Day 34: Angel to the End of the World

If anything, this journey has impressed upon us how fortunate we are to have experienced this. As others have a aided us, knowingly or unknowingly, we have an obligation to contribute to the universe.

Today was the first day in a long time, we did not have to wake up at pre-dawn. Nontheless, at 6:15, B headed out in the dark to see the Cathedral. The streets were empty, save for a still drunk partier heading home. As she wound through the streets, she hear her name.


It was Claudio. While B, Kat, Z, and Alex had to return to the albergue before midnight, Claudio was staying at a small pension without a curfew. He had just left the Italians we met last night at 5, realized he lost his key, and so was wandering the streets until morning.

B continued on the Cathedral, where the plaza stood empty. It was really quite a privilege to have this UNESCO World Heritage site all to herself, if only for a brief moment. She wandered into the Parador, the five-star hotel adjacent to the Cathedral known for offering the first 10 pilgrims that show up at 9, 12, and 7 a free meal. She pretended to be a guest (if anyone would like to put her up there, she will gladly accept), sitting in their plush salon.

As the sky began to lighten, she slowly wandered back, once again meeting several familiar faces heading for the final 100 km to Finisterre. She did a final load of laundry so we would all have clean clothes before the rest woke up.


We threw our “bedsheets” away and headed off to meet Mar, the feisty Spanish professor we had met after Leon, the same time we had met Alex and Claudio. We shared stories ober a delicious breakfast of rosca gallega, a brioche-like sweet bread at the Cafe Casino, opened in 1873 with its expansive charm intact.


So strange how some people you don’t need much time together but still have a strong connection and others you spend cointless hours and never get to really see their souls. Mar is one of the former.

She, like the majority of the pilgrims we met prior to Sarria (the turning point), commented on how different the last 100km was. After Sarria, there were less “Buen Camino!” and less real talk and more courtesy nods or no nods at all. Previous to that existed a level of trust and camaraderie unlike anything experienced before (sort of like a hard-core summer camp). She told us how in La Faba, she was with a group of eight other pilgrims at a special mass by a priest who had each one tell of a special moment on the Camino. Stories started flowing, as did the tears. The tall, stoic German man emotionally shared his story, tears rolling down his cheeks. One girl said she had been waiting for an experience with God, and she had found it in that moment. Then each pilgrim washed another’s feet.


Those are not experiences likely to be found later on the Camino. Yet it was these moments that allowed each of us to feel that someone or something was always looking out for us. For us, it was people like Mar or Alex (who unlike anyone else on the Camino, has become one of our own). For whatever reason, we entered into each other’s lives.

Mar was generous with her spirit and advice, and we were able to secure a ride with the Angel to Finisterre, the End of the World. We said farewell, and wandered around, buying souvenirs, savoring chocolate at Mora Xocolat Concept, sitting inside the Cathedral, and napping in the lobby of the Parador.


We met up with Alex, Claudio, and Gemma, who are walking to Finisterre. is walking with Claudio and Gemma. It is about 85 km from Santiago, but we had decided long ago to enjoy some down time not walking and savor the coastal areas.

Alex has promised to meet us for breakfast the morning we leave. Saying farewell to these three, especially to Alex, was not easy. However, Alex is family and we know that he isn’t ever going to be too far (poor thing, he hadn’t realized what he was getting himself into – three nosy older sisters).


We hopped into Angel’s car (weird to be IN a car) and drove towards Finisterre. To the soundtrack of Ennio Morricone’s majestic The Mission, we watched the End of the World appear on the horizon. Indeed, Finisterre is the westernmost coast of the European landmass and on the other side of the Atlantic is the coastline of Boston, B’s home. The courage it took for a few crazy explorers to look at the End of the World and say, I’m going to go beyond that, certainly shows a strong faith that someone or something would look after them.


The physical part of the Camino is over, affecting us in different ways. Kat is nursing an impending cold and her feet and Z’s knees are quite sore. Yet the spiritual and emotional journey is far from over, and it will no doubt take much more time, even after the aches have ended, to gain a fuller comprehension. Perhaps tomorrow, when we walk to the End of the World, someone or something will continue to guide us safely along the way.