Close to Santiago


Close to Santiago
Lavacolla, Spain

Lavacolla, Spain

Walking close to Santiago today. Hope to be there mañana. Lots of pilgrims and traffic and dreams. Where I’m staying tonight and tomorrow is a mystery. The Camino Provides.

UPDATE: Walked way out of my comfort zone today, 25 Km and seeing the Albergue Lavacolla was a vision. I would have had to walk 5 more Km for other accommodations. I asked for bottom bunk. In Spanish, the hospitalera said she didn’t think there were any. She walked me through the main room with about 30 beds to a private room with dos camas, two beds and a bathroom. It’s true. The Camino provides.

Here’s the story of how I ended up in Lavacolla, so close to the end of the Camino. On the road early this morning, I walked with Serena, Sandra and Fabio by Santa Irene and didn’t take the detour to see the 18th Century Church, Iglesia Santa Irene. There is an Albergue on the street and much Irene graffiti all over the tunnels and bridges in Galicia. I am not the graffiti artist, but I did pose in front of this Camino creative expression a few times.

When we came to Pedrouzo, a town of 5,000, my friends sat down for a rest and refreshment. I wasn’t hungry and decided to go on, not sure even where I was going, but figured I would follow the arrows. They hike faster than I do, so I needed a head start. However, as I left the town, I saw no arrows and asked someone who was putting groceries in her car. She told me to turn at San Anton, and I walked another mile or so and saw a sign, but by then I was following a French man, I met earlier. He spoke little English and I speak even less French.

Neither of us had a guide book or map, so we were following signs and arrows. The sign pointed right to San Anton and looked like it was the wrong way, so I stayed on the highway with the French man, soon realizing this was a Big Mistake. I didn’t know at the time that the San Anton turnoff paralleled the highway and was the Camino, a safe pilgrim route. There must have been a yellow arrow or Scallop shell, but I didn’t see it.

That was the rabbit hole and I said a little prayer for safe passage, because I had faith I would live thorough this, just as I have survived on the Camino so far. But traffic was nerve-wracking. Finally we met up with the Camino and parted and I was so happy to walk in the woods, which seemed to go on forever. I saw someone sleeping by the side of the trail and I told myself that if I didn’t come out of this forest and to an arrow in an hour, I was going to spend the night here in the wilderness. I saw another couple and tried to shadow them so I wasn’t alone and eventually they disappeared.

Finally, I came to a small town and followed signs to an albergue or guest house, but no one answered. In the square, a very kind Spanish woman asked me where I was going and I replied I was looking for the albergue. She walked me over the hill and around the bend and told me to continue and I would find the Albergue Lavacolla. What kindness. Yes! it was a vision and there it was. And later at the grocery store, I met up with Serena, Sandra and Fabio and learned that they arrived late and were also staying at the same albergue in an annex. I was exhausted and ready for a good rest and a shower. They cooked dinner that night in a communal kitchen and shared it with me. A large family group of Spanish pilgrims also prepared their meal and the whole building smelled of paella, peppers and love. The Camino provides.

How did Lavacolla get its name? Once upon a time, long ago pilgrims stopped at the stream that runs through the village to wash themselves thoroughly, paying careful attention to their whole body, before going on to Monte de Gozo, Mountain of Joy, that overlooks the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. According to a guidebook, Lavacolla means to wash the tail. A good washing! It must be true.

We are all showered and rested and ready for our last walk to Santiago de Compostela.

After mañana, I hope to walk for the next two weeks in my sandals. I have had enough of my boots. I am now less than 10 km from Santiago.


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