Leaving Grandas you pass through a string of small villages without bars, restaurants, or other services. Of this lot, Peñafuente has made a particular effort to spruce itself up, and looks great. In the photo below, you can see both the covered fuente (fountain) on the left and the peña (crag) on the right for which the place is named. This village shows us the last sign of prosperity before we enter Galicia.
Although El Palo and the Salime Dam are behind you, there is still plenty of climbing workon this stage of the journey. About midday, you reach the pass at El Acebo, the dividing point between the Principality of Asturias and the one-time Kingdom of Galicia. Smart pilgrims will have taken our earlier tip about bringing along bocadillos or chocolate in their backpacks, because when the bar at the Alto del Acebo is closed, (as it was in late March) there is no place to stop for refreshment till Fonsagrada.
|The Acebo Pass||Welcome to Galicia||A Rural Path||Little cultivation||Heather & Gorse||The Fons Sagrada|
I was pretty tired by the time we arrived in Fonsagrada. I took the obligatory look at the Sacred Fountain but didn't feel much like taking a photographic record of the town, which is a lot less touristy than Grandas. However, you can find pictures and more at http://usuarios.lycos.es/webfonsa/
Nonetheless, I have three good memories of Fonsagrada.
Although the town of Fonsagrada is not so special, the day had points of interest. In addition to Peñafuente, there is an interesting restored or rebuilt chapel close to Fonsagrada at Silvela, known as Santa Barbara do Camiño. In the photos, note especially the escutcheon above the door, shown in close-up in the second shot. On the left, behind the shield (a scallop shell), is the traditional pilgrim's staff and water gourd. On the right, is another staff topped with the Cross of St. James. All very appropriate, but on the shield itself is the Maltese Cross, symbol of the Order of the Knights of Malta and the Knights Hospitaller, which would seem to have no connection with the Camino. I think the Spanish confuse this cross with the Croix Patée of the Templars: see the picture of the Templar Pilgrim statue on the outskirts of Santiago, which also has this error.
The pensión we stayed at in Fonsagrada is close to the rear of the church.
The Casa Cultural with the town's only public Internet access is not in mid-town, but off the main street and somewhat back down the way you came in: there are signs leading to it.
Pulpería Caldeira is a couple of blocks down a small side street, well worth seeking out. Definitely ask someone if you don't see it.