Before I start my account of day 1 on the Camino Inglés: from Ferrol to Neda, let’s get some practical info out of the way.
- The first guidebook I read about the Camino Inglés was Susan Jagannath’s “The Camino Inglés: 6 days (or less) to Santiago“. And it’s probably fair to say it played a big part in my decision to walk this route.
- For a more “traditional” guide, with very detailed information on the route and background information, I bought The Confraternity of St. James‘ Guidebook, by Johnnie Walker.
I bought both of these books in the digital version. Then, at the last minute, for some reason, I decided to buy a paper one, in Spanish. Don’t ask me why… I’m not really sure. Of course, I am aware of the advantages of digital books in terms of space and weight, but I still prefer browsing through a paper one. I think that was why.
- So I got “Guía del Camino de Santiago: Camino Inglés”, by Antón Pombo. It does include a whole chapter about Santiago (around 20 pages) and also the route from Santiago to Fisterra and Muxía (close to 40 more pages). So there was a lot of book we were not going to need on this occasion, but I still decided to take it along. Being a book lover, I struggled with the idea of tearing the book apart and taking only the pages we needed, as I’ve read that some people do.
- Ferrol: we stayed at Hotel Real Ferrol (calle Dolores, 11). We chose it because it was one of the few places that offered a family room and the location was great too. We paid €45 for the four of us in a very spacious room with 2 double beds and a private cuarto de baño. All new and clean… the perfect choice for us!
- Neda: Pensión Maragoto, not far from the albergue. As well as the rooms, they also have a cafetería-restaurante, where you can have a menú del día for €9.50. They open at 8.00am in the morning. We had our breakfast there before heading off to Pontedeume on Sunday.
Sábado, 2 de marzo. De Ferrol a Neda
After el desayuno (breakfast) and a bit of walking around Ferrol (check Empezando el Camino Inglés), we headed towards Muelle Curuxeiras, the starting point of the Camino. Despite reading about it before, my initial instinct was to look for the stone marker closer to the water. I had read on forums about previous pilgrims having trouble locating it and others explaining where it was exactly and I was still looking for it in the wrong place. Then I remember and so we crossed the road… and there it was!
But before we started walking towards Neda, there was one more thing to do: pick up our credenciales from the tourist office, which is conveniently located right next to the stone marker. There is also a farmacia there, in case you need to get any last minute tiritas (plasters) or paracetamol. And if you haven’t had your desayuno yet, there are also a couple of cafeterías here.
We went through the arch into Rúa Carmen Curuxeiras. I’ve been trying to find out who this woman, Carmen Curuxeiras, was; but apparently it is unknown. Also, in case you are wondering and getting confused, rúa is the Galician word for calle (street). You may see both used.
Anyway, this part of town is called Ferrol Vello (Old Ferrol in the Galician language) and it really lives up to its name! Almost the first thing you see after walking under the arch is a few collapsed buildings (or about to collapse).
Walking through Ferrol Vello
These are not too bad!
Out of Ferrol
So we walked through Ferrol, past the Parador and iglesia (church) de San Francisco, along the rúa Real and cantón de Molíns, and past iglesia de las Angustias. The last stretch out of Ferrol was not particularly appealing, with modern/boring buildings on our left and army property on the right, blocking the view of the sea. Eventually, you get to enjoy the view, walking by playa (beach) de Caranza.
Then, it’s a busy road for a while until you reach an industrial state, where you have to turn right. There is a Lidl supermarket here, in case you need to buy anything. We already had some fruta, galletas and frutos secos (fruit, biscuits and nuts), so we kept going, but not for long, because we got to a leisure area with benches and we decided to take a short break, have a snack and enjoy the view.
According to this, there’s a cafetería behind Lidl where you can get your credencial stamped. Well, the sign actually says you can get your Compostela stamped; I guess that’s a mistake. It also says it’s the cafetería of a tanatorio or funeral home. None of us needed a toilet break and we were not too keen on hanging out at a funeral home, so a bench outside was good for us. There’s another bar right on the Camino if you keep walking just a bit longer.
After the break, it was not so nice again, going through an industrial area with busy roads and roundabouts, before walking through villages. We passed the monasterio de San Martiño but it was closed, so we kept going.
Monasterio de San Martiño
We kept walking
After going through a forest area, we came to this:
Left or right?
Map detailing the 2 options
The Camino complementario on the right was longer (it adds close to 1km) and the main reason to take it was to see an old water mill. We’ve seen a few of those before, so we took the “regular” camino on the left and over the bridge. After the bridge, you have to go down some stairs and then you are in a nice promenade by the water. We had almost made it through our first day!
Now we only had to decide which bridge to cross
The old bridge?
…or the new bridge?
We went for the old one and so we got to see this 300 year old magnolia tree:
We quickly found our accommodation, left our mochilas in our rooms and went to have lunch.
A couple of games while waiting for the food
Calamares a la romana
After lunch, a rest and a ducha (shower), we went to have a look around. The park area across the bridges has one of these “playgrounds” for adults, with equipment to exercise instead of slides and swings. Well, the girls still had plenty of energy to play around and compete to see who could jump higher or do more pull-ups. I really envy them!
Up the road from our pensión, there is a Día supermarket. If you are not stopping for the day in Neda, you will pass it as you continue on your way. If you are spending the night in Neda and need to buy anything, don’t leave it till the next morning, as it will be closed.
I didn’t know this, but apparently Neda’s bread is famous and they even have a monument to it!
On company and weather
I think we only encountered one person during our walk, an old man keeping an eye on his sheep. Our company during the day… horses, cows, sheep and goats!
Day 1 was a nice and easy start to our Camino Inglés. Despite the rain the previous night, the weather was bright and sunny, with very pleasant temperatures… not really what you would expect at the beginning of March. The forecast, however, was not good. There was an orange alert for the next couple of days, with gales and heavy rain. In fact, we could already see it changing in the evening: it was becoming increasingly windier and the sky was getting grey. According to our weather app, there would be no rain the next morning, at least not any significant amount. We were a bit concerned about walking through forests and branches falling… but that’s for Day 2.
Cuarto de baño
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