Pilgrims to Tourists

Watching the sun set at the end of the world.
It has been some time since we have been able to update the blog.  We have been traveling and have had very little access to the internet.  So we have saved up a number of posts.  I hope we don’t overwhelm you!
We reached Santiago on the 8th of May.  After celebrating with friends we made the last part of our pilgrimage by bus to Finistarre.  Cape Finistarre is the westernmost tip of Spain (and of mainland Europe).  Its name, Finistarre, translates to “world’s end,” and Medieval pilgrims often walked here truly believing it was the edge of the world.  It was an incredible place – a rocky headland that just out into the Atlantic Ocean. The only scenery is the curve of the horizon and an apparently endless seascape.  It is easy to see why early pilgrims thought they were at the edge of the world.
The day we were in Finistarre was warm, clear and brilliantly sunny.  Tom and I walked out to the cape and sat together for several hours watching the sun set and reflected on our experience of the past weeks. 
I wrote in my last post about the joy of finding pilgrim friends we thought we had  lost.  Well, the day we were celebrating in Santiago, our group walked into a pizza place for lunch after the pilgrim mass and Tom and I found one of the pilgrims we started walking with in St. Jean Pied de Port on 4/2 – Caroline, from Australia.  (Actually, she found us as we were walking to our table).  We had started the Camino walking with Caroline, her friend Mel, Dan, from Tennessee, and Dominic,  and a priest from the UK, until Pamplona.  In fact, the six of us crossed Ibaneta Pass together on the first day of the Camino.  They were among our first pilgrim friends. 
They walked on when we stayed to sightsee and Pamplona.  Tom and I often wondered how they were and whether we would see any of them in Santiago.  But we were certain that they would be gone by the time we got there – they were fast walkers and counting our sightseeing day in Pamplona, we had taken four extra days.  We assumed they would be far ahead of us.  So it was a wonderful surprise that Caroline spotted us.  She had finished the Camino a couple days before us and had been relaxing in Santiago.  Caroline caught us up on Mel, Dan and Dominic.  And we discovered that Caroline and another friend, Anne, who joined her for the last couple weeks of the walk, were heading to Finistarre the next day also. 
So, as we reflected on the rocks at Finistarre, we were joined by Caroline – one of our first pilgrim friends.  It seem like a very fitting conclusion to our journey. 

We stayed in Finistarre that evening and boarded the bus the next morning for Santiago. Tom and I were both struck with the sense that we were no longer pilgrims.  We were tourists.

Caroline, Tom and I at Cape  Finistarre

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