Tuesday, 30 June 2015

May 22nd - Ferrol to Narón

We set off in the morning downhill, crossing the Plaza de Esteiro at 9.00am then walking along the Avda de Esteiro to the 'tuning fork', (1.7kms). The Paseo Maritimo was blocked by construction works so we kept along the Avda de Mar towards the outskirts of Ferrol and, after 2 hours, O Couto and the church of San Martiño. (It is here that the route northwards to San Andrés has its first marker, and where those walking 'our' route would join the Inglés if coming from San Andrés via Porto de Cabo.)

The walk is a mix of track and road with views across the ría and shade in the woods. The walkway over the dam was as we remembered it and we followed the track along the river side following the guide. At a left turn a local said to keep along the river until we reached the road then turn left to Narón itself. This brought us to a roundabout within sight of the Hotel Kensington without walking far through Narón. As it was only 12.35 we stopped for a welcome drink before going on to book in at the Kensington and having lunch. (13.1kms from hotel to hotel)

The distance from Ferrol harbour to the Kensington by our pedometer is 15.1kms.

In the afternoon we walked across to the albergue, chatted to a Korean pilgrim (the first pilgrim we have seen to talk to since our first day's walk from Ribadeo) and had our credencials stamped at the red 'Bus'. This is a mobile food outlet selling hamburgers and drinks daily at the albergue, as well as holding the sello. Not being hamburger fans we went back to the Kensington for tapas and drinks.

Views leaving Ferrol

Towards Xubia and

San Martiño de Xubia

The sign to San Andrés

Path after Xubia towards Narón

The dam and

the path over it

Sunday, 28 June 2015

May 20th and 21st - Ferrol

It was a good ride from Cedeiro round the coast, although in Ferrol the bus stopped near the Correos rather than going up to the bus station - so it was a tramp up-hill. The hotel had been chosen because of being near both the bus and FEVE stations, which was useful when we returned here on our way home in June.

We arrived in Ferrol from Cedeira having already walked 160kms between Ribadeo and San Andrés de Teixido (excluding sightseeing and rest days). Our feet were tired and we had planned another rest day before starting out on the Camino Inglés itself. That said we walked from our hotel down (literally) to the harbour and then picked up the signs starting with the first marker at the harbour-side. On the way down we walked through the shopping area and found a display of traditional dress. We have seen these worn by dancers on Día de las Letras de Galicia in previous years.

After the first marker the beginning of the route through town still has diversions in place, mostly well marked. We walked up past the church of San Fransisco and past the dockyards which are 'decorated' with the over-alls etc representing the 2000 plus workers who have lost their jobs here. (Hopefully new contracts will see many re-instated). The marked way turns right at the 'tuning fork' sculpture, but we turned left back up the Avenida de Esteiro into town again and (uphill) to our hotel.

A total of 9.5kms during the morning - of which just over 3.5kms were on the Camino, followed by a further short 3km+ walk round the town centre after siesta. Rest day!!!


The distance from San Andrés to Xubia is approximately 39 kms, with a break around Porto de Cabo. The advice given to take a taxi from San Andrés to Cedeira (12kms) and accomodation is good, however as previously noted there is no mobile phone signal in San Andrés. The village has its own system so the cafe owner called a taxi for us when we had finished our lunch. (The mobile works at the top of the hill where the road is signed to Cedeira.)

Cedeira itself was worth visiting with its Casas Indianas and beach. Our hotel was about 4kms out of town, at Cordobelas and, as he was going himself, our host took us down into town to look for an evening meal. He recommended we should walk along the river and cross the bridge to the 'Taverna' where we had a good meal. Next day rather than walk the main road we followed the minor road taken the previous night in the car, so we walked along at the side of the beach to catch the bus to Ferrol.

The riverside at Cedeira

Old walls and passageway

View across the bay
from our hotel

Saturday, 27 June 2015

San Andrés de Teixido

One thing that we learnt as we walked is that in Galicia the 'x' is not a hard sound but very soft, almost like an English 'sh'. Many people only speak Gallego or mostly Gallego with some Castillano, but we found no difficulty communicating. Without Spanish (Castillano) however it would be very difficult to follow the route we have walked.

Our walking has been hard at times but rewarded by the scenery, the people we have met and finally reaching our first destination, San Andrés de Teixido itself.

There is no sea access to San Andrés it is too dangerous with the rocks, so it was a safe place to live. Before motor transport the only way out was on foot or, for the better off, by horse over the hills. Our cafe owner said that her own grandmother walked out to the nearest villages when necessary. It is certainly a very isolated village with amazing coastal views.

Near San Andrés

Cliffs looking north and first view of church

From the hilltop looking south

Interior - San Andrés church

Church of San Andrés

The cruceiro and seats at the church

View from the cafe-bar

May 19th - Espasante to Ponte Mera and San Andrés

We left Espasante on the 8.37 train to Ponte Mera and set off from the station there just after 9.00am. (No sign to the village but it is the middle road straight downhill.) For the first time we had to get our ponchos out as it started to rain. However it quickly stopped to our great relief.

We followed the road signs through Ponte Mera towards San Andrés (purple 'monument' signs) and at the only place we saw an unmarked road the locals said we needed the next one round the bend (in sight from the other at the bend) with both a purple sign and a red sardine. This day we found that the directions, printed from another walker's blog, all worked.

As expected this is all road walking, uphill for 9kms, so it was slow but steady. There were one or two shortcuts off road and on track but these were so badly churned up that it was easier to walk the road. There were lovely views and a convenient heap of logs for a bocadillo (our tin of sardines on bread). We continued climbing ever upward past the Capilla de Socorro and eventually to a fairly flat open area where we stopped for another short break. Again the only place where the 'sardines' marked an off-road section was so churned up through the forestry that we went over the bank and back on the road, as had others before us. There was a level section which passed the turning to Cedeira then the final 3kms which are all downhill. We avoided the steep drop from the hilltop cruceiro, which looked as though it was almost vertical when seen from below, and kept to the hairpins on the road (adding about 3kms to the distance) reaching San Andrés at about 14.15. We found a friendly cafe (14.30) where the owner cooked us some lunch while we went to the church, a little further down the hill. The church itself is very small and simple and with a cruceiro outside. The views from the cafe were good and we could also see the cattle being rounded up for their TB testing, a further conversation point. We had seen the vets earlier when we were stopped on the moorland. Total distance via hairpins 15kms+, plus a further short distance to the church and back to the cafe then up to the road for the taxi, itself making 16.5kms in all.

Looking up to the hill

Looking back

Looking back again to Ponte Mera

Looking up to the same hill, near the top

Road signs

Capilla de Socorro

Friday, 26 June 2015

May 18th - Viveiro to Espasante

Our next stage was by FEVE round the coast to Espasante. The route given showed a walk over the hills and we had decided before leaving home that this was where we would miss a section, so giving us time for the break in Viveiro. With the signing as bad as it had been in some places , distance and apparent lack of accommodation we feel this was the correct decision for us. Our hostess for the night said that the station at Espasante was well out of town and to call when we arrived there. She came herself to collect us and also insisted on taking us back next morning for the early train. So much kindness, as in all the places we have been.

Espasante is quite small with a sandy beach and sand dunes. There are flowers growing on the dunes and along the path. We enjoyed a walk there and turned back into town where there is a mix of the old (slate roofed house now a shed) and new, and we also found a bronze pig. It was a good place to stay for the night and we took the FEVE next day round to Ponte Mera and the last stage of our walk to San Andrés.

May 14th to 18th - Viveiro

We also spent time walking both to Covas, to the Os Castellos beach and the Capilla de Misericordia, and along the river path.

The walk along the river was enjoyable and we did like the locals and walked on the track at the side of the dreaded paving. The boarded section was very good and the scenery was lovely looking across the river with the eucalyptus and orchids in flower.There was also a section of good track leading to a picnic area where we had a snack before walking back into Viveiro. (11kms in all)

It was in Viveiro that I found a shell for my hat, in the enclosed convent. There was a display cabinet in which an example of each item had a number. To buy anything you rang the bell, spoke into the speaker, giving the number, and the nun put the item on an enclosed revolving tray. I put my money on in return. My little shell is very special and the shell I received in Santiago is almost identical, just larger.

In the evening we went to service in the church of Santiago and afterwards were able to ask for a sello.

With so many photos from Viveiro we will be posting a further selection when we have completed the walk to San Andrés and the Camino Inglés to Santiago itself.

May 14th - Aguadoce to Viveiro

Walking from Aguadoce on the 14th should have been easy, but again the signs disappeared. The first short walk along the side of the beach was on the minor road, then went uphill to join the main road. at a right turn there was no real sign and a passing delivery man said that it went no-where. The next, nearby road had no sign either so we stayed on the main road which winds its way into Viveiro instead of being a direct route. As we reached the petrol station our receptionist from the hotel called out and offered us a ride which we gratefully received. She took us to the bus station and we then walked up the hill, past the church of Santiago to our hotel (booked by e-mail before we left home). This gave us plenty of time to start exploring Viveiro wehere we planned to spend 4 nights before taking the FEVE to Espasante, and finally Ponte Mera to walk on to San Andrés.

We visited the old fortifications - the tower and city walls remain plus the foundations of the houses. The low gate, under the tower, leads into a street between the walls down to the church and convent of Santa Maria do Campo. Then we found Viveiro's oldest street said to be the oldest and narrowest in Spain. The other gate faces the river towards Covas and is decorated with carving

Looking towards Viveiro

Church of Santiago

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Aguadoce (Esteiro)

The Hotel Aguadoce is near the beach at Aguadoce (Esteiro) and looks back up the coast towards Faro - on the route round from Xove. After siesta we backtracked the marked way for a short distance but it was once again all paving slabs so we went back and followed the waymarks towards Viveiro for a short distance to check the route ready for next day. Then we sat by the beach and enjoyed the view and the flowers on the sand dunes.

We had been warned when we arrived that there was to be a music festival that night, they had been trying to contact us the previous day, and that this would be directly under our room until about 2.00am maybe. We have to say that although we did hear some music until about midnight we did not hear much afterwards and the group were very quiet coming to their rooms. We did hear them as we all got up next morning and they took their bags out to their coach. A very considerate group of people, we could have joined in their fiesta but felt that we needed our sleep so did not accept the hotel's invitation. Much of the time the men were watching the international football in the bar, we decided, rather than playing music and dancing.