DAY 72. 18 JULY. FISTERRA. "THE END OF THE EARTH".

Meindl boots and my pilgrim feet; not a single blister thanks to sheep's wool in my socks. A wonderful piece of advice from my friend Hazel who walked the Camino over 10 years ago. 

Meindl boots and my pilgrim feet; not a single blister thanks to sheep's wool in my socks. A wonderful piece of advice from my friend Hazel who walked the Camino over 10 years ago. 

So this the last blog entry of my Camino and I'm feeling sad that I won't be observing my life in the same way. I've often spotted things during the day and made a mental note "I must remember to tell them that...".

As I reached the top of the Cape this statue was awaiting me

As I reached the top of the Cape this statue was awaiting me

A more leisurely start today. The hostel is laid out in cubicles of 8 beds so I had a good nights sleep.

I go to a local bar for breakfast and bump into the Brazilian couple who greet me with kisses and "artista". They give me their email address incase I'm in Brazil.... There's a thought. I down a café con leche and a large slice of cake! The Spaniards seem to prefer a sweet breakfast; at least I'm burning the calories at the moment.

The End of the Earth

The End of the Earth

I start the ascent to the cape about 9am; it's a long but gentle climb up along the main road with pine trees on either side, but not much shade.

On the way.... 

On the way.... 

It's very quiet when I arrive, the tourist buses have yet to arrive and I walk beyond the Faro (lighthouse) and onto the rocky promontory. Granite boulders and bracken and then a dramatic cliff dropping into the Atlantic; I can hear the ocean on the rocks below, but my eye is drawn to the extraordinary powder-blue horizon softened by a silvery mist; the Edge of the Earth is indiscernible in the far distance.

Looking over the edge

Looking over the edge

There seems to be no one but me here, but occasionally someone stands up from their hiding place amongst the granite boulders and I realise I'm not alone. Mainly pilgrim types as it's still too early for the tourists.

I spend a lot of time looking; I don't think I've seen anywhere so extraordinary with such a sense of the liminal. I sit between worlds and I'm not sure which ones.

I reflect on what can be achieved by taking single steps; it seems impossible that 'little me' can walk 550 miles and probably more. The rugged mountain paths and oak forests of the Paes Basco seem a lifetime ago. It has taken a certain intent to keep going; resolution even. Though in my heart I didn't doubt that I would arrive here.

Strangely the yellow arrows become almost invisible when out of pilgrim mode, but it would have been impossible to make the journey without them. They've been constant, but slightly erratic companions and guardians.

My Spanish remains embarrassingly poor, but somehow I've got by with the patient forebearance of the Spaniards. They have been good humoured at my attempts and we usually have a good laugh once some clarity has been achieved. They have been immensely kind, perhaps big city life has inured me to a gentler way of being in the world. I'm resolved to practice "kindness to strangers", I have received so much...

On the way to the West

On the way to the West

As I look out into the silvery blue, I remember my loved-ones; those who have already slipped beyond the End of the World. The sun rising over the Cape behind me, shines thousands of sparkling lights out towards the western horizon. Medieval writers called the Atlantic the El Mar Tenebroso; the dark sea, but today it's full of light.

Out to a silver horizon  

Out to a silver horizon  

There's an information board by the side of the path; it records that there's a immense under sea mountain off the coast of Finisterra with ravines 4,000m deep. A place of silver light and utter darkness then. I can sense Janus on his stone pillar facing both....

Looking out at Light and Shade

Looking out at Light and Shade

By midday it's very hot and even factor 50 sunblock isn't working and so I make my way back to the town. By now the Cape is full of tourists, buskers and hawkers.

My phone now contains 3,700 photographs which won't upload to the iCloud, for some reason. I've had to delete all my music, books except the essential Camino ones, apps, games and videos. Before I came away I put out a request for suitable music and books to bring with me. Only Cheri replied, she wrote: "just listen to the sounds around you" and how right she was. I haven't read a single book or listened to any music on my phone since I arrived. I have walked with one change of clothes and two pairs of shoes and the all important wet weather gear. My most trusted possessions are my phone, bank card, rucksack, poncho, boots, socks, sheep's wool and walking poles. I could have survived without anything else.

I buy my supper in a supermarket for tonight; just fruit and vegetables. I need a night off from Menu del Dia! I also buy water for the plastic bottles.

All of a sudden at about 6pm fog rolls in from the sea; it's dense and reduces visibility down to about 50 feet! It's also cold and I have to put on extra layers. No wonder it is called Costa del Morte; lethal for pre-radar ships plying a craggy granite coast.

At about 7.30 the Hospitalero and I go to collect water from his neighbour's well, carrying a new pale blue plastic bucket. It's a lovely sound to hear the spare water crash back down into the depths.

In a lovely blue plastic bucket

In a lovely blue plastic bucket

I then go to collect the sea-water from a beach near the harbour and take a series of photographs of the water in plastic bottles, with the fog forming a misty, myopic backdrop. I had in mind a lovely sparkling powder-blue Atlantic with a silvery horizon, but the 'End of the Earth' had its own idea and refused to be photographed.

RESPECT.

So I  have completed my journey to collect waters from the 'End of the Earth'. Tomorrow I'm walking to the villages of Lires and then Muxia and from there back to Santiago by bus; where I will become a tourist and fly to Seville and onto Cadiz by bus for a holiday.

One of the photographs will become an edition of postcards that will be printed in Santiago de Compostela; the distillate of 550 miles of walking.

So this is my final Camino blog. I feel I will be returning to a different country to the one I left on 10th May. I sense unsettled times ahead; the need to guard an inner stillness and a clarity of vision.

So dear Friends: SEA WELL.

THIRST: from the End of the Earth.  Sara Mark, 2016 Digital photograph

THIRST: from the End of the Earth. 

Sara Mark, 2016

Digital photograph