Day 1 Ferrol to Pontedeume – A grandiose Hypotenuse and the Albergue of nightmares 19km 6.15hours

Well I started my day in the dark with head lamp around my neck. There were plenty of street lights to start with. The breakfast the old lady had prepared for 5 euros looked pretty grim so i passed on it and headed down the long street towards the port area as advised by the tourist office. Once there I was a little perplexed as I could not see any pilgrims and I wasnt even sure I had followed directions correctly. I continued the general direction I was supposed to go and I was passed by numerous early workers heading towards the port. Finally I found a bar that sold cafe con leche and whisky but not much else at this time of day.

I took the cafe con leche not the whisky! (It was just a tad early for me. Like whiskey and breakfast? yeh no ! But I note many a spanish man seems to enjoy it to start the day!

I had a near disaster wandering in the dawn light with my cafe con leche in hand. I stumbled looking closer at a camino sign and made a very lucky recovery. It was a timely reminded not to walk while multitasking too much lest I find myself in an ambulance again like last year!

I followed the path around the water way and enjoyed the sweet smell of the ocean and some lovely views to start me on my way. At one point I was a little concerned when and old man pointed me down towards a camino arrow that led me through a dark path along a stone wall. I moved very quickly and was glad to make it to the other end frankly!

It wasnt long before i was walking behind a group of Spaniards who had discovered the grandest hypotenuse of all! The bridge across the Ria Ferrol taking you straight to Fene! No one really needs to go to Neda! Unless you want to of course.

Anyway I moved quickly through Fene up and down a few hills and finally as I was heading into Pontedeume a Spanish man who was as slow as me walked with me towards the tourist office in order to buy a bed at the albergue. Well I wish I’d read the reviews on this one before I bothered to pay my 5 euro. 90 bed dorms I can handle. Noisy snorers I can handle. Even tengo frio I can handle. But I cant handle no windows and no fire exit!

I was given the second last bed although, as it turned out, I was actually given the last bed because someone must have snuck a friend in. Two very kind spanish men in front of me left me the bottom bunk.

The instructions to all pilgrims were to lock the door with your key after you went in or out. This concerned me initially but I assumed there would be a window or a fire exit. There wasnt. I was so filled with claustrophobia that I only managed a photo or two before I headed out to find a hotel room! The ingles is somewhat lacking in private albergues unfortunately.

I had also sent a bag on of paraphernalia I had been collecting since Najera. I tried to send it to santiago but the easiest system seemed to be to pay 20 euros and it would arrive each day until I reached santiago. About 4 euros a day it worked out. As luck would have it the bar into which it had arrived also sat below the first hotel in the village. I went straight in and paid my 40 euros for a room and then I went straight back and retrieved my pack from the albergue.

After a shower and a rest I headed out to find a recharge for my spanish sim. But first I sat in the bar downstairs and ate a hamburger. Wouldn’t you know it there was my friend from yesterday! She had taken the short cut after all! Let’s call her shortcut sally.

We discussed the expense of these hotels and lack of private albergues and made some bookings to share a room for the next three nights before she headed up to her hotel.

I failed to find a shop open as it was fiesta time so I wandered the back streets looking for a tapas bar. I saw a pilgrim sitting outside one and asked if the food was good.

This was another German girl and she very kindly invited me to sit and informed me that her guidebook recommended this bar as the best place for tapas! The English guidebook gave me no such recommendations desafortunatemente – it focussed on path practicalities and personal reflection! My reflection was on how wonderful my feet felt and how lucky I was that I could still actually walk given the trauma my body has endured over two caminos and a lifetime of not much exercise !

Anyway we drank some wine and ate some food and enjoyed comparing caminos. She had completed the Portugués and the Finisterre and was taking a short break to do the Ingles as she too had caught the Camino bug!

Anyway after wine and food at this bar we finished off the night with chocolate churros again recommended by the German book! Fortunately for me that took me back to right across from my hotel so I made it back to my room for a very peaceful nights sleep.

The next day was supposed to be quite easy so I wasnt too concerned that i had stayed up past 10 o’clock – albergue lock up time for pilgrims!

All was well in the world!

Buenas noches!

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