12 Curiosities and secrets on the way

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Everybody who has walked the Way agrees it has much to offer, independently of the starting point of the journey: gastronomy, culture, nature, friendship, experiences, mysticism… Combined, they all make the Way a unique experience, even if repeated and following the same route.

This blog entry aims to enumerate some of the curiosities and “secrets” on the Way that may have gone unnoticed to some during the Xacobean adventure. Other travellers did notice and have kindly and altruistically agreed to share them with us. Credit where credit is due!

Top curiosities on Camino de Santiago

Incidentally, I will only indicate the area where each one of these “little secrets”, and not the exact location as I have done on our posting of the 7 most representative bridges on the Way. We aim to play the with the concept of “secret”, so you can all chase it by yourselves, but in some cases due to a real lack of knowledge of the exact position (even though I will always deny the later most emphatically!).

The Start of the French Way

Who does not know the starting point of the most famous route of the Way? In Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, the start from Navarra of the French Way, you will be able to find this small indicator.

El inicio del Camino Francés. Foto: Magdalena Gaetan Salado

Photo: Magdalena Gaetan Salado

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Francés | Stage: Saint Jean Pied de Port – Roncesvalles

Game of the Goose on the Logroño

Very close to a famous church in Logroño you will be able to play the Game of Goose on this incredible 150m2  board where squares have been substituted for emblematic places and monuments on the Way.  By the way, I have read somewhere or other a theory that places the origins of this game on the actual Way…one day I will dig deeper into this question.

Foto: MadJoker Wazzzup - Flickr

Photo: MadJoker Wazzzup – Flickr

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Francés | Stage: Torres del Río – Logroño

A cave in Padrón

If you, like me, find one of the most attractive things of the Way its actual history and collection of legends, then this is certainly one for you:  finding the ´Pedrón´(o big stone) in the town of Padrón. In Spanish, this reads like a game of words, but it actually refers to the roman tablet dedicated to the god Neptune. Legend has it that it was on this stone that the boat carrying the lifeless body of St James back from Palestine to Padrón (then known as Iria Flavia)  was secured.

Photo: Manuel Vidal Torrado

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Portugués | Stage: Padrón – Santiago de Compostela

Unnoticed sarcophagus

Those that cross Burgos on their way to Santiago often fall in love with its cathedral. Just before entering the city, some travellers manage to come across the church of San Juan de Ortega, and of those, some will also manage to locate a splendid romanesque sarcophagus that can sometime go unnoticed, in the shadow of the church’s beautiful capitals.

Foto: Feli Sánchez

Photo: Feli Sánchez

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Francés | Stage: Belorado – Agés

“Atlantean” village

If you are in luck and you happen to arrive to Portomarín (well, more on the exit than the entry route) when its reservoir is low in flow of water, you will be able to see the old Portomarin. The old town had indeed disappeared once the damm was built, and drove the construction of the new one on a different location.

Foto: Juan Carballal

Foto: Juan Carballal

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Francés | Stage: Sarria – Portomarín

The Pilgrim´s corner

The city of Ourense has a bar in which every pilgrim has a spot. Part of the Sanabrian Way, the bar invites all pilgrims that visit to leave their signature on any of the hundreds of scallop shells that adorn its walls. Undoubtedly, a very original guestbook.

Foto: Bicigrinosextremeños - Blogspot

Foto: Bicigrinosextremeños – Blogspot

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Sanabrés| Stage: Xunqueira de Ambía – Ourense

Gross altar

A very special prize, beyond the well-deserved rest, awaits those who finish the fourth stage of the Northern Way. After a small search of the area, we can find an altar, shaped by nature inside a small chapel. I will not reveal the name of the chapel in question, but will mention that, until very recently, it did not have opening time. I will also leave you with a relevant name: José de Lizardi.

Foto: María José Ramírez

Foto: María José Ramírez

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino del Norte | Stage: Deba – Markina-Xemein

Milladoiro cemetery

Just before arriving to Puente de la Reina, there is peculiar trail filled with these particular rocky mounds. Also known as hitos, mercuriales, apachitas o hermas, these are usually used to mark the roads or specific points on them. However, on this particular road these posts are placed very close to each other, acquiring a more landscaping rather than positioning aspect to them.

We thank the pilgrims José y Maju for the help which has enabled the accurate addition of this site to the list.

Foto: José Juan Torres

Foto: José Juan Torres

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Francés desde Aragón | Stage: Puente de la Reina – Estella

The hidden salt mine

The Portuguese Way does also contain secrets – perhaps because, like John Ruskin, I am also fascinated by derelict buildings. We are talking about a slightly isolated spot, but worth seeking. The Granja de la Salina is indeed a location where nature claims back what once belonged to her, creating a truly spectacular scenery.

Foto: galiciamaxica.eu

Foto: galiciamaxica.eu

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Portugués | Stage: Tui – O’Porriño

“Runes” of Mogor

Close to Pontevedra city is the beach of Marín. On the beach, close to the shore,  is a collection of stones which have been carved with words and symbols related to the Way, and whose author is and will probably remain anonymous.

Foto: Marcos Dios

Foto: Marcos Dios

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Portugués | Stage: Redondela – Pontevedra

The “Santiaguiño”

There is a small park in Caldas de Reis harbouring a small statue honoring the Apostle. The statue is kindly referred to by travellers as the “santiaguiño” due to its small size.

Foto: Marcos Dios

Foto: Marcos Dios

This is roughly around here

Route: Camino Portugués | Stage: Caldas de Reis – Padrón

The fountain of wine

Close to Estella is a water fountain…up to here, all seems normal. What makes it rather special is that it dispenses wine as well as water, should the visitor wished so. Yes, you are reading correctly: wine. But what makes it even more special is that this is all free to those coming along to fill their bottles (o wineskins). But beware, and remember that wine might make you zigzag and hence increase your journey!

Foto: Rafael Miro - Flickr

Foto: Rafael Miro – Flickr

This is roughly around here

Route:Camino Francés | Stage: Puente de la Reina – Estella

And this is all from me, folks, but the floor is open to those of you, Way experts,  who might have want to contribute more to this list.  We encourage you to share comments with us and other users. And don´t forget this share this blog entry if you liked it, and to continue to follow Vojo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Till next time!

Header photo:  lacavernadelescriba (Blogspot).
Translation: Ana Padilla.

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About Author

Sergio De Arriba

Graduado en Historia del Arte, trabajo como Gestor de Contenido Cultural y arquitecto de rutas en VOJO, aunque de vez en cuando también realizo vídeos corporativos e ilustraciones. En este blog mi intención es mostraros el Arte de la forma más atractiva y sencilla posible, alejándome de descripciones complejas pero sin olvidar los métodos científicos que acompañan a la teoría artística.

4 Comments

  1. Hola, peregrino.
    Pedias información sobre dónde se encuentra el “cementerio de milladoiros”. En el 2013 realicé el Camino Aragonés y si no recuerdo mal, se haya enla etapa entre Jaca y Arrés. Llegando a la población de Puente la Reina de Jaca. Es una etapa que discurre mayormente paralela a la carretera, hasta que te desvían hacia la ribera de un río y en ese tramo te encuentras con esta curiosidad del Camino.
    Espero que te haya servido y si no conoces ese Camino y quieres recorrerlo, un consejo: ni se te ocurra ir en verano, porque apenas hay sombra y las fuentes brillan por su ausencia.
    Un saludo

  2. Sergio de Arriba
    Sergio de Arriba on

    Hola Maju.

    ¡Muchas gracias por tu comentario y por tus indicaciones! No te quepa duda de que algún día (no muy lejano) pasaré por esa bonita senda cámara de fotos en mano. Y por cierto, también tomo nota de tu consejo, intentaré que esa visita sea en una estación más fresquita que la de verano.

    Gracias de nuevo Maju. ¡Ultreia!

  3. el lugar de los hitos es despues del cementerio de Mañeru y antes de Cirauqui. y no antes de Puente la Reina como se indica.

    • Sergio de Arriba
      Sergio de Arriba on

      Hola José.

      Muchas gracias por la aclaración. Cambiaré las indicaciones para no inducir a otros peregrinos a error.
      Estamos realmente encantados de que participéis en nuestro blog y nos ayudéis a mejorarlo. ¡Un Saludo!

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