This was it, the last long haul before we reach Santiago. Similar to yesterday, we had our bags shipped ahead of us to Villamaior, a town 30 km. from Arzua. According to John Brierly’s guide book, the last kilometres to Santiago was usually crowded. We wanted to get ahead, and since Villamaior was only 10 km from Santiago, it was the perfect spot for us.
At this point, I wasn’t thinking about how our Camino would be ending very soon. I focused on putting one foot in front of the other, and making it to the next town. I guess the Camino really does teach you how to live in the moment.
It was a beautiful morning, a thin layer of fog was sitting on the grass as we climbed uphill. At the top of the hill, there was a man selling hand carved walking sticks. He already had a couple of customers when we walked by.
We made our first stop at Casa Calzada. It was one of my favourite stops. They served delicious croissants and cafe con leche. I can still remember sitting on the patio and watching the other pilgrims walk by. Sometimes it’s just nice to sit and watch.
We hopped back on the Camino and into a wooded path. I don’t remember much of the area except for another stop at O Ceadoiro restaurant. We had some fresh orange juice, and ran into the father and son duo from Texas. We chatted with them for a bit, asked them where they had stayed the night before, and where they were stopping next. Just common Camino chatter.
There was a bit of road walking before the path turned into the forest. We saw a rock carved with a gold painted cross of St. James, and despite of the heat we stopped to take some pictures. I picked up a leafy branch from the ground to fan myself, and realized we were standing under eucalyptus trees.
We lost the protection of the trees and soon we were back on the road. There was a sign announcing that we were officially in Santiago. We walked past the airport. The path seemed to last forever.
I was relieved when the yellow arrows led us back into the forest, it provided a small relief from the hot sun. We were just outside of the small town of Lavacolla, when we ran into the pilgrims from Korea. We had been passing each other through out the day. As we filled our bottles, we chatted with them for a bit. They had started their day in Ribadiso and would be walking all the way to Gozo that day. That was almost 40 km of walking in one day. We were shocked, and wished them the best.
It was also here that we ran into 3 pilgrims from Italy. We had passed them in a bar earlier in the day. They were a noisy group of girls, which was refreshing on such a hot day. They were stopping at Lavacolla for the day, and we told them we would be staying at Villamaior. They claimed that it was too expensive there, and they were right. But we were on “vacation” after all, so why not spoil ourselves a little.
The path followed the road lined with trees. We saw the signs to Villamaior and as we entered Casa de Amancio, we said our final goodbye to our fellow pilgrims from Korea.
We must have looked terrible when we stepped into Casa de Amancio. We were soaked in sweat and probably flushed red from walking in the sun for too long. The host kept insisting we relax in our room, before worrying about pilgrim stamps and payment. He had our bags already for us as he led us to our room. The Italian ladies were right. This place was high class. Our room was complete with a little living room and a backyard.
We relaxed for a bit before dinner. They served us a delicious dinner with chilled white wine. It was much fancier than we were used to. The place looked good enough to host an intimate wedding. It had beautiful stone walls, wooden beams and crisp white linens.
What a way to end our last night as pilgrims. For the last time on this Camino, I completed my routine of foot and leg massage. I used all my oils and arnica. I wanted to be in tip top shape as we enter Santiago the next day.
- Day 1 – Leon to Villavante 30 km.
- Day 2 – Villavante to Murias de Rechivaldo – 26.3 km.
- Day3 – Murias de Rechivaldo to Foncebadon – 20.9 km.
- Day4 – Foncebadon to Ponferrada – 26.2 km
- Day 5 – Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo – 24.7 km
- Day 6 – Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro – 28.9 km
- Day 7 – O’Cebreiro to Triacastela – 20.7 km
- Day 8 – Tricastela to Barbadelo 23.7 km
- Day 9 – Barbadelo to Portomarin – 18.5 km
- Day 10 – Portomarin to Palas De Rei – 24.8 km.
- Day 11 – Palas De Rei to Arzua- 29 km.