Day 27 O Cebreiro to Triacastela – 20.3km
Most of this day is downhill, though it can still be hilly between O Cebreio and Fonfria – about 10 km, after this it is gently downhill until Triacastela at 662 meters then the route rises again to 900 meters at Alto de Riocaba then slowly downhill to Sarria at 453 meters.
Early morning walking is beautiful with clouds often below in valleys, and a fleece is required at almost all times of the year. However the sun in the summer quickly burns away the clouds and stop the fleece being necessary. But remember you are still in the mountains and the weather can change quickly.
Most of the walking today is on paths and tracks with only a small amount on minor roads. There are lots of places for food and water along the way. You will notice the concrete markers every few kilometers marking the distance left to Santiago de Compostela.
In Galicia the regional government have built and own a string of albergues. They are purpose built for pilgrims or sometime converted old school buildings. Overall they offer good accommodation and reasonable facilities. They all have kitchens, however most will not have utensils or pot and pans. It is said that enterprising local restaurants have managed to have all these removed – however I have stayed and cooked in one, so that is not true of all.
Linares 3km, water, bar
Linares is a tiny hamlet with only half a dozen houses, it has however been here since the 8th century. The name of the town is derived from the flax that was grown in the area and supplied the looms in Hospital de la Condesa.
The parish Church of San Esteban was built during the 12th century and refurbished in 1963.
After Linares there is an uphill climb to Alto de San Roque. There was once a hermitage here dedicated to San Roque who made the pilgrimage in the 14th century from France. Now the spot is marked by a bronze statue of St James with his head down fighting the strong winds.
Limestone was mined in Linares for the Cathedral in Santiago. It is reported by Aymeric Picaud that “pilgrims would pick up a stone here and carry it to Castaneda to provide limestone for work on the basilica of the Apostle”
Hospital de la Condesa 2.4km, water, bar
Albergue Xunta, €6, 20 beds, W, D, Tel: 660 396 810, http://www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Hospital de la Condesa is another small hamlet with a handful of houses that hides it ancient past. According to some sources there was a pilgrims hospital here in the 9th century founded by Dona Egilo. If that is the case it would make it one of the oldest pilgrim hospitals along the way.
The original Church of Santiago was built in the 12th century, however the current church dates again from 1963. Note the cross of St James on top of the tower and scallop shells on the door.
Padornelo 2.5km, water
Another small hamlet that will take only two minutes to walk through.
The village Church of St John reminds us that this area was once protected by the Knights of the Order of St John of Malta. The current church dates from the 19th century.
Leaving Padornelo is the last climb of the day to Alto do Poio the last high point before Santiago at 1,337 meters. There was once the Church of Santa Maria and a hermitage here, today there is a bar and hostel.
Alto do Poio
Albergue Bar Puerto, just beside road, private, €8, 16 beds, B, M, Tel: 982 367 172, open all year
Fonfria 3.6km, water, bar, shop
Albergue A Reboleira, private, 8, 80 beds, W, D, @, M, B, Bike, Tel: 629 826 559, 981 181 271, Web: http://www.albergueareboleira.blogspot.com, open Mar to Oct inc, 6 double rooms and 2 triples between €26 and €54
Fonfria is the largest of the small hamlets we have passed through today so far with about 40 inhabitants. The villager make their living from pilgrims and production of a local cheese known as Queixo de Cebreiro. The shop is contained within the hostel which also do a great evening meal, it is advisable during the summer to book ahead as it is a very popular overnight stop.
The Church of San Juan was completely restored in 1962. However there was a hospice here in the 16th century, apparently it was for poor pilgrims and constructed of mud with an unsealed slate roof. The hospice was tiny at only seven by six Galician yards.
After Fonfria the Camino Frances starts to drop, over the length of 9 km by 600 meters, beware some of the descents are quite steep.
Biduedo 2.4km, water, cafe
Another small hamlet with a good restaurant called Mesón Betularia.
The Church of San Pedro is reputedly the smallest church along the Camino.
Between Biduedo and Triacastle you will pass through three small hamlets, Filloval, As Pasantes, and Ramil; it is unlikely that you will find water or a cafe in any of these however the Camino is developing rapidly and that can change.
Albergue Filloval, private, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 666 826 414, open all year.
Triacastela 6.7km, all services
Albergue Xunta, at entrance to village, €6, 56 beds, W, D, Tel: 982 548 087, http://www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Albergue Complex Xacobeo, c/ Leoncio Cadórnigo, 12, private, €9, 48 beds, W, D, K, M, B, @, Bike, Tel: 982 548 037, Web: http://www.complexoxacobeo.com/, open all year.
Albergue Aitzenea, Plaza Vista Alegre, 1, private, €8, 38 beds, W, D, V, K, @, Bike, Tel: 982 548 076, Web: http://www.aitzenea.com/, open Apr to Oct.
Albergue Berce do Caminho, c/ Camilo José Cela, 11, private, €8, 27 beds, W, D, K, V, @, Bike, Tel: 982 548 127, open all year
Albergue Refugio del Oribio, Avenida de Castilla, 20, private, €9, (€8 winter), 27 beds, W, D, V, @, Bike, Tel: 982 548 085, Web: http://albergueoribio.netai.net/, open all year.
Albergue Horta de Abel, c/ Peregrino,5, private, 28, 12 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 608 080 556, Web: http://albergueahortadeabel.com/, open all year.
This small town founded in the 9th century, (about 700 inhabitants), has the slightly grandiose name of the Three Castles – none of which still exist. Though the Triacastela provides a good selection of restaurants, bars, hostels, and hotels for pilgrims.
The 18th century Church of Santiago is a reconstruction of the former church. The tower depicts the three castles, which is the town’s coat of arms.
Triacastela was the main quarry source for the Cathedral in Santiago, today the same quarries produce material for cement manufacturers.