The bus for Finisterre left at 9:00 a.m. and we were on it, asleep much of the time until our arrival at 11:30. From the town we walked out to the lighthouse point, about one and a half miles, payback for the days of walking in the rain and the long treks up rocky dusty paths and then back down again. Sunshine, a breeze, and blue sea backed with green mountains and speckled with whitecaps. . . heather and scotch broom, pines and grasses . . . a steady stream of peregrinos in twos and threes heading up the last of the hills to the end of the earth. . . . couldn’t ask for a nicer day.
At the top, we ate some lunch, Regina and Anthea scrambled down the rocks below the lighthouse, and then we walked back down the hill and caught the 3:00 p.m. bus (and slept most of the way back). There’s no need for superlatives because they can’t really capture such a beautiful day, so we will leave you with the photos and the note that our next journey will certainly include more ocean.
Once back in Santiago we had several errands. Anthea and Jim had not yet embraced St. James, so we headed to the cathedral to pay our respects. Along the way we got distracted by souvenir shops with mementos — for Anthea, a navy blue T-shirt that shows the Beatles on “Santiago Road.” Regina acquired a small jet shell to wear on a chain; jet has been mined in this area since the Celtic days, and is thought to bring good luck (the oldest known piece dates from 15,000 years ago and was found in northern Spain). I got a small silver scallop shell dish for a gift. We haven’t really done any shopping at all for an entire month — a couple of very small souvenir shells for Regina and Anthea, and a couple for Jim and me. Otherwise it’s been bandaids and Kleenex, chocolate now and then, and the occasional snack — plus daily meals. That’s it. Not much for a person (me) who loves to shop.
[Another thing I have not done for a month is read any book besides the John Brierly Guide to the Camino. I’ve read news on line when possible, and have done a bit of research here and there for these emails. Life has been remarkably book-free for the first time since I was five. It will be interesting to see whether I go back to reading as much as usual once home.]
We also managed to find time to take pictures in the cathedral; make a video (Anthea) of a Galician bagpiper and his friend accompanying him on the bodhran (Celtic drum); take photos of a couple of weddings (Teri); and eat oruco (the local liqueur) sherbert at the Hostal dos Reis Catolicos amid the plush couches and heavy woodwork and paintings and sculptures dating back to Ferdinand and Isabella’s days. Peg and Tom met us for dinner at the pasta place in the big mall, and then Jim and I climbed the hill to our cardboard (aka “quaint”) bungalow to start packing.
Regina and Anthea went hunting for quemada, the fire drink that we were served in Eirexe, but couldn’t find it, so they are back and also packing. It goes something like this: “Do we need this packaged soup any longer?” “No.” (It goes into the kitchen cupboard.) “I think I’ll leave this cheap plastic poncho — it’s already got a broken button.” “What am I going to do with my walking stick in Seattle?” and so forth. Regina is still hoping to take her backpack as carryon; Jim and I have understood that we can’t, so are not as concerned about saving weight and space on the trip home.
A cab will arrive at 4:30 a.m. to pick up Regina and take her to the airport (she’s headed for Madrid and Seattle); another will pick us up at 6:00. We’ll meet Peg and Tom there, and the five of us will fly to Barcelona for another couple of days on the Mediterranean beaches, and some sightseeing.
Just looking at my notes, I find one that says, “It will be a long time before I complain about signage in the U.S. again.” The Spanish often don’t mark the streets or roads, so it’s very difficult to stand on a street corner and say,”we’re here.” Regina’s GPS on her phone has been a big help, particularly combined with Google maps. The Camino arrows and scallop shell symbols have kept us on that road (most of the time), but knowing where one is at any given moment by just relying on local signs can be extraordinarily difficult.
We’ll keep you posted on what’s great in Barcelona and then New York. The Camino is finished for now, but our way back to Anchorage (where it’s been snowing) still leads through interesting territory.
A plain stone cross at Finisterre where people leave things, and sometimes burn them. Anthea and Regina saw a small fire of shirts.
A juggler at Finisterre who has taken on Jim’s walking stick as part of his repertoire.
A large and interesting spider along the road. The wind kept catching the web; thus the blurred photo. Regina described the spider as the “size and color of a cherry tomato.”
Regina at Finisterre.
Peg and Tom at Finisterre, with the northern Atlantic shining behind them.
Jim, Regina and Anthea on the road back down to the town of Finisterre. The next adventure will include more of this blue sky and ocean.
A wedding seen through the open doors at the Chapel of the Souls (near the Santiago Cathedral). It was an evening for weddings; we saw several in process or recently completed.
The bride, at a wedding party in the courtyard of Hostal dos Reis Catolicos.
An old tapestry at Hostal dos Reis Catolicos depicting a much different wedding party.
Party man at Hostal des Reis Catolicos, the luxury hotel.
Galician piper and Celtic drummer near the cathedral.
One of Regina’s guidebooks says that these (very large) angels in the Baroque work in the cathedral were designed to cover up the iron supports for the carvings above them.
Full moon in a sunset sky, about 8:30 p.m.