Day 30 Portomarin to Palas de Rei – 24.7km, 6 hours.
After the steep down hill along Portomarin main street and the a gentle uphill around Monte San Antonio the rest of the day is easy going through rolling country side. From Portomarin to Hospital de la Cruz the Camino follows the main road on a dirt track nearby. After Hospital de la Cruz you cross the N-540 and the path is asphalted for the next 10km and very easy going.
For the last 3km leading into Palas de Rei once again you are on a dirt track alongside the main road.
Again today you are no more than a few kilometres between any town or village, therefore there are many places for buying food and filling up with water. This day reminds me of walking in rural Ireland it is very similar, both are very green farming communities.
Gonzar 7.6km, water, bar, cafe
Albergue Xunta, beside road, €10, 22 beds, W, D, K, Tel: 982 157 840, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
Albergue Casa Garcia, Gonzar, 3, private, €10, 40 beds, W, D, Bike, Tel: 982 157 842, open all year
The parish church is dedicated to St Mary.
Shortly after Gonzar you enter Castromaior. As well as the small Romanesque Church of Santa Marie there are the ruins of “castro”, in English hill fort. This gives the name to several small villages along the way Castro Lardeiros, Castro Simone, Castro de Valos and Castro Marza.
Hospital de la Cruz 4.5km cafe, restaurant, food shop, water
Albergue Xunta, old school, €6, 32, W, D, K, Tel: 982 545 232, www.xacobeo.es, open all year
At one time there was a pilgrim’s hospital here, it existed until the 18th century however no evidence of it remains.
Vantas de Naron 1.2km cafe, water
Albergue Casa Molar, Ventas de Narón, 4, private, €10, 22 beds, W, D, M, Bike, Tel: 696 794 507, open Mar to Nov inc.
Albergue O Cruceiro, Ventas de Narón, 6, private, €10, 26 beds, W, D, M, V, Bike, Tel: 658 064 917, Web: http://albergueocruceiro.blogspot.com/, open Mar to Oct.
Ligonda 3.5km cafe, water
Albergue Municipal Escuela de Ligonde, on right leaving village, W, D, K, @, Bike, Tel: 679 816 061, open Apr to Nov inc
Albergue Fuente del Peregrino, centre of village, private, donation, 10 beds, M, Bike, Tel: 687 550 527, Web: http://lafuentedelperegrino.com/en, open Apr to Oct.
Ligonda is a shadow of its former self, at one point this was an important stop along the route to Santiago. The Church of Santiago still has its Romanesque portal though the rest of the church is mostly now neo-classical . The church and hospital here belonged to the Order of St James and even now you can still see the small pilgrims’ cemetery.
Eirexe .9km cafe and two albergues
Xunta, on main street at crossroad, €6, 20 beds, W, D, K, Tel: 982 153 483
Pension Eirexe, private, 18 Eirexe de Ligonde, €10, 14 beds, W, D, V, @, M, Tel: 982 153 475 – 10 of the 14 beds are double rooms at €35 per room per night.
Portos 2.3km Bar / cafe and two albergues
Albergue A Calzada, Xunta, €10, 10 beds, M, Tel: 982 183 744, open Apr to Sep inc
Albergue A Paso de Forminga, private, off the route signposted, €10, 13 beds, W. D, V, @, Bike, Tel: 618 984 605, Web: http://www.apasodeformiga.com/, open Easter to Oct inc.
After Portos you can take a detour to the Romanesque Church of El Salvador which dates from at least 1184 when it was taken over by the Knights of the Order of St James, (takes about 45 minutes). From then it became the official burial place for the order in Galicia. The church is classified as a Spanish national monument due to the important artistic treasures contained within the church. There are tombs of knights of the Order of St James, a stone retable which portrays scenes of the Miracle of the Eucharist and the Descent from the Cross. However the most spectacular are the 15th century Gothic frescos which are rare in Spain. They portray the Annunciation and include two figures that are thought to be King Juan II and Queen Maria of Aragon.
(O Chacotes 3.7km, on main road, Xunta, €6, 120 beds, W, D, Cafe, K, Tel: 607 481 536 – newly built in 2007 considered suburb of Palas de Rei)
Palas de Rei 4.7km all facilities except for post office, 5 albergues
Albergue Xunta, Carretera de Compostela, 19, €6, 60 beds, W, D, K, Bike, Tel: 660 396 820, open all year
Albergue Buen Camino, Rua do Peregrino, private, €10, 40 beds, W,D, K, M, Bike, Tel: 982 380 233, Web: http://www.alberguebuencamino.com/, open mid Mar to Oct inc.
Albergue Mesón de Benito, Rua da Paz, private €10, 100 beds, W, D, M, @, Bike, Tel: 982 103 386, Web: http://alberguemesondebenito.com/, open Apr to mid Oct.
Albergue Castro, Avenida de Ourense 24, private, €10, 56 beds, W, D, @, M, V, Bike, Tel: 609 080 655, http://alberguecastro.com/, open all year.
Albergue Outeiro, Plaza de Galicia 25, private, €10, 50 beds, W, D, @, V, Bike, Tel: 982 380 242, Web: http://www.albergueouteiro.com/en/, open Mar to Oct inc.
Albergue A Casina di Marcello, private, €10, 17 beds, W, D, K, V, @, Bike, Tel: 640 723 903, Web: http://www.albergueacasina.com/, open all year.
Albergue San Marcos, private, €10, 71 beds, W. D. K, @, V, Bike, Tel: 982 380 711, Web: http://alberguesanmarcos.com/, open unknown.
One wonders if Aymeric Picaud, author of Codex Calixtinus, had an experience during this stage. He wrote:
Innkeepers’ servants along the Road to Santiago who taking pleasure in seduction for illicit gain, are inspired by the Devil himself to get into pilgrims’ beds at night, are fully reprehensible. Harlots who go out to meet pilgrims in wild parts between Portomarin and Palas de Rei for this purpose should not only be excommunicated, but also stripped of everything and exposed to public ridicule, after having their noses cut off.
Palas de Rei was referred to as the Royal Palace in the first pilgrims’ guide from the 12th century, however there is little in the town now to remind us of its historic past. There is the Church of San Tirso which has a Romanesque portal and scallop shells decorate a medieval building; it is a strange contrast to the wealth of the surrounding countryside which has 20 Romanesque Parish churches from a total of 43 within the Palas parish.
Key: W = Washing, D = Drying, M = Menu, @ = Internet, K = Kitchen, B = Breakfast, V = Vending, Cred = Credential
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