Our daily routine has changed a bit since we finished the walk, but one thing that has not changed is how much we are eating! On our first full day in Santiago, Tim and I went to lunch at a restaurant recommended by a former pilgrim – a friend of a friend who gave me good advice before we left and her advice and support have continued. Thank you, Corry. The restaurant she suggested (Casa Manolo) was very good and we in turn recommended it to another pilgrim. He then organized a group dinner there for Monday evening and invited us. There must have been 30 pilgrims there; so many showed up that we had to divide the group in to the old people and young people tables. Everyone had a great time reminiscing and catching up. After dinner that night, William, a Belgian pilgrim friend, organized dinner at the same restaurant for Tuesday night. Walker had left for Finisterre, but I went to dinner, this time with a smaller group of about 12. JimBob were there and so were some German friends, a father-son duo who we met on our very first night in France. At dinner the first night, the son introduced himself as one who didn’t really walk, but who liked to take motorbike holidays. We saw them on and off the first week or so, and then through Facebook knew that there were about a day behind us. It was great to see them again on Tuesday, and it was the father’s 70th birthday. The Dad’s name is Jörgen, but I call him Jack Wolfskin because he wears a lot of clothes of that brand. He doesn’t speak much English, but we managed to communicate with the help of his son Jörg. At dinner that night, the Spanish equivalent of a mariachi band came in and played. I requested Happy Birthday which they played and we all sang happy birthday. Jörgen was very touched and said he had never had that many people at his birthday table. I ordered chipirones (baby squid) and got more than I could eat, so I slipped a few to his plate. He laughed and said I was Mrs. Marshall Plan – a reference to the Marshall Plan that, among other things, sent food rations to hungry Germans after WWII.
Wednesday night in Finisterre, Walker and I went to dinner at a nice looking seafood restaurant. We got there at 8:45 but the dining room didn’t open until 9:00, so we each ordered a glass of wine. Two women at a table next to us were trying to order the same, but without much luck. We helped them out, started talking and moved to their table. By the time the restaurant opened we were having a great chat and then sat together for dinner. There are from Denmark (as with all the Danes we’ve met, spoke excellent English) and are 66 and probably 58 or so. They are old friends, having met when they were young wives and mothers living in a commune. I asked them if they were hippies and they said yes. Now they are both divorced; the older one is retired and the other is a social worker. They had just completed the Camino Portuguese, having walked about eleven days. The elder had walked the Camino Frances (the route we walked) last year, and invited her friend to join her this year. They had a great time. It was very interesting to hear about how the older one lives…she owns her house which is one of 17 in a community where the residents eat dinner together. She has lived there for 20 years and called it a modern community. To live there, you must agree to do your part which includes cooking dinner twelve or so times a year. Meals are served five nights a week and if you can’t make it to dinner, you just write a note and a plate is fixed and saved for you. She said something about the laundry being in this communal area, but i didn’t get the details. When children reach the age of 14, they have the responsibility to do their fair share. The community is comprised of all ages – from young families to the oldest couple in their 90’s. The 90- year- olds don’t have to cook any longer, and everyone looks out for them. I am intrigued by this lifestyle! We walked back to town together, us behind them, and we noticed they were dressed in tights, flowery skirts and sweaters. Walker said to them, “You really are two old hippies” and they laughed and agreed.
Wednesday was the first 100% sunny day we’ve had since Sunday and we took full advantage of it. We walked – it really seems like a stroll even when climbing when I’m not wearing Bertha – to the lighthouse on the furthest point west here. For a long time people thought Finisterre was the end of the earth – the farthest point west on the continent – but it turns out that place is actually in Portugal. Anyway, it is a tradition to watch the sunset from the lighthouse, and that is where pilgrims burn a piece of their clothing. We were there during the day and had gorgeous views. Then we took an alternate route to several ancient rocks and sites related to mythical legends. We looked and looked for one particular boulder that one can move with a finger, but we never found it. It was a bit like geocaching, but without the coordinates. We did wish we had a GPS. It was frustrating not to be able to find it with the few hints we had, but there was evidence that many others had tried various rocks, too. There are many legends about this particular boulder including from the Bible…”if ye have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain, move hence to another place; and it shall move and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” A pagan practice here was that the movement of the stone proved or disproved the virginity of a priestess before she was allowed to perform certain ceremonial duties.
This morning, Thursday, it’s another beautiful sunny day as we go to catch the bus back to Santiago. We’re down to just a few days left in Spain and are looking forward to returning home to friends and family, but will miss the pace of our lives for the past six weeks.
Thanks to everyone who followed, and commented, on our adventure. It’s been a pleasure. We hope to write a few more posts in the coming weeks as we sort out our thoughts (and photographs) from the Camino, so please stay tuned.