And so, on the thirty-fifth day, God gave us a lie-in, rest and relaxation, and all is good with the world (well, it’s very good in my world, and that is all that counts for today!)
Ella and I purchased breakfast supplies and ate them on a sunny bench by the harbour. I then left her to walk to the beach at the entrance to town. a two kilometer stretch of white sand, backed by sand dunes and covered with sea shells.
It must be every pilgrim’s duty to search for their own scallop shell as a reminder of reaching the end of the world. There are plenty of the domed shells, but almost none of the flat ones. I have managed to find two incomplete ones and one which is pristine, albeit very small. It will do for me, unless of course I find a bigger one, when I continue my stroll along the beach. I have collected a few additional pretty shiny shells for my grandson Mikey, but I doubt he will appreciate them.
The scallop shell is the symbol of the camino de Santiago, and is given to pilgrims by the pilgrim office in St Jean Pied de Port. According to one version:
……….After James’ death, his disciples shipped his body to the Iberian Peninsula to be buried in what is now Santiago. Off the coast of Spain a heavy storm hit the ship, and the body was lost to the ocean. After some time, however, the body washed ashore undamaged, covered in scallops.
The scallop shell also acts as a metaphor. The grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, eventually arriving at a single destination: the tomb of James in Santiago de Compostela. The shell is also a metaphor for the pilgrim. As the waves of the ocean wash scallop shells up on the shores of Galicia, God’s hand also guides the pilgrims to Santiago.
The scallop shell also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl.…….
I think I would be rather hungry and thirsty if I depended on the shells I found this morning to serve as eating and drinking utensils.
After such an arduous search, I had to stop and lie down in the sunshine to recover. I changed out of my trousers and into the denim shorts that I have carried for about 950 km and have only now put on for the first time. There are very few people here, just a handful, and it is fabulous. Tomorrow we return to the city and I am making the most of this wonderful solitude with the sound of the sea lapping thirty metres away, and nothing else to disturb the peace other than occasional birdsong.
After an hour or so I make my way to the far end of the beach – just because it’s there and I can. It was lovely walking across the deserted sand and I must make the effort to visit the beach more often when I return home.
I turned and sauntered back towards the town to see if I could find Ella, and lo and behold she was sitting on the sunny terrace of a harbour side bar/restaurant with Sheila. I joined them and had a glass or two of wine and a menu del dia consisting of calamares, followed by grilled fish and ice cream. Way too much for lunch and I could only eat half the fish.
I left the girls and returned to the albergue to send off yesterday’s post and suddenly felt completely drained and fell into bed for a siesta, the first that I can remember in five weeks. It just goes to prove the point that doing nothing is exhausting.
I was planning to catch the sunset again tonight but couldn’t summon the energy. Been there – done that – and have the photos to prove it!
You made it and found the 2km beach, congratultions! Walking directly to Finisterre from Santiago, these were the best two KM’s from my Camino: shoes and socks off and on the beach through the water towards Finisterre!
Short journey poem by Marie Harrison
Tired feet walk far;
many moons on our journey,
lifetime trip for all.
A Haiku poem 5-7-5 !
What a wonderful end to a magnificant journey, so proud of my dear friend and Ella too of course! Can’t wait to give you one of those big hugs!! xx
Many congratulations on your incredible journey. Finally time for a well earned siesta!
Well done and a lovely, relaxing day for you – well deserved xx
Congratulations Maggie and Ella – such an achievement,so many experiences and all so beautifully logged for us to enjoy as well. You should be justifiably very proud of your accomplishment
. Much love John and Pat xxx
Glad that you finally got to relax. What an achievement. And lovely pictures as usual. See you soon. xxxx
Superb effort Maggie, and I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog. You can tell me more about it next time I call for the black gold!
A lovely last entry Maggie. Absolutely well earned rest coming up I expect. Huge respect. xxx
A wonderful end for a wonderful trip. Cindy and Graham xx
I will be doing the Camino on the 19th May with 3 friends,I have found your blog most enlightening.You are a lady of guts !!!!!! Congratulations Peter
Thanks Peter, I hope I have the guts to do the next one solo! Enjoy your planning, it’s all part of the experience. You will have an amazing time. Buen camino!
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I enjoyed reading your trip journal. It looks like I am in for an amazing hike this September-one I will be making with my Dad. He will be 75, and he already did the Camino 2 years ago with Mom in 29 days! Your journey reminds me quite a lot of my bicycle journey across Canada the summer of 2015. (Travel, eat, sleep, repeat!) The tribute to your mom was touching, and brought a few tears to my eyes. Safe travels on your future adventures!
Thank you so much for your comment. You will have an amazing time with your Dad – we so rarely get to share such long chunks of time with our children/parents. I sincerely hope I am still walking when I am 75. Buen Camino to you both!