After a week of hiking the Camino de Santiago, we were really excited to be back on our mules once again. The advantages of motorcycle touring compared to hiking were obvious because we easily covered more than twice the distance in one day as it took us to hike the entire week.
We left Tui, Spain with the plan to see three sites: The Mills of Picón and Folón, the Chapel of San Caralampio on the Island of La Toja, and the Iron Age ruins of Castro de Baroña.
There is something magical about being on the mules once again. Chantil and I were all grins as we navigated the streets of Tui, Spain in the early morning. The Mills of Picón and Folón were just a short 28km (17.4 mile) ride to the west.
Mills of Picón and Folón
The early morning fog casted a lovely muted hue over the forested roads. We hoped the fog would clear before we reached the mills.
Fortunately, during the short 2 km (1.2 miles) hike to the mills, the fog lifted and we were blessed with blue skies.
We enjoyed the quietness of the surrounding beauty and took the time to marvel at the water skippers skimming over the clear blue water.
The 17th century mills were build along the stream in order to capture the energy of the moving water. Paddle wheels would convert the water energy to a rotating shaft that would extend into the mills where it could be used to grind corn and wheat, as well as working with wool for linen.
In total there are 60 mills built on the two streams – 36 on Folón, and 24 mills on Picón.
Many of the mills belonged to villages, as communal property, and others were privately owned or shared among several families.
We really enjoyed our early morning walk and learning more about the history of this Spanish region. If you’re in the area, this place is definitely worth the short hike and history lesson.
While we were hiking, we noticed there was a rocky, dirt-road that paralleled the hiking trail near Picón. We wondered if there was a way to ride this road back to Tui instead of taking the pavement?
It had been a while since we had ridden off-road, so it was nice to practice that skill once again. It’s much different than riding on pavement and is a lot more fun as well!
Riding on the dirt! It’s what our type of motorcycles are meant to do. It would be a shame to have an adventure, or dual-sport, motorcycle and only take it on pavement. Speaking of pavement…
Taking the Autovia North
Paved roads are much, much faster so we mostly stick to them when we are trying to get somewhere. Our mules are just as content on Autovias (freeways) as they are on dirt roads.
Although we tend to stay in the slow lanes when riding on the freeways. The 650cc single-cylinder engine can get pretty buzzy above 120 kph (75 mph) and gas mileage is significantly less at these speeds.
Chapel of San Caralampio on the Island of La Toja
We heard about this church from a website called Atlas Obscura. This is our favorite, go-to site for unique places that tend to be off the normal tourist track. What makes this chapel, on the resort island of La Toja, so unique?
During the 19th century, the entire outside of the church was completely covered in scallop shells.
Although the church was not open, we enjoyed walking around the outside and exploring the nearby garden areas.
Castro de Baroña
Castro de Baroña is an Iron Age settlement inhabited from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD.
The inhabitants in this settlement were farmers and fishermen who fed mainly on seafood.
The site consists of 20 circular stone houses within a double defensive wall used to defend against attacks from the mainland.
After exploring the beach, we returned to our bikes and found a nearby campsite.
Next Blog Post
Our journey takes us along the northwestern coast of Spain’s Galicia Region, where we find a couple of obscure oddities that are definitely worth visiting. More adventure awaits…
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8 Aug 2020