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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Coastal Field Trip

Most of us were still in Santiago on our own on Saturday, so Virginio offered us a trip to Finesterre, literally "the end of the world." It's on the coast about 75k west of Santiago, and some pilgrims finish their journey there, since it feels like a more symbolic end of the trip. Apparently pilgrims used to burn their dirty clothes on the beach to symbolize the old life they'd left behind.

It was a bit of a bust because it was almost completely fogged in. Nevertheless, some of us trudged the 3k uphill to the lighthouse, a nice stretch of the legs. We took a few foggy photos, and I got one last stamp in my pilgrim's passport.

After that, we went to Murxía, which was an even bigger bust. It seemed like the Spanish equivalent of Ft. Walton Beach or the Jersey Shore.

Sandra let me have her room at the fancy Parador for the night, as she'd booked it before her itinerary changed for an earlier departure. We met an Aussie colleague of hers for drinks and tapas. Jess had walked the Camino solo but with a prearranged itinerary similar to ours. Later, she and I met some Spanish guys at a very authentic tapas place that reminded me of somewhere Anthony Bourdain would go.

And...after a good night's sleep and the first morning in 10+ days without an alarm, I took a taxi to the airport for my 1:30 pm flight. I'm a bit sad to see my vacation end, but I'm getting used to the idea that fall is coming. And I'm excited to wear my new dress to a wedding this weekend!

Funny enough, I didn't do what the Catholic church says is the purpose of the pilgrimage: visiting the actual tomb of St. James under the main altar. The cathedral itself seemed like enough for me. I was worried I'd regret walking only 100k and not the full Camino, but for now this feels like the right distance for me--and my feet! At times when my feet were hurting, the journey seemed a bit masochistic, and I wondered if it wasn't a bit twisted to spend so much money making myself uncomfortable...wouldn't God be better served and glorified if I instead spent money making uncomfortable people more comfortable? Nevertheless, for me this trip was more of a vacation and a physical challenge than a true pilgrimage. But I loved this quote from a brochure at the cathedral:

"The Way to Santiago is as life itself, it is as He who gives us support, it is a marvelous experience. It has no end, because when you arrive you realize that you have to keep on walking towards St. James, towards the others, towards your inner self, towards God."

Buen Camino!

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