El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Over the Mountain Passes

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Puebla de Sanabria to Vilar do Barrio

Lubián to A Gudiña: 15 June 2006

I set off next morning with Jugo, stopping at the fuente to fill our water bottles and at the shop for supplies.The overnight rain had ceased so we decided to follow the Camino instead of taking the shorter and easier way up the old N525. Although we are still in the province of Zamora there is now a change in the style of Camino waymarks. Nicanor Carballo, a sculptor from Ourense, has produced distinctive stone waymarks which we will follow throughout his province.


In order to climb up to the pass of A Canda you must first lose almost 200 metres of height to visit the Santuario de la Tuiza. The Camino crosses a river near a picnic site then goes under a large viaduct carrying the motorway to arrive at the Santuario. This is a site of pilgrimage or romeria for the village of Lubián. The ancient and modern aspects of Spain can be seen here with windmill generators lining the ridge behind the sanctuary.

pass of A Canda

From the sanctuary the Camino climbs along a track near the motorway then descends to a bridge over the river. We then began the steep climb up to the pass. The going was very muddy and slippery in places because of the overnight rain and, in bad weather, the shorter road alternative would be a safer route.

Near the top the Camino opens out into a forest road which leads to the picnic spot and fuente on the border with the Galician province of Ourense.

Portilla A Canda

At this border site you will also come across the first of the concrete pillars erected by the Xunta de Galicia which, as well as the ceramic concha directing us along the Camino, also has a metal insert with the distance remaining to Santiago. I found that most of these pillars positioned near a road had the distance plaques stolen by souvenir hunters.

Portilla A Canda

If you are blessed with good weather, there are magnificent views from this pass back towards Lubián and forward towards A Gudiña and the next day's climb.

The Camino now drops down through the village of A Canda and then alongside the single track railway until a tunnel takes the Camino under the track. It is a short distance from here to Vilavella where there are shops, bars and hostal accommodation near the main roads.


After Vilavella the way continues downhill and leaves the area of the busy main roads to follow a river down to O Pereiro. At the entrance to the village is an old church, La Ermita de Ntra. Sra. de Loreto, which has a shady porch should you need to shelter.

Ermita in O Pereira

O Pereiro is the lowest point of this day's walk and the Camino begins a steady climb through open moorland towards the hill village of O Canizo. Ensure that your water bottles are full before leaving O Pereiro because there is little shade and no fuentes on this stretch.

near O Pereiro near O Pereiro

near O Pereiro

The countryside here is very similar to Dartmoor with dry stone walls and granite tors. The moorland tracks lead to the village of O Canizo where you may be able to find a shop open.

 O Canizo

The road out of the village leads to a stone cross at the crest of the hill. Our way is now downhill along the N525 and through an industrial zone towards A Gudiña. This zone also has the buildings for the Red Cross and Protección Civil. I hoped to get a key for the albergue here but the buildings were deserted.

It is a short distance from here into town along the road. The albergue is off the Camino down the first road to the right and under a railway arch. There is a notice on the door giving a mobile phone number for the official in charge of the albergue but, if you are not carrying a phone, the first bar (that you have already passed) on the left on the way into town should be able to put you in touch with him.

Jugo was first into the albergue and David joined us later. After registration I settled into the large, modern, albergue and left my laundry to dry in the secure outdoor area. The official from the Protección Civil advised us on where to eat in town and we were also told of an early morning bar where we could get a breakfast.

I went for dinner with David at the first hotel coming into town and while there we had to act as translators for an elderly couple from Lancashire. Their camper van had broken down and they were forced to stay here for a few days while it was being repaired. I hope things went well for them but they had virtually no Spanish and the local dialect made it very difficult for them to organise anything.