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  • Day4

    Pazo da Merced to Pontedeume

    May 5 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Breakfast was at the civilised hour of 08:30 and was excellent. The juice from two freshly squeezed oranges might not be big on volume but its certainly big on taste. The only dissappointment was not being able to get into the church attached to the hotel. All the more so when the receptionist gave a glowing report of the baroque splendor to be found inside. Apparently its only opened on feast days of Our Lady.

    We found the way easily enough and walked on a pleasant path running parallel to a railway line, eventually dropping down to the estuary again giving us good views across to Ferrol.
    Then the confusion began. We didn't really want to walk along the beach as sand and shoes seldom mix. But neither did we want to walk along the main road as the route indicated. So we freestyled it. What could possibly go wrong?

    As it happened, not a lot. We drifted through the housing estates of Fene admiring the street art.
    After negotiating the N-651 we found ourselves outside the Igrexa San Salvador, which was of course......open! It was being cleaned, so in we went on shiny and slippery floors. As we left we got a sello for the credential.

    Then it started to wrong. Walking through built up areas it's not always easy to spot the arrows. We found a few, then obviously missed one and were heading back towards the big roads. But, just as it only rains on the wicked, only the unjust man stays lost on the Camino for long. A pickup with Xuanta de Galicia written on the side berthed alongside us and gave us direction back to the way. He even went ahead and pulled over to make sure his wandering sheep got themselves back on the right track.

    We started the climb towards Vilar do Colo along quiet roads. I found a fountain and as I was filling my bottle noticed a QR code on it. A quick scan told me I was at a water fountain near Fene. Fine. Then it announced that we were 120km from Santiago! Not fine. That's further than when we started in Ferrol! I'll stick to getting water out of the fountains.
    Up we soared on quiet roads and forest tracks. I'd never had the need to know the collective noun for Jays before as I always saw them in pairs. But today a group of six chased us away with piercing alarm calls.

    Soon Vila do Colo was reached. Then began the epic struggle to get onto the old way which follows "pleasant forest paths". The guidebook gives a vague reference to "turn right at the roundabout". There's three of them. All within sight of each other. After a half hour thrashing through dense woodland we were more or less back where we started. We opted to follow the new arrows.

    In fairness the roads we were on were quiet, but it was a dull old slog. Pausing only for an ice cream we soon had Pontedeume in sight below us. It looked fantastic in the early afternoon sun. Once in the town we walked up to the church to check on Mass times. 20:00 each day.

    As our rooms were out of town we opted to eat first then head for a shower. The first bar-cafe we sat down at only sold shellfish. A niche market perhaps, but it did seem to be flourishing. We moved on. At the second establishment we visited we ordered (and thankfully managed to cancel before chef had got started ) a spicy octopus pizza! The cheese, tomato and ham we settled on was wolfed down in minutes.

    Then began the drag up the big, big hill to our rooms. The Monte in H. Montebreamo should have been a clue. At least we were gaining height we'd have to gain the next day. Our lovely host spoke no English and we had even less Spanish. But it all worked out fine.

    If pilgrimage involves suffering then we're good pilgrims. Back down the hill we went to attend Mass at the Igrexa de Santiago. Inside there's a wonderful statue of St James as Santiago Matamoros. Mean, moody, magnificent. Mass over it was time once again to ascend our Via Dolorosa.
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