Walking the Camino - Ribadiso to Pedrouzo

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Walking the Camino - Ribadiso to Pedrouzo

Camino - Leaving Arzua
Camino - Leaving Arzua. Wendy Bumgardner ©

This stage of the Camino de Santiago is Ribadiso to Pedrouzo (Arca/O Pino). The popular John Brierley guidebook maps it at 22.8 kilometers (14 miles) long. I am walking "the easy way" and my day was only 16 kilometers (10 miles). I spent the night in Pensión Begoña in Arzúa, three kilometers into this leg. I ended in A Rua, a couple of kilometers before Pedrouzo.

I was happy to see my two Australian friends, Anne and Jonette. They were also booked at the same pension and we shared dinner and breakfast. The breakfast was provided across the street at Meson do Peregrino and was lackluster - weak coffee and thin-sliced white toast, but with good orange juice.

We started walking at 8:30 a.m., which was soon after sunrise at 8 a.m.

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Hills and Trails from Arzúa

Camino - Uphill through Woods from Arzua
Camino - Uphill through Woods from Arzua. Wendy Bumgardner ©

There were a lot of peregrinos walking, the most I shared the trail with so far. At Arzúa, the French Way (Camino Frances) meets the Northern Way (Camino del Norte). This might contribute to the congestion. But also, by starting in Arzúa I was joining in with pilgrims who started earlier in Ribadiso, three kilometers (two miles) before Arzúa.

Another strong possibility is that many pilgrims didn't walk during the storm the previous day, so there were a double dose of them on the trail this day.

There were hills but good footing and most of the time we were on forest paths of gravel. I love the scent of the eucalyptus trees. It isn't overwhelming, just light and lovely. I'm used to the scent of Douglas fir forests back home in the Northwest USA.

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Bike Pilgrims

Camino Pilgrims on Bikes
Camino Pilgrims on Bikes. Wendy Bumgardner ©

At times we shared the Camino path with peregrinos on bicycles. The statistics say that 15-20% of pilgrims are on bicycle, but I rarely saw more than a few each day. I am thankful for that as the trails are not easily shared with bicycles. There are alternative routes the cyclists can take.

Cyclists need to complete at least 200 kilometers on the Camino to earn their Compostela certificate. Walking pilgrims are given priority at albergues, so cyclists may be turned away. More: Cycling the Camino

The cycling pilgrims were generally courteous, and I have to think it was far more miserable for them to have to keep passing us than it was for us. Plus, it is enormously easier to walk up the steep hills than to cycle up them. They are truly earning their Compostelas.

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Cafe Stop in Calzada

Camino Cafe Stop - Calzada
Camino Cafe Stop - Calzada. Wendy Bumgardner ©

The cafe at Calzada (five kilometers or three miles from my start) is a very popular stop, with a single unisex toilet and long line. My Australian friends were already there, so I got some good strong coffee and joined them. It perked me up, proving how weak the morning coffee had been.​

I knew once I was back home I would miss walking for an hour and stopping at a cafe for a small, strong cup of coffee. The Starbucks in walking distance of my house doesn't have the same ambiance for me.

The restroom line wasn’t getting any shorter, so I bid "Buen Camino" and headed for the cafe I knew was 2.5 kilometers (three miles) away in Calle. I made it there and used the facilities, and the my two friends caught up to me.

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Memorials on the Camino

Camino Memorial for Guillermo Watt
Camino Memorial for Guillermo Watt. Wendy Bumgardner ©

This section of the Camino de Santiago has several memorials for pilgrims who died during their pilgrimage. This memorial is for Guillermo Watt, age 69, and includes his bronzed sandals.

Pilgrims often place a stone or note next to the memorial in sympathy.

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Road Crossing Dangers on the Camino

Camino Road Crossing
Camino Road Crossing. Wendy Bumgardner ©

We used care crossing the road, as peregrinos have been killed here despite the warning signs for both pilgrims and drivers. There were underpasses for some crossings, but at other times you need to be extra cautious.

Drivers here drive very fast and aggressively and they do not yield to pedestrians. You have to expect that traffic is going far faster than you think and plan your crossing accordingly.

Traffic danger far exceeds any risk of being attacked by humans on the Camino. It is a good reason to walk unplugged. You encounter cars on tiny streets you might have thought were pedestrian paths.

Stop conversations and put away your cell phone to have full attention before crossing any roads on the Camino.

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Peregrina Beer and Sellos that Don't Count

Peregrina Beer and a Sello that Won't Count at Oceadoir Restaurante
Peregrina Beer and a Sello that Won't Count at Oceadoir Restaurante. Wendy Bumgardner ©

We stopped for lunch at the Bar-Restaurante Oceadoiro. We had a rain shower right before lunch and watched as a shower blew through.

We stamped our pilgrim's passports, but I was a little concerned with a sign that might have indicated they wouldn't be accepted. But then again, it might have meant "cash only, no cards." A day later I saw a sign that definitely said the sello in that bar was for souvenir only and wouldn't be honored in the credencial. This is likely due to their location on a major road, where "bus pilgrims" who aren't actually walking stop and get a stamp.

I enjoyed a ham omelet and a Peregrina beer. The craft beer is brewed in Santiago de Compostela by Peregrina Cerveza Artesanal. At my stop for the night I enjoyed their Blond Ale and their Stellae Session IPA. I'm a fan of Northwest-style IPA craft beer, and these were acceptable to my beer palate.

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O Acivro

Pilgrims Pass Through O Acivro
Pilgrims Pass Through O Acivro. Wendy Bumgardner ©

My lodgings were only two kilometers (1.2 miles) farther on the Camino from the lunch stop, while my Australian friends were booked farther along in Amenal. This was the last I would see them, but I hope to meet them again!

The Casa O Acivro is in a lovely rural setting on the Camino, about two kilometers before Pedrouzo. I could watch the peregrinos pass by in the afternoon and simply step out to join them in the morning.

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Casa O Acivro

Casa O Acivro - Camino de Santiago
Casa O Acivro - Camino de Santiago. Wendy Bumgardner ©

My room at Casa O Acivro was large, in what appeared to be the made-over stables (it had a dutch door). The WiFi worked better in the bar, so I settled in there with a couple of Peregrina beers. It's unfortunate that it was showery weather as the grounds looked like a great place to relax. The rooms have a little seating area on the front porch.

I went to dinner at 7 p.m. and it was excellent. I chose a cheese/shrimp crepe, mixed paella for the second course and mango ice cream for dessert. Service was brusque (as seems typical in Galicia), but the waiter got the job done and the food was great.

Breakfast in the morning was excellent: fresh yogurt (I mixed in a little jam), nice thick toasted bread, ham with scrambled eggs, orange juice and coffee and a banana.

Next: Final leg to Santiago

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