Day 8: Monday, October 10
7th Stage Armenteira – Vilanova de Arousa (24 km / 14.9 mi)
Today will be a long but much more gentle day. There’s one little hill we have to climb. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Besides, there is a beautiful little church halfway down the hill, San Miguel de Deiro, in the little village of Arousa, which is also our checkpoint.
So, we’ll have water and grapes and bananas and, perhaps, a few pieces of chocolate and then stop over to explore one of those sweet village churches – this one established in the 9th century. I’m not sure if it houses an active church community, but our guides Bea (pronounced BAY-ya) and Marco will have the scoop and fill us in.
Can I just say a word about our team – Bea, Marco, and Jose Francisco – from Marley Camino?
That word would be this: Fabulous.
I mean that sincerely. The three are clearly professionals. They know their stuff. They know the Camino. They clearly love the Camino and are dedicated to making sure that everyone has at least as good a Camino as they have had.
This is their fifth or sixth Camino – on this particular way (the Coastal Camino Portuguese) – but Bea has been working for Marley Camino for 7 years and Marco for 9 years. Jose Francisco has been driving for them for 10 years and is a marvel. They have both done many of the routes – especially El Norte, the other coastal route.
They provided foot care (so important) and advise about the importance of tending to the body. They check in frequently. They encourage. They cheer on. They walk alongside and tell parts of their stories and ask you to share parts of yours. I have fallen in love with all three.
Yesterday, when I was on my own in the city, I did miss Bea and Marco, Jose Francisco, and, of course, our amazing guide, Valerie. That said, I had such a great day off the beaten Camino. I feel so ready to take on this day – so ready for all it has to teach me. So excited about all the things I’ll learn I didn’t know I needed to know.
At the end of this day’s journey, we will rest at another Parador and then start Day 9 by taking the ferry at Vilanova de Arousa to Padron, as we approach the final journey into Santiago.
Padron is reportedly the place where the disciples of San Iago came with his remains and then carried them inland. So, it's a place of veneration for many of the faithful.
I have wonderful butterflies of transformation fluttering in my stomach.
Here’s a wonderful meditation from Jan Philips which arrived yesterday just when I needed it most. It suits me quite well as I head into today and all it holds and promises.