Day Eight — “It Was the Day of Preparation.”

Leaving Padron we knew our walk would be shorter. This was intentional. We wanted to get into Santiago de Compestella earlier in the morning, and so while most of our walking companions along the way were going on to complete the walk, we were scheduled to stop and stay in Parada de Franco, a small hamlet on the outskirts.

It was an easy walk by now, blisters and all. We came upon it almost unexpectedly right after a stop at a small church. In fact, we consulted out GPS twice not quite believing we were stopping already. Two of our crew (our most intrepid walkers) blew right past it and we had to message them to come back. The small accommodations here were picture perfect. A restaurant/bar on one side of the Camino, rooms to rent on the other side, in historic old buildings with two feet thick walls.

At a stop along the way an Irish couple who had done the Camino several times told us that since our walk was shorter, we should take a taxi into Santiago, look around, get your bearings and see some of the city before you walked in. This way you would know where you were going and be familiar.

This started a conversation amongst the group.

The idea was tempting, and a number of the group chose to do that very thing. Others thought about it for a while, and then decided that they would rather walk in and see it for the first time as the conclusion of the journey.

All of this got me ruminating on the words from the Gospel, “It was the day of preparation.”

In the context of Jewish life, this is the day before the Passover, when the lamb is slaughtered, the arrangements made, the unleavened bread baked. All things put in order to commemorate or “relive” the Exodus event of God delivering God’s people from bondage.

In the context of the Christian faith, the “Day of Preparation” marks the beginning of the Passion narrative, when (in Matthew, Luke and Mark) Jesus tells the disciples to go and prepare the upper room in which they will celebrate the Passover. John’s Gospel emphasizes the preparation and has the events of Jesus Passion happen on this day, the day that he Passover Lamb would be slaughtered.

In either case, there is a moment of anticipation, that something is about to happen that is known and unknown at the same time.

That’s the feeling I have.

I opted not to join the group taking the taxi in. My first sight of the destination will be as I arrive on foot, having started out on foot. I took the day to rest, to nap, to let sore feet recover a bit more and aching calves loosen and recover. It was a day of preparation, and probably the best meal and hospitality along the entire route. Tomorrow, I will be ready for whatever awaits.

Buen Camino — Merle

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