Camino de Frances, Camino de Santiago, Personal stories

Garin Writes

[Wednesday, July 23, 2014]

Hey all!

We sent an email to you when we were in Portomarin. We arrived in Santiago on July 20, right on our desired date. We managed to plan our hikes so that our last day was only about 10 kilometers, allowing us a relaxed walk into Santiago in the morning. We walked in with our good friends Billy, Simone, and Matt, whom we had hiked with the last few days.

Coming up to the cathedral evoked a lot of emotions, from relief to excitement to sadness. Many pilgrims spend lots of time sitting in the plaza, Becca and Kelsey included. We went to the pilgrims’ Mass … We happily got our compostelas [certificates of completion], and special compostelas from the Franciscan church about a block from the cathedral, because this year marks the 800th anniversary of St. Francis walking the Camino. It was quite impressive during the pilgrims’ Mass to see the botafumeiro [incense pot] swinging and to see the mini bonfire inside it.

So, in Santiago, we saw so many of our friends that we met along the Camino and we were all talking and comparing stories of various sections of the Camino. It was great to see basically everyone we had met [along the way] all in one day. Kelsey and Becca went out at night to enjoy a Tuna group [see
http://www.donquijote.org/culture/spain/society/customs/tuna.asp ] playing traditional Spanish music until midnight.

During our time in the cathedral, we hugged the statue of St. James that is overlooking the altar and saw the relics of St. James. We just chilled out in the adoration chapel there.

We were talking about walking to Finisterre but Matt, Billy and Simone were taking the bus and Jill’s feet protested another 86 kilometers, so we decided to bus in to Finisterre with them. We are currently in Finisterre and plan to walk 28 kilometers to Muxia tomorrow.

When we saw the ocean in Finisterre, it was so refreshing and we all loved it. We stepped off the bus and we were waylaid by people recruiting us to stay in their albergue. We followed one of them who led us to this really nice hostel.

Seafood is so popular here in Finisterre. Our second day in Finisterre (July 22), we had dinner with Matt, as Billy and Simone had left earlier that day. We went swimming in the ocean ad walked out to the actual end of the world [Finisterre means “end of the world”]. The town of Finisterre is not actually [at the end]. On our way back to the town, we stopped at the ruins of an old hermitage that overlooked the whole landscape of the isthmus that Finisterre is built on.

We had originally planned to be in Muxia today but last night, we all decided that we didn’t want to leave Matt, so we stayed in Finisterre an extra day (which is today). We are very relaxed but are getting restless and are excited for the walk tomorrow. Our bodies are protesting the lack of exercise of these last few days and we miss
the Camino.

It was a bittersweet end and we already see some differences in our lives beginning with our friendships with Billy, Simone, and Matt. Muxia has been highly reccommended to us by several people as a quaint, non-touristy, and religious location. Afterwards we will return to Santiago and catch an 8-hour bus to Fatima. Post-Camino life has made us homesick, as our life for the past month has ended.

Garin

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