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Saturday, May 26, 2007 

Sitting at the end of the world...

I now understand why maybe Santiago was a bit anticlimactic... It was because the REAL fanfare, the "Way to Go, Lola!" banner I was hoping for was in Finisterre.

Finisterre or Fisterra is known as the "end of the world." Travelling time from Santiago is about 2.5 hours by bus, or just under 90km for those who walk it.

It was a fantastic day for a trip to the end of the world. The sun was out, but the breeze from the coast made it not too hot.

I arrived and had a little panic attack; I had only my purse and my rain jacket. I didn't even bring my guide book. As I looked there were still backpacks and sticks and plenty of people looking at their guide books.

"I think I'm a bit under prepared!" I announced to Denise & Kelly who had also taken the bus out to Finisterre with me. "I don't know what I was thinking, no pack, no water..." After a bit of my muttering, Denise calmly said: "Lola, let it go..."

And so, I did. And it was amazing.

2km up to the lighthouse (yes I did the calculation, but totally unnecessary) and there, a camino marker with "0km". There was ocean as far as the eye could see and a calm beyond anything I ever could imagine. Several pilgrims and I just sat and looked out into this with awe and tranquility.

A bronzed boot is left on a rock there, and there were smoldering ashes from a fire someone had lit previously. Denise was the first to throw her boots on the embers. Once she threw her wool sock on, the fire caught and 'whoosh!' - it went up.

I decided to take the opportunity with the one thing I thought I could burn, the one thing that was by far the most useful thing I could have besides my boots: my hankerchief.

This red kerchief, now full of holes had been used as a bandana, headwrap, scarf, kleenex, eyemask, nosemask. I had soaked up the sweat on every day I walked and had been washed and worn until it had several holes in it. You can see this hankerchief in almost every picture taken of me. Being a true icon of my camino, it deserved a good send-off.

Into the flames it went.

After a nice long stare at the ocean, and relishing a few more burning sessions (yes, I am possibly a closet pyro) Denise, Kelly & I went looking for some food & then a beach. It was a great beach with millions of beached crabs and many scallop shells along the shore & we had just enough time to enjoy the water on our feet before heading back to the bus stop.

I had mentioned Denise & Kelly before, and about how they would take their time, walk & stop when they pleased, and somehow always managed to get a private room, much less find a place to stay, for the evening - even at 6:30pm! D & K are this sweet couple from Regina, SK and are just adorable to watch. Denise is determined and "go go go" but only in contrast to the
easy-going Kelly. Both are intent listeners, calm & content with their environment wherever they are, and experience everything with joy and love. The thing I love about them is that they hold hands as they walk or sometimes when they sit together.

My theory is that because they are so open to it, they receive the gifts they deserve so much. They are truly blessed, but at the same time, I'm pretty sure they make their own blessings. That's the DK factor...

AND, this DK factor is jaw-droppingly effective! I got to experience the full DK effect at Finisterre.

We made it back to the bus stop just in time as the bus for Santiago pulled in. As per usual, there were plenty of pilgrims waiting - being the last bus back to town, it was expected to be the busiest, and quite often they need to call 2 buses to handle the load.

The bus pulls up and the crowd, of course, surges towards the door. Two false alarms later,
the bus driver finally allows the mass of pilgrims to board, and the pushing begins.

Maybe its a Canadian thing, or maybe it's just the Denise & Kelly factor, but I had no desire to join the swarm and simply hung back as the pilgrims pushed their way onto the bus. Denise stated plainly "The other bus will open up."

The crazy German woman next to us was screaming for her husband to come as she was behind the crowd - she was so worried that they wouldn't get on, and so panicked she began stomping her feet as she yelled!

Lo & behold, the 2nd bus pulled up, and as the last 15 pilgrims neared the first bus, the bus driver basically said "ok, onto the 2nd bus..." Several other pilgrims panicked and asked "To Santiago??" but the busdriver said "of course."

Denise, Kelly & I (and the screaming German woman with her husband) plus a few others enjoyed a 2/3 empty bus on the way home.

I tell ya, the DK factor is amazing. I have been trying to put it to use near the end of the camino, but I think I had to really "let it go" before I could get it. I have been wanting to do this for a long time, & now that I know the feeling, I have to say, it is SO worth it.

I saw M for the last time today... she left around 6am this morning to walk to Finisterre. I know I will see her again someday, but goodbyes are tough. I was really lucky to have so much time with my self-proclaimed camino mother... I wish for her a safe journey and I hope that she takes care of herself, & keeps strong like she is. She needs to do things for herself and by
herself, and I hope that she realizes this before the end of her camino. I miss her very much already.

The day ended nicely at "La Comida", a restaurante that specializes in Italian, Greek, & Tunisian food. (I have eaten more than my share of sea food, so a little oregano is really really welcome) on a side street next to la plaza galicia in Santiago. I think it wasn't so much the food, but I really loved the owner. He was so comforting: he and his wife spoke french, so it was much easier for me to converse.

It was exactly what I needed... Perfect ending to a perfect day.

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