Day 7- La Caridad to Ribadeo – 25km.
We have entered Galicia, the final region on the Camino del Norte. It was quite a dramatic entry, as we clung to dear life gripping the fence as we crossed the bridge spanning the Ria de Ribadeo whilst cyclonic wind gusts tried to blow us over the Atlantic to England. At one stage, the wind ripped my backpack cover, hat and raincoat into the fence. I didn’t even know that it had happened. Luckily Michael turned around at just the right time to see my belongings smashed against the fence. It took two of us to extricate them.
The day was supposed to be an easy 21.5km into Ribadeo. The sun was shining and there was blue sky aplenty. However as I was Vibering Elly in the shelter of the bar, having my breakfast café con leche and croissant, I could see rubbish flying down the road. The Beaufort scale was just cranking up for the day ahead.
The walk out of La Caridad was beautiful as we faithfully followed the arrows and the scallop shells. This was to be the last day following the Asturian shell. The shell direction is reversed in Galicia. We were passed by a girl who lives in Santiago but was on her last day of walking after starting five days ago in Aviles. As she passed us we relaxed a little and decided to follow her. It wasn’t until ten kilometres later, as we reached the beach, that we realised we had now adding 4.5km to our days total. Yeah!
We walked sideways against the gale into the seaside town of Tapia de Casariego. We were amazed to see a longboard surfing competition in action in these windy conditions. Since 1992 the Goanna Pro Surf Competition has been run in honour of Australian brothers Peter and Robert Gulley who back in 1968 arrived in Tapia with their surfboards in the back of their van and introduced the locals to surfing. The brothers loved it so much here that they married local girls and returned each year to see the sport progress to the thriving business that it is today. Check out their story here.
Steadily the wind picked up as we walked further around the flat grasslands of the coast. We caught up to the family of seven at one stage but in a moment of desperation, consulted our guidebook and found a small shortcut to ease our aching legs which were struggling to keep us upright let alone walking forward. By the time we struggled into Ribadeo we were absolutely and unequivocally exhausted.
And tomorrow we leave the coast and hit the mountains. Can I hear another yeah!