Unlike most, we travelled the last leg of our journey to the final resting place of St James, by car. Ruth,with her walking pole to support her broken foot, appeared to all who observed us, as the most authentic pilgrim in our group. After a steep climb up the hill to the baroque Cathedral of the Apostle, we arrived in an enormous square in which people of many nationalities had congregated to celebrate the end of their Caminos.
Some members of our little band attended the Pilgrim’s Mass which is celebrated daily at noon. The spiritual significance of this moment in the midst of so many people who had travelled long distances from many different parts of the world, was not lost. The smell of the insence that showered the congregation lingered for some time. A chance meeting with an elderly woman and her daughter who had lived in this city all their lives, while on our way to the local market, was also memorable.
Back in the car we followed many other pilgrims along La Costa da Morte to the spectacularly sited town of Fisterra (also spelt Finisterra), on the western Edge of Spain. We took the opportunity to walk another part of the Camino path, some 18 Kms along farm tracks and through remote pueblos. Although some of the steep tracks proved to be a bit of a challenge, we were regularly rewarded with outstanding views of the Atlantic coastline. This, together with the perfect weather, provided a chance for quiet contemplation and a most picturesque backdrop for our photos. A visit to the lighthouse at Cabo Fisterra was also a highlight, but it seems that we were most fortunate to capture some fantastic views, as in this region it often rains.
The next day, a visit to the small fishing port of Camarinas introduced us to traditional, handmade lacework produced with much skill and patience by local women in their homes. We hope that our purchases will in some small way support the failing economy, signs of which we have seen throughout our journey. This truly is a very beautiful part of the world in more ways than one, and it is with some sadness that we say farewell to this first stage of our Camino. Tomorrow we begin to walk along the Camino del Norte, albeit, backwards, away from Santiago, towards our final destination, San Sebastian!