The big day, 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. 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 spicier explanation!
With a morning of walking behind us, we make it to the Monte do Gozo (the Mount of Joy), the hill overlooking Santiago and a perfect photo opportunity with your fellow Fresco Tours pilgrims whom you have gotten to know along the Way. Here we enjoy our first glimpse of the cathedral and become overcome with joy.
The last 3.5 kilometers (just over 2 miles) to the Cathedral take us through the city, which can be a bit of a shock after days of rambling through the peaceful countryside. We can no longer rely on the omnipresent yellow arrow painted on rocks and trees to guide us. However, the second half of the walk in the city goes through the older quarters and the historic district, which have not changed much in over 150 years.
After more than a week of traveling, we have finally arrived at our destination: the Cathedral. At this point, we can to to the hotel and rest or explore the city, while the Fresco Tours team see to requesting the Compostela certificate. In the evening we sit down for a celebratory dinner. While we savor the last hours we have with our tour group, we can look back on the memories of our walk on the Camino de Santiago with Fresco Tours.