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The 8th Stage: Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5
Day 1 of the 8th stage of the French Camino: SARRIA – PORTOMARIN:
Distance: 22,4 Km
Difficulty: medium – high
Time: 5/6 h
In this stage it is impossible to get bored, it has many things so the pilgrim will be entertained. Along its 22Kms the walk is covered by paved roads, paths, strong down hills, mild uphills…Also, this way crosses the railways, good Romanesque examples, medieval and rustic bridges, great landscapes, bridges over the amazing Belesar dam and countless hamlets of the Concello de Sarria, Paradela and Portomarin…
It is on this part of the route where we will find the landmark indicating 100 Kms left to arrive at Santiago de Compostela.
A bit of History and interesting facts:
Portomarin is located on the side of the river Miño. Actually, this is the New Portomarin. The old one, is submerged under the waters of the Miño river in the Belares Dam since 1963. The old Portomarin was a very important part of the Camino during the Medieval Ages. It had a big bridge and a Hospital. Now, all of it is underwater. In the fall the old town resurfaces with the descent of the river flow. The great church constructed during the XII Century by the knights of the Order of San Juan of Jerusalem, was dissassembled, stone by stone to be rebuilt in the place where it is located now.
Points of interest along this way (SARRIA – PORTOMARIN):
– A Aspera bridge (Sarria): This bridge dates from the romanic period. It is made of slate and ashlars and crosses the Celeiro river.
– Church of San Pedro (portomarin): This church constructed at the end of the XII century, is the first temple that pilgrims find when entering Portomarin.
– Church of Santa Maria de Ferreiros (Ferreira): This small church with a Romanesque facade of the XII Century is located in the little hamlet of Ferreiros. This hamlet appeared thanks to the Camino de Santiago. Ferreira was a blacksmith’s site where pilgrims could nail their shoes and the ones travelling by horse, could shoe their animals.
– The Pre-Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Loio (Paradela): It is the only remaining vestige of the Monastery where the “Orden of Santiago” was born: 12 knights that swore to protect pilgrims from muslim raids.
– Church of Santiago de Barbadelo (Barbadelo): It dates from the XII century. This church was constructed over the remains of an old monastery. For this reason, the church appears in the Codex Calixtinus, and people refer to it as a monastery.
– Church of San Xoan e San Nicolas (Portomarin): This church dates from the end of the XII Century. It has an interesting structure that looks like a fort, justified by its strategic situation beside the Miño river and because it was supposed to be the castle of the Order of San Juan at the same time as their church.
– Pazos of the town of Portomarin: These traditional manors are constructions from the Middle Ages.
Events and local gastronomy:
– Fair of the 9th day of Portomarin: Every 9th of each month, there is a livestock and trade fair.
– Brandy of Portomarin: (Augardente de Portomarin) Sold directly from the harvesters to the consumer.
– Portomarin cake: Delicious Almond cake, very similar to the Cake of Santiago but more juicy and flavorful.
Where to eat:
*A Cantina Pulperia Luis: Calvo Sotelo, 124 sarria. Here you can have an amazing meal for a low price. They specialize in octopus.
* Cafetería Santiago: paseo do malecón 15 -Sarria. Delicious home made traditional food.
* Roma: Calvo Sotelo, 2 -Sarria. Especialized in grilled meats.
* Cafe-Bar Supenedo en Portomarin. C/General Franco nº 20. phone#: 982 54 50 41. Recommended to have a good breakfast.
* Taberna Perez. In the Villa ( Opposite the Civil Guard barracks). Phone# 982 54 52 18. Very good Raciones for lunch or dinner. You have to try their Fried eels (Anguilas fritas) and Galician Octopus (Pulpo).
* Cafe Bar O Castro. In Castromaior. Right on the Camino. Perfect place to have any meal of the day or just to relax. Very good sandwiches. After this stop, the pilgrim lovers of archeology should take a short detour to visit the archaeological remains of the Celtic fort (Castro) in excavation process.
Do you want to read more about Sarria? The most important stop along the French Way after Santiago de Compostela.
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