How long was your stay?
How did you travel?
Tell us why you traveled to this destination.
My friend suggested going long ago, so we started to plan the trip even before Covid, but Covid came, and it was postponed until then. This is an unusual trip for me, not the type of trip I would do on my own. It was the best opportunity to test my resilience!
Give us all the details! Tell us where you went and what you did on your trip.
I walked… A lot! Ate a lot! And sweated a lot! Just to start with I’ll tell you, we walked 118km in 6 days. The roads were well signaled with an arrow and/or yellow shell on the walls or down on the road. Making it impossible to get lost.
Day 0- Santiago to Ferrol It was the D-day! The start of our trip! We are from Mallorca, so we took our flight in the morning and landed on the other side of Spain, in Santiago de Compostela around noon. To reach Ferrol, the starting point, we had to take 2 buses and rush to the Information desk to get the booklet for the stamps. The booklet is for everyone who wants to have the Compostelana (a certificate of completion), which is basically, in every town you pass by, you’ll need 2 stamps, and those stamps will prove the kilometers you have done. P.D: You need to do more than 100km to get the Compostelana!
Day 1- Ferrol to Puentedeume (27,7km) It was a fine day to start our journey, we started walking with lots of enthusiasm and with a good rhythm. We started in Ferrol, at the Curuxeiras wharf, crossed the city, walking around the Ria de Ferrol until reaching an Industrial Estate where we were caught by a shower of rain that seemed it didn’t want to end. While we stopped under a bridge to shelter from the rain, we met Mathew from Belgium, who accompanied us on this first phase. He was the first pilgrim we met since we started our journey. Time went by faster as he shared stories with us. I was fine until reaching Fene which was already about 20km! From Fene we had to cross the low-lying mountains that separate the Ria de Ferrol and Ares, to end the day in the historic town of Pontedeume. So, there was still 7km away of ascending path… With our persistence, we reached Puentedeume around 18:00h. A great town with a magnific bridge and many other monuments, which, unfortunately, we were unable to go see because we were too tired to move. We took a cool shower, rested for a bit, and went to get a bite at Taberna Zas, a great place with great tapas.
Day 2- Puentedeume to Miño (9,2km) On this day, I woke up with muscle soreness and calluses on my feet. Not so much of a great start but, I walked. Tried my best, step by step, not in the best shape possible, but I knew I had to reach the next town. We begin the new day going through Calle Real. The exit from Puentedeume is carried out by a steep slope of 1km that gives way to a gentle descent with agricultural landscapes until arriving again at sea level. Compared to the first phase, this part was greener and more visually aesthetic than the previous one. Even though it was a shorter trip, for me it was one of the hardest to do because of the muscle pain I had. At Miño, a small town in the cost area, surrounded by the sea. We stayed at Hotel Crisol de las Rías, which was close to the beach. After some rest, we did a little stroll around the area and ate at Restaurante O Cancelo where they served us delicious dishes.
Day 3- Miño to Betanzos (10,7km) At this next stage, we went towards the train station of this coastal town, but obviously, it was not to take the train, but to cross towards Ponte do Porco, which somehow, we didn’t get to see the statue. During this route that runs alongside the Lambre river, we enjoyed the company of many horses until reaching Betanzos. We had one of the best tortillas I had so far in my life at Casa Miranda! Luckily, we arrived at Betanzos early and decided to go to the restaurant straight away, because if we were a minute later they would have been too busy to have a free table for us.
Day 4- Betanzos to Bruma (24km) This fourth stage was quite demanding, maybe the most demanding of all the stages we had to go through because it is a winding route with many slopes and climbs, which increases its difficulty, so we started the journey early in the morning and took it slow. As soon as we left the town of Betanzos we were mostly surrounded by mountains, forests, and several rural churches. We were able to enjoy a pleasant rural environment, crossing small villages with hardly any services. In this phase, we met Domingo and his family who also shared their stories with us. We didn’t stop until we reached Casa Avelina, where we had a warm welcome from the sisters, who run the business. Not far away we would reach Hospital de Bruma, a place where centuries ago there was a hospital for pilgrims, and which today houses a hostel.
Day 5- Bruma to Sigüeiro (24,4km) If the previous stage had been characterized by climbs and steep slopes that require extra effort from the pilgrims, this section faces a gradual descent of 12 km that will reach Poulo in the municipality of Ordes. Overall, it was quite a steady road to Sigüeiro. At this stage, we met Marga and her husband, a couple who decided to do this trip because of religious reasons.
Day 6- Sigüeiro to Santiago (15,7km) Finally last stage! Apart from the 2nd day, which was the longest, this last journey felt forever too! The only reassurance that helped us get through the tiredness; was all those marker posts counting down the kilometers left to do. This last stage begins in an unforgettable way, by crossing the Tambre bridge. A path that has been crossed for a millennium! Most of the Caminos de Santiago have had to pass by this bridge! At Santiago, I was finally able to catch a break! It was interesting to see so many people reaching the same destination and in a way, there was a sense of accomplishment!
Would you recommend this trip to a friend?
What was the highlight of your trip?
Finishing the trip was the top highlight! There were times, I thought I would not be able to finish but I did! Also meeting all those people was a blessing, without them, the trip would have been harder to do, so thanks to them for sharing their stories, laughing together, and cheering for each other. I really appreciated that!
If you were to take this trip again, is there anything you would add or do differently?
I would absolutely not start the journey doing 27km! That was a miscalculation on our part. It’s possible to do it, we did it, but it was too much for our bodies. I was so tired that I couldn’t enjoy the scenery as much as I would have loved to. For next time, I would not do more than 15km per day. And next time, I would bring even less stuff to the journey. I learned that we don’t need many things. The more we bring the more burdensome those things become.
OUR FIRST TRIP TO SANTIAGO (CAMINO INGLES)
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