Wednesday, 24 August 2016

AUGUST 2016 : SPAIN : CAMINO INGLÉS : DAY 2 : Neda - Pontedueme - 16kms - 3 1/2 hours


Distance walked so far : 31 kms


           
Another short leg today, breaking up a few days' stages. Mild weather - about 22o and cloudy.



Starting out from a familiar point. Mark was able to catch a taxi later in the morning.


Thinking to myself, What a beautiful day for walking, and tripped on an uneven paving stone in front of a shocked local. I assessed my injuries quickly, realised that they were superficial wounds, dusted myself off quickly and escaped. We are really needing the help of San Roque to complete this Camino, oh, great saint of the injured knee.

      

Through the narrow Rúa Real in Neda, with houses dating back to the seventeenth century.





By the coast with views back to where we walked yesterday, having now rounded the estuary.

     

The shipbuilding yards at Fene.




The route avoided the industrial area and takes walkers up on minor roads through attractive hamlets. Several of these still had the traditional community fountain and washing area.


      

My first encounter with walkers. These are a lovely young couple from Las Palmas in the Canaries. His English and my Spanish were about the same, so we had a reasonable level of communication.


       

First farm with a healthy corn crop.



Really enjoyable sections.




Floral highlights


                                      
     
  Down from the hills into the seaside village of Cabanas.



A Madalena Beach. 



Large flat promenade with families enjoying the seaside. Large modern villas line the promenade.



Only a few hundred metres away is Pontedeume. Quite a different atmosphere. A medieval town set on the River Eume and on a steep hillside. The church of Santiago (18th century) towering over the town.

                                          

Crossing over to Pontedeume. This is a waymarker with a difference. Every few kilometres there are Camino signs with a QR code on it. If you have the QR app on your phone you can click on it for information on that specific area.


The star attraction in Pontedeume is the ponte or bridge. It was constructed in the 14th century by one of the town's early statesmen, Fernán Pérez de Andrade. 600m in length and comprising of 79 arches.


        

Near the shore is the Keep of the Andrade Castle dating back to the fourteenth century. It is now the Tourist Office.

      

In the tower an exhibition detailing Pontedeume's history. An important trading port, plagued by pirates.

        

       Views of the town.



Plaza del Pan

                                      
Plaza del San Roque

      

Plaza  Real
  

     
  
Our private albergue is on square where the Convent of Santo Agostiño is situated. (40 euros for a double room)
The convent is now used for contemporary exhibitions.


Around the back of the convent are cloisters with a garden of religious relics...and Santo Agostiño.



Dinner in the restaurant downstairs, as we hobble up and down the countless stairs. One of the downsides of our level of travel - no lifts.

We have the choice tonight of listening to a keen (but misguided) guitarist in the next room or a 11pm concert in the Plaza Real - or sleep with earplugs.

Tomorrow is another day..what extra physical challenges will it bring?

M&M

AUGUST 2016 : SPAIN : CAMINO INGLÉS : DAY 1 : Ferrol - Neda - 15 kms - 6 hours (circuitous route!)

Distance walked so far : 15 kms (and then some...)
I        

        
A relatively short day today - we had hoped - on a fairly flat terrain, so Mark decided to give his knee a go and see how he fared. A mild day which made it a more promising option as well.

                                       

This poster says The English Camino - the Slow Camino - the one to smell the roses.
This is one of the main reasons we've chosen to do this one over the busier and more strenuous Portuguese Camino.

         

Not much open this morning as we set off at 8. We found a Sports Bar for a coffee and fresh croissants at a little bakery on our way out of town.


We left along the harbour. A rare view of the water and the heavy industry in this protected harbour. The Arsenal has high security walls around its base. There were some small harbourside beaches hidden by the bushes and shrubbery on the path.


         

                                    Heading out of town through Ferrol's industrial area.


         

            Under a railway bridge.


       

          On tracks.


        

 Past the monastery of San Martiño de Xubia in Naron. It was established here in the eighth century and the present structure is from the twelfth century. It has the dubious honour of having profane sculptures its exterior, which eluded us - unfortunately.

      

                 Over an overpass


        

 Through the small town of O Porto. An old mill on the banks of the Rio Xubia near the present bridge.


        

          A new sculpture celebrating the bakers and the bread of Neda.


        

            Canoeists in the less than savoury Rio Xubia. (Remember that bridge!)


         

 The modern albergue. We decided to stay in a pension, closer to eating facilities and faithfully followed our guidebook, which proved to be a costly mistake.

       

  We headed towards Neda. At this stage the day was warming up and Mark was tiring, so I grabbed the passports, money and pension information and headed off to ensure we had accommodation.


      

Reaching the township the pension was nowhere to be found. I exhausted my search and then headed back to find Mark. Thus began a 2 hour cat and mouse game as we tried to find each other, not having a pre- arranged rendezvous spot.


       

We both trailed along the path several times, checked the main road, asked passers-by for the directions to the pension and I asked whether they had seen mi marido, my husband. I did meet some walkers who'd seen someone of Mark's description 'viejo hombre' an old man with a beard in a bar. Although he had no money.


      

Finally it was revealed that there are two parts of Neda and the pension was right near the bridge after O Porto before the albergue. I found it (add another few kms today!) and panicked when Mark was not there. Everyone is saying 'tranquil, tranquil' - stay calm. A bit hard when I knew I'd never see him again. I asked the proprietress if I could ring a taxi and try and find Mark, as I was worried about his knee. The driver arrived - 'tranquil, tranquil'- and I explained that I had lost my husband. Then he smiled. He had been watering his garden at the other end of town when a man (with a beard) had asked where the Maragoto Pension was and he had sent him down the highway. We took off and through a window in a bakery, asking for directions, was Mark. What a relief! The taxi driver thought he was some kind of famous detective, very pleased with himself. I was very relieved and feeling more tranquil.

       

Our pension. 40 euros. We are on the second floor up a steep staircase - no lift - a perfect ending for Mark,,, after a strenuous day.


        

       Out of our window the bridge we passed two hours ago!

Mark is not walking tomorrow and he knows just the number to call to get him to our next destination.

M&M

Sunday, 21 August 2016

AUGUST 2016 : SPAIN : CAMINO INGLÉS : Ferrol

          

Today we left A Coruña and headed east to Ferrol.


      

                                                          An hour on the bus.


                                      

                 Ferrol turned out to be a much larger town than expected. 65,000 people. 


        

                A modern busy town with all facilities. Good retail, restaurants and beaches.


        

First stop was Tourist Information who had some helpful tips for our day here as well as two excellent English guidebooks for our walk this week. Ferrol became an important entry point for pilgrims in the 14th century when England and France were fighting the 100 years war and the land route was dangerous. English pilgrims began sailing by boat and walking to Santiago from northern coastal towns.

                                       
                                    
       
                                        Formal gateway to the port, Porto do Dique.


      

 Ferrol was the port where the Spanish Armada sailed from. So it has long Naval history. It is now the major Naval base on the northern coast. The Arsenal was built from 1750-1775.


      

        Attractive buildings along the waterfront.


                                             

                       The fortress of San Xoán. This formed part of the old defensive wall around the city.


                                          

                                              Pleasure craft.


                                     

                                       
  
At the Tourist Office they suggested we find the starting point for the Camino at the port, walking the first kilometre today, so that we can begin from the centre of town tomorrow.

                                         
      
                    We followed the first markers past historical sites, important to the route.

        

            The Church of San Francisco. Built in the 18th century over a medieval church.


        

                              It is famous for its neoclassic altarpiece by Xosé Ferreiro.


       

         The old hospital de Caridad, built in 1760 to shelter the sick, the poor and the pilgrims.

         

                       The Concathedral of San Julián built in 1763 by Sánchez Bort.


     

         The Town Hall.


                                       

A statue relating to a 17th century religious tradition where hooded men from local brotherhoods parade to a drum beat to the cathedrals on Good Friday as a symbol of their penitence. Although banned now, in some parts of the country the ritual also included self-flagellation.

        

            Lots of cafes in the narrow streets.

                                        

                                            A Portuguese bakery

      

        Artwork in the park

         

           Some clever pieces on abandoned buildings


                                      

                                          Our hostal in the middle of town.


      

           15 euros pp.

        

          View over the harbour.

M&M