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Braga to Ribadavia Twice This Month!

Charrito

Veteran Member
After having walked the stages from Ribadavia to Santiago 5 times it was about time I started out from Braga!

My wife and I walked from Braga to Terras de Bouro, then to Campo do Geres, on to Lobios, up to Castro Laboreiro, all the way to Cortegada, and then down to Ribadavia. Just as everyone says: it's pretty demanding, but absolutely spectacular.

For my sins, I'm off again to Braga next Sunday with two good friends, and we'll be setting off on Monday the 25th to walk the very same stages!

If I have time over the next couple of days I'll post more detailed information.

Bom Caminho y Buen camino/camiño a todos/as.
 
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OK, here we go. I won't go into incredible detail, as a few of you have already posted about these stages.

Day 1
We drove up very early from Salamanca to Ribadavia and left the car in front of the Hotel Garden Lodge, where I've stayed previously. Then we caught the 10:24 train to Guillarei, walked to Tui, crossed the bridge to Valença do Minho, had time for a meal and caught the 14:15 bus (Portuguese time now) to Braga. One hour.

Our first time in Braga, and we liked it a lot, although it was full of Spanish tourists!

The recommended first stage is Braga to Caldelas, but it's only 17 kms. The way out of Braga is not particularly nice, with a lot of quite dangerous road walking, with no pavements (sorry, Laurie, 'sidewalks'!), so we took the 07:15 bus (route 201 from platform 18 in the bus station) to Lago, and started walking from there. You rejoin the camino near Rendufe, pass the beautiful monastery, and then it's just another 5 or 6 kms to Candelas, where you have plenty of places to stop for breakfast.

Leaving Candelas you have a long climb up to Paranhos (a small bar there, with incredibly cheap prices) and then you are really on the Geira. We had decided to spend the night in Terras de Bouro, but you need to deviate a bit (well signposted) and it's a pretty long descent. There's another place to stop, Café Brito, a couple of kms before Terras.

We stayed in the Pensao Rio Homem in Terras de Bouro. 40 euros for a double room, and Antonio speaks perfect English. The restaurant is excellent, although Cafe Modelo next door is much cheaper (menu for just 7 euros!).
 
Day 2
One of the disadvantages of staying in Terras de Bouro is that after hiking all the way down the previous day you then have to start the following stage by climbing back up! Still, it was going to be a relatively short stage, so we took things calmly.

It's a pretty steep ascent up to Moimenta Nova and you need to be careful to find the Geira again. Mapy.cz is my 'go-to' app, however, and it kept us on track.

There were a couple of heavy downpours once we got up to the top out of the woods, but the ponchos kept us dry. Our footwear was soaked, though, especially as there are quite a few stretches through fairly thick undergrowth.

There are beautiful views down over the valley. Eventually you come to the road, but the camino sends you over it and down towards Covide. At the end of the village you have Café Eiras, with a shop and bar.

From Covide it's fairly straightforward up to Campo do Geres, with a bit of road walking. We stayed in the Albergaria Stop: nice treatment from Carla and her brother Carlos, good food, a lovely room with views, a swimming pool (it poured down again in the afternoon, so we didn't use it!).

Campo do Geres is small, with narrow streets and a couple of bars, but nothing much else to see or do.
 
Day 3
We had breakfast included in the Albergaria Stop, but we wanted to leave fairly early and Carla kindly prepared us a picnic with sandwiches, fruit, cake and fruit juice.

After climbing up out of Campo do Geres you soon come to the vast reservoir, and then have a beautiful walk alongside it and the Río Homem until you reach the end. A lot of bridges there, and spectacular waterfalls, before heading up a very rocky path until you eventually come out on the frontier. The bar was open (and has a lot of 'milarios' inside by the bathrooms).

You are now in Galicia and begin a long, and often quite dangerous, descent. I slipped and sprained my ankle, but managed to carry on (although it was painful).

We made a detour into the small village of Os Baños, where you can take off your boots and give your feet a well-earned rest in the hot thermal waters. Walking out of Os Baños and past the Río Caldo restaurant, you soon get back on the camino and have a long uphill trek to Lobios.

We stayed in the Hotel Lusitano. Not too bad, with a decent enough room. It was Sunday, and there's a big street market in Lobios, so the small town was packed. At 3 o'clock, we managed to have a meal (menú del día). The restaurant was so full that they had had to open the large annexe which they use for weddings and other celebrations.

There are quite a few bars/restaurants in the main street, and it's worth having a wander down to the church of San Miguel, even though you will pass it on the following day's stage.

This is a marvellous stage, one of the most beautiful I've walked in years.
 
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So sorry to learn about the sprained ankle. I was going to ask whether you had made it up to the castle, which is pretty phenomenal, but I’m sure you couldn’t do that with a sprained ankle!
 
So sorry to learn about the sprained ankle. I was going to ask whether you had made it up to the castle, which is pretty phenomenal, but I’m sure you couldn’t do that with a sprained ankle!
Do you mean the castle in Castro Laboreiro? That was the following day. My ankle was fine once it warmed up and I got walking.
 
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Day 4
7 o'clock breakfast in the Lusitano bar, then off down to cross the River Limia and climb up behind the gasolinera. Entrimo (also called Terrachán) has a few places to stop at. Then you head off the road and down to a small bridge and stream before going up the other side to A Pereira. After a steep climb (the locals call it something like La Cuesta de los Gatos) you finally come out into the famous lunar landscape.

Eventually you get to the frontier between Spain and Portugal in Ameijoeira, but there's nothing there apart from a few houses down the road.

The climb up to Castro Laboreiro is spectacular, but hard going. You pass over the medieval bridge and there's an ancient aqueduct too.

We stayed in the flash Hotel Castrum Villae, as the Miracastro was full. An enormous late meal in the Tasquinha Castreja, opposite the hotel. María walked up to the castle in the afternoon, but I decided to rest my slightly swollen ankle. Any excuse!

Practically everywhere in Castro Laboreiro was closed with it being a Monday. In that respect it reminded me somewhat of Las/As Médulas on the Camino de Invierno: packed out at weekends and dead during the week.

This is another lovely stage, but there's a lot of uphill walking. Still, tomorrow promised to be even longer!
 
In Castro Laboreiro, as a detour, is worth it to visit the "Planalto" where there is the more important group of dolmens in the peninsula. There are very good views of Galicia from there. In the past the Portuguese said that Spain had moved the border to steal them a dolmen.
 
In Castro Laboreiro, as a detour, is worth it to visit the "Planalto" where there is the more important group of dolmens in the peninsula. There are very good views of Galicia from there. In the past the Portuguese said that Spain had moved the border to steal them a dolmen.
My swollen ankle kept me away from doing any more walking that day, but next Thursday I'll be back there and will heed your advice!
 
Day 5
They didn't start serving breakfast until 8 o'clock in the hotel, so we left later than we would have preferred, knowing that this was going to be a long long stage. We stocked up on a few things like fruit and cakes from the buffet, as there is absolutely nothing all the way to Cortegada.

It certainly is a long trek, but there are some spectacular hills and valleys, and at times you feel that you are in the middle of nowhere!

Some of the signage is confusing, although there were plenty of arrows at the start. The Caminho Miñoto Ribeiro takes over from the Geira, but I wouldn't trust them very much (see Day 6 for more on this).

Halfway along the route we stopped in a rest area just outside San Amaro. Apparently, there is a small supermarket (Komo Komo) there, but we didn't come across it. You need to ignore the arrows by the small chapel in Portela (we followed good old Mapy.cz and had no problems), and when you eventually get to another chapel (San Xusto) you find that some 'nice' persons have deliberately painted over any arrows!

There are a couple of steep descents (no good for my poor ankle!) towards the small industrial estate of Trado, and then it's higgledy-piggledy to get down to the road and cross the River Deva.

A lovely walk through the woods above the River Miño and then a climb up to Cortegada.

We stayed in the Hotel Rústico Casa do Conde. It's the one redeeming feature of the small town of Cortegada (I seem to recall peregrina2000 describing it as 'triste'). Well, there is very little there, unless you want to head back down to the spa.

In the hotel, Jessica and her partner are really pilgrim-friendly. The rooms are incredible, and we had our own terrace. There's a small garden, and the fridge is stocked with all sorts of stuff for guests. The breakfast is left in the fridge for each of you, and you make your own coffee. The mother, Olga, owns the supermarket next door, so you can do your own cooking if that's what you like.

We had a meal in the Café Rivera. They claimed that they only do 'platos combinados', but they also had a lovely beef stew and baby lamb chops!
 
Day 6
Breakfast at 7 o'clock and we set off around 07:30. I forgot to say that 3 Portuguese pilgrims had turned up in Cortegada the previous evening. Nice people. They had arrived in Castro Laboreiro in the early afternoon and had then taken a taxi all the way to Cortegada (60+ euros!).

Anyway, you climb out of Cortegada, through the small hamlet of Rabiño, and you eventually arrive in Merens. A word of warning here in Merens: DO NOT pay attention to the Miñoto Ribeiro signs sending you up into the hills! Get back down to the road and you then have an extremely nice walk along the banks of the River Miño (you pass by the famous 'columpio'/swing), which you cross near Arnoia. You then walk alongside the River Avia and, after a short stiff climb, you're on the road into Ribadavia.

It's a nice walk up into Ribadavia through the old Jewish quarter (past the restaurant O Birrán, which I did mention in one of my posts last year). A foodie place, as peregrina2000 says.

The car was still there outside the Garden Lodge Hotel. A short drive to Allaríz, the prettiest village in the whole of Galicia, and then back to sunny Salamanca!
 
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Do you mean the castle in Castro Laboreiro? That was the following day. My ankle was fine once it warmed up and I got walking.
Oops, yes, Lobios was the place with the pretty good food in the little place at the intersection? Basically across the street from the hotel. I didn’t write down the name but I wonder if you ate there.
 
We stayed in the Hotel Rústico Casa do Conde. It's the one redeeming feature of the small town of Cortegada (I seem to recall peregrina2000 describing it as 'triste'). Well, there is very little there, unless you want to head back down to the spa.
Yes that was probably the word I used, it is a sad place. But that spa is quite something, kind of like a fish out of water in its surroundings.

And I totally agree about Casa do Conde. Hard to imagine how they get enough business to keep going, though I did meet two people who were staying there during the week for work (on a nearby dam or electric plant?) so that probably helps quite a bit.
 
Oops, yes, Lobios was the place with the pretty good food in the little place at the intersection? Basically across the street from the hotel. I didn’t write down the name but I wonder if you ate there.
That would be Luma Grill. We tried to have something to eat there on the Sunday evening, but they told us that we would have to wait 45 minutes. We therefore crossed back to the Lusitano and had an excellent (and cheap) cheeseboard and a couple of glasses of wine.
 
Yes that was probably the word I used, it is a sad place. But that spa is quite something, kind of like a fish out of water in its surroundings.

And I totally agree about Casa do Conde. Hard to imagine how they get enough business to keep going, though I did meet two people who were staying there during the week for work (on a nearby dam or electric plant?) so that probably helps quite a bit.
There were two workers also staying at the Casa do Conde. They are reforming the top floor, and it was touch and go whether we would have rooms available for this coming Friday, but they phoned me (they're on holiday in Cádiz!) to say that the work won't start until October.

Lovely people and a magnificent little hotel. 25 euros per person (pilgrim prices), with breakfast included.
 
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Second Walk
Back home in Salamanca.

The same 6 stages once again, but this time with my good friends Juanjo and Victor (which definitely means more beer and wine!). The only difference with my first walk a couple of weeks ago is that this time we stayed in the Hotel Miracastro in Castro Laboreiro.

The stages from Lobios and Castro Laboreiro were extremely hard work, with very high temperatures, but it was worth it!

We only came across one other pilgrim, a lady from Norway, in Terras de Bouro, but there were a few people a day or two behind us.

Get this camino on your 'to do' list before it takes off! I'll be carrying on from Ribadavia (for the 6th time!) in a few weeks.

Buen camino!
 
Hike 30+ miles on California’s Santa Catalina Island as part of the Catalina Camino

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