Total distance 807 km
Daily average 27.8
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 290 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 281 m
OK, so THIS is my real holiday. If only you could hear the sound from my bedroom window. Sheer bliss!
Last evening I ate at the bar O Forno, as I had done the evening before. I ate two of my favourite foods – the first night Zamburiñas (scallops) and last night calamari, both said to have come from the estuary. Both delicious and with great service. I can’t remember if I previously mentioned where I was staying – at Hostal Marina (20 euros), although it could just as well have been at O Forno. Today started with a fabulous power shower before leaving the delightful harbour village of O Porto do Barqueiro. I enjoyed my two nights staying here.
So I set off following yet another Wikiloc route towards O Porto de Espasante. After a few km’s on quiet roads I reached a beach. The route led across and up the rocks at the other side. I surveyed the situation and couldn’t see any clear path up the cliff, so decided instead to take a route more befitting my age and sauntered along the boardwalk to cross the inlet and join back up with the trail. Probably less than an additional kilometre.
Once on the cliff-top the views in every direction were stunning, even in the grey sunless sky. I really felt I was on top of the world looking down on creation. There were jagged rocky bays at very turn with a top-knot of bright yellow gorse and all manner of beautiful wild flowers, and birds singing their hearts out to be heard above the roar of the waves crashing into the rocks far below.
Today I would reach another of my objectives on this walk – ‘el mejor banco del mundo’ (the best bench in the world). Well, I passed plenty of benches on this walk and any of them could have claimed the title, perched right on the cliff edge, high above the pounding waves. When I finally reached THE bench, it was indeed in a marvellous location, but was not the best in the world for me because there were two couples present, both trying to out-wait the other in order to be there alone. I just walked up and took a few photos and left them to it. I had already sat on the two best benches in my world this morning. I imagine this one has the title because it is accessible by car, the others took a lot more effort, but worth every ounce of energy to be there with my thoughts and no-one else.
About half way through the walk the trail once again led to and across a long beach. I studied the GPS image to try and see what the exit would be like, but once again, could see no easy means to navigate the high rocks at the other end. I started on the long, steep trail down to the beach. The path had been strimmed, so it must be well used, but the beach was a very long way down, around 130 metres and I didn’t fancy climbing back up if I couldn’t manage the exit. So I retraced my steps and found an alternative route through yet another eucalyptus forest and across farmland until I rejoined the trail. It was actually a lovely walk, but I did regret not trying the intended trail.
I finally came to a set of three beaches divided by two rocky promontories. The first was a doddle for an adventurer like me. The second one was a different matter altogether. Virtually sheer, sandy soil, with a rope to pull yourself up by. My sensible head took over on this occasion and said ‘No way, how ridiculous to even think about it. You are a 62 year old woman and carrying 10 kilos on your back and around your waist. How easy it would be for you to slip, and be over-balanced by your backpack’. So up I went, once again scaring myself stupid, holding onto the rope for dear life. After climbing about fifteen metres the loose rope was attached to fence posts, and then it ended and there was nothing to hold on to. That was really scary. I stood stock still and retrieved one of my hiking poles that I had stowed at the bottom and very slowly, very carefully made my way on up to the top. 30 metres doesn’t sound very high, but belive me, it felt very high indeed. And then when I reached the top it dawned on me that the way down might not be much easier. It was, a little, but still hair- raising enough – particularly the last slippery, boggy part that was running with water.
I stumbled onto the beach with a racing heart and a huge sense of relief. I did say yesterday that I would probably do something stupid again in the future, but I didn’t expect it to be quite so soon. I am certainly pushing far beyond my comfort zone on this trip in ways I hadn’t imagined.
So I had arrived at O Porto do Espasante and I stopped in a bar by the beach for a well-deserved beer. Although my original plan was to stop here the night, that would have been after taking the round trip that I made yesterday. So now I was planning to walk on to Ortigueira, a further 11 kms. I looked on Google for accommodation which seemed to be sadly lacking, and then thought ‘why not just stay here, as I originally intended’. And so here I am, having only walked 15 kms. And the bar I was drinking in turned out to be the cafeteria of the rather nice Hotel Orillamar. I was offerred a room with sea view for 40 euros or no view for 30 euros. I have seen plenty of sea the last few days so chose the cheaper option and was handed the key to a room on the second floor – overlooking the sea. I went back downstairs (realising as I did that I had trailed dirty sand all the way through this pristine estabilishment) to check that I had the correct room and yes I did, for the lower price – how kind.
The view and the sound of the waves hurtling onto the beach just outside my window is so lovely. Now this really does feel like a holiday!
A little bit of information you may not want – after walking through all that wet grass yesterday I found a couple of tiny ticks on my legs, not much bigger than a pin-head. I don’t think they had a chance to start feeding on me, my skin must be rather tough by now. I removed them without much trouble, pretty sure I left nothing behind and it must have been within a couple of hours of them latching on. I wonder if I should see a doctor when I finish my walk. I did see a deer yesterday and I know they can carry Lyme disease.
Does anyone have words of advice?