After having seen many of our fellow walkers leaving to head back to their homes in the 4 corners of the world, the motivation to continue is every day harder to find. After having walked for more than 20 hrs in the last three days, new pain due to the insufficient recovery time is hurting the feet and the lower legs. The continuous up and downs also are stressing the knee area and the lower thighs. I am taking 100mg if Aspirine every night trying to get some good sleep, but nonetheless the legs are hurting in any position and often I wake up under acute pain. Last night for instance was one of those nights with poor sleep quality and in the morning I felt like having walked the whole night with no rest. I also was quite cold but could find no other blanket in the dormitory.
Anyway as always I readied myself and by 8am we were on the road again with the soundtrack of the roaring sea waves. It was magnificent yet intimidating.
Having committed to reach the Land’s End and to throw Massimo’s stone in the Ocean there helped to maintain focus in the mind, despite the insistence of the body asking to quit. Soon we left the ocean behind to cross a few hilly ranges in direction SW, facing the challenge of one the longest stages ever.
At about 4pm, we finally got a glimpse of Finisterre, but it took another hour to reach the city center and the Albergue.
The municipal Albergue I’m Finisterre was closed due to an infestation of bed bugs, so we settled for a private accommodation, but first we got our Rua de la Morte certification in addition to the one already received in Muxia.
Despite I was really tired beyond imagination, Luigi and I moved ahead to reach the lighthouse at the end of Finisterre’s promontory on this very same day. Besides the stones, I intended to leave there my walking shoes and three pair of socks, but I had no clue how.
Along the way to the lighthouse, a procession of people was going to and back, wearing they waking gear to pay homage to the ultimate destination: the so longed km 0 and the End of the Camino. On the road pavements, countless graffiti are cheering up the solitary oncomers still flocking in at almost sunset time.
The km 0 milestone is standing unassumingly on a side, just like thousands of other similar milestones I have been passing by along the road. This one is austere and uncovered by the well wishing messages or graffiti. There is a long moment of commotion and reverence in thinking the way I was when I started, 42 days ago, all the faces I met, the laughter, the determination, the solitude and the pain, the gratitude and happiness, the countless blessings and the few moments of despair that kept me company since. All is deeply buried inside me and only time will tell how much I will be changed by this awesome experience. All has been lived fully spending most of the time outdoors in contact with the nature and other fellow human beings to talk, to compare, to listen and to love.
In every corner of the vast cliff, small insignificant every day objects of thousands of pilgrims, are left on this immense altar as sacrifice and memento of their existence and effort. Rests of fires are seen everywhere, despite the many signs discouraging the habit. Tiny figures clad in windbreakers are dotting the promontory, all performing a personal ceremony that has the dimensions of a religious ritual, everyone carrying something to leave behind.
In committing the stones to the abysses, I truly believe in the magic spell of the moment and from the heart comes a song of abandon and hope for a better world where the importance of being here today after having done what I have done is overhelming any other joy. I prayed for all the people that I care for, for all that have supported me throughout, for all those that may have been stimulated by my experience to start their own Camino somehow somewhere.
In our heart we knew this was the end of it, the end of the earthly Camino walk, and as we turned back heading to the so longed rest, we all wandered on the next step. But as the Camino taught us, only the next stage is important. We learned how to live the 24 hours and to appreciate beauty and harmony despite our troubles.
And that was it. I walked for 992km in 39 days over a span of 42 days. I crossed open lands and mountain ranges, rivers and creeks, provinces, regions and countries. I have seen history unfolding under my eyes and in the stones I touched. I spoke many languages including the language of smiles, when the words were at a loss; I saw people of all ages, profession, provenience, all with the same light in their eyes; I have seen big egos and big hearts,small human stories of losses and gains. I have heard the voices of all pilgrims that have walked before me, I have drank the same water and eaten the same bread.
On the road to Santiago, I believe I have recognized Jesus in medicating the massacred feet of Tom, in sharing the last piece of chocolate with Fay, or lending the raincoat to Megs, or inviting Luigi to eat at my table and helping him to take responsibility for his own life. I will have to meditate on all these encounters and on their signification.
For now, I am happy now to see my family again soon.