Arzúa is a pleasant town with almost enough beds for pilgrims. If you find everything to be full and don’t feel like splurging on one of the many hotels in the area, the Polideportivo (sports hall) is often used to house pilgrims. Between here and O Pedrouzo lie a string of very small Galician hamlets of little note. The locals in these parts enjoy telling you, without the slightest tone of irony or sarcasm, that ‘no hay vacas in Galicia’ (there are no cows in Galicia). Hold that thought in your head while you slosh through a soggy trail on an otherwise sunny day.
Famous for its cheese, Arzúa hosts an annual (and three day long) Festival of Cheese in March. They have been doing so for 40 years. Apart from this and several other secular celbrations, Arzúa celebrates Corpus Christi, as well as Nuestra Señora del Carmen, who is celebrated on the 16th of July.
Tetilla Cheese: You might have seen this curiously shaped cheese in the shop windows. If you made a connection between the name and the shape you are not mistaken. It was shaped this way by cheese makers in protest to the bishop of Santiago. At the time the Portico de la Gloria (Master Mateo’s famous sculptures at the Cathedrals main entrance) was being finished and the bishop took issue with the odd smile on the prophet Daniels’ face. The clever bishop followed his gaze across the doorway and found that Queen Esther’s bosom was augmented by a cheeky sculptor. Daniel kept his smile, Esther had a reduction, and we got boob-shaped-protest-cheese.
The camino leaves Arzúa along a footpath, NOT the road. If you arrived at the main square, walk past the church (with your back to the road) and turn right onto the side street. The terrain is pleasant, a blend of trails and paved roads through small towns and lots of forests. There are a few steep sections but none of any considerable length.