Day 30, Camino del Norte (Ruta do Mar) Porto de Espasante to Cedeira 26.5 km

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Today’s distance is made up of 1.6 km walk to Espasante station and 24.9 kms for the main treck.

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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12 Responses to Day 30, Camino del Norte (Ruta do Mar) Porto de Espasante to Cedeira 26.5 km

  1. You are so much braver than me. Wet and rain and off the beaten track. Kudos and bravo. You are my hero. 🙂

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  2. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    The GPS apps on my smartphone did a good job as far as the normal location goes. But none was accurate on the altitude. As this location system uses electromagnetic waves it should be independent of the air pressure, but maybe the explanation can be found in the number of satellite signals necessary for altitude–in that case there should be reception of four signals at the same time and for normal positions only three signals are needed. At sea level I found a discrepancy of 60 to sometimes 150 meters.

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  3. What an experience this camino has been! I so admire your spirit of adventure and your persistence to keep trying something different. Great photos and riveting blog. Well done! xx

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  4. I remember having to take the train for short parts last year when I did the Del Norte from Irun. It was so cheap and I got mixed up and had to ask which side I needed to get on. At the Fernandas we were advised not to walk across the tracks, rather to get on the train to the next stop and then walk. Apparently she said it is against the law and dangerous. A bunch of us did as she suggested. One day it rained so hard that I took a bus and skipped 30 km in the rain. Your intuition wins out and you’ve got nothing to prove. I learned stuff on the trains and busses too. Good luck!

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  5. mary lynch says:

    Dear Maggie this Camino is getting better and better. I love the beautiful photos. They make me want to go and visit the area. Your descriptions are better than a travel guide. Buen Camino xx

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  6. lynharrison4wind says:

    Commendable intelligence, taking the train that is. I knew you had it in you ;-). And I found a quote from my collection to thoroughly justifying all your adventuring:

    “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”
    Ronald Osborn, teacher and writer

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  7. JoAl says:

    Hello Maggie, seems a tough old trek this camino you are on. With reference to the odd wax offerings on our Portuguese camino (finished Friday) we went to Fatima. Here hundreds of pilgrims carried huge wax candles,body parts and after shuffling along in a queue for hours threw them into two huge fires. So as you said an offering of sorts. Stay healthy. Joan and Alan

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  8. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    To check my former remark on the GPS, I installed Wikiloc on my android phone and walked the dog. The distance was measured alright as 6.7 km, but my starting altitude was given as 69 m instead of somewhere around 0 m and when I returned home my new altitude read as 40 m. My house seems to be part of a sinkhole! The accumulated elevation uphill was 24 m but except for going down a few steps from an old dyke and going up again there is no visible elevation. Downhill was 24 m too, so that is reasonable taking account of the uphill number. There are no trees or buildings along the road I walked, so the satellite signal should have no problem reaching my phone. And the spikes on the elevation map are absolute fiction. Science fiction?
    The app on iOs could be better, but I have my doubts.

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  9. Susan Harris says:

    Wow Maggie you are having what I believe is called an awesome adventure! You are really waving the flag to show that 60’s is the new 40’s. The dare devil in you has really shown in the last few blogs. Hope all the waterproofs are holding up and that the sun shines favourably on your last few days. That dress should defo zip up with ease. Stay safe. X

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  10. Heather says:

    Loving your photos Maggie, they are superb and your bravery is to be expected – I know you!!!!
    What an achievement. Stay safe. Love Heather xxx

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