Julia made an interesting comment on the October 23 post about the Camino town of Lavacolla. She said that in olden times Lavacolla was the point at which people washed themselves before entering Santiago, and that she’d seen some old, old drawings of people washing in the stream at Lavacolla with the image of the cathedral off in the distance.
What Julia shared about Lavacolla (pronounced Lavacoya) was sort of along the lines of the off-color explanation of the Galician origin of the town’s name that the local barkeeper lady told us. Lava comes from the Spanish word lavar, to wash, and colla, according to our barkeeper, is the cleaned-up Spanish word for the naughty Gallegos word for the body part people stopped at the stream to wash. Again according to our barkeeper lady, after the gals washed their collas in the stream at Lavacolla, they’d then meet the fellas at the last town before Santiago, Monte del Gozo, for a little gozo on the mountain.
Bet they didn’t show that in the drawing.
As Tom and I were leaving the bar at Lavacolla the friendly barkeeper told us to come back again someday. I told her we would only if she promised to tell us more dirty stories.
Yesterday morning we left Santiago for Madrid.
As we walked through beautiful Old Santiago, the streets and cafés already filled with the Sunday morning crowds,
…our backpacks once again on our backs,
…it felt like we should be headed back out to the Camino, on our way to the next town, the next albergue..
But we were on our way to the Santiago train station, following the crowd of former pilgrims most of whom, like us, were headed for Madrid,,
...some to start their journey home, others, like us, for a few days of vacation. We’ll spend a day in Madrid, three in Barcelona, then one more in Madrid.
Like most of the Spanish train stations we’ve been in, the Santiago train station has a really nice waiting area, with a café
….and spotless bathrooms that smell of the best thing a public bathroom can smell of: Clorox.
The Spanish trains are awesome, clean and fast and with wide aisles and wide, comfy seats, so much roomier than airplane seats.
There are free movies, bigger-than-airplane bathrooms and a bar where you can buy food and drinks or just hang out.
And the Spanish trains are always run on time down to the minute.
Except on the occasions when they don't, one of which was today, when our train left 15 minutes late and the trip took an hour longer than scheduled,
After a 7-hour trip we arrived at Chamartin Station in Madrid dragging and famished, so we stopped for a snack, some particularly tasty tomato and cheese bocadillos,
....which we ate Spanish-style, standing up.
Feeling re-energized after our bocadillos, we .- that is to say, Tom - figured out the modus operadi of the local train system and we took a train to Puerto del Sol, the huge , Times Square-esque plaza in the heart of Old Madrid.
I’d reserved us a room at the same wonderful hostel we stayed at after our first Camino, the Bergantin, located on the third floor of an old building on a lively street off the Puerto del Sol..
Our room cost about $100 a night,
...because when we booked there was only one room left, a $100 triple. But we took it because we wanted to stay at the Bergantin.
After we’d settled in we went out in search of some food,
...and found a funky little restaurant around the corner from our hostel called La Taberna de Pompeyana,
..where we had the best paella we've had in Spain.
Then we headed back to our hostel, having made the transition from pilgrim to tourist.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
Buy it on Kindle:
or in print:
The Book Loft
of German Village,
Or check it out at the Columbus Metropolitan Library