Stage 11. Caldas de Reis – Santiago
Caldas de Reis – Santiago
If we have slept in BALNEARIO ACUÑA, we will access the main street and make sense to cross the bridge on the road. Then we will turn left to take the RUA REAL which is the main street of the town and through which we access a square that we will have to cross and take a street (prohibited direction) in front of us.
This RUA REAL is the main street of CALDAS DE REIS and is boulevard type with shops, planters and pedestrianized.
We will end at the ROMAN BRIDGE OF THE BERMAÑA RIVER with a cruise that we will have to cross. We take Rua San Roque and at the end of this street at a fork in Y we will take the street on the left to come across the CAPILLA DE SAN ROQUE where we will turn right and directly access the road (N-550) that we will take to our Left and we will advance for a few meters upwards to exit on our right along a small track, first in cement and a little on land, towards the outskirts of the town and with views of the countryside.
The first 7 kms of the stage will be uphill, but not to worry is smooth as we will only go back about 170 m from the beginning of the stage.
Leaving the city on this road we will circulate through the Bemaña river valley and cross the pillars of a large bridge that will allow us to bridge the road below. Through this area we are alternating dirt roads and narrow asphalt paths. The place is comfortable and pleasant for pedaling.
In the small village of O CRUCEIRO, anteroom of the most important nucleus of CARRACEDO, here we cross the road and take a lane in front with an imposing and prominent granary that is high in the middle of the street. We continue advancing until we reach the church of Santa Mariña de Carracedo and we will continue through quiet and residential areas in a gentle ascent. We are now reaching the hillock and km 7 of the stage.
Be careful because we will have to cross the road and the crossing is dangerous. Crossing the road we will take a small path that indicates a road sign with this label: CASALDERRIQUE and that will take us to circulate in parallel to a highway that will be on the left… we will come to a stop with a bridge to cross the highway above and turn right again, now we have the highway on our right and we continue moving north.
We are going down into a valley and heading to a beautiful and narrow downhill path. The path is sandwiched between lush forests and the murmur of waters… it is undoubtedly a beautiful and very grateful place to cycle.
This grateful descent into this beautiful forest will lead you to a lush valley with vineyards and crops. We will pass on our left the beautiful church of SAN MIGUEL with its attached cemetery and we will advance to come across a store in a white building SELF-SERVICE SAN MIGUEL, coffee service and bar. Here we can stop for a drink and continue shortly after turning off to our left along a narrow path that runs along a small hill.
We pedal through a beautiful valley with a country and calm atmosphere… narrow asphalt trails and a comfortable profile so as not to try too hard. Here we will advance comfortably through small villages with houses and stone walls.
At times through forests and at times by crops, in gentle ups and downs we are approaching the large reference city that we have as our most imminent objective and which is none other than PADRON. So now we are in areas with more and more houses and an increasingly urbanized (but quiet) environment.
Little by little there will be more houses and more traffic for cars and people… we are going downhill and we are approaching the river. PONTECESURES (there is a pilgrim’s hostel), narrow and twisty alleys happily take us in the direction of the river bank. At an exit from these alleys we will arrive at the church of San Xulián de Requeixo, we continue going down and we cross the train tracks in a level crossing with barriers.
A little before a Repsol gas station that we will see in front, we take a detour to the left and cross the road below thanks to a small tunnel to turn right and head towards the bridge. Also if we want we can skip the tunnel and go directly to the gas station and go directly to the bridge by road.
The bridge gives its name to the town (PONTECESURES) and allows us to save the ULLA river.
Just passing the name the path or the orientation is confusing. There is a kind of double height and some walls that do not allow us to go out to the left. You have to be careful, when passing the bridge, carefully turn left. We must access a wide plaza just below the road on our left. Through this square we have to cross and head towards the alleys that leave the square and take us to a flat and quiet valley where we will advance very comfortably and quickly to PADRON.
This area is very calm and pleasant… flat as the palm of your hand and between cornfields, we will comfortably advance through a clear and wide peninsula of land between the ULLA and SAR rivers.
Circulating through this plain we will come across the river (this is the SAR river) and turning to the right we will go upwards along its banks, until we come across the first houses of PADRON. The entrance is made through its food market where we can stop to buy the famous peppers that give this famous Galician city its name or as we did on our trip to buy seeds to plant at home. After passing in front of the market, we access a beautiful walk with huge trees (bananas) intertwined between them and a curious statue that belongs to an illustrious, born in this town and Nobel Prize for literature: CAMILO JOSE CELA.
In the alleys of the center and which we can access leaving this walk on our right, there are several restaurants and among them a grocery store in case anyone wants to taste this appreciated Galician delicacy.
To continue our trip, walk up we will come across the church of SANTIAGO APOSTOL, here is a nice photo of the bridge that is on our left and the beautiful picture of the CONVENTO DEL CARMEN on top. We skirt the church of Santiago on the right and go past the ALBERGUE DE LAS CORREDOIRAS, to continue along a paved street in the direction of an alley that we have to take on the left (narrow and forbidden), the alley is short luckily and it ends in a wide road that takes us out of the city… we cross a channel and advance to cross the road and come to the side of an imposing church (Santa Maria de Iria Flavia) with a large cemetery at its doors (in the Galicia area is a tradition to locate cemeteries next to churches). As a curious thing, the towers of this church have a pyramidal shape (like the Aztec pyramids) and curiously they are also in the same style as one of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.
We saved the train tracks by an underpass, we are at km 20 of the stage (we are already in the middle) and we have just passed the basin of several large rivers… and what happens when we leave behind a river? Well, what is up? What remains from here to Santiago, although they will not be very steep if they will be mostly uphill.
We return to the narrow asphalt paths and to ride relatively calmly, between houses and farms with orchards. But that for a little while… we turn left and we approach the train tracks that we find facing them… we continue to the right and proceed parallel to the train until it ends at the national road (N-550) that we must continue for approximately 1 km.
It can be seen that we are already approaching Santiago de Compostela and in road areas such as this, the billboards, the transfer of cars, warehouses, car workshops… already give the atmosphere of a big city.
Walking along this road we find a large roundabout that we cross and we see a traffic sign with the indication “Santiago 16” that gives us the more or less exact track of what we have left.
On our left HOTEL SCALA with a pilgrim’s menu in case we want to stop for lunch before entering Santiago. I have the theory or the conviction that reaching the end of the road to Santiago de Compostela, the emotions of the Obradoiro square, the photos, the hugs… and then trying to find a place to eat is a mistake… we are not going to find where and in the historic center with bicycles we will have nowhere to drop to eat. The advice is to try to get to this tremendous moment already eaten and without worrying about the gossip of guts to let ourselves be carried away by the euphoria of the arrival, happy and happy. This is why I advise this could be a good place to have something (even if it’s a sandwich).
Attention a few meters after passing the Hotel Scala you have to exit to the left of the road, we will see a car workshop with the label Talleres R. Casal. Those who traced the road for once have had a good idea, they take us off the dangerous road to avoid the danger of truck and car traffic.
We go down a street wedged between walls and turn right. We will advance through an area of cornfields, vineyards, orchards and fruit trees. We will access a village of twisted and narrow alleys between stones. Here is a source if someone needs to replace liquid.
After the village of the twisty alleys, we access a flat area cleared with large fields of corn.
We find another village on our way (TARRIO), we will continue pedaling along narrow and comfortable asphalt roads. For now we are still flat. We will cross a small and narrow dirt path through a lush forest (a mirage), soon we will go out again to an asphalt area and cultivation fields.
We will approach the train tracks and walk for a while with them on our left to go back to the busy and dangerous N-550, with their cars and trucks.
We left at the height of the town of A ESCRAVITUDE, and with a very high traffic of vehicles and a feeling of danger due to the lack of a shoulder. We will approach a monumental area with an imposing church (Sanctuary of the Virgin of Slavery) that apart from giving its name to this place has an architectural style that is very reminiscent of the towers of the Cathedral of Santiago.
Right after passing the Sanctuary we immediately turn right and leave this dangerous road. We already started to climb what will be a constant climb (10 kms to MILLADOIRO, in the anteroom of Santiago).
Through some asphalt ramps in a wooded area, we will go out onto an esplanade with an imposing church (Igrexa de Santa María de Cruces), we pass the church turning left. And we continue advancing between crops, we approach a wooded area where a path of almost 1 km will leave us in an underpass to be able to save the train tracks.
We will cross the village of A ANGUEIRA DE SUSO, with its twisty alleys where the path crosses as if it were a labyrinth. Precious tunnels under vines have us ready to pass under them… if the vines are with leaves, it will undoubtedly seem like an unbeatable place.
We continue along roads between houses and crops and we end up on the national highway (N-550) at the height of the A Picaraña Industrial Estate, at the sight of the road and some huge ships we turn right.
We are going to cross the town of PICARAÑA on this uphill road, we are going to leave it behind and after 1 km we are going to find a very dangerous and poorly signposted place… on a climb with an acceleration lane where cars are moving very fast overtaking trucks… in a curve and with very little visibility… We will have to turn left!! Be very careful and if you need to advance a little more than the intersection to pass and go down to find the entrance .
There is also the danger of not noticing the detour to the left when concentrating on the danger of moving between cars and trucks on a large road. The detour that we have to take is indicated to exit to the right in a turning lane that immediately jumps to the left to cross the road, the traffic signal indicates “FARAMELLO 0.5”. I said, be very careful and throw for Faramello.
When making this dangerous crossing, we came across the entrance to the PAZO DE FARAMELLO, an old mansion that has been restored for public use… and a small house with a picturesque bar conditioned to receive pilgrims.
A few meters away we also find the LA CALABAZA DEL PEREGRINO HOSTEL, with a terrace and a bar where we will have one of the last opportunities to get to Santiago having eaten.
We advance by road and up the hill is SAN MARTIÑO and a beautiful chapel with a picnic area, fountains. In the shade of its large trees we can rest a bit because here we have already come from a long time of ascent and slope.
We skirt the SAN MARTIÑO chapel turning left and we reach the height of the Parada dos Francos rural house and restaurant where a small stretch of land begins which immediately leads us back to the asphalt and the ascent. (A few good slopes await us.)
After passing through an area of houses we will cross the train tracks by an overpass (blue bridge), we continue straight ahead and uphill… As we are already close to Santiago de Compostela we will increasingly be in a more urbanized area and with more and more houses and farms. Also the layout of the road will become more winding, avoiding corners of urbanization and street crossings, along the last slopes before reaching MILLADOIRO, we are in the area of the population of TEO which is a residential in Santiago de Compostela.
Some more stretch of land will fall through this area and we keep going up… smooth but steady.
We will cross a road by a bridge and two roundabouts and we will continue in our approach to Santiago and very attentive to the signs… in this area there are several detours or alternatives to the road… in any case we are already very close and whatever our option, we shouldn’t miss out… soon we will be able to see the imposing towers of the cathedral in the distance.
On a good-looking road and on the rise, we will arrive at the first houses of MILLADOIRO, which we will immediately recognize as a residential area on the outskirts of Santiago with large buildings (until now all were small houses with orchards) and with high residential buildings, with many balconies and a certain modern city air. Up on the hill there is a wide avenue area with several schools and buses, youth and children going to school.
The avenue through which we will climb inside the streets of MILLADOIRO comes to the end to come face to face with a kind of park with trees and 2 telephone antennas (these types of antennas put them up to give signal to a wide area ..), we are up and now we are going to go on more favorable ground and downhill.
We will cross the road and enter the path under the antennas that will take us down into a valley that will once again take us between orchards and fields.
Rapid descent between alleys of urbanization until you reach a large bridge with high pillars that support a highway and that we will pass below. We will go for a while along the highway slope and head towards the village of A ROCHA still in the anteroom of Santiago.
We continue in a residential area and through narrow and twisted asphalt tracks… over a bridge we pass over the train tracks and continue downhill through an area of forests and little houses. We arrived at a stream and recreational area that we saved through a dirt road to reach a kind of tunnel to be able to cross the road below. When we left the other side we climbed a hill where we will find 2 monoliths of the road Santiago (2 alternatives), we have taken the one on the left and we crossed the highway over a bridge.
We are already in the first buildings in Santiago de Compostela and in the first streets to approach the center.
Going up in a park area a small pedestrian crossing will take us uphill to the left to bump into a roundabout where we will take a long uphill street that goes straight to the city center, we go up and we come across a roundabout that we cross straight, we enter ROSALIA DE CASTRO AVENUE, we continue going up and next to PARQUE DE LA ALAMEDA we end up in a wide square and with several detours and a lot of traffic… we have to turn left onto AVENIDA DE RODRIGO DEL PADRON to get to a large plaza where the national police station is. At the end of the square we take to the right CROSSING OF FONSECA and immediately to the left RUA DE FRANCO to end Et voila !! In the Plaza del Obradoiro and the end of our Camino de Santiago.
Congratulations !!! Challenge achieved… We have arrived.
Reflection on the Stage
Short stage but for the entertaining arrival, the complexity of the outskirts of the city… and for the enjoyment of the end of the trip we believe that it is necessary to do so.
It is recommended on any route on the Camino de Santiago to make the last stage a little later so as not to get exhausted to Santiago de Compostela and at a prudent hour to be able to enjoy such a beautiful city and such a tremendous end.
Likewise, the route that is mostly uphill and the transfer on roads with traffic and urbanization areas will make us linger for a while and the psychological effect of being the last stage will also make us carry a more limping and slower pace. Mixed feelings between the happiness of achieving the challenge and the sadness that the road ends.
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