Portomarín to Palas De Rei – Stage 33

Stage 33 – Portomarín – Palas De Rei
Total Distance – 24.8 km (13.9 miles)
Adjusted for Climb – 27.0 km  (16.7 miles, accrued ascent 450 m = 2.2 km)
High Point: Sierra Ligonde at 720 m (2,362 feet)

CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO ENLARGE TO FULL-SIZE

Please note that some names may be in Galician – you’ll now it when you see it.

One of the bridges that led out of Portomarín

One of the bridges that led out of Portomarín. Notice the line of peregrinos heading toward it and on it.

DSCN3390My first thought when we left Portomarín was, “Where did all these people come from?” and then I remembered that we were within the last 100 kilometers of Santiago and it all fell into place. Still, the numbers of peregrinos on the road that morning was impressive. Immediately upon leaving we came upon a woodland and were soon paralleling the main road.

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Look at the hordes of people on the road!!

Look at the hordes of people on the road!!

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Signs always showed us the way.

Signs always showed us the way.

When we reached the village of Toxibó we came upon another hórreo strategically placed beside a lovely family home. It was the finest example I had seen of one up to that point. Sue and I had no idea what they were for and why they had that unique design. Later we were to learn that the pedestals that had rounded curves and the overhanging base of the hórreo were designed that way to keep out rodents and little animals. These intruders cannot climb up curved surfaces and this measure was enough to protect the meats that would be curing inside the hórreo or the grain stored there. The wooden slats on the sides of the hórreo insured that the structure was properly ventilated. In time we would see many, many more examples of these unique structures.    DSCN3402 DSCN3403 In the meantime we had some walking to do and as you can see from the picture below Sue was completely recovered and had no problem climbing up some of the steep slopes we found in our way.

Believe it or not but that little dot in the distance is Sue!

Believe it or not but that little dot in the distance is Sue!

There she is!!

There she is!! In this area the climbs were short and between a 9% to 15% grade.

With the beautiful countryside as our constant companion we also encountered peregrinos that decided on taking a unique mode of transportation!

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This husband and wife team were Dutch. You soon learned on the Camino that the Dutch were bike crazy!

This husband and wife team were Dutch. You soon learned on the Camino that the Dutch were bike crazy!

As we approached the area around the Sierra Ligonde we saw that the area was one of great beauty.

DSCN3413 DSCN3417 Midway in our stage we came upon a small chapel in Ventas de Narón. It was situated in a peaceful setting which belied the events of 820 AD when a bloody and cruel battle was fought here between Christian and Muslim armies with the Christian armies emerging victorious. Curiously, I saw no plaques that spoke of that fateful battle; all that I saw was a chapel and a plaque that spoke of the renovation of the chapel in 2004.

DSCN3414 DSCN3415Our next stop was to be just beyond the village of Lameiros where a Cross or Cruceiro awaited us. Specifically it was the Cruceiro de Lameiros (1670) that we stopped to see. At the base of the cross you see symbols that represent the suffering and death of Jesus while at the top, where you would expect to see a crucified Christ, is a symbol of maternity. This particular juxtaposition of life and death while unexpected I found to be jarring. To me it was a shock because you see the Virgin Mary holding Jesus (whether it is a baby Jesus or the Jesus of the Cross I cannot tell) in a place one would never expect to see it but then you walk to the other side and then see the crucified Christ. Does it represent the Alpha and the Omega or the love of a mother for her son? Or both?

The Cruceiro de Lameiros (1670)

The Cruceiro de Lameiros (1670)

Maternity and life

Maternity and life

Bones representing death

Bones representing the death of Christ

A hammer and nails representing the suffering of Christ on the Cross

A hammer and nails representing the suffering of Christ on the Cross

The crucified Christ on the other side of the cross

The crucified Christ on the other side of the cross

DSCN3429Four kilometers later we made another stop at the hamlet of Ligonde. Ligonde was a place full of historical significance during the medieval period and is actually two hamlets. The first is known as Ligonde Ligonde and is at the top of the hill. The first of the sites here that we saw was the ancient cementerio de peregrinos (pilgrim cemetery). It is located on an old farm named Leira da rúa and its presence would seem to indicate that somewhere near was a pilgrim hospital or hospice.

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The wall and the cross are all that remain of the original cemetary

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You can’t miss seeing this site as it is right on the pilgrimage route. I wonder how ancient peregrinos felt when they saw this place.

Next we saw the Casa de Carnero, founded by the powerful Ulloa family and as the sign below says, the place where Carlos V, on March 24 of 1520 stayed while on his way to be crowned Emperor.  Felipe II, his son, also stayed here on May 20, 1554 while on his way to La Coruna sail to England to wed Mary Tudor.  In the 16th century this house was given the right of asylum. This meant that anyone accused of a crime or fleeing justice was instantly “freed” upon crossing into the house.

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A unusually simple sign for such a historical place!

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This could be the Ulloa Coat of Arms but it could also be the Coat of Arms of the Travas, Montenegros and Varelas whose Coat of Arms are also on this house.

A few meters from the Casa de Carnero is the Fuente del Peregrino albergue. It is an albergue that is run is by a British religious group. The building actually was a school built by the hamlet during the Republican period and we were very kindly greeted there with cold water and brightly painted signs that adorned the exterior walls.

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A nice way to say goodbye!

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Free Hugs were available!!!

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Others also stopped for water and free hugs

Moving on we were so in amongst nature again.

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One of my favorite pictures!

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A long and narrow trail

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The hamlet of Eirexe boasts a church with Roman and Romanesque remains and a cruciero

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The cruciero in Eirexe

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Sue loved this little statute that was part of the decoration of the outdoor area of a Cafe where we stopped!

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So did I!! This is one of my favorite pictures!

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The Rectoral de Lestedo was once a pilgrim hospital, then a Rectory and now a modern Casa Rural (Bed & Breakfast). I may stay there next time

Our final stretch into Palas de Rei was tranquil and uneventful.

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Palas de Rei as seen from the outskirts of town

 

 

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