Camino’s English Way

ME2014 DigEd27Kieran Walsh continues his account of Camino’s English Way

Next day it was another sunny start uphill, heading further inland, very rural with no other walkers, we passed one Spanish couple that were on the road the day before so spent most time alone. Then a Spaniard asked us to walk along it helps in the event of a leg injury.

The meeting point with the Spanish couple later was Bar Julia, near Vizono the last café for 15km till the town of Bruma (the top walkers town on this route). The food was good and brilliant value with huge sandwiches for 3 euro and soups, after all the perspiration one had to replenish. Bruma has an albergo, where you must get a stamp as it is in heart of English camino. In the old days, the albergo, where pilgrims were treated in hospital, some never made it to Santiago and died there, such was a pilgrimage in old times, when they hoped a cure might come to them or a minor miracle.

We learned about Spanish food, iberica ham, where the pigs are fed with acorns, Galicia wine, life in Spain today, where house buyers like Ireland have negative equity.

A local farmer stopped for a chat, he was called Antonio and knew a local family that lived in Ireland and how their child learned about Tir Na Nog and the immortal Irish.

The Galicians like the Irish have their own Celtic fairy tales. Life in Spain is tough too with many young people not working, farmers manage ok, but in the towns you see idle people. Spanish youth unemployment is 50 per cent.

You also see many abandoned houses. One Irish camino walker learned that these can be bought for giveaway sums, but would have perhaps 10,000 euros plus in outstanding property taxes in some cases. The next generation may have moved to the towns for work and sold land but not the houses.

ME2014 DigEd27Spanish like the Irish also emigrate, some to South America and Northern Europe.

The second last evening before Santiago was spent in a small trucker’s hotel near Bruma. This was a venture back in real world again after Ferrol.

The meal of the day in Canaima was substantial with a large bowl of Galician vegetable soup with cabbage and beans after a long walk it does the trick followed by fish or chicken all for less than 10 euro with some wine. Next day was another 29km from Bruma before arriving at Torre near Sigueiro, very few people again on this route. You need some determination to keep going alone and enjoy the reflection time.

The Spaniards were now behind or gone ahead, so we had a very thoughtful day on the walk and the last 10km were in a forest where apart from a few log men and farmers nobody about, just as well legs was good and mobile was working as there was no one around for help. Stop at Calle for a coffee break, as there is little chance of much after that village. The smell of slurry, seeing beef and dairy cattle made one feel at home.

Dogs went crazy as we passed by a little rain and drizzle saw us put on a poncho rain mac, which you can get there and is lighter than Irish rain gear.

Villages were quiet and was all a little strange and bizarre, as there were so few people.

The work phone rang a little, but otherwise all peaceful.

Good for a day or two but not too long, humans are social so it’s good to have company on a walk.

I would reach Santiago the next day, where there would be many folk so no hassle being alone for a day.

I could hear some distant noises from lorries as I approached Sigueiro a commuter town to Santiago 15km out. Good cafes here at great value, with again the Galician soup, the filler.

Walked a little more to the hotel on main road after river, the San Vincente was a rather quiet hotel with fine garden and outdoor pool in summer, but not in use.

I met some Swedes driving back from Portugal, who retire there for winter and take some rental property for just 400 euro a month, then return home for summer. A fine meal was had again with the Galician soup as starter and a great rest before we took last 15km stretch to Santiago and made the pilgrims mass for noon. Stayed at the fine Hospedera Hotel near the Cathedral, where there is also a seminary.

Pleasant walks again via cool forests for the first 8-10km but the last 5km were on edge of the main town with much traffic.

It took quite some time to catch the signs going into town and the great Cathedral city and capital of Galicia, locals directed us if we were off route and there was no scallop shell to direct one.

Things to do:
- Get good boots worn in, or use strong waterproof trainers, wet gear that is light you need them in spring rains.
- Fly with Aer Lingus to Santiago, train to Corunna then bus or train to Ferrol for 6 euro/
- Book with Camino Ways.com they can sort out travel arrangements, luggage forwarding, itinerary etc..

CaminoWays.com specialises in Camino de Santiago walking and cycling holidays including the English Way and many other Camino routes. Request a free quote at www.caminoways. com or contacting the CaminoWays.com team on 01 525 2886 or by email info@caminoways.com
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Aer Lingus flies directly from Dublin to Santiago de Compostela three times a week from April to October (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), and additional flights on Wednesday for July and August. For best fares: www.aerlingus.com

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