, up and down steep mountainsides, delivering mail to scattered hamlets; he just made himself a new wooden plow. In the morning another man is out looking for a sheep named Morita. He worries that a wolf might have gotten her. Not long ago a wolf grabbed one of his sheep, but he held on at the other end until the wolf let go. "All he got was a mouthful of wool."