I took the early bus to Finisterre. The bus wove up and down along the route up the coast to Cee. It then moved across the little mini-peninsula to Finisterre. The weather was grey and I found my mood matched. I was still very happy that I will be seeing my family tomorrow, but I knew that I was on the very last leg of my journey and that it would soon be over.
I arrived at port of Finisterre at noon. I shouldered my pack, hefted my stick, and began the final two kilometres to Cabo Fisterra. There is a lighthouse sitting atop the hill and as you look west, it does indeed seem like the end of the world. Apparently, the Celts called it the Sea of Tenesbrosum and believed it to be home to monsters and the gateway to paradise. The Romans are thought to have regarded it as the end of the world and the spot where the sun was engulfed by the ocean each night. All I know is that it was a beautiful and powerful place for me. It was the end of this part of my journey. My Camino has now ended and I can travel west no further.
I noticed that the embroiderer was sitting on the rocks, quiet and contemplative. I left her to her thoughts and I sat on my own and listened to the waves. I threw in a rock that I had picked up on the Camino for my friend Kelly, and then sat some more while I listened to the Tallis Scholars performing Vox Patris Caelestis on my headphones. It was a good.
I do not really know how to detail my feelings at this point. They felt in many ways like the water that was moving about beneath me and it was difficult to follow any cohesive train of thought, so I just let myself be. I watched the cloud-shadows on the water, the sea birds flying above, and the white, green, turquoise and blue of the waters. I shall never be the same person I was before the Camino. I am not a wholly changed person, but I know that there are changes. Some so small, and some so internal that the world may never really see them; but they are there.
I think Morag was right; one never stops being a pilgrim. Each endeavour we undertake adds to the whole of who we are; whether a pilgrimage across Spain or regular visits with friends to chat and drink coffee. Some endevours are more intense and therefore change us faster than a friendship that lasts years; but both change us. The Camino is a welcome change for me, but I am not done.
As the rain and mist moved in, I started my walk back to the port-town of Finisterre. Although it started bittersweet, it was lovely walk in the mist and I felt sudden, euphoric lifting of spirits as I realized that I was now on another pilgrimage of sorts, to reconnect with my family.
I found a café across from the bus stop and had a café con leche. I think I saw Alex across the street, but by the time I paid and crossed the street he was gone.
On the bus back to Santiago, I finally had the pleasure of meeting Charlotte, the embroiderer. She is the woman from Belgium who has been walking, from her front door, all alone, and embroidering the towns on her shirt. She has also finished and now plans to go home, rest, and then start her theology degree in Germany. She is tired and thoughtful, but very happy. We chatted a while on the bus, then left each other to our thoughts. I missed the chance to say good-bye and to offer my well wishes to her.
So, now I wait for my train and reflect. I have a nine-hour overnight train ride to look forward to and I couldn’t rationalize a sleeper car for myself. but this time tomorrow I will be with my family in Madrid. Life is good indeed.