For both of us, Fisterre, not Santiago, is the end of the Camino. It was an ancient pilgrimage destination long before the advent of Christianity, before the city of Santiago was built and before the remains of Saint James somehow magically turned up in this remote corner of Spain, transforming this route into a Christian pilgrimage and changing its destination.
Before we knew that the earth is round and that other continents exist, Fisterre was thought to be the end of the world. The ancients were not far off—it is only 16 km short of what we now know to be the most Westerly point in Europe.
As we walked out to the lighthouse today, a Spanish man stopped us and said “Two more kilometres you stop walking. Then you must swim.” He laughed and put his hand on my shoulder.
From the rocky hill at the end of the cape, space does not end, the sea is the horizon.
It is a place to reflect on space and time and journey and how to continue. Lynn posted a comment on the blog two days ago: “There’s a David Whyte poem about arriving at Finisterre that’s lovely.”
Indeed it is:
The road in the end taking the path the sun had taken,
into the western sea, and the moon rising behind you
as you stood where ground turned to ocean: no way
to your future now but the way your shadow could take,
walking before you across water, going where shadows go,
no way to make sense of a world that wouldn’t let you pass
except to call an end to the way you had come,
to take out each frayed letter you brought
and light their illumined corners, and to read
them as they drifted through the western light;
to empty your bags; to sort this and to leave that;
to promise what you needed to promise all along,
and to abandon the shoes that had brought you here
right at the water’s edge, not because you had given up
but because now, you would find a different way to tread,
and because, through it all, part of you could still walk on,
no matter how, over the waves.
Some photos from the walk to Fisterre: