Continued from Exploring Pontedeume.
The Pontedeume-to-Betanzos stage was 22.5 km (14 miles) and was a steep climb for the first segment and more ups and downs throughout the day. The graph below shows how steep it was with a 2,270 ft. elevation gain!
Next time I do this route, I will split this stage to stay in Miño so I can spend one more night by the river and have a more leisurely walk of roughly seven miles on both days. This will also allow for an earlier arrival in Betanzos, a town worthy of exploring more.
The room at Hotel Eumesa had a view of the river and had enough space to do yoga in the morning, which is something I try to do every day at home. I appreciated having the free breakfast, but the coffee was the watered-down stuff served from big urns. When coffee is that crappy, one is better off drinking English Breakfast tea to get the necessary jolt of caffeine before walking. Instead of getting grouchy about it, I knew that the Camino would provide a place along the way where I could get a fresh café con leche. Nonetheless, the hotel breakfast buffet provided basic fuel for a long day of hiking with boiled eggs, hard rolls, pastries, yogurt, juice, fruit, sliced cheeses and meat. At breakfast, I met a nice elderly pilgrim couple from Ireland who were having their bags transported to the next town. Just like the previous day, Nancy left before me, and we both knew that I’d see her along the way. I shot a quick video from the room before I headed out that shows a new way to carry my umbrella, long-sleeve gloves, and my daily ritual of pulling a Camino card.
Off we go!
Along the way, I passed and chatted with Nancy, a Belgian woman, an Italian mother-daughter duo, a Spanish couple, and a young German couple. It was a gorgeous walk!
I enjoyed a picnic lunch break in Miño at the end of a viewing platform that spans over the railroad tracks. To the left are the mountains, and to the right is the sea. Below is a panoramic photo. Click photo to see large image.
There is a glass strip running along the center of this platform, so you can see down below. It was a nice place to eat my lunch of croquettes and Padrón peppers which were leftovers from the lunch at Playa Magdalena.
I captured a video here:
I contemplated staying in Miño, but decided to forge ahead. The pilgrim word “ultreia” kept running through my mind, which means onward and upward!
The last segment of my walk was rough because the fog disappeared and it was very sunny out. I used my umbrella for shade, but it was still a challenge with all the hills. Below is my view from under the “Chrome Dome” Liteflex Trekking Umbrella. It’s like having a personal shade bubble keeping you cool!
The Italian duo I kept seeing was struggling too. Ironically, it was the teenage daughter who was having a tougher time than her forty-something mama. The horses didn’t seem to mind the heat much.
At one point, I lost my way and walked for about half a mile in a wrong direction. The waymarkers had been sufficient up to that point, or at least my attention had been. Sure enough, I had missed an arrow somewhere along the way. These were country roads with minimal houses and no street signs.
My spirits were crushed because I had been walking downhill, so to backtrack would mean to walk back uphill. Ugh! My energy was running low at that point. Then, a car stopped with a man who motioned to me and pointed up the hill saying “Camino de Santiago!” He had a young boy in his car, and he was nice enough to stop and point me in the right direction. I decided to ask him for a lift. He nodded “Si,” and asked his boy to get in the back seat. I got into the passenger seat of that tiny Fiat with my backpack still on, and he drove up to the point where I missed the arrow. I felt so grateful for his kindness and thanked him profusely in Spanish. He smiled and said, “Buen Camino!”
When I saw the arrow that I had missed, I laughed to myself. Duh! The arrow was so obvious, but because it was in front of a colorful playground, I must have been distracted. Also, adjacent to this playground was an unusual cemetery that is mentioned in Susan Jagannath’s Camino Inglés guidebook. I remember being mesmerized as I walked around that cemetery, which was when I missed the arrow. There must have been a lesson for me here with these two vastly different symbols of life. Here’s my take on it: Don’t get caught up obsessing about death (the cemetery). You are better off looking forward to the future (the playground). And always keep a lookout for shells and arrows!
Up next, exploring Betanzos.