Continued from First Morning of Camino Inglés in Ferrol
“May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face.”
I always loved this Irish blessing. I thought it was a great way for Susan Jagannath to start the chapter for Day One in her guidebook, The Camino Inglés 6 days (or less) to Santiago. I enjoyed reading this guide on my Kindle App before I started my walk each day. I took Susan’s advice to split the first stage and stay in Neda instead of walking all the way to Pontedeume. This allowed me to enjoy a leisurely morning at the Parador, and even shoot this Facebook Live video in the room before I headed out. Thus, I started my walk out of Ferrol around 11 a.m., which is considered extremely late by Camino standards!
Below are the photos of my walk leaving Ferrol.
From a distance, I thought there were scuba divers in the calm waters off the beach, but they were fisherman were digging up clams. Here are a few videos I captured.
Up to this point, I didn’t seen any pilgrims. I finally saw a woman taking photos at the San Martino de Xubio Monastery (founded in the eighth century).
I noticed the woman was scanning the QR code with her phone to read the information about the monastery. We sparked up a conversation about it and she showed me the info on her phone. Below are a few screenshots.
PILGRIM TIP: Go to this URL for that first QR code that I saw in Ferrol:
Then, simply change the last number of URL from 1 to 2, 3, 4, etc., so you can see the entire series of Camino Inglés points of interest! How cool is that!?!
After geeking out over this technology, we walked the rest of the way to Neda together, passing through farms, crossing bridges over highways, and walking alongside the river. Her name is Nancy and she is from Virginia. She already had walked the Camino Primitivo and Finisterre, and had enough time to complete another Camino before returning home.
It was hot by the time we arrived in Neda, and the tide was out, exposing the river bed.
Nancy and I were exhausted when we arrived at the municipal albergue in Neda. There were a few other pilgrims inside, but there were no hospitaleros (volunteers of albergues) for us to pay the € 6 for our beds. Because the Camino Inglés doesn’t have as many pilgrims as other routes, the guidebooks suggest calling the hospitalero upon arrival. This was new to both of us. I checked out the showers, which looked so dirty I didn’t even feel like attempting one.
Nancy and I placed our backpacks by some bunk beds, regrouped, and then decided to get some food. We ordered beers and sandwiches at a local restaurant, and I checked my email. I saw that a couple from Australia had replied to one of my Facebook posts about arriving in Neda that same day, and they were staying at Pensión Maragoto. I wondered if there were any rooms available, so I thought I’d investigate after lunch. Neda is such a small town that the pensión was right around the corner, up a hill. I was greeted by the owner, Maragoto, who was working in the restaurant of the pensión. I asked whether she had rooms available. She said yes and brought me upstairs to see two rooms. Single rooms cost €14 and a double with an ensuite bathroom cost €22.
The river view was beautiful from both rooms.
I was so excited about this new option and returned to the restaurant to let Nancy know about the pensión. I didn’t know her that well and wondered whether she wanted to tough it out at the municipal albergue. (Some hardcore pilgrims insist on staying in the muni albergues.) When I told Nancy about the rooms, prices and views, she too wanted to ditch the albergue. Hooray! We returned to the albergue, grabbed our backpacks, and headed up to the pensión. The theme song from The Jeffersons sitcom was running through my mind, “Well, we’re moving on up!” By this time in the afternoon, the tide was higher, and the town began to sparkle in the reflection of the river.
I did a happy dance when I settled into the single room and saw Neda from a fresh new perspective! I texted the Aussie couple to let them know we were staying at the pensión too, and we all met in the Maragoto restaurant for a drink to celebrate Camino Day One. I bought them cañas (cold tap beer, usually Estrella) to thank them for the recommendation.
PILGRIM TIP: I highly recommend staying and eating at Pensión Maragoto. Reserve a room in advance and request a river view. Details and contact info at www.pensionmaragoto.com/
They have free wifi and they also have have a good restaurant with menu del dia for € 9 dinner.
Up next, exploring Neda.