Day 31 Palas de Rei to Arzua – 28.5km, 7 hours
Next day Arzua to Santiago de Compostela
Previous day Portomarin to Palas de Rei
Today is an easy day, apart from the length of the route, it is easy under foot and there are no long steep accents or descents. The Spanish call this section the “leg breaker” not due to the surface, but due to the length. If you have been walking for the last two weeks or more you will find it quite an easy stroll in comparison to much of the way already walked.
Today again you are only a couple of kilometres between towns and villages, therefore filling up with water or eating is easy and you don’t have to carry any food with you – unless you want to relax and eat outside somewhere.
I see this day as the start of the countdown to Santiago de Compostela. Shortly after Coto there are stone markers at the side of the path with the distance to Santiago marked.
Much of the day is shaded and shortly after Melide, where the Camino Primitivo joins the Frances, you will walk through Oak and Eucalyptus forest with the wonderful smell. Melide is where the Camino Primitivo joins with the Camino Frances.
San Xulian 3.6km Cafe in the albergue
Albergue O Abrigadoiro, private, €12, 12 beds, W, D, M, B, @, Bike, Tel: 982 374 117, Web: http://abrigadoiro.es.tl/, open Easter to Nov inc.
This village has historic links with Saint Julian, hence the name. Legend has Saint Julian a noble soldier killing his parents by accident. To expurgate his sin he founds a hospital for pilgrims. He is later visited by an angel who tells him that he has been granted a divine pardon. There is a small Romanesque Parish Church San Julian do Camino which illustrates the devotion to the saint in this area.
Pontecampana 1km Bar
Albergue Casa Domingo, private, €10, 18 beds, W, D, M, B, V, Bike, Tel: 982 163 226, Web: http://alberguecasadomingo.com/, open May to Oct inc.
Mato Casanova 1.7km Bar, Cafe, water
Albergue Xunta, Del Camino de Santiago, 61, €6, 20 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 982 173 483, www.xacobeo.es,open all year
Albergue A Bolboreta, 1.5km off route signposted, private, €13, 22 beds, W, D, M, Bike, Tel: 609 124 717, Web: http://www.abolboreta.com/, open all year.
Lobreiro 3.6km Bar, Cafe, Water
Municipal Albergue, very basic, one WC, on main road in village, €6, 20 beds, open all year, Tel: 981 505 003
Lobreiro was an important stop on the pilgrims road when Aymeric Picaud wrote in the 12th century, but not now. The village has a Romanesque Parish Church of Santa Maria with a beautiful carved figure of the Virgin on the portal. Opposite the church is a building that was once a pilgrims’ hospital. You can still see the coat of arms belonging to the Ullo family, who founded the hospital, on the facade of the building which is known to have existed in the 12th century.
Before Melide you cross a four arches medieval bridge which spans the river into the village of Furelos. The village still has a medieval air; in the centre is the Church of San Juan beside this a pilgrims hospital was once located.
Melide 5.6km All services
Albergue Xunta, Rúa San Antonio, €6, 156 beds, W, D, Tel: 660 396 822, open all year
Albergue O Cruceiro, Ronda de A Coruña, 2, private, €12, 60 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 616 764 896, Web: http://www.albergueocruceiro.es/, open Mar to Oct inc.
Albergue Turistico O Apalpador, c/ San Antonio, 23, private, €10, 30 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 981 506 266, Web: http://www.albergueoapalpador.com/, open all year.
Albergue Melide, Avenida Lugo, 92, private, €10, 42 beds, W, D, B, @, Bike, Tel: 981 507 491, Web: http://www.alberguemelide.com/, open Apr to Oct.
Albergue San Anton, Calle San Antonio, 6, private, €10, 36 beds, K, B, V, W, D, @, Tel: 698 153 672, web: http://alberguesananton.com/
Albergue Pereiro, 43 Rua Progreso, private, €10, €6 winter, 40 beds, W, D, @, V, Bike, Tel: 981 506 314, Web: http://www.alberguepereiro.com/, open all year.
Albergue O Apalpador II, 23 Calle de San Antonio, private, €10, 32 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 679 837 969, Web: http://www.albergueoapalpador.com/, open all year.
Melide is a busy market town which has a long history with the Camino. In the middle ages there were 100 families living here, (1575), most were innkeepers, and four large hospices for pilgrims. One of these hospices had 12 beds to sleep 24 pilgrims – 2 to a bed was typical.
On the route into Melide is the Church of San Pedro. Internally there are some fragments of 15th century mural paintings, however in front of the church there is a 14th century cross that is one of the finest in Galicia depicting God the Father and the Crucifixion with Maria.
The Church of Santa Maria de Melida was once outside of the town, however over the years it has become part of the suburbs. It is a 12th century Romanesque single nave church with a barrel vault. Although the church dates from the 12th century the frescos are 15th century; the central deity is the Trinity rather than the Virgin.
Boente de Baxixo 5.2km food shop, cafe, bar,water
Albergue Boente, private, €11, 22 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 981 501 974, http://albergueboente.com/, open all year.
Bar Os Albergues, private, W, D, @, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 501 853, open Apr to Oct.
There is a small Parish Church of St James with Santiago seated like the statues in Santiago cathedral. However it has little artist merit in comparison to the cathedral.
Castaneda 1.2km bar, water
Albergue Bar Santiago, private, €11, 6 beds, W, D, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 501 711, open all year.
Castaneda was famous for the furnaces where lime was prepared for use during the construction of Santiago cathedral. Picaud mentions it as a place where stones that have been picked up by pilgrims in Tricastela, where the quarries were, to obtain lime for the work on the basilica of the Apostle.
Ribadiso da Baixo 3.5km, bar, cafe, water
Albergue Xunta, €6, 70 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 981 501 815, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Albergue Los Caminantes, private, €10, 56 beds, W, D, K, V, @, Bike, Tel: 647 020 600, Web: http://www.albergueloscaminantes.com/, open Mar to Nov, double rooms €35 to €38
The Xunta pilgrims’ hostel was once “Hospital de San Anton de Ponte de Ribadiso” dating from the 14th century, it has been restored to be used again as pilgrims albergue.
Ribadiso da Carretera
Alber Milpes, private, on the road, €10, 28 beds, W, D, @, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 500 425, open all year.
Arzua 3.1km, all services
Albergue Xunta, c/ de lugar, 6, €6, 48 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 660 396 824, www.xacobeo.es open all year
Albergue Via Lactea, c/ de José Antonio, 26, private, €10, 60 beds, W, D, K, M, B, Bike, Tel: 981 500 581, Web: http://www.alberguevialactea.com/, open all year.
Albergue Santiago Apostol, c/ de Lugo, 107, private, €12, 72 beds, W, D, K, V, @, Tel: 981 508 132, http://www.alberguesantiagoapostol.com, open all year.
Albergue da Fonte, Rúa do Carmen, 18, private, €10, 20 beds, W, D, K, @, Tel: 981 501 118, Web: http://www.alberguedafonte.com/, open Apr to Oct inc.
Albergue Ultreia, c/ de Lugo, 126, private, €10, 39 beds, W, D, K, B, @, Bike, Tel: 981 500 471, Web: http://albergueultreia.com/, open all year.
AAlbergue Los Caminantes II, 14 Calle de Santiago, private, €10, 26 beds, W, D, @, Bike, Tel: 647 020 600, Web: http://www.albergueloscaminantes.com/, open Mar to Nov inc.
Albergue Don Quijote, c/ de Lugo, 130, private, €10, 50 beds, W, D, V, @, Bike, Tel: 981 500 139, Web: http://www.alberguedonquijote.com/, open all year.
Albergue de Selmo, 133 Rua Lugo, private, €10, 50 beds, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 981 939 018, Web: http://oalberguedeselmo.com/, open Easter to mid Oct.
Arzua is the last large town you will pass through before Santiago, (pop c7,000). Historically there is little to see apart from the local parish Church of St James and the ruins of the Convent of La Magdalena. The church, rebuilt in 1955, has two statues of Santiago one as a pilgrim and the other as the Moorslayer.
Key: W = Washing, D = Drying, M = Menu, @ = Internet, K = Kitchen, B = Breakfast, V = Vending, Cred = Credential
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