This morning, prepare to leave Lestedo and depart for 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.
As you continue to walk the Camino will pass through the tiny hamlet of San Xulian, one of the prettiest pictures you can find on the Way with a cruceiro, an hórreo and the small 12th century Romanesque church of San Xulián. Along your journey your Fresco Tours maps will indicate sites you shouldn’t miss as well as necessities like the next bathroom stop, the nearest pharmacy, and our favorite local restaurants.
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.
As you depart from the town of San Xulian and say farewell to this sorrow story you will continue on the Camino through another small village named Leboreiro. This village has kept its rustic old charm and it is graced by the small Romanesque church of Santa María de las Nieves. As you leave the town and cross the small medieval bridge across the Río Seco you will hear the quiet babbling of the stream to compliment the beautiful view.
Finally you will arrive in Melide, your stop for the night. If you are feeling sore, you can consult one of your Fresco Tours maps to find our massage recommendations nearby! Here, be sure to enjoy the famous and delicious Galician pulpo (octopus) and rest your head for the days to come. Santiago de Compostela is getting closer!