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.
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We prepared a blog entry about the issue some months ago, but it is now obviously outdated 🙂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?
Hoy queremos compartir con todos vosotros algo muy especial, que nos ha llegado profundamente: Miwel, Fede e Ignacio son tres peregrinos que se alojaron en el albergue ayer, realizando el reto deportivo/solidario “Neuronas X Kilómetros“, con el que pretenden concienciar, recaudar fondos y luchar contra el Alzheimer y otras demencias mentales. El reto consiste en que Miwel (Miguel Vañó, alias “corredor heavy”) – apoyado por la revista online berunnermyfriend personificada en Fede – correrá 500km para recaudar fondos para la Asociación “Acuérdate de mí” de Bigastro (Alicante). Los 321km del Camino Primitivo son los primeros, pero seguirán otras pruebas, como por ejemplo la Maratón de Castellón. Podéis leer la historia completa, conocer la motivación personal de Miwel por esta causa y ver vídeos y fotos sobre el reto en los siguientes enlaces:
Web migranodearena.org, donde puedes hacer tu donación – que agradecerán por pequeña que sea – si así lo deseas
Os dejamos unas fotos de la visita de estos fuera de serie a nuestro albergue:
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?
(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!
(Click on pictures to see them at bigger size)
We recently told you about the Iglesia Parroquial de San Martiño de Poutomillos in the stage from Lugo to our albergue. Today we are bringing you another hidden gem of the Primitive Way which is geographically quite near the previous one, but is much more interesting and important.
The Archaeological Site of Boveda was declared a National Historic and Artistic Monument in 1931 (just five years after it was discovered) and a Building of Cultural Interest in 1985. Actually, 1926 was only the year on which the finding was published, the real time of its discovery being 1914, when the priest of the Church of Santa Eulalia de Boveda de Mera, Mr. Jose Maria Penado, dig a hole and found a small opening that communicated with a narrow space, where he found a dome’s start. The 100th anniversary of its discovery has just been celebrated.
The monument was surrounded by mistery from the first moment in regard to its origin, use, signification and chronology. The most accepted theory since the 1950s is that it would have been created as a temple devoted to some pagan divinity, and later christianized.
Originally the monument was not half-buried as it is now, but at ground level, and was made by two floors, from which only the lower one exists today; the Church of Santa Eulalia de Boveda is now in the place of the upper floor.
A small gantry in the front of the building gives access to the entrance door, with a semi-circular arch (tending to horseshow arch), and surrounded at both sides by two rectangular windows with a triangular gap on them. The inside of the monument is a regular space, originally single but later on divided in three bodies separated by columns and arches, of which today only the lateral starts remain. At the end, a small apse with a great semi-circular arch can be found; inside this apse there is a space from which some stairs started toward the upper floor, probably built in late modifications of the building and then later on demolished.
In the center of the monument there is a shallow, rectangular pool, around which many theories about the monument have been constructed. At some point in history this pool was buried, for which it was not discovered until the 1950s. Although the sculptoric decoration of the monument is certainly interesting, the most important decorations of Santa Eulalia de Boveda are its wall paintings, unique in the history of Roman Spain. It is paint on plaster in different colours, representing different birds, mainly partridges, pheasants, doves and roosters, some times under trees and eating grapes. These pictoric motifs are considered characteristic of late Roman art, and can be considered to inspire Asturian prerromanic wall paint.
It is thought that the place had two moments of different use: a pagan one in the late Roman time (centuries III and IV) and a christian one, already on the XIth century, as a crypt of the upper church.
HOW TO GET TO SANTA EULALIA DE BOVEDA IF YOU ARE WALKING THE PRIMITIVE WAY:
If you want to visit Santa Eulalia de Boveda in your stage of the Primitve Way between Lugo and Ponte Ferreira you must take the detour to the right clearly signed slightly before reaching 12km from Lugo; this detour point is just next to San Martiño de Poutomillos church, so if we turn our head left at the very detour point, we will see this church left of the Camino, just a couple hundred meters away from us.
To get back to the Primitive Way after visiting Santa Eulalia de Boveda we can take the same road if we do not want to miss a single metre of our Way. But if that is not the case and we prefer to save time and distance, we can ask the guide that has shown us the monument, who will recommend us to take certain small roads and local pathways that will take us through the small towns of Vilanova and Vigo back to our trail. By doing so we will have skipped about 3km of the Primitive Way, which we will get back to just passed Bacurin and right before reaching O Hospital.
Important information: Santa Eulalia de Boveda is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays. Be careful with this, as you would not be the first pilgrim to detour all the way there and not be able to visit it! If you have any doubts, or for questions about group visits or visits out of regular times and days, you can call the information number +(34)982160124.
If you plan to visit Santa Eulalia de Boveda in your Primitive Way, especially on Summer, do not hesitate to call us to reserve your place in Ponte Ferreira, as the detour and visit will make you reach our albergue a little later than the rest of pilgrims. You can do so by calling us on +(34)982036949 or +(34)616161594; also by email (at least three or four days in advance, please!) on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information for this post has been obtained mainly from the touristic brochure that can be obtained during the visit to the monument and the signs at the place, as well as from the site santaeulaliaboveda.blogspot.com.es, where you can find additional links and information.
It is very often that pilgrims, in their way to Santiago, pass very near little treasures that, despite being just a few tens or hundreds of meters from the Camino, they will never know about. This is the case of the Iglesia Parroquial de San Martiño de Poutomillos, which is just 200m from the Camino, some 11km West of Lugo. Mentions of the church exist already in the year 1129, being referred to as ecclesia Sancti Martini de Puctimilios. It was rebuilt in the XXth century and it contains some images from the XVIth and XVIIth centuries. The area of Poutomillos has some 20 houses, among which is to be highlighted a pazo that was probably built from a medieval tower and which was used in the XVIIIth century as a Summer house by the bishop of Santiago, who would further be the archbishop of Compostela, and under whose command the Obradoiro front of the Cathedral of Santiago was built.