After breakfast, a short ride brings us back to the heart of rural Galicia and the French Camino de Santiago. Our walk starts in the hamlet of Calzada, its popular café and a dairy farm. Further down the trail is the picturesque village of Calle, which gracefully combines traditional Galician architecture with newer homes. We continue walking, having refueled, and pass through many small Galician villages along the Way. This unique opportunity allows us to interact with the locals like we are neighbors! And if we’re lucky, we might even see a local bringing their cows out to pasture. But don’t worry, unlike male bulls, cows are gentle animals – even the ones with horns!
We end our walk in the hamlet of Santa Irene, where another picnic lunch awaits us.
The village of Santa Irene is named after Saint Irene of Tancor, a Portuguese woman who lived in the 7th century. At an early age she decided to become a nun, though this did not sit well with her tutor, the evil monk Remigius. Remigius gave her a potion that made her belly swell and appear pregnant. This enraged her suitor Britald, who hired an assassin to promptly kill her and throw her body into the Tagus. Her uncle, who had received a revelation about what had really happened, found her uncorrupted body in the river and took it to the local town of Santarem, where it would be venerated. The town houses a small 18th-century chapel and a fountain with supposedly curative waters for crying babies and monthly female pains to honor Saint Irene. It may cure our thirst too!
After lunch, it’s time to continue our journey to Santiago de Compostela, where we spend the night. Just outside of the city we stop at the Monte de Gozo (Mountain of Joy), where we can see the cathedral for the first time!