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Day 20: Ortigueira to San Andres de Teixdo

Legend has it, that if you don’t visit the church at San Andres de Teixdo whilst alive, you will eventually do so after your death, as a tormented soul or as a reptile or insect. I didn’t want to take any chances so here I am, after passing the highest point of my walk to get here.

After a good nights sleep with earplugs, I ate the cheese and bread I’d saved from dinner last night, for breakfast, before leaving the hotel at about 9am on what looked like a beautiful morning. I was surprised however as very low lying cloud had settled over the Ortigueira estuary, where it would remain for a couple of hours. The Ruta Gallega starts here so it looks like it is a fish, the new sign to follow, although I must admit I didn’t see many.

As I mentioned yesterday, the walk from Espasante to Ortigueira was all road, and that was the same today for the first 8kms until A Ponte de Mera. As there is a train joining Espasante and A Ponte de Mera, one should considered taking the train as the alternative is road walking and the walk around the mud flats of the estuary is not a super interesting walk, primarily along road or on a path next to the railway line.

Today was a short stage, 21kms in total with an elevation of almost 800m, all 800m during a 10km stretch up to Teixidelo. I think it must be psychological, as on almost every through hike I have walked, the short days have been the hardest. Today was no exception, the 10km climb was not steep, but it was hard work.

The climb passes primarily through farmland, passing a waterfall on the way up. I took a kit-kat break at the church with the “different” flowers. The church was of course locked. At Teixidelo I visited the commemorative plaque for Leslie Howard, an English actor, who in 1942 was flying between Lisbon and London on a plane that was shot down by the German Luftwaffe. One theory being that they believed Churchill was on the flight after attending a war conference in Africa.

It was all downhill from there. There is a steep shortcut into the village, but I decided to follow the road, I had plenty of time.

49 people live in the village and a small Casa Rural has opened, where I was staying. Newly renovated, very nice. I got a code to enter, so, as soon as I arrived, I took a shower and went out to look around. It is a very small village, church, a handful of bar/restaurants, a few places selling touristy things and a few houses. There was next to nobody there – evidently most people, including tourist buses come in the morning.

I visited the church, walked around the village, enjoyed the views along the coast had lunch at one of the two open restaurants, and had a salad for dinner at the other one in the evening, which was the only bar/restaurant open that evening. I hoped to see the sunset. The horizon was clear until 15 minutes before the sun set, then cloud hid the sun as it disappeared beyond the horizon.

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