Tag Archives: Sunshine

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 4: Olveiroa to Corcubión – and the first sunshine!

Sunday 5 May 2024 – As we awoke, the rain was still lashing down; however, the forecast was for a gradual improvement in the weather over the course of the day – from “Rain” to “Showers”. This meant that we had a day in prospect during which we could actually walk a stage of the Camino Finisterre without getting drenched! The only uncertainty revolved around how long to wait before we left; we had some 19 km to complete, which translates to around four hours’ actual walking, if we get on with it, so we had some latitude in selecting a departure time. Or so we thought; actually, we have discovered that neither of us feels at all comfortable in just sitting around waiting for the weather to improve. So we set off after breakfast, just before 9am, into light rain, which didn’t stop me from taking lots of photos as we went, so this is a long, rambling post. If you’re pressed for time but want to know how it all went, you can watch the Relive video of the day.

Light the rain today might have been; but on turning the first corner, we came face to face with a demonstration of just how much rainwater had fallen from the sky over the preceding days.

The alert among you will have noted the Camino signpost to the right, suggesting that the route was through that torrent. I had taken the trouble to put waterproof socks on for the day, but I’m sure you’ll agree that there are limits – I wasn’t going to wade through that.  It was actually easy to work our way around it, but wherever we went, pretty much for the whole of the walk, we were accompanied by the sound of rushing water as the excess rainwater gushed off the hillsides.

Often, the storm gullies built into the path did their job well

but sometimes the amount of water had simply been too much.

You’ll have deduced by this stage that it was still raining, and there was a heavy mist at times

but the rain, thankfully, stayed generally light as we walked along. We passed the village of Hospital

at about 5km into the walk, which is the sort of minimum distance we consider it acceptable to stop for coffee, and passed a café which made it quite easy to decide to stop and fuel up.

Actually, we knew that this was serious and correct intelligence, and so were emotionally prepared for the shock of having to walk nearly ten miles between coffee stops, something I don’t believe we’ve ever done on our Camino adventures heretofore. So, coffee and a banana it was, and we got on our way.

We passed this rather odd poster.


With just 30km to go until we reach Finisterre, we passed a rather charming piece of entrepreneurial initiative.

An 11-year-old girl called (I think) Xioana, which would be promouned “Joanna” – or someone pretending to be one – was offering hand-painted shells for €2 on an honesty basis. Had I any coins, I might have been tempted; but I didn’t, so we moved on, albeit somewhat taken with the proposition.  Very soon after, we reached The Parting Of The Ways.

Left turn for Finisterre, right for Muxia.  As you’ll remember, having paid attention all along, we are headed to Finisterre, then along the coast to Muxia, before walking back to Santiago; so We Will Be Back on 12th May on our return journey.

We passed this facility at this point.

The steaming lake outside it was what interested me most.  It’s a facility run by Xallas Electricidad y Aleaciones (XEAL) and it contains two furnaces, one of which is among the largest in Europe, for the making of Ferrosilicon.


Onwards, then…

We joined a path that would take us across country (i.e. not passing by any bars or cafés) all the way to Cee,

fundamentally a great surface to walk on, and one we think may be the result of resurfacing work. So, by and large, the going was good (not totally – see later) and –

was that the possibility of nice weather coming our way?  It had certainly stopped raining, which in itself was something to be cheerful about.

We passed the Petroglifos Pedra Ancha – petroglyphs. Among the reviews on Google for this rock was this gem: “you reach the stone and then you have to have skill and luck to identify the figures. We didn’t have it.”

Neither did we. Anyway, we were distracted by


To counter our joy, we entered The Dark Woods Of The Vákner!

(Had I the necessary html skills, you would hear spine-chilling music at this point. However, it’s easy to infer from the very basic layout of these pages that I don’t.)

There is a mythical tale about the appearance of Vákner. The Armenian bishop of Arzendian
Mártir or Mártiros, who walked to Santiago de Compostela between 1491 and 1493 as a pilgrim, wrote about a “terrible, anthropoid lycanthropic beast” which would terrify pilgrims in this area. Rather than being terrified, we were somewhat dumbfounded to be overtaken by a Toyota Land Cruiser which clearly had punters in it who were looking for Vákner.

And find it, they did!

This monstrously frightening statue looms at you beside the track. Actually, it’s not frightening; it reminds me more of the body language of the conductor of my orchestra when he’s trying to get the French horns to play louder.

Also at this point is another crossroads, one which is even marked by a cross.

It is another point at which one can decide to make for either Finisterre or Muxia,

or just sit down and rest, I suppose. We pressed on towards Finisterre, and soon enough caught our first sight of our eventual destination for the day, Corcubión, with its neighbouring town, Cee. No, I don’t know how to pronounce the latter.

We had wonderful bursts of sunshine, some of them lasting for seconds on end and allowing for nice views of the surrounding countryside.

The path took us past the Chapel of Our Lady of the Snows

and into a section where plantations of the dreaded Eucalyptus trees seemed to stretch from horizon to horizon.

I say “dreaded” because the species was introduced at a time when the country needed wood; Eucalyptus grows straight and fast, and is ideal for logging.  It’s also hugely invasive, and the Spanish government no longer encourages its planting; but still there are huge areas of Eucalyptus, some formal plantations like we saw today and some where it’s self-seeded and very, very densely packed, hence displacing native species.

The other downside is the ravages perpetrated on the land by the logging process

and, more selfishly in this case, the damage done to the nice footpath surface by the logging lorries and machinery. For what seemed like several kilometres, the surface was broken, rocky and uncomfortable to walk on.  Still, I suppose people have got to make a living…..

We passed another chapel, that of St. Peter the Martyr

which had an eponymous spring nearby,

and, shortly after, the Cross of the Armada,

whose significance is, I’m afraid, not something I am an expert on.

Generally, the path and the countryside looked almost as if we were on Chobham Common at home, with broom, gorse and heather in abundance.

It was all very pleasant, even if the clouds had temporarily closed in again.

The final part of the path as it leads to Cee is potentially daunting, if one looks at its elevation profile.

The two-kilometre stretch from 16km drops 280 metres quite steeply.

We’d both been concerned about how we’d get on, as this stretch has a bad rep for being steep and rocky, and walking downhill can be more challenging than uphill.  We need not really have worried; it was certainly steep, but the surface was excellent, which is what gave us the thought that perhaps the path had recently been resurfaced. The walk down also gave us a nice view over towards Corcubión.

We made our way steadily down into Cee, and, although the quads were burning a little as we reached the bottom, on balance I think it would have been pretty tough had we been going in the other direction.

Having reached the bottom, we’d covered over 13km and it had been over two and a half hours since our last coffee, which made a coffee’n’beer stop at the first available café a matter of high priority.  After refreshing ourselves, we pressed on into Cee

with its beach (that, frankly, looks better from a distance) and its view over neighbouring Corcubión

with the intriguing artwork in the foreground. Cee is a strange place; it has an attractive jumble of houses

and a terrible beach.  However, there is a huge amount of construction work going on, so one trusts It Will Be Lovely Once They’ve Finished.

The Camino track into Corcubión offers a great view over the place

and its waterside artwork which sort of corresponds with with the one we saw in Cee

We soon found our pension, the Casa da Balea,

which is charmingly whale-themed, as one might expect from the name, even down to the welcome mat.

It’s a very lovely place, but doesn’t offer a restaurant, so we headed out only to find that, once again, we’d fallen foul of the Spanish dining circadian rhythms.  We could easily have had a drink, but there was no food on offer.

We went back to Casa Balea, consoled ourselves with tea and possessed our souls in patience until about 7.30pm, when we went out to a tavern called O Ribeiro which we knew (because Jane had asked) would serve food from 8pm.  It’s an engaging place, decorated with massive numbers of ornithological origami

and other interesting decor, such as the beer pumps.

After a reasonably hearty meal, we pottered about this attractive town taking the sort of pictures that one does after a couple of substantial G&Ts. One or two are worth sharing…

Tomorrow sees us embark on a short hike to Finisterre, and we may even be bathed in sunshine as we walk! It’s worth emphasising that our target is the town of Finisterre; the real end of the Camino – kilometre zero – is at the lighthouse, a few kilometres beyond, where we’ll be the day after. But for now, even the simple prospect of a day without rain is something to be looked forward to with anticipation.

Camino Finisterre Day 1: It Begins: Santiago to Negreira

Thursday May 2 2024 – From the relatively relaxed schedules of the previous days, we suddenly snapped into Camino Time: alarm call at 0630, breakfast around 0730, bags ready to be collected for transfer at 0800, on the road as soon as may be after breakfast. It wasn’t too brutal and we seemed to swing quite smoothly into what will likely be the daily rhythm that governs the next fortnight or so.

The breakfast room at the monastery was pretty much as you might imagine a monastic refectory to look.

Breakfast was served from 0730. We got there shortly after that time to find that it was very crowded and borderline chaotic, and we thought: “why?”  Surely these were people who had largely arrived in Santiago; why were they up and doing so early when one would think there was no need?  Surely they can’t all be continuing a Camino hike somewhere? Who knows?

Anyway, we had what is likely to be a typical breakfast for our time here, based around fruit and yoghurt with whatever extras that we fancied from the buffet, and then departed starting our Day 1 trek at around 0830 under clear skies.

We had sunshine for about the first 90 minutes, and passed some nice scenes, such as this old mill by, unsurprisingly, a stream

on sun-dappled pathways.

At the top of a gentle climb, we caught our last glimpse of Santiago

(until, that is, we catch sight of it on our way back from the coast in a couple of weeks). The sun continued to shine on the attractive Galician countryside

but it was becoming clear that clouds were gathering and before long

it started raining, occasionally quite hard.  What we really needed at this point was, of course, a café, and we’d actually formulated a plan for a coffee stop around this point. This meant that we only had to withstand about half an hour of the rain before we could take shelter and sustenance. (Actually, we were quite fortunate for the whole of the day, in that our planned coffee stops matched quite well with periods of rain, so we managed to avoid getting too badly soaked.)

This first stop involved, as it turned out, a couple of coffees as we waited a while for the rain to pass. But pass it did, and we carried on past some more attractive countryside.

Horreos – originally grain stores – are a common feature of the Galician scenery, and thus normally unremarkable. This one, though, was unusual,

in that it was a double-decker, something we’d not seen before.  Close examination of that photo will reveal that the sunshine had been replaced by dark clouds and, inevitably, the rains came again.  We were pleased, therefore, to be near our next planned café stop to wait out the rain, in Augapesado.  Emerging eventually from there took us past an ancient Roman bridge,

which was interesting to look at, as you could see the details of its construction clearly; but it had somewhat the look of a bridge to nowhere about it.

There was another imperative at work in our visit to the café; we wanted to rest before The Steep Bit which seems to be an unavoidable part of day one of your standard multi-day hike.  This, as far as we could glean from maps and other data sources, wasn’t anything like the brutal day one of the Camino Francés, whose first 8km were up a really stiff gradient; but it was a couple of kilometres up a reasonable incline.

I had got my walking poles out by this stage, and was very glad to have the use of them; Jane was more macho (macha?) about the whole thing and took the slope on unaided; and I’m glad to be able to report that neither of us found it to be that tough. Indeed, my Garmin activity monitor only allowed me three minutes of “vigorous” activity during the half-hour it took us to walk a couple of kilometres and climb the 230m vertical.  It’s nice to know that the bout of flu which had laid us low for about a month before we set out on this trip hadn’t dented our overall fitness too badly.

Because we’d waited for the rains to pass before we started the climb, we completed it in decent weather, which while great, didn’t last much beyond the top of it.

and once again we took refuge in our next planned stop, a café in Trasmonte, whilst the next pulse of rains came through. The stop wasn’t just about the rain, though; there was also an element of celebration of completion of the climb.

Just before we did so, though, we passed the very quaint parish church of Santa María.

It is entirely surrounded by a cemetery

and has a distinctive baroque tower.

From Trasmonte it was only a couple of kilometres, in gathering sunshine, to what was the high point of the day, emotionally if not topologically: having sunshine as we walked through Ponte Maceira.

I’m sure the name will be familiar to you, the dedicated reader of these pages. But just in case you were distracted at the time, let me refresh your memory.  We had visited Ponte Maceira once before, as part of the coach trip we took from Santiago to Finisterre after we completed our previous Camino; and while the weather generally that day was lovely, for our visit to Ponte Maceira it was not.

Today, though, our visit coincided wonderfully with sunshine.

(You’ll notice that the rapids were much more rapid today than last September; then I was even able to walk across part of the waterfall, something I would not have tried today!)

It looked lovely today.

and it was excellent being able to wander round this most photogenic hamlet and get some great scenes.

To the left in the picture above are a couple of mill buildings, and it’s possible to look inside them,

and doing so gives a good idea of the power of the river rushing through below.

The (reconstructed) bridge has an unusual feature on its arches.

I’ve not seen that style of construction anywhere else that I remember.

As we left Ponte Maceira the rain started again (hah!) but its heart wasn’t really in it, and we completed the remaining four kilometres or so to Negreira, our destination for the day, without further incident.

We fell a little foul of the Spanish dietary circadian rhythms, as we arrived just as all the restaurants were closing after lunch.  We had to make do with cheese and ham baguettes in the bar of our hotel, the hostal La Mezquita. But the room is comfortable  and the bar serves gin, so we’ll be OK.

Today, we’ve been astonishingly lucky in that our planned coffee stops largely coincided with rain showers. Tomorrow, however, may be a different story.  The Accuweather forecast for today was alternating cloudy intervals and showers, and it was about right.  Tomorrow, as we depart from Negreira, the forecast simply says “rain”.  As we approach our destination, Mazaricos, there’s a Yellow Warning for rain. So the day looks set to start out wet and turn torrential, which is not an alluring prospect.  It’ll maybe give me an opportunity for me to grumble about it and you to laugh at our discomfiture, so tune in soon and find out how bad it was.