Monday, June 10, 2013

Santiago to Madrid to Home in Anacortes

We left Santiago with mixed emotions as our new friends went their separate ways but we also looked forward to returning home.  The Camino was a special journey for us in that we often experienced the unexpected as we walked the ancient trail.  Trekking across an unknown landscape 12-15 miles a day for over a month in all kinds of weather conditions has its physical demands, but our emotional highs more than made up for the harsh conditions.  

 The towers of the cathedral were framed beautifully as we strolled through a park in Santiago for the last time.
 We gathered one last time with new found friends; Shin, from Japan, Richard from England, and Ed from Ireland in front of the Pilgrim office in Santiago.  Time to say goodbye. We left Santiago on a 6 hour train for Madrid, where we spent a day visiting the Prado (art museum) and walking in the peaceful Parque del Retiro.
 This towering structure,Puerta de Alcal, opens the way into the Parque del Retiro in Madrid.
 Ann and Camino friend, Linda from Texas, stroll through one of Madrid's larger parks (have to keep walking).

 Scene from a beautiful rose garden in Madrid.

A tea rose from the above garden which we took the time to smell the rich fragrance.  It's a good way to end our blog of the Camino journey.  We are unable to express in a few words how the Camino has affected us but we do feel blessed that we were able to complete the journey and gather what wisdom that it may have empowered to us.  Time will tell how we will live out the lessons we learned but we know for sure that we are better persons for the experience.  A lady from Holland who we walked with for many days reminded us that the Camino doesn't end when you arrive in Santiago, it is only just beginning.  She was 72 years old and was walking the Camino for the fourth time.  So, our parting words will be what we said to every person we met on the trail, "BUEN CAMINO."

Now we are back to real life in our hometown of Anacortes, dealing with piles of mail and messages.  One of our biggest challenges is getting over the 9-hour time change and the jet lag it presents.  From the time we left our hotel in Madrid until we arrived at our home, was a total of 28 hours!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Finisterre: The end of the earth.

June 3, 2013

Arriving in Santiago our plans were to take a couple of days to visit the church, see some fellow pilgrims, then walk on to Finisterre.  Many people who walk the Camino feel the trip is not complete until reaching the western most part of Europe which is another 100 km (60 miles) from Santiago appropriately called "end of the earth."

Due to rain, us both developing sore throats and symptoms of a cold, and feeling a lack of energy, we rested for a few days then took a bus to the town of Finisterre.  We stayed two nights there and hiked out to the lighthouse. Even though we had not walked from Santiago, we felt a sense of finality of our journey by sitting on the rocky shoreline, looking across the Atlantic Ocean towards the new world.

At the lighthouse, there is a "tradition" of burning an item from your pilgrimage.  Here is an example of a fire.  We did not feel the need to follow this trend.

Finisterre is a small fishing village with none of the hustle and bustle of Santiago, so it was a great place to gather our strength back again.

While there we met several hikers we had not seen in a while so we shared stories and caught up on Camino small talk.

Visiting the small church in the village, we noticed the close connection to the fishermen and their way of life.