My route is known as the Classic Camino Experience on the French path (Camino Frances) walking from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela at the end of the Camino. Santiago de Compostela is a wonderful UNESCO world heritage city.
This is the most populated town on the French Way and a popular starting point for many pilgrims. Sarria has a rich architectural heritage, including an early Gothic 13th century church, O Salvador (The Saviour), and the Convent of A Madalena, founded as a pilgrim hospital in the 13th Century, by Italian Monks. I am also keen to enjoy many of the local dishes. Sarria is famous for a meat stew called Cocido and egg Freixos served with cream and honey.
This town was built next to a Roman bridge over the Minho River; however, in the 1960’s when the river was dammed to create a reservoir, the most historic buildings were moved brick by brick and reconstructed–including the main church, Church of San Juan of Portomarin. If a town of only a few thousand can do this, there is hope for Christchurch (my city in New Zealand) to rebuild its cathedral brick by brick after the 2011 earthquake.
This is where two separate paths, the French way and the Camino Primitivo link up, just like the marks on the scallop shell. In 1320, a castle was built; however, in 1467, during a fight for power against the Archbishop Alonso 11 Fonseca, the walls of the village and the castle were destroyed.
Famous for Polbo á Feira” (literally meaning fair style octopus), a traditional Galician dish. After the octopus is cooked it is sprinkled with coarse salt, olive oil and sweet and spicy paprika (pimento). It is customarily served on wooden plates with bread. Tradition suggests it needs to be eaten with a young Galician wine and not water. When in Rome? I will follow tradition and test it out!
This region is famous for having the most cows per person in the whole of Galicia. Coming from Canterbury, New Zealand, with its large dairy industry of 1.3million cows to about 500,000 people, I wonder whether we have more cows per capita. I should feel right at home here.
The current population are mostly of Basque extraction. As we know from studies of DNA, they were the first inhabitants of Ireland! It will be interesting to see if I can see any familiar looks from my Irish side of the family.
As would be expected, it is also famous for cheese, a pointy-shaped cheese, Queixo de Tetilla (meaning the little breast). Since I am raising money to preserve breasts, through Breast Cancer Research, I will be trying this cheese. Eat, Walk, Pray for a cure!!
This is a small village with an old fort
Santiago de Compostela
What a better place to end my journey than St James’s field of stars, now the site of a beautiful cathedral to honour St James. In 1985, the city’s old town was designated a UNESCO World heritage site and over 100,000 pilgrims travel to the city each year from points all over Europe and other parts of the world. This pilgrimage has been the subject of many books, television programmes, and films and now my blog!
These are the main places I hope to visit.
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
Pazo de Raxoi – City Hall and office of the President of Galicia
Colexiata de Santa Maria do Sar – 12th century
Baroque Abbey de San Martin Pinario- 16th Century
University of Santiago de Compostela
Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea
Parque de San Domingos de Bonaval
City of Culture of Galicia designed by Peter Eisenman
Parque de Carlomagno
Convent and Church of San Francisco – 17th Century