Reaching the end of a long journey brings feelings of accomplishment and the reward of returning home to loved ones. One of our fellow pilgrims captured the paradox of completing our Camino adventure: “It’s like reading a really good book. You can’t wait to see how it turns out, but you never want it to end.”
So today, just a day away from Santiago, we’re remembering our walks through farmland and woods; up and down steep, rocky paths; through wind and rain to Cruz de Ferro and O’Cebreiro; and through the busy cities and quiet villages of Spain. We’re remembering the pilgrims we’ve met and befriended along the Way, people from faraway places, each one taking time away from the “ordinary” to complete a challenging journey.
The Way is not an easy journey for anyone. As Judi said, “There’s no easy day on the Camino.” Walking nearly 500 miles with a heavy pack is hard work. The rewards, though, are many and unforgettable.
Today Judi and I will walk to a hotel near the airport. We have plenty of time to unpack our backpacks, do laundry, make plans, and prepare to finish our walk into Santiago. We’ll visit the Cathedral for mass and, hopefully, witness the swinging of the enormous botafumeiro, an incense burner that originally “was used to fumigate the sweaty pilgrims.” [Brierley] We will go to the Pilgrim Office to receive our compostela that verifies that we’ve reached our goal. And finally, rather than trying to hike another forty or fifty miles, we have booked a bus trip out to the end of the earth, Finisterre. And on Thursday, we will fly home….home, sweet home.