Last Days of the Camino

I wanted to write this a day or two ago but haven’t had time. At the end of the Camino I stayed three nights in Santiago. It was a fun atmosphere in the city since I knew someone around every corner. Our Camino family had dinner together every night. Knowing that when you see pilgrim friends in Santiago it may be the last time you see them is hard. You’ve spent the last five weeks seeing these faces over and over. Sometimes just in passing and sometimes over a beer. No matter how little you talked to them, they made an impact on your life. 

One day was spent exploring Santiago. The last day I rented a car and took four of my Camino family members with me to the “end of the world.” Many walk the additional 3-4 days to visit Finisterre and Muxia. With limited time, I needed to drive out there on a day trip. Seeing the sea really made it feel like the journey was complete. I was so happy to have my friends there to share it with. 

First we visited Finisterre. The village wasn’t all that exciting itself but the lighthouse point beyond the village was definitely something special. The views were incredible. Many pilgrims burn their Camino clothes there. Wearing the same clothes every day for 5+ weeks does get old. It felt good to be there and just reflect on the walk and the relationships built along the way. 

After that we headed to Muxia – my favorite of the two villages. The views and the white sand beaches around the town are amazing. One of the goals of the day was to jump in the ocean. Three of us did just that despite how cold the water was (it really wasn’t that cold for this Idaho girl). 

Finally in Santiago our family of seven went to a nice dinner together. It may be the last time we are all together (but hopefully not). After dinner we met up with other Camino friends at a bar. It was here that the end became real. Our three singing friends sang some beautiful songs. We shared some laughs, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

The next morning as I walked around Santiago by myself I realized it was over. I didn’t recognize faces around town anymore. I saw the familiar look of pilgrims every where I went but this was no longer my Camino. The town belonged to the next group of pilgrims. 

I’ve spent the last couple days exploring Madrid and London. Two new cities for me, though I haven’t had enough time to fully explore either. Tomorrow morning I head to Boston for a long layover and then back to Seattle. Though I’m sad this adventure is over, I’m excited to get home. I’m interested to see how this experience changes my daily life. I don’t know how anyone could be quite the same after experiencing the Camino.