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French way – Stage 8, Day 3: Palas de Rei – Arzua
Distance: 28,8 Km
Time: 7 Hours
Even though it is a 29Km journey, it’s equivalent to a 40 Km hike on flat ground. There are many up and down-hills that make it very difficult to keep up.
This itinerary is the longest of the last stage of the Camino the Santiago. It crosses the border in between the province of Lugo and La Coruña, goes through Leboreiro and the “Pulpera” of Melide, where it links with the primitive Road, and continues through many beautiful scenaries such as the Catasol River. The end destination of the day is Arzua, that connects with the Camino of the North. Along the way we will be walking through some eucalyptus and oak trees forests, very traditional Galician hamlets where you will see many farm animals such as: Cows, Ducks, Chickens…
Because Melide and Arzua connect with the Primitive and North Caminos, the number of pilgrims on the way will be higher from this point.
Points of interest along this way (PALAS DE REI – ARZUA):
– Castillo de Pambre (Palas de Rei): Is the most complete Medieval Fort in Galicia. It dates from the XIV C. and it has survived the “Irmandiñas fights” against the feudal lordships.
– Church of St. Maria of Leboreiro (Leboreiro): Is the building that used to be the pilgrim hospital named “La Casa de la Enfermería” founded by the noble Ulloa family, whose coat of arms can be seen on the wall. On the top of its entrance you will see the image of St. Maria. Opposite to the church, there is a tradicional Cabaceiro (A very big basket that, like Horreos, was used to preserve the corn, letting it dry and preventing it from being eaten by animals).
– The Furelos medieval Bridge: that dates from the XII C.
– Iglesia del Espiritu Santo: It has been constructed with the stones of an old Fort of O Castelo that was destroyed during “La revuelta de los Irmandiños”, at the end of the XV C.
– Church of San Xulian do Camiño: It dates from the XII C.
– Church of Santa Maria (Melide);
– Church of Santa Maria Magdalena (Arzua): It dates from the XIV C. and is located near the ruins of an ancient convent.
– The hamlets are almost exclusively dedicated to “the Galician Blonde” which is a type of cow that together with the Province of Asturias, is raising the best type of veal in Spain.
This stage of the way is full of interesting legends:
– The hamlet of San Xulian do Camiño has a legend that tells the sad story about San Xulian: When Xulian was born he was cursed by witches to murder his parents many years later. In order to avoid it, Xulian ran away from his home ending up in Galicia. His parents looked for him and when they finally found his home, Xulian’s wife offered them to rest in their marital bed, while Xulian was still out hunting. It was then, when the devil came and told him that the people in his bed were his wife and a lover. Because of this, Xulian murdered his parents. Asking for forgiveness, Xulian offered to set up a hospital for pilgrims. Xulián eventually built more than 7 hospitals and several houses offering respite to the poor and weary. According to the legend, an angel came to him a few years later and forgave him.
– Santa Maria de Leboreiro: According to a legend, one day, beside the church some water started to flow from an interesting fountain that emitted light at night and a nice scent during the day. People, curious about it, started digging until they found an image of the Virgin that was moved into the church of the hamlet. But every night, the Virgin went back to the fountain. Then, the inhabitants of Leboeiro decided tu sculpt an image of the virgin on stone and put it on the thympanus of the entrance, where is still located. Because of that, the Virgin stayed since then inside of the church.
Gastronomy in Melide:
After walking half the way, you deserve a delicious Lunch, and we strongly recommend to have it in Melide. Melide is very well-known for being the village located in the interior that serves the best Galician Octopus (Pulpo a feira) Probably the most tradictional dish in Galicia.
Also Melide is famous for its sweets: Melindres and Ricos.
– The Melindres: So you can understand what they look like, they are like donuts but drier, and with a slight taste of anis. They are shined and glazed (to enhance the sweet taste) with syrup. Even though they are sold in many parts of Galicia, it is believed that Melide makes the best ones.
– The Ricos: They are traditional butter cookies, but with a peculiar shape. They are made only in Melide.
The second Sunday of May Melide celebrates the “Fare of the Melindres and Traditional Pastry”, this fair also tries to remember the craft professionals from the past that formed their tradition (such as blacksmiths, shoemakers, tinsmiths …).
Where to eat:
– Pulpería “Casa Ezequiel” Very well-known for making one of the best Pulpo a Feira (Galician Octopus) in Galicia. The wine is delicious and the pilgrim ambience cant be better. Octopus for 2 + Wine = 6 euros.
– Bar restaurante Casa Farruco (Furelos)
– A Garnacha Restaurante Pulpería (Melide) Address: Camiño Vello de Santiago 2, baixo. Another option to have very good Octopus.
– Mesón Parrillada Castañeda (Castañeda) at carretera Lugo-Santiago, km. 58, they serve Daily Menus
– Mesón Rural Ribadiso (Ribadiso de abaixo) Good daily menus.
– Casa Chelo (Arzua) Fraga do Rei, 14, Traditional home made food.