March 6, 2021
Hello! Ilwoolies. Ready for part 3? Here we go!
This is the video:
And his Video Description:
His video begins at Pontevedra. Ilwoo started his day earlier than his friends and looked so refreshed and happy when he received his friends with beers! What a sweetheart!
I was able to find this Albergue! It is one of the official Pilgrim’s Albergues. It’s called ALbergue de Peregrinos de Pontevedra. This Albergue sits very close to the train tracks in this town! On a high platform so sadly we can’t enjoy a Google walk around the property… but HERE is the link if you want to try! It is simple but very nice. I’ll mix it the photos from Google Maps with the one’s from Ilwoo’s video:
When I read more in detail what he had written, it melted my heart! He did in a way what I do so many days of my life… teach one’s native language. If you ever go there, don’t forget to check the log or even ask for an older log! Can you imagine if you find his lesson!!!
Sadly he did not have a good night there… I may imagine why… look how close those beds are:
I don’t think I could sleep there! Imagine the smells… ^ ^. I guess that is part of it all! Yikes!
This is a view of mural are on the wall at the bottom…
A little about Pontevedra.
This city is the capital to many places including: the Comarca County, Province of Pontevedra and Rías Baixas in Galicia.
“Pontevedra is the second city in Galicia for its rich heritage, only after Santiago de Compostela. A city of art and history, the city is known as “The Good City” or “The City of the Lérez”. The city is also an important stopover on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago that bears witness to the circular church of the Pilgrim’s Virgin with a floor plan in the shape of a scallop shell and the scallop shells sculpted in the arches of the medieval Burgo bridge. It dates back 1st-century Roman Hispania (this is what the Romans called the Iberian Peninsula). ” Cr. Wikipedia
This city gets its name from an old bridge that was originally built by the Romans.
“The name of the city is likely a Latin composite of pons, pontis (bridge) and veter, vetera, veterum (old, long established). In Galicia, Latin pons, a masculine word, became feminine, hence Vulgar LatinPonte Vetera, which became by the 13th century the modern Galician language toponymy Pontevedra, “the old bridge”, in reference to an old Roman bridge across the Lérez River which had been located near the 12th century Burgo bridge that remains in place today.” Cr. Wikipedia
This is the bridge:
Cr. Wiki Commons Cojvgpt
Another really beautiful site is the Church of the Virgin Pilgrim. Imagine that the floor plan of this church is a scallop, the symbol of Santiago de Apostle.
And there is a beautiful virgin statue that was brought here all the way from by pilgrims from Bayonne, France to Santiago de Compostela. Imagine carrying her all the way there!!! What devotion! She is so beautiful!
This is the statue of La Divina Peregrina. (is the same that was in the Albergue where Ilwoo stayed, did you see her there?) I read that this virgin was “kicked out” of the main church in Pontevedra, called The Church of Saint Mary (Basilica de Santa Maria la Mayor) because she was taking the attention (and ultimately money) of the virgin statue there! So they moved her out of town to a run down old church! But the devotion of the pilgrims to her was such that eventually she was brought back to a gorgeous place of her own. At one point she was not even allowed to bear the name virgin Mary… just The Divine Peregrine!
Geez… just like a soap opera!
Here is a great time lapse video of Pontevedra. It is really well done:
Of Valga we don’t see much except them on the road… suffering… it looked so hot! and they had no water…
They stayed at an Albergue called: Albergue de Peregrinos de Valga. I mentioned it in my first Camino post two years ago. HERE is the entrance to this Albergue in Google Maps. You can see the sign that Oppa is standing in front of in the video. Feel free to go down the street and feel a bit like Oppa did!
Shall we look inside this albergue? Yeah!
Clean and simple. I like that there is more privacy!
They stopped at this restaurant…but I was not able to find it.
Take a look at the photos of the table above closely… did you see them? The two Korean sauces? Well, Ilwoo likes his meals hot and so he brought pepper tube sauces. He actually posted these at the time in his Instagram:
It’s like his Ketchup! ^ ^
Then they had dinner here:
I found this last place… there are many barbecue/grill places or how we call them in Spanish, “Parrillada” places near this albergue, but only this one had those silver chairs and the vines. It is also the closest to the albergue.
Name and address: Parrillada Criollo, 10, N-550, 36645 Valga, Pontevedra, Spain. HERE in Google Maps
These are other photos of Ilwoo during this trip . He posted them in his Instagram. They look like they would go around here!
WOOw! is right! Just look at those muscles!
Don’t get lost… HERE is the post office on the right… keep going straight down…
And at last we are in front of the West Entrance of the Church!
Ilwoo and his friends rested at the Praza da Obradoiro. Here is a bit of info on this beautiful square and the main one of Santiago de Compostela:
“The Praza do Obradoiro (Galician for “Square of the Workshop”) is main square of the Santiago de Compostela old town, although not placed at the real centre. It lies to the West of the main façade of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral, and thus the Pórtico da Gloria must be crossed to get into the building from the square. It is surrounded by four important buildings, said to represent the four powers of the city: the aforementioned Santiago de Compostela cathedral to the East (the Church), Hostal dos Reis Católicos (the doctors and bourgeoisie) to the North, Pazo de Raxoi (the government; after the Spanish transition to democracy was seat for the President of the Xunta of Galicia, nowadays the city council) to the West and the Colexio de San Xerome (the university) to the South. Once being crossed by cars, now is mainly pedestrian as the rest of the old town, with only traffic for taxis and (un)loading delivery lorries.
The floor is decorated by eight rays starting from the center, where a plaque commemorates the World Heritage Site pilgrims’ way of Camiño de Santiago, whose final target is around here.” Cr. Wikipedia
Here we see Ilwoo proudly standing in front of the West side Facade facing Praza do Obradoiro.
Cr. Wikicommons (StephenD). Taken in 2018
Do you want to feel right there with him … go HERE. You can see the the whole square, though sadly one can’t move about!
Here are more photos of the Cathedral. This is the main entrance:
Cr. Wikicommons ()
I remember this fountain being surrounded by pilgrims and they would cool off with its water. And here are more photos of the exterior:
Cr. Wikicommons (Georges Jansoone)
Cr. Wikicommons ()
This coming piece is part of my first post about his walk to Santiago back in 2019.
I have been on El Camino twice with my family. The first time we visited Santiago de Compostela. We did not do the walk. It was in 2002! It is a beautiful city, and the cathedral is absolutely beautiful. It is a a very old cathedral completed in 1211. It is a Romanesque structure with gothic and baroque incorporated later. It looks like this:
These two coming up are my photos… well the ones watermarked…
Way up on the top is St. James the Great dressed as a “peregrino,” a pilgrim:
This is “El Portico de la Gloria”, like the doorway of Glory. This is what you see if you look up as you walk in:
Two sights I remember clearly was seeing the devotion of the peregrines as they arrived to the church… many go up the stairs into the church on their knees. The other sight that I remember was the Botafumeiro. It is a huge incense burner…
We went to mass and they swung it back and forth…so high! I thought it was going to hit someone! The smell is very strong and it gets very smoky inside the building. The one I saw was a small one, they have one they keep in exhibit that is much bigger! It’s one biggest in the world weighing 80 kilograms! It’s used only in special occasions. If that thing landed it on someone’s head they’d get a pass straight to heaven courtesy of the priests! 🙂 I’m not kidding look:
Spain… such a beautiful land filled with passionate people… they have some of the most “live on the edge traditions” in the world… even inside cathedrals I guess! The run of the bulls, the Tomatina…The swinging of the Botafumeiro! 🙂
This is a general view of the interior of the church:
And this is the very baroque altar. Yes! A lot of it is real gold!
Would you like to know more about the history of the Apostle? He has a fascinating story. I wrote the following story starting from the time he became an Apostle by using the following sources: Wikipedia, Catholic.org, Rdgn.info and Piercedhearts.com.
Jesus had twelve Apostles according to the New Testament. Two of them were named James. The James mentioned in these Camino posts is known as James the Greater, or James son of Zebedee. He is known as the Greater because he was taller (or older). He was born in Palestine. He and his brother John were fishing with Peter when Jesus appeared. They had not been able to catch anything and Jesus asked them to cast their net once more. The net came back full of fish and after this miracle, these three men became his Apostles. And they were his closest.
After Jesus’ death, all his Apostles travelled to different parts of the world to preach his Gospel. Santiago travelled to the Iberian Peninsula. He hard a hard time converting the people there until he received divine help. On 2 January AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Spain. She appeared upon a pillar, and that pillar is conserved and venerated within the present Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, Spain. This was extraordinary, for Mary was living at that time in Jerusalem, making her appearance to them in Spain a bilocation. The Blessed Virgin told St. James to build a sanctuary where God would be honored and glorified, and gave him a pillar with her image to be placed in the sanctuary.
The Blessed Virgin also told St. James that when the sanctuary was finished, he should return to Palestine where he would die. St. James eventually returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44. He was the first Apostle to die as a martyr for preaching the Resurrection of Christ. There are various legends as to how his body makes it to Spain. I will tell you this one: His body was taken up by angels, and sailed in a rudderless, unattended boat to Iria Flavia in Iberia. (Today Padrón). There a massive rock surrounded and protected his remains.
Many years after, in 813 (^ ^) the sarcophagus was discovered by a hermit named “Pelayo” after following a star to the site. King Alfonso II of Asturias, nicknamed the Chaste, and bishop Theodemir of Iria, in the early 9th century built a small church over St. James’s shrine, and the place was named Compostela (of Latin Campus Stellae – the field of the star).
Pilgrims started walking to Spain to visit the Apostle relics and so the pilgrimage route began and was established in the 9th century. This shrine dedicated to James at Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia in Spain, is the most famous pilgrimage site in the Christian world. The Way of St. James is a network of routes that cross Western Europe and arrive at Santiago through Northern Spain. James became the patron Saint of Spain.
This magazine has a nice layout about the 12 Apostles of Christ:
When Pilgrims enter Santiago de Compostela, they must complete either 100 kilometers on foot or 200 Kms on a bike. Once you get there, 4 tasks are required to complete their pilgrimage: (Cr. Andaspain Walking Adventures HERE)
The first task would be to place their hand at the feet of Jesus portrayed on the Door of Glory. Often one would say a prayer here before entering the door.
The second task was to then go to the other side of the Door of Glory to the depiction of Master
Mateo. They would place their forehead on the bust of Master Mateo, or Santos dos Croques, and tap gently three times. It was thought, that with these bumps, Mateo would pass on his wisdom. Even the local Spaniards believe in the power of Master Mateo. Many of the students from the University of Santiago de Compostela would join in the tradition of rubbing their heads on Master Mateo in hope of becoming the next stellar architect. Some locals would even bring their young children to rub their heads on the door. They believed this act would increase their children’s knowledge and understanding. This is the sculpture:
The third task was to hug the sculpture of St. James at the High Altar in the Cathedral. This was to thank him for the journey and the lessons you learned along the Way. In his hand, he carries a stone that is inscribed with the words:
“Hic Est Corpus Davi Jacobi Apostoli Et Ispaniarum Patroni”
The last step of the four rituals was to visit the bones of St. James underneath the High Altar, after all, this is why people began walking to Santiago de Compostela hundreds of years ago.
This is what Santiago’s tomb looks like:
After getting his credentials, and going to mass, Ilwoo and his friends headed to Muxia and Finisterre.
Muxia is a gorgeous town where many people go after finishing El Camino. It was a space influenced by many groups including Celtics, Moors, Germanic Tribes and Christians.
The Celts left their mark here by building a shrine. This Shrine eventually was taken over by Christians in the 12th Century who built a hermitage on this location at first, and later the present church in the 17th century called “Santuario da Virxe da Barca.” According to legend one of the magic balancing stones near this church was the boat that brought Virgin Mary to Muxia to help St James spread the Gospel.
Many years later on December 25th of 2013 it was struck by lightining causing a fire that did a lot of damage to it.
This is what the church currently looked like before the fire:
Cr. WikiCommons Mario Sanchez 2008.
Cr. WikiCommons Mario Sanchez 2008.
From this last photo you can see the monument where Ilwoo took these photos:
This place marks the O Km line of El Camino. Behind the marker is The Monument of A Ferida (“the wound”). On November 13th of 2002 a 26 year old structurally deficient oil tanker named MV Prestige spilling over 60,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil into the waters here. You can read all about this terrible ecological disaster HERE.
It is a 400-ton monolith of 11 meters high carved in granite whose structure is divided in two. This division gives shape to a breach that represents a bleeding wound. It was created by the sculptor from Burgos, Alberto Bañuelos-Fournier.
If you want to read more about Muxia I recommend this BLOG by Pilgrim Traveller.
After Muxia, Ilwoo walked to Finisterre. In Roman times it was believed to be an end of the known world. The name Finisterre, derives from the Latin finis terrae, meaning “end of the earth”. There are actually two places that are more to the west than this place as measured by our modern scientific instruments. However this does not measure the faith of the people that continue to visit this place as the end of their journey of El Camino.
I don’t know if people still do this now but it has been a long standing tradition to leave one’s boots and even burn one’s clothing here as a tribute and closure to the journey. I really hope for the Earth this is not so anymore!
This is the monument of the boot there:
Here is another photo of Ilwoo at this spot:
And this is a closeup of the beautiful light house of Finesterre:
The one we see in this part of the video:
In the last part of his video Ilwoo reflected about his trip to Santiago. It was good hearing what he felt about walking El Camino.
I found the Magazine I had bought on my path to El Camino when I visited Leon. It contains a lot of interesting articles about the route in Medieval Times. I thought the following pages could help you discover new places if you ever walk from the East again. Every place is a world of history in itself! This road is so incredible! I can’t wait to walk it… someday!
This is also a good visual about the area in the times that this road was getting established. One of the things they had to do was protect the pilgrims, and many of the kings and high officials of all these areas did it… and continue to today.