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Snakebit12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2021
1st Time Poster.

My wife and I (both retired) are planning to do a "gentle pilgrimage" from Sarria on the French Way next spring - 8 hiking days. We are in no hurry and would want an "off-day" in the middle. The true "midpoint" after 4 days is Melide but with the bus system, we could spend our free day in either:
  1. Melide
  2. Palas De Rei
  3. Azuna
The question is...which of the three towns is the most interesting?

I appreciate any and all thoughts.

John
 

biarritzdon

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF11, CF12, CP13, CF14, CA15, S.Anton15, CF&CI15
Ditch Pig16, CF&CP17, CdN18, CM18, CF18, LePuy19
You will be walking through all three towns, so I would pick a market day to stop becuase they are always lively and festive. The calendar for market days is usually set in stone for a certain day of the week and you can find them with a little research. I don't understand the bus reference? Are you considering doing a day trip to a someplace off of the Camino?
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
Do you mean Arzua?

I assume you are trying to pin this down because you are planning to book all of your accommodation in advance. If you are planning a "rest" day because you are concerned about the physical challenge, maybe you should simply walk shorter segments. For example, are you taking 2 days from Sarria to Portomarin? If you arrive early in any village after only 10-15 km, you will probably have the time and energy to take advantage of each place, including any markets or fiestas they have, without feeling stuck for 2 nights!
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Sarria and Santiago are worth extra time. Portomarin, has a pretty view and in good weather resting outside with a good view of the river is satisfying. Personally, I did not find any of those three towns you suggested somewhere I wanted to spend an extra day in. In fact, though, on various caminos I have spent an extra day in all of them for various reasons including an injury, torrential rains, and one time a snow storm! But I would, as someone else suggested, prefer to break up a longer section and do two shorter days than spend an extra day in one of those villages.
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Sarria and Santiago are worth extra time. portomarin, has a pretty view and in good weather resting outside with a good view of the river is satisfying. Personally, I did not find any of those three towns you suggested somewhere I wanted to spend an extra day in. In fact, though, on various caminos I have spent an extra day in all of them ( on different Caminos), for various reasons including an injury, torrential rains, and one time a snow storm! But I would, as someone else suggested, prefer to break up a longer section and do two shorter days than spend an extra day in one of those villages.
I agree. None of those towns warrant spending an extra day in. I would save my extra days for Santiago or a bus tour to Finisterre and Muxía.
Taking 8 days to walk from Sarria to Santiago gives you an average of 15km per day, which should get you to your destination early afternoon, giving you enough time to explore these small towns.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
If you have extra day, another option would be to start from Samos ( a short bus or taxi from Sarria). There is an interesting monastery there, and it’s a lovely, uncrowded route, approx 13 k to get back to Sarria
I second this suggestion. Samos is a lovely town!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2016, 2017, 2019 Camino Frances
If you have extra day, another option would be to start from Samos ( a short bus or taxi from Sarria). There is an interesting monastery there, and it’s a lovely, uncrowded route, approx 13 k to get back to Sarria
I would vote for this as well. I love Samos - the monastery is quite magnificent. It will also give you the chance to experience the Camino before the crowds that start at Sarria.
I cant think of a reason (other than injury or a weather event) to want to spend a day in any of the other three towns.
Another option is to take a taxi to Lugo (not far by car from Sarria) and walk around the walls of the old city. It is not on the Frances route, but close enough for a side trip from Sarria.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
'CP, Frances,Norte,Salv/prim;Le puy, Inglés, CDM, Invierno, Fin/Mux, Vdlp 2019>Táb/ Prt Levante 2020
I appreciate any and all thoughts
Welcome to the forum @Snakebit12
Your plan for an un-rushed camino from Sarria sounds perfect.
Whilst all the extra add-ons recommended by others are all top ideas; I feel it might possibly have you moving faster along the last 100k than you planned.

I feel that if you get to your start position (Sarria?) and go with the flow , you could still book the next day if you prefer to know where your bed will be.

Taking it gently., you and your wife will find you’ve got time to look around at each days destination.
Once you’ve arrived in Santiago - (depending how much time is still available) decide to either stay longer in Santiago, (and/or) take a bus to Finisterra or a taxi ?

That will give you a good idea as to whether there will be a 2nd camino! ........in the future; if time permits, the choices are endless and ‘walking’ from Santiago to Finisterra/Muxia could be something you’ll put on your ‘maybe’ list.

Remember to get 2 sellos (stamps) daily on your credencial on the last 100k to Santiago if you want to apply for a Compostela at the pilgrim office in Santiago when you arrive.

Enjoy your planning.
Easy as it goes.
Buen camino
Annie
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
I can't think of any towns on the section that are worth spending an extra day in either.
If you are worried you might need a rest day, just Walk Slower ;) (shorter stages)
Or have a bus trip out to Muxia at the end, or Samos as some have suggested....
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I agree with everybody else about this, and like the idea of starting in Samos. However, another option is to walk shorter stages and explore some of the historical sites that are just off the Camino. The ones that come to mind immediately, both after Portomarin: Vilar de Donas, and Castro de Castromaior. The latter is an impressive Roman ruin that's only a short way off the camino.
Vilar de Donas: https://gl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igrexa_de_San_Salvador_de_Vilar_de_Donas
Castro de Castromaior: https://galiciapuebloapueblo.blogspot.com/2016/08/castro-de-castromaior-portomarin.html?m=1

Well off the Camino, to the south of Palais De Rei there is a spa near a castle ruin. That might also be a nice place to pause. http://www.balnearioriopambre.com/
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
However, another option is to walk shorter stages and explore some of the historical sites that are just off the Camino.
Since they are planning on doing Sarria to Santiago in 8 days, they are already planning on shorter stages, so they will probably have time to visit some of the places that you mention.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
Personally I’d have the extra day (more specifically the evening) in Santiago. It’s where you’re walking to, it would be a shame not to enjoy it when you arrive.

I tend to walk ‘out of season’ and when I last passed through Melide on market day I found the sudden experience of hundreds of people quite a shock and walked straight through.
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and back (no name; Tours; Francés; sea; no name)
Another option is to take a taxi to Lugo (not far by car from Sarria) and walk around the walls of the old city. It is not on the Frances route, but close enough for a side trip from Sarria.
Another vote for Lugo, especially if @Snakebit12 and company have not yet explored many Roman sites or cathedrals - it's difficult to judge someone's interests on the basis of a short forum message :).

Lugo (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lugo) is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact Roman walls. The walk along the top is continuous round the circuit, and features ten gates. The cathedral is worth a visit. There are other sites of interests and it is a reasonably sized town (100,000 inhabitants), you may just want to stroll around and explore cafés, restaurants, shops. There is a regular bus service that runs from Santiago through Arzua, Melide and Palas de Rei to Lugo. Taxi is a possibility, but the bus feels more authentic to me ☺. Lugo has of course many links to Saint James and the pilgrimage to Santiago. Bon voyage and buen camino.
 

thejoker

Member
Camino(s) past & future
many
Of the three the OP mentioned, I'd go for an extra day in Melide. Plenty of good bars and local food on Rua Ichoas, Principal and San Antonio for a very relaxing long afternoon. But I agree with other posters in that more time in SdC would be preferable.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
I haven't done the Primitivo yet, but Lugo sounds fantastic! I think that I'd be tempted to start walking from there, rather than from Sarria.
Here's a 7 day walking plan from Lugo
If the first day is too long perhaps walk as far as you can on the first day and taxi back to Lugo for the night.
Screenshot_20200709-030001_Buen Camino.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
1st Time Poster.

My wife and I (both retired) are planning to do a "gentle pilgrimage" from Sarria on the French Way next spring - 8 hiking days. We are in no hurry and would want an "off-day" in the middle. The true "midpoint" after 4 days is Melide but with the bus system, we could spend our free day in either:
  1. Melide
  2. Palas De Rei
  3. Azuna
The question is...which of the three towns is the most interesting?

I appreciate any and all thoughts.

John
Also consider,
that whilst most seem to agree that the towns along the way are not worth staying an extra day in........
If you enjoy food.......
There are some great long lunch options all along that section from Sarria :eek:

It can be somewhat of a stroll between meals ! ;)

And Yes.......I never...ever...seem to lose weight...walking a Camino!
 
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WalkingJane

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
May and October 2015
(2015 October)
June 2018 Portuguese
Personally I’d have the extra day (more specifically the evening) in Santiago. It’s where you’re walking to, it would be a shame not to enjoy it when you arrive.

I tend to walk ‘out of season’ and when I last passed through Melide on market day I found the sudden experience of hundreds of people quite a shock and walked straight through.
I remember "getting caught" on a small town on market day, deciding to roam about as long as I was there, and thoroughly enjoying the crowd, stands and stalls, music, and movement. I like to travel and experience other ways of being and living; following the Camino too single-mindedly could detract from that pleasure for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I haven't done the Primitivo yet, but Lugo sounds fantastic! I think that I'd be tempted to start walking from there, rather than from Sarria.
Here's a 7 day walking plan from Lugo
If the first day is too long perhaps walk as far as you can on the first day and taxi back to Lugo for the night.
View attachment 78514
I've read the posts and kept thinking about posting something about Lugo (I like lots of @trecile posts). I have not been there but if you are busing from Santiago to Sarria you will have to connect in Lugo. You can get a credential by walking from there (it is on the Camino Primitivo and connects to the Francés at Melida. I think you need a stamp at Lugo's cathedral ???). In Covid times I'm not sure about accommodation. Pre-Covid it had a plus of lesser numbers walking until Melide but now that may not be a plus.

As for a rest day, if you really want one (I don't think you really need one) I suggest Melida because I can't even remember the other two. At Melida be sure to try the pulpo. There also is a church there that has a remarkable similarity to the one on the 10 euro note (but the buildings, etc. on the notes cannot be a depiction of something that exists).
 
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Steve Taylor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
June 2019 Sarria to Santiago Sept 2019 Logrono to Burgos Aug 2020 St Jean Pied De Port to Logrono
1st Time Poster.

My wife and I (both retired) are planning to do a "gentle pilgrimage" from Sarria on the French Way next spring - 8 hiking days. We are in no hurry and would want an "off-day" in the middle. The true "midpoint" after 4 days is Melide but with the bus system, we could spend our free day in either:
  1. Melide
  2. Palas De Rei
  3. Azuna
The question is...which of the three towns is the most interesting?

I appreciate any and all thoughts.

John
I walked this route in June 2019 and spent six days on the road, with no rest days. My schedule was as follows:
Day 1 -.Sarria to Portomarin; Day 2 - Portomarin to Palas De Rei; Day 3 - Palas De Rei to Melide; Day 4 - Melide to Arzua; Day 5 - Arzua to Pedrouzo; Day 6 - Pedrouzo to Santiago. I think that most people do it in five days, but this schedule worked for me. Portomarin was nice but, to be honest, I wouldn't bother spending a rest day anywhere en route. However, I did take a bus trip to Finisterre from Santiago and that was worth doing. Actually, Finisterre would be worth an overnight stay.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
1st Time Poster.

My wife and I (both retired) are planning to do a "gentle pilgrimage" from Sarria on the French Way next spring - 8 hiking days. We are in no hurry and would want an "off-day" in the middle. The true "midpoint" after 4 days is Melide but with the bus system, we could spend our free day in either:
  1. Melide
  2. Palas De Rei
  3. Azuna
The question is...which of the three towns is the most interesting?

I appreciate any and all thoughts.

John
Should never say a disparaging word againt the Camino but if I had to pick the most uninteresting, boring, unattractive towns on the Camino from SJPP until SdC they would be Melide, Palas de Rei, and Azuna. My choice would be Ribadiso the junta alberge is good enough try and get a bed away from the doors leading to the 00 just down the road is/was a private albergue (who knows these days!) and spend the day with your feet in the river and a picnic!
 
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Snakebit12

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
March/April 2021
Thank you everyone for your various responses.

Loved this! "Should never say a disparaging word against the Camino but if I had to pick the most uninteresting, boring, unattractive towns on the Camino from SJPP until SdC they would be Melide, Palas de Rei, and Azuna." I know how to pick them ;).

What I call a "rest day" might be better described as a "free day". On our prior long-distance hikes, we have always inserted a day to do something interesting besides hiking...visit Oban while doing the West Highland Way or Skellig Michael while on the Kerry Way.

Lugo may fit the bill as we are interested in Roman history (and were supposed to be hiking the Cotswold's enroute to Bath this September before the virus mucked everything up). That means an extra night (but not an extra day!) in one of the three as all are on the Lugo <-> SdC bus route. Probably pick the one with the cheapest accommodations.

We are excited about doing the Camino. We planned to do an annual inn-to-inn hike every year as long as we are physically able. Losing 2020 hurts....but Camino offers us a chance to double up in 2021 as we plan to go in late March/early April and follow up with our normal fall hike (looking at The Rhine or the Cornwall Coast). My wife watched "The Way" recently and is ready to go.

Thanks again.
 


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