The End of Our Camino Experience: Arriving in Finisterre

Day 32 – Arriving in Finisterre – 17 km.

As we walked our final kilometers to Finisterre, we became poignantly aware of all of the lasts that we were experiencing. Our last morning in an auberge (desperately trying not to wake those around us), our final glimpses of stunning Camino scenery, and the end of our trail breakfasts. We had a good seven kilometer hike before we spotted an open ‘restaurant’. As good fortune would have it, we eventually found a very rustic, ‘by donation’ spot that we absolutely loved. Although basic, they do have a Facebook page — which is one of the many delightful contradictions of the Camino. Shortly after we resumed our hike, we ran into our ‘2017 Camino Angels’, Tundie (from Budapest) and Caroline (from New Zealand). We had first met them in San Bol, and then saw them each day until we stayed the extra night in Leon. They were just leaving Finisterre and were headed to Muxia (the more common order). They said that they were hoping to see us again. We were delighted to see them as well!
Other than knowing that Finisterre had long been considered ‘the end of the world’ (and predetermining that we would burn a sock or two here), we had few expectations for this destination. As soon as we spotted this city in the distance, we were delighted by its bright colours, and brilliant ocean views. After spending our first night here, we knew that we would want to spend extra time in this fascinating place.

Aug. 24 – The final 3.5 km.

Although we arrived in Finisterre early yesterday, and considered that to be our last ‘walking day’, there were still 3.5 kilometers to go to ‘Cabo Finisterre’ and the famed ‘Lighthouse Faro’ where the Finisterre Camino Trail officially ends. We had a very relaxed, ‘backpack-free’ hike there this morning. If you look closely at the attached photo, you’ll notice the ‘0.00 km to go’ on the sign post. That means that we have now completed 720+ kilometers of the Camino Trail in a thirty-three day time span (two of those days, plus today, being rest days)! The feeling was bittersweet. Then suddenly, everything just came together. As we looked around, there was a marker honouring the 2008 visit of Stephen Hawking (whom I greatly admire). There was also a ‘Peace Pole’ planted by the International World Peace Project. There are currently many ‘Peace Poles’ around the world. They are intended to be an internationally-recognized symbol of the “hopes and dreams of the entire human family, standing vigil in silent prayer for peace on earth.” What more appropriate message could there be for the end of the Camino? As planned, we also followed the pilgrim ritual of burning something in the fire pit (me, a well-worn pair of hiking socks, Richard a note). The symbolism behind this is letting go of things that no longer serve us, including fears and behaviors that are destructive to ourselves and others. We didn’t realize it until now, but our 700+ kilometer trek was very similar to the moral of The Wizard of Oz. Viz., We all have more presence of mind, more bravery, more physical abilities and more compassion/understanding than we realize until we get out there and do it! Richard and I have decided to stay in this inspiring and thought-provoking city for two more nights.

Aug. 25. Finisterre – Continued.

We already miss our walking routine. So many things that we love, and thrive upon, were automatically built into our time on the trail. Time together. Time spent in nature. Time getting lost in our own thoughts. Fitness and excercise. Meeting interesting people. History. Culture. Spirituality. Mindfulness. It was all naturally there…without trying to find a way to fit it all in. Our challenge now is to to maintain as much of this as possible as we return to our ‘regular’ lives. As we begin to readjust to life off of the trail, we have enjoyed being able to immerse ourselves in one city…and Finisterre has been a perfect place to do just that. This morning, we took a long walk on a quiet, tranquil beach. We then wandered through a busy and colourful Friday Market. After lunch, we had a long siesta. Research indicates that the Spanish are one of the top fourteen longest-living nationalities–and some of that is attributed to regular walking, olive oil consumption, and afternoon naps. Why would we not follow suit?

Aug. 26 – Final Night in Finisterre –

.. It is a common tradition for pilgrims to splurge on something (often a seafood platter) at the end of their Camino. When we arrived at the ‘0 km’ marker in Cabo Finisterre the other morning, we knew what we wanted our ‘reward’ to be. Overlooking the famed lighthouse at the ‘end of the world’, is a small and very unique hotel. Yes, it was significantly more expensive than any of our other room costs in Spain. But, it was quite in-line with average hotel prices in Vancouver. And, if you add up all of our accommodation costs on the Camino and divide by our number of nights here, it was really one heck of a steal! (Yup, I can justify just about anything!) We had a lovely (and reasonably priced) lunch. For dinner, we made the five-kilometer round trip to the nearest grocery store. We then had a sunset picnic on the point with views that left us speechless. It was a perfect ending to an unforgettable adventure.
As we still have almost two weeks left before our booked flights to Vancouver (via Paris), our dilemma is what to do next. Head out to France and stop in some unique places along the way? Take a side trip to Portugal? Return home early (our tickets are changeable)? As amazing as the world is, as everyone knows, there’s truly no place like home! What would you do? Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.

48 Replies to “The End of Our Camino Experience: Arriving in Finisterre”

  1. Donna, I have so loved reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. The photos have been amazing and the way you put your thoughts and words together are truly inspiring. I am so happy that you and Richard were able to do this amazing journey.

    1. Hi,, Janis – Thank you for your encouragement and suggestion. I would have guessed that you would vote for ‘home’. But you are right, Portugal does sound lovely. I will keep you posted. Between your travel and ours, we will have lots to catch up on in October/November!

    1. Hi, Anabel – Time does pass quickly. We cannot believe that we have been on the road for five weeks now (a new record for us)! Thanks for following!

  2. I am so touched by your experience! Congratulations on reaching the 0.00 mark and looking forward to reading more about your journey!

    1. Hi, Huiman – I greatly appreciate you following and commenting. I hope that your school year has been off to a terrific start. The new Middle School looks beautiful!

  3. Your post made me tearful, Donna. What an incredible adventure for the two of you to share.
    I don’t know what I’d do with the two weeks, but I do know for sure that whatever you and Richard decide to do will be the absolutely right thing.
    Congratulations.

    1. Hi, Karen – Thank you for your kind words. It’s been an incredible journey. We have been very grateful for this opportunity. Thank you for coming along!

  4. Congratulations! We are hiking vicariously through your posts and enjoying the journey very much! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Our friends found an inexpensive cruise for a few days in the Med. last minute deal!! Check it out….great job sounds like it was a walk of a life time!!

    1. Hi, Leanne – We can’t quite believe that our trek is finished either. It was like a great , special occasion meal. So much planning and preparation…and over so quickly!! Thank you for your warm words!

  6. You could have come to visit me in Provence! But I’m not there, I’m back in Tokyo (sorry). So many places for you to go! Wander up through the French Basque country, across to Cathar country (Bezier and Carcassone) and up to Paris that way. Or down through Portugal to the Algarve, taking in Lisbon. I you might find you have some Facebook friends in Portugal too…

    Sounds like it was a great trip – hugs to both of you.

  7. Congratulations! … and what an amazing adventure.

    A journey like this one requires some ‘decompression’ time to readjust and let the lessons of the trail sink in. If it was me, I wouldn’t hurry home quite yet.
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…A Touch of WhimsyMy Profile

    1. Hi, Joanne – Its funny, but it is literally the morning of the day that we leave Finisterre, and we are not yet 100% sure of our next direction. That’s so unlike me…but I am enjoying the adventure! I will keep you posted.

  8. Donna what a wonderful last post on the Camino and wonderful last day ( two days ) at Finnisterre. I love the paragraph about the mindfulness, peace, being together, culture, meeting people etc. So much like our trek experience. We have been seriously talking about the Camino for next year. I’m going to back over these posts when we come back from Italy (heading out in three weeks) for three weeks. Louise
    Louise Terranova recently posted…Dingboche My Favourite DayMy Profile

    1. Enjoy Italy, Louise! And if you have any questions about the Camino, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout. I’d be most happy to answer what I can!

  9. As much as I enjoying traveling, after two weeks, I’d be ready to head home. I’ll look forward to seeing what you decide, Donna. In the meantime, thanks for sharing your amazing journey with us Be safe!

    1. Hi, Jill – Thanks so much for commenting. My mom also voted for us to come home early. Then again….she may be a bit biased!😎I will keep you posted!

  10. Remarkable … what a beautiful ending to your journey on the Camino. I’ve enjoyed following you & your stories (& the photos) along the way. Thanks for sharing it. Hugs to you both, and won’t be long now before we see you again!

    1. Thanks, Tom – we’ve truly been torn between our myriad of choices. We may combine a couple of different options together. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the possibilities. Stay tuned!

  11. Congrats! You did it! How exciting, and your photos are beautiful! I had to chuckle that you had to walk 7 more km to get breakfast…oh, no problem…! I had never heard of this trail until you regaled us with your adventures! I think it will be hard to re-assimilate back into the harried pace of American society! I feel for ya! Living abroad has appeal for both me and my hubby!

    1. Hi, Terri – You are very wise! We are still in Europe, but are already finding the harried pace of large cities difficult to readjust to. And we previously navigated them quite effortlessly!

  12. Beyond the “what do we do the next 2 weeks”, which will be interesting to hear about (nothing planned is my second worst nightmare… first being missing the flight home), I’ll be curious to how you bring home some of the elements of the trail into “regular life”… the daily movement, nature, togetherness, meeting of others, culture & history, spirituality. I’ve often felt many of these things on our hiking adventures (nothing as grand as your Camino Trial!), but struggled to then recreate them in real life.
    Pat recently posted…Retirement & New RelationshipsMy Profile

    1. Hi, Pat – The ‘nothing planned’ part has been incredibly liberating (and the total opposite of my ‘work’ personality). You are right that it will be a definite challenge to bring what we liked most about the trail into our daily lives. Hopefully we are up for it! I’ll keep you posted!

  13. Well done, you two!!! Congratulations on a successful Camino walk and all the realizations and experiences you came across. Your splurge at the end of the trail sounds perfect!

    An interesting tidbit about the Spanish. Like them, we walk regularly and olive oil is our oil of choice, but we could use a nap every day!

    I’m curious about what you’ll do next. My adventurous spirit wants you to explore a bit more of the area, but, as we have come to realize more often, after a lot of excitement and exercise, it sure is nice to relax at (a) home! Every weekend, after a very busy and tiring week of work, we have this toss-up somewhat.

    With a fresh mind and rested body, I’d go to Portugal and travel around there for two weeks. πŸ™‚
    Liesbet recently posted…Day Trips around Santa Fe, NM: Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National MonumentMy Profile

    1. Hi, Liesbet – Sounds like you and Mark have a very healthy lifestyle! You’re right about the ‘toss up’. We eventually decided on a compromise – a bit of time in πŸ‡΅πŸ‡Ή , a bit of time in πŸ‡«πŸ‡· , and 🏑 a week early. I’ll keep you posted on all if this!

    1. Hi, Hugh – Thanks for following this series. Richard and I actually did a little but of Portugal, a little bit of Paris…and are now at the airport flying home a little bit early. It was a great compromise that turned out well. Once I reunite with my computer…and reliable internet, I will write a follow-up. I look forward to your upcoming guest post!

  14. Congratulations, Donna, for completing the Camino! I just returned from Seville, Spain a few days ago and am doing catch up. There are so much to experience in that area of Europe, no matter what you decided to do, I’m sure it will be wonderful.

    1. Thanks, Johanna – We spent 3 nights in Porto and 2 nights in Paris. We loved both! We have been to Paris before, which made the 2 nights doable and relaxing. Thanks so much for commenting!

  15. Oh yes, being aware of all the “lasts” — such a bittersweet kind of emotion. It is so great that you took the time in Finisterre both to celebrate the end of your trek and to contemplate the meanings of the journey and its completion. Burning your socks — truly symbolic! As was spending a night in the small hotel by the lighthouse at the end of the world. Welcome back, Donna

    Jude
    Dr Sock recently posted…A Day in the Life of a RetireeMy Profile

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