Total distance 833.5 km
Daily average 27.8
Today’s accumulated uphill elevation 606 m
Today’s accumulated downhill elevation 623 m
Today I have done something that I thought I would never do. Actually I have done something I thought I would never do quite a few times lately. But they were rather stupid and adventurous things, and this ‘thing’ is sensible and a bit of a letdown. I spent much time last night worrying about my next stage. If I had walked on to Ortigueira yesterday it would have been do-able, but I could see no way of splitting the long treck to Cedeira. I looked at the possibility of staying in a Casa Rural, but wasn’t confident that I could find something in a suitable location. I studied various wikiloc tracks and compared possible routes and eventually went to sleep still not having made a decision.
On awaking I once again turned to wikiloc and the track of a trusted camino forum member Alan – a track that started in Ortigueira. And then I saw something I wasn’t looking for, and I experinced a eureka moment. THE FEVE. I had encountered the north coast train many times on my journey, sometimes much too close for comfort, I had been tooted at and waved to by train drivers. The Feve was part of my camino experience.
And so, my friends, I have to confess that this morning I took the 08:37 train from Espasante and arrived in Punto de Mera at 08:51 for the princely sum of 1.65 euros. Not a long journey at 14 minutes, but long enough to take me past the mud flats of the estuary just beyond Ortigueira. This way I could pick up the trail I wanted to follow, visit the pilgrimage site of San Andrés de Texeido and continue to spend the night in Cedeira. Sorted!
I was initially unhappy with the decision to use transport for part of this Camino, but the more I thought about it the more comfortable I became. It almost seemed right and proper that I should use the train that I had seen so often.
Joining the track part way through caused me to stupidly forget that I had two options – following in the right direction, or the wrong one! And you guessed it, I took the wrong one. Luckily I realised before too long, but still added 1.5 kms to my walk. Back on track I remembered Alan had mentioned a long slog past a never ending quarry with lorries buzzing by every couple of minutes. I studied his route and could see an easy work-around that by-passed the main road with very quiet country lanes and also shaved off some distance.
I knew it was going to be a day of road walking, but these lanes were really quite pretty. I also knew it was a day of much elevation and there was a steady climb for pretty much the whole way, around 12.5 kms to reach an altitude of 442 metres. Alan’s track showed a peak of 499 metres (and accumulated uphill elevation of over 1,000 metres compared to mine at 606). Apparently GPS devices are not very accurate with altitude because atmospheric pressure interferes with the result. I am sure someone will correct me or elucidate if necessary – please do.
At this highest point there is a cross situated at a stunning viewpoint. There is also a memorial plaque to the actor Leslie Howard whose airplane was shot down off this coast by the Luftwaffe in 1943.
Alan had mentioned a short cut down to the village of San Andrés by way of a very steep narrow gully, full of rocks and stones and not a little running water. It was a long way down, almost 300 metres and very uncomfortable underfoot. I took it very slowly and carefully and hoped that I didn’t meet any cows coming up, as there was plenty evidence that they used this trail. I finally reached a meadow and sighed in relief that I could relax for a few minutes – until I realised that the entire field was under water, some probably quite deep and all under several inches. I really didn’t want my feet to get another soaking and I very carefully made my way across the middle where there were some stepping stones intended for people with very long legs. Once again, I made it without mishap which I owe entirely to the use of my faithful pacerpoles.
I finally reached the village of San Andrés de Teixido – a pilgrimage site where it is believed that apostle St Andrew drowned off the coast and was brought back to life. There seem to be an abundance of apostles who ended up in this area! It is an odd, tiny place nestling at the bottom of this very steep valley where they cater to tourists with brightly coloured painted baked dough shapes – I’m not sure of the relevance, but I bought some as a keep sake. I’m not sure how durable they are – maybe I will tie it to my pack and see if it lasts. There are also odd wax body parts for sale – hands, feet, heads – doll sized that I believe are used as some sort of offering.
I stopped at an appropriately odd bar for a beer and slice of tortilla before visiting the church where there is a most strange assortment of items left near the alter. I then climbed back out of the valley, also on a track closely resembling the one on the way down but without the water-logged meadow. What seemed like a verticle climb, but was in fact 200 metres height over one kilometre. At the top there were more stunning views of the coastline and then a long, long slog along the road for the ten kilometres into Cedeira.
I am staying in a hostal in the centre. It is ok. It was conveniently opposite the first bar I reached and that was good enough for me. 30 euros – way too much compared to last night’s good deal, but hey-ho, back to albergue life tomorrow. And that will be both good and bad, of which I will explain more another time. I have said quite enough for one day!
But just to add, when I left my room to find food I discovered it had been and still was pouring with rain, the streets were swimming. So I made a quick turnabout and changed my crocs for boots and added my rain jacket. I had been recommended by another forum member to visit the restaurant Mesón Muiño Kilowatio, which was just across the river from my hostal. I was instructed to order Marraxo which is baby shark. I did as I was told and didn’t regret it for a moment. Absolutely delicious. A tapas portion was enough to feed two for 6.80 euros. No wifi so this might not get posted until tomorrow.
Today’s distance is made up of 1.6 km walk to Espasante station and 24.9 kms for the main treck.