Author: Lisa C.
Date of Trip: September 2011
The 5th & Final Day Hiking + A Trip to Finisterre Completes Our Camino Journey!
Our final day was spent hiking the remaining 11km to the Cathedral, and I must report the sheer exhaustion that washes over one when reaching the 100th kilometer is only secondary to the sheer exhilaration of reaching the Plaza Obradorio and facing the enormity of the Cathedral, the crowds outside of which grew by the hour… Along this 100km trail we greeted so many other hikers, gaining new friends and longtime bonds, trading tales as we followed each other for miles, or ate alongside one another, toasting to another fine day on Camino! Hiking the Camino was definitely the fastest ‘Way’ to meet 100’s of people from around the Globe, no doubt, and love was easily received and given along The Way for sure! I’ve never received so many hugs from complete strangers. Our memories are fond of meeting Karen and her daughter, Breffany, hailing from Cork, Ireland, whilst we dined in Portomarin, and as we walked over the next two days, consistently seeing each other and enjoying each others’ company over coffee or lunch. Then Susie, from Australia, whom we met on Day 1 waiting for her credential to be issued patiently at the church in Sarria, as well as many others. There were not very many hailing from our USA until we came upon Hillary, who was from California. She had almost completed the entire Camino Frances alone and had her husband meet her in Sarria, which was our starting point and from there they both continued the final 100km together; she was all smiles over lunch in Brea, but regaled us w/her ‘blister tales’ having slogged already 450+miles! Later that same day we met Joanna, from Belgium, who also was completing the entire Camino Frances, having started in mid-July and now September having begun, she admittedly had ‘tarried’ in some towns for several days.
The Way is quite safe for women traveling alone, we saw so many young gals hiking along the trail alone every day, we were simply amazed. In any event, “Woman Power” was well evidenced! The energy we gained by meeting and talking to so many pilgrims is what hastened us on our journey, what fed our desire even more to reach the end, where we met most all of them again, at the steps to the Cathedral; and it WAS extra special finding our friends Karen, Breffany and Susie right at the finish, maybe by coincidence…but I think not! On that final day my mind was overwhelmed and Maureen agreed that a heady sense of accomplishment swirled in our brains, having completed something that no-one whom had not walked this way before would ever be able to comprehend nor understand. No luxury vacation, this Camino, but a spartan hike through simple villages reassures one that the only really necessary thing in life is ‘finding’ a sense of accomplishment!
We ended our tour by taking a 2-hour bus ride to Finisterre, known as ‘the end of the world’ and where many pilgrims gather at their journey’s end to burn their packs, shoes and clothing in celebration along the craggy coastline 238 meters above sea level. The Finisterre lighthouse towers above the Atlantic coast and we stayed overnight at the ever-so-remote O’Semaforo, where we were fêted with a lovely appetizer of Pilgrim’s Scallops before our dinner. Out on the terrace that sunny Friday afternoon, our view was for hundreds of miles 360 degrees around, and I felt I could almost see Virginia’s sandy shores far, far across the deep blue Atlantic ocean. At dawn Saturday a deep fog had rolled in, making our view limited to the herds of wild goats climbing about on the hilltop crags, munching their green grasses as we finished our croissants. We both agreed to return to the Camino again in 2013, having become so enthralled with the simple joys of hiking and the many magnanimous friends we found on those dusty trails along “The Way”!
Join us for our next Camino adventure in August, 2013 ~ Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our Pilgrim’s Mailing List;)