19.4 km

Santiago – Sarela de Baixo – Alto de Vento – Augapesada – Alto do Mar de Ovellas – Ponte Maceira – Negreira

Total distance (part 2) = 303.9 km

As the sun rises, the silhouette of the Cathedral follows us on toward the coast

With heavy heart, I set out on this first of four stages of the journey to Finisterre.  There were polite cuddles along with a nervousness in our conversation that had not been present since the beginning of the holiday.

We can’t follow white arrows!

We left Santiago late, at 7.30 am, it was the latest start yet.  As Santiago faded across the valley, we realised how quiet the trail seemed.  Few wanted to continue past the big Santiago prize.

We carefully negotiated our way through the waking streets with fewer arrows to guide us.  But once out of the main areas, the concrete posts re-emerged to give us, not only waypoints , but distance too, both to Muxia and Finisterre.  88.9 km to go, it told us, already a 1km or 2 from where we had started.

At the fountain, we only have another 100 metres to climb

I dragged my feet along the trail, needing to think and to grieve the passing of something that I thought I would have understood by now.  I wasn’t sure why there had been no ‘hug’ yesterday – was this a good sign?

Ponte Maceira

Continual footsteps on the tarmac soon cleared my mind of everything bar the trail ahead. It is a slightly more undulating route; steep out of Santiago, it climbs again and dips for many kilometers to the final climb of the day after Porte de Augapesada, where, we were warned, it climbs steeply.  I was particularly heavy footed here, reluctant to push myself and yet, the hill did not move or get smaller unless I moved.  And so I began the tramping up the slope, never stopping and knowing that I have, over the last 300 kms walked myself fitter.  It was hot, I was perspiring well but my feet kept moving in time with our clicking poles.

Pazo de Coton, the arched and fortified gateway of Negreira

There are some beautiful trails through the fragrant eucalyptus forests and pretty villages and ancient stone bridges that cross rivers already rushing with water below.

The last part of the journey takes you for a short journey along the main road before heading back onto a quieter one through some industrial units as we climbed the last kilometer into Negreira.  We stayed at Hotel Millan, opting for this rather than a hostel although, with traffic thundering past our window, I regretted not walking on a few more meters!

The afternoon found us divided in our silence, each locked in our own thoughts.  We have become so separate again and I am struggling with the pain that I thought was over.  Santiago has had a profound effect on both of us; he has turned to his mobile now and I feel so alone here.