de Santiago / French Way : 31. Sarria - Portomarín
leave Sarria walk down the Rúa Maior towards
the Monasterio de la Magdalena and take a left past
the cemetery and cross over the medieval bridge
Ponte Áspera. The track follows the railway
line for a short while when you will then have to
cross over it at Sancti Michaelis. The path continues
parallel to the railway line and goes across a footbridge
and up through some woods and passing through the
small village of Vilei and eventually after
about 4.5 kilometres into the village of Barbedelo.
village of Barbadelo has been here since
the 10th century and has a 12th century church which
has been given national monument status because
of its frescoes. It is believed to have originally
been part of a monastery that had at one point come
under the control of the monastery at Samos. There
is a small albergue here run by the Xunta which
says it has cooking facilities but there are no
utensils. A little further down the hill is the
Casa del Carmen that offers accommodation and has
dining facilities also.
through the village and through woods towards the
village of Rente which has a private hostal
and a couple of bars.
Rente follow a tree lined track passing a modern
fountain with the water coming from a pilgrim's
mouth and through the village of Marzán O Real.
Walk through some more woods and through the village
of Leimán and on to the village of Peruscallo
where you will find a bar with a restaurant.
path now goes down a lane through the hamlets of
Cortiñas, Lavandeira Casal and Brea.
Brea you will spot a marker telling you that there
are only 100 kilometres left on your journey.
along the path and into the village of Morgade
where you will find a café that offers delicious
cakes and accommodation in a private albergue next
to the bar.
through the village past the abandoned chapel and
walk down the track up to the villages of Ferreiros
and Mirallos. They are very close together
and here you can get accommodation at a couple of
albergues and a couple of cafés one of which offers
a pilgrim menu and is also open for breakfast. The
bar restaurant is only open during the summer.
path now takes you through the hamlets of Pena
and Couto-Rozas, both of which have fountains,
then through Pena dos Corvos, Moimentos
and Cotarelo Mercadoiro where there is
a new albergue with its own café and restaurant.
on the path you will pass through the village of
Moutras when the track starts to descend
and it is pretty much all downhill until you reach
Portomarín. Before we get to Portomarín we will
go through the villages of Parrocha and Vilachá
soon after which you will spot the Río Miño
and the reservoir called Embalse de Belezar. Cross
the very high bridge over the Río Miño and into
the town of Portomarín.
area around Portomarín has been inhabited
for many thousands of years as the number of castros
in the vicinity testifies. The Romans occupied it
and named the area Portumarini but it is said to
have been Don Guitierre and the Condesa Dona Ilduana
who founded the town of Portomarín in the 10th century.
The town was divided into two boroughs on the left
bank of the river was San Pedro and on the right
bank was San Juan.
the discovery of the tomb of Saint James the town's
importance grew and at one time had 3 orders of
knights including the Knights Templar, Knights of
Santiago and the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.
This will go some way to explaining the castle type
architecture of the church of San Nicolás.
the 2nd century the Romans built a bridge across
the Río Miño which was later to be destroyed by
Doña Urraca the Queen of Castilla to prevent her
husband's (Alfonso el Batallor) troops from advancing.
As we mentioned in an earlier stage they didn't
particularly like each other and were at war. 8
years after she destroyed the bridge Doña Urraca
ordered a new one to be built and the same builder
would later build one of the pilgrim hospitals.
If you come on the Camino when the river is low
you will be able to see the old bridge next to the
town you see before you today dates mostly from
the middle of the 20th century with much of the
old town now below the waters of the Miño.
In the 1950's Franco decided he wanted to build
a hydro electric dam 40 kilometres down river and
in doing so would flood the town of Portomarín.
The townspeople wanted to save some of their most
important monuments and transported these stone
by stone up to their new home high above the river.
The monuments brought here were the churches of
San Nicolás and San Pedro and some of the important
16th and 17th century manor houses or Pazos.
you first come across the new bridge you come to
some steps up to an arch where you will find the
Iglesia de Santa Maria de las Nieves, built on the
site of a former pilgrim hospital. The staircase
is actually the sole remaining part of the original
2nd century Roman bridge which was destroyed by
Doña Urraca. Locals believed that the Virgen de
las Nieves protected them from drowning and therefore
built a shrine to her part way across the old bridge.
When the dam was built the shrine was moved along
with the span of the old bridge and placed here
as the entrance to the new historical centre of
you climb the steps you can choose to continue on
your way along the Camino by going left or alternatively
take a right once through the arch into a park and
into the remains of the old town.
large square in the centre of town contains most
of the historic monuments including the Pazo del
Conde da Maza. In front of the Pazo is a statue
of Santiago indicating the way to the Camino.
12th century Igrexa de San Nicolás is like
many other churches found in towns controlled by
Knights, a fortified church. When it was in the
original town it was known as the Igrexa de San
Xoan (San Juan) and was controlled by the knights
of St John of Jerusalem who also controlled the
bridge across the Miño and one of the pilgrim hospitals.
The church was built by a student of Mateo who created
the Pórtico de la Gloria in Santiago Cathedral.
If you look closely you may still make out the numbers
which were carved into the stone prior to them being
brought here from the old town.
of the churches brought from the old town was the
Igrexa de San Pedro. This church was built in the
10th century and consecrated in 1182 by the Bishop
of Lugo, Rodrigo II. As you will begin to see on
your Camino through Galicia this church is built
from granite which is abundant in this part of Spain.
town has at least 7 albergues to choose from and
about 3 hostals. In terms of food there are a number
of restaurants, many of which offer a pilgrim menu,
and cafés to choose from. If you are running a little
low on cash there are also a few cashpoints (ATM's).
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014