Rúa – Santiago de Compostela (12 miles)
The last day of our walk! And it was the most rainy day of all!
Our starting point was downtown Rúa. We courageously ascended through Armenal and then descended into Lavacolla. There are many theories in relation to the origin of the name Lavacolla. One of the theories claims the name comes from the fact that pilgrims in the Middle Ages used to wash in the stream that crosses Lavacolla to arrive clean in Santiago. The name Lava-colla could come from the words “lavar” (to wash) and “cuello” (neck), meaning “to wash the neck”. Another theory would refer to pre-pilgrimage times and would have more to do with the geography of the place: the name Lava (low pasture or field) and Colla (hill) would mean the low pasture by the hill. Whatever the origin of its name, Lavacolla still sees thousands of pilgrims walking by every year, getting closer to their Camino final point: Santiago de Compostela.
We ascended again until reaching the top of Monte de Gozo (Mount of Joy), a hill where pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago enjoy their first views of the three spires of their destination, the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Only 2.5 miles more to Santiago!
Once we reached the city, we crossed the Barrio (neighborhood) de San Lázaro, the Puerta del Camino (Door of the Way), along the Plaza Cervantes, and through the beautiful compostelan streets until reaching the much-anticipated Cathedral of St. James.
We arrived! There is a lot of renovation inside the Cathedral, and therefore a lot of scaffolding around the main altar and the tomb of St. James, unfortunately. Nevertheless, our hearts were overjoyed to kneel before his relics and thank him and God for allowing us to make this pilgrimage and get there safely.
After our thanksgiving in the Cathedral, we went to our hotel for Mass and dinner. Deo gratias!!