After a beautiful day of walking to Miño from Pontedeume, we woke up in Miño to see that the Galician showers had once again returned. Unlike the light drizzle that fell during our walk from Neda to Pontedeume, this rain was quite a bit heavier. After a light breakfast at our hotel, we said good bye to the beach, bundled up our back packs, put on our rain gear, and caught a taxi to return back to the trail.
Stage 4 Overview:
Point to Point: Miño to Betanzos
Distance: 6.2 miles / 10 km
Elevation Gain: 900ft / 275m
Trail Conditions: Mostly paved roads, gravel paths, and side streets.
Food and Water: Adequate on-trail food options for being such a short day. Water fountains were plentiful.
End of Day Accommodation: Portico Hostal
We began our walk towards Betanzos under heavy showers and a light breeze. The daily forecast showed the rain would die down in the late morning, so we were happy to pass through the showers on our way to dryer skies. The tapered forecast excitement was short lived though, as the skies opened up with the heaviest rain of our trip after a mile of walking.
We were lucky that the Camino Ingles dipped down towards highway N-651 and Cafe Bar Navedo during the next heavy stretch of the rain. We took a long break there and took off our wet layers. The lady tending the bar at Cafe Navedo was fantastic, and served us up many coffees, juices, and homemade bizcocho slices. There is a beautiful sunroom (or rainroom!) in the back of Cafe Navedo that looks out over the Rio Madedo, so our long morning break was quite enjoyable. Towards the end of our break, the rains became a light drizzle as the forecast said it would, so we set back out along the trail.
From Cafe Bar Navedo the Camino Ingles begins a nearly 500ft climb up a gravel and asphalt road. Despite the heavy rain earlier in the day, Owen was enjoying himself in the light drizzle. Like me, he tends to run hot. After 100m of uphill hiking we had to shed our base layers and only had our shirts under our rain jackets. Eventually the showers petered out into a light drizzle and we were able to pack the rain gear away.
At the top of the uphill section of this hike, we found a table with snacks and drinks. Just as Owen darted towards the table, we were welcomed by two gentlemen that were incredibly cheerful despite the weather. After a brief conversation, we learned that they were part of a trail angel group that supported pilgrims. These stations were common along the Camino Frances, but this was the first and only one we came across on the Ingles. It’s always inspiring to have the support of the local communities along The Way.
For those that aren’t familiar, many of these stations are ‘donativo’, where pilgrims leave a donation to offset the cost of goods for the trail angels. The two gentleman tried to give Owen stuff for free, but we made sure he made a contribution for his cookie biscuits!
After leaving the trail angels behind, we passed through the small town of Gas. This part of the Camino Ingles is a series of narrow streets amongst residential farmlands. I was walking slightly ahead of Owen and Julia with my head down in the drizzle when I saw a flash of white on the road up ahead. As my eyes focused in, I realized it was an untethered horse looking into the window of a house. As we got close to the horse, it turned around in a relaxed stance and gave us a friendly head nod.
As we walked forward to pet the horse, a small dog came charging into the street with a chorus of barks and a friendly wagging tail. This was one of those ‘only on the Camino’ moments that people wouldn’t believe without photo/video proof.
Continuing on through the town of Gas, our equine adventures continued with some beautiful and well groomed horses that looked ready for a show. They seemed entertained by our presence and kept a close eye as we walked by.
From the small town of Gas, it was only a short walk until we reached the outskirts of Betanzos. Before heading downhill into town, we paid a visit to the church of Santuario da Nosa Señora do Camiño. This renaissance era church was constructed in the late 1500s, and is a great place for reflection before heading into Betanzos.
Leaving Santuario da Nosa Señora do Camiño behind, we made our way downhill to cross over the Rio Madeo and enter the town of Betanzos. The town of Betanzos dates back to the time of the Romans, when it was known as Flauvium Brigantium. Later on in the Medieval period, the town’s name changed to Carunio. Walking into the town of Betanzos feels like stepping back into history, with one of the best preserved old quarters in all of Galicia.
After crossing the bridge over the Rio Madeo, the Camino Ingles passes through a covered walkway and spills out onto a cobblestone street in a narrow corridor. I booked a room at Portico Hostal, located just off of the trail here. After checking in, we dropped our bags and enjoyed drinks and tapas at the restaurant downstairs.
After our drinks and tapas, Julia went back upstairs for a nap while Owen and I walked around to absorb some of the old town charm of the city. Betanzos has the historic old quarter, but also all of the shops and markets a pilgrim needs. We made sure to stop at the Gadis market for groceries and snacks, and Owen found a bazaar shop that had some shiny new toys he couldn’t live without.