I left Santiago de Compostela before dawn, following my headlamp through the suburbs. Since most pilgrims only go to Santiago I had the trail to myself. I hiked until noon, stopped for brunch and beer, walked on, stopped for beer, walked again, and stopped for beer again. It kinda felt like I was on a victory lap! Even with the beers, and music video filming (see below), I covered 29 miles before stopping for the night in a small village nestled into a picturesque Spanish hillside.
On day 18 I left the albergue early, stoked to reach the end of my pilgrimage. I traversed the rolling coastal hills through forests, across rivers, and past hunters out with their dogs. The weather was perfect and I finally turned a corner and spotted the deep blue of the ocean in the distance. I walked through several coastal towns before reaching Fisterra and hiking on to the Faro de Fisterra Lighthouse and the end of the road. I passed the 0.0 km marker and hopped out on the rocks to get a view of the ocean with no trail in front of me. I was done.
In 18 days I’d walked 537 miles from the Pyrenees in France, to Cape Finisterra and the Atlantic Ocean, and had literally come to the end of the road. I walked back to the bar, ordered a cold beer, kicked off my shoes, and spent the afternoon looking out over the ocean, thinking back across the last 865 kilometers.
The Camino for me had been a very personal experience. Due to my hiking pace (averaging just under 30 miles per day) I spent most of my time alone, but I thoroughly enjoyed the countryside, the communities I passed through, and the quiet time I had to myself to think, observe, and get back to the daily rhythms of traveling at the speed of life.
Random Fact: On my way through airport security in Venice before flying to Paris I tied my shoes loose so I could slide them on and off easily. Those knots held for 3 weeks, through 3 countries, and 500+ miles of rain, mud, and countless breaks to dump out dirt and pebbles. Not bad for a pair of used shoes I bought off eBay!
Day 17 – 29 Miles
Day 18 – 26 Miles