PHOTOS FROM THE ENGLISH CAMINO
Hope this of interest.
Also, please excuse the spelling/grammar and miscellaneous other mistakes. I write this at the end of long sweaty days so I'm not on top of the grammar etc then.
So, to continue day one. This photo is of me and my friend leaving the start line in Ferrol. A little sprinkle of his ashes and we are off.
Walking out of Ferrol in the dark, bearing in mind in doesn't get light until 8am, was quite challenging. I found the first arrow opposite the magnificent town hall, but from then on it was all keeping the head going up and down like a nodding donkey and hope to see a sign. My intuition took me past the early morning cafes with their reluctant pre work clientele. In those that were empty there was always some one half heartedly cleaning the bar and kicking chairs into place while all the time looking out the door for the first customer.
The navy seems to have taken up all the port here and numerous naval and marine buildings displayed their austere but beautifully powerful archetecture showed a time when Spanish Naval power was at its height. In numerous parade grounds sailors stood on the first parade of the day awaiting orders. Dressed in their summer whites they looked resplendent. Except for one chap who was being quick marched away between two others. At first I thought they were going to raise the flag, but they skirted swiftly across the parade ground and out of sight. Perhaps he had taken too many chips at lunch time. If that was the case I would always be on report.
The town then fell into the routine of so many towns I have walked through in Europe. High rised flats, roundabouts, and supermarkets. These dissolved into small factories of glass makers, car repairers and paint factories. Then, by a convoluted series of lanes and roads I was in the other side of the motorway and in the suberbs. All bungalows, tall walls topped with dark green painted wrought iron fences and all protected by barking dogs. Very sensitive they were too. You only had to pass wind and they were on their hind legs snarling through the fence. Fortunately I like dogs so I did resist the urge to punch them on the little bit of nose they managed to squeeze through the openings. They were after all, only doing what they were fed to do.
Dusty lanes, small forests of Eucalyptus and minor roads took me beside the estuary and onto my first stop at Neda. it was here, bizarrely that I was now walking up the other side of the tide witching Ferrol on the opposite bank. The morning had started out foggy and it persisted until midday when the temperature shot up to over 30C. and goodness did I feel it.
The climb out of Neda was back breaking and I was bent over, hands underneath the rucksack to support it, and watching the sweat dropping onto my shorts. All the time I was trying to catch my breath. It reminded me of the first day on the Camino France's five years ago when I hauled myself up in similar temperatures wondering what on earth I had taken on.
I was drinking more and needed water. Everyone seemed to be indoors with the shutters firmLy closed. The equivalent a 'Do not disturb sign'. In a small village I came upon an elderly man with his head stuck in the boot of his car opposite what I hoped was his house. I proffered my empty bottle. He took it into his house. Moments later his wife appeared. 'No, no, no. ' so that was that then. Except it wasn't. She was not going to let her husband give me tap water. Only the best water from their well as good enough for this Pilgrim. She brought me one from her fridge in a green bottle that once contained wine. I took a huge draft and smacked my lips. She gave a grunt of satisfaction and
produced another. I walked off fully satiated.
It was all down hill to the end of this 29km leg and I was not sorry to hit the magnificent beach at PONTEDEUME. Where I considered that I deserved a beer and a tapas and an hour in the sun.
Where to stay was the next problem. I eventually came across a bar in the Plaza del Convento. Lunch was being served. The bar appeared to be run by a family. The no nonsense owner , a rugby prop forward of ever I saw one, asked if I wanted to go inside. I nodded . With a tray of drinks in his hand he propelled me through the door. 'Did I have a reservation?' 'No'. He scratched his chin. Got out a book and thumbed the well worn pages. 'Passport'. He demanded. I like that , it means I, going to get a room. His mother led me out of the bar and across the square to another building. She Pointed to the room number on the key and indicated the third floor, my last challenge of the day.
I dragged myself up the stairs, and slumped on the bed. I was pleased not to have a cat with me as there was no place to swing it. But it had a great hot shower and the bed was comfortable and it had only cost me 15 euros, and, as I fell asleep. To me it was a veritable palace.