Celtic Life International
O camiño menos transitado
In the summer of 2019, our family took our annual vacation with one resounding purpose in mind - to see WHALES! We had maps, reservations, and itineraries, all with the ultimate goal of spotting as many of these magnificent creatures as we possibly could over our two weeks of holidays.
The first stop on our agenda was the northern tip of the Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland/Labrador. We had reserved seats with a local tour company that departed from the docks adjacent to the Matthew Legacy Museum. The Matthew was a small ship that left Bristol, England in the Spring of 1497 with 19 crew members, sailing west across the Atlantic in search of a route to China and the Indies. 35 days later, Giovanni Caboto and his crew - under the mistaken impression that they had reached northeastern Asia - took possession of New Found Land for the King of England. Ultimately, Caboto's happenstance changed the course of history.
In my view, every great escape espouses a bit of the unknown, a few serendipitous flukes along the way, and - in the end - a tale or two worth telling. With those ideals in mind, the day after our whaling tour we headed east to see yet more whales and, hopefully, puffins as well! We travelled to the small town of Elliston - The Root Cellar Capital of the World (or so the sign confidently states) and, as luck would have it, our coastal adventure coincided with an area visit from UNESCO. To mark this event, site organizers had arranged for the first-ever documented root cellar jam tasting on record. While not exactly of the same caliber of significance as Caboto “discovering” Newfoundland, it was this chance happening that made a day of whale and puffin watching even more memorable as we traversed from one root cellar to another tasting the delicious local jam.
Similarly, our March/April edition paves a path that is perhaps a little less travelled, exploring the seventh Celtic nation of Galicia and, in particular, the Camino de Santiago - a sacred and profound pilgrimage for many. This part of Spain is alive with Celtic legend, music, and magic from pre-Christian times. Back then, the Celtic tribe - the Gallaeci - used this route to traverse back and forth to the Atlantic coast. To this day, Celtic cultural customs can be found in the many hillfort villages, the area's numerous pagan festivals, and the lovely lilt 0f local languages.
It is adventures like these - the ones that take us off the proverbial beaten path that often offer us the opportunity to have unique experiences and create meaningful memories that will last a lifetime.