If only you’d been with me…

If only you’d been with me…

Day 37, Sunday, May 19: Finisterre to Lires + to Lires’ beach (21.1 km, 13.1 miles)

Yes, if only you’d been with me today! You would have talked with

  • a little snail casting a large shadow as she made her way down the trail, brave little thing…
  • some roosters “guarding a lemon tree”
  • an overgrown lizard with a ton of self-confidence and not one bit of fear
  • a kitty, a dog, a bunch of goats, a donkey, some sheep

If you had been with me today you might have

  • sampled some wonderful grilled vegetables (to die for!) and had a big hunk of Galician bread to go with them
  • sipped some café con leche and maybe even guzzled down a beer
  • sat in the sun to eat the veggies and drink the libations
  • listened to an old-timer out for his daily constitutional in one of the villages tell me that, no, he couldn’t agree that his town and area were “preciosos” or anything special at all, but you would have heard him tell me, “We are born here, we die here. That’s the way it is,” and you would have gone away wondering if you, too, take the beauty in your life for granted and you would have resolved to change your ways
  • chatted with 75-year-old Vicente for a while as he charged up the hill until he left you in the dust and you wondered what you might do to be so fit at his age
  • thought a lot about how it’s going to feel when all of a sudden you don’t know exactly what you’re going to do in the morning once the task at hand does not include packing up your house, tossing it on your back, and making your Way….

Mostly, though, you would just have been stunned once again by

  • the beauty of the woods, the singing of the birds, your good fortune to be capable of doing what you were doing without having any particular problems
  • the friendliness and generosity of people who live along the trail and set up tables by their house offering fruit, cookies, tea, water, dried figs… for a “donativo” if you cared to leave one

And beyond anything else, you would have dallied and stalled and found all manner of excuses to linger at the beaches, to photograph the waves splashing on the rocks, to picture yourself wading or even swimming (were the water about 25 degrees warmer than it was!). You would have taken one picture after another because you just had to share the views with family and friends.

And you would be right now–just like me–giving serious thought as to whether or not you will walk the 2 kilometers back down to the beach to see if you just might witness a beautiful sunset, even though the sun doesn’t set until 9:56 and in spite of the fact that you’ll have to walk 2 kilometers back up to your albergue in the dark… because, you’ll ask yourself, when will you have this opportunity again?

I wish you were with me! We’d make that decision together… and maybe get a little glass of wine down there by the beach….

To the end of the world, with sunshine to spare!

To the end of the world, with sunshine to spare!

Day 36, Saturday May 18: Cee a Finisterre, including to the lighthouse + back to Finisterre (21.56 km, 13.4 miles)

No reason to drag this one out, to withhold details, paint the scene, set the stage. No. This day was, as have been so many others, a joy to walk. The pines, the eucalyptus, the blooms still dripping with… with dew or with some rain I slept through in the early hours, I couldn’t say which.

But there was, on all our parts, I think, a sense of “urgency,” of “let’s get this thing done. We’ve come to arrive at the end of the world, so let’s not dilly dally about it.”

Only about 14 kilometers into the town of Finisterre itself. Up the hills and down them again, only to climb once more. An “are we there yet?” attitude. Glimpses of water, bay water, from time to time. Smells that reminded me of California here, northern Minnesota or Wisconsin there, Oregon–coast and mountains–from time to time. The animal and barn smells were gone, and in their place: really fresh air, scented blooms, and the sea.

We woke up to a much-improved forecast, but should have learned by now not to put any faith in forecasts. Alas, the unexpected rain arrived… but then departed; the clouds seemed to want to settle in between the hills… but then they thought better of it, too. So… I just continued to alternate rain jacket and winter coat. Vest on; vest off. Ditto the fleece cap. All articles of clothing extremely handy as they were either on my body or on my back.

Though I set out with neither Cristina nor Jeannie (now that I know how to spell her name, I suppose I should do so; it’s Jinhee…, but it was, after all, from her that I learned how to pronounce it: “like Aladdin’s lamp and the ‘genie’ that came out of it,” she had told me), we seemed to catch up with one another at various points, and we arrived at our albergue within minutes of one another, about 11:00. I’ve not actually had the experience of arriving before albergue’s are officially opened. This place, besides giving us a fantastic view of Finisterre’s bay–fantastic, anyway, for the 12 euros that we are paying–was very accommodating, allowing us to leave our backpacks in a locker or at least leave some of its contacts in the locker.

Because… we still had another 4 kilometers, a gradual uphill, before we would arrive at “the end of the world.” And we needed to stop at a panadería to pick up the day’s loaf. (And wait until you see a photo of what I chose….)

Other than stopping to catch a photo of the coastline or to remove/add clothing, we made pretty quick work of the climb. And then! Ah, and then, got photos of ourselves relaxing and celebrating at the end of the world. In almost full sun!

Precious! Dramatic! And the sign in town that reminded me that “the real Camino starts at the end”? Spot on!

Everything after our hike out to “the end of the world” was anticlimactic: the quick walk back down to Finisterre, the shower, connecting to the internet. Even the delicious pizza dinner with Jinhee and Cristina took a back seat, seeming of little consequence after having reached the lighthouse and the renowned spit of peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic. Yes, “the real Camino starts at the end,” and, as well, “it’s not over until it’s over”….

And so… I’ll begin tomorrow… with a walk! I’ll do a relaxing two-segment (as in “two-day”) walk to Muxía which I hear is a real gem. Another one for the strong box which will hold so many memorable places for me. When my memory fails me, the photos and these blog posts will be great supplements. As well, I might have to hire a security guard to protect my treasure box of memories. They deserve the best!