Two New Hampshire girls hike the 500-mile Camino de Santiago to raise money for women around the world.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Day Forty-Six: Cee to Fisterra. April 27, 2013

Distance: 16 kilometers (10 miles) with around 150 meters (500-ish feet) of elevation gain.

We're here, at the end of the world. It's been a long and rewarding journey.

The route from Cee to Fisterra follows the curve of the land as it bends around the cape. The Atlantic is almost always in sight, though the sea remains to the south until you reach the end of Fisterra's peninsula. At that point, the sea surrounds you and there is ocean to the east, south, and west.


The Camino is not well-marked through Cee...when in doubt, follow the street signs to Corcubion.



The Way isn't well-marked in Corcubion, either. Generally speaking, if you lose the arrows while walking through a Camino town, as we did once or twice, then find the nearest ancient iglesia. The Way almost always leads a pilgrim past the town's medieval church.

We saw another horreo -- we've seen probably over a hundred of these things while walking from France through Spain.  It's used to store potatoes and other veggies - the holes provide air flow while the elevation keeps the mice away. (photo was deleted).
We left Corcubion and took a brief jaunt into some woods. 



Those fuzzy white things are sleeping lambs!



From there, we could see our first glimpse of the end of the world...it was a jutting peninsula in the distance.


We entered the municipality of Fisterra...


entered Sardineiro...


and walked through some more woods.

The trees thin as one nears Fisterra, then coming out of the thinning trees, you can see it! The town, Langosteira beach, and the lighthouse.







We walked along Langosteira Beach, followed the boardwalk and pavement around the beach, up a short hill, and into the town of Fisterra.  We walked up another hill and found our hotel.






We checked in to our hotel, A Langosteira, and began our own personal ceremony of taking certain things out of our backpacks. All three of us wanted our packs with us when we reached the official end of our journey, but we each had our own opinion of what should and shouldn't be in our packs during our final steps. For example, though I'm glad Sage wore her Sorels when she walked through the Pyrenees, she hadn't worn them in a month and I saw no need to lug them any farther. The girls took out their sleeping bags, which they'd only used four or five times (most albergues have blankets). I removed my hat, my balaclava, and my heavy winter gloves, which I'd never used, not even when hiking through the snow or cold rain. What came with us to the end of the world were the things we had needed the most throughout our Camino.

Our packs thus lightened, we continued onward, through the town and up the paved road toward the lighthouse.  It was an easy walk, with beautiful wildflowers alongside the road.


We rounded the bend and saw the parking lot for the hotel and lighthouse. I asked the girls if they wanted to hold hands so we could symbolically and literally finish together, at the exact same time. Alex and Sage readily agreed, though at first there was some confusion since everyone wanted to hold everyone else's hand...that resulted in us trying to hike forward as a circle, which didn't work out so well. I then clasped the left hand of Alex and the right hand of Sage in front of my body so the girls' hands were touching each other as well as being enveloped in my own grasp. That did the trick. Together, we strode past the tourist booth selling shells, past the sidewalk leading to the hotel, straight on, directly to the finish line. I placed all our hands on that 0.0 kilometer mark and we finished together.

Katherine, a kind pilgrim from Armenia, took our picture...




We did it. 540 miles (870 kilometers) from Saint Jean Pied de Port, France through the entire country of Spain to Finisterre, the end of the world. Forty-one hiking days, five rest days, four small blisters, countless ancient villages, an abundance of glorious scenery and a wealth of newfound friends.

To Alex and Sage, this felt like the end of their pilgrimage. For me, it wasn't yet over. I wanted to see that sun set over the Atlantic. Nine hours to go.

Counting down the hours was easy. First, we explored the museum at the lighthouse...(photo was deleted)...and signed the guest book.

Next, we explored the rocks and enjoyed the view toward our homeland (New Hampshire's over there somewhere).


We hadn't eaten anything since we left Cee, so we clambered over the rocks toward the hotel/café (the restaurant at the end of the world) and had some sandwiches.  Once properly sated, we headed back to the town so we could receive our Santiago-to-Fisterra Compostelas at the municipal albergue.


Mar de Fora was next. We returned to our hotel, took off our packs, changed into our sandals/Crocs,and set out in search of western sands.

We found a beach, bared our feet and allowed the great waves to crash and approach. The cold salt water rushed toward us and enveloped our soles, over and over and over again. It was glorious.





Our feet thus cleansed and our spirits lightened, we watched as the sea extinguished the sun.


Our Camino is now over.

---
It's 8:25 Sunday morning and the girls still snooze. There's no reason to wake them; we've nothing to pack and nowhere to walk. Alex and Sage want to spend the day walking along Langosteire beach. Apart from that, we have no plans.

It's back to Santiago tomorrow, though this time it will be by bus and not on foot. All three of us are now nervous about riding in motorized vehicles. For the past forty-six days, we have walked to get to where we wanted to go. We have not been in a car, taxi, bus, train, or plane since March 12. We have not moved more than three and a half miles an hour since we left France. Riding on the bus might therefore feel frightening.

Our flight to the States leaves Santiago the day after tomorrow, April 30. Home. I'm ready to be there. There are a few personal loose ends I plan to immediately tie up. I've also got some writing to do.

Misc notes -

Alex made a habit of turning our paper tablecloths into pieces of art during every one of our pilgrim's menus, from SJPP to Fisterra...(the Blogger App deleted the photo).

From Santiago, the rays of the shells point the way to Fisterra. This is not the case from SJPP to Santiago...the rays of those Camino shells point up, down, and all around...follow the yellow arrows instead.

****
And now, if you'll be so kind as to indulge me in a slight rant -

A number of people have recently attempted to convert me to Christianity via written personal Facebook and email messages. Thanks, but no thanks. I've read and studied the Bible, and I spent years of my younger life reaching out to the Christian God and Jesus. All that ever came of it was a feeling of deep dissatisfaction and a sense of being conned. The best thing I ever did was come to the realization that you don't have to believe something just because someone else tells you to. And...well...isn't it a wee bit arrogant of you to think your belief system is THE right one for everybody (and not just yourself), and that anyone who doesn't share your belief system is missing a deep sense of love in their life and/or destined for hell? That's exactly the kind of insecure and illogical thinking I do not want to instill in my children. Rant over.

Thank you for following us on our journey. I'm pleased this blog was useful to pilgrims and I'm happy so many people have enjoyed my posts.

There will be three more entries to this blog, and each will be posted after we return to the States. The first will announce the total funds raised for GirlVentures and Global Fund for Women. To everyone who donated - thank you!!! To those who have not yet donated, please click on the appropriate links at the top of this blog and contribute what you can. 100 percent of your money will go directly to the female-empowering organizations (not to us), and it's all tax-deductible. The second post will be a gear review - the girls and I will go through our gear and comment on what worked and what didn't work, and why. The third post will contain two video compilations, one from Alex and one from Sage. Both girls have taken hundreds of photos and videos with their iPods, and both have compiled their own three minute videos using their own footage. They have done this on their own with zero input from me, so what you will see will be one hundred percent their creative efforts.

The girls are now awake...time for breakfast.

Signing off now from Spain - thank you once again for all your well-wishes and support! The world is full of beautiful people.

Trish

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

8 comments:

Rachael said...

In terms of gear, I'd be interested to know what clothing you wore. We always just wear lightweight shorts and longsleeved shirt when hiking - with merino or polyprop underneath if it's cold (yes, longjohns under shorts!) Intrigued to see your choices.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. It's been great to read. All the best on your future adventures!

Laliibeans from the Camino forums :)

Anonymous said...

I will miss being with you on this journey. The exhilaration of having completed the pilgrimage, excitement of the prospect of going home mixed with the sadness of having the pilgrimage being over, reflect my own feelings in Finistere. I loved the way you and your daughters finished, all together, holding hands. I also appreciate your thoughts and feeling about religion...they reflect mine almost perfectly. Thank you for sharing your journey, writing at times when you were exhausted.
Buen Camino...Patty
PS...Just a little over 12 months til my next Camino begins.

anna p said...

CONGRATULATIONS!
GREAT JOB!

I'm glad that you did it! Fantastic job!

Now my Auntie is walking Camino. She is on the trail 11 days.

All the best!
Anna
Toronto

Momagain said...

Thank you Sage, Alex and Trish for sharing your journey with us. Many of your impressions and feelings are like mine as I enter only my 12th day. I have 3 daughters, now adults with children of their own. Only one has a daughter and she is now 20 and raised to be a confident and caring person. I think I am an inspiration to my daughters and their little boys as well. Now I hope for at least one more granddaughter as my son will marry a lovely strong and independent woman after they complete the Camino in July. Congratulation to all of you!

Karin

Russell G. said...

Congratulations!

Trish, thanks so much for this blog! My wife and I start our own Camino on May 20th, and all of your details about routes, albergues, clothes, food, prices, people, dogs, and everything else you talked about so eloquently are a gold mine of information. And after reading your wonderful book I completely understand how you and your girls could do this pilgrimage seemingly with such ease. I'll miss reading your daily posts.

Alex and Sage, you are an inspiration, not only to kids but also to adults like me and my wife. We'll think about you while we're walking through all the same places and enjoying all the same things you did -- especially the chocolate and peanut butter. :-)

Russell
www.farofflands.com/camino/

Dan and Meena said...

On behalf of me and my family, congrats to you, Alex and Sage (and Hugh). Wonderful! And inspiration, as always. Come on home ladies, we miss you!

Patricia Ellis Herr, Alexandra Herr, and Sage Herr said...

Many thanks, everyone, for all your kind comments and well-wishes. I apologize for my late responses...I am still catching up on everything now that we're back in the States.

Dan and Meena -- thank you, and we look forward to seeing you soon (June 12 if not before). ;)

Russell -- thank you for your compliments. In sixteen days, you will begin your own Camino -- a wonderful, if not sometimes grueling, adventure awaits you. Enjoy every moment; the girls and I wish you and your wife a hearty Buen Camino. :)

Karin, by now you might be somewhere in the meseta -- I hope you're having a fantastic time. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to post a comment!

Anna, I hope your Auntie is having the time of her life. Sounds like she's keeping pace with Karin (above) -- perhaps they've met by now and have become Camino friends. :) Thanks for writing; we wish you and your Auntie all the best.

Patty, thanks for your message. Are you taking the Camino Frances again next year or are you trying another route? I've often thought about what I would do if I went back...can't decide if I would do the Camino Frances again or perhaps try the Northern Route (Spain).

Lalibeans -- thank you!! :)

Rachael -- I have a gear list on the blog. Look up in the tabs section. Also, I'll soon post a gear review describing what worked for us and what didn't. I should have that post up by Monday or Tuesday evening.

--Trish