Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol to Begin Our Journey to Santiago

| |

10 years ago, I found myself traveling around Europe on a bucket-list backpacking trip to celebrate the completion of grad school. I can remember enjoying my time taking in the sites and cuisine of Europe’s grandest cities, but also being a little anxious for the adventures I had ahead. To cap off my city visits, I planned to walk the 500-mile Camino Frances, a journey that would take me from the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela.

I went into that first Camino pilgrimage without really knowing what to expect. There was a lot less information available about the Camino de Santiago in 2012, with very few pilgrims having shared their experience online. In a way, I’m really lucky that I walked when I did. I hit the trail with an open heart and mind, and didn’t have any desire for a predestined outcome.

After 500 miles of walking through some of Spain’s most amazing landscapes, I sat in front of the Santiago Cathedral trying to process what had happened to me. The experience was far too raw to make sense of at the time, but in the months that followed, I was able to contemplate just how much The Way had changed me. The one clear thought I had in that initial sea of emotions was that I wanted to return in 10 years time. I didn’t have a good reason for it then, but knew that the way of St. James would always be important to me.

I jumped the gun on time and walked the Camino Portuguese with my family 4 years ago. It was an incredible experience walking from Porto, and made me want to visit on the 10th year of my first pilgrimage even more. The crazy Covid uncertainty of the last few years had me feeling like it wouldn’t be a possibility, but as luck would have it, travel opened back up just in time to make my dream a reality.

Looking back four years, my family pilgrimage experience on the 150-mile Portuguese route was quite easy, as my son was close to 2 at the time and willing to ride in a stroller for 90% of the trail. With a precocious almost 6-year old in tow this time around, I selected the shorter (116 km/72 mi) Camino Ingles and broke it down into 9 manageable stages. I spent 3 months planning out the details of this trip, a far cry from my first walk where I mostly ‘winged it’. Apparently parenthood has changed me even more than the Camino Frances!

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

The starting point for the Camino Ingles is the port city of Ferrol, located along Spain’s northwest shorelines. Traveling to Ferrol from Southern California was pretty straightforward. We flew from LAX with a few connecting flights to Santiago de Compostela, and then hired a taxi for the 1-hour drive to Ferrol. The interesting part of our taxi ride, is that it paralleled the Camino Ingles for most of the drive, offering us a glimpse of what was to come in the days ahead.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Once we arrived in Ferrol, we checked in to our accommodation for the night, the well known and well reviewed Parador Hotel. This hotel was perfectly situated for exploring the area on our 0-day, and for getting us to the starting point of the Camino Ingles the following morning.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

After dropping our bags off at the Parador and taking a quick rest, we decided to shake out our legs with a quick walk and found a superb cafe/bar for lunch. This first meal in Ferrol was when the pilgrimage finally began to feel real. A table full of tortilla, raixo, bacadillos, croquettes, and Estrella Galicia pulled us in to the best of the Camino culinary experience. A helado desert was the perfect way to cap things off.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

After lunch, we scoped out the starting point of the Camino Ingles located right along the water in the Ferrol harbor. We took an obligatory picture at the ‘Ferrol’ sign near the docks, and appreciated the sun on what was supposed to be a very rainy day.

Ferrol is a fantastic city to launch off on a new pilgrimage. For those that have walked the Portuguese route, you can think of Ferrol as a very small version of Porto. The city has restaurants, markets, and department stores (Decathlon and El Corte Ingles) to load up on food and any gear you may have forgotten at home. There are also some really nice attractions centered around the naval history of the harbor. I strongly suggest a visit to the naval museum, and if you’re short on time, a simple walk around the harbor is equally rewarding.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

After leaving the harbor behind, we stopped by the local playground where Owen was able to play on the slide and swing set while practicing his Spanish with some of the local kids. We realized the importance of play breaks while walking along the Camino Portuguese in 2018. No matter how far we walk in a day, Owen always has a little extra energy to enjoy the playground. If you’re planning on walking a Camino pilgrimage with young kids, leave the structured home rules at home, and allow playgrounds, fruit juice, candy, and baked goods to quickly become a part of your daily life.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

After the playground break, we put in a few more steps to walk off our heavy lunch and prime the legs for what would be a 10-mile kickoff to the Camino Ingles. During our walk, Owen purchased a flashy little fanny pack to match the one I wear for my camera gear, and we picked up some trail-ready treats to enjoy for day 1.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

After a beautiful day in Ferrol, we were primed and ready to take on the Camino Ingles in the days ahead. With tired bodies and excited minds, we wanted to pack it in for an early dinner and bed time so we could start dreaming of the trails we’d be crossing in the days ahead. It wasn’t that simple though. As anyone that has traveled through Spain can tell you, finding a dinner spot that opens before 8:00PM is never a sure thing. We searched for sometime, but couldn’t find anything, so eventually decided to order delivery from a restaurant a few miles out of town. It worked out well, as we were able to enjoy a fantastic dinner of Asian fusion from the comfort of our hotel room with views of Ferrol from the large corner windows.

Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol

Previous

Camino Portuguese Documentary: When The End Is Just The Beginning (Full Video)

Camino Ingles Day 1: A Wonderful Walk From Ferrol to Neda

Next

11 thoughts on “Camino Ingles Day 0: Arriving in Ferrol to Begin Our Journey to Santiago”

    • Thanks, Charles! I used my Sony a7c for this trip. It’s one of the smallest and lightest full frame cameras on the market. I shot most photos with the Sony 24mm 2.8, but also had my Sony 40mm 2.5 for some walk-around city shots.

      Reply
  1. Drew,

    You inspired me to walk my first Camino in 2014. I was nervous about doing the hike from Saint- Jean- Pied-de-Port thru the Pyrenees into Spain. You told me to go for it -and so I did! Being a Catholic priest & having a great love for medieval Spain, I remember your words in “Journey of the Mind”, that, “the Camino provides”. The experience was surreal and the people I met from different parts of the world still reach out to me. I did it twice. Every once in a while I will watch your first video of your first Camino. it continues to uplift me. Thank you for inspiring many others. I am so blessed to see your family experience, I am certain, various, “journeys of the mind”. Keep up this great apostolate and I will keep you & your family in my prayers!

    All the best!

    Padre

    Reply
    • Wow!! It’s so great to hear from you. I remember messaging about your journey on the Camino Frances. Thank you for keeping in touch, and the prayers are greatly appreciated.

      Reply
  2. Drew, I also, 10 years ago, did the Camino Frances from Astorga to Santiago. It was an amazing experience for me since I had lost my job and had no idea what to do at 47. Lots has happened since then but the Camino helped me find “the way” with the Camino’s mystical medieval mysteries. St. James heard my prayers at every church I entered! LOL Have been following you for some time and have taken note and purchased your recommended hiking shoes. I am very happy to see your beautiful family on your trips and especially your boy growing and following in his parents steps.

    I started the Camino this time from St. Jean in September 2019 for just one step to Roncesvalles. Later to be continued in 2020. The rest is history! I will have plenty of memories and reflections to reflect with the loss of dear friends during the pandemic and will remember them each step I take. I will continue to follow you and wish you and your beautiful family a “buen camino peregrino” Safe travels, Calixto

    Reply
    • Hi Calixto! That stretch on the Frances from Astorga to Santiago is incredible. I can’t wait to take my son on that one once he is a little older. It’s beautiful to hear about the Camino’s mystical medieval mysteries working in your life. Buen Camino!

      Reply
  3. Fantástico tu relato del Camino, preciosas fotografías.
    Para otras posibles ocasiones aparte de las conocidas rutas terrestres del Camino de Santiago se puede optar por la menos conocida “La Ruta marítima del Camino de Santiago” que transcurre a través de la ría de Arosa y del río Ulla conmemorando la llegada a Galicia del apóstol Santiago a través del mar, sobre el año 44 dc. Esta ruta xacobea fluvial recorre algunas islas como Ons, Sálvora, la Toja y la isla de Arosa. Muy bonitos paisajes
    Te puedo contar un poco de la casi desconocida Isla de Sálvora, de la famosa isla de La Toja, de otros preciosos pueblos gallegos en mi blog para cuando volváis. Saludos
    https://viajaconfaloalp.wordpress.com/2022/06/22/la-isla-de-salvora-galicia/

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Calixto A Navarro Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: