03 – Pontedeume to Betanzos

Pontedeume to Betanzos is a great experience. Nice landscapes but all the path is of up’s and down’s so it can be exhausting.

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We made Pontedeume to Betanzos on June, 5th, 2016. It was a sunday. Like all sundays in Spain, the supermarkets are CLOSED! So, you have 2 options: eat always outside or buy food in the previous day and carry it on your backpack while travelling.

We choosed the second option, that represented around 3 to 4kg extra in our backpacks. So, my gf’s backbapack should now be with 6,5kg and mine with 9,5kg. It is too much, i know, but the only way to face a big problem: you don’t have so many STOPS along the way where you can “re-fuel”. Believe it! It won’t be easy to find a simple coffee shop. Supermarkets? Forget it! Only in Miño or Betanzos. But it was sunday. All of them would be closed. Then, we were carrying this: our morning food, our lunch, our afternoon food, our dinner and also the breakfast of the following day. CRAZY! But we did well the math and still had food. We choosed tuna, bread, fruit, cookies, and chocolate to carry as main food. Of course, we used eated fruit, but fruit is very heavy to carry. But healthy.

Remember. We did this Camino with sun and temperatures between 23ºc to 28ºC. So, it was hot.

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Wikiloc resume

This journey from Ponteudeme to Betanzos is tricky. Why is it tricky? Because you seem the distance and see 22km. So, 22km should be easy. Well, it isn’t. First of all this path is always “up’s and down’s”. It is rare to find a flat terrain. You go up, you go down. You ascend, you descend. Always like this. With backpacks and weight in it, well… your feet and legs will resent. When looking at the altimeter graph you only see 171m max. But believe me this graph doesn’t tell what you will find. It is rare to find flat terrain and although you don’t do many km going up or down, the path is always like small steps going up, small steps going down. Jesus!

Let’s start the journey! We left the albergue around 8am (now we are leaving earlier than this!) and didn’t count on what we would find. Ok. I admit i had studied the altimeter before, but only one blog of this Camino was really helpful to understand this way. Information is scarse. So, i couldn’t count on what i would find. This was my first surprise. Leaving Pontedeume without warm-up is HELL! We have to do high sleepest roads till the up of the hill. In very short distance! So, we walked… slowly. With our backpacks. While seeing other (more experienced) guys, walking in a fast-paced walk.

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Leaving Pontedeume and arriving to “Santiago” on the floor. See photo
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A 3D perspective of the hill you have to climb to leave Pontedeume. The “Santiago” word is located in that place shown in the arrow.

Following the “Santiago” word till the Miño Golf Club you will find very beautiful landscapes. We had lucky to find it with sunrise. It was very nice to walk this path, after an exhausting start from Pontedeume. I used some of the videos of this part in the movie. See also the photographs.

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Between the “Santiago” and Miño Golf Club
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This house is the one that you can see in the photo
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Better in photo than in Google Earth!

After this house, you will see a fountain, a rural house and a vineyard. I used all in the movie and also took some photos of them.

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Google earth view of the photos below
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Water Fountain
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Water Fountain
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Tree indicated in the Google view map
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Rural house before the vineyard
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Vineyard
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Heading to Miño Golf Club
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Heading to Miño Golf Club
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Heading to Miño Golf Club
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This crossing is in the Miño Golf Club
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This crossing is in the Miño Golf Club
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This crossing is in the Miño Golf Club

After this gravel sideway in Miño Golf Club we will enter a very nice eucalyptus forest, and then some streets where we find some beautiful gardens and houses. Then we arrive to Ponte Baxoi, where we find a roman bridge.

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Between Miño Golf Club and the roman bridge of Ponte Baxoi
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Roman bridge at Ponte Baxoi
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Location of this tree in Google earth

We eat something in Ponte Baxoi before moving on. Here, we found the couple of pilgrims that we had seen in the previous day, in the highway area of Neda. They continued their way and we still were resting a little. I putted my DSLR battery on the charger and powerbank because it was running out of energy and we still had half of the way to go. It was hot and we were a little tired.

We then continued the journey but fortunately for me (i didn’t have the camera to shoot) the path between the roman bridge and Miño is simply awful. Nothing interesting to see. You will see lots of concrete of the highway.

Then, we arrived Miño. I had almost the battery charged and could start shooting again. Miño has nothing interesting to see. You can eat here (we didn’t) but strangely almost every shops were closed. It was sunday. The other couple was trying to eat something but the bars were not serving anything to eat. Just drinks! Strange! Only one bar was giving nice cheese sandwichs. Fortunately we were carrying our own food and we weren’t dependent on the bars or coffee shops.

The next photos are taken between Ponte Baxoi and a Ponte do Porto.

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Between Ponte Baxoi, passing by Miño and a Ponte do Porco
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Location of the photos in Ponte do Porco

Between Ponte do Porco and the coffee where we stamped our pilgrim’s credentials, you will find some forest paths and also some climbing roads.

Strangely, we found a children’s play yard that was in a very bad maintance state. Does anyone take kids there? For us, that were walking, this yard seems in the “middle of nothing”!!! Scary! And it was June!

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Between Ponte do Porco and the coffee where we stamped our credentials

From this point, we start the final way to Betanzos. We are now at 6km distance of Betanzos. However, we were starting to have some hungry. We didn’t had lunch yet. So, we lunched in the middle of nowhere (see the map), near one rural house (see map). It was hot and nobody near. In one side it was a good experience, in the other side, we were like “isolated”.

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We lunched in that area. Nobody near.

In fact, this is a thing you have to remember when planning the Camino Inglés. The Camino is rural and perhaps you will find some houses in the way. But all or almost all are empty (sometimes there as just rural houses to support the agriculture, sometimes just vacation houses). At least, we had a water fountain just 500m ahead! Yei!

Afterwards we pass by the San Martiño de Tiobre church and start descending to Betanzos. You can see Betanzos in the horizon but it seems you never really get there. You will start to descend in “ziz zag” and it can be frustrating. However, you then see a plate where you can read that the Betanzos albergue is at 1km distance! Wow! I really doubted that info, but now that i confirmed with the GPS, it is accurate. But this 1km seems like 10!

Betanzos! I’m not an historian but when we arrive to Betanzos the buildings send us to medieval ages or even roman ages. Wow. It seems it has the influence of english medieval architecture, but of course, someone expert will be more accurate than me.

The photo speak my itself. So, see some of them.

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Betanzos overview

So, we now arrived to Betanzos. Next day, we would go visit A Coruña (https://caminoinglessantiago.wordpress.com/2016/12/03/a-coruna-just-visit/).

We had planned to go visit A Coruña and then return to Betanzos in the afternoon. It is not supposed to happen, but we had the opportunity to stay in the same albergue after we arrived. Fortunately it was not full, but almost.

When we arrived Betanzos on June, 5th, there were like 10 pilgrims. The albergue has capacity for around 35. In the following day, when we arrived, there were almost 30 pilgrims!!! Which was a thing to get worried because Bruma (the next albergue) only has 22beds! 35 persons for 22 places! Hum!

At least, we had lucky in the day 6. We visited A Coruña and it was raining. If we had walked the camino to Bruma we would have missed the beauty of the sun and green all over the path. God blessed our walking!

Here are some photos of the albergue in Betanzos. My GPS counted 22,4km, walked in around 7h30. Walking time 4h34. Resting time: 2h57. Median velocity: 4,9km/h. GLOBAL AVERAGE: 3km/h (with all stops).

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GPS resume of our travel

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