Camino Primitivo Day 9 through 10-Fonsagrada to Lugo and Rest Day
Last night in Fonsagrada we made the decision to skip the next 2 stages between Fonsagrada and Lugo. The two decision makers were 1) my plantar fasciitis had me practically hobbled. I couldn’t walk without excruciating pain, and 2) we had to meet our friend in Lugo and be ready to walk on day 11. We hadn’t seen Steven in over 15 years and he had managed to work his very tight schedule around ours so we could walk the last 100km into Santiago together.
This was more special to us than walking those 2 stages. Besides, at this point, we’d have to extend our walk to accommodate my foot problems which meant that we’d have to add on 2 additional days. That meant canceling our reservations in Lugo, Santiago, and on the Coast. It was just too much. In retrospect, I should have planned for more days and stages of no more than 20 km per day. Next time. So in Fonsagrada we took the local bus to Lugo. We were a little embarrassed until we saw 4 other pilgrims from our group doing the exact same thing! Our Camino friend texted me pictures of the day’s walk and it seemed pretty enough. But he said it was nothing like the previous week. We weren’t really missing much.
We arrived in Lugo and walked to the hotel that I reserved months ago. The Hotel Mendez Nuñez is a very nice, 4 Star hotel inside the Roman Wall of Lugo. It’s been run by the same family since the mid 1800s. Right in the center of town and a 5 minute walk from the Lugo Cathedral. They upgraded us to a suite since we had arrived early and they felt sorry for me as I could barely walk into their lobby. This was an incredible upgrade and yet another kindness to a suffering pilgrim.
What an incredibly fascinating city. Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by a completely intact 3rd Century Roman wall. Ringed with 71 towers and walls that reach a height of 49 feet in places. It features 10 gates and you can walk along the entire length of the wall which is about 1.25 miles. I passed on the walk. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and quite a beautiful site to behold.
Right in front of the Cathedral is the Puerta de Santiago (The gate of St. James) by which we will walk out of in a couple of days to continue our Camino. Each gate has something different depicted above it in a stone carving. Santiago’s gate depicts the image of Santiago Matamoros (Santiago the Moor slayer).
Below I am standing right at the gate with the Cathedral behind me. The cathedral is impossible to capture in photographs. It’s just too huge and spectacular on every side. I did my best but even the pictures I could take inside just don’t do it justice. There’s been a church on this site since 755 A.D and the current Cathedral was completed in 1273.
The Cathedral in Lugo, because of its significance to the Camino de Santiago received special permission from the Vatican to permanently display the Eucharist. It is a huge display and because of the layout of the church, very difficult to photograph.
Noon Mass on the day we went was being held in this little side chapel to Our Lady of the Big Eyes. I’d never heard of this Marian title for the Virgin Mary, but apparently she’s original to Lugo. Lovely chapel. We made our way around to the other side of the church looking for the place to get a stamp for our pilgrim credential. Turns out we had to go into the sacristy. This is a place in a Catholic Church that nobody except the priests are ever allowed into. It’s where they dress and get ready for mass. It felt odd walking in and seeing the priest in silent contemplation just prior to walking out for the noon mass. But the church docent assured us we were in the right place. She stamped our credentials with a huge Lugo Cathedral stamp and proceeded to give us a short, private tour of the church and it’s highlights. Wow. I wasn’t expecting that.
The other curious thing about Lugo is its Pagan history. You can find witches all over the city. Not real ones of course. Dolls. The history is that the healers of the old world were women who were later demonized by the Catholic church and labeled witches. But here in Lugo the tradition that good witches are good luck remains strong. I wish I could have brought back one of these fabulous dolls.
We spend a nice 2 nights in Lugo where I rested my feet and iced them properly. It was a good rest and gave my feet a chance to recover a little. Later, on the second day, we walked down to the train station to meet our friend Steven who was flying in from New Jersey. Tomorrow we start walking with him for the last 100 kilometers of our Camino Primitivo. Steven has already done a couple of sections of the Camino Frances so he’s an old pro. It will be good to see him after so many years!