Day 31 Road Trip with Kids: A Pilgrimage to the Coast where the Virgin Mary Came on a Stone Boat to See James, the Apostle, in Muxia, Galicia

It’s important for the one of us who is a practicing Catholic, and more of a curiosity for the other, to visit the place where the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, allegedly landed on a boat made of stones to encourage James (Santiago), the apostle of Jesus, to continue to spread the word of Christ in this part of the world. And for the kids, it was pure fun! So, here is Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat or Santuario da Virxe da Barca in Gallego) in pictures.

Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat), Murxia, Galicia, Spain.

Apparently, about 40 years after the death of Jesus, James (now a Saint) moved to the northern Spain/Portugal to follow his his calling to Christianize this land populated by Gauls and pagans. He was feeling down, or so the story goes, by the difficulty of this task and that’s when Mother Mary came to him on a stone boat.

Somewhere off this rocky coast Mother Mary landed on a stone boat.

The pagans only converted to Catholicism about 12 centuries later.

The rocky rigged coast of Murxia in northwestern Galicia.

This was an improvised stop as we had learned about what it is all about while reading about the “end of the world” in Fisterra where Mother Mary supposedly rested after landing in the Iberian peninsula to see James–the apostle of Jesus. It took some time to find some info and yet here we are. It was worth the detour even though the kids were disappointed that they could not swim in the rocky and windy shore.

The renovated Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat or Santuario da Virxe da Barca in Gallego) from the remnants of the Virgin’s stone boat.

The Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat is a little over an hour from our base camping site in Santiago de Compostela .

A fire caused by lightning severely burned this monastery/sanctuary church on Christmas day 2013. Here’s what it looks like now, after renovation.
The altarpiece at the Monastery of the Lady of the Boat (Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca)
The sole information that was available on site in Spanish and Gallego pointing out the remnants of the stone boat (the sail and the bow).
Can you see the boat pieces on this picture?
The boys, wondering what the fuzz was all about.
After Mama’s impromptu religious story, the boys got quite interested in exploring it.
According to local traditions, those who go under and crawl up and out of the rock nine times will have their ailments gone and their fertility up.
The boys had fun doing it, huffing and puffing. . . and laughing!
And they’re off to walk the end of the Camino de Santiago, just around the back of the church and up the hill.
Investigating the broken piece of the Virgin Mary’s stone boat spurred questions from the boys that I could not quite answer. So, I go. . . when it comes to religion, ask your mother.
The final stretch (ok, OK. . . the ONLY stretch) of our little pilgrimage on the Camino the Santiago. HEY, give us a break. We got short legs!
Kilometer 0.000! Yay, we made it!!! Many pilgrims make it to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, but (apparently) only a few of those keep on walking until they reach the “real” end (or beginning) of the road at two places: (1) here in Murxia and (2) in Fisterra.
Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat) on the right and the Monument to Spain’s worst environmental history when a tanker broke apart and spilled 66,000 tons of oil off the coast of Murxia in northwestern Spain.
A pilgrim on the last stretch of his walk on the Camino de Santiago.

Next stop: To the end of the world where Mother Mary rested on “sacred stones” that move with a touch of a finger, atop a mountain.

Where to stay in santiago de Compostela? save money. go Camping As Cancelas

If you are heading to Santiago de Compostela or making it your homebase on the road, check out Camping As Cancelas. It is the only campsite in Santiago de Compostela and a little less than a 3-kilometer walk to the Cathedral (or a 15-minute bus ride). This campground is kid-approved and family-friendly for its play areas, swimming pool and proximity to the city center. CHECK OUT OUR QUICK REVIEW of Camping As Cancelas and what to see in Santiago de Compostela in pictures through this link.

NOTE: In case you’re wondering. . . No, we have not received any form of compensation or freebies or anything at all for reviewing or mentioning this camping site or any others on our blog.  We just do it for the fun of it.

Mandatory family selfie at the “Sanctuario de la Senora de la Barca” (Sanctuary of the Lady of the Boat). BIG SMILE!!!

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