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I woke up about an hour before the sun rose the next morning for my hike to what was once thought to be the edge of the world. I packed a small pack with a few items, some water, a lighter, a few clothes I was done wearing for the trip, and my iPhone. This time, I decided to follow the directions my friends had given me the day before to the letter instead of trying my own shortcuts.
About halfway through the hike, my surroundings started to brighten up because of the approaching sunrise. It was a relatively easy hike even though it was slightly uphill for the 5km to Finisterre because it was all blacktop; all you do is just follow the road leading away from town. I think it was better and even a little more fitting to make this hike by myself rather than with a group of friends. It was better to end this journey by myself. just as I had begun it.
Finally I reached the last monument telling me how far I had to go which read 0.0km! I sat there and took a few pictures of myself and the monument and then proceeded to the next monument that pretty much depicted that “this is the end.” Now, once you reach this monument, it is a well known tradition among pilgrims to burn your pilgrim clothes to symbolize the end of your journey. Instead of burning all my pilgrim clothes and walking back to town naked, I had brought a selection of clothes from which the smells of the camino and myself could not be washed out. So I brought a pair of underwear, an old base layer bottom, a pair of old worn out socks, and an old beanie. Luckily when I got there, someone had beaten me to it and had a fire going. We greeted each other but I think we both understood that the other just kinda wanted to be left alone and enjoy the moment in silence. After he left, I used his fire and burned my clothes as well. The sun had been up for about half an hour by now, and my clothes were slowly burning. I lit a cigarette, turned on my music to Johnny Cash’s “We’ll Meet Again,” and waved and yelled good morning to my friends across the ocean. The moment was all too perfect. I hung out there for a solid half an hour watching the sun rise over the bay and listening to some music, and when I was satisfied, I starting the 5km back to the hostel to rejoin my friends. I left my headphones on while I hiked back to town and listened to some really upbeat music because I was so excited about the journey I had just completed. I also may or may not have been dancing down the road back to town while unknowingly entertaining a few other early morning pilgrims.
By the time I got back to the hostel, everybody was up and starting to pack their stuff up. We headed out from the hostel and started our way towards the bus station to grab some tickets back to Santiago. We stopped and grabbed some breakfast, which I was more than excited for because I’d gotten into town so late last night that most of the cafes and bars were closed so I was really hungry. We inhaled our breakfast and went to stand in line to get on the bus back to Santiago.
The double decker bus pulled up and we fought to get on the second level in the very front so we could sit in front. We got settled in and waited for the long bus ride to be over as soon as possible. Because of the long bus ride, I got the chance to get to know Chris and Tess a little better as well as Sally. Chris and Tess had been hiking together for the majority of the trip and by now were acting like brother and sister smacking each other on the back of the head and pinching each other. It was pretty reminiscent of how my sister and I used to act around each other. Sally and I mostly talked about what we wanted to do once we made our ways back home, change careers, travel a little more, all this was common among pilgrims. Nearly every pilgrim looked at the Camino as a great break from reality, and a changing point in each person’s life like a career, where they live, their outlook on life, etc.. Eventually, we made it back to Santiago and we all made our ways back to the main large cathedral in the old part of town. We all settled into a hostel that Sally had stayed at before and gotten to know the hospitalera. We changed clothes, and dumped our stuff off and went to meet other friends to celebrate with them again that evening.
On the subject of celebrating the end of your camino, let me give you a little advice. Celebrate carefully. If you don’t drink, that’s fine and you shouldn’t have a problem. But, if you do drink, keep an eye on how much you drink. Don’t do what I did keep trading buying drinks for friends every place you go. It becomes very easy to forget how many drinks you’ve had and makes it even harder to walk to your hostel at 3:30 in the morning. Not that that’s what happened or anything…I’m just saying.
Destination: Finisterre & Santiago
Distance: 5km & and a 2 1/2 hour bus ride back to Santiago
Accommodation: Azabache Albergue- Great Hospitalero! She was really sweet. The place looked like it had just gone through some renovations. Great bathrooms and sleeping accommodations and it is less than a 5 minute walk to the cathedral.Only 16 euros a night! I would definitely stay here again.