STAGE 1, 26 AUGUST: SARRIA-PORTOMARÍN
Total distance: 20,37 kilometres.
GROUP 1: COMPLETE STAGE
08:50 h. Convent of La Magdalena (Sarria).
5:00 p.m. Portomarín (base of the stairway).
GROUP 2: STRETCH
– Walk a 15 km stretch from A Serra (km 108, junction with LU-5709) to Portomarín Ponte.
3:30 p.m. Portomarín (base of the stairway).
GROUP 3: STRETCHES
– Fulfil a 2 km stretch from A Serra (km 108, junction with LU-5709) to the crossing of the Camino with the Sarria-Portomarín LU-633 highway (km 106), at the height of Xistelo.
– Carry out a 4.5 km stretch from the Montrás high to Portomarín Ponte.
3:30 p.m. Portomarín Ponte (base of the stairway).
The first stage of our journey and the longest one. We will travel from Sarria to Portomarín, two of the villages quoted in the Códice Calixtino (12th century) by the Cluniac monk Americ Picaud, author of what is considered the first guide of the French Way to Santiago.
For the most part the Camino runs along rustic trails, secondary tracks and footbridges over streams, in a hike that does not disappoint. We will go deep into the most traditional rural and traditional Galicia, in a route dotted with small villages, livestock farms, meadows, streams, springs and magnificent examples of Galician Romanesque. There will be several stretches in ascent, the most pronounced one just leaving Sarria. The rest are shorter and more bearable. We will have the opportunity to pass next to oaks and chestnut trees, some of them spectacular, more than 500 years old. Moreover, we probably cross more than one flock of Rubia Gallega, one of the native Galicia cattle breeds.
The second part of the stage is a continuous descent towards Portomarín, a town originally built along the banks of the river Miño but literally transferred to the Monte del Cristo in the 60s of the last century, due to the construction of the Belesar reservoir. The pilgrims access Portomarin by a staircase that has the reputation of being the hardest of the Camino and that comes directly out onto the As Neves chapel, with a very special symbolism that few pilgrims know. The chapel stays on one recovered arch from the ancient medieval bridge of Portomarín (year 1120). In the past, under this same chapel, the pilgrims waited to receive the blessing before continuing to Compostela. Pons-Sorolla, executor of the transfer of the old Portomarín to his new sitting, created the set of chapel-bridge with the aim of maintaining the Jacobean spirit of a village so important for the Camino, as evidenced by the settlement of the three main orders of chivalry of the Camino: Santiago, the Temple and San Juan of Jerusalem.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 26th. SARRIA – PORTOMARÍN
8:00 a. m. Departure to Sarria (from Hotel Méndez Núñez)
8:40 a. m. Group Photo (Convent of the Magdalena)
8:50 a. m. Start of Stage 1
5:00 p. m. Portomarín. End of stage. Meeting point: Stairway base
8:00 p. m. Dinner. Hotel Méndez Núñez