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Charrito

Veteran Member
Ribadavia is a lovely little town, with arcaded streets, a fabulous Jewish quarter, loads of churches, a castle, and more than enough bars/restaurants! Try out the Ribeiro wine, and - if you can - out of an earthenware bowl instead of a glass!

I stayed in the Hostal Plaza, very central and pretty decent (and cheap). I had lunch in Restaurante Caracas, down the road and on next day's route: excellent menu del día.

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Charrito

Veteran Member
Before I start writing about the different stages, it's necessary to mention the conflict which (unfortuately) exists between two different caminos from Ribadavia.

The Camino Miñoto Ribeiro claims to be the 'authentic' route, while the Geira e dos Arrieiros comes up from Braga in Portugal and then passes through Ribadavia.

There is a bit of a 'war' going on between the two caminos, and you'll find signs for both at times. The same goes for the sellos: I have plenty of both. The two routes go side by side at times, then one veers off, to join up again and then they go off in different directions.

1655904059939.png
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
If you've stayed in Hostal Plaza you'll find plenty of cafés open early in the morning in town. If you go into the Café Bar O Morto on Rua do Progreso, ask the owner for an explanation of the name! I'm saying nothing, but it's an interesting story!

Here's what I found on the Internet about O Morto:

El origen del nombre no está tan claro. Unos lo vinculan a que Ribadavia, a parte del vino, durante décadas era el epicentro gallego de la industria funeraria con la presencia de varias fábricas de ataúdes. Los transportistas que recogían los pedidos en las fábricas posteriormente paraban delante del bar, llamando bastante la atención la presencia de ataúdes en frente a una cafetería, por lo tanto lo empezaron a llamar el bar dos mortos (los muertos, en gallego). La versión que defiende el actual propietario es que décadas atrás los vecinos y forasteros hacían su parada en el establecimiento preguntándole a los dueños de entonces como andaba el negocio, y estos respondían Isto está morto. Y como siempre andaban con la misma cantinela, se quedó el apelativo O Morto para el Bar Progreso.
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
Once you pass Restaurante Caracas (great churros in the morning!), you'll need to head left and walk along a beautiful path by the side of the River Avia, through the Parque A Veronza:

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Go under the motorway and you'll find yourself in the pretty liitle village of San Cristovo. You'll then find mile after mile of vineyards, with a short climb to a church and a descent to the village of Beade.
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
I then had to recross the river and head upwards towards Pazos de Arenteiro. Just over 6 kms, and the first half of the walk is uphill. It rejoins the official camino near Osebe:

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There's an amazing medieval bridge (Ponte da Cruz) just before Pazos de Arenteiro:

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Cafe Bar A Ponte at the entrance to the village:

1655915185526.png
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
I stayed in the Aldea Real at the top of the village. Not cheap, but it's the only place for miles. Fantastic treatment from the owners (Ramiro and his niece Ana). Marvellous room, a lovely garden.

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Even though I was the only person staying there, Ana prepared me an evening meal:

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As I would be leaving early the following morning she also provided me with a massive basket for my breakfast:

1655915521475.png

One thing: there is absolutely no phone signal anywhere in the village, but the WiFi works perfectly in the room and downstairs.

50 euros for the room, evening meal and breakfast.
 
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From Braga to Santiago
I stayed in the Aldea Real at the top of the village. Not cheap, but it's the only place for miles. Fantastic treatment from the owners (Ramiro and his niece Ana). Marvellous room, a lovely garden.

View attachment 128266

Even though I was the only person staying there, Ana prepared me an evening meal:

View attachment 128267 View attachment 128268

As I would be leaving early the following morning she also provided me with a massive basket for my breakfast:

View attachment 128269

One thing: there is absolutely no phone signal anywhere in the village, but the WiFi works perfectly in the room and downstairs.

50 euros for the room, evening meal and breakfast.
Excellent point @Charrito. I was always wondering why there are so few places in the village on Google Maps despite its rich heritage. It was because you can't easily add them without coverage! I learned there to take screen shoots and add places on the Camino later !
 

TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
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Before I start writing about the different stages, it's necessary to mention the conflict which (unfortuately) exists between two different caminos from Ribadavia.

The Camino Miñoto Ribeiro claims to be the 'authentic' route, while the Geira e dos Arrieiros comes up from Braga in Portugal and then passes through Ribadavia.

There is a bit of a 'war' going on between the two caminos, and you'll find signs for both at times. The same goes for the sellos: I have plenty of both. The two routes go side by side at times, then one veers off, to join up again and then they go off in different directions.

View attachment 128213
I’d say any path trod by peregrino/a feet these days is authentic.
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Pazos de Arenteiro to Beariz is a pretty tough stage for various reasons: there is a lot of climbing involved and there are times when you feel as if you are wading through the jungle in Asia! They really need to clear some of the dense undergrowth on the stretch up through the pine forest from Salón to Albarellos.

Another important point: the waymarking on this camino is not the best. Sometimes it's fine, especially when the two caminos are side by side. This is what you find leaving Pazos de Arenteiro:

1655968982356.png

At other times, however, you really need to look carefully for the occasional yellow arrow (often faded). When you're in the forest these arrows can be difficult to spot, especially when they're hidden behind the vegetation!

Therefore, and especially for this stage, you will need to rely on GPS. I used Windy Maps, which is now called Mapy.cz. Free download and very easy to use. The camino route is clearly marked and shows you exactly where you are and if you go off track. Having said that, I did get lost, but more of that later!
 
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Albertinho

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2013, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2022
If you've stayed in Hostal Plaza you'll find plenty of cafés open early in the morning in town. If you go into the Café Bar O Morto on Rua do Progreso, ask the owner for an explanation of the name! I'm saying nothing, but it's an interesting story!

Here's what I found on the Internet about O Morto:

El origen del nombre no está tan claro. Unos lo vinculan a que Ribadavia, a parte del vino, durante décadas era el epicentro gallego de la industria funeraria con la presencia de varias fábricas de ataúdes. Los transportistas que recogían los pedidos en las fábricas posteriormente paraban delante del bar, llamando bastante la atención la presencia de ataúdes en frente a una cafetería, por lo tanto lo empezaron a llamar el bar dos mortos (los muertos, en gallego). La versión que defiende el actual propietario es que décadas atrás los vecinos y forasteros hacían su parada en el establecimiento preguntándole a los dueños de entonces como andaba el negocio, y estos respondían Isto está morto. Y como siempre andaban con la misma cantinela, se quedó el apelativo O Morto para el Bar Progreso.
Germans say “ Tote Hose “ (litterally “ dead pair of trousers” which means “ nothing happens 😊. Nice story 👍
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Leaving Pazos de Arenteiro there's a pleasant cemented pathway along to the next village, with views down to the River Avia (and the Hydroelectric Power Plant). You then descend to the road, alongside the river, until you reach the confluence of the Avia and Viñao rivers. A sharp right and up you go towards Salón (Living Room?). There's a narrow steep climb, as you can see in this photo:

1655973363668.png

Once you reach the small village centre you then continue into the forest. This is where it gets a bit tougher, as you have to hack your way through thick undergrowth at times. I didn't take any photos on this stretch, as I needed to open up some sort of way to get through! I was soaked from the waist down and got all sorts of scratches on my legs. It's probably a good idea to wear long trousers!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Once you've fought your way (literally!) through the forest and the swarms of pesky flies, you arrive in the small hamlet of Albarellos, with the church of San Miguel:

1655974522292.png 1655974541337.png

I sat down on a bench and had a long chat with a lady and her son who lived in the adjoining house. They are typical gallegos who had emigrated to Germany many decades ago and had come back to their home village to build a house and live. I was kindly offered food and drink, but I still had the remnants of the breakfast that I had been provided with in Pazos de Arenteiro. I should have accepted the offer, as you'll see later!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
From Albarellos there's another climb, this time on a secondary road (no traffic), until you eventually get to a chapel at the top:

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NIce views back down to the river:

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From there, it's flat or slightly downhill through Vilachá and then Feás, where there's a very welcoming bar: Nictron or Nitron, depending on which sign you believe!

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If you contact them beforehand they will prepare a meal for pilgrims, but as it was only 11.30 when I arrived I just had a drink. Well, that's not true! One of the locals recognised me from a TV programme I had been on (nothing to do with the camino, but with my football team!) and I was then invited to another beer or two! Anyway, the bar is a real oasis, and highly recommendable! There is a casa rural at the other end of the village, and they offer discounted prices for pilgrims, but most people will think that it's too short a stage to stop overnight in Feás. If I knew what Beariz was going to offer, however, I would almost certainly have stayed in Feás!

You'll hear about Beariz in my next post!
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
From Feás there's yet another long slog uphill, this time on another secondary road (hardly any traffic). There's not a great deal of shade, so it's hard work - especially if you've had a few beers down in the village!

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Beautiful views on both sides. When you get to the top of the road, the other camino goes off to the right:

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You now follow a 'pista forestal', still uphill:

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Anyway, shortly after this I got lost!!!! Why? How? Explanation coming soon!
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
Walking upwards, I got to a bend and was confronted by a couple of wild boars about 20 metres away. I stood still for a while and then thought about snapping a quick photo or two, They saw/heard me and quickly scampered off into the wood before I could get my phone out.

Without thinking, I continued up on the path to the right. After a time I started to panic, wondering if I was on the right path. Luckily, the GPS was working and I realised that I'd walked off in the wrong direction. I therefore had to retrace my steps to where I'd seen the wild boars and only then did I notice this bl**dy arrow on a tree:

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Charrito

Veteran Member
I'd walked 3 kilometres more than I needed to, but now it was downhill to Magros. A really lovely descent, but incredibly dangerous:

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There were running streams and rocks covered with slippery moss. I only fell down once (and landed on my backside!), but it was hard going.

I eventually made it into the village of Magros:

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My footwear was soaked through:

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Another 30 minutes and I was in Beariz!

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It was 3.30 in the afternoon and I was famished! However . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
First of all, off with the backpack and a much-needed Estrella Galicia:

1656003050022.png

I'd already phoned Bar Centro in Beariz to book a room. They have some apartments next to the bar, and - to be honest - they are more than acceptable. I paid 15 euros for a large room with a brand new shower.

The problem is that the bar does not serve food (apart from a bowl of crisps which I was offered with a glass of wine later). The only other bar in the village (a 'one-horse' town if ever I saw one), Bar Beariz, is the same: drinks only.

The only solution I came across was to go into the local butcher's (the only other establishment in Beariz, apart from a chemist's on the way out of town). I jokingly asked him for a chuletón de ternera and said that I was so hungry I would eat it raw! He was extremely kind, and actually made up a ham and cheese bocadillo for me (just 3 euros for all this):

1656003240820.png

In the evening, after exploring the village (that took 4 minutes!) I had a glass of Ribeiro and decided to go up to my room. The next thing was that the owner's son, José Manuel, came up and asked me if I could come back downstairs! I thought they were going to produce some sort of slap-up five course meal, but no. The mayor had heard that there was a pergrino in town and wanted to meet me and ask me about what they could do to improve the camino!

Of course, I told him about the absolute necessity to provide some sort of food in one or both of the bars, and also to clean up the stretches back in the forest from Salón. He was a really nice man (for a politician!), and - once more - I was invited to wine after wine! Here are the three of us (the mayor is on the right, and I'm the tall one in the middle):

1656003542542.png

Let's see if he keeps his word and promotes this wonderful camino a bit more!

Anyway, it had been a long, hard day, but with spectacular scenery and amazingly friendly people. The next day was going to a much shorter stage, but I'll post about that later or tomorrow.
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
In the morning, María (in the bar downstairs) opens at 8.30 and she made me a lovely tostada with olive oil and tomato to go with my café con leche! So they DO have some sort of kitchen!!

Leaving Beariz, and after walking up the road for about 500 metres, you find two alternative routes:

1656005387603.png

The one via Albite is almost 2 kms longer and follows the road, so - even though I'd been told that the village was very picturesque - I decided to go via Barcia (which is mainly a recreational area down by the river).

You are soon directed up into the woods again for a good three or four kms of ascent. Lovely!

1656005636120.png 1656005647995.png 1656005661741.png

Some parts were a bit waterlogged, but luckily it hadn't rained too much previously and there were no real problems avoiding the wet bits.

Once you reach the top you then have a prolonged descent to the tiny hamlets of Pardesoa and O Sisto:

1656005833489.png 1656005845325.png

From O Sisto you have a long uphill slog along the road (very little traffic), with around 150 metres of climbing, before you get to the outskirts of Soutelo de Montes.

1656005942136.png

I'd reserved a room in the Pensión/Hotel Millenium: once again, good value for 20 euros.

I had a decent menú del día in Restaurante San Roque, but there are loads of places to drink/eat in Soutelo de Montes. After Beariz it was like walking into Madrid!
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
Right, here's one of my famous little tricks (peregrina2000 will know what I'm referring to!) to lengthen short stages and shorten long stages!

There was no accommodation available the following day in Codeseda (there was a Feria de Artesanía going on) so - as I'd only walked 12 kms in the morning - I carried on to Forcarei, a further 7 or 8 kms, in the afternoon (meeting up with the Camino Miñoto Ribeiro once again!) and then got the 17.57 bus back to Soutelo. Forcarei is a lively little town and has plenty of bars and restaurants. There's also the Hotel Paris if you decide to spend the night there instead of in Soutelo.

The following day, there's a bus from Soutelo at 06.35. The driver always has his café in the Hotel Millenium Bar, so you can dump your bag off in the bus and travel with him to Forcarei (arrival there at 06.50). This means that you now have a shorter stage as far as A Estrada, instead of the 32 kms if you walk all the way from Soutelo.

One good thing about Soutelo is the fantastic bread that they have there! They use the dough for bread, pizzas and empanadas. Nearly all the bars give you a free pincho with your drink, and these tend to be either a slice of home-made pizza or warm empanadas! Yummy! Plenty of tortilla around too!

1656008094401.png
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
A lot of this stage, and especially after Forcarei, is either flat or downhill.

Leaving the café in Codeseda (I didn't go into the Caminho da Geira pub/bar as it was closed) it took me some time to find the route; I even went back into the café to ask them if they could show me!

It was noticeable, in fact, that there were far more arrows after I found my way out of the village. Some were pointing off into the undergrowth, though!

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It's a nice walk, although the path disappears at times!

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Charrito

Veteran Member
5 or 6 kms before you reach A Estrada you pass through the village of Tabeirós, with two churches separated by just a couple of hundred metres!

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There is also an interesting looking tribute outside one of the churches:

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Charrito

Veteran Member
A Estrada is much bigger than anywhere else I'd been to, but I still hadn't seen a single pilgrim!

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Even though it's a big bustling town, there is hardly anywhere to stay! I got a room (24 euros) in the Pensión La Bombilla: very central and perfect for the following day's stage.

I treated myself to a meal in the Taberna Navegación: Cordeiro leital a baixa temperatura (slow-cooked baby lamb)!!

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In the evening I had a long chat with Silvia, the owner of O Candil de Silvia, and one of the promoters of the Caminho da Geira e dos Arrieiros. It was a long intersting chat and the wine was flowing! I think I paid for one glass!
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
I hadn't booked anywhere for the night after A Estrada, and I had thought of walking all the way to Santiago. It was pretty hot, though, and I didn't fancy getting into Santiago late on Saturday afternoon.

To be honest, I always find Santiago to be overcrowded and touristy. When you haven't seen a single pilgrim for 5 or 6 days I knew that it was going to be a shock to the system when I came across the hordes of 'turigrinos'. There are more and people walking the caminos without a backpack and getting their large suitcases transported from town to town. Each to his/her own, I agree, but until my legs pack in I'm still going to believe that the true spirit of the camino is when you make an effort.

Anyway, I left A Estrada around 9 o'clock after a good breakfast. You go down to the PO-841 and then up to the petrol/gas station at the top. It's then a pleasant walk through mainly wooded areas, although there are a couple of small hamlets (with their church, of course!):

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There's a strange fountain a couple of kms before Pontevea. Strange, because the arrows then direct you into a vineyard, with no path!

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Back up to the road and around the village.
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
Pontevea is a charming little town, with its magnificent medieval bridge over the River Ulla (the same river that flows along to Ponte Ulla on the Camino Sanabrés/Via de la Plata). It has plenty of great bars and restaurants and there is a beautiful camping area, river walks and a river beach, but - apart from a Spa Hotel outside the town - no accommodation!

1656063322845.png 1656063334786.png

I had a couple of drinks and pinchos, and phoned the Taberna Mella in Raris to see whether they had a room for the night. It's just 3.5 kms north of Pontevea, and it means that the following day's walk into Santiago is only around 14 kms. More about this taberna in my next post!


1656063351503.png
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
I had been told by Iara in the Taberna Mella that there was indeed a room available, so off I set from Pontevea. It's practically all uphill, first alongside the AC-841 road and then through the small village of Reis, but it is 100% worth the effort! Reis:

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My first sight of the taberna, with its lovely terrace underneath the typical Galician 'parra', their way of growing the grapes for the wine:

1656064360955.png
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
The rooms are next to the bar, in Casa Rosa. Wow! Incredible place, especially if you're the only guest. A huge living area with sofas, kitchen and TV, and there is room for up to 8 guests, divided into various rooms. My room had one of the most modern showers I've experienced, twin beds, a long balcony overlooking the terrace . . . . 25 euros. Well worth it!

After a shower and change of clothes I went back down for drinks and a meal. First of all, a jug of Ribeiro wine and a massive free pincho of spicy chorizo, cheese, mussels, olives and bread!

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Charrito

Veteran Member
After my siesta I had a quick walk up to the church of San Miguel, and also checked out where the camino carried on for the following day.

1656067102872.png

Jorge (Gallego) and Iara (Brazilian) are wonderful people and marvellous hosts. Even though they only open the bar/restaurante until 16.00, they provide pilgrims with an evening meal. As I was still full from lunchtime I only asked for the raxo that I hadn't been able to finish. She fried me some patatas, gave me yet another jug of wine . . . . . . .

1656066941495.png

I sat down talking to Iara and Jorge for some time before paying and heading off for a perfect sleep! Iara gave me some capsules for the coffee machine, as well as some magdalenas.

What a great place to stay. Peaceful, lovely scenery, marvellous people, what more could you ask for?
 

Charrito

Veteran Member
I left Raris fairly early in the morning, as I wanted to get to Santiago at a reasonable time and not have to wait behind the hordes of 'turigrinos' who had arrived from the other overcrowded caminos.

Most of today's stage was uphill, but there were only a few steepish climbs.

This was Sestelo:

1656070198631.png

A mixture of woods, small villages (with churches!) and more woods:

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You start to see Santiago in the distance:

1656070391922.png

There's a bit of a roundabout way of getting into the centre of the city: over/under motorways and railway lines, until you reach the bottom by the Corte Inglés.

Then there's a nice park alongside the river until you reach the Ponte do Sar.

1656070552444.png

You then join up with the Camino Sanabrés/Via de la Plata before climbing up to the centre of the city. It was here that I met the first pilgrim I'd seen (he'd walked the Invierno from Ponferrada, lucky man!).

Into the Plaza for the typical photo, which I won't copy, and then 90 minutes waiting for the Compostela!

1656070719413.png 1656070730549.png

I'll give you my final thoughts a bit later.

Buen Camino!
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
My Final Thoughts

This is a wonderful camino, and highly recommendable. However, it's not for novices and you definitely need to:

have some sort of GPS on your phone​
plan the stages carefully​
book accommodation in advance​
The only super difficult stage is the one from Pazos de Arenteiro to Beariz.

The people you will meet are more than friendly.

This camino will 'take off' over the bext couple of years, so my suggestion would be for you to walk it soon; otherwise, it will go the way of others!

As many of you know, I am in love with the Camino de Invierno, but now - after having walked this one (at least from Ribadivia) - I may have found a new favourite!

Buen Camino to you all. If you need any more information or details, please send me a direct message.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
My Final Thoughts

This is a wonderful camino, and highly recommendable. However, it's not for novices and you definitely need to:

have some sort of GPS on your phone​
plan the stages carefully​
book accommodation in advance​
The only super difficult stage is the one from Pazos de Arenteiro to Beariz.

The people you will meet are more than friendly.

This camino will 'take off' over the bext couple of years, so my suggestion would be for you to walk it soon; otherwise, it will go the way of others!

As many of you know, I am in love with the Camino de Invierno, but now - after having walked this one (at least from Ribadivia) - I may have found a new favourite!

Buen Camino to you all. If you need any more information or details, please send me a direct message.
buen camino, Charrito, and you have missed the wildest parts of this Camino, do not miss Braga to Ribadavia, Castro Laboreiro is simply like a different planet, so wild!!!
 
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@Charrito, I am working my way backwards through your thread. I would guess it is really useful for those who might consider walking it. Your approach is really helpful and practical. I am at post 32, but I need to get a move on, so the previous ones can wait. Thanks for your helpful contribution.
 
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Charrito

Veteran Member
@Charrito, I am working my way backwards through your thread. I would guess it is really useful for those who might consider walking it. Your approach is really helpful and practical. I am at post 32, but I need to get a move on, so the previous ones can wait. Thanks for your helpful contribution.
I have always done my utmost to provide precise and up-to-date practical information!
 

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