Many people have decided to begin the new year by doing the Camino de Santiago. Whether you’re travelling along the Portuguese Route or you’ve already reached Compostela, we invite you to come to the Mar de Santiago region and discover the singular world of lamprey, in the municipal district of Pontecesures.
Each year sees the beginning of a new lamprey season, which usually runs until April or May, approximately. If, on your Way to Mar de Santiago, you come across some small boats in the area of Pontecesures’ riverside walk walk, you should stop and watch the “baleiros” (lamprey fishermen) trying to catch the first specimens of the so-called “dama” (lady) of the Ulla River.
Lamprey fishing: hard, artisanal work
At Mar de Santiago, you can discover all the peculiarities of lamprey fishing in Pontecesures. Here, it is carried out onboard a boat, while in other places it is done from the riverbank. Lamprey fishermen use what is called a “viturón or butrón; it is a conical-shaped fish trap that is thrown into the water from the boat and then hauled along by ropes. This system enables the fish to be caught intact, meaning that their texture and taste are enhanced. Hard, artisanal work in order to catch precious lamprey, one of the oldest fish in the world.
Casa da Lamprea (Lamprey House) in Pontecesures
If you’d like to discover more facts about this singular fish and the extensive lamprey tradition in Pontecesures, we invite you to visit Casa da Lamprea (Lamprey House). It is located right beside Pontecesure’s Plaza de Abastos (Food Market) and features a range of graphic and audiovisual material.
Moreover, this is one of the stops on the Lamprey Route. This itinerary, which runs through the Mar de Santiago region, will enable you to discover the main places in Galicia where lamprey is caught. It goes along the banks of the rivers Miño, Tambre and Ulla. This last watercourse is the one that characterise the Mar de Santiago landscape. In addition to Pontecesures, there is also lamprey fishing in the municipal districts of Valga and Catoira.
The Lamprey Festival
The Casa da Lamprea also features posters from different Lamprey Festivals. This gastronomic event has been organised since 1966 and is usually held in March/April.
Therefore, if you visit Mar de Santiago, during or after the Camino, make the most of this opportunity to try this exquisite fish in a variety of recipes. And to round off your experience, in Pontecesures you can take a boat as far as Vilanova,to follow the “Traslatio” route. You’ll sail towards the Origin of the pilgrimage, going along the world’s only sea-river Way of the Cross.
Use this second year of the Xacobeo 21-22 Holy Year to discover everything Mar de Santiago has to offer!