The Yellow Arrow ~ Spain


The yellow arrow or flecha amarilla guiding pilgrims on the camino de santiago in Spain.

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The Yellow Arrow, also known as the Flecha Amarilla in Spanish guides pilgrims to the city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

No maps are required , at every road fork, there is a yellow arrow painted on a wall, tree, sign, stone, house or wherever necessary to point the way. Each year, groups of volunteers retrace the Camino and repaint the arrows washed away by the weather.

The arrows were first created by Don Elías Valiña Sampedro of O Cebreiro parish, a dedicated priest and scholar who devoted over 30 years of his life to the resurrection and promotion of the camino.

The 16th century witnessed the beginning of a decline in the popularity of the Santiago pilgrimage. Through the efforts of the Galician priest, the Camino gained in popularity again from the 1970’s onwards after he began painting the arrows and writing guidebooks.

There is a story associated to Don Elías Valiña concerning the arrows:

One day in 1982, with fears of terrorism rife, the sight of yellow arrows painted on trees along a Pyrenean road aroused the suspicion of the Guardia Civil. Following the trail, they came upon a battered white van driven by small, smiling man. When prompted, he opened the van’s back doors to reveal tins of bright yellow paint and a wet paintbrush.

“Identification!” barked the Guardia.
“I’m Don Elías Valiña Sampedro, parish priest of O Cebreiro in Galicia.”
“And what are you doing with all this?”
“Preparing a great invasion…”

Each year, over a 100,000 pilgrims follow his yellow arrows.

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Quick Tips:

Keep your eyes open and slow down when discovering new places. You will find many interesting details that you would have missed if rushing by. Keep your eyes on the ground around you when having your macro lens on.

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3 Things I love:

The Camino Frances

Train rides

Keeping notebooks

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