We don’t like vandals anywhere, but even less in the Camino de Santiago, and especially on the Primitivo, which has always been a territory of authentic, Camino-loving pilgrims, for how tough and highly demanding it is. However, we are lately finding some shows of vandalism in areas of the Primitive Way near our albergues.
And today, a few weeks after that, we have found that some one has stolen the tile with the shell from the wall of the church of San Xorxe de Augas Santas:
We don’t know if it has been a pilgrim wanting to call attention or take a “real” souvenir of the Camino with him, or maybe a neighbour of the area wanting to annoy, or just someone who passed by and who can be proud of being really irrespectful and lacking any education, but we have this message for these vandals: you can graffiti your own house or that of your parents, or maybe tear out tiles from your own kitchen, but just leave the Camino de Santiago alone! Thank you.
It is usually said that the Camino de Santiago has Magic. It must be true, because in just a few days our albergues are suddenly about 2km closer to Santiago! Ponte Ferreira was 74,30km from Santiago, and A Nave was 75,10km. This week, however, the kilometric points of the new way markers have been installed, and all of a sudden the albergues are 72,40 and 73,20km from Santiago! 🙂
Albergue A Nave is about 500m before the old way marker with the kilometric point 74,622, and Albergue Ponte Ferreira is about 300m after it; now, with the new marking, they are respectively on kilometric point 73,175 and about 110m after kilometric point 72,528.
If you are following our blog from the beginining you might remember that the Association ADAYEUS shared a meal with us in 2014, in Albergue Ponte Ferreira. You can see the entry we did for it in our blog, in este enlace. That day they had ended a stage of their Primitive Way.
They are currently doing the French Way on weekend stages, so we were very surprised to get their call asking if they could end one of their stages, near Palas de Rei, by driving to Ferreira in their bus to have a paella with us! It would be on April 1st, our 2017 season opening day. We said we would be pleased to have them back, but this time it would have to be in Albergue A Nave, as the other albergue, besides still being closed, was not big enough to host the 55 of them.
Here are some of the few pictures we could take this time (you can see them in bigger size by clicking on them):
We hope you enjoyed your time with us this time again. See you soon!
We have new way markers along the Primitive Way!, at least in the part around our albergues, here in Lugo. Since a few days ago the new way markers, such as the ones that have already been installed along other Caminos, are now being installed in this area of the Primitive Way. And this means that finally, the leg of the Camino between San Román de Retorta and Ferreira is now marked. Not only this, but the workers have also removed the markers that were along the former official route, the one that went through Vilamaior de Negral and Seixalbos, which means that pilgrims will not get lost in the future trying to follow that route, which lacked any maintenance in its marking since years ago.
We prepared a blog entry about the issue some months ago, but it is now obviously outdated 🙂
Update (March 15th 2017): the markers now have a shell tile and the arrow painted in yellow; only the kilometric point is left for them to be finished, and we have been told by the workers that it should be done by the end of April:
Update (April 30th): the way markers already have the kilometric point!
IMPORTANT NOTICE: this entry is outdated since early March 2017. You can get updated information about the issue in this other entry.
This blog entry is a bit hard to write as the terms used are contradictory, but we shall try to explain you what the situation is like at the moment (Summer 2016).
For many years, the pilgrim arriving at San Roman de Retorta in the Primitive Way had to take a decision: to proceed on through the official path, following the jacobean signposts marked with the shell and the kilometres left to Santiago, or take the detour (and shortcut) to the right, known as the “via romana” or “roman path”. Both paths met again further ahead, at the Roman bridge of Ferreira, but the pilgrim choosing the “via romana” would walk almost two kilometres less, and through a bit less of roads and a bit more of foot paths. There is not much of “Roman” in the path itself, besides the Roman stone milepost that was found here, a reproduction of which is situated in the central area of San Roman.
Since 2012 the officially recognized and delimited by the Xunta de Galicia path between San Roman and Ferreira is the one known as the “via romana”, which goes through Burgo de Negral, Vilacarpide and Pacio; thus, the other path, going through Vilamaior de Negral, stopped being maintained and having any of the protection and privileges (along with obligations) of the places which the Camino de Santiago goes through. However, the old path is still nowadays referred to as “camino oficial”, and the currently official camino is still known as “via romana”. And here is where we find the little chaos and contradiction, as:
The “camino oficial” is not the official camino anymore, while the “via romana”, which for years was considered as a meer detour and shortcut, is indeed the official camino
Thus, when the pilgrim reaches the church at San Roman de Retorta (which he/she will do from its rear side), he/she shall not continue straight, but take the small path that starts to the right just before the church, which will lead us to the central area of San Roman in just 200 metres, where the reproduction of the earlier mentioned Roman milestone and a bar can be found. If we go on, we shall find the public albergue of San Roman in just 700 metres, with capacity for only 12 persons, and if we proceed for another 7 to 8 kilometres we shall reach Ferreira, more and more often used as the end of this stage by pilgrims, and where we shall find two albergues, a bar and a rural house.
This way, if we take the path that has been the official one for the Primitivo between San Roman and Ferreira since 2012, we will walk through the hamlets of Burgo de Negral, Vilacarpide and Pacio, walking nearly 2 kilometres less, with less road walking and with more services for the pilgrim (which will only be found, however, at the very beginning and at the end of the 8 to 9 kilometres long walk).
How come that in the last four years the relevant Administration has yet not removed the jacobean signposts from the former path and placed them on the new one, this way driving hundreds of pilgrims to mistakenly take a longer and harder route in their Camino Primitivo? We don’t know, but our guess is that burocracy has played its role… The latest news we have is that the coming Winter or Spring finally the Diputacion is going to remove the posts from the old path and place them in the “via romana”, at the same time that they change all the posts of the Primitive Way for the new ones. Meanwhile, from Albergue Ponte Ferreira we keep the yellow paint arrows in good shape along the “via romana”, so no pilgrim is lost between San Roman and Ferreira.
Actually, most pilgrims since a few years ago take the “via romana”, but those few who mistakenly take the old route get quite upset when they find out that they walked longer than needed and through unmaintained paths, with vegetation covering the way or owners of land detouring the route, tired of missled pilgrims going through their land.
Additionally, the Diputacion recently installed some (very much welcome) signs for both cars and pilgrims along the Camino from Lugo to San Roman, but they mistakenly signed the way to proceed from the church of San Roman through the old route, as can be seen in the next image:
If you still have any doubts about how true the information we are giving you is, you can check the next map, which we have composed by adding up the maps in Pdf found in the Xunta de Galicia’s web site for the official route of the Camino Primitivo (to access them, click where it says “serie de planos” for each of the three towns affected: Guntin, Friol and Palas de Rei); you can see the map in higher size and resolution by clicking on it:
We finish this blog entry with a message for pilgrims, another one for editors of Camino guides, and a final one for the Administration:
PILGRIM: in San Roman de Retorta make no mistake and take the path to your right at the church, the so called “via romana”: you shall walk less kilometres, will do less of road walk, will enjoy a nicer landscape and will have more services.
EDITORS of Camino guides: please, stop mentioning at all the former official route in your guides, as this makes pilgrims take a route that is not good in any way, walking longer and (hopefully not!) maybe causing some incidents, as the path is not maintaned, some land owners detour it, and cars driving do not expect to find pilgrims; actually, please write a couple of lines in your guides discouraging pilgrims from taking that route!
ADMINISTRATION (the relevant one, which ever it may be: Xunta de Galicia, Diputacion, etc…): place the jacobean signposts along the “via romana” as soon as possible; but in the meantime, at least remove the existing ones from the former official camino, and certainly stop indicating that the camino goes that way (as the Diputacion recently did!)
Since a few weeks ago, the pilgrims in the Camino Primitivo have a new albergue available in Ferreira: ALBERGUE A NAVE DE FERREIRA. It is situated just 800m before our ALBERGUE PONTE FERREIRA, and also at the very Camino, 26km after Lugo.
You will find it easily in the first group of houses belonging to Ferreira (A Covela hamlet), approximately 1,5km after Pacio. That is if you have taken, back in San Román’s Church, the so called “via Romana” option. If you have taken the other route (the former official one) you will also get to Albergue A Nave, but you will have walked about 2km longer and will not have walked the route that was officially accepted by the Xunta de Galicia as the official route already some years ago.
In the albergue you will find: a reception/bar area, a dining room area, a reading/resting area with couches, books, table games, etc…, four communal rooms, each with a bathroom inside, and also 9 double rooms with bathroom, also available for one person use. Of course, heating is available in the colder months, and there is wifi available for every one. Yummy warm and cold sandwiches can be ordered from the bar, along with hamburger with fries, mixed salad, gazpacho or fried eggs with rice and tomato sauce. You can have breakfast in the morning, and a communal dinner is also offered, as in Ponte Ferreira, but with a different menu.
Do you think Ferreira will end up being the official end for stage 10 of the Camino Primitivo?
In December 13th, 2015, the Holy Door of the Cathedral of Santiago will be opened, just a week after the start of the extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy year, which will last until November 20th, 2016; this will be the first time that the Holy Door is opened in a not Jacobean Holy Year (the last one was 2010 and the next one is 2021). Pilgrims of Catholic faith who access the Cathedral through this door are granted plenary indulgence.
Addtionally, the Xunta de Galicia (the Galician regional government) has announced 2016 to be the year of the Camino del Norte and Primitivo, with especial investiments and improvements to be made on these Jacobean routes. A high increase on the number of pilgrims walking the Primitive Way is thus expected next year, and so from Ponte Ferreira we advice pilgrims to try to avoid the busiest months in the Camino (July through September), trying to walk your Way in other less busy, and even more pilgrim-friendly months, such as April, May, June or October, in which you will enjoy more peaceful walking stages and even more beautiful landscapes.
Have you decided to walk the Primitivo in 2016?
For many pilgrims, the Camino ends in Santiago. For many others it ends further West, at the edge of the sea, either in Fisterra or in Muxia. Some days ago I visited Muxia. I hadn’t been there since 2003, when I visited the Costa da Morte to photograph the effects of the black tide caused by the Prestige on the wildlife and population of the area; I wanted to visit the place now that it is again clean, and enjoy the Camino atmosphere that can be felt there. Here are some pics of that dusk in Muxia some days ago. I hope you like them:
I had the chance to meet Dave there: a pilgrim sat near me to enjoy the sunset, and after some chatting we found out that he had been walking the Camino Primitivo: a Primitivo pilgrim and a Primitivo hospitalero enjoying the Muxia sunset. He was ending his Camino there, after having reached Santiago, then Fisterra and then Muxia. It is amazing the relationship you can create in just about an hour of conversation. Dave, if you read this, receive our regards from Ferreira, in the Primitivo!
Juanma, hospitalero in Albergue Ponte Ferreira
We are fed up and angry of listening how pilgrims are fooled, because of economic or commercial interests, by people that have no respect for what the Camino is and means.
Last year we found how pilgrims were being missinformed, somewhere between Lugo and our albergue, that Ponte Ferreira was closed (being as it was the middle of the season!), so we started informing, in our blog and in our facebook site, that we were open every day, without exception, during the whole season. Today we have been informed by a pilgrim, surprised as he was for having been able to stop at our place for a sandwich and something to drink before continuing his Camino, that he had been told yesterday in Lugo that in our albergue no food was served (or any services given) to pilgrims not staying with us for the night. And of course, this couldn’t be more incorrect!
We want to use this post to ask hospitaleros of other albergues, owners and employees of bars, cafes, restaurants and other places along the Camino, that if they do not know the answer to a question made by a pilgrim, they just answer that they do not know, and do not missinform him, due to ignorance or bad will.
And we ask you, pilgrim, that if you are given information that you consider to be a little strange, do not just believe it; instead, call or email the place and ask them directly, as they are the best ones to give you the information you are looking for. It’s just too often that pilgrims walk passed our albergue and are shocked to see that we are open; they tell us that they would have stayed with us but they had been informed that we were closed, for which they stayed in the previous albergue, when ours would have been much more convenient for them because of its distance from Lugo.
We never missinform pilgrims! If we do not know the answer to a question, we suggest he/she calls the place and finds out by him/herself; we even sometimes call to find out for him/her!
As an example of this bad practice in the Camino, let us tell you something: we sometimes inform some pilgrims (if the circumstances demad so) that the next bar, a few km ahead, is closed on Thrusdays; sometimes they look at us a little suspiciously, as if they believe that we are lying to them so they purchase something to eat or drink from us; more than one pilgrim in such case has continued his Camino, expecting to get some food or drink there, and must have found that we were not lying. If there weren’t people lying and missinforming pilgrims along the Camino, there wouldn’t be that suspiction from pilgrims and they would not get these shocks.
Pilgrim, don’t let yourself be missinformed, and if you find that you have been, inform about it in public.
(CLICK ON PICTURES TO SEE THEM AT BIGGER SIZE)
We want to show you a little bit of the beauty of Ferreira’s early Spring, in the surroundings of Albergue Ponte Ferreira. If you’re walking the Primitive Way of Saint James and you come and visit us, we’ll share all this with you. We’re waiting for you!