Camino Finisterre Day 2: It begins – to rain

Friday 3 May 2024 – The weather forecast for today was unequivocal: Accuweather reckoned that up to 9am there would be showers, and after that there would be rain. The Met Office was largely in tune with this.  Here is its forecast for today – and, since it matters, tomorrow.

It’s not the sort of forecast that encourages one to go out walking, is it? Even more ominous was Accuweather’s forecast for Olveiroa, our destination for tomorrow.

Its Yellow Warning – “Drenching Rain!” – was timed from midday today until midday tomorrow.


Our planned schedule for today and tomrrow looked like this:

Walk 19 km from Negreira (1) to As Maronas (2) where we would call our hotel, which is located in Mazaricos (3) to be collected.  Then tomorrow, we would be set down again at As Maronas to walk 15km to Olveiroa (4).  Thus we would complete in two days the 34-kilometre stretch that the John Brierley book for the Camino Finisterre documents as a single stage.

During the night, I tried to persuade myself that walking this in “drenching” rain might be OK. Jane had obviously pondered the same prospect and beat me by a few milliseconds when she suggested we might consider taking a taxi rather than undergo a certain soaking, something I had been screwing up my courage to suggest myself.  So we agreed – a taxi it would be. It was raining outside, which made the plan seem even more sound.

Our bags still had to be ready by 8am to be transported to our next overnight stop, so we packed everything away in them, took them down to be collected and went into breakfast, thinking we had a nice leisurely morning, then could call for a taxi later on. After breakfast, we sat in our room doing leisurely things like reading the papers while outside, annoyingly, the rain stopped.  The guilt about wimping out rose and rose in both of us until, after about an hour of it stubbornly refusing to rain, the shame forced us out of the hotel on foot, telling ourselves that we could always call for a cab from the next coffee stop should it be necessary.

It was about 0920 when we left Negreira in very light rain, past the Monument of the Emigrant

and through the arch marking the edge of town.

Our route wound steadily uphill past the San Julian church (another one featuring a baroque tower and a relatively extensive cemetery)

and gave us a valedictory view back over Negreira

before diving off into woodland.

I was a bit worried that the mist we could see presaged rain heavier than the light stuff falling on us at this point, but it didn’t, and so we were able to stride out feeling glad that we had actually embarked on the walk after all.  As we went, we passed many, many eucalyptus trees, with some of them showing the red colour of new season growth.

Everywhere was covered in moss, indicating that the moist weather we were experiencing was not at all unusual; and there was pennywort growing in places.

We also passed a lavadoiro, which would once have been used by local folk to do their washing

although the copious amounts of algae floating in this one indicated that it was no longer in use. We also saw a cunning use of fencing as a way of growing vines.

At 11am, we were some 8km into our walk when our luck with the weather ran out and the rain started to intensify.  I grabbed one quick shot of a matched pair of peregrinos in front of us to add to our collection

and then it started to piss down in a very serious way. At first it didn’t seem to matter much; although our trousers were getting wet, our waterproofs seemed to be doing a decent job. But then the wind sprang up and our winding route meant that it was first in our faces, then at our side and finally behind us.  This ensured that water dripped down into our shoes and by the time we’d covered 13km and got to Vilaserio (point 1a above) we were wet through, with the conditions having defeated what waterproofs we had.  So when we saw an Albergue, Casa Vella, by the route, we decided that enough was enough.  We went inside (as did a few other soused peregrinos)

where we were warmly welcomed and provided with coffee. We were wet through, and couldn’t even change into spare socks or footwear, as we’d carefully put these into our suitcases this morning to be transported; we wouldn’t need them, since we were taking a taxi, remember? Hah!

The lovely lady in charge of the albergue delightfully got someone to call for a taxi for us and so, after a nice chat with an Australian lady who would be staying there the night, we departed for Mazaricos, at a pace which demonstrated the contempt in which the driver held the notion of speed limits. The taxi bill was €45, but that was a price worth paying, as the conditions had become very windy to accompany the lashing rain.  So it was that we arrived at Casa Jurjo in Mazaricos, somewhat before they were ready for us, as it turned out; but after a coffee we were able to check in and get out of our soaking wet clothes – and into a nice warm bath, in Jane’s case; we had a decently large room with an expansive bathroom.

Whilst we gradually dried off and warmed up, the weather outside continued to vindicate our decision not to walk any further,


and makes an extremely moot point of a decision about what to undertake tomorrow.  It looks likely to continue lashing down until tomorrow afternoon, so should we just forget the idea of walking from As Maronas and take a taxi direct to Olveira?  Or wait until the afternoon in the hope that the rains ease and we can contemplate walking the 6km directly to our next accommodation – our waterproofs allow us to take some wet weather, just not a deluge.  As I write, the time approaches the cocktail hour when we could go down to the hotel bar and debate the idea over a pre-dinner drink – and bear in mind, of course, that we’ll be returning to this section of the walk and these hotels as we walk back to Santiago from Finisterre and Muxia.

I suspect that whatever decision we reach is likely to be modified in the light of the actual weather.  I will leave this narrative on that cliffhanger. The only way you’ll find out What We Did Next is to come back to these pages in due course.


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