Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camino, Camino de Santiago, pilgrimage, spain, zamora
As you will have gathered from recent posts, Bharti and I have been on holiday in Spain. We spent a couple of rich weeks travelling by bus and train between A Coruna, Zamora, Segovia, Avila and Madrid. I’ll post a few reflections on this but I was very struck by this pilgrim on the marked Camino route in Zamora:
I assume that if you are a very large candlestick and cannot therefore walk, it is OK for you to be carried by your assistants and travel by car.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camino, Camino de Santiago, Camino Ingles, pilgrimage, spain, stages, travel writing, walking
We spent five days walking from Ferrol to Santiago from January 6th.
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.
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.
This is a great little Camino. Let me know if you have any questions.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camino, Camino de Santiago, Camino Ingles, pilgrimage, spain, travel, travel writing, walking
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.
There were one or two times we passed very fierce creatures. Knowing we had sticks to defend ourselves was a comfort.
Shortly after passing this we stopped for coffee in a bar. At the next table, a spherical man slowly ate ten churros.
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.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camino, Camino de Santiago, Camino Ingles, pilgrimage, spain, walking
We walked on, over the hills, by the sea, through woods and farms, villages and industrial zones.
We passed egrets, storks, sea crows sunning their wings.
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.
We stayed in albergues at night. We were the only pilgrims. The heating was usually on.
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
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 …
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: camino, Camino de Santiago, Camino Ingles, Camino of the Kings, pilgrimage, spain, walking
As you will remember, the Intrepid Pilgrims had arrived in Ferrol on the morning of Three Kings …
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.
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:
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.
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.