The French Way or the route of the stars, is the Way of Santiago by excellence
Splitting of Roncesvalles, is a trip of almost 800 kilometres to the west, with the Dairy Road that accompanies from the sky and the essence of a route milenaria from the earth.
It can not describe, is the pilgrim the one who, step by step, has to discover it re-creating in the landscapes and rincones so diverse that offer along all the way; extasiándose in the contemplation of the milenarias and enigmatic stones that jalonan the routes and that conform this sinnúmero of shod, bridges, hermitages, churches, cathedrals, monasteries…, and that are not another thing that the footprint that left our ancestors, whose put was to achieve the eternity, there in the «end of the earth».
Many are the reasons by which peregrinar until Santiago: religious, sportive, cultural, gastronomic, etc. Was cual was your reason is an only experience that is worth it to live.
Many are the things that teach me the way, but of all they remain me with one: The aim is not to arrive, the way in himself is the reward.
Good way, pilgrim!
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1. French border - Roncesvalles
They are many the pilgrims that begin the way in Roncesvalles, but the true is that like this they lose a lovely stage, although also hard.
From S. Jean Pied of Port until Roncesvalles are almost 23 kilometres, and less the four last that descend to Roncesvalles, the rest are in a constant promotion. It begins with a soft slope, but the Collado of Bentartea and the one of Lepoeder will force to the pilgrim to use all its skill . As more forward it will occur in Or Cebreiro, all these efforts see recompensados by the landscape and the beauty of the nature. Definitely, a recommended form to begin the Way of Santiago.
Another option, is from Roncesvalles go up until the border with France and from there return by the same way until Roncesvalles. In this case they are little more than 15 kilometros.
2. Roncesvalles - Biskarreta
It is a route by forests of have, birches, oaks and pines so characteristic in the north navarro.
It goes through the high of Mezkiriz and Erro (place antaño of bandits and now of fogs and tejos) and go leaving backwards lovely villages like Burguete-Auritz, ancient borough of Roncesvalles, full of casonas and where Ernest Hemingway lodged when it recovered of the hangovers sanfermineras fishing in the river Irati.
This stage and the following until Pamplona, are stages complicated because estan full of rises and descents. Besides, like difficulty added is the alternation between asphalt, ways, muddy footpaths and stones of all the sizes. This supposes that the pilgrim has to be continuously to the so much of the flat and adapt to his characteristics. In compensation, this stage by the north of Navarra offers some fantastic landscapes between forests, meadows and lovely villages.
3. BisKarreta - Akerreta
This stage is recognises to the previous, alternation between asphalt, ways, footpaths, forest tracks, etc.
We will go through the High of Erro a small port of mountain that does to go up of difficulty this stage but that in contrapartida shows us the forests navarros is his purer state
4. Akerreta - Pamplona
It is the stage that carries us to the first city of the Way.
The river Arga will be the faithful companion until Pamplona after going through Zuriain with his church of Saint Millán; Irotz with an installed place to rest the pilgrim; Zabaldika and his romance temple of Saint Esteban; and Arleta with two important buildings: the Palace of the Señorío and the church of Santa Marina.
After happening the glorious Trinidad of Arre arrives to Villava and Tricked industrial belt of Pamplona to go in by the Navarrería (primitive borough of the city) in the old Iruña.
The others two boroughs, the one of Saint Nicolás and the one of Saint Cernin were populated by frank: artisans and foreign traders. The disputes between the three boroughs in the High Half Age, each one with his walls, converted the current Ancient Helmet in a field of battle. Afterwards it would come the union of the three boroughs, the development of the city thanks to the Way of Santiago, the saint morenico (Saint Fermín), the runnings of the bulls and the explosion of the party.
This is a short stage to enjoy, in which they find continuous go up-low, alternating footpaths with something of asphalt to half of the route and from Trinidad of Arre until the capital Navarra.
5. Pamplona - Bridge the Queen
The stage crosses already in the outskirts of Pamplona the terrains of the University of Navarra for adentrarse in Cizur Lower, and face the ascensión to the High of the Pardon.
It explains the legend that in the Source Complains a pilgrim, exhausted and sediento, was tempted by the devil, that offered to carry him until a source if this complained of his faith. The pilgrim resisted the temptation and in compensation appeared him the Apostle Santiago dressed of pilgrim that showed him a source and gave him to drink in his vieira.
In the High of the Pardon there is a monument to the pilgrim and an impactante Aeolian Park. Going down finds Uterga with his Gothic parish church; Muruzábal and his hermitage templaria of Eunate; Obanos, the "Villa of the Infanzones" and of the "Mystery of Obanos".
It explains the legend that to the turn of Santiago like pilgrim, Santa Felicia decides to remain like eremita in Amocain. His brother Guillermo, duke of Aquitania, angry in front of the refusal to go back to the court gives him death. Arrepentido, goes back to peregrinar to Santiago and to the turn remains for ever in Obanos, crying his sin until the death. A trail to the edge of the hermitage of Arnotegui remembers this fact.
To the entrance of Bridge The Queen is the confluencia with the road jacobea that comes of Somport. At the end of the Main Street is the bridge that commanded to build a queen and in which it does few years has appeared an arch that was buried and that turns it into symmetrical, with seven eyes.
The stage comes marked by the presence of the high of the Pardon between Pamplona and Bridge the Queen. Regarding the difficulty, considers a half stretch, although The Pardon can suppose a main obstacle depending of the climatology. It is necessary to take into account that it does not have shadow, and with sun can toughen so much the rise like the descent. From this high can enjoy of some seen inigualables of the capital navarra and his basin.
6. Bridge the Queen - Estella
After happening the mediaeval bridge on the Arga goes in in the neighbourhood of the Monks with long hospitable tradition in Bridge the Queen.
The route jacobea to continuation passes by the bottom of the valley taking advantage of ways of earth.
Before arriving to Mañeru Gothic temple of San Pedro signal the ruins of the hospital of Bargota.
Cirauqui, nest of víboras in Basque, surfaces on a rocky hill with numerous mediaeval traces.
Before descending to the valley of Yerri can see the also mediaeval ruins of Urbe.
In Lorca can visit the romance church of Saint Salvador and to Villatuerta accesses by a romance bridge of two eyes on the river Iranzu.
One thousand years ago the Way of Santiago did not go through Estella, (the capital of the Ega did not exist, although yes there was a population of vascones in the ancient aldea of Lizarra), went directly from Villatuerta to the Monastery of Irache.
In this stage it is necessary to have a special care with the different detours that finds the pilgrim by fault of the works of the autovía Logroño-Pamplona, and that do that the distance visited was main. Roughly it could treat of five kilometres more than the planned.
Regarding the profile of the stage, keeps the tonic of go up-low of the previous, only deserves to stand out the slope that finds before arriving to Mañeru, that begins to three kilometres of Bridge the Queen and that has something more than a kilometre of length.
Of all ways, any difficulty with which can find the caminante is worth it when it contemplates the parish Church of the Saint Sepulcro in Estella and goes through the shod of Cirauqui, a roman road that keeps intact the charm of his empedrado.
7. Estella - The Arches
It is the first stage where the big distances between the villages impound him of solitude to the pilgrim.
At all more abandon the houses of Ayegui, villa melted with Estella, the pilgrim finds with an installed source by Cellars Irache that mana came in schedule of offices. After the drink of rigour the traveller finds with the impressive mole of the Monastery of Santa María the Real of Irache.
Situated in the slope north of the skirt of Montejurra, holy place of the carlismo, already received pilgrims when Estella did not exist. The monastery of Irache, that states amongst other buildings, of a romance church and a claustro plateresque, has had big importance in the history navarra, although perhaps his period of main splendour was the one of the second half of the 11th century, under the mandate of the Saint abbot Veremundo, that increased his possessions and his prestige. In the 17th century created in the monastery a university, the first of Navarra. In Azqueta stands out his parish church of San Pedro.
To the entrance of the historical location of Villamayor of Monjardín, by where explain that Charlemagne guerreó, can admire the Source of the Muslims, Gothic of the 13th century. It treats of a robust aljibe covered with vault of cannon. In the high of the mountain the castle of Saint Esteban of the 10th century heaves dominating the region.
In Urbiola existed a hospital to charge of the Order of San Juan of Jerusalén. Three long hours afterwards without water arrives to The Arches.
The stage of Estella to The Arches can consider simple, the caminante will find with the first six kilometres of asphalt that hammer upwards and the rest of good way. But this stage forces to the pilgrim to take a decision. To the exit of Ayegui (to two kilometres of Estella) a poster poses two options. The first, go straight until Azqueta and the second, that marks to the left and that proposes to go through Irache.
It is forced to take this second by three reasons: keep the traced original of the way, the beauty of the Monastery of Irache, and a third reason no less important: the Source of the Wine that is to 700 metres of the disyuntiva. The price that has to pay to enjoy of all this is only a rise of almost five kilometres, but when being by asphalt does not present main problem.
8. The Arches - Logroño
In this stretch of viñedos navarros with denomination Rioja leave backwards the old realm and cross the Ebro to arrive to Logroño.
A straight road with toboganes discurre between The Arches and Sansol, where there is a baroque temple of the 17th century consecrated to the saint cordobés Saint Zoilo.
Of Towers of the River and his Saint Sepulcro until Viana there are two interesting places that visit: the hermitage of Santa María of the Poyo with his Gothic image and once rebasado the ravine of Mataburros the ancient roman settlement of Cornava.
Viana, a place of olivos and viñedos, is the last that see of Navarra in this route jacobea.
The Rioja, and in concrete his capital, avistan to the far. The Ebro crosses by the old Bridge of Stone to go in in the bulliciosa old part logroñesa.
This stage has a half difficulty and consists of three parts differentiated. A first stretch until Sansol (the first 7 kilometres) with tracks in very good state and without appreciable difficulties; a second until Viana (11 kilometres) with continuous rises and descents, stones, mud, footpaths... In summary, a hard way with stretches really complicated; and a third (from Viana to Logroño, with 10 kilometres) in better state, alternating asphalt and good ways.
The end of the stage (the last 5 kilometres) trascurren by the industrial polygons that surround to the capital riojana, and circulates by a red lane, built and painted on purpose for the pilgrims.
Logroño Receives to the caminante with his Bridge of Stone and receives him after a long day in which it is necessary dosificar the strengths.
9. Logroño - Nájera
The red earth and the viñedos of tempranillo and garnacha accompany to the caminante in this stage.
To the little to go out of Logroño crosses the beautiful Park of The Grajera to initiate the ascensión to the high of Saint Antón, contemplate the ancient hospital of San Juan of Acre and arrive to Navarrete, zone of alfareros to the foot of the road.
Some three kilometres before Nájera finds the Poyo of Roldán, a small elevation that evokes the mythical victory of Roldán in front of the Muslim giant Ferragut.
According to the legend, Roldán appears in Nájera to avenge to the Christian knights that Ferragut has prisoners in his castle. Roldán went up to the hill that afterwards would carry his name, divisó to the far to the giant, took an enormous stone that launched it causing the death of the infiel. After the peñazo, Roldán freed to the prisoners. Another version of the legend is that Roldán after keeping a dialectic fight with Ferragut, nailed him a puñal in the navel, only vulnerable place of the giant. Of this way the troops of Charlemagne could free Nájera.
From this point begins a different phase on the way of Santiago. They leave backwards the stages navarras with his continuous go up-low and begin the stretches riojanos, that have two characteristics: his similarity in the traced and the fact that it happens of the 380 metres of altitude on the level of the sea of Logroño, to the more than 800 of the province of Boroughs. Of this form, the way turns into a continuous false flat that it can finish with the patience of the caminante. This will have the continuous feeling to circulate in flat, but accumulating the cansancio fruit of the constant ascensión that takes place in these stages. This slope is scarce, but continuous, with what the legs resienten along all the stages.
10. Nájera - Saint Sunday of the Shod
Before arriving to the city of the longevous saint from Nájera it is necessary to go through Azofra and his Source of the Romeros, Alesanaco and especially by the abbey cisterciense of Canes, where pernoctó San Francisco of Take.
Afterwards in the route appear Cirueña, village in which the earl Fernán González was captured by the strengths navarras, Ciriñuela with his church of Saint Millán and Boiled where there was an ancient hospital of the Order of Calatrava.
Once in Saint Sunday of the Shod appear in the cathedral the rooster and the hen that remember us the famous miracle: In the 14th century, a marriage of Saintes (France), although ascribed to the diocese of Colony (Germany), peregrinaba to Santiago with his son. In the inn of Saint Sunday, the servant tempts to the boy and this candorosamente refuses it. The mesonera to avenge hides a glass of silver between the clothes of the young and to the following morning reports him by theft. The boy is prendido and hanged. The parents, afflicted, continue trip to Compostela, and when returning, find to his still alive son, since the Saint is sustaining it by the feet. Quickly they direct where the Corregidor of the villa, that had to give account of a rooster and a hen asados. The Corregidor answers them that his son is so alive like the two birds that went to engullir. In this moment the animals jump of the dish and begin to revolotear and sing, testing like this the innocence of the young pilgrim executed.
The stage begins strong, especially because the way of Nájera starts with some slopes pronounced and with a lot of slope. To follow with the tonic of the stretches riojanos, in this stage continues with the promotion, so it is recommended to arm of patience and enjoy of the Roll of Justice near of Azofra, of the landscapes and of the ways.
11. Saint Sunday of the Shod - Belorado
Although the cereal uniformiza all the landscape, in this stage abandons The Rioja for adentrarse in Castilla-León by his head: Boroughs.
Of Grañón, last village of The Rioja, until Belorado it is necessary to cross Redecilla of the Way, Castildelgado, in the past Villaypún, Viloria of Rioja, cradle of Saint Sunday and where conserves the battery where was baptised and Villamayor of the River.
Years before Saint Sunday built the bridge on the Oja and Sancho the Elder of Navarra did to happen the Way of Santiago by the Saint road Sunday-Belorado, the route jacobea discurría, north following the ancient shod roman of Tricio to Briviesca, from Nájera by Hormilla, Villalobar, Herramélluri (where are the ruins of the ancient roman city of Libya), Leiva, and Tormantos, for adentrarse in Boroughs until Belorado by the zone known like the Riojilla.
In concrete in Leiva of River Tirón existed seven hermitages all they missing, but that reunificaron in the hermitage consecrated to the Virgin Peregrina, beside the rests of a crucero (in all the French Way only in Sahagún find another Virgin Peregrina). The lovely size of the Virgin with the Boy held on to his hand can admire in the hermitage or in the parish church. The legend explains that the Pilgrim cured to a small boy yaciente and motionless, with the lips as praying, by which his mother clamaba desperate. In Leiva also can contemplate a castle of the 15th century.
This stage does not have any difficulty that it was necessary to stand out of special form. It continues the promotion that will carry little by little to the pilgrim until the more than 800 metres on the level of the sea of Boroughs, and the false flat is the tonic general. The way crosses a lot of villages riojanos, by what the distance does very entertained. Besides, in the general road have built some andaderos that facilitate the traffic of the caminantes and, especially, look after his security.
12. Belorado - Atapuerca
It is the stage devoted to the disciple of Saint Sunday, San Juan of Ortega.
The Mountains of Goose, lacustrine and rugged place of empinadas slopes like The Pedraja, another place of rounds and bandits is the most important obstacle to arrive again to the planicie.
Once to cross in Belorado the bridge on the river Tirón arrives to Tosantos, where calls the attention the rupestrian hermitage of Our Lady of the Crag, to continuation will go through Villambistia, with a piece of shod roman conserved, Espinosa of the Way and his romance size of Saint Indalecio and Villafranca Mountains of Goose, usual stop of the pilgrims to replace strengths and face the long rise of the port of the Pedraja.
Juan of Ortega was born in 1080 in Quintanaortuño, in the banks of the Ubierna, orderly priest helped to Saint Sunday in the construction of bridges, hospitals and churches. Isabel the Catholic peregrinó until San Juan of Ortega, after seven years of fruitless marriage, attracted by the fame of San Juan like lawyer of the esterilidad. In gratitude the queen commanded edificar the suntuosa chapel of Saint Nicolás of Bari. The Miracle of the Light confers to this place a halo mysterious.
The stage can divide in two parts almost of equal length. The first part (that it goes of Belorado to Villafranca Mountains of Goose) is by an easy and perfect way to enjoy of the tranquility. The second comes marked by the step of the High of The Pedraja. The stretch has some lovely mountains, but that force to the effort to go up and go down the port.
The ascensión begins in Villafranca Mountains of Goose with 400 metres by a footpath very empinado, 100 softer metres and other 600 strong metres. From this first hard kilometre, the rise is tended and much more comfortable for the pilgrim. To two kilometres and half to begin the rise finds a merendero in half of the forest, a perfect place to rest if it does fault and take strengths, since after this merendero expect two kilometres and half until achieving the Monument to the fusilados in the civil war. But still it has not arrived to the high of The Pedraja, remains one of the hardest stretches: it is missing a strong descent followed of a hard promotion of 600 metres that finalises in the high of the port. The descent until San Juan of Ortega and Atapuerca does by a good way, but that depending of the period of the year can have mud.
Near of Atapuerca find us the yacimientos pleistocénicos of Atapuerca of the most important of the world that are opened to the public.
After going out of San Juan of Ortega arrives to Santovenia and his beautiful church, further, in Agés there are samples of traditional architecture, and to the entrance of Atapuerca can contemplate several dólmenes and a menhir.
Diverting a bit of the route find the famous yacimientos prehistoric.
13. Atapuerca - Boroughs
When going out of Atapuerca the caminante finds with a strong slope plagada of stones that forces to go attentive to the flat. This slope keeps along two kilometres, but the last stretch is especially hard. The descent starts with some problem in the soil, but down expects the asphalt that does not abandon to the pilgrim until Boroughs.
To few kilometres, are already in full chaos of circunvalaciones and vehicles that situate us in the inmediaciones of Boroughs. Still like this in the populoso neighbourhood of Gamonal can contemplate the splendid Gothic temple of Santa María the Real and Ancient.
We are in earths of the Cid and of the impressive Cathedral of Boroughs and his sabrosos adjacent inns with smell and flavour to lamb and to Spanish soup.
The pilgrim crosses the plácido river Arlanzón in direction to the Strikes and to the Hospital of Rey.
This is a stage of contrasts, in which the pilgrim finds with places so magic and impressive like the Cathedral of Boroughs, and others so little significant like the industrial polygons.
14. Boroughs - Hontanas
They begin the stages of wide plateaux until León, in which the adret and the romance will accompany to the pilgrim by the route.
The romance style was widely spread by the Way of Santiago in the 11th and 12th centuries: the wooden covers substituted by vaults, sustained by an arch of half point and thick walls of scarce windows.
The first village after abandoning Boroughs is Villalbilla, with his church of the Assumption; afterwards it happens the Bridge of the Archbishop where the king Alfonso SAW fell when it pursued to the huestes enemies and arrives to Tardajos and to Rabé of the Shod, place of union of two roman roads and de la Fuente of Prao Tower. It crosses the lengthened street of Hornillos of the Way and six kilometres afterwards us topamos with Saint Brook Bowl, enigmatic place of the Way burgalés.
This stage does especially hard had to especially to the length of the itinerary. For enfrentarse to this stretch, in addition to the physical condition, is important mentalizarse for the solitude of the way, since adentra in the Spanish plateau. This has a big charm for the caminante, but also forces him to be prepared for any eventuality, especially climatological, since with sun or with wind this stretch does especially difficult.
The exit of Boroughs does not have at all that see with the entrance (by polygons) since it is beautiful and invites to continue the way.
Until Rabé of the Shod the way no reviste main difficulty, but from here, although the flat is in perfect conditions, a strong promotion forces to the pilgrim to use all its skill until Hornillos, what are 8 kilometres.
Of Hornillos of the Way until Hontanas: it is a stretch of promotion and that besides has the flat desfavorable for the pilgrim: stones, irregularities and cracks of wheels of tractor (of until half metre of depth in some points) that help to the training of puddles and mud. All this forces to the caminante to go through cultured fields.
Hontanas Seems that it does not arrive never, to this contributes the fact that the location finds in a depression and to that a signal informs that Hontanas is to half kilometre when really it remains kilometre and half.
15. Hontanas - Boadilla Of the Way
The panificadora Earth of Fields receives us in this stage leaving backwards the burgalés Bridge of Fitero on the river Pisuerga.
Already in Castrojeriz evoke the recuerdos of the period of the malignant illness gangrenosa of the fire of Saint Antón that the Order of the Antonianos cured miraculously. This illness azotó Europe during the 10th and 11th centuries; it showed like first symptoms passionate eruptions and enrojecimiento from the extremities, to the equal that the swine plague that also cured the members of the Order of Saint Antón, ermitaño Egyptian of the 3rd century.
The palentino village of Iterate of the Vega is the first milestone of the region, that already in the Half Age was described "like an earth of treasures, of gold, silver, rich in cloths and vigorosos horses, abundant in bread, wine, meat, fish, milk and honey.
16. Boadilla Of the Way - Carrión of the Earls
Boadilla Of the Way with his renowned Roll Jurisdiccional and before arriving to Frómista the Way discurre parallel some kilometres to the Channel of Castilla, important work of engineering of the 18th century, fruit of the politics illustrated of the riojano Marquis of the Inlet. It had a triple purpose the channel: the transport of cereals, the irrigation and the molturación of the grain in the mills.
Frómista, that remained in no man's land a lot of years after the Muslim invasion, seems to have his etymological origin in Frumesta, Latin word that means cereal, that by the way abounds a lot by these places.
In Carrión the pilgrims detain under the portico of the church of Santa María of the Way to contemplate the relief that does reference to the tribute of the One hundred Doncellas. The Christians had to pay this tribute to the Muslims, but Carrión remained free of this obligation when the Islamic were dispersed by four fieros bulls gone out of the near hermitage. In the door of access to the church of Saint Zoilo by the claustro observes a medallón that represents to the sibila Europe, daughter of the Phoenician king Agenor raptada by Jupiter and carried to Creta, where was mother of the king Measure. A prince astur, that looked for a beautiful wife rescued to Europe and brought it to Asturias, where married . Since, the mountains of the realm astur call Beaks of Europe.
17. Carrión Of the Earls - Lédigos
In the outskirts of Carrión find the ruins of the Abbey of Santa María of Benevívere, a bit more advance the shod roman us enfila to Calzadilla of Bake it, Ledigos and his tapias of season and his images of Santiago
18. Lédigos - Sahagún
Terradillos Of the Templarios, the ancient population mudéjar of Moratinos, Saint Nicolás of the Real Way with a lovely romance size of the Virgin and already in the province de León, to banks of the river Valderaduey, finds the sugestiva hermitage of the Virgin of the Bridge.
Some metres more advance goes in in Sahagún, the city of the saints Facundo and Primitivo, converted roman legionaries to the Christianity, that were martirizados and launched to the river Cea in time of Diocleciano. Called the Cluny Spanish, Sahagún found under the influjo total of the monastery of Saint Benito. The domination of the monastery was such that arrived to impose penances to the sahaguninos such as the prohibition to eat meat, having then that buy the fish to the monks, that kept a few piscifactorías. It says the legend, that in front of this, began to launch the pigs to the river to be able to them fish and eat fish without breaking the penance.
19. Sahagún - The Borough Ranero
Before the crossing to Shod of the Coto, where there is a roof and has enabled an informative signpost, has two alternatives: one by the ancient Road Trajana (route jacobea original) that goes through the hospitable Calzadilla of the Hermanillos and the another by the modern Real Way French of 31 kilometres of extension. There is not loss any with any one of the two options, both go to confluir in Mansilla of the Mules.
In the modern stretch the Board of Castilla-León has enabled a shod special of gravel, surrounded of zones of rest and where each nine metres has planted a tree to receive of the tórrido sun to the pilgrims. In spite of the comfort at all that see with the charm that supposes to stroll by the shod roman. This ancient itinerary crosses a dehesa of encinas, passes by robledales and before putting foot in Calzadilla of the hermanillos, the pilgrim can relieve the thirst in the source in honour to the pilgrim, built by the neighbours of Valdelocajo in 1989.
Here, in the term of Valdelocajo, owed to take place the known episode of the pilgrim devoured by the wolves and that explains Domenico Laffi in his Viaggio to Saint Giacomo, one of illustrate them pilgrims that began the fashion of the guides to Santiago de Compostela; before the clergyman Aymeric Picaud had related in Latin in 1130 what knows like the first European tourist guide, Liber.
Other important pilgrims of the Way were: the earl Guines, and the bishop of Lille in 1084; Guillermo X, duke of Aquitania; Conrado, bishop of Mainz, Sancho II, king of Portugal; San Francisco of Take, Carlos I and Felipe II; Jean of Brienne, king of Jerusalén and Luis VII, king of France. The first pallozas of the way us delatan that we are in The Borough Ranero.
This is a short stage and of transition between Sahagún and the Borough Ranero. They are 17 kilometres of light rise and without big difficulties unless they avenge given by the climatology. There are not shadows and the way passes by a comfortable andadero. The best option is to take it calmly and reserve strengths. The Road Trajana has the flavour of the original route and the opportunity of transitar by rests of a shod roman, this yes, only crosses the village of Calzadilla of the Hermanillos.
20. The Borough Ranero - León
A tremenda stage of more than nine hours of march to arrive to contemplate the wonderful vidrieras of the Leonese cathedral.
By the Real French Way goes out of The Borough Ranero to arrive to Reliegos of the Matas, ancient roman crossing, a legua afterwards appears Mansilla of the Mules beside the truchero river Esla. To this location is associated one of the most picturesque figures of the literature of the Century of Spanish Gold, the "pícara" Justina, of the known novel published in 1605 in Medina of the Field. This character opens posed in Mansilla, by which see to happen, between all type of clients, to quite a lot of pilgrims compostelanos.
Past Villamoros appears the Bridge of Villarente, of twenty eyes and of irregular bill and Arcahueja, where appear posters with a lion dressed of pilgrim. It initiates a soft promotion until the high of the Porthole, from where divisa León.
The city is very grata for the French pilgrims that see in her the influence of his Gothic style. It contemplates art by each corner of the ancient headquarters of the VII roman Legion and to taste some sabrosas cover in the Humid Neighbourhood.
The main difficulty of this stage comes given by the length of his itinerary. It has a first part in light descent and a second that empina culminating in the High of Porthole, a point that the pilgrim will achieve without too much complication. Regarding the flat little is necessary to say, since it is in good condition and combines asphalt and footpath.
The only reseñable would be that 10 kilometres after splitting it is necessary to loan attention to cross the road of the train. In Bridge of Villarente the signaling can do doubt to the caminantes, suits to go very attentive.
21. León - Vidallangos of the Moor
The pilgrim in this stage does his entrance in terrains inhóspitos and improductivos. We are in the hard Leonese moor, only softened by any refrescante vegetation, poplars especially.
In Trobajo of the Way there is a hermitage devoted to Santiago and to continuation melted with Trobajo finds the core of The Virgin of the Way, arisen around the sanctuary devoted to the patron saint de León. At present the building is of modernist style (1961) and the monumental and hierático apostolado that visits the façade has turned into emblem of the sanctuary. The thirteen statues (the 12 apostles and the Virgin), in bronze, of six metres of height and 700 kilos of weight are work of the sculptor José María Subirachs. In this place the Virgin appeared him to the shepherd Alvar Simón and ordered him raise there a place of cult. The small location of Valverde of the Virgin arises in a vallejo and a bit more advance finds the small village of San Miguel of the Way.
Villadangos Of the Moor is one of the locations iconográficamente more santiaguistas of the Way, for some historians is innegable his past astur.
This is a comfortable stage. After happening some strong rises when going out de León, the way does not present main problems. It passes in his elder splits by asphalt and the ways find in good condition.
22. Vidallangos Of the Moor - Astorga
Saint Martín of the Way has a church devoted to the bishop of Tours, pattern of the pilgrims.
In the left margin of the river Órbigo finds the population of Bridge of Órbigo, famous by the historical Step Honroso where gift Serum of Quiñones challenged to the adventurers that dared to cross the bridge. To the another side finds Hospital of Órbigo and a bit more advance Villares of Órbigo with his parish church devoted to Santiago.
In Santibañez of Valdeiglesias, in his church, there is good sizes of Saint Roque and of Santiago Matamoros, and in Saint Justo of the Vega, the Way finds with the crucero of Santo Toribio, place where the bishop of Astorga shook the dust of the sandalias when abandoning, sad and slandered his diocese.
Astorga, ancient city astur and roman, capital today of the Maragatería, had some solid links with the Way. It was so abundant the offer of hospitals for the pilgrim that created the figure of the "veedor", this was the attendant to visit when getting dark all the establishments so that the poor and the travellers did not repeat each day in one different and remained months gratuitamente in the city.
The first part of this stage, until Bridge of Órbigo, passes by comfortable ways and the majority of the parallel times to the road. In a lot of stretches the itinerary goes accompanied of a lot of vegetation. Once we go out of Bridge of Órbigo indicate two options. The first mark Astorga to 16 kilometres and the second to 17. This is because the longest way goes through Villares of Orbigo.
If it opts by the shortest, goes by a parallel way to the national 120. In the second option goes through Villares Órbigo and Santibáñez of Valdeiglesias, is a stretch by ways and tracks.
To fault of 12 kilometres for Astorga crosses the general road and by an ancient road asphalted goes up until the Crucero of Santo Toribio. They are 6 kilometres. Five are of continuous and hard rises and descents by asphalt, and the last kilometre does by a new way to the that accesses after achieving a complete informative signpost.
23. Astorga - Foncebadón
The pilgrim is in an ancient and mythical earth, isolated voluntarily by his inhabitants during centuries. It is the region maragata, where extend grey earths and desarboladas, but also valleys alfombrados with deep greens. It is a half hostile, that pushed in the past to his inhabitants to turn into arrieros, nomadic activity and caminera that characterised to the maragatos: trajinaron with hams and until with jewels of the Crown, visiting splits it north of the country until Madrid. They were appreciated for being strong and honoured, and of few words.
It is a hospitable earth that does more accessible the mountains de León. Valdevieja Devotes his parish church to Saint Very severe; Murias of Rechivaldo, went village of arrieros; and the lovely Castrillo of the Polvazares was inmortalizada by Concha Spine in his novel The Esfinge maragata.
In Santa Catalina approach to the foot of the mountain Irango and in The Goose appear the first houses with roof of straw. By the detour that drives to Rabanal Old find the rests of an exploitation aurífera of the roman period: Mina of the Fucarona.
In Rabanal of the Way Anseïs, king of Spain and of Carthage and faithful vassal of Charlemagne, desposó with the princess sarracena Gaudisse, giving place to another of the legends of the Way.
The vicinity of Galicia leaves feel in this stage, the region of the Bierzo merges culturalmente the old Leonese realm and the ancestor galaico.
Very near of the mountain Irango, yacen today the ruins of Foncebadón, antaño important location on the way. In the actuality there is a beautiful hostal.
With this stage finish the enormous plains that have accompanied to the pilgrim in his go through Castile and Leon and that have allowed him reserve strengths to face the last stages. In this, the itinerary passes by good ways and asphalt. In Murias of Rechivaldo starts the rise that will force to the pilgrim to realise a soft and constant promotion. This slope will not cease until the following stage, when the caminante arrive to the mythical Cross of Ferro.
This day of promotion does not have too many complications for the pilgrim, but two kilometres after happening The Goose, the itinerary passes by asphalt, more specifically by a narrow road in which there is not a lot of traffic but that turns into compulsory the precaución.
24. Foncebadón - Ponferrada
Topping the port (1.504 metres of altitude) raises the Cross of Ferro, one of the simplest monuments but more emblematic of the Way.
On a montón of stones heaves a simple cross of iron. The pilgrims, when they launch a stone on the montón, add to a tradition milenaria to ask protection in the trip. It thinks that before there was a roman altar devoted to Mercurio.
It goes through the abandoned village of Manjarín, where only Tomás the hospitalero attends to the pilgrim, and arrives to The Acebo that gives the welcome to the Bierzo.
The parish of Irrigation of Ambrós is devoted to the Magadalena and in Molinaseca crosses a romance bridge on the river Meruelo.
In Field, to the right of the Way, there is a mediaeval source, to way of aljibe subterranean.
The big urbe of Ponferrada gives back to the pilgrim to the 20th century, although well it is truth that the remember of the knights templarios transports us again to the Half Age. The Order of the Temper was created by Hugo of Paganis for the defence of the pilgrims that went to Jerusalén.
In this day achieves the highest height of all the Way. It is one of the most beautiful stages and the preferred of a lot of pilgrims, although it is a very long stretch and at all simple. The caminante has to go out already very mentalizado of the hardness of the itinerary, to surpass all the difficulties and enjoy of the landscapes and the beauty of the terrain, especially in the descent.
The footpaths by which passes the itinerary are not bad, but in some points is necessary to go with a lot of attention.
25. Ponferrada - Trabadelo
This estapa, passes by the Bierzo, region surrounded by the mountain range Cantábrica, the Galician mountains and by the mountains Aquilanos.
It is region possesses a glorious landscape where the benign climate fructifica in abundant viñedos, huertas and frutales, and even plants of tobacco that jalonan the route peregrinal.
Of Ponferrada goes out by Compostilla, his industrial heart, and arrives to Columbrianos, where can contemplate rests of ancient castros roman. Going on down the still called Real Way, goes in in New Sources, in this location can visit the hermitage of the Divine Field Cristo, a bit more advance appears the beautiful and grown Camponaraya with his church devoted to Saint Ildefonso, bishop of Toledo.
We arrive to Cacabelos that crosses by the Street of the Pilgrims, authentic dorsal spine of the attractive villa.
In the vicinities of Cacabelos heave the rests of the Monastery of Santa María the Real of the 10th century, afterwards comes the population of Pieros with his church of Saint Martín of Tours to arrive to Villafranca of the Bierzo. Location señorial, considered like the heart of the region berciana and settled to banks of the river Burbia in his confluencia with the Valcarce, is the more galaica of the Leonese cities. The aroma of the empanadas bercianas, the botillo, the cachelos and the lechazo will guide us until the tasquera street of the Water.
Of Villafranca by the road arrives to the small village of Pereje, to a pair of kilometres finds Trabadelo
This stage can consider simple, since it does not have any difficulty señalable. The first kilometres pass by asphalt, sidewalks and roads, by what do not contribute a lot of beauty to the itinerary. Once past Pieros there are two options to visit the last kilometres: the most official route (with more asphalt) and an alternative that goes through Valtuilla of Up. This second option is longer (kilometre and half more) but offers the possibility to enjoy of a stretch of big beauty, stupendous landscapes and an enormous tranquility. At the beginning the flat is not in good condition, but afterwards improves and there is not any problem.
26. Trabadelo - Fonfría
By the narrow valley of Valcarce arrives to The Portela and to the mouth of the river Balboa, where situates Ambasmestas and mix the waters beside an ancient shod roman.
A bit more advance on the way they raise the floreciente Vega of Valcarce, the small populated of Ruitelán and Herrerías, where still today can contemplate the building devoted to the foundry of the pertinent iron of the mines of the Caurel.
To the exit of Herrerías finds the neighbourhood of the English Hospital, allocated to the pilgrims of the British islands.
The Faba and Laguna of Castilla are the last populations of the province de León. Already in Lugo, and therefore in the Galicia of the Xunta, finds to 1.293 metres of altitude Or Cebreiro, emblematic place of the Way of Santiago where the blood and the body of Cristo appeared in a cáliz and a patena. The pallozas of the Cebreiro between the fog sack to the pilgrim in direction to Liñares, toponym that comes of the plantations of the famous linen.
To continuation rises to the high of Saint Roque, of there to the Hospital of the Earl and to Padornelo, with traces of the step of the Knights of San Juan of Malta. From the high of the Poio descends until Fonfría
The 33 kilometres that form this stage are hard, so the mentality with which go out the pilgrim is very important. This day has two very differentiated parts.
The first passes by a yellow road built of parallel form to the national 6 and that supposes a guarantee for the security of the caminantes. This yellow lane begins to three kilometres of Villafranca of the Bierzo and accompanies to the caminante along 13 kilometres. This stretch considers like a preparation for the hardest kilometres that will come afterwards.
The second part of this stage begins in the Crossing of the Faba. In this point recommends to the cyclists the rise by road; to the caminantes expect them 6 kilometres of footpaths, ways and hard repechos, but always warmed up by a lovely forest.
Main difficulties of this stage is the ascensión to Or Cebreiro: they are 7 kilometres. The first of them is by asphalt and the rest by ways. This hard slope leaves a rest to the pilgrim to the height of the Faba, where softens the terrain to replace strengths before arriving to the summit. The most recommended is to enjoy of the stupendous landscape and, especially, dosificar the energies. Of all ways all the effort sees recompensado with the arrival to the beautiful location of Or Cebreiro.
27. Fonfría - Sarria
Biduelo, Filloval, Ace Pasantes and Ramil to arrive to the cementera Triacastela. If it chooses the way of Saint Xil goes through picturesque locations like Montán, Furela, Pintín, Calvor, Aguiada and Vigo of Sarria, ancient villa campestre of some gentleman of Sarria. In the another variant is fundamental the monumental and symbolic monastery of the Saint Julián and Basilisa of Samos.
In Sarria, end of stage, antaño could pernoctar the pilgrims that returned of Santiago carrying the Compostela, and to which gave eight maravedís for his expenses.
This is a very long stage, and precisely his length is one of his difficulties. The profile is irregular, but does not suppose any complication. Instead, the descent to Triacastela can be harder, because there are stretches of bad way and besides there is not hardly vegetation.
To the height of Triacastela the way forks. It poses the possibility to enjoy of the tranquility and the soil regulate of Samos or of the rugged stretch of Saint Xil. In this last option, the pilgrim adentra between footpaths, trees, ways, slopes, slopes and stones.
28. Sarria - Portomarín
By these places says that they attended tramposos hospederos compostelanos to the meeting of the pilgrims to offer them his houses, where, according to the Codex Calixtino, deceived to the recently arrived after a first food, selling them cirios by the double of his price.
From Sarria goes out by the Neighbourhood of Saint Lázaro to leave backwards the scattered caserío of Vilei and arrive to Barbadelo; afterwards it goes through Rente and Xisto, whose name in Galician means blackboard, the basic material of the construction of the rural Galicia.
It follows afterwards a series of entrañables aldeas like Domiz, Leimán, Perascullo, Cortiñas, Lavandeira, Cultural centre and Brea.
Between this last village and Ferreiros finds the mojón that indicates that they subtract 100 kilometres until Santiago. The legs of the pilgrims already almost go alone in search of the embrace to the Saint.
To continuation come Mirallos, Pena, Couto, Moimentos, Mercadoiro, Moutras, Parrocha and Vilachá. South of this last location had his emplazamiento the monastery of Santa María of Loyo, place where was born the Order of Santiago, twelve knights that in 1170 juramentaron to protect to the pilgrims of the Muslim rounds.
The Miño and his embalse of Belesar indicates us that we are in the new Portomarín, the old rests under the waters of the reposado Galician river.
In this stage is impossible to bore, has practically of everything, and the pilgrim will be entertained. Along the 23 kilometres that has, the itinerary covers by good way, stretches very muddy, strong descents, soft slopes... Besides, it crosses the road of the train, several rivers, stupendous landscapes, bridges on the lovely embalse of Belesar... If, to all this, add him that the profile no reviste any complication and that goes through the mojón number 100, this stage can be really bearable.
29. Portomarín - Shovels of the Rei
The hórreos will accompany to the pilgrim during all day. The canteros entered in the hórreos some forms of literate art, especially of the baroque. The camera, that saves the mazorcas protecting them of the rodents, is isolated of the humidity by the voladizos and is aired by the pasaventos (horizontal or vertical slots). In the ceiling to two or to four waters, are used to install crosses and finish of big variety.
From the mountain of Saint Antonio, beside Portomarín, descends until Toxibo and Gonzar.
In Castromaior find the ruins of the castro that give name to the village, Hospital gives Cross owe his toponym to an ancient hospital of pilgrims.
We leave backwards Sales of Narón, Prebisa, Lameiros and arrive to Ligonde, ancient important enclave jacobeo.
After the go through Eirexe and Portos, and something section of the route, finds Vilar of Donas, where finds the most valuable of the more than twenty small romance churches of the municipality of Shovels of Rei: the Church of the Saviour with a cover of big beauty with some archivolts of big wealth iconográfica.
Already again in the route arrives to Lestedo, Valos, Brea and the high do Rosario. According to the no documented tradition the name of Shovels of Rei comes from of the palace that here possessed the Gothic king Witiza.
The tonic general of this stage is the promotion, since of the 26 kilometres with which explains 20 hammer upwards. The well that has is that the pilgrim finds with a favourable soil, so much in the stretches asphalted as in the ways. This day starts with a strong rise at all more go out of Portomarín, what allows to do an idea of how goes to be the rest. This first slope finds surrounded by an arbolado that, in spite of the effort to the that forces the slope, does it very pleasant.
30. Shovels of the Rei - Arzúa
Today we arrive to the last province of the Way of Santiago, A Coruña, already lacking less.
After going out of Shovels of Rei by the Field two Romeiros arrives in a zone dominated by an ancient devotion to Saint Xulián. The legend collected by Jacobo of Vorágine says that Julián, a noble soldier, gives death by error to his parents. For purgar his sin establishes like hospitalero with his wife Adela, until it receives the visit of an angel communicating him the divine pardon.
The church of Saint Xulián do Camiño, romance of the 12th century, testifies the devotion ancestral. South of the route find The Pazos of Ulloa of the novel of Emilia Pardo Bazán and the glorious castle of Pambre.
After I Carry of Bois arrives to Coto where leaves the province of Lugo and goes in in A Coruña by Cornixa and Leoboreiro.
To arrive to Furelos it is necessary to cross the glorious put you velha, mediaeval bridge of four eyes, the caserío also conserves some mediaeval air.
In Melide join the route of the coast and the pilgrims that had displaced from Lion to see the reliquias of Saint Saviour of Oviedo.
Ceca Of To Peroxa finds the chapel of Rocamador, of French devotion, afterwards will come Boente and his beautiful image of Santiago, Castañeda, where had to be the ovens in which it prepared the cal for the construction of the cathedral of Compostela, Ribadiso and the end of the penultimate stage of the Way of Santiago: Arzúa, famous location by his cheese and because they celebrate the most important fairs graziers of Galicia.
The best form to describe this stage is rompepiernas. The pilgrim enfrenta to a succession of slopes up and down that they can arrive to be very hard. It is to these heights of the way, when many question what results more complicated and more hurtful for his legs: go up or go down. The ways are good and Galicia offers to the pilgrim all his charms with his inconfundibles forests of eucaliptos, brooks that entrecruzan and charming villages.
31. Arzúa - Lavacolla
This penultima stage has an important risk: that it do larguísima. You win them of the pilgrim to arrive to Santiago and the hardness of the stretch, contribute to this feeling.
The itinerary can divide in two parts differentiated. A first that achieves until the airport (the first 24 kilometres) and that has the charms of the forests of eucaliptos and oaks, the villages with the hens by the street, the landscapes, the mountains... And a second in which it loses all this beauty.
32. Lavacolla - Santiago de Compostela
The infinite Dairy Road finishes , the Polar Star is more near and the enjoy jumps of legua in legua of the mountain to the Obradoiro.
It is the last stage to arrive to put it marked does 775 kilometres in Roncesvalles. They are about to to finalise the days of meadows, sheep, bunks, shadow, adret, mud, conversation, autoconocimiento, mysticism, religiousness, cereal, viñedos, soups of garlic, sandalias frailescas, languages indoeuropeos, tijas, handlebars, ampollas, stones, vidrieras, arbotantes, archivolts, cacao, tiritas, boots, straight, curves, sacrifices and obstinacies.
They are 11 kilometres between big roundabouts, roads, urbanisations, polygons where are the studies of television... The result is that when it arrives to the Mountain do Enjoy there is not any mountain. This yes, has built a lane for the pilgrims with a firm perfect and that guarantees the security of the caminantes.
From the big complex in that it has converted the Mountain do Enjoy sees , at last, Santiago de Compostela and his baroque towers of the capital. It put it of the big route jacobea: Santiago is a big city of almost 90.000 inhabitants that paginates the modernity of the Red square and the airport of Lavacolla with the halo mysterious, religious, romantic, cosmopolita of the square of the Obradoiro. The happy caminante discovers a city of stones darkened by the step of the time and by the humidity. Rúas Old with smell to Ribeiro and to octopus disseminate by all the Ancient Helmet. The cathedral in full square of the Obradoiro represents the culmen of the Way, in her rests, according to the legend, the apostle that has done that thousands of people undertake a full trip of cansancio and experiences that will turn into recuerdos for all the life.
After the almost 800 Km, when it goes in in the square of the Obradoiro a sinfín of feelings visit your mind: Joy, pride, satisfaction, etc.
To me personally it invaded me a deep sadness: that wonderful experience that had carried me to cross Spain of east to west had arrived to his end. Backwards they remained a lot of days of suffering, of solitude, of joys, of fried, of heat and to share a lot of and wonderful hours with the people to which want to and with which share my life. In this instant discovered that the aim of the Way of Santiago is not to arrive, the way in himself is the reward… ¡perhaps, like the same life!