Portomarín to Portos.

Instead of going on to a larger town for a stopping point, we stopped at the tiny crossroads of Portos so we could take a detour to see the ancient church of the Order of Santiago in Vilar de Donas. We ended up staying in a somewhat overpriced private albergue run by a family who owned a small bar and restaurant, and rented out rooms in the upstairs of their home – a traditional Galician farmhouse made of stone and wide wooden beams, with creaky wooden floors and the ever present buzz of flies.

The detour was definitely worthwhile – a leisurely 2km walk (feeling impossibly light and carefree, after leaving our packs at the albergue!) to the old church. The inside of the sanctuary is decorated with some incredible frescos. I like churches like this one that look their age, and aren’t cleaned up and roped off into a museum.

Vilar de Donas is not a very popular stop on the Camino, especially at this stage when people are racing for beds and fixated on their final destination of Santiago – only a few days away. It’s unfortunate that so many people miss out, and feels a little neglectful of the knights of the order buried here, whose job it was to defend pilgrims along the way.

You can see a tour of the church here, led by the helpful caretaker of the church.


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