Day 17 – Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostela

8.8mi/14.16km from Lavacolla to Santiago de Compostela

There’s more to say about the day below, but for now the main headline: WE DID IT! 200 miles from Oviedo, capital of Asturias, to the famed Santiago de Compostela. Along the way, David and I climbed as many cumulative feet as the height of Mount Everest. All that climbing kept us warm despite the damp chilly weather that we experienced as soon as we got into the thick of the Cantabrian Mountains. We endured terrain that we referred to as “foot slippys,” “knee-grinders” and “ankle shredders.” We did it!

The day’s hiking was pleasant, a fairly easy 2.5 hours. As with the last week, we alternated between sunny patches, damp chilly cloudiness, and some “sheets of rain.” 3 miles outside of the city center, we reached Monte de Gozo, or the “mount of joy.” We’ve stayed at a pilgrim “barracks” there twice before, but have never gone to see a pair of iconic pilgrim statues a few hundred yards from there that majestically overlook Santiago. So this time we went, and there I left a photo of my mom and her parents, and a little prayer, before we began those last few miles to the end of our journey.

I think I’ll have some deeper reflections in an “epilogue” post but most importantly, I feel I got what I came here for. I sensed it a few days ago, but after this arduous trek, walking triumphantly into Praza Obradoiro to look upon the magnificent Cathedral de Santiago, I was sure of it. I took time for quiet reflection, got my “Compostela” certificate with my mother’s name on it, and paid my respects to my mother in the cathedral. And I felt closure. My pilgrimage was done.

And then David and I took a load off and enjoyed this city we’ve now been to a whopping 4 times. We tried to see areas of the city we hadn’t been to before, which was refreshing. We got drinks, we got lunch, and we got dinner. Even my “señor vino” t-shirt made an appearance. A highlight of the day was at lunch when our Murcian buddy Gregorio just physically could not pour wine into a glass without splattering some all over the table. The end result (see photos) was a true work of art. I don’t know if he’s submitted it to any galleries…

Dinner with Gregorio and Manuel was also a hoot; wine kept flowing and the food at a local farm-to-table restaurant was fantastic. A just reward for a hard trek. Unlike previous years when we had become part of pretty large Camino communities, this time our celebratory group was pretty small. But, it’s not the number of the friends in the bar… it’s the number of beverages from the bar in those friendz. Believe me… that was a large number!! Alas, all good things come to an end. November nights in Galicia are short, cold, and damp – so after a brief nighttime stroll and a few photos, that’s all she wrote.

More from the Blog

Day 16 - Arzúa to Lavacolla

Created by Nilanj Desai, David Franz, and Greg Scheaffer
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