Cantabrian Sea Nature Trail Ingles Ruta Natural del Cantábrico Spain Sticky

Day 23: Pontedeume to A Coruna

My last day before flying home and the day I missed a turn and walked almost 2 kilometers before realising and having to walk back. Typical on my last day and typical on the hottest day so far.

I slept well, and went to one of the four bars in the town square to eat breakfast before I was ready to climb the steep hill out of town, just before 9am.

There were many walkers today, mostly Spanish and I had already passed a handful of the late starters on the way up the hill. Today was a mix of road and path, well signed and after the initial hill, easy going. I met a young lady from South Africa and we chatted for 10 minutes before she decided to stop for a break. She was happy to find somebody who spoke English, as she’d only met Spaniards so far. I decided not top take a break and carried on and reached the point where I should leave the Ingles and walk towards La Coruna along small country roads.

For some reason I had in my mind that the Camino Ingles passed over the bridge over the River Mandeo, so I just followed a Spanish group, thinking we would get there soon. At point (far too late) I couldn’t understand that we hadn’t arrived at the bridge, so I checked my app and could see I was walking in the wrong direction and had done so for over almost 2 kilometers. Annoyed at myself, I walked back. A wasted 45mins and extra kilometers, which it would have been nice not to walk given the temperatures were up in the late 20’s. The following are pictures I wouldn’t have taken if I hadn’t missed my turn.

When I finally made it back to where I missed the turn, a man warned me against walking along the road because of the traffic. But I had no choice, so off I went. The traffic was fine and there was a hard shoulder.

I finally made it to the bridge after a break at a cafe. The bridge was very narrow, as was the footpath, so I had to be careful. At one point just as I left the bridge, two lorries travelling in each their direction could barely pass each other. It took some very slow and careful driving and long queues in both directions.

After an initial stretch on a busy main road the next 10kms were on small backroads through small villages. Nice countryside, problem free walking, but not particularly inspiring. With 6km left I hit the National 6 road that was packed in both directions. The N6 is one of the main exits out of A Coruna and lined with commercial centers. It felt even hotter walking along the road, and I was low on water.

There was a supermarket across the road, but getting across the road was something else. At that moment, a car pulled up and a man jumped out and walked towards me. I stepped aside to let him pass, but he stopped in front of me, and presented me with a cola. I thanked him profusely and he was off again. It happened so quickly and I so wanted something to drink that I forgot to take a picture of him. Thank you whoever you are!

The last kilometers were a hard slog along the busy road. I reached the pension I am staying at 15.54, six minutes before it opened, so I sat down in the bar next door with a large beer to celebrate completing another ca. 650-700km of my walk towards Rome.

After a shower and a call with Lene, I walked around the local neighborhood. It was still 25 degrees, a couple of the thermometers outside the chemist’s showed 30 degrees. Everyone seemed to be out, kids playing in a park surrounded by bars where their parents, were enjoying a beer, glass of wine or aperol spritz, whilst keeping half an eye on their kids and chin kissing their friends and neighbours – everybody seemed to know each other. I sat down and enjoyed the spectacle and what may well be the warmest evening I will experience this year – who knows. It is really fantastic to see so many children playing outside together, without smartphones, and reminded me of my pre-teen years, many years ago. I had dinner at a restaurant next to my pension, and celebrated with an excellent steak prepared over a charcoal grill.

I was in bed by 10pm as I had to be up at 6am to walk the 3 kms to the airport and catch a 9.40 flight to Madrid, connecting to Copenhagen 5 hours later.

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