Day 1…Boom! Let’s go! Straight out of the blocks and we are lost. Ha! Where would we be without guidebooks?!
We were quite happy to start at dark thirty. It was going to be a long day.30km, give or take. It seems like a lot for a first day, but we had a nice place booked in Pontedeume so we were in no hurry. The rain was threatening, but it was still dry and we had rain gear at the ready.
Ferrol is a fine town but can be seen in a day. The military and the navy are big themes in this town and leaving the town you will pass a naval base (no photos allowed!) It did take a while to find the first arrow out of Ferrol but once found we were on our Way (no pun intended!)
The first 10km to 15km is on the flat and mainly on pavement. We didn’t find it too challenging. In fact, we found it quite pleasant but the lack of pilgrims was a bad sign. No one to mingle with. That said, I had good company with Ray and he seemed to manage well with his backpack. Obligatory selfie beside waymarker included below!
The Camino hugs the coast on this first stage. And if you are looking to avoid the sea, that won’t happen today! We arrived at our first church after 5km – Ermita de Santa Maria de Caranza. A nicely designed structure, placed in a perfect spot. I wander around here for a few minutes to see if it is open but I move on after a while.
Onwards we walk and talk until we come to the top of the Ria de Ferrol. We see the Albergue de Neda and knew that we were 40% of the way done. And this is when the rain started. It wasn’t persistant rain; it wasn’t heavy rain, it was drizzle. Enough to get you wet. On with the rain bottoms.
The San Martiño de Xubia monastery was declared a national historical monument in 1972. We spent a bit of time here before walking into Neda.
Stopping in Neda, gave us time to rest and recharge. One cafe con leche for me and a Coca Cola for Ray and a tostada con jamon y queso por Ray and a tostada con queso por migo. Loads to see and do in Neda, but I saw three pilgrims waiting to get into the albergue. Enough walking for them, apparently.
The terrain gradually rose on leaving Neda but it was nothing to write home about. On arriving in Fene, 3 kms later, there were more cafes and we decided to stop for a break. Cafeteria Lembranza on the main street had just said goodbye to a group of pilgrims so it was empty. It was a good place for a stop as going forward is all uphill. A nice welcome to the Camino Ingles.
Leaving Fene, the terrain becomes more ‘pilgrimy’ – with less pavement and more ground and gravel to walk on. I enjoyed this. Ray was happy to have purchased walking poles in Ferrol. They suited them on the uphill. I just go with the flow, still keeping my eyes out for pilgrim folks to chat to.
One thing I noticed on this day was the chance to own a shell for your pack. There were a number of these boards dotted around the stage offering pilgrims shells for a donation. I took one (for a small price) with 2019 on it. I haven’t seen something like this on any of the other Caminos.
The locals need to be thanked also for providing refreshments in parts where you might need them. For example, we both climbed a steep ascent and there was a cool box filled with water bottles. Just what we needed. So we rested, drank the water, gave a donation and kept walking.
It was a straightforward walk one we reached the top. I remember walking in and around the stems of dual carriageways. There was a nice bit of forest we walked through as we came close to Pontedeume and I remember seeing the bridge from the forest. Just a shame I didn’t take a picture. Hmm.
We arrived at Pontedeume after 3pm and aimed for the hostel – Casa Pension Apillidera. There was a large sign on the outside “Si estamos cerrados, llama a Jose” with his number. So I called him. He arrived in a flash. Super nice guy and a super nice place. We didn’t stay long. We were hungry after all that walking.