My Camino de Santiago

Old Jul 27th, 2012, 10:19 AM
  #61  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That must have been fun to be in a bar with all those people and Spain winning! Even where I live, with the windows open you could hear every burst of "GOOOOOOOOOL!" constantly. It was exciting.

I'm enjoying your report as I am sure many others are , too!
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 10:52 AM
  #62  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh yes, we were screaming GOOOOOOL!!! too! Although, after the 3rd one I started feeling bad for Italy (and especially for their goalie Buffon whom I love, although not as much as Casillas!).
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 11:16 AM
  #63  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
So, cruiseluv, now I can place exactly how far apart we were, because I was watching the game in the little hotel bar up at the Finisterre lighthouse. Our plan was to see both the game and the sunset, but there was no sunset! There were three Italians there and fortunately they were very good natured about the whole thing.

And I think you've hit on the way to enjoy the Camino in spite of the crushing crowds (which you never saw!). Leave at a reasonable hour-- because if you had left Portomarin at any time between 6 and 7, you would have seen a steady stream of humanity. I was in that stream in Arzua. There were around 800-1000 arriving at the pilgrims office in Santiago every day during the week you're describing, and though not all of them were on the Frances, certainly the vast majority of them were.

Gotta love the food rules -- too late to toast a piece of bread, but not too late to put ham and cheese on it.

You're getting close to Santiago!
lreynold1 is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 05:03 PM
  #64  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I suspected that it was the "late" time we started walking that accounted for the solitude. I don't think I would have liked to walk with a sea of humanity, so I'm glad it worked that way (although , as I mentioned, we encountered many cyclists!). The downside is that we didn't have as much time to look around the towns when we arrived.

Laurie, is the walk to Finisterre nice?
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 05:58 PM
  #65  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, cruiseluv,

For years, the walk to Finisterre could only be done in a 3 day package -- the first, a short day to Negreira (24 km), the second a long day to Olveiroa (31), and the third another long day to Finisterre (31). This was true even if you weren't wedded to albergues, there just wasn't any accommodation in any of the other towns.

This is changing pretty rapidly. I walked this year Santiago - Muxia - Finisterre and found a couple of new places that allow you to break it up into 4 or more days.

I have posted some updates here: http://www.caminodesantiago.me/board...opic14568.html And there is more information in the santiago-to-finisterre section of the forum.

But the question you asked was whether it was nice, not whether there was accommodation, so sorry for the tangent. Yes, it's very nice. The hamlet of Ponte Maceira alone worth the effort. Just google it, it's a gorgeous little place on two sides of the river, just beautiful. There is some road walking, not overly much, too many eucalyptus trees for my taste, but it goes through many small hamlets and many rural areas. If you walk from Santiago to Finisterre, rather than Santiago to Muxia to Finisterre, you will have a nice long stretch of beach walking.

I know that some feel that going on to Finisterre really takes them to "the end." That could be true even though Finisterre really isn't the westernmost point of Europe, that honor belongs to Cabo da Roca on the coast of Portugal north of Cascais. Finisterre and Muxia are both pretty amazing places (though Muxia is less touristy and the church is on an amazing promontory), so I think that so long as people want to keep walking, they should continue on to Finisterre and/or Muxia.

Sorry for the long post, but if you're thinking of walking on to Finisterre the next time, we should talk!
lreynold1 is offline  
Old Jul 27th, 2012, 10:41 PM
  #66  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 4,258
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Following along with great interest!
travelgirl2 is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2012, 06:03 PM
  #67  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks Laurie for your comments on Finisterre walk. I did go to the other board to read your comments there as well, thanks again!
I'm even thinking, maybe I'll go to Santiago and then just do this walk(at least one way). But are there any accommodations on the way there I could reserve in advance? They don't have to be fancy, but I do require private bathroom.
Oh, you burst my bubble, I didn't realize it wasnt't the westernmost point!
I'll be back soon to finish my report.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 29th, 2012, 06:58 PM
  #68  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, cruiseluv,

Well, I have seen references to some nice casas rurales, which might be just your cup of tea. And in the main stopping places (Negreira, Olveiroa, Cee) there are plenty of private places.

Here's a place about two kms from Ponte Maceira, which is one of the prettiest little villages along a river you will ever see. I'd say it's about 18-19 kms out of Santiago, so maybe a good first day's stop. http://www.ruralsantiago.com/ It says they are two km from the camino but they will do pick-up and drop-off.

If you did that the first day, on day 2 you would probably walk beyond Negreira, which is the place most people stop on their first day, and it's about 24 kms from Santiago, or 5-6 from this Casa Rural, making it a great coffee stop. In Negreira, there is private accommodation, though -- http://www.hotel-tamara.com/ , so if you wanted to walk all the way to Negreira, you'd find a hotel.

Negreira to Olveiroa is 33kms, more if you stop at Ponte Maceira. More than you probably want to walk, so cutting it up would be possible -- look at the mundicamino site, they list casas rurales in Maronas and Corzon.

Olveiroa has two really nice hoteles rurales, so no problem there.

From Olveiroa to Cee, on the water and a nice coastal town, is about 18 kms, lots of hotels.

Cee to Finisterre is 12, and there too you'll find lots of alternatives.

The British confraternity has an online guide that is short but has lots of information. http://www.csj.org.uk/guides-online.htm

Brierley has a guide just dedicated to Santiago-Finisterre, but I haven't ever seen or used it.

It's a nice 3-5 day walk, about 90 kms total, I think. The scenery is nice, but not jaw-dropping, and there are some chunks with a fair amount of road walking, but a great way to spend a few days!

and p.s., if you are going to Finisterre, why not continue on to Muxia? That's where Martin Sheen and his friends in "The Way" ended. Muxia is a lot less touristy than Finisterre (though I like Finisterre a lot), and the church on the rocky promontory is just spectacular. Tradition has it that when Santiago came back to life and helped the Spaniards push back the Moors in the Reconquista, the Virgen appeared to him at Muxia on those rocks.

I walked Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre this year, and some pictures are at the end of my Primitivo pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/laurie....6Vk6OWv8um1QE#

When are you thinking of walking this camino?

But we are waiting to hear about the rest of this Camino!
lreynold1 is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2012, 09:03 PM
  #69  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Laurie, thanks for the link to the pictures, beautiful! I'm so torn before Primitivo and walking to Finisterre (don't think I could do both!).

If it was up to me I would do it next year, but we already have some travel plans in the books so it will probably not happen then. When I told my daughter to pencil it in for 2014, she thought it was too soon! I told her I don't have as much time as her to wait.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2012, 09:10 PM
  #70  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Day 5- Palas de Rei to Melide– About 15 kms

Today will be a short day and I could not have been happier! The typical stage is from Palas de Rei to Arzua, which is about 30 kms. So we decided to break it in two, not only to have a break of two shorter days, but also to stay at the same hotel for two nights. I scoured the internet, message boards , etc. for the “perfect place” ,and thought I found it in the Pazo de Sedor in Castañeda (between Melide and Arzua) . But more about that later. www.pazodesedor.com ( doubles about 80 Euros)

We had breakfast at Casa Benilde, which actually was my only complaint about the place. They charged us 10 Euros pp (the highest we paid in our whole trip and certainly on the Camino) for a breakfast with very little fruit and prepackaged croissants and muffins. The lady that serviced the breakfast area was very attentive, but that’s about the best I could say about it. So if you stay here, go to a bar/café and save quite a few Euros.

It was great not being in a hurry knowing we just had to cover about 15 kms that day. Our 2nd café con leche stop came at O Coto, at the Casa de Somoza café/bar in a lovely garden. They also had what must have been the friendliest bartender we encountered in any of our stops (he also prepared a really yummy café con leche). Before we left he insisted my daughter pose with a staff and pilgrim’s hat with scallop which he provided. The Casa de Somoza offers rooms with private bath. Wish I had asked to see one if possible for a future visit, I really liked the setting.

We continued our walk to our destination of Melide, crossing the picturesque medieval bridge into Furelos and then climbing into Melide. We arrived there by around 2:00 and were ready for lunch. I had read so much about the pulpo (octopus) in Melide and was really looking forward to sampling it there. We followed Lincasanova’s recommendation of Pulperia Ezequiel and were so glad we did! From the casual communal setting of long wooden tables, friendly service and delish pulpo , it could not have been more perfect. We had eaten pulpo before in prior visits to Galicia, but this one was out of this world! My son was feeling adventuresome and also ordered orejas de cerdo (pig’s ears). A little too chewy for me.

Once we finished lunch we walked around town for a bit. Saw Iglesia San Roque , unfortunately closed ,and went to Iglesia Parroquial Sancti Spiritus, next to city hall (where we thought we could get a stamp for our credencial). Although the church was open we couldn’t find anywhere to get our stamp. So, we decided to call the taxi driver that had been recommended by the owner of the Pazo so he could drive us the short (by car) distance. The taxi driver, Jesus, promptly came and took us to the Pazo(less than 10 minutes).

As we approached it I could see it was just as I had imagined it: a gorgeous stone pazo, surrounded by rolling green hills and pasture. The owners were not home but a lady that worked there gave us the keys to the rooms and accompanied us. They even have an elevator! The room I got (sharing with my daughter) was ok in size; the bathroom was also big and modern. But the room my husband and son got was very small, with the smallest twin beds I have ever seen. I offered to go talk to the lady and see if they could move to a bigger room. But they had already made themselves comfortable and didn’t want to change.

We had dinner at the Pazo (not included in the rate), and this proved to be a very uncomfortable experience. The woman in charge of the restaurant/ kitchen was extremely rude and made us feel totally unwelcome. Actually, she ruined the evening. The food was also pretty mediocre, so all in all not what I expected. Unfortunately, this would not be the last run in we would have with her.

After dinner we sat in the front courtyard and enjoyed the star filled night for a while before going to bed.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 01:21 AM
  #71  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
What a shame about the nasty lady at the pazo! We stayed there a few nights on our camino as we were a large group and I don't recall any friction whatsoever, even with all our group movements in and out and up and down!

I hope the next days are "happier!" A shame to feel mistreated, especially n a trip like this. You are in a certain "mind state" and it is even MORE shocking when you get bad treatment in such bucolic settings. I wonder if she was the owner or unhappy staff?
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 04:57 AM
  #72  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lin,

Don't know if she was related to the owners or just an employee. She seemed to carry sway with others there. The next afternoon I met one of the owners, a lovely woman, and was tempted to tell her of our experience, but decided not to rehash the whole situation. I had also dealt with this lady's brother (another of the owners) by email and he had been very polite.

As I'll explain later, we had one more and even worse encounter with this harridan. It's just too bad because it would keep me from staying again in this place which as you know is gorgeous.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 06:47 AM
  #73  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
wow what a shame. I only dealt with the owner and her brother.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 07:36 AM
  #74  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,181
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi, cruiseluv,
10 euros for breakfast at the Casa Benilde -- I think you got the special pilgrim price. I know that happens now and then, it's happened to me a few times. It's not really the money that's so annoying, it's just this sense that you're a chump and they're taking advantage of you. Some of my non-Spaniard Camino friends have had this happen so often that they now try to make a point of asking the price or asking for a menu before they order anything anywhere. That's just not going to happen for most people, seems to me.

Ok, you're in Melide now and getting very close. I happened to be in Melide on a Sunday this year, and though I have been through there many times, I must never have hit it on a Sunday because there was a huge, lively, happy market throughout the entire old part of town. Amazing cheese, bread, produce, lots of "artesanal" kinds of food items like oils, honeys, etc. I was told it's a weekly event, it was a lot of fun.

The suspense is building for the worst experience at the Pazo de Sedor to be revealed....
lreynold1 is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 07:47 AM
  #75  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Actually, this incident is very upsetting/ disappointing to me at Pazo de Sedor as I definitely was planning on using it next time i go up there.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 09:43 AM
  #76  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I figured rather than reinvent the wheel, I would cut and paste the section from my review on Tripadvisor that deals with the breakfast fiasco the next morning:

"The next morning when we went for breakfast at about 8:15 ( we were told breakfast started at 8:00) we found that most things had already been consumed by a group that was already there. We sat and waited thinking that they would be replenished (the same horrid woman had peeked out of the kitchen and seen we had arrived). After 10 mins went by with the buffet not being replenished my husband got up and looked into the kitchen and motioned to the woman to please come out. When he pointed out that there was very little food out she shrugged her shoulders and said "Se acabó!" (It's finished!). At that point I intervened since I speak Spanish and told her it was totally unacceptable to charge us for breakfast and expect us to basically eat the crumbs left behind by other people. Her look was one of contempt and fury. Without a word of apology, she went back to the kitchen and then later came out with plates of fruit, bread and some cold cuts(in the process, throwing the plates on the table). I was so upset I couldn't even eat.

Given this shabby treatment, we decided we wouldn't eat dinner that evening or breakfast the next morning there. We took a cab into town and had a much more enjoyable time (cheaper too!).

It's a shame that I can't recommend this place because its indeed beautiful. But the poor dining experience and not feeling welcome were too big of a negative. I considered telling the owner the next day but frankly, I didn't want to relive the whole negative experience. "
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2012, 02:00 PM
  #77  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Such a shame. I don't blame you. These incidents have no place on a trip like this. This should never have happened.
lincasanova is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2012, 07:28 AM
  #78  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,478
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sad to hear about this unsavory breakfast experience. But happy I stumbled upon your trip report. It is definitely filling my mind with the possibility of doing a camino of my own one day!
LowCountryIslander is offline  
Old Aug 1st, 2012, 11:08 AM
  #79  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,298
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes, a shame but we didn't let it dampen our enthusiasm for the trip going forward.

Laurie,
The market in Melide sounds great! I'll try to time my stop there next time for a Sunday. Did you notice if most restaurants are closed that day?
To be fair to Casa Benilde, we knew going in what the breakfast price would be. My problem was that the way they described it it sounded that, although pricey, it would be magnificent. It wasn't, actually I would describe it as mediocre.

Back soon to continue trip report.
cruiseluv is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2012, 12:31 AM
  #80  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As mentioned before really enjoying your posts....El Camino is different for everyone.Each having their own experiences. If anybody is interestedthis is a short post on my experince of the great walk( from Roncesvalles to Santiago): http://theartichokeadventures.thespa...ion-footsteps/
Cehegin is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -