Pilgrimpace's Blog


Onward!
January 5, 2016, 10:16 pm
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Good memories – a year ago I was in A Coruna sat outside ‘El Rey de Jamon’ drinking albarino, eating soft blue sheeps cheese and jamon. And the next morning we bussed to El Ferrol and began a Camino.

This year promises The Cistercian Way …

Pilgrimpace's Blog

As you will remember, the Intrepid Pilgrims had arrived in Ferrol on the morning of Three Kings …

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Fortified with coffee and – praise be! – a fresh and tasty magdalena, we made our way through Ferrol and found the Camino route.

There was some debate at this point about whether we should walk across the bridge to Fene, which was something of a Short Cut. Looking at our route guide, we decided that the short cut was so large that we might arrive in Santiago before we left A Coruna.

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It was wonderful walking, often in sight of the water. The weather was kind. We were very warm in the January sun.

We listened to the sounds of Mass as we rested outside ancient churches. A man called us over when he thought we were lost (we were heading off piste for a coffee).

Along the way were constant…

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camino ingles – january 2015 stages, etc
February 3, 2015, 1:14 pm
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We spent five days walking from Ferrol to Santiago from January 6th.

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We took the evening flight from Heathrow to A Coruna with Vueling.  We stayed overnight in Hostal Mara.

We got the first bus the next morning to Ferrol and began walking using the CSJ Guide.  This is very helpful, especially with accommodation options, background information, etc.  The route is very well marked – you can walk it without consulting the directions in the Guide.

The distances it gives seemed about right and tallied with the gps distances people have given on the Camino de Santiago Forum.  Roland and I are used to walking.  This is not a difficult route.  It is varied and extremely enjoyable.

Our stages were:

Ferrol – Pontedeume.  About 18 miles.  We stayed in the albergue.  It has no source of heating but has blankets.  Some people have reported it being hard to get into.  We rang the number (different for weekends/festas) and weekdays and the hospitalero came straight away to let us in.  It would be possible to walk across the bridge from Ferrol to Fene and cut most of the mileage of this day off.

Pontedeume – Betanzos. About 14 miles.  Albergue again.  This is manned at the times listed.  Heated.

Betanzos – Hospital de Bruma.  About 18 miles.  This has the most substantial climbing on the route.  We did it in good weather and it was far less difficult than I had expected (I have climbed it twice before on the different route from Coruna.  I think that route is harder, but that stage is much longer and I walked in a storm).  If you are reasonably fit, you will be able to do it.

In winter, do not count on the bars in villages being open.  Carry some food instead.

We stayed in the albegue.  Heating and blankets.  Benino, the hospitalero, ordered us food from a restaurant.  He also offered to take us to a supermarket if we wanted.

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Bruma to Sigueiro.  About 14 miles.  We stayed in the new Hotel Sigueiro Hostal.  €46 for two of us including breakfast.  This is quite upmarket and is very good.  Hostal Mara is closed.  I am not sure if this is for refurbishment or is permanent.  Mass was earlier in the evening than the time listed in the Guide, so you may want to check – I suspect the priest changes it periodically.

Sigueiro to Santiago. About 10 miles.  The route is much better since it was changed a few years ago to keep it away from the main road.

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This is a great little Camino.  Let me know if you have any questions.



Journeys

As well as the laughter, I prayed as I walked. It is easy to catch a glimpse of transcendence when you walk through this sort of beauty

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but there are also the times of plod, of tiredness. I prayed for all those who had asked for prayers. I prayed for the world. I spent time with the thump of my feet and the rasp of my breath as I quietened down. One of the things I brought (again!) was for grace to trust more, especially in the future.

We went to Mass if we passed a Church at the right time. We went into open churches. Here is the Church of Santiago in Betanzos

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Inside the arches bow at an alarming angle, although the priest assured us they are now stable. We saw this beautiful stained glass

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The shell is of course the symbol of the Camino. It is often used to pour water by the priest in Baptism. This sums up for me a great deal. The journey of life and the journey of Spirit combining and somehow being made a bit more visible in the space and grace and walking of Camino.

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I hope that in the steps that I take and in the choices to be made, there will be always a deepening and an opening and a loving.

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I think there need be little disconnect between the Camino and the rest of our life.

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¡Buen Camino!



fork handles
January 30, 2015, 5:26 pm
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We arrived in Betanzos.  After settling into the wonderful municipal albergue we went to look for something to eat – it was that tricky time between dinner and tea.  The plaza major had a row of bars.  One had a bocadillo menu outside and people inside.  When we got inside, it became apparent they all worked there.  After a while our beers arrived.  They weren’t the best we have drunk.  We tried to order bocadillo.  The barman didn’t have most of what was on the menu, but we settled with ham.  Another wait.  A man appeared with bread.  Once we had finished, we decided it was best to leave.  I went to pay.  There was no money at all in the till.  We waited.  Change arrived.

After a wander, we found an an excellent bar down some stairs.  They were cooking.  We worked our way through plates laden with good simple food washed down with good local wine.

After a siesta, Roland went out in search of sticks.  He found a shop rather like the one in this sketch.  For a small consideration he came back with broom handles and ferrules (from Ferrol).  These did us great.  We were even able to put the broom heads back on when we needed to clean up.

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There were one or two times we passed very fierce creatures.  Knowing we had sticks to defend ourselves was a comfort.

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Shortly after passing this we stopped for coffee in a bar.  At the next table, a spherical man slowly ate ten churros.

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This interesting fungus is called Devil Fingers.

Walking along a street in Santiago I glanced into the window of a clothes shop and saw a pair of pants with the words “The chorizo from hell” printed on them.  I waited a while to tell Roland this; the moment he put a spoonful of chorizo stew in his mouth was the right one.



Oranges
January 26, 2015, 7:22 pm
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We walked on, over the hills, by the sea, through woods and farms, villages and industrial zones.

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We passed egrets, storks, sea crows sunning their wings.

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I love the contrasts of Spanish Caminos. Here, a wild orange tree grows next to a flyover for a major road. We passed peacefully underneath. We bought oranges in a small supermercado. The woman who served us asked for our credencials and gave us a sello. We ate the sweet fruit sitting on a bench watching the sea in warm sunshine.

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We stayed in albergues at night. We were the only pilgrims. The heating was usually on.

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We breakfasted on cafe y churros, got power from bocadillos, quenched our thirst with estrella galicia, albarino and ribeiro.

We didn’t fancy the sleeping facilities at the Albergue of St Laurence

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Travelling light we had no sticks. Roland picked up a hefty one from the forest floor. This made him veer to the right which was undesirable. A solution needed to be found …



Onward!

As you will remember, the Intrepid Pilgrims had arrived in Ferrol on the morning of Three Kings …

image

Fortified with coffee and – praise be! – a fresh and tasty magdalena, we made our way through Ferrol and found the Camino route.

There was some debate at this point about whether we should walk across the bridge to Fene, which was something of a Short Cut. Looking at our route guide, we decided that the short cut was so large that we might arrive in Santiago before we left A Coruna.

image

It was wonderful walking, often in sight of the water. The weather was kind. We were very warm in the January sun.

We listened to the sounds of Mass as we rested outside ancient churches. A man called us over when he thought we were lost (we were heading off piste for a coffee).

Along the way were constant reminders of last year’s Camino in appalling weather which began with a visit to the Shrine of St Andrew at Teixedo. Here is where the Way there and the Way to Santiago diverged:

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Arriving in Fene, we needed to eat. The restaurant we found was more upmarket than we had first thought. We feasted on a Menu of the Kings. It was very good. I may have eaten a whole lamb. It certainly took me a day to digest it. Those who have walked in Spain will note that postre was flan and that it was wonderfully good.

We were back on the road and followed the coast into Pontedeume with its ancient bridge.

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We found the albergue open – we were the only guests. After a shower and a change of clothes we went for a beer and prepared for a day which will include tales of new walking sticks and a bar that was so bad it was funny.
¡Hasta luego!



Camino of the Kings – Prelude

This truly was the Camino of Kings. Roland and I met at Heathrow and took the evening flight with Vueling to A Coruna.

It was January 5th, the evening before the Three Kings. By the time we got into the city the parade was over but the streets were crammed. We left our rucksacks in the excellent Hostal Mara and went for a wander.

It was incredibly mild. We sat outside of ‘El Rey de Jamon’ drinking albarino, eating soft blue sheeps cheese and jamon. This week was going to be such a good Epiphany present.

A little earlier in another bar we were recommended empanada de pulpo. This was not a hit.

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Our paseo took us to the Church of Santiago, the start of the Camino on the Coruna leg. I asked the Saint’s blessing and protection, along of course with Our Lady.

A room at the front above the street meant noise. I was excited to get going. We were up early. Fortified by cafe con leche y churros we made our way to the Bus Station and caught the first bus to Ferrol.

The early start after the festival meant it smelt like a proper Midnight Mass congregation. One of the passengers spent the journey doing a good impression of the Laughing Policeman.

At 9.30 we were off the bus. We had a first sello in our credencials and made our first steps through Ferrol …