Either way, a handsome Fisterrana is awarded to bona fide pilgrims arriving by foot at Fisterra. These are issued by the Concello do Fisterra and can be obtained from their offices on Rua Santa Catalina. (Ask for the ever helpful Begona). If you are staying in the albergue they can also be obtained from there.
BEFORE LEAVING GALICIA your understanding of her central role in the development of pilgrimage, both pagan and Christian, will likewise be greatly enriched by visiting the following sites. All of which can be accomplished in a day, although an overnight stay in Padron is recommended. Castromil Autobuses run hourly from Santiago to Padron for around 1.50. (It is part of their service to Pontevedra/ Vigo stopping at Padron). If you want to see Castro Lupario and/ or Castelo Altamira then you will need to hire a car, share a taxi or take a couple of extra days to walk it. See map on the front cover for general locations.
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Padron 20 kilometres South of Santiago. Here is where we find the legendary starting point of Sant Iagos ministry in Spain. It is a delightful town built around the banks of the rio Lila and essentially an extension of Iria Flavia. The latter being the original seat of the Catholic bishops of Galicia before it was transferred to Santiago de Compostela. The Concello de Padron publishes a leaflet in English (available from the tourist office adjoining the Botanical gardens) which states, ‘The Padron, the Rocks and the Iria Church are the three cradles of Santiago the Apostle myth and so indubitably the Santiago myth was born in Padron. Without doubt! Amongst the varied attractions of this historical town are therefore the following essentials:
While legends abound, the most consistent is that this is the stone to which the disciples tied the boat carrying the mortal remains of the Apostle St.
James back to Galicia, following his martyrdom in Jerusalem. (One guide blog gives the date as 40 B.C. which is rather harder to accept!) The original stone is directly under the altar in the church of St. James which is built on the banks of the river at the bridge. A handsome stone replica is built alongside the river on the opposite side of the bridge and may evoke a somewhat more authentic response to the legend. It is certainly easier to imagine a boat coming alongside here to tie up with its sacred cargo. Colegiata de Santa Maria de Iria Flavia. It was here in 813 AD that Teodomiro, bishop of Iria, confirmed the discovery of the mortal remains of St James. The apostle’s body having been brought from what is now Padron to the sacred mount that we now know as Santiago de Compostela. If you walk the 2 kilometres that separates Padron from Iria you will have walked part of the Camino Portugues. Don’t be put otl by the noise of traffic on this busy stretch of road, most of the way marked route from Oporto is on woodland paths and along quiet country roads. Perhaps you will come back one day and walk this historic route?
Santiaguino Mount (also known as San Gregorio Mount). Here legend tells us that St. James first preached the gospel message. Standing imposingly above the river, it is not difficult to envisage him delivering Christ’s message of unconditional love from this remote and peaceful place. While only a mere kilometre from the bridge, it is a steep climb up the Escaleras al Santiaguino. accessed, somewhat inconspicuously. between two houses on the road to Noia. Adjoining Santiaguino Mount is the small chapel of Santiaguino with a stone motif of the apostle baptising a pilgrim with water poured from a Scallop shell.