I had decided before leaving Dublin that we would spend some time in A Coruña to see the sites, so today would be a travel day. We left Betanzos at 10 am after some breakfast.
We agreed to take the train at Betanzos-Infesta train station. The evening previous, a quick search of the times showed there was a train just before 11 am. We decided to make our way to the station so see if we can buy tickets there and if there was anyone there? After a 20 minute walk, we learned that the station was a) closed and b) the train was no longer due to stop at that station. After a few seconds of sighing, we starting walking back to town to the bus station where we just managed to catch the bus to A Coruña.
A quick 45 minutes trip later, we arrived in A Coruña on what was a beautiful day. The sun was out and there was no rain for one. Could this be a sign? We took a quick walk to our hostal – Hostal Palas and checked in.
While Ray went to the supermercado, I looked after the laundry. A laundrette was easy to find on the main road. Once this was done, we had some food and decided to walk to the old town. It is a decent walk to the old town, probably over 30 minutes, so it is worthwhile catching a taxi if you are based near the train or bus stations.
The weather took a major turn for the better with only a sea breeze affecting us. On arriving at the old town, it wasn’t long before we started seeing the familiar yellow arrows. And then we arrived at the Puerto de A Coruña. Ships lie here docked and this is the very place that the Naomh Gobnait docked before her crew made their way to Santiago.
Across from the Puerto de A Coruña is the Plaza de Maria Pita. The Maria Pita square is probably A Coruña ‘s main city plaza and takes its name from the town’s heroine, Maria Pita. Maria Pita herself came to notoriety as a result of her role in Sir Francis Drake’s attack on A Coruna in 1589 and she is credited with playing a critical part in reducing the losses of the people of A Coruna during this assault.
Further on from the Plaza on Rua Santiago is the Igrexa de Santiago, St James; Church. This is the start of the A Coruna leg of the Camino Ingles. Walking down Rua Santiago, we saw a waymarker before we saw the church so we knew we were going the right way.
The Church of Santiago dates from the 12th to 13th centuries and is probably A Coruna’s oldest church. The front door shows Santiago Matamoros on horseback. The church is only open before Mass at 7pm daily.
We still had the Tower of Hercules and Breogan to see, so we walked on. We passed some great artwork on the way to the coast.
And a sneak peak of the Tower of Hercules..
The Tower of Hercules is the oldest Roman lighthouse in use today. Until the 20th century, the tower itself was known as the “Farum Brigantium”. The structure is 55 metres tall, was built in the 2nd century and renovated in 1791. A large statue of Breogan stands before the Tower. Breogán is a character in the Lebor Gabála Érenn, a medieval Christian history of Ireland and the Irish He is described as an ancestor of the Gaels. The Lebor Gabála purports to be an account of how the Gaels descend from Adam through the sons of Noah and how they came to Ireland.
We take a taxi back to the hostal to get ready for the next morning. Next stop Sergude and the 1st day in Spain of our Celtic Camino.