Wednesday 10 October, 2018 – Day 1 ♥ from Ferrol to Pontedeume.
After our epic travel days we enjoyed a good night’s sleep. We had washed our travel clothes in the shower and hung them up as soon as we checked into the hotel, and they had dried nicely overnight. Knowing how far we had to walk today (35 Kilometers / 22 miles) we got an early start. First, we enjoyed a nice breakfast in our hotel’s dining hall.
Today Jeff was wearing his Stewart plaid Scottish Sport Kilt in honor of his Mom Elaine who was a Stewart. (He wore it half the day, and changed to his hiking pants later)
We made our way down to the dock where the original pilgrims from England and northern Europe would set foot on land and begin walking toward Santiago de Compostela. We took a photo standing on the ancient steps rising from the sea, and a photo and video at the first marker of the Camino Inglés.
The Camino path led us right back in front of our hotel. As we approached Jeff heard a couple speaking French and struck up a conversation with them. They had a lot of fun chatting in French together. We learned they were camping across Spain, and had spent the night in our hotel. The man tried to show us an app that we could download on our phones that would track our path without the use of data. However, we could never get it to work.
We only met 3 other pilgrims this entire day. A woman walking solo from Milan, Italy (carrying a very heavy pack) who planned to stop in Neda for the night. And a couple from Switzerland who chose to stop in Fene (between Neda and Pontedeume). He admitted he had just been released from the hospital two days earlier after a hernia operation. So, he decided he should “take it easy” today and “only” walk 20K. 🙂
We had many kilometers all to ourselves, walking in the beautiful hilly countryside, through forests and small villages, all around the large estuary (an inland tidal river, connected to the ocean). The air was so fresh and clean I could finally take a full deep breath! The weather couldn’t have been more perfect today. It was simply heavenly.
We left Ferrol at sunrise (about 8:30 am) and didn’t reach the bridge of Pontedeume until after sunset (about 8:30 PM / 20:30). An epic 12 hour journey (actually 13 hours – see bonus story). The guide books say you can do this walk in around 9 hours. … Well… maybe if you are a very fast walker, or if you never stop. We took a few sitting breaks, we stopped at a couple of cafes for food and drinks, and of course, I pause often to take photos… however, the majority of the time we were walking. We also chose to take both Complementario routes (alternate routes). The first was to see an historic old Mill – and since the tide was out, the boats were beached out in the mud… and we chose the second alternate route to avoid crossing a busy highway. These added an extra couple of miles to our trek. There were also a lot more hills than we expected!
As I prepared this post, I realized that I took so many photos and video clips it would be impossible to choose a small handful to share in this blog post. So, I decided to create a movie of our journey. I hope you enjoy walking along with us!
But wait!! Our day wasn’t over yet! Of course not! Nothing ever goes easy for us, right? When we reached Pontedeume, we needed to find our hotel… and that turned into a new adventure. The Montebreamo is located up, up, up at the top of the hill headed out of Pontedeume. In hindsight, this would have been a very good time to find a taxi.
This hill is normally the route that all pilgrims climb on their second day. Unfortunately, we were climbing it after already walking about 35 Kilometers… and because we were so tired by now – and because it was so steep – and because it was so dark – and because of miscommunication with an Englishman…we took a wrong turn….
In the end, we walked over 45 Kilometers total (27 miles)… 56,0000+ steps on our FitBit. Whew!! But, it certainly was a grand adventure!!
A big THANK YOU goes to the doctor on our Camino chat site who encouraged using 3M surgical tape for our feet. A magical gift!! We had no hot spots or blisters despite such an arduous day! Happy feet = Happy pilgrims! We used this technique the entire Camino, combined with our silk liners and Darn Tough wool socks with complete success.
¡Buen Camino! – Holly