Camino de Santiago (Camino Inglés) Day 1: Lunch and Dinner in Pontedeume
Finally, I arrived at Pontedeume, the end point of the first stage!
I had read that the albergue, or pilgrim’s hostel, in Pontedeume was not very nice. Not a lot of ventilation, and few bathrooms was what I saw in the reviews. So I went straight to Restaurante Luis, something that I had found mentioned online. Upstairs from the restaurant, they had rooms for rent.
Luckily there were still rooms available! I got a small, quiet one with a window facing some rooftops. The bed basically touched three of the four walls in the room; perhaps the room was built around the bed?
Some potted flowers really brought some life to the ambiance!
I also had my private bathroom, perfect for washing some clothes later.
I washed up a bit, and then went downstairs to eat lunch, not wanting to go too late.
The first course was a caldo gallego, basically turnip tops with potatoes. served from a tureen. Hearty, and filling. I think it's similar to the Caldo Verde from Portugal, which is not surprising since the two are culturally and linguistically connected.
For the main course, the waitress said that one of the choices was "cariocas" and made a hand motion with her finger in a circle. She said it was fish. I was expecting some kind of roulade, because of the hand gesture, but out came two whole fish, with the tail in its mouth to make the circular shape! I later learned that cariocas are young hake fish, and traditionally panfried in this shape.
For dessert, I had the flan. It seemed homemade, since I saw the metal tins with un-inverted flan waiting in the refrigerator.
Afterwards, I had some time to explore the town. It was pretty cute, with a sizable pedestrian core.
There was a little tower to visit, which also housed the tourist information desk.
They had hydrangeas out front, which I had mentioned earlier really brought back memories of Japan for me.
In the town, there were some examples of the old-school waymarkers, where the middle line of the scallop shell points the way of the Camino.
I was quite tired, and was in the mood to just retire back to my room and call it an early night. I did some laundry…
…and then ate “dinner.” While walking around, I picked up some things from a bakery, Confeitaria Obradoiro. This tuna empanada turned out to be the best empanada of the trip. The crust was light and flaky, but not greasy.
In the bakery, I also asked the lady if there was something local that she could recommend. She pointed to another rectangular pastry, and said that this was a local specialty, the Proia. It was delicious! It was kind of caramelized on top, and firm and chewy with a rich butteriness, and a hint of anise.
I also ate my fruit I had bought earlier in the big Gadis supermarket. These were funny - flat like Saturn peaches, only nectarines!
And that was it for my first day on the Camino Inglés!