Day 26, Camino del Norte (Ruta do Mar) San Cibrao to Covas 29 km

imageTotal distance 762 km
Daily average 29.3
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 426 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 440 m

Last evening I called back into the bar next to the hostal and ordered agua con gas which was delivered with three generous tapas that served as my dinner. But there was no shop open to buy food for today so I set off this morning with alarmingly diminishing supplies.

But what a fabulous day! The first few kms were rather odd – the normal hike out of town and then a long stretch amongst commercial and industrial units. I saw some yellow arrows indicating a track through the woods, but immediately before this Forestman had taken the road, and as the track looked rather overgrown, I followed in FM’s footsteps. And actually this was fortuitous because I came across the most unexpected cafe tucked away between a factory and the woods. I was able to eat a very basic breakfast of toast and jam. This place must normally serve the workers, but nevertheless seems out of place.

The next few km’s passed along earily quiet country roads. There is a huge aluminium industry here and I guess all the many plots of industrial units along the way were to do with this trade. But there was no sign of life, no traffic, just really ugly seemingly unused buildings. It was like walking through an industrial ghost town. This area would once have been rich agricultural land and was now decimated with industrial waste.

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I decided to part company with Forestman a few times today. Maybe he recorded his track before the Cantábrico way marks were installed, but he missed a great treat in several places.

Forestman's track is green, mine is orange

Forestman’s track is green, mine is orange

I became more familiar with how the Cantábrico markers work today. Occasional signposts, distance markers every km, and red top poles before and after a change of direction, I presume before to alert you to look out for the after. Although this was not a foolproof system and I was still very glad to have FM’s track to refer to, I did for the most part stick with the red way marks today, and wasn’t disappointed.

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I lost my nerve with the Cantábrico signs when I saw a yellow arrow pointing in a direction that would take me back towards FM’s track and away from the red markers. This diversion seemed to have saved me 3 kms in overall distance, but on reflection I really wish I had followed them. So from that point on, I did take the Cantábrico way every time, diverging from FM’s track quite a lot.

It was a fabulous walk through forests, high above rocky coves and sandy beaches, along deserted country roads and on soft dirt tracks.

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I am writing this after walking 18 of 29 km sitting on a bench overlooking a beautiful white sandy bay with the waves tumbling white froth onto the beach, and the sun has poked its head through the clouds for the first time today.

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I have eaten the last of the well travelled cheese, decided against the two day old open tin of pate, which left just a few prunes and some chocolate. Not the healthiest of lunches, but the best dining table I can imagine.

After many more delights and surprises I finally reached the first opportunity to stop for refreshment at a bar in Praia de Area, where I ordered a beer and was given a basket of crisps, a small plate of crabs legs, and fish empanada.

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The sky turned blue somewhere between my lunch break and this last stop, and there is a brisk breeze to keep the temperature down nicely. Only three (it turned out to be 6) more km’s to my destination where I am hoping to buy something healthy to eat – I am definitely suffering from a fruit and veg deficit – I shall have to watch out for the appearance of scurvy!

I finally arrived at Covas after 29 km’s of mostly stunning walking. I have to say that the Cantábrico way marks and Forestman’s Wikiloc tracks are a match made in Galicia.

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I am staying at Hotel Dolusa, which falls somewhere between overpriced O Norte in Foz and superb value Buenavista in San Cibrao. A rather tired good sized room, very clean, with a characterful host for 30 euros. I am not at all taken with the town of Covas, which seems to consist of a very long main road, full of bars, but without an open shop from which to buy supplies for tomorrow, either when I arrived at around 16:00, or later in the evening. So no fruit or veg for me tonight, or tomorrow unless I wait around for the shop to open at 09:30. A nicer place to stay would have been at Praia de Area, but that would probably have been rather expensive and have left another 6 km’s to walk tomorrow.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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13 Responses to Day 26, Camino del Norte (Ruta do Mar) San Cibrao to Covas 29 km

  1. Gracethepilgrim says:

    Hi Maggie, I’m really enjoying reading your daily thoughts. I especially love this ‘less-travelled’ route (right up my alley). I hope to be able to walk the Norte next year and would be interested in this lovely option. I’m pleased to see that you have had some sun at last. It seems that many spring pilgrims are dealing with more rain this year than is normal. Continue your brave journey with a spring in your step. You are delighting so many people around the world. xx Grace

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  2. David Wolfe says:

    A super days trek it must be one of the best so far on this Camino
    Fabulous pictures of the bay’s and buildings. Do you know what signs to lookout for with scurvy?
    Have a good nights sleep and I hope the shops open early in the morning so that you can get supplies befor setting of. L. Dxx

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  3. I enjoy my solitude. I do, but the isolation in vast empty spaces without people–not knowing where I am– I don’t think I’d last an hour. I am in awe of your accomplishment. 🙂

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  4. Janice Tyler says:

    Great photos today Maggie, but are you getting enough to eat to fuel your journey?

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  5. Nadine says:

    I’m curious about how many (if any) people you are encountering on these days since you veered off course from the Norte. Are there any other hikers out on the trails? From the photos it looks isolated (and so incredibly wonderful!). Along with some of the other readers and commenters, I’m amazed and impressed by this journey!

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  6. Jeannette Burgos-Rigó says:

    Maggi you are my inpiration and my hero!!!!
    As you know I’ll leave soon to Camino Portuguese and last weekend I decided that instead Camino Ingles I’ll take the “VARIANTE ESPIRITUAL” from Pontevedra, this way I’ll continue in the same direction and later from Santiago I’ll walk to Finesterre and Muxia. Any recommendations?
    Thanks a lot for sharing all your experiences with us, it’s a privilege! Buen Camino!!!!

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  7. ingridfolkers says:

    oh so wonderful… what a delight to see all this. Ultreia

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  8. kathyfoote says:

    Beautiful, beautiful. I’m so envious (maybe I should walk the Norte instead of the Portuguese next time???)

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  9. Renate says:

    skipped a few days of reading…but what a lovely blog today! Wonderfull walk and thanks for sharing all this
    RX

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  10. mary lynch says:

    Maggie I’m an idiot, I thought Forestman was the nick name of another pilgrim and I’d missed something in the previous post!! It looks a bit too lonely for my taste but to each his own. Your photos are wonderful as ever. Buen Camino xx

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lynharrison4wind says:

    What beauty and freedom and such adventure too. Fantastic walking country. This is more me than walking with the hordes, though walking anywhere with my just inserted titanium hip is a bit of a tall order. But from my hospital bed this blog has bucked me up greatly and the nurses too! Love the photo of the inquisitive young horse. Perhaps still a foal? looks like a quality beast. Perhaps the empty industry buildings are a concrete demo of how deep the Spanish recession has been. Looking forward to sharing more adventures in the next instalment.

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  12. lynharrison4wind says:

    Just keep drinking the beer to ward off scurvy. Hops are long known for that beneficial quality 😉

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  13. kay parkyn says:

    The picture of the house with the steps going up to the second floor simply amazes me!! What an imposing building!!
    I am thoroughly enjoying reading your blog every day!! You are such an inspiration Maggie!!
    Carry on Camino(ing) lol
    xxx

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