After a rewarding morning walk you arrive to Palas de Rei. The name of the town translates to “Palace of the King” in English and it is believed to have been named after the royal palace of the Visigoth King Witiza that once stood in the area during the Middle Ages. King Witiza lived sometime around the end of the seventh century, while his death is said to have coincided with the beginning of the Moorish invasion in 711. Witzia was the archetype of the evil ruler, or at least that is what legend and tradition led us to believe. His personal life, filled with mistresses and murder, is said to have mirrored his regency of cruelty and tyranny. However, his kingdom no longer stands, and in its place stands a busy albeit small rural town.
After saying goodbye to Palas de Rei you continue your Camino to Melide over rolling hills. We will pass through the tiny hamlet of San Xulian, one of the prettiest pictures you can find on the Camino with a cruceiro, an hórreo and the small 12th century Romanesque church of San Xulián.
Saint Julian is another favorite on the Camino, him being the patron saint of hospitallers and hoteliers may have something to do with this. His story goes as follows. Julian, a soldier and not yet a saint, mistakenly kills his parents thinking that the two bodies he finds sleeping in his bed are his wife and a lover. However, his parents, who had been searching for him across Europe, had previously stumbled upon his home and wife by chance. His wife was overjoyed and had put his weary parents to bed before running out to find Julian. When she returned home, he then learnt that they were his parents. Full of remorse and repentance, he traveled to Rome with his wife to seek forgiveness. There, the Pope told him that to absolve his sin, he had to set up a pilgrim’s hospice to care for pilgrims on their way to Santiago. And this he did, eventually becoming Saint Julian.
Another highlight on today’s walk is the small village of Leboreiro. This village has kept its rustic old charm and it is graced by the small Romanesque church of Santa María de las Nieves.
Finally you arrive in Melide, your stop for the night. Here, you can try the famous and delicious Galician pulpo (octopus). Santiago de Compostela is getting closer!