Way of St James

Casa San Ginés is located in the geographical centre of Galicia, in a very busy region where three of the Ways of St James converge: the French Way, the Silver Way and the Winter Way.
Located in the parish of Ferreirós, in A Costa dos Arrieiros, (Vila de Cruces-Pontevedra), its name (“ferro” is Galician for “iron”) evokes the trade which some of its neighbours had in the old days, that of blacksmiths and muleteers, working on the horses of the carriers and travellers on their way to Compostela.

It’s conceivable that the enclave was once a stopping place for passers-by. Its tavern is very well known, as it was frequented by the muleteers, and also by the bandits who operated in the region and came here to share out the spoils of their robberies.

The Ways of St James and Vila de Cruces

Ways of St James through Vila de Cruces
As it’s a very busy region due to being where three of the Ways of Santiago de Compostela meet (the French, Silver and Winter Ways), pilgrims were easy prey for bandits on their difficult road to Santiago de Compostela.
Alongside the real pilgrims were traders of all kinds, crooks, hustlers… And as they passed by, the robbers would take advantage of the camouflage offered by the woods and clean out the travellers’ purses.

So there were crossroads which were especially dangerous for pilgrims, as a local judge said in a report in 1823, “the region was flooded with a large bunch of thieves and outlaws who, with their atrocities, did not spare the lives and belongings of all those inhabitants and pilgrims”.

It’s said that the oldest crosses which adorn our roads and places have their origin in the deaths caused by bandits… so Casa San Ginés is located in the municipality of Vila de Cruces (“town of crosses”).
Known as the Valentes, the Cucos, the Valcárceles, the Majitos… there’s no doubt that the best-known in the region were El Foucellas, Pepa la Loba and Mamed Casanova aka Toribio (who was the inspiration for a character in Pardo Bazán’s “Los Pazos de Ulloa”), all famous robbers in their time, feared and at the same time protected by the neighbouring villagers who warned them of the presence of the guards.

We mustn’t forget that Europe’s main street, which is the Way of St James, was the refuge of rogues, rascals and bandits who, under the shelter of the pious pilgrims, “disguised their intentions and hid their misfortunes”.

This isn’t the case nowadays, our roads allow travellers to discover beautiful landscapes and gorgeous villages in complete safety. They’re a showcase of landscape, art, traditions and gastronomy.

Only 19 km away, on the French Way, we find the town of Arzúa, a reference point on the last stage of the route to Compostela. And at 22 and 19 Lalín and Silleda, already on the Silver Way.

Dutch route

It’s a route travelled by Nordic and Central European pilgrims, a way to Santiago which is being more and more frequently travelled by Dutch, Belgian, French, German and Austrian tourists. Pilgrims to Compostela who use a variant of the Silver Way passing through the municipalities of Agolada and Vila de Cruces. The so-called Dutch route or Ruta do Holandés is an as-yet unofficial route which many pilgrims decide to cycle along and take advantage of our house for one last rest before finishing the Way. (We offer a safe place to leave bicycles)