de Santiago / French Way : 33. Palas de Rei - Arzúa
Palas de Rei passing the modern Santiago Peregrino
statue and down onto a path running alongside the
main road passing through the village of Carballal
and the hamlet of A Laguna before arriving at San
Xulián do Camino where there is a small albergue
which offers an evening meal.
is a sad story which surrounds San Julián.
On the day he was born the poor man was cursed by
witches to commit the horrific murder of his parents.
It was to be many years later and was whilst out
hunting that Julián was warned by a deer that this
would happen and in order to avoid the curse he
moved away without telling his parents where he
was going and ended up in Galicia. As any good parents
they eventually tracked him down and after their
long journey they wished to rest and Julián's wife
offered them the marital bed for them to sleep in.
Julián was again out hunting at the time his parents
had arrived so he did not know what his wife had
done and the devil came to him telling him that
the people in his bed were his wife and a lover.
Taking his sword he murdered the people in his bed
only to realise soon after that he had murdered
his parents as had been foretold. So distressed
was he that he and is wife undertook a pilgrimage
to Rome to ask for forgiveness and to offer to set
up a hospital for pilgrims. Julián eventually built
more than 7 hospitals and several houses offering
respite to the poor and weary.
legend says that an angel came to him a few years
later and forgave him but another version says that
it was Jesus Christ himself that forgave him. The
devil is said to have disguised himself as a pilgrim
who wrecked one of Julián's houses which led Julián
to declare he would never take anyone else in and
ordered everyone to leave. Jesus then, also disguised
as a pilgrim, approached San Julián for shelter
and was turned away. Jesus asked Julián to hold
his walking stick which stuck to his hands and only
then did he realise who was in front of him and
asked for his forgiveness which Jesus gave. To this
day San Julián is known as the patron saint of travellers,
innkeepers and hunters amongst a number of other
things including circus workers.
now continue along the path crossing the Río Pambre
up into the hamlet of Pontecampaña where
you can stay at the small albergue and then back
on the road through some woods towards the village
of Casanova where there is a Xunta albergue
and a local restaurant that does evening meals and
Casanova the route takes you through the hamlets
of Porto de Bois, Campanilla and O
Coto where there is a bar/restaurant.
after leaving O Coto you leave the province of Lugo
and enter the province of La Coruña. From
here you will find that the stone markers now indicate
changes of direction as well as giving you the name
of where you are and how many kilometres to Santiago.
Continuing to follow the markers you will soon come
to the village of Leboreiro.
village owed much of its existence to the Camino
and declined somewhat in the years following the
Camino's peak. Opposite the 13th century Iglesia
de Santa Maria is the building that used to
be the pilgrim hospital known as the Casa de la
Enfermería which was founded by the noble Ulloa
family, whose coat of arms can be seen on the façade.
In front of the church is an interesting wooden/thatched
structure which is known in this region as a Cabazo.
This like the horreos you will have passed on your
journey, were and still are used to store corn.
The cobs get placed in here to keep them dry and
out of reach of rats and other animals that enjoy
church itself has an interesting legend surrounding
it. The legend tells that one day water began to
flow from a fountain close by, not unusual you would
say, but this fountain would emit a beautiful smell
during the day and provide light during the night.
The locals believed it to be a miracle and taking
turns they dug around the fountain and found a statue
of the Virgin Mary. They immediately moved it to
the church, but each night the Virgin would go back
to the fountain and the villagers would then return
it back to the church in the morning. This went
on and on until a local artist had the idea of sculpting
the image of the Virgin Mary on the tympanum of
the church. Once this had been completed the villagers
once again moved the statue of the Virgin Mary into
the church and this time, with her ego satisfied,
the Virgin decided to stay put, though it was rumoured
that she still left each night to go to the fountain
to brush her hair.
terms of accommodation, there is a small albergue
in the village which is open all year.
on the route walk through the village and over the
Puente María Magdalena crossing the Río Seco and
through the hamlet of Disicabo passing by
a picnic/rest area marked by a large cross placed
here by the Knights of Santiago. The path now detours
from its original route down the main road through
an industrial estate. It was done to make the route
a bit safer. Soon after passing through the industrial
estate you will come to the mediaeval Puente Velha
which spans the Río Furelos and into the village
is a small church Igrexa de San Xoán (Iglesia de
San Juan) in the village which does offer guided
tours. The village, like so many other, used to
have a pilgrim hospital but nothing remains of it.
As you pass through the village you may spot that
some of the houses still have their medieval doors.
There is a small bar if you want to get some refreshments.
Furelos the route into Melide is a short
one, approximately 1.5 kilometres.
origins of Melide go way back, over 4,000
years, evidenced by the dolmens or burial chambers
that can be found dotted around the locality. The
actual town of Melide dates back to the 10th century
but it appears to have gained more prominence when
King Alfonso IX gave the land surrounding Melide
to the Archbishop of Santiago in 1212 AD. In 1320
Archbishop Berenguel de Landoira built a castle
and walls in the town to fortify it but these were
destroyed during the Irmandiños uprising and after
that the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella
prohibited its reconstruction.
is found pretty much centrally in Galicia and is
where two of the Caminos meet, the Camino Frances
that we have been following and the Camino Primitivo
which begins in Oviedo in Asturias. If you want
to find out some more history about the town and
the area visit the Museo da Terra de Melide.
The museum is housed in the former Hospital de Peregrinos
which had been part of a Franciscan monastery founded
in the 14th century by Fernán López and his wife
Aldara González who donated a number of houses to
be used by the monks.
in the town is the 18th century Capilla de San
Roque. This church was built using the stone
from two former churches that of Sano Pedro and
the original Capilla de San Roque which used to
be where the Caja de Ahorros now stands. Inside
the church is a plaque with an inscription commemorating
the former churches.
the left hand side of the chapel next to a large
palm tree is the 14th century stone Cruceiro
do Melide, said to be the oldest such cruceiro
in Galicia according to the renowned Galician writer
Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao. Only the top
half is original, the bottom stone pole is a modern
addition. It is believed that it may have originally
been part of the former Iglesia de Sano Pedro.
the centre of the town in the Plaza del Convento
you will find the 14th century Iglesia de Sancti
Spiritus (San Pedro), all that is left of a
former Franciscan monastery. As with many churches
of this age it has undergone a number of refurbishments
and additions and contains a variety of building
styles such as baroque, neoclassical and gothic.
It is also said to have been built from stone from
the castle that had been built by the Archbishop
of Santiago Berenguel de Landoira.
in the Plaza del Convento you will find the 17th
century Casa del Ayuntamiento which used to be a
Pazo or noble house belonging to the Segade family.
Because of its location it is believed to be one
of the most beautiful council offices to be found
in the whole of Spain.
next to the Casa del Ayuntamiento is the Obra
Pía de San Antón a small chapel constructed
in 1671 and believed to have been built by the architect
who designed and built the cathedral in Santiago,
Domingo de Andrade. The construction was paid for
by Archbishop Antonio Segade who had made his fortune
if you are hungry and you like octopus, then Melide
is the place to find it. There are a number of pulperias,
restaurants that specialise in Pulpo a la feria,
where the octopus is cooked in large copper cauldrons
and served on wooden platters sprinkled with paprika
and olive oil, best enjoyed with a cold glass of
Albariño or Ribeiro, the wines made in Galicia.
If octopus is not your thing then there are plenty
of other places to eat especially the cake shops,
as Melide also has a reputation for marvellous sweet
can be found at an albergue and 4 hostals.
you leave town you will pass by the 12th century
Iglesia de Santa Maria de Melide with its impressive
stone altar and beautiful frescoes on the ceiling,
well worth a visit. Soon after you will pass through
the hamlet of Santa Maria where there is a shop
and a bar.
here pretty much all the way to Santiago you will
wind your way in and out of pine and eucalyptus
forest. If you are undertaking your Camino in summer
these forests will offer you well needed shade,
but as you walk through take the time to take in
the lovely scent given off by the trees, it's one
of things I look forward to when I plan my visits
to Galicia. The gravel path here runs parallel to
the main road and passes through the hamlets of
Carballal, Raído, Parabispo and
A Peroxa before reaching Boente.
Boente you will find the Iglesia de Santiago
with its two statues of Santiago, one in his guise
as a pilgrim and the other as Santiago Matamoros
as well as a welcome fountain. In terms of accommodation
there is a small albergue in the village that also
path now continues towards the Rio Boente and under
the main road crossing the river and then climbing
up towards the village of Castañeda.
may remember back when we were in Triacastela we
mentioned that pilgrims would pick up limestone
from the quarries and take it along with them to
the lime kilns of Castañeda as a way in which to
help build and maintain the cathedral at Santiago.
Well we have finally reached their destination but
unfortunately nothing remains of the kilns.
here can be found at either the very small albergue
who also provide meals or at a casa rural.
Castañeda the route passes through the hamlets
of Pedrido and Rio across a bridge
and into the eucalyptus woods, again crossing the
Río Iso before entering the village of Ribadiso
albergue in Ribadiso do Baixo has recently
been restored and is situated in a lovely spot next
to the river. In medieval times it had been the
Hospital de St Antón and is said to be the
oldest pilgrim hospital on the Camino still being
used. For refreshments there is a bar and restaurant
close to the albergue.
Ribadiso do Baixo follow the road uphill through
the suburbs of Arzúa. Be mindful that there are
other markers dotted around here, usually dabs of
yellow and white paint. These are not Camino markers
but those for senderismo or walking markers for
a particular country walk. The Camino is still marked
with either the yellow arrows or the stone way markers.
After about 3 kilometres from Ribadiso do Baixo
you will enter the large town of Arzúa.
will be the last major town you pass through before
you reach Santiago de Compostela. Arzúa's origins
are intimately linked with the Camino de Santiago
and the village grew rapidly during the 11th century
at the height of the Camino's prominence during
the Middle Ages. There is however archaeological
evidence that this area was inhabited much earlier.
Like Melide before it Arzúa is the point where two
Caminos join. Here it is the Camino Frances and
the Camino del Norte.
are a number of churches to be found in the locality
which link directly to the town's association with
the Camino one of them, the 14th century Capilla
de la Magdalena is all that is left of a former
Augustinian monastery. Arzúa also has a number of
Pazos or former noble houses and one of them, the
Pazo de Brandeso built in 1554, was used by the
famous Galician writer Ramón María del Valle Inclán
as the setting for the romance between Concha and
Brandomín in his novel Sonata de Otoño (Autumn Sonata).
other claim to fame is its cheese the Queixo
Arzúa-Ulloa, a smooth creamy cheese made from
cows milk similar to that of the Queso Tetilla.
Every year since 1975 the town has played host to
a cheese festival (Fiera do Queixo) during the first
weekend of March, unless it clashes with other celebrations
when it is then held on the second weekend of March.
can be found at one of six albergues some of which
provide either food or cooking facilities along
with internet access if so required. There are also
four hostals to choose from if the albergues are
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014