Total distance (part 2) = 370.6 km
Cee – Corcubion – Sardineiro – Fisterra – Finisterre
And so…it is over. All the walking for about 400 km (yes, actually we walked 410 km but this included all the evening walking that we did too), done and finished at the route marker which reads 0.0 km.
It was a fairly easy walk today with a few steep inclines, one of which completed in darkness of the morning – always good as this means, I couldn’t actually see the climb I had to do, and only realised the extent of what I had climbed when heavy breathing stopped me to take a glance at the glittering coast lit below us.
The mist shrouded the day once more and it was cool as we threaded in and out of woodland trails and busy roads. But we were buoyant. We were near the end and were unstoppable. Passing sleepy villages and hamlets with the smell of the Atlantic in our nostrils, we stopped in Sardineiro for breakfast, the first place open since leaving Cee. The guy serving wasn’t quite expecting peregrinos that early on a Sunday and jumped out of his skin when he saw us standing in his restaurant.
As we neared Fisterra, the trail wound along a good path on the beach and quickly, we found an Albergue, checking in so we could leave our heavy pack to walk the short distance (about 2.0 km) to the lighthouse – the must do stop!
It was still early; although some were already returning from their final pilgrimage and the road was quiet, the occasional camper van did bumble up the road, an indication of what was to come!
And then, without ceremony, we arrived at kilometre 0.0, and had the obligatory picture before heading down behind the lighthouse to sit on the rocks, hoping that the mist would clear enough for us to have a view of the ocean.
There is a custom here that pilgrims burn their clothes on these rocks and despite the ‘it is not allow to burn anything’ signs, prohibiting this practice, the evidence litters the rocks, with half burnt shorts and the remains of pilgrim packs everywhere. The acrid smell of burning hung in the still air. It felt like a custom to modernise – people still need clothes and there are recycling options to consider!
As for me, on the final journey at the end of this trip, such a bitter-sweet time of discovery, pain and pleasure, I still expected the final hug (as I had been warned before leaving England). And yet, still it did not come. Instead, my partner, thoughtful, reflective, separate. Me? Quiet? Scared?
Bubbles of success fizz up inside me; I found such peace on this trip; my frenzied thoughts stilled by the huge physical effort of taking this journey.
As we left the rocks, the car park buzzed with coaches and cars and the frantic activity of visitors who had taken little effort to make it to the end of the world. I was glad I was not one of them.
Though, if they knew my story, I am sure they would be glad, they were not one of me.
I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to go back to my life, to face the future, to return to the silence that haunted my home. But looking back at my photos, I remembered this….maybe? Just maybe….