When I saw this crossing in mid-Sept it was considerably lower. In fact you could see around 90% of the bridge supports. Still I would not have liked to swim it.That picture uploaded by John (above) is kind of scary! This must have been taken when the water level in Portomarin reservoir was really, really low! A week ago it looked like that: ..
I am really sorry to disagree with your post Margaret. The road bridge is a turning left from the LU 633 after a few hundred metres and just before the dangerous and closed foot bridge. It was open last summer and as it is in good repair and a major route out of Portomarin I would be very surprised if it was closed. The walk along the LU 633 to it can be done entirely on the pavement on the right hand side and so there is no need to walk along the left hand verge. If you use the little person in Googlemaps you can clearly see the Camino signs pointing across the bridge at the end of which you turn right for Gonzar.However you do not need to cross that second bridge which Al mentioned. In fact autumn 2014 it was closed to foot traffic. You can continue on the left verges of LU 633 to where it is crossed by LU P 4905. There you can pick up the camino into the woods and eventually Gonzar. The junction is easy to spot with its prominent horreo. That woodland trail can be very muddy in wet weather; watch out!
Poor soul! In 2014 we were walking towards Portomarin with someone who was sending her bag on each day. So out of curiosity I did the same that day. Well I figured it would cure me of any impulse in the future to criticise anyone who did so. I have to say that was not something that bothered me anyway but it gave me an excuse for a new experience. It was so strange with just a little, light sea to summit bag with hardly anything in it! Anyway when I got to the steps I had too much unspent energy. So I ran to the top, turned and did a "Rocky Bilbao" by lifting my fists in the air and shouting "Adrianne!". No fool like an old fool eh?I've walked over the bridge twice and, although I don't like heights, I didn't find it the slightest bit scary. However, I did collapse with heat exhaustion after climbing the steep steps at the end on one hot September day. Friends laid me down and poured water over me from the conveniently adjacent fountain. Unfortunately when I stood up my back was covered in melted tarmac so I had to throw the clothes away!
Whari, I have never seen that bridge below, though I've walked when the water was REALLY low (as well as REALLY high).
It looks like the lower bridge in John's photo is the original, pre-impoundment bridge. Does anyone know if it's possible yo use that bridge when the water level is down in the late summer and fall?In a word, no. If your companion is afraid of heights the footpath is wide enough not to have to look down.
Thanks for all the suggestions. My companion says she has strategies to deal with it, so I will report back. I have only seen the bridge in November when the reservoir is quite low, and I found the view below very interesting.
In any case, our approach won't happen until tomorrow. We stopped at the lovely albergue/restaurant Mercadoiro, 5 km before Portomarin. After a bottle of Galician cider and plate of Arzua cheese we decided to stay here until tomorrow.
If you use ground view in google earth you'll find the former road (at least on the left bank) to be obscured. It looks like its used as someones driveway.It looks like the lower bridge in John's photo is the original, pre-impoundment bridge. Does anyone know if it's possible yo use that bridge when the water level is down in the late summer and fall?
Yep, both levels!I'm not a big fan of heights either and am not looking forward to crossing the famous one in Porto! Has anyone skipped across that one?
As my daughter says "Woot, Woot!" good for you both - all "down hill" nowWe successfully made it across today. My companion stashed away her sticks (to leave hands free for whatever emergency use was required), and she focused on the town ahead on the hills. It wasn't too bad at all. However, judging from the photos and counting up the markings, the reservoir was filled halfway up the bridge pillars. None of the old bridge or town was visible and it was far less dramatic than when I had seen it before in November.
In response to the question, as I recall, the old bridge was not passable even when not submerged.
I crossed the old bridge last September. As you come down from the hill pilgrims turn left to come to the high bridge. You can turn right instead then take a lane first left which winds its way down to the old bridge. There are steps leading up from the other bank. Make sure the old Roman bridge is not submerged before you set off though!
The old bridge was totally submerged and out of sight. However, that meant the water was high and the bridge seemed lower.I crossed the old bridge last September. As you come down from the hill pilgrims turn left to come to the high bridge. You can turn right instead then take a lane first left which winds its way down to the old bridge. There are steps leading up from the other bank. Make sure the old Roman bridge is not submerged before you set off though!
Feel the fear and do it anyway . I wasn't afraid of the arches collapsing, it looked pretty solid. But I wasn't certain about the function of the embalse as such and I feared that a sudden flood of water would be coming my way, due to some maintenance works or something. But nothing of the sort happened.
Ahhh, memories...a big reason many of us keep coming back.Last time I walked into Portomarin in 2014, I crossed on the old bridge.
Then when I got up on top, some kind local persons offered me pulpo and many roasted meats, and I got myself some pretty harsh red dubious fruity vino tinto up there to accompany it.
I do love that place ...
I am sorry, I don't know. I picked the photo from the Internet. I saw a similar warning sign in real life during a tour du Mont Blanc and usually this would prompt me to launch a long story but I will refrain. It was this sign:Is that in the valley of the river Lôt, by any chance? Between St Côme d' Olt and Espalion?
Thanks for getting back to me. I saw those signs on the le Puy route, warning against swimming in the River Lot.
To give names:Here's a photo that shows the three bridges of Portomarín: first, a part of an arch of the Roman/medieval bridge that was destroyed during a flood in February 1895; then the tall modern bridge of 1963 that was built when the reservoir was created; and finally the bridge of 1930 (apparently, between 1895 and 1930, the river could only be crossed on barges). To the right of this bridge, you can see a white car on an access road. This is the road one can take to walk on the bridge when the water is sufficiently low.
Pilgrims going towards Santiago will cross here in the direction from right to left. Portomarín is to the left.
View attachment 66806
I did the same! I focused on singing a song. I don't even mind heights but I was less than thrilled with the high winds keeping me from walking a straight line on the bridge! I ended up standing at bottom of the stairs for a bit with a bunch of other pilgrims. No one really seemed ready to start that climb, LOL. I ended up taking photos for a lot of people standing there at the bottom.Whari, I have never seen that bridge below, though I've walked when the water was REALLY low (as well as REALLY high).
I am not generally afraid of heights, but I must admit my perineum feels like it squeezes up into my throat when I look down off of the Portomarin bridge!
(sorry if that's too much information! )
I just look straight ahead and sing a song until I get across.
There is, by the way, a way into the village avoiding those blasted steps.
I just turn right before I hit the stairs and walk to the park, then cut over to the left and down into the village.
My legs just can't do those stairs after making it across the bridge!
Depends when you walked. If you walk in spring and summer, the water level in the reservoir is high and you don't see the ruins or old bridge, just water not as far below you.I am terrified of heights and am shocked to see this picture, because although I crossed over it, I don't remember being afraid. Too tired I guess?
Indeed! Saw another pic posted on this thread of higher water. That is more like I remember it. Interesting to see variations in scenery by season!Depends when you walked. If you walk in spring and summer, the water level in the reservoir is high and you don't see the ruins or old bridge, just water not as far below you.
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