Well rested and having enjoyed a delicious breakfast, we ride to the village of Rabanal del Camino where we start our walk up to the Cruz de Ferro, or the Iron Cross. The cross stands upon an enormous cairn dating back to time immemorial that marks the highest point on the French Camino in Spain. The pile is topped by a simple wooden pole and an iron cross.
However, what makes this cairn exceptional, as there are many others along the trail, is its sheer size and the fact that pilgrims continue to honor the tradition of leaving a stone here as they make their way west, serving as a testament to the countless pilgrims who have passed along the Camino de Santiago. Indeed, every so often, stones must be removed to keep the pile from blocking the road that passes nearby.
As for the stones themselves, they come in all shapes and sizes, and you can easily spend some time here reading and pondering over other pilgrims’ messages and testimonies. These stones or small tokens symbolize the burdens that pilgrims wish to shed along their journey. Be sure to bring a stone from home to add to the mound.
After finishing our walk and enjoying a spectacular Fresco Tours picnic, we make our way across the Galician countryside to Lugo.
Lugo is known for being an important stop on the Camino de Santiago Primitivo, and for its Roman walls that surround the historic center. These walls are so exceptional, they have been declared a World Heritage Site.