Camino Finisterre Day 11: Dumbria to Mazaricos – revisiting earlier scenes

Sunday 12 May 2024 – As we could have expected, breakfast at Casa A Pinchonas was very agreeable – mugs for the tea, good bread, some decent fruit, agreeable service, that sort of thing – and it was a nice coda to our stay at a very pleasant guest house. We were careful to get our bags out before 8am because we’d had a snotty note put on them yesterday, but no-one came to pick them up before we’d left for our day’s walking. Of course.


We had to go a few hundred metres to rejoin the Camino path, and it led us past a place which had a reminder about the terrible possibilities of being taken by the fearsome Vákner,

particularly as we were once again heading into the deep, dark woods.

We were apprehensive.  Yes, we were.

I had taken a look at the profile of today’s walk, and realised that the first section was a longish uphill pull. It didn’t however, appear to be as steep as some of our previous hills, so I had decided to eschew the use of my walking poles, partly to see whether I had the energy to cope and partly because having to carry the things afterwards is a bit of a nuisance. Yes, I could take the backpack off, fold the poles and store them, but it ruins the continuity.

The gradient of the path made that decision, frankly, marginal; but I made it through the day without needing the sticks.  There were stretches which I felt were a bit tough, but my Garmin activity monitor didn’t credit me with having to work any harder than previous days, and actually I felt that I had reasonable reserves of energy for the day’s walking. At one stage, later in the day, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the simple exercise of walking and reflected that the weather and my digestive ferment had made this trip feel somewhat disjointed, which, though inevitable, gave us the thought that the longer walks, such as the Francés, had merit because a couple of days off here and there represented, proportionately, a smaller disruption to the overall wosname.

So, we were going up.

and the weather, which had started cool, was improving, so the increasing altitude brought some nice views, as one might expect.

It also took us through the apparently inevitable Eucalyptus plantations and the occasional ravaged landscape caused by the extraction process.

Gorse and broom had taken over the landscape in places

and we wondered if these expanses once held Eucalyptus trees.

Jane, having spent the whole trip looking out for one, was delighted to spot wild orchids

which she thinks are Stately Marsh Orchids. I just thought how nice it was to be taken with something that, frankly, my eye had skittered over without noticing. If it weren’t for Jane’s observant eye and horticultural knowledge, I would have missed many of the plants we saw as we went along. Particularly in evidence on our walk today were foxgloves and white asphodels, which were doing their sparkler thing.

At this point, we had completed the Hospital – Finisterre – Muxia – Hospital loop and started  walking back along paths that we’d covered eight days earlier on our way out from Santiago.  There was our scenic ferrosilicon plant (made somewhat more scenic by a couple of foreground horses)

and the “parting of the ways” markers, as seen from the other direction.

As we carried on, I was struck by another point to muse, which is the difference between the scenery as you walk one way as opposed to what you see on the journey back.  Philosophically, at home when Going For A Walk I prefer to do a circular route, rather than simply going out-and-back. Jane holds that the view on the way back is always different from the way out, and our experience today definitely supports that view. (Mind you, the weather on the way out was, how shall I put it, shit, whereas today it was ideal for walking. The general views today were lovelier than under the lowering skies and/or pissing rain of eight days previously. Frankly, we’d never bothered to look around, and it was likely we couldn’t have made anything out anyway.)

We looked in at a coffee stop that we’d used on the way out, and it emphasised something else that we’d gradually begun noticing over the preceding kilometres: the pilgrim season had started to ramp up. I suppose it was because of our timing, and possibly the nice weather, but the place was really busy

to the point where it was actually a pleasure to get away from the hubbub and back to walking. But we noticed a considerable increase in the frequency of peregrinos (and bicigrinos) heading in the opposite direction to us.

We retraced our outbound steps with considerably greater pleasure than we had on the original journey.  The fields possibly had had life in them then, but we weren’t disposed to notice, whereas now it was nice to see a donkey

and to note the horns of the cows in the same field against the sky.

As in previous days, the cloud and cool gave way to warmth and sunshine,

although today’s wasn’t intense and the temperature remained pleasant for walking. The decent weather also allowed us to take a detour to something Jane had spotted on the way out but we decided that conditions were too grim to actually make it worth doing anything other than simply plodding grimly by. A few hundred metres off the path, Google tells us, is a Balancing Stone.  Our energy levels and the nice conditions made it seem worthwhile now to explore, and so off we went.  It was just as well that we had some extra energy, as it was quite a pull up, but the views were nice anyway.  At first, it wasn’t clear which stone Google was highlighting.  There was one candidate, for example,

which seemed pretty impressive, but I popped over and gave it a gentle push and

oops, it was gone*.  A bit further on was another

which also looked like it was balanced.  Jane wanted to try the nudge thing

but it was actually too high.

Of course, this was the Official Balancing Stone.

I took one look and thought, “wow, you should be able to get some great drone footage of this!”  Fortunately, I had the drone with me, so Jane possessed her soul in patience while I whizzed it up and…actually it looks best from ground level; I couldn’t find an angle with the drone that was worth using. Some minutes wasted, then, but an interesting experiment from my point of view.

You’ll remember, of course you will, that when we were on the outward part of this Camino it had been utterly pissing down with rain, which had been ceaseless for 36 hours in the area, centred around our overnight in Mazaricos (today’s destination). I had been astonished, as we walked, by the sheer volume of water gushing off the hillsides. This was how it looked then.

Today? Not so much.

I had been particularly taken with the surging current threatening to overwhelm a bridge on this path, the Puente Vao de Ripas. I have some comparative video:

Today, we just had the pleasure of scenery that we could actually appreciate, rather than scuttle past in the rain.

Our passing through Olveiroa enabled a couple of pleasant vignettes.  To get there, we crossed the river.

Having crossed it, we looked back

and were reminded of the scene which had greeted us on our outbound journey.

We stopped for beer at the delightful As Pias, where we’d stayed overnight on our way out, and then walked back towards Mazaricos, where once again we would be staying at Casa Jurjo. The direct route involves some fairly dull walking on the road, but there’s actually an alternative route for some of it, on a side track.  Eight days ago, such a route would probably have only been a serious proposition had one been in wellies; but today it seemed a good idea, and indeed it was.

On the road, we noticed, as before, an increased peregrino traffic

and so were glad to turn off onto the side track, which had its own marker posts.

It was just nice to get away from the road, but, as well as that, we saw a “modern” (1933) horreo;

evidence that the popularity of eucalyptus planting hasn’t disappeared;

some clear demarcations in ploughing and planting;

and – nicest of all – we heard a veritable cacophony of bee activity as they harvested from the trackside plants.

The side track debouched back on to the main road into Mazaricos, which looked a lot less drab in the sunshine than when we’d last seen it

and arrived at Casa Jurjo around 1430 to find that food would only be avilable at 7pm. Ah well.

I’m writing this in the bar. There’s football on the telly, and I wondered if it might be bloody Watford again (yellow strip, etc).

It’s not. But it might have been.**

We have reasonable weather outside at the moment.  Sadly, it would appear that the nice weather may come to an abrupt end tomorrow. What is it about Mazaricos and rain, eh? I’m not sure how we’ll deal with the morrow, but it will almost certainly involve waterproofs (both of us) and grumpiness (me).  Our target is Negreira, but we’re off the main Camino track here. The current plan is to take a lift to As Maroñas, whence it is but 21 (possibly soggy) kilometres to Negreira. When we attempted the journey on the way out, the weather defeated us and we completed the journey in a taxi and a state of sousedness. You’ll have to come back and find out how the return leg went.



* Of course I’m joking, but it shows what photographic trickery can be done with built-in image processing software on today’s tablets.

** On our first evening in Santiago (the one in Chile, that is), we were greeted by a Watford-Everton football match on the TV in the bar. This also happened on Canada some years later. We’re feeling slightly haunted by this. Watford (“The Hornets”: yellow strip) is my home town, not that I give a shit about football, but there are some workings of fate to which we mere mortals are clearly not privy.

2 thoughts on “Camino Finisterre Day 11: Dumbria to Mazaricos – revisiting earlier scenes

  1. Karin Wennås

    Glad you’re having some nice weather, hope tomorrow won’t be too bad.
    I’m so glad I miss those hordes most of the time on the frances – my tip: be slow and they pass you 🙂


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