Our first day out walking again started with nice warm weather, but we were aware that rain was forecast and had our ponchos within easy reach. We had decided to skip Neda and take the low bridge across to Fene on our way to Pontedeume, a distance of about 20 km. Just right for a first day, and not too difficult according to the elevation map. In fact, the most difficult thing was getting out of town!
As we hit the major roundabout it was clear that my Brierley wasn’t clear, and B had to get her yellow German guide out. No sooner had we agreed on where to go (right, not straight ahead) than the heavens opened and we had to scramble to get our ponchos on. The planned I-get-yours-you-get-mine manouvre was neither elegant nor fast enough to stop us getting wet, but we did both get our own poncho over ourselves and our packs, and just down the street there was a café bar. Rain stop was called for and we treated ourselves to a second breakfast of cappuccino con churros while we studied the maps. Mine was just a photocopy of the Brierley maps with elevation – very light to carry, very handy to keep in the small pocket of my bag for quick reference, but it was already disintegrating from the rain. Oops.
Finally it let up a bit and we carried on. The Avenida do Mar was lovely and it was great to see the sea (well, estuary) while we walked. The path was a lot prettier and softer than I remembered – but then it was 8 years ago, and we didn’t go via Neda.
Then onto the bridge, thanks to B’s yellow guide – with mine we would have been half way to Neda. Luckily the bridge was low and the pedestrian lane wide, so it was no problem to get across. Heavens opened again, we scrambled into our ponchos with a little more elegance this time, and as we came to the other side we had another little stop at Café bar Liverpool – of course. I sent Scouse Spouse a photo of myself with the Liverbird on the window …
Onwards and upwards we went, through the last bits of suburb, poncho on, poncho off, and the landscape became greener and offered lovely quiet forest paths.
I seemed to remember a pretty steep path down to the Cabañas beach before Pontedeume, but it didn’t appear, so the path must have been rerouted (or I remember it wrong). Instead we arrived by the beach by road, and with the skies still threatening rain and being so close to our goal, we decided to just walk on instead of stopping or exploring the beach. We could see the town on the other side of the river, and I crossed the second bridge of the day with the wind whipping and tugging at my pack. But I got safely across!
I had booked a room at Bar Luis straight up from the main road, and we were very happy to arrive there one hour before dinner. The 20 kms hadn’t worn us out, so after a shower and change and the first round of bathroom sink laundry, we went downstairs for a glass of wine to celebrate the first day on the road. We fully intended to go sightseeing before dinner … but then it started raining as we sat outside Bar Luis … so why fight it? We went inside again, to the dining room upstairs, and enjoyed our first pilgrim meal. B’s food was as could be expected, but the fish dish I chose for my starter was actually a huge plate full of delicious crispy, fried, fresh small fish! I could get used to walking near the sea. Then wine, of course, and then it was getting late and we decided to have an early night so we could get out before the rain the next day. Great plan …