Today is our last walking day. The Camino will take us through a succession of small villages that will gradually grow in size as we approach Santiago de Compostela and the end of our pilgrimage. Perhaps the two the satnd out most are the legendary Iria Flavia and the imposing 19th century Church of Esclavitude.
The story behind Esclavitude (in English, literally slavery) is a bit more engaging than the town and church themselves. Apparently a very sick pilgrim in the 18th century prayed to the Virgin Mary to cure his sickness and drank from the fountain that is still there in front of the church. The Virgin Mary interceded and he was cured. In gratitude, the pilgrim donated all his worldly possessions to build a sanctuary to the Virgin Mary (a smaller one than the one now) as she had saved him from the slavery of his illness. His literal words were: “¡Gracias, Virxe, que me libraches da escravitude do meu mal!” (Thank you, Virgin, for freeing me from the slavery of my illness!).
The last 3 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!