Etapa 12, Melide – Santiago
Just outside Melide, we come across Santa Maria de Melide, where we can seal our credential in its church. If we have left a lot of space in our credentials to seal, it’s worth taking advantage of every opportunity and letting only one space to get the final seal at the Pilgrim Office of Santiago.
From here we head to Raido penetrating a dense forest, from there we reach the hamlet of Parabispo and the village of Boente. From there we begin a descent to a river and keep the trend of the last stages of Galicia, a continuous up and down that will make us call this stage, in cycling slang, the “legbreaker”.
The corredoiras and lush forests (magnificent eucalyptus) will continue to accompany us to the very gates of Santiago.
Before reaching Arzúa, we endure another helping of slides and we pass through the small towns of Castañeda and Ribadiso de Baixo.
At this stage the contradiction will overcome us, we will be moving forward but will not want to get to Santiago, within ourselves we know that soon we will no longer be bike-pilgrims, our adventure will end soon. We continue passing small villages and keep going up and down, passing beyond Pregontoño, A Peroxa, Calzada, Calle, Boavista and Salceda. From Salceda the path flirts with the road and in its route crosses from one side to another. We climb to the top of Santa Irene and then we descend towards Rua and Pedrouzo.
More tracks and corredoiras between lush forests of eucalyptus. We pass through the villages of Cimadevilla and San Paio, and we approach Labacolla where we can perceive the sound of the planes and we can see them cross the sky very close to us. Another symptom that makes us aware of the proximity of Santiago.
From here we enter residential areas and through asphalt begin the ascent to Monte do Gozo, it can be painful, because of the resistance to reach Santiago or because the slope really has it all inside.
At Monte do Gozo, we can admire in the distance (if you want) the towers of the cathedral of Santiago, our adventure comes to an end.
We begin the descent, not wanting it, to the valley where we will find Santiago de Compostela, we pass along a highway and after a long journey, we enter the old town where through cobbled streets, impregnated with the jacobean tradition, we turn our traveling companion to Obradoiro Square, to the breathtaking view of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.
Very close to the cathedral, we find the office of the pilgrim where we can seal our credentials for the last time and get the pass to our particular heaven, the Compostela. If we can, it is advisable to seek for a hostel and, against what seems at the arrival, (everybody gives you room, board, hotel and those things) in Santiago you can find one of the best hostels in the Camino, very close to the center (the hostel of Seminario Menor). There we can relax and leave for the next day in the morning the visit to the cathedral, the ritual of passing through the gate of glory, the hug to the Apostle and the pilgrim mass.
From now a virus will run through our veins forever .. the virus of Camino de Santiago.
Other projects begin to take shape in our heads, other routes of the Camino and the friends we sadly leave behind.