Getting to the start of a trek can be more stressful than the trek itself. I drove to Chippenham and left my car at my daughters. Took a Coach to London central where heavy traffic ensured I had about three minutes to get my connection to, Gatwick. A two hour journey followed through Brixton, Mitchum. Sutton ad a number of other places to numerous to mention. As these places are all joined up I don't know why on earth they don't just give then one name and be done with. A 3am alarm call for the early flight to Santiago. I slept well slept well on the flight except when the pilot said that as Santiago airport was fogged in he was going to let the plane land itself.
I was dreaming, of course, except I wasn't he and his co-pilot really where going to put their feet up and trust to technology. I looked out of the window searching for parachutes and was sort of relieved to see none. Yet I still had this vision of the pilots munching on biscuits and reading back copies of The Sun newspaper. As,it happened the flaps extended, the plane banked, and the wheels touched the ground, gently. Of course, I never had any doubt.
The irony then was that I had to catch a bus into Santiago and then catch another out to Ferrol. That was a doddle, but then I had to find the hotel.
Now, despite having walked over 2000 miles in Spain the language and me remain total strangers. So when asking for directions I do it in bite sized pieces. First the nice lady in the pharmacy put a pen mark on my map, and then the lady in a bar a few streets on got a man in the bar across the road to call to his wife who was in the supermarket to put another pen mark on the map. I was getting closer. Last but not least was the newsagent. He wasn't there but two elderly ladies where. I pointed to the address, one took my glasses and put them over hers. Now we were both blind. Her friend took a look, pointed up the hill and then bent her hand and within two minutes I had arrived. Absolutely knackered and looking forward to walking into the wilderness. That's always the easy bit.
The start of the walk is marked by a small granite column located out side the tourist office. This in turn is opposite a very small yachting marina which is dwarfed by the. Arsenal. A huge military establishment dominating the harbour.
The town is a delightful mishmash of glassed balconied three story houses and the usual plethora of bars and cafes provide sustenance for all levels of finance, including the impecunious, which is me. I can manage to live off mixed salad for a week or so knowing full well that my wife will, tut when I get home and she finds she can get her arms around me once again. She likes me thin, but not that thin.
I did explore, a little, but the fact it was 31c meant that most of my observations where conducted from a harbour side bar.
My friend and I started together, walking through the long thin pedestrianised area hemmed in by those glass fronted three story houses. At the magnificent town hall a swift right and then left turn had us leaving the town and heading off into wooded country. It was going to be another hot day. I never did find any reference to the Spanish Armada on the local information panels. I suppose there must be something around but I considered it too impolite to ask. One thing I did learn, though, was that this town of 70,000 souls
was the birthplace of the Spanish General and dictator Francisco Franco in 1892, and was officially known as El Ferrol del Caudillo from 1938 to 1982. It was also the birthplace of the founder of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), Pablo Iglesias, in 1850.
So for a city of Celts whose eyes and heart are forever turned to the sea some of its progeny have had a profound effect on Spanish history.