Finesterre, literally translated as finis terrae, means Lands-End, or End of the World; that is precisely where CJ and I marched this morning. I'm not sure why all the best things require long climbs, but I suppose if these journeys were easier the sense of accomplishment at the end wouldn't be so great. So as many of our mornings do, we started our walk up up up along the coast and out onto the cliffs until we found ourselves on a secluded cliff peninsula jutted out into the ocean, standing under the shadow of the lighthouse. We had arrived at Faro de Finisterre, the 0,0 kilometer marker, the end of the world.
Three years ago I had not known that the way continued to the coast, and I had not left myself enough time to complete the journey. Last year, again time got in the way, and we did not reach the coast. But this time; this time it was happening. This time we were trekking to Finisterre, to the end of the trail.
On one hand, it felt like closure, like the completion to the journey I started all those years ago; as my life changes and I continue to grow, my life has become the pilgrimage -- I know that whether I'm walking the Camino in Spain with my backpack or the sidewalks in my neighborhood with Bernie, it's all about the journey, the experiences, and the opening of my heart to God's will and my feet to God's path.
And on the other hand, I felt a little like Forest Gump after he decided to stop running: time to turn around and walk back home. And that's exactly what we did.
CJ and I arrived at the lighthouse early enough to have the whole place to ourselves for a while -- free of other pilgrims, free of souvenir booths and music and tourists; just us and the peaceful present and the immense sense of history shared by pilgrims of the past. How many hundreds of thousands of pilgrims (if not millions) have walked the paths I have walked to stand in the very spot that I stood and look out over the ocean crashing into the rocky coast below. It is tradition to burn your boots when you arrive at the end, another symbol of cleansing and leaving behind your old self (much like the act of swimming in the Atlantic). CJ and I were adamantly anti boot burning ... so we skipped that tradition. When we had our fill (and as other pilgrims began to appear and vendors began to set up shop ...), we turned around and walked back the way we had came -- there is nowhere else to walk; we reached the end of the earth. Here are a few photos:
After we made our way back into town, we took a bus back to Santiago then walked from the bus station into the town, checked in at our albergue, did some laundry (you're welcome, fellow plane riders) and went out to do a little shopping, a little dining, and a little reflecting at the foot of the cathedral.
And now, we are back at our albergue, getting ready for bed before a day of travel tomorrow (that starts with our ride to the airport at 4:30 am).