My Camino with Maria Walsh Day 6: We danced our way to the end of the world
"I was left with an overwhelming sense of solace."
Maria Walsh is a newly-elected MEP. From Shrule, Co Mayo, she was crowned Rose of Tralee in 2014. This week, she is walking a stretch of the Camino De Santiago and chronicling the experience for Her. On day six, Maria and her friend Mary reach the famous clifftop at Finisterre...
Today gifted Mary and I a day like no other. Earlier in the week, we chatted about the way to Finisterre being like childbirth. People only remember the moment of euphoria, and forget the pain endured in getting to the ‘end of the world’!
This morning from Cee was busier than any other morning. Pilgrims were moving, eager to arrive at their final destination.
We met Leonardo, a 69-year-old from Mexico City. He was an amazing spirit, and we shared our reasonings about the meaning of life. An accountant, he retired three years and has been in Europe since April. The Camino was suggested to him in Lisbon and he bought a bag, a pair of walking sticks and took off.
He is a man who practices meditation and Bikram yoga every day. Mary and I shared a few kilometres with him and took some photographs. Our parting was textbook Camino: someone stops for a few minutes for a photograph, or a coffee, or just catches their breath and time moves away. We hope to connect with him again. He was a special spirit.
We were met with a guy smoking a blunt, with Bob Marley’s No Woman No Cry blaring from his backpack. He was on his way to work, blasting a boom box. Together with Ben, a Hungarian PE student, we moved in sync to the beat that only Bob could capture for us. No English shared. No one needed to speak. Music can be the greatest connection when language becomes a barrier to conversation. The five of us danced our way onto the shores of Finisterre, a joyous few minutes shared together.
I can’t tell you the impact days like today have on Pilgrims. Finisterre is a standard seaside town but has the ability to capture thousands of Pilgrims each year. Most of these visitors would have walked over 120km to soak in the folklore and spirit of Finisterre – which was known as the 'end of the world' in Roman times. Some Pilgrims walk even further. Some, like Mary and I, had our journeys from previous years to complete.
With Cee, where we started our day, only 16km away, we arrived in Finisterre before noon. We strolled the town, caught the sea, sand and sun on the beach, and sipped coffee in the greatest Pilgrim cafe/bar in Finisterre, called ‘The World Community’ while listening to some music from an inspired Pilgrim.
This wasn’t the end of our experience. Mary and I were eager to capture the treasure many of us want to experience when we're finished Camino, (for now at least). We walked the 3.2km out of the town to the cliff at Faro de Cabo Finisterre.
Having arrived with plenty of time to settle and pick a spot to watch the sunset, we talked about what this trip has offered us, and what it reminded us of. As the sun changed its colours and shape, we listened to To Ramona by Sinéad Lohan and sent gratitude and intentions into the approaching night sky.
At exactly 9.55pm the sun set, and as it disappeared beyond the sea, I was left with an overwhelming sense of solace. A feeling of deep understanding of the greater things that are happening for us. A feeling of deep appreciation of our environment that is an extraordinary natural healer for all who allow it in.
I can not do days like today, or experiences like Camino the justice they deserve. I can only say if you happen to read this, or the Camino is ebbing into your life by a friend or family member talking about it, then acknowledge that it may be time to gift yourself the space and mystery of Camino.
For now I say buenas noches, for tomorrow our journey continues to Muxia.
Buen Camino. Maria x