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Live From The Camino Inglés

Discussion in 'Camino Ingles' started by Wily, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Even on this wet and somewhat chilly day in Galicia, it’s absolutely great to be back walking the Camino. Although we arrived late into Ferrol, finding a good restaurant for a late night dinner was not at all difficult. I had read that eating at O Galo was a treat and it did not disappoint.

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    At 11 pm this tiny eatery is packed. We were able to order half portions (una media racion) of pulpo, calamare, zamburinas (scallops), and cuttlefish (see photo).

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    However, the highlight of dinner in spite of all the great seafood were the Pimientos de Padrón. Last year, we were told that they were out of season. However, no problem last night! They were some of the best mild peppers that I have eaten.

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    The stage between Ferrol and Neda is flat easy walking although the trail was pretty muddy in spots. As we were only going 15 km today, we took our time leaving town and enjoyed meandering along the Ría Ferrol.

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    We were disappointed that the Concatedral de San Xiao in Ferrol wasn’t open when we walked by, but we had perfect timing at the Monestary of Saint Martin de Xubia where a Palm Sunday service was about to start.

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    An early afternoon arrival put us at the Pension Maragoto (Laurie Ferris’ recommendation) with plenty of time to explore town and hang out a bit in the hotel cafe/restaurant. Neda was quiet on this rainy Sunday, but the short first day walk was more than enough since it allowed us to catch up a bit from our log travel day getting here. As on any section of the Camino, there are so many great spots to snap a photo or two.

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    Not unfamiliar with pilgrims along this route, this fellow, who moments earlier was sunbathing in the middle of the road, was more than happy to exchange a Buen Camino with us as we passed by.

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    Darkness has fallen and the pleasantness of our first day’s trek to Neda signals more good things to come. It appears that after the next couple dry days, the forecast is for a solid week of rain. Oh well, temperatures are in the low 50s and there are quite a few pilgrims along with us heading to Santiago and enjoying every minute of it. Tomorrow, we head to Pontedueme with one nice hill to climb along The Way. Buen Camino.

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  2. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Loved the food pics and names/descriptions! Have a great camino.
     
  3. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the combined pictures and words as they are occurring. Have a great walk.
     
  4. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 2 - Neda to Pontedueme (16 km)

    Headed out of Neda after breakfast at the Pension Maragoto. Not many dining choices in Neda, but the menu del día last night for €9.50 at the hotel was quite good. With the time change this weekend, it didn’t get light until about 8 am. Winding through the old streets of Neda, we worked our way north toward Pontedueme.

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    Signage on the Inglés has been excellent. Between official kilometer markers, yellow arrows, and other signs, we haven’t yet taken a wrong turn.

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    Although only about 30% of today’s walking was on trails, what we had, sometimes a bit muddy, nicely took us through a couple of eucalyptus forests. Overall, we saw an elevation change of about 300 meters, but even the steeper sections were nothing in comparison with parts of the CF. Nonetheless, going uphill was a good stretch of the legs as we meandered through the rural Spanish countryside.

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    Of course, there were the obligatory stops for refreshments!

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    Today we began to see some of the typical granaries called hórreos. The one below wasn’t as old as many you see in Galicia, but it still had all the charm that these traditional structures are known for.

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    Even with breaks, we easily made it to Pontedueme in a little over four hours.

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    From folks we have talked with, the albergues are filling up quite early. There are a couple of problems on the Inglés with regard to the albergues. Typically, there is only one in each major town with few, if any, in between stopping points. Second, the albergues so far have been relatively small. The municipal albergue in Neda only had 28 beds while the one here in Pontedueme offered 20 beds. From a couple we met this afternoon, the albergue was already full around 1:30 in the afternoon. Luckily, we had reservations at another tiny pension for the night.

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    We’re seeing many more pilgrims on the trail this year than on the CP last year during the identical week. There are quite a few groups of Spaniards working there way to Santiago. Everyone’s explanation is the same. It’s Semana Santa or Holy Week.

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    Nonetheless, the old center of Pontedueme is quite charming with buildings dating back centuries and plenty of eateries. Plaza Real in the heart of the oldtown is outdoor cafe after cafe. Although it’s a bit chilly and damp, I’m sure we’ll be able to find a cozy spot for dinner and drinks later. Buen Camino!

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  5. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 3 - Pontedueme to Betanzos (21 km)

    Pontedueme turned out to be a charming town. Just down from the pension where we stayed was the medieval tour that is the town’s trademark.

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    Heading out of Pontedueme just after light meant a mile and a half uphill climb that reminded me of leaving SJPP going to Orisson. Luckily, it wasn’t five miles! Nonetheless, today would prove to be the longest stage so far with around 600 meters of vertical over the course of the route.

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    Most of today was spent on either quiet paths through the rural countryside or on single one lane roads with little to no traffic.

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    Although temperatures were in the mid-60s F, there has been so much rain here that the paths are quite muddy. When walking at this time of year, gaiters have proved most helpful. However, what I will do for my next Camino is change out my low gaiters for high ones just to keep the pants a bit cleaner. Although as you can see from this photo, we also had a few dry spots.

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    The hardest part of today was the lack of services on this section of the Inglés. We had to walk about 10 km before our first cafe for a break. Although Miño had a number of cafes and eateries, little else was found until we hit Betanzos another 10 km further on down The Way.

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    After two relatively short 15 km days to get acclimated, our trek today, proved very doable with the most pleasant temperature for walking. We were able to get to Betanzos by mid-afternoon at a leisurely pace. Looking ahead at the forcaste, we may have rain for the next week or more. Ah, Galicia!

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    Without comparing populations, Betanzos may be the largest city we have been in so far. It is a wonderful medieval town, in some ways similar to Tui, but larger, with a most welcoming main plaza lined with sidewalk cafes.

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    It has been said that the best tortilla español comes from Betanzos. We went to a tiny restaurant tonight, the Casa Miranda, that has won the “tortilla of the year” award twice recently. It didn’t disappoint! Unlike those I had on the CF, the tortilla here has a more liquid center. Delicious!

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    We’re splitting the long stage from Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma in half tomorrow. We’re hoping to stay at the municipal albergue in Presedo, but it only has 16 beds. If it’s full, we’ll return to Betanzos by taxi and then taxi back to Presedo the following day to resume from there. It’s all part of the adventure!

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    Buen Camino!
     

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  6. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful pictures, Wily! Thanks for sharing them with us and I hope you catch a break from the rain and mud. You guys look like you're having a really nice time regardless of the weather. Have a good hike tomorrow.
     
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  7. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    Wily, those pictures make me want to WALK! They're beautiful. Um......this is probably a stupid question, but is that egg coming out from that tortilla, or something else? (don't mean to make it all about the food!) :D It looks like you guys are making the best of the soggy days!
     
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  8. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey Hindsfeet, that is egg coming out of the tortilla. Really the best one I’ve ever had.
     
  9. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 4 - Betanzos to Presedo (13 km)

    As we had the time and also because LF recommended it, we broke up the long stage from Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma with a stop almost perfectly mid-way in Presedo. Although there was the forecast of 100% chance of rain today, it did hold off until about 10:30 this morning so we were able to complete the hardest part of the stage, the climb out of Betanzos, before the weather changed.

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    The climb out of Betanzos, although not as steep as yesterday morning’s, was still enough to get the heart pumping. Once at the top, most of the route followed paved, single lane roads through the countryside. It wasn’t until just before Presedo that we left pavement for a wooded trail into the village.

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    I now better understand why the Brierley book only devotes a single page per stage of the Camino Inglés. There continues to be very few services or even historical points of interest between stopping points. Nonetheless, the countryside is both beautiful and serene along This Way.

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    It wasn’t until we got to the hamlet of Cos that we walked by this old stone church and then just down the road from there was a most pleasant cafe/bar. But, stopping for a cafe con leche was our first opportunity in 5.5 miles for any type of refreshment. Nonetheless, a most welcoming fire and friendly locals, not to mention the coffee, helped take off the chill on what was now a very wet day.

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    Because the albergues along the Inglés have been full everyday due to Semana Santa, we weren’t sure what to expect in Presedo or if beds would even be available, we were prepared to taxi back to Betanzos if necessary and return to Presedo the next day to start walking again. As it turned out, we were the first to arrive at the albergue (and so far the only ones as well).

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    The albergue (€7) is a 16 bed facility. The place is immaculately clean with wonderful heavy comforters on each bed. Even without much heat in this building, our sleeping bags and these comforters would ensure a warm night’s sleep.

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    Presedo seems to have little more than the albergue and a fine restaurant the Meson-Museo Xente no Camino just 400 meters further down the road. We did bump into a couple other pilgrims having lunch there while we went in for an early menu del día. For the standard €10, we feasted on caldo gallego, chopas (a hearty stew made with cuttlefish), flan or chocolate cake, and coffee. Of course, there was also the obligatory bottle of vino de la casa for the two of us to share.

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    So, although we walked today, the short distance and relaxing afternoon made it seem more like a rest day. With the rain heavy at times this afternoon, this planned stop was a good choice.

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    For anyone interested, I saw this poster today regarding transporting backpacks from albergue to albergue or extra clothing/gear to Santiago.

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    The daily La Voz de Galicia has been featuring an article and photos on the Camino since we have been here. Here’s a photo from the CF near Portomarin. Yes, the weather is just as bad where we are!

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    Buen Camino!
     
  10. BROWNCOUNTYBOB

    BROWNCOUNTYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Wily, sorry you and your wife are experiencing so my sogginess, rain and mud during your camino. Thanks for the photos. You really capture the spirit of your camino. Sounds like there are not many options regarding places to stay, and the ones you are staying in are mostly small albergues with bunkbeds.

    I've just begun reading the Brierley book for the Camino Portuguese. I've only ready a few stages, with the start from Lisbon. Even though the stages are very flat thus far, it seems Brierley very long stages - more than 30 km per day. This puzzles me since the walk from Lisbon to Santiago is much shorter than CF. Also, similar to your experience, the distance between towns is long and there are few places to stay. This may not have been your experience last year, since you started from Porto.

    My wife and I are planning our third camino frances next year. For camino four, we thought we might switch to another route. However, we've pledged that all future caminos we'll stay in private rooms. If the route does not offer this, we'll continue walking the camino frances in the future - it will be like seeing a good friend we've not seen in awhile.

    Thanks again for the nice photos and commentary. Here's hoping you have blue skies and dry paths the rest of the way. Bob
     
  11. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 5 - Presedo to Hospital de Bruma/Meson do Vento (17 km)

    The Rain in Spain falls mainly in Galicia! Whew, what a wet day (although it stopped from time to time)! It was one of those days where you put on your plastic and just keep putting on step in front of the other until you get to your destination. Luckily, our trek today was only around 17 km to Hospital de Bruma plus a couple extra kilometers up to Pension Meson Novo where we were staying.

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    Narrow one lane roads, muddy trails, a just a bit of highway walking characterized our day. There is now a new route starting in Leiro that bypasses what was a much steeper climb up to Hospital de Bruma. Although there was a considerable amount of uphill walking, it was, in fact, most gentle and pleasant.

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    After breakfast at Xento no Camino in Presedo this morning, there wasn’t another opportunity to stop for a cafe until just three kilometers before Bruma. But, as always, that cafe con leche was just what we needed on this very wet day.

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    Between heavy rain and hail, our Camino faith was certainly challenged today. But even on this cold, wet day, there was no place else where we’d rather be. As we were the only pilgrims staying in Presedo last night, we didn’t cross paths with anyone until we stopped for coffee four hours into our hike. The Camino starting in O Coroña merged with the Inglés today, so a few new faces are now walking along with us. Other than one American couple we met, rest of our fellow pilgrims have been Spanish along with a few Germans.

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    Passing by the albergue in Hospital de Bruma around 1 pm, there would not have been any problem getting a bed.

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    However, our room at the pension has a couple of functional heaters which has allowed us to get everything dried out for tomorrow. I’m sorry to report that my Gortex Merrell GTX’s didn’t prove to be completely waterproof. But after five hours of pretty steady rain, maybe expecting dry feet is too much to ask. However, the gaiters undoubtedly helped keep some of the water out.

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    The couple times the sun did come out for a few minutes, it was spectacular!

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    Of course, we had another great menu del día just across the street from our pension, so we are recharged, dried out, and ready to head out to Següeiro in the morning. Only 25 miles to Santiago.

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    Buen Camino!
     
  12. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the map and have fun with your all day shower. Do you keep a small bar of soap in your pocket so that you can get REAL clean?
     
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  13. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    Really nice thread and great pictures, thank you Wily.
    Despite the rain you're getting I'm very envious, was meant to be walking the Ingles at the end of April but my health has fallen apart and I can't go (next year now -fingers crossed). This is now my vicarious pilgrimage and I'm grateful to you for posting it.
     
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  14. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 6 - Hospital de Bruma to Sigüeiro (27 km)

    Day 6, our longest and toughest day yet! The weather forcaste called for showers, light rain, heavy rain, thunderstorms, and strong winds. It was 100% accurate! Ninety percent of the day was spent walking in rain of some force with strong headwinds most of the time. If there were a day to try both the body and the sole of the pilgrim, this was it! But, at the end of the day, we found ourselves safely entering the albergue in Sigüeiro with a great sense of accomplishment.

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    For all of us on the trail on this most nasty day, we had three stopping spots for food and drink in the first half of this long stage. As usual, we enjoyed another delicious cafe con leche at the first cafe/bar along The Way.

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    We hit the final stop for refreshments around noon where along with a roomful of other pilgrims, not only were we able to seek refuge from the rain, but we also devoured one of the best bocadillos de jamon Serrano y queso.

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    Today, muddy as they were, we walked on paths through the woods a good 40% of the time. Although the single one lane roads through the small hamlets proves to be easy walking, being on the wooded paths brings the pilgrim closer to that spiritual component so much needed when the going gets tough.

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    Because the two Caminos have now collapsed into one route into Santiago, we were treated to much more company today. It was great fun to see smiling faces and greetings of Buen Camino even though we were all wishing that the rain might let up a bit. In any case, one reason why I walk is to interact with others along The Way and that was certainly achieved today (although most of it took place in Spanish). As we have seen all week long, most of our fellow pilgrims along the Inglés are Spaniards making their way to Santiago during Semana Santa. We’re very humbled to be able to share this with so many very kind individuals.

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    Although we didn’t pass by as many churches as we did last year on the CP, those small village parishes gave us pause to be thankful for just being able to experience this walk.

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    After six long hours of hiking, we arrived in Sigüeiro ready for a hot shower and a good meal.

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    We chose the Albergue Camino Real because we were able to get a private room with a bath. In addition to our toasty room heater which helped dry our hats and gloves, we splurged and put a load of wet clothes in the albergue’s clothes dryer.

    One of the better and popular restaurants in town was just around the corner. Knowing how Hindsfeet loves the food photos, I snapped a couple shots of dinner just for her.

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    When in Galicia, do give the chiripones a try. They’re particularly good fried. As for coffee flavored flan and ice cream, I just couldn’t say no.

    We arrive in Santiago tomorrow. Buen Camino!
     

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  15. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    I'm so sorry to hear that, fluffkitten, and hope things get better for you soon.
     
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  16. fluffkitten

    fluffkitten Member

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    Thank you.
     
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  17. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    Wily, for some reason my computer is NOT letting me see your latest photos. Can't quite figure out why. Of course, I will keep trying. You and Nancy should be in Santiago today. Wishing for you a sunny day and a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY NANCY! Keep us posted on your walk to the end of the world. Buen Camino!
     
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  18. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Day 7 -Sigüeiro to Santiago (17 km)

    What a difference a day makes! After the wettest day on this Camino, we’re walking into Santiago in the sunshine!

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    Much of our route into Santiago on this stage is on paths through the woods. Although there are a couple of elevation changes, the walk is both easy and pleasant. It’ s not until the last few kilometers that we got into the urban area leading us to the cathedral.

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    As has been typical on the Camino, services had not been plentiful. It wasn’t until about the 10 km point that we had an opportunity to stop for coffee.

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    Having now entered Santiago from three directions, coming in from the north on the Inglés was by far the most pleasant. Even as we hit the outskirts of Santiago, we were primarily walking through housing developments rather than an industrial zone. Nonetheless, our first sight of the cathedral from a couple kilometers away was just as moving this time as it was the first time I saw it after finishing the CF. That sense of accomplishment one feels is overwhelming.

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    As it was still early in the afternoon, we leisurely worked our way to the heart of the old city. Entering the city on the old narrow streets, one immediately gets a sense of its history and significance here in Spain.

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    It’s Easter here in Santiago and the streets are crowded with people celebrating the occasion as well as pilgrims just arriving after their Caminos.

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    We had to wait about an hour at the Pilgrim’s Office to get our Compostella. As you can see from the photo below, the queue was quite long. Clearly, a great many pilgrims were walking during Semana Santa. As we waited, it was clear that what we were feeling was identical to all those in line with us. Regardless of the specific route, the Camino is all about the journey. But, the arrival into Santiago helps put everything into perspective and caps off a walk that for each of us means something different, but one that has allowed us to share so many experiences with those whom we’ve met along The Way.

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    What has now become a bit of a tradition, our first stop after getting our Compostellas and checking into the Hospederia San Martin Pinario is celebratory tapas!

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    Not only is today Easter, but it is also my wife’s 60th birthday and a rest day for us. Just to make things a bit more special today, the botafumeiro was swung at the Pilgrim’s Mass this noon. We’ve spent the day strolling the narrow winding streets of Santiago and were able to share a bottle of wine with Camino friends. Tomorrow morning, we start our four day trek to Finisterre. Next stop, Negreira.

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    Buen Camino!
     
  19. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    A Blessed, Joyful & Peaceful Easter to you both. And a happy birthday to Nancy.
     
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  20. hindsfeet

    hindsfeet Collect moments, not things Donating Member

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    Wily, those pics of the food are AMAZING!! Have a wonderful day!!
     
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  21. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Happy Birthday to Nancy, Wily, and congratulations on getting to Santiago! Did you have to book very far ahead to get Easter reservations at San Martin Pinario? And where did you find those gorgeous tapas? Will be looking forward to your posts from the way to Finisterre and wish you very good weather!
     
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  22. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Observations on the Camino Inglés
    1. Although this Camino is only 119 km, it was a good physical challenge most days due to the hills. No one stage is particularly demanding, but at the end of the day, one feels a good sense of accomplishment since this part of Galicia is anything but flat.
    2. Even walking during Semana Santa, the trail was not overy busy. We did meet more pilgrims after the routes from O Coruña and the Inglés came together. A week earlier or later this spring and we might have very well had this Camino almost to ourselves just as we experienced early last spring on the CP. Just in today’s La Voz de Galicia there was an article on the record number of Compostellas being awarded in the first three months of 2018. By the end of March, nearly 15,000 had been given out. In part, because Semana Santa fell early, more people were walking a Camino earlier in the year.
    3. Services are not as plentiful or as frequent as I have found on either the CF or the CP. It was not unusual to have to walk up to 10 km between stops for coffee or food. There are fewer albergues along the Inglés. On a special week like Semana Santa, albergues filled quickly and early in the afternoon.
    4. There are a number of charming cities to visit along the Inglés. Specifically, Ferrol, Ponteduerme, and Betanzos were all enjoyable with restaurants like O’Galo, Zas, and Casa Miranda respectively where we were treated to some of Galicia’s best food.
    5. The Inglés is particularly well signed! Between official markers and yellow arrows, it’s difficult to make a wrong turn even in the cities.
    6. Being able to speak some Spanish was a definite advantage. However, in most of the small pensions and albergues where we stayed, some English was spoken. Nonetheless, with all the Spanish pilgrims we met, it was a great week to practice my Spanish.
    7. Weather this week presented us with a challenge that we did not have last year. But, that is the way of the Camino! Rain made each stage an even bigger challenge. But, at the end of the day, pilgrims still had smiles on their faces and were eagerly looking forward to walking the next day.
    8. Regardless of the Camino you choose, I still recommend getting in the best shape possible for your walk, listen to your body and stay reasonable with your expectations, and remain flexible and able to adapt to the unexpected that you may encounter along The Way. It will be a great experience!

    Buen Camino!
     
  23. Wily

    Wily Francés 2016; Portugués 2017; Inglés/Fisterra 2018

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    Hey C4S - Knowing that we wanted to be in Santiago for Easter, we booked our reservations at the Hospederia San Martin Pinario back in early September. Even that early, Booking.com was saying that accommodations in Santiago were 60% full. Santiago was crazy busy Easter weekend so we were glad to have had our reservations in place well before leaving the States. As for the tapas, there are several excellent tapas bars on Rúa do Franco just off the Praza do Obradoiro. The specific tapas bar we frequented more than once was Petiscos do Cardeal.

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  24. Maya Grandmother

    Maya Grandmother Active Member

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    I am thoroughly enjoying your daily post and pictures from your trek on the Ingles. I am also happy to read that the rain has still kept your spirits high and that the sun was finally shining. Wishing you both a wonderful experience for the rest of your journey.
     
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  25. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Hey Wily

    Some fantastic pics and great desciptions as always. So glad you enjoyed your Camino despite the weather (those boots sure looked muddy :) ).

    We start in Leon on Saturday and it looks like we will see a lot of rain/ sleet and snow!!

    Buen Camino

    Greg
     
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  26. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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  27. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Unklehammy. Can’t wait to get back on the Camino......,having seen Wily’s pics I’m beginning to regret not learning the breast stroke
     
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  28. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Think snorkel and wet suit.
     
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