I awoke this morning with some trepidation. I had woken up a few times during the night and in the morning my feet were a bit swollen. I rarely get blisters and my shoes were very well worn in so I don’t know why I had developed so many. On the plus side, they weren’t hurting much and I had plenty of plasters.
I spent quite a while stretching and then putting plasters on the tender parts of my feet. Everything seemed to be mostly ok.
After a breakfast of crushed tomatoes and olive oil on toast (just for something different) we sorted out our belongings then set off.
The Camino Ingles has two possible starting points that eventually join – like a ‘Y’ shape. We had started on the right fork of the route but, due to a lack of accommodation on that path, were planning on crossing early from one side to the other, before the two parts officially joined.
The route out of Betanzos was uphill for a couple of kilometres. I had contemplated catching a taxi to the top because of my hip pain but the stretching and sleep has possibly made a difference because up to the halfway point everything seemed to be ok.
The countryside was still very green and the undulations made it very scenic. I haven’t mentioned it before but from arriving in Ferrol we continually heard very loud booming sporadically during the day. It was still audible close to Betanzos so if anyone knows what it might be please comment!
Another feature of the walk has been these raised boxes/sheds. What are they for? I thought they might be pigeon cotes but some have crosses on them so I’m not sure.
We saw only a few other pairs and groups of people in the morning but stopped for lunch at a roadside bar.
We sat outside and had drinks then a family-looking group turned up, pulled out a guitar and started playing to the tables of people outside.
Danny was particularly loving the situation – in Ireland casual musical performances are very common and this part of Spain is very closely related to Ireland, being part of the Gaelic world. Locals we have met have been very pleased to meet Danny and find out he’s Irish. A couple of old men even took photos with us yesterday.
We decided to order food since the bar was so nice. The food took forever but the sandwiches were amazing when they arrived.
Being a public holiday most of the shops were shut and we had no idea what we would find for meals so being somewhere that was open was worth stopping for.
Everyone was loving it and then they stopped for lunch and another group of people came along with a piano accordion and did some more singing.
The lady with the accordion came over to talk to us and asked if there were any tunes we knew. Obviously at that point neither of us could think of the name of a single song so she said ‘Beatles!’ and played some Obla di obla da (is that what the song is called? You know the only I mean!).
The whole thing was a very quintessential Spanish experience but also felt like a pub session in Ireland. One of the old men asked Danny where we were from and when he said Ireland the man said ‘same same!’
I’m not sure, if I lived somewhere that had a constant stream of sweaty tourists, that I’d be quite as welcoming and friendly, but we’ve had a number of very charming interactions with locals and it’s really been the highlight of the walk so far. Well, that and the food and the scenery.
We sat for about two hours and had a delicious tortilla sandwich before moving on.
The parts of Galicia we walked through on this day were definitely more affluent than yesterday. The houses were in more subtle colours and everything looked neat and either historically old or new and fancy.
Most of today’s walk was along roadsides but, being a holiday, the roads were pretty quiet and it wasn’t too traumatic.
The last bit of walking was through a eucalyptus forest that felt like it was never going to end.
Eventually we made it to our accommodation, which turned out to be a stunning eco retreat cabin by a very popular dam and recreation area. Walking out of the forest to discover it was almost a religious experience.
It was really a cut above our previous, somewhat utilitarian, hotel in Betanzos.
The view from the front of the cabin is of the dam and people having picnics. Beside the cabin is a bar and restaurant but they closed at 5pm (not very Spanish hours but it is a public holiday) but I managed to snag a bottle of wine before they closed.
The wine was beautiful and local, there was also a bottle of red left for us in the cabin and Danny prefers red so that worked out well!
We had bought croissants and apples in Betanzos, knowing we might not see another open shop, so wine and croissants were our dinner.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 27 degrees so we plan to leave early and get most of our 17km done before lunch.
So far we have done over 70km, which is really good for us! I know some people manage much further in shorter times but we have stopped a lot, eaten great food and had great chats with people along the way.