Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Camino Inglés: Day 2

Today was, in fact, my first day on this camino, having missed the departure from Ferrol yesterday.

And what a day of ups and downs it was! If I hadn't known better, I'd have sworn we were in Asturias, such were the 5 inclines we had to do today - under a blazing sun and a midday temperature of 30 degrees or more. At least 2 of these were described - pretty accurately - as 'brutal'. And the rest were hardly a cake-walk. Worst of all, the first - and the longest - began 30 metres from the hotel entrance. A nice gentle start to the day.

Such was the gradient, I felt it necessary to advise my colleagues there were 4 sachets of soluble aspirin my rucksack, and they should administer them PDQ,  if I succumbed to a heart attack.

Here's the route and its profile, to give you some idea of what we had to tackle:

After a hearty breakfast, our plan was to eschew midday tapas/raciones and arrive at a restaurant after Ponte de Porco (Pig Bridge) for a menú del día around 3 o'clock. We arrived on the dot, to find the place closed and shuttered. So we continued on our way to Betanzos, where we revenously enjoyed a large plate of jamón at the entrance to the town, before making our way to our hotel. Which naturally involved a 1-in-2 gradient of more than 50 metres en route.

Three large shandies (un bok de clara) were consumed along the way, of course. By me at least.


The petrol station next to the hotel, with its own little shrine:

Our hotel in Pontedeume:

Straight out out the 60s
Separate taps, British style. Which the modern Spanish laugh at, as they all have mixer taps.

A key that weighed at list a kilo. 
But a room as large as anything in a Parador. And with much the same furniture. Note the armchair. 
Scenes from the walk

Looking down on Pontedeume after some of our early climb 
Rebekah and a medieval bridge. Possibly crossed by George Borrow before us. 
Grafitti (or graffiti) on the stanchions of an autopista 

Looking back towards the sea
The pig, with the Pig Bridge in the background. Just before a 'brutal' climb.
An estuary . . . .
Yet another failed attempt to demonstrate how steep a climb was
A chapel where we might have seen Andrade's tomb if we'd been able to find  the person with the key
Unexpected topiary
The church in the main aquare of the rather lovely town of Betanzos. Famous for its tortillas.
Finally . . . . This is not a proud boast but I might well have the ugliest feet in the world. When I was 19 and teaching kids in the Seychelles, they caused a great deal of amusement to my pupils when we all played badminton barefoot. Here's a foto of them to prove my contention. Would any woman want to be seen in the same bed as these?

I mention this just to tell you to be aware of taking on board advice that you should wear 2 pairs of socks when walking - one thick and one thin. I find this overly restricts my feet and makes by toes numb. Despite their somewhat odd configuration, if I revert to one pair they give me no trouble whatsoever. But it's a personal choice.

The bunions are inherited, by the way. I didn't get them by wearing high heels during the evenings. Honest.

Technical Note: It's taken me more than a week to realise why my battery always dies just as I enter a town and need the phone to try to find where the hotel is. As soon as I get near the place, I switch on Google Maps and this is so voracious that it soon consumes whatever battery I have left. So, not really the coincidence I thought it was. More of an inevitability, really. I bought a mobile battery last week but this only gives my phone a charge of 25% and this is just a tidbit to Google Maps. Gone in a flash.

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