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Camino Ingles - update May 2007

#1
We walked the Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago de Compostela from the 28 April to the 3 May 2007.
We had the CSJ guide, the guide issued by Xacobeo and Bill Murphy’s http://www.pilgrimage-to-santiago.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=1025 report from his camino last year. As much as I appreciate the work from the CSJ, Bill’s description did the job for us and was very handy as well!
We flew with Clickair from London Heathrow to La Coruna (flights were around £100 return). There is a frequent bus service from the airport to the city centre and to the main bus station (every 30 minutes weekdays, hourly on weekends). From the main bus station we got a direct bus to Ferrol, which took about 45 minutes, and we were in the hotel in Ferrol by 4pm. We already had our credencials, but if you need one you can get it in the Xunta office on Plaza Espana in Ferrol. Note that this is closed Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

I didn’t find any reliable information about distances, and sometimes I would question the ones available, i.e. it took us nearly 5 hours from Ferrol to Neda, which officially are only 12 km. And from Meson to Vento to Sigueiro it took me 6 hours, which is indicated as 30 km. Therefore I’m using below the time we spent walking (including small breaks).

Ferrol is a nice city, and it’s worth to spend some time there. We had a good breakfast in the hotel (Hespederia Ferrol) before we set off at around 11am, and we followed the route along the sea (way marks and red and white arrows!). The first bar is just before the monastery at San Xulian, after about 2 hours walk. We arrived in Neda at 4pm, and had to wait until we could call the phone number on the albergue door to get someone to open it at 6pm. The albergue is just after the covered new footbridge. Generally it is a clean albergue, with a wash machine and central heating (though I don’t understand who needs a wash machine after a half days walk). There are some bars and restaurants just around the corner. I had to use my earplugs that night, not because of the snoring of other pilgrims but because of the noise from the nearby factory.

The following day we walked about 8 hours to Mino, where the next albergue is located. It was a very pleasant walk, part on roads, but through wonderful countryside, whith the highlight the beach in Cabanas and the old city of Pontedeume. There is a good junta albergue in Mino, not overused, adequate facilities, but only one shower had hot water, which is not a problem if only 2 people are staying there. The albergue is situated a little bit outside of Mino, about 5 minutes from restaurants and shops.

The next morning we set off early (7.30am), with a first steep climb just after Mino. We arrived in Betanzos at around 10.30am. Betanzos is a nice historic city, and it might be worth to stay here a little bit longer, especially as the next part of the camino is really tough. We decided to walk on, through heavy rain (yes, it is Galicia…), just after Betanzos is another steep climb, after this we came through a gorgeous countryside and some remote villages, but no bars or shops. We followed the advice and took enough to eat and drink with us. From Leiro (after about 4 hours), there is a very demanding climb up to Hospital de Bruma, which takes another 5 hours.
We decided to stay that night in the hostal in Meson do Vento, which is a little bit after the albergue in Hospital de Bruma.

It’s quite easy to get back onto the camino from Meson do Vento, and it’s a beautiful stretch until Sigueiro (7 hours). It was here where we finally met other pilgrims, 3 Spaniards who started one day before us from Ferrol. They were the only other pilgrims until Santiago.
Sigueiro is a small modern city, 17km from Santiago, we stayed in the Hotel Miras, which seems to be the only hotel in this town. Here I had to use my earplugs again, this time because of the main road just outside our bedroom window. There are some reports about the junta opening an albergue here, and it would definitely improve the facilities along the Camino Ingles, but when I asked around there was no one who knew anything about this.

In Sigueiro is also a medical centre, which unfortunately we had to use. It opens at 9am, just go there and ask for a doctor. We finally left for the last stretch at around 10.30am. Other than most of the other reports, I kind of liked this part of the camino. And once I was in the “magnetic field” of Santiago, I was literally flying towards the cathedral. The waymarking into Santiago is not very good, but with asking and just following your instincts you will find Saint James, for sure.

We stayed one day in Santiago, and then took the bus to Finisterra, where we stayed another day. The last day we took the 9.30am bus from Finisterra, which goes direct to La Coruna, and we were back in the airport by 1pm, well in time for our flight at 4pm.

A few thoughts about the Camino Ingles: waymarking is good and easy to follow, and there are most of the time villages with tiendas and bars, but it’s nowhere comparable with the infrastructure you find on the Camino Frances. I also wouldn’t attempt to do the section from Mino to Hospital de Bruma in one day again, but would stay in Betanzos (which is a very nice little town anyway).

I fell in love with the Camino Ingles, the solitude (what a contrast to the masses of pilgrims once you are in Santiago), the Galician countryside and proximity to the sea, the rich villages you pass through (especially Ferrol, Pontedeume and Betanzos), and the best of it all, it only takes one week, including the trip to and the sunset in Finisterre!
I’m sure that I will be back…
Rolf
 

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Anonymous

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#3
Rolf, welcome home! Ditto to what Ivar said. That was some experience u had, plus a magnificent report, thank-you so much. The Camino Ingles is definitely in my future plans. With a couple of new things: combining a road in Ireland + the trip overseas aboard the ship that Sil informed us about. That would be some Camino! If anyone knows of any other sea voyages to La Coruña, particularly June-July, from Ireland, England, Scotland, please let us know. Best to u, Rolf. xm 8)
 
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Anonymous

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#4
...the Camino Ingles...takes one week, including the trip to and the sunset in Finisterre!
Rolf, one question, are we talking 7 days in all, from La Coruña to Santiago, elminating the Fisterra portion? Thanks. Best, xm
 
#5
XM, you are right, it's actually 8 or even 9 days when you want to include the Fisterra part. Still ok to do it in one week (Saturday to Sunday) if you get the according flight connections.

A possible schedule could be:
Saturday - Flight to La Coruna or Santiago and Bus to Ferrol
Sunday - Ferrol to Pontedeume
Monday - Pontedeume to Betanzos
Tuesday - Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma
Wednesday - Hospital de Bruma to Sigueiro
Thursday - Sigueiro to Santiago de Compostela
Friday - whole day in Santiago or bus to Fisterra
Saturday - Santiago to Fisterra by bus or whole day in Fisterra
Sunday - Bus from Fisterra to La Coruna or Santiago airport
 

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Anonymous

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#6
Hi Rolf, ok, so the actual Camiño, walking from La Coruña to Compostela, is five days, correct? BTW, how was the weather? We're getting not so good weather reports from the CF.

... Am thinking of poss future combination of the C Ingleswith the C Portugues/Fisterra/Muxia...

Best, xm 8)
 
#7
rolf said:
I didn’t find any reliable information about distances, and sometimes I would question the ones available, i.e. it took us nearly 5 hours from Ferrol to Neda, which officially are only 12 km. And from Meson to Vento to Sigueiro it took me 6 hours, which is indicated as 30 km.
I've found one problem with this route is that the distances given in different guides vary widely. However, much of it shadows the main road, so the road distances roughly correspond. Ferrol-Neda is 9km on the road, so how it took you 5 hours . . . :)

rolf said:
Sigueiro . . . There are some reports about the junta opening an albergue here, and it would definitely improve the facilities along the Camino Ingles, but when I asked around there was no one who knew anything about this.
yes, it was supposed to have opened last autumn, but I've seen no further reports of status. Here's the relevant page on Oroso council's website, saying the work should start "no menor tempo posible". Mañana, mañana

rolf said:
XM, you are right, it's actually 8 or even 9 days when you want to include the Fisterra part
the waymarked route from Corunna goes right past the airport, so you can pick it up there and cut out the couple of extra days going via Ferrol. From the airport to Santiago can easily be walked in a long weekend, though it seems a pity not to see the sights of Corunna, especially the church of Santiago.
 
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Anonymous

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#8
rolf and Peter, am still unclear as to the number of days from La Coruña to Compostela, only ... :? Best, xm 8)
 
#9
Peter - I suppose the 9km from Ferrol to Neda are on the main road, whereas when you walk from the old port, past the Arsenal and on the new footpath along the seafront the distance will increase (I actually just now measured it on Google Earth, it's 13km!). Also you are never really on the main road. There were some waymarks (the typical Galician ones with the shell on it) which still had the distance to Santiago on this little brass plate under the shell, but especially in the first part until Mino they were really quite useless. I think they are quite old and do not reflect the actual way. I heard that there was a lot of road works (new motorway) going on in the last years and that the camino had to be diverted various times.
XM - the Camino Ingles is Y-shaped, with one branch coming form La Coruna and the other from Ferrol. They meet in Hospital de Bruma. I did the one from Ferrol, and it took me 5 days. I think the way from La Coruna takes one day less.
 
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