You’ve arrived to Pedrouzo, the entrance door to Compostela, your last stop on the Camino and the place where mixed feelings impossible to explain will overwhelm you: the excitement upon the imminent arrival to Obradoiro and the sorrow for leaving behind an experience that has surely already filled your backpack with life lessons, stories and great memories.
Unlike other places of the Jacobean route, Pedrouzo is not a town standing out for its rich heritage. While it is true that its surroundings are plentiful of interesting churches, Celtic settlements and numerous stately houses linked to noble families; in most cases you’ll need a car to visit them. Closest you’ll find a beautiful example of the religious architecture; the church of Santa Eulalia de Arca, close to the town that can be reached easily by foot. This chapel, with neoclassical style, is closely linked to the Camino and in fact one of its peculiarities is a striking altar shaped like a scallop shell. Story says that this church was the starting point of an expedition of 5000 devotees that, in the heat of the war of Spain against Cuba (at the end of nineteenth century), began a pilgrimage towards Santiago to demand the Apostle a victory in the battle. Tragically, the night before the departure the temple was burned down to ashes.
Once this short visit is done, we recommend you to enjoy a break and leisure time, two options for which Pedrouzo is the ideal place. Sheltered by the Camino de Santiago this small town has seen many shops and restaurants opening its doors, so you will never lack a terrace where to have some refreshments or an ice cream in the sun, or to enjoy a relaxed conversation and also have a taste of the traditional Spanish tapas. This is also a good time for social relations and perhaps reencounters, since many pilgrims stop in this town, where summer nights create a really living atmosphere. You’ll find all kind of services in this stage of the Camino.
Furthermore this town will also bring you one of the last opportunities to immerse in the Galician gastronomy, if you haven’t done it yet. It’s still a land of good cheese, god beef meat, horticultural products, aguardiente and honey. In addition, they have their own delicacy: chicken and hen meat of “Piñeira”, a local breed introduced by the Celtic characteristic of this region that was on the brink of extinction until only a few years ago. Its small size and beautiful plumage, this type of bird owes his name to the singular shape of its crest, rounded and with no beaks, and that people insisted to compare with the fruit of the pine tree; pinecone. The Piñeiro rooster has its own celebration, which is held on every first Sunday of August visited every year by more than 10.000 people.
After getting rest, full of energy and excitement, you’ll be able to complete the 19,5 kilometres that separate you from the plaza del Obradoiro. This stage towards Santiago will take place, as the previous one, between meadows, eucalyptus forests and the inseparable road, constant over the last sections. On your way you’ll pass through two iconic locations. You’ll find the first 9 kilometres after walking 9 kilometres: it’s Lavacolla, the place where pilgrims left their dirty clothes and dived in the river so as to arrive neat to Santiago. The name Lavacolla comes from the verb “lavar” washing in Spanish and the Codex Calixtinus already featured this tradition in its pages.
You will soon arrive to the other symbolic location where your stomach stretches and your hair stand on end: the Monte do Gozo, from where you can see from afar Santiago and the towers of its cathedral, nowadays partially hidden by the tree crowns. Regarding its name, it’s due to the pleasant feeling that fills the pilgrims spirit at the sight of the Apostle city from this mound, and that is increasingly closer. Six kilometres only, that separate you from this point to your destination, that was prepared during the Holy Year 1993 as a residential area for pilgrims and visitors, including also a hostel for 400 people. Since then it has declined progressively but recently an integrated plan of action has been approved in order to renew it. So if you walk the Camino in 2017 you’ll find it again at its best.
Now you only have to complete the urban section that will take you in front of the cathedral. Santiago is waiting for you, with its old town part of the UNESCO World Heritage and its narrow cobbled streets full of secrets.