Day 67- Arca to Lavacolla

  • Distance Today                        5.6 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017         485.7 mi

Our walk this morning was very similar to yesterday, mostly walking through thick eucalyptus forests, in some cases very dark eerie, spooky forests.

The size of some of these trees was impressive not only the diameter which was nearly 3 feet but the height was well over 100 feet for many of them.

About 3 miles into our walk we stopped in Amenal for breakfast and chatted with Sonia, who was walking by herself, having started in Samos. She was from New Jersey and was limited by her 2-week vacation, but was hoping to get to Santiago later today or tomorrow.

We returned to the forest right outside the restaurant door and walked mostly uphill until the path leveled as we began walking around the Santiago airport. The heavy forest and underbrush between us and the airport prevented our seeing or hearing any signs of aircraft.

We then walked for a short distance along a main road that, according to the signs, was heading toward Santiago.

We then crossed the highway and began walking again through trees until reaching the hamlet of San Payo.

We stopped for OJ in San Payo (pop.25) which is named for a Christian child who was martyred for refusing to convert to Islam.

We shared a table with a delightful father and daughter, Roland and Christine, from near Hamburg, Germany.

Our German pilgrim friends

This was his 8th Camino, including the Portuguese Camino, the Camino de North and Camino Frances among others. Sadly, Roland’s wife passed away in January of this year and they were walking this Camino from Sarria for her.

We continued through trees again uphill and then gently down a bit into Lavacolla (pop.171), a hamlet on the outskirts of Santiago.

Lavacolla  (from the Latin Lavamentula) literally means “wash private parts.” Medieval pilgrims seldom if ever bathed along the journey and apparently ridiculed Muslim and Jewish enthusiasms for personal hygiene.  But they apparently took advantage of the small stream in Lavacolla to cleanse themselves for arrival in Santiago. A 17th century manuscript recorded: “There is a river in a wooded place two miles from Santiago called Lavacolla, in which French pilgrims, out of respect for the Apostle, wash not only their private parts but, stripping off their clothes, clean all the dirt from their bodies.”

We arrived at Hotel Gracas (50€), on the main road, 100 meters off the Camino path through Lavacolla, and waited for about 45 minutes, relaxing in the lobby, until our room was ready. We then checked in and performed our routine chores before having some lunch.

We rested after lunch in between machine washing and drying our clothes.

We also discussed how we had avoided and prevented any injuries or major discomforts, which was a concern we had when we began our 500 mile journey over two months ago.  We believe this didn’t happen by accident. We put to practice things we have learned about the Camino, especially taking care of our feet.  We did physical therapy several months prior to leaving home to address potential issues. We learned some PT techniques, also before leaving home (exercises and stretches) and applied them as needed throughout the 68 continuous days of walking with a pack. As a result, we are both feeling physically stronger now than we did when we started.

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