Arzúa, where the Camino leaves a good taste in mouth

Queso arzua ulloa 2

A land of good cheese, a green destination and the getaway to Compostela, that’s what defines Arzúa, the last town with its own right you’ll pass by before your arrival to the Plaza del Obradoiro. There are only two stages left!

The penultimate stage starts in one of the most beautiful streets of this village, the Carmen Street that will welcome you with its cobblestone pavement flanked by the porches of the well-preserved old houses. From there 19 kms lie ahead until your next destination: O Pedrouzo. The stage is easy, with a smooth profile and quite reasonable. As it won’t require much physical effort we recommend you to enjoy this typically Galician landscape, with its green valleys, large maize fields during summer and dozens streams, many of which you’ll have to cross. As you’ll progress through flat unpaved roads, you’ll notice another feature of the Galician countryside; the succession of scattered houses and the proliferation of eucalyptus forests that, far from the beauty of the oak woods, will always provide you fresh air and refreshing shadows.

The stage Arzúa – O Pedrouzo is a constant flow of pilgrims. Although it doesn’t feel annoying, you’ll be forced to sacrifice the tranquillity you enjoyed in other stages of the Camino. The proximity to Compostela and the convergence of different itineraries in the previous towns can get the route overcrowded during summer months. On the second part of the route you must be very cautious, as you’ll have to cross the national road several times or walk in parallel to it.

Etapa Melide - Arzua

Apart from these little drawbacks, you won’t have any problem in finding all the services needed. Nor in Arzúa, a town where the small businesses focused on pilgrims have grown in the last few years.

That gives one an idea of the close link between the Jacobean route and Arzúa, where not only the French Path passes but also the Northern Route. In fact, the origin of the town is linked to the rise of the pilgrimages during the Middle Ages, which gave rise to a town at this intersection of paths that was then called Vila Nova (Villa Nueva), according to the Codex Calixtinus.

Arzúa even has its own pilgrim legend. The legend has it that around year 1000 a rumpled walker that spent the night in the town to protect himself from the bandits and criminals went to a bakery in the early morning to get a piece of bread to put in the mouth. The women in the household dismissed him with bad manners and the pilgrim tried his luck again in another bakehouse located a few metres away. The owners invited him to enter to warm up, they gave him a bread roll and they even seek out for more food. However, when they came back they noticed that the walker already left. Later when it came to remove the bread from the oven, the owners of the first bakery discovered that all their bread rolls had changed into stones. But the owners of the second bakery discovered they bread rolls turned into gold. Many have said it was the apostle Santiago itself that was passing through Arzúa that day…

It is quite clear that one of he best delicacies of Arzúa, the cheese that is renowned in Galicia and in a large part of Spain, was still unknown for this mysterious pilgrim. The 19th Century chronicles already emphasized the excellence of this product handmade from cow milk and that was recognized with the Denomination of origin Arzúa-Ulloa in 1995. In addition it also has the qualification of Galician Quality Product. For 41 years now every first Sunday of the month of March Arzúa celebrates a party to highlight this product, which has become a symbol of the town. We will not try to explain here the pleasure for the senses to try this delicious cheese. We can only recommend you not to leave Arzúa without trying it. We strongly believe that its good taste will accompany you until the final goal.

Foto Arzua

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