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On our day five of the Camino Inglés, cracks were starting to show in our spirits and bodies. It is yet another day of serious climbing, this time with a climb at the end of the day into Presedo. We also suffered more because the day became quite a bit hotter than the prior ones. We lifted one another by taking frequent rest stops and water breaks.
If you are combining days, as we did, it will feel much longer! Day four also climbs up and down from sea level, and day six, climbs higher from Presedo. Plan your days accordingly and be in shape for the Camino Inglés! Or just take it slowly and keep to the short, enjoyable days.
"There's no glory in climbing a mountain if all you want to do is to get to the top. It's experiencing the climb itself - in all its moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue - that has to be the goal." ~ Karyn Kusama, American Film Director
(Please note that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the businesses along the Camino may not be operating as expected, despite reopening as of June 21st. It would be wise to check with the locals regarding the opening and operations of specific restaurants, bars, albergues and other accommodations recommended in this guide.
If you are going on a Camino during the pandemic, please check the local news frequently, for new areas of outbreak and any new restrictions in travel. Any portion of the Camino may close down at any time to contain a new outbreak!
Also please note the current travel restrictions for travelers from the USA entering Spain, from the US Embassy. If you are coming from Europe to Spain, the European Schengen countries are now allowed to enter Spain. Those of us from outside this area, I am afraid, must be patient!
For detailed information regarding entry restrictions of any country in the world, including entry into Spain, click on this link to the IATA ((International Air Transport Association)). When the page opens, click on the country of your choice in the interactive map to see their requirements for entry. Good luck and be safe out there!)
Once you leave Betanzos, day five has very little amenities to offer the pilgrimage traveler. Stock up your pack with food and water, especially if you are going on to Hospital de Bruma from here!
Also, be mindful that the albergue in Presedo has only 16 beds! If it is full when you arrive you will have little recourse but to taxi to the next town to find a bed. There is no other hotel in Presedo itself.
There is a lot of hotel information at the counter in the albergue, and most likely the onward hotels in O Mesón do Vento will come and pick you up to take you to their hotel if you call them. You could always return to Betanzos as well.
Here is our Google map, created from our GPS tracks. You can see the services I placed on the map and there are not many!
Interactive Google Map of Day Five, Camino Inglés, Betanzos to Presedo
Here is the elevation profile for the day. There is a long, more than three kilometer climb out of Betanzos, with a short reprieve, totaling 164 meters (538 feet). If you are starting your day in Betanzos, you will be hitting the ground running. If this is the second part of your day, as it was for us, it will exhaust you!
A nice downhill section is after the climb for about two kilometers, then, the Camino climbs right back up to the same elevation again! This is an accumulated climb of 442 meters (1450 feet). This may not be a "mountain" per se, but it will surely feel like it!
We had a marvelous lunch at a place called the Cafeteria Plaza (see our map), just beyond the church in the square shown below. It was a nice long midday break for us, basking in the warm April sun, eating pulpo (octopus), crepes, coffee and dessert.
We were having lunch here because we started our day in Miño. We did not spend the night in Betanzos.
We were attempting to do days four and five in one long stage. It would prove to be an industrious day, to say the least.
As you are walking into Betanzos, through the main square above, head to the front of the Santo Domingo church, pass by the right side of it and pick up the Rúa Rollo. Walk past the church's right side and the municipal buildings as you head southward to leave town.
We were unable to find waymarks directing us through the square, so keep your eyes open. It is simple enough with my directions above.
Take the second right at the first large roundabout to continue on the Rúa Rollo. Stay to the right, shown in the photo below and head downhill toward the Río Mendo.
The way-marking is good through the city, except at the main square. Here there are nice bronze waymarks embedded in the sidewalk as you head down the hill.
It is around 1/2 kilometer from the main square on the Rúa Rollo to this bridge and the crossing of the Río Mendo on day five of the Camino Inglés.
After crossing the river, take your first left and begin the long climb out of Betanzos. A residence complex looms above you, with a mural to Fátima on the terrace wall.
In not quite 300 meters come to a T-intersection and turn right onto the Rúa Couto as it heads steeply up the hill. Smile, breathe and settle in here for the long haul as this road will be your friend for the next 1.5 kilometers on your climb!
By the time Rúa Couto crosses these railroad tracks, the climb is almost over!
At the end of the 1.5 kilometer climb, the Camino comes to this intersection, below, and takes you left, with the bridge over the A-6 ahead.
After crossing the A-6, turn right and descend on the frontage road paralleling the highway for a few hundred meters. It is shady and downhill!
Take the second left, following the concrete markers, and walk on this country road, below, in an area called Xanrozo. This area was very tranquil, slightly downhill and inviting both times I walked through it, this time in the spring, the last time in the fall. The tranquility will soothe your soul after the strenuous climb.
Saunter on this essentially flat straight away for about a kilometer and until you come to the intersection with the DP-0105, shown below. Turn left to join it on day five of the English Way.
You only stay on the DP-0105 for about 100 meters, when you turn right, below, to pick up another nice paved and quiet country lane, climbing slightly for a while longer.
By the time you enter the forest along this lane, below, you have reached the ultimate first summit. It was a good thing, because I could most certainly see signs of fatigue in the faces and bodies of my compadres. I was especially worried about Rob and his capabilities. He was a very brave soul to attempt this difficult Camino, with his Parkinson's. So far he was faring OK.
All I can say is do not be fooled by this shorter Camino! Just because it is short does most certainly not mean it is easy!
Here the Way is a beautiful stroll through the countryside and the spring blooms were frequent as we walked through the next area called O Rombo on day five of the English Way.
It is about 1.25 kilometers farther along the paved lane, since the turn off from the DP-0105, when we came to the 59.7 kilometer marker, shown below, in a wide open field with sweeping views of the countryside.
It is here on day five, that the Camino Inglés turns to gravel. You carry on straight at this juncture. The information board that once was here is now gone, but the frame for it is still present, as you can see in the photo below.
From here it is figuratively and literally a "walk in the woods" as the gravel road descends, negating most of our altitude gains! Below is Steve, Rich and Rob taking a well-deserved water break in the lovely shade at the 59.4 kilometer marker.
It is a 1.25 kilometer walk on the gravel road until it ends at the DP-0105 once again, where you must turn right. This section is descending in altitude and then turns flat for the final meters. We enjoyed this easy part, but I was nervous about the climb ahead for the final 3-4 kilometers. Everyone was looking a bit rough around the edges. The day was getting ever hotter.
We were hoping to find a café to get some coffee to revive us, however, this extremely rural area did not look promising!
The Camino takes you along the DP-0105 for only a few hundred meters before you come to a sign, announcing that you are entering the town of Cos. Immediately after this sign, you turn left, and descend on yet another forested, side road, shown below.
I actually thought most of the walk on day five of the Camino Inglés was rather boring, with not many features through here, but road and forest.
In one more kilometer, after walking through the forest on the flat road, we did come out into the town and walked to the lovely old chapel, in the Parroquia San Esteban De Cos. We lingered here on the steps and took a snack break, trying to revive ourselves for the 3-4 kilometer climb ahead. In lieu of coffee, chocolate was a close second!
The courtyard to the church grounds were open, but not the church itself.
And then, the climbing starts again! Just past the church, you turn right and up the hill here at this wonderful old wooden horreo.
After walking only a few meters up the hill, we joined the DP-0105 for the umpteenth time! Now, however, there was a nice side path that ran along the road. This is an extremely good thing, as the Camino Inglés on day five remains on the DP-0105 for the next three-and-a-third kilometers! Argh! It was bad enough to walk uphill for the final leg of our long day, but to do it on a busier paved road which did nothing to protect us from the heat was the worst!
We did walk by the Café Carabel after one kilometer on the DP-0105. Take note of this as it may be good timing for you for a break. It was not for us, so we walked on by.
And then finally, after about an hour on the DP-0105, the sign below says "Presedo," our destination.
But within a few hundred meters, we were directed off road, to turn left here, back into the woods for the final push into the center of town. Thank God this final uphill climb afforded some shade!
This very last section was steep ~ as steep as the climb out of Betanzos!
The steep climb lasts for about 400 meters, where the dirt road gives way to pavement, and you come to this intersection below. The Camino goes straight on here, but if you look closely, the white sign on the ground for the Albergue de Presedo, points to the right. Our destination was the albergue in Presedo.
It is only a few meters walk down the hill, back to the DP-0105, to cross over it. One could have stayed on the DP-0105 and saved a few feet of climbing, but it wouldn't have made that much difference. Plus the shaded forest road is always my number one choice!
In only another 100 meters or so, after the church, above, we rounded a corner and the brightly painted mural of the Albergue de Peregrinos de Presedo appeared. We had finally arrived and finished our day five on the English Way!
This albergue in Presedo has only 16 beds and is very, very tight. There is no kitchen to speak of, so don't plan on cooking. Even if you wanted to cook, there is no grocery store nearby! All you could do is carry cold food from Betanzos. The albergue did have wonderfully thick blankets to keep me warm on the cool spring night!
Our friend Rob, laid down on his bunk and within minutes he was passed out! He is already light complected, and as he slept, his color turned a whiter shade of pale! I looked at him twice to ensure that he was alright. We happily did his laundry, showered and rested in the warm sunshine outside while he napped.
The shower room here is co-ed, with private stalls in a common room. Not an arrangement for which I am fond, but it was adequate.
The coup d'etat was the evening spent at the restaurant, the Mesón Museo. Seriously! If you walk back to the DP-0105, east of the albergue, you come to this bus stop and sign. Turn right and walk for 400 full meters to get to the restaurant. It was a slog after our long day, but worth every step.
If you look closely at the signage above, you will also see a sign in pink for the Casa Julia, four kilometers away! The is the famous Bar Julia, on the old Camino Inglés route, that was the last stop before the long trek to Hospital de Bruma. This is a tidbit for those of us who have done this route, and remember this last stop very well!
The Camino walks right behind the Mesón Museo, so if you are walking on to Bruma, you will still encounter it. It truly is the only way to get food in Presedo, unless you are eating cold food.
Steve, Rich and I went here early, and there are no time limitations on when you can get their raciones (appetizers). We tried to wait for Rob, who was still sleeping, but alas, we broke down.
We finally went to get Rob, and had more delicious food and beer after his arrival. The chicken croquettes were lovely, the Caldo Gallego (Galician specialty soup with potatoes, greens and chicken broth) extremely nourishing, and the salads fresh.
This day, especially in combination with day four was extremely tough. The ups and downs and ups and downs are exhausting, even for the fittest of those with us, not to mention one who had Parkinson's! Regardless of which days you would combine, either four and five, like we did, or five and six, which is the standard combination, it is a toss-up which is more difficult.
On my first Camino Inglés, I did Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma. It was a killer. And I am from Colorado, accustomed to climbing the mountains. Miño to Presedo may be a few kilometers shorter than Betanzos to Hospital de Bruma, but the elevation changes are not much different.
We are lucky that the most significant changes to the Camino Inglés is the shortening of the route from Presedo to Hospital de Bruma. And the changes are significant. I will discuss these changes in day six.
The opening quote's invitation to welcome the moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue on the climb itself, is very, very difficult. I did pretty well thus far. I had no blisters, I was getting plenty of food, water and rest, and I was physically well-prepared for this Camino.
What was difficult for me, was to see my compadres struggle, as the road heat and weariness set in. Sweating, risk of dehydration, leaning and heaving chests were all part of their heartbreak for sure! But we all made it. Together. There were absolutely no complaints from anyone ~ none at all!
This was the human spirit at its finest! Rob with his determination, persistence and resistance to the elements was a moment of revelation to me. Admiration is the only and perhaps best word that I have to describe his triumph on this day!
May your own day five on the Camino Inglés be filled with the satisfaction that you too, met moments of revelation, heartbreak, and fatigue, and that you experienced it all, as part of your own personal climb. May you focus on the process of the climb itself, and not just the goal! Ultreia!
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