What a big day, it is time to work our way to Santiago de Compostela! Our first town is Lavacolla, a pleasant village with remnants of its rural and historic past. Aymeriac Picaud describes how medieval pilgrims would perform their ablutions in Lavacolla before entering the holy city of Santiago. This practice involves pilgrims washing themselves completely, something they probably hadn’t done in several weeks. Though we, on the other hand, will have had plenty of opportunities to stay clean, the village appears to have received its current name from the union of two words: lava (wash) and colla (genitals). This explanation has been debated and other more profane (and less fun) etymological explanations have been hypothesized, such as: field at the bottom of the hill. Let’s stick to the classic and fun explanation!
With a morning of walking behind you, you will have made it to the Monte do Gozo (the Mount of Joy), the hill overlooking Santiago and a perfect photo opportunity. Here you get our first glimpse of the cathedral here and become overcome with joy.
The last 3.5 kilometers (just over 2 miles) to the Cathedral take you through the city, which can be a bit of a shock after days of rambling through the peaceful countryside. You can no longer rely on the omnipresent yellow arrow painted on rocks and trees to guide you. However, the second half of the walk in the city goes through the older quarters and historic district, which have not changed much in over 150 years.
After a week of traveling we have finally arrived at our destination: the Cathedral. After a siesta and collecting your Compostela certificate, it’s time to sit down for a celebratory dinner!