This route travels along roads through the heart of Galicia, where the provinces of Pontevedra, Lugo and Ourense meet, taking us on a mystical journey through magical sanctuaries located in beautiful natural landscapes.

When someone “bota o demo fóra” (casts the demon out) or “quita o meigallo” (removes the curse), the evil spirit that possessed the person disappears. A demonic possession is a body with a double spirit that houses both the soul of a person and of a demon. They appear alternately, never at the same time.  The curse of the “ramo cativo” affects children, who become withered, scrawny, lifeless or spiritless. 

Dates of the religious pilgrimages:
- Nosa Señora do Corpiño: LThe pilgrimage with the most number of devotees takes place on 23th and 24th June. On 25th March “O Corpiño de Inverno (“Winter Corpiño”) is held.
- Nosa Señora do Faro: 8th September.

Day 1

The first day begins in the lands of the river Deza, a landscape that is flanked by the Tower of Cira, where the remains of the fortress where Queen Urraca kept Xelmírez prisoner in the 12th century stand. Among woods, waterfalls and stone manor houses, we stop to discover the Pre-Romanesque wealth of the monastery of Camanzo and its well preserved frescoes. Founded by the Counts of Deza, the monastery offers superb views of the valley of the river Ulla.

We continue towards the monastery of Carboeiro, in the town council of Silleda. This monastery, located in the midst of natural and remote surroundings, perfectly accomplished its purpose as a meditation retreat for the monks that inhabited it centuries ago. The building, that stands on a hill surrounded by a curve of the river Deza, allows us to come directly in touch with the medieval heritage and history of Galicia, of which you will be given more details during the guided tours that narrate the history of this monument. The disciples of Master Mateo, creator of the Pórtico da Gloria of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, left their print on this jewel of Galician Romanesque architecture with pointed arches.

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The natural setting makes the privileged location of the monastery stand out, enveloping us in the mysticism of these holy walls. Leaving it behind is easier when we are given the possibility of taking a calm two-hour long hiking trail through ancient roads, crossing the Ponte do Demo (Devil's Bridge), which takes its name from former times, when it was a strategic point for muggings and robberies. This bridge leads us to the waterfall of River Toxa, with a cascade that measures 30 metres, one of Europe's highest. The view from below is spectacular, but you should also climb up to the observation points at the top. From there you will also catch a glimpse of the Deza and a stretch of the path you took to get here. In the summer you can recover from the effort by stopping halfway along the trail to take a dip in the river beach of Carixa.

Drive fatigue away in order to admire our next stop: the commercial tradition of the town of Agolada, which is focused in the Pendellos (market stalls). These ancient market premises that are over 400 years old, are located in the centre of the town, and are a sort of civil tableau that provide information about the ancient economy of Galicia, of the relationships that were weaved at medieval markets and of unbreakable verbal agreements. Strolling through the flagstone alleys, in between the stalls with stone columns and counters, you can almost smell the farm products, or hear the animals that the farmers and dealers from the area brought over to sell. Restoring this spot has made life return to Os Pendellos every August in the form of a traditional crafts fair.

Day 2

Our first stop on this second day is at a height of 1,187 metres, at Monte Faro, now in the province of Lugo, in the town council of Chantada. Here, a capilla stands to venerate the Virgin with the same name. The top of the mountain, at the border between Chantada and the town of Rodeiro, in Pontevedra, offers wide views of the four Galician provinces, with a gently rolling landscape, farmlands and hundred year old groves.

Our journey now takes us towards the municipality of Cea, in the province of Ourense, to encounter the stunning presence of the monastery of Santa María a Real de Oseira. It is known as “The Galician Escorial”. Do not miss the opportunity to take a guided tour through the different areas of the monastery, and remember that you can take with you a tasty and original keepsake: the Eucaliptine, a liqueur prepared by the monks themselves. The bread from Cea is another of the exquisite treats that you must taste during your visit to the town.

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We again change to another province, this time to the town council of Lalín, in Pontevedra, where the sanctuary of Nosa Señora do Corpiño (Our Lady of the (dear) Corpse) is located. This Neoclassical style church stands at the top of a hill. From here you have excellent views of the natural landscape of the region that houses one of the most ancient and famous Marian sanctuaries of Galicia. It was built in the 18th century on top of the ancient chapel of  As Aparicións (the Apparitions). After it was founded, the numerous miracles attributed to Our Lady of O Corpiño, especially those related to headaches, gave it great fame. The days of religious pilgrimages, which coincide with the festivity of San Juan (Saint John) and the Summer solstice, are the most multitudinous. Throughout the year there are devotees who come here to ask the Virgin for mercy. This is proof of the affection and confidence that the Virgin arouses among the faithful, for she is the patron of miracles for all sorts of ailments, but especially for people suffering ailments related to the mind and the spirit. In order to keep up with the changing times, it is also possible to post prayers in the Sanctuary's web page.

This sacred place is very famous for being the setting for healing those who have been possessed, and for the practice of exorcisms by the church, for which the parish priest has the express authorisation from the Vatican itself. Today, psychiatrists seek an explanation for the strange symptoms caused by mental disease, but popular devotion still believes in demonic possession. In any case, you can feel the aura of this magical place as you enter the portico where all types of people are gathered to “remove the curse”, “cast the demon out” or cure “o ramo cativo”. The stalls surrounding the church sell amulets against the evil eye and envy, as well as others for preserving good health. The writer Vicente Risco wrote about these rituals in which family members of the “possessed”, the verger, exorcists and “rosareiras” (women who sold rosaries) all participated. If you believe the legend, do not open your mouth while you are here in case the hairball expelled by a possessed person is still rolling about under the church pews, or it could enter your body. Today, those who pray to the Virgin for help follow rituals that are less traumatic

Just like the most devout pilgrims, do not leave without touching the image of Our Lady. The procession on the main days lasts more than an hour. The crowd of pilgrims surround and almost hide the sanctuary from view. One by one they pass under the image showing the Virgin their veneration. They touch her cloaks with their hands or rub them with their handkerchiefs and ask for protection. Faith, devotion and fervour are also feelings that are present in the surroundings of the sanctuary known as “Corpiño Pequeno” (Little Corpiño), which is celebrated on 25th March, with the arrival of Spring

Another tradition that you must not miss is to buy cheese and sausages in the traditional shops near the sanctuary, where also, for sure, you will see a sign announcing the Festa do Cocido de Lalín (Lalín's Cocido feast). This feast has been celebrated since 1968 always on the Sunday before Carnival. Abundant and hearty, the cocido galego (Galician stew) is an exaltation of the pig slaughter and of the products of the land. This is a typically winter dish and is a reference in the gastronomic calendar of Galicia, but especially of Lalín, where every year this gastronomic reunion attracts thousands of people to these lands full of history, tradition and superstitions.

 

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