The Camino was everything we hoped and thought it would be. Having the 46 days to do it was important. It allowed us to constantly regroup and refresh. We chose to walk by ourselves and not go with an established tour. Doing this it was much cheaper and more flexible, and for us more rewarding.The extra days we spent in Roncesvalles, Estella, Burgos, and Leon enabled us to plan the next stages, do washing and body repairs, but more importantly get out and see and talk to the people around you.Later in the walk, notably the last 3rd, we were fitter and this allowed us to do much more.
We would not have been able to do it by ourselves without a great guidebook. Such a book was written by Trish Clark – Guide to the Camino – St Jean to Santiago de Compostela – guidetothecamino.com. It was all we needed on the Camino. And whilst the desk clerks in the hotels and albergues were terrific, and would gladly book ahead for us (and did on several occasions) we found Booking.com to be terrific.
And lastly my good friend The Reverend Elaine Farmer in her 2011 sermon on Saint James the Greater at St James – King Street Sydney on St James’ Day 24 July wrote about us pilgrims…..
“We are not perfect. James wasn’t, if his temper was as bad as legend has it. But Jesus called and he followed. And followed. And followed. And served till he died. There is a story about an old priest who has spent his life serving pilgrims at a hostel for pilgrims on the Camino, the long walk from France through Spain to James’s shrine in what is now called Santiago de Compostela. In 2002 a British TV crew, a self-proclaimed faithless and irreverent lot, went to record his story and that of the others who worked as servants for the pilgrims. They understood the idea of pilgrimage but not what those who served them were about. ‘What have you all been doing?’ they asked. ‘Oh,’ said the old priest, ‘just changing the world, that’s all..
Jesus called and James followed. And served till he died. “I wish you peace” he said before he lost his head. We could do worse than follow his example and mean it when, in humility, and in the never-ending search for ‘true authority’, we wish each other peace.’
18th , 19th and 20th October – Trip to Finnisterre
Day 1 – Well we feel a little guilty catching the bus to Finisterre but we had a long walk up the hill from the bus station to our hotel. I nearly broke into a sweat. The bus ride up the coast was pretty and dramatic with a lot of weather around and a boiling sea from the aftermath of the typhoon making its way north and now level with Ireland. A lot of protected harbours and bays. Once again the hotel is great and right on the top of the hill on the way to the lighthouse. The weather looks better for tomorrow so will get out and look around. One thing though we missed dinner the first night as we had not booked it correctly!
Day 2 – A day in Finisterre. Woke to a better day and after breakfast took off for the day. First stop was a walk to the surf beach where I dipped my feet in the Atlantic. It was a pretty calm surface with 6 to 10 foot waves. It was not unlike Bells with a steep beach and and rocky points on both sides. After that we walked the old pilgrims’ path on the western side and eventually met up with the road that goes from the village to the lighthouse. Spent some time there and again met our Camino friend Mark. We all walked back to the village for lunch. After goodbyes we have come back to the hotel for a kip before dinner – Steak and Razor clams. Overall about 10kms today.
Day 3 – Heading east. Yesterday marked the end of our westward journey. Today we turned east to commence our homeward trip. The bus trip was great with sunny skies and passing through about 8 coastal villages. It is like a big horseshoe and once over the other side you could look back to Finnisterre and the headland/lighthouse. This is our last night in Santiago. We had one last walk through the town and past the pilgrims’ office – not a pilgrim to be seen. The change was amazing given we had only been gone for a few days.
Tomorrow we train to Astorga for 2 nights, then to San Sebastian for 3 nights. After that Pamplona and Barcelona and then home.