Tag Archives: Menorca; Cala Galdana; Cami de Cavalls; Walking Holiday; Summer; Spain; Tourism;

Camino Finisterre Day 9: Muxía to Quintáns – Normal service resumed

Friday `10 May 2024 – So, the burning question was: would I feel I could cope with a 10km walk?

Actually, I did.

Our hotel room was very warm, so we didn’t have a particularly comfortable night. Despite that, however, the auguries were good that I was recovering from my digestive meltdown: I was hungry! Breakfast was at 8am, also the time we like to make our bags available for collection, and so we headed down for a leisurely, and in my case, quite sizeable breakfast.

The lack of a way to cool the room was the only significant detraction from my view that this has been the best hotel so far, particularly for being well-organised. The breakfast room was no exception, nicely laid out in a way that allowed for a decent buffet whilst still feeling spacious for those at the tables.

A couple of noteworthy points: firstly, there is a rather shocking picture on the far wall.

It depicts the Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Boat, the one at the headland that we saw yesterday, in the 2013 lightning-strike fire that destroyed it.  It’s been rebuilt remarkably well, as we saw yesterday.

Secondly, the background music took a trend that we’d previously noted to an extreme.  The trend is to play cover versions of well-known pop songs, usually in a totally inappropriate style, often sung in English by someone who clearly doesn’t understand the words. We’ve heard a bossa nova version of Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, for example. But the hotel absolutely took the biscuit today by playing a smooth, salon-jazz version of Pink Floyd’s Time. It was so incongruous that it took me ages to work out why I vaguely recognised the words but couldn’t place the piece.

For walking, the forecast was great – sunny and about 19°C – so I decided to undertake the walk and we thought that we could have a lesisurely departure, since the distance was short, there was little point in arriving early and we wouldn’t have to worry about overheating.  So I used the time before our departure to sort out my walking poles, since the profile of the day’s walk was somewhat up-and-down.

It’s not too extreme – the ascents are only 100m or so – but the slope is 1 in 10, I was recovering and out of practice at hills; so sticks were the order of the day, for me at least.  I checked mine over to make sure that the little plastic pots, the “ferrules”, that cover the spikes at the bottom of the poles, were still in place.  I’d once carelessly lost one on some ascent or other, and Jane (who, of course, had organised some spares) was grudging in her willingness to hand out replacements.  So I took care today to ensure that I wouldn’t upset the Ferrule Godmother. [One?? Hah! Several!! – Ed]

And so we set off.  It was almost immediately clear that the extra layers we’d donned were going to be unnecessary; there was a cool breeze, but hot sunshine as we bade goodbye to Muxía

and started the first climb.

It led past the Capela de San Roque de Moraime

which didn’t look interesting enough to detain us, and on, through some interesting-looking pines

and past a Fonte which looked like it was also once a lavadoiro,

into a village, Moraime, where we’d notionally planned to have our first coffee stop.  Sadly, La Taberna was Spanish Open, so we didn’t get our coffee. But we did get a chance to look around the monastery there,

which is from the 12th Century and which is a very fine place to pop into. It has an impressive entrance portico

and a splendid interior.

A very significant item of interest there is the frieze which runs all the way along the north wall and which is in remarkably good nick.  Here is a stitch of three photos covering it; it’s not perfect but I hope it gives you an idea.

and here is the official explanation – it represents the seven deadly sins,

from left to right: pride, greed, anger, lust (my personal favourite, ever since Raquel Welch), gluttony, envy and sloth, with death awaiting them on the right.

Our next port of call was Os Muiños, which thinks enough of itself to have erected a Town Name

and which is appealing enough

but, most importantly, had a café which was Open Open, and which served us coffee, juice and beer, all of which were very welcome.

We carried on, along a path with some nice views

which led into woodland, through which we could have seen a beach if it weren’t for the trees in the way.

At about the point where we could see clear across the bay to Camariñas,

and I was busy taking photos of a nice flower arrangement,

we noticed a line of something in the water.

It seemed to stretch a long way,

almost across to where we could just make out the Muxía lighthouse, and we wondered if it was some kind of fish farming frame.  Nothing shows on the satellite picture of Google Earth, but on the other hand the town from which it stretches, Merexo, is home to Stolt Sea Farm, an industrial-scale purveyor of turbot.  Maybe the two are connected?

The countryside around there is very attractive, particularly on a sunny day

and, as we passed the scene above, we wondered if we could catch sight of the bonkersly-large horreo de San Martin that we’d seen on our day trip last Autumn. In the distance, we could see something that might be it.


Yes, that thing.

It’s clearly a big horreo, but we couldn’t see it clearly enough to count the legs. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t the one we were looking for, but read on anyway.

The village of San Martiño is home to a substantial church, the Iglesia de San Martiño de Ozón.

As with many of the churches we’ve seen, it has a cemetery around it, and I went to have a look whilst Jane panted quietly in the shade for a bit.

It’s an impressive sight, with quite a contrast between the older memorial markers,

which are decoratively weathered, and the more modern ones

which are identical, but look less interesting because they haven’t weathered at all.

The rest of San Martiño has some very attractive little corners

and the utterly huge 16th-century horreo de San Martiño de Ozon. I posted a photo or two of it last Autumn, but it’s impressive enough to be worth showing again.

It is one of the largest in Galicia, running to 27m in length and having no fewer than 22 pairs of legs. Its large size is because it belonged to the clergy, which imposed a tithe of the crops of the farmers of the parish -10% of the total harvest – and thus they needed a large place to store it all. Apparently, it now “stores” volunteers working in the community. It’s a great photographic subject.

We were by this stage quite close to our destination, the village of Quintáns. The final surprise the walk had for us was this snack vending machine, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

I think it’s linked to a nearby albergue. Anyway, this brought us to our pension for the night,

the Plaza, which, despite our arriving at about 2pm, wasn’t going to offer food until 8pm.  Still, it has a bar, and where there’s a bar there’s gin and maybe some crisps or something. The view from our room is rather nice

and we’re hoping for a comfortable night before heading on tomorrow. The forecast is for cooler, cloudier weather, but no rain; hopefully an ideal day for covering the 13 or so kilometres to Dumbria, our next port of call.


Camino Finisterre Day 3, Mazaricos to Olveiroa – Not quite a cop-out

Saturday 4 May 2024 – Star Wars Day, no less, and we woke up to find that the force was emphatically not with us for the moment; yesterday’s deluge had continued overnight and showed no sign of abating.

We’d decided that our options were (a) wait until the afternoon to see if the rain abated and walk the remaining 5.5km to our next hotel or (b) take a taxi.  We decided that plan A was preferred and so settled ourselves down in the hotel’s bar, which was quite lively, to see if we could wait out the rain.

As well as read the papers, we occasionally checked various weather forecasting websites, all of which agreed that the morning would be a write-off, hiking-wise, but offered varying amounts of optimism for the afternoon.  It was supposed to rain solidly until midday, but actually it didn’t; there was a short period when the skies cleared and the rain stopped.

We noticed a bunch of peregrinos across the road and it turned out that they were waiting for a bus.  At around 11am, one duly turned up and they all boarded it – its destination was, ultimately, Finisterre, so these had obviously decided that discretion was the better part of valour; their choice was vindicated as the rains swept in again and carried on relentlessly. (Later on we perused the bus timetable on the reception desk, only to find that there was one bus per day and that had been it!). Every so often I’d look up, wondering if things had improved weather-wise – but the rain was still lashing down.

Around about 2pm, we were (a) beginning to wonder if the forecasters had got it wrong and (b) hungry, so we had lunch – a tuna-and-tomato concoction and lentil soup, both of which were delicious.  Our starting lunch was, of course, the signal for the rain to ease, and so immediately we’d finished eating we decided that we should just jolly well get on with it, rather than wimping out by taking a taxi. We set out on the short walk to Olveiroa, the next town along, and I have to say that it felt good to be out walking, even the short distance we would cover. I took a couple of valedictory photos of the area by the hotel, where, for some reason, there were a couple of cow statues

and many interesting examples of a pollarding technique whereby individual branches had been curled around to meet neighbouring branches, and fused in with them.

Then we set off, in weather conditions that I bet the Galicians have a word for – something between fog, drizzle and light rain.

Since our route was simply walking along the road between the two towns, I wasn’t expecting there to be anything worth photographing; but actually I was wrong.  There wasn’t a plethora of scenes, but one or two things caught our attention as we went.  For example, there were many fine stone-built horreos on display.

including, near our destination, a magnificent specimen.

There was another example of the pollarding technique we saw in the town.


There was one odd (now apparently abandoned) house, on stilts

and we wondered what the thinking was behind the design.  I suppose it might have been to keep the building away from the ground to avoid rising damp? But none of the other buildings around had this design. Though avoiding damp must be a local imperative, given our experience of the last couple of days.  I’m quite impressed with the general capability of the land and the drainage to cope with the deluge we’d seen in the previous 24 hours – basically, things were just wet and there was very little indication of the amount of rain we’d had.  Except in a couple of places, where even ploughed fields coudn’t cope with the volume of water that had fallen out of the sky.

The rain actually completely stopped after a while, and when we got to Olveiroa

we were even confident enough in the clemency of the weather to stop for a quick coffee (OK, and a tactical stamp for our credenciales to ensure that we got the required two stamps a day for our Compostela at the far end). And shortly thereafter, we reached our hotel for the night, the very charming Pension As Pias.

We were greeted warmly by the proprietors who gave us a welcoming chunk of tortilla which we decided should be consumed in the bar, accompanied by G&T and writing up of the day so far.  It’s an interesting bar

(note the wonderful bar stools!) with a great view over no fewer than three tidy horreos

and it’s clear that the owners have put a lot of thought – and whimsy – into the decor.  There are many nice touches – photos on the ceilings, odd bits of farm machinery as bar furniture and so forth, and bar tables that add to the gaiety of the place.

The restaurant was crowded and buzzing at lunchtime and it looks to be a generally popular and well-run place.

The village, too, is interesting – tiny but photogenic, with another church-surrounded-by-cemetery

and more horreos than you can shake a stick at.

And so to tomorrow: we have just two more days before we reach Finisterre, and our destination tomorrow is the seaside town of Corcubion, some 19km away.  The weather outlook is for some showers (well, there’s a suprise!) but we should be able to arrive there somewhat less bedraggled than we were when we got to Mazaricos.  Come back to these pages in due course, and you’ll find out how it all went.

Cami de Cavalls day 11 – Atatürk

Thursday 23 September 2021 – Actually not Atatürk at all, but this was my mnemonic for Turqueta, which was the mid-point of today’s walk. This is all a bit confusing: the Cami360 team view a beach called Son Saura as the end of their section 12 which starts at Asterix Cap d’Artrutx; however, the formal Cami de Cavalls section 12 actually ends at Turqueta. Luckily in both versions section 13 ends in Cala Galdana, so that was our end point for the day.

Whatever, you can see the tl;dr Relive version of today here.

So, prompt at 0845, Maria turned up to take us to the start of today’s walking. She actually set us down a kilometre or so further along the trail than we left off yesterday; but since that would only have been paved walking, I think we can gloss over that minor detail without thinking we cheated in any way.

So, off we went

bidding Cala en Bosc a fond farewell.

We passed a beach where only a couple of keen beans had stirred themselves to get to a sunlounger

along a path which showed evidence of the hard rain we’d had over the last days.

Largely speaking, the section to Turqueta consisted of grinding along the same rocky type of path that we’d had since Cala Morell; but because it hadn’t rained hugely, at least the mud was easy to avoid (most of the time).

We were a little concerned about the weather. The Met Office had forecast a 40% chance of light showers for much of the day and I had optimistically opted to wear running shoes rather than walking boots. But whilst the weather ahead of us looked OK

what was behind us looked considerably more ominous.

In the end, showers over took us, so we hastily put rain covers on the backpacks and scrambled into our shower-resistant jackets. Of course the weather gods toyed with us for a few kilometres; the rain stopped, so we took off the jackets because it was warm and sweaty with them on; so the rain started again and we put on our jackets. After a bit, we decided that it wasn’t going to rain at all hard and stayed jacketless; fortunately this was the right choice.

There wasn’t a huge variety of interesting views as we ground our way along the rocky path; just a few things to note as we went by:

Some steps down a tunnel to a cave in a cove;

the “remarkable” cove at Son Saura. Well, the Cami360 booklet called it that, but it’s just this cove, really;

some interesting rock formations jutting into the sea;

and some blockhouses, used to guard places where enemy forces could land – the holes are to enable aiming weapons at the enemy. Some of these blockhouses date from the 18th Century (France v. England) and others from the Spanish Civil War (1936-9). (This information courtesy of the excellent Sunflower Landscapes book on Menorca.)

We reached Son Saura, (the Cami360 version of the end of a stage; I hope you’re keeping up, here)

which has a beach with a lifeguard station (not manned today, hence, I suppose, the red flag).

It also – praise be! – has a longish section of boardwalk which relieves the tired Walker from the tedium of wading through sand.

It was quite colourful

as was another cove we passed on our way.

The next point of interest was Atatürk Cala Turqueta (the formal end of stage 12) which is a very popular beach.

From here, the terrain changes somewhat, from coastal rocks to scrub and pine forest.

The trail rises and falls as it leads through ravines (Barrancs)

and eventually arrives at another very popular beach, Cala Macarella.

An important distinguishing feature of this beach is that it features a refreshment stop.

We only had another 5km to go to get to Cala Galdana, so a major break in the walk wasn’t on the cards, but all the same I’m very proud that I restricted myself to an ice cream and didn’t insist on having a beer. We found an improvised seat for our ice creams

and, slightly cooler, set off on the final leg of the day’s walk. The way up from Macarella is quite steep and punters are offered a choice between the Old Way, which is the Cami track, and the New Way, which is steps.

We (of course) took the trail, but it doesn’t make much difference, as they come together at the top.

There follows a mostly gentle descent into Cala Galdana, which you first catch sight of from the path.

I’ve artfully tried to hide it behind trees, but on the left you can see an extraordinary excrescence, which is a fucking great Meliá hotel block. I don’t know how much they paid to get the planning permission through for this, but its existence is a sin against all that is good in this world.

Cala Galdana is another fairly substantial tourist area, but a bit less in yer face about it than Cala en Bosc, for example. As you approach, there’s a bridge which, it has to be said, has seen better days

but the town itself is not unattractive.

Our accommodation was an apartment in Alta Galdana Playa. We spotted a supermarket en route as we walked towards it, and so headed there to get essentials, but mainly milk for a Nice Cup Of Tea once we’d arrived (since tonight and tomorrow night are both in apartments, it made sense to buy supplies for two days). The Cami360 people had done a good job of putting our baggage in the apartment and telling us how to get the key, so we were inside the apartment quickly and outside a cup of tea even more quickly.

Stats for the day:

  • 11.15 miles, according to Garmin
  • 177 metres climbed, almost all in the last section from Turqueta

So our cumulative mileage is now up at 94.52 miles, which is 152km. The Garmin mileage is slightly inflated compared to Relive and OutdoorActive, though why this should be when they’re all using the same GPS engine (my phone) is a mystery to me.

(We have 7 more stages to do over 4 days – 61.77km/38.4 miles – before we can spend a couple of days relaxing back in Ciutadella. The weather is looking hot and not rainy, according to the weather forecast.)

Our apartment was fine – it had a kettle for making tea and a fridge for storing the milk; we didn’t feel the need for much else when we arrived – and also is a very short walk from a restaurant called Es Barranc (The Ravine). You can see why they chose the name.

So, after a couple of mugs of tea and a quick hose-down, we headed there for a Nice Lunch. It was very quiet, but this is late season and we were there late afternoon. It’s highly rated on tripadvisor if you regard that as being any guide, and we can certainly vouch that the food was very good and the service very pleasant.

We tottered back to the apartment and had a relaxing evening respectively blogging and catching up on the details of tomorrow’s walk. This runs for 11.5km/7 miles from Cala Galdana to Sant Tomas and is billed as having the most elevation gain of the southern half of the Cami de Cavalls – 241m. This, though short, is quite sharp, as we’re somewhat out of practice at this Going Uphill lark; and the Met Office forecast is for a hot sunny afternoon (28°C), so we may well get moving quite promptly in the morning. Tune in tomorrow to find out how we got on, why don’t you?