Spanish Tour – The End of the Road

Cedeira to Ferrol

The last leg of our Spanish Tour took us to the main cities in the north-West corner of Spain, Ferrol, A Coruna and Santiago de Compostela.

The journey from Cedeira to Ferrol started off well when the waitress in a cafe asked if we going to watch the surfing. I gave her a very bemused look because I had no idea what she was talking about. We made our way over the hills which gave us more fabulous views over rivers and beaches.

At what felt like teatime, we came across Praia de Pantin. This is a fairly remote beach but of interest to us was that it was holding an international surfing competition!

There was commentary in English as well as Spanish but that still didn’t really give us much of a clue to what was going on. The waves weren’t particularly big and there was nothing spectacular to see. The music was loud and rave and not aimed at the old codger market so so we decided to move on very reluctantly because, of course, this involved more hills.

We eventually made it to the most boring lighthouse I’ve ever seen Faro de Frouxeira. This seemed like a good place to enjoy a picnic lunch and they conveniently provided a couple of tunnels to shelter from the rain which had now started to fall.

After an hour of sheltering, we realised that the rain was not going to stop so we decided to make a dash for our end point in Ferrol. The rain just became torrential before I finally decided that enough was enough and I took a shortcut to a train station called Xuvia which was about 10 miles down the road from Ferrol.

Here we were helped by a charming station manager who spoke English. Indeed he had spent a year in London moping after a girl who worked there. The station manager helped us to buy our tickets and then proceeded to explain that he could only tell us which platform we needed when the train was about to arrive – the signal would turn red!

All sounded great except the train that turned up was going in the wrong direction and our train arrived at the other platform behind this train. Fortunately, our new best friend held up the train for us and escorted us on board the short journey to Ferrol.

At Ferrol station we were accosted by a very dodgy looking chap who took a fancy to Peter -our Spanish speaker. Unfortunately Peter didn’t like the looks of him so we all scuttled out of the station and off on our bikes to find our hotel in the centre of town.

Ferrol marks the start of the Camino Ingles. Also known as the English Way, the Camino Ingles has actually got two traditional starting points. These are the port cities of A Coruña and Ferrol. These cities were important trading routes and pilgrims traditionally took this Camino Route from Northern Europe, Britain, and Ireland on their way to Santiago. Ferrol is more popular because if you start from A Coruña, you won’t qualify for a Pilgrim Certificate by doing enough mileage!

The night we stayed in Ferrol, the town held a series of athletics races in the street. Not professionals, just local clubs and school children running for the fun of it.

Ferrol to A Coruña

Leaving Ferrol wa not easy, after a struggle we eventually found the Camino signposted bridge across the estuary which led us onwards and over headlands and across another river to the final headland leading onto Coruna. Some careful navigating was required to make sure we didn’t end up on a busy main road into the City centre where our hotel was located – actually a very nice hotel! From here we made our enquiries about the final bus journey from Santiago de Compostela back to Santander and purchased special bags for our bikes to put into the bus hold. I had reserved the bus tickets for us and our bikes online so I knew we needed to get the bags and with an early start at Santiago, didn’t want any pfaffing around searching for these “special bags”!

We had a spare day at A Coruna to enjoy the sights (and food) and the city didn’t let us down! Fantastic place to spend a sunny day wandering the medieval centre and the Roman lighthouse.

Torre de Hércules is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Our last ride started with a short train journey from A Coruna to Ordes. This saved us a fair bit of time on the journey to Santiago de Compostela. The remaining ride was still around 40 miles and involved plenty of hills but no sea views as we headed inland. Eventually we arrived at the Basilica for the traditional photo.

Our hostel was clearly an old seminary but felt very comfortable indeed.

The last leg home…

The journey home was uneventful except the bus took one day to go through many of the places we had spent two weeks cycling through. Definitely more beautiful on the bike!

After an overnight stay in Santander we easily got on the ferry homewards – the departure gate is in the middle of the town unlike arrivals.

The journey home was peacefeul and the sea was lovely and calm. We even saw a whale outside the porthole of the dining room – just magical.

As usual, Peter spent 10 minutes with his bike bags while Tomtom and I were done and dusted in 30 seconds flat.

Arrival at Portsmouth was fairly late in the evening and we had just enough time to grab a coffee and sandwich before the train home. A great end to a fantastic tour. Well done Peter and TomTom for putting up with my love of views and hills. It didn’t kill you but I hope it made you mentally stronger at least…