DAY FORTY FIVE: 22 November 2012 Cee to Finisterra and to the LightHouse. Day Four, the ultimate day on the Camino Fisterra.
I awake in the top bunk, alone in this ugly hostal in Cee. There is nothing to compell me to linger but I struggle to step into this long awaited day from under the heavy weight of last night’s anger. I am planning to continue up the coast to Muxia but there is something about the lighthouse on Cabo Fisterra, my destination today, that has a finality to it. When I conceived of this pilgrimmage I envisaged walking to the end of the known world and there would be a boat there waiting for me. Captained by a handsome pirate prince, I would unfalteringly step from the rocky terrain of terra firma onto the foot worn warmth of an oak planked deck and we would bob away into the ocean like the Owl and the Pussycat. Today is the day that my two realities are due to collide. Caught between the rock of this angry Cee and my fear of the brink I am like a briar; scratchy and irritable not sure that I can manage the critical step across that threshold.
Corcubion and Cee are kissing cousins, nuzzled up against each other, it is hard to see where one begins and the other ends but at some point the jittery business of one is replaced by the the laid back indolence of the other. I take the pretty medieval route through the town and up the shoulder to San Roque. It is a short 5km back to the seashore. The rhythm of walking calms my soul though the edginess of my destiny loiters in the back of my mind. I fancy breakfast facing out to sea, in a room with a picture window to frame the view. I panter hopefully up to and around the grand Hotel Playa de Estorde but this is off season and there is nowhere open to cater for my whims. Despite the vagaries of the day, as hopelessly unhinged as I am, it teeters on the edge of storminess, just when I am enjoying the wildness of the sea, big fat drops of rain and a dark frowny sky, I hunker down and then it lets up and pretends to be just a damp whingy blanket of poor me. I am not enjoying it. I miss miss the charms of the woodland path to Punto de Vista, the vast dazzling white sands of Langosteria are dull and deadened by the sky while their hoard of pilgrim symbol St Jacques are carefully stowed away. It is a mere 10km to Finisterra, in my imagination a romantic fishing town. I know there is room for me, white walled and bright with achievement, waiting to embrace me with skin stroking linen and jovial taverns cluttered celebratory sea captains.
I sit in glum expectation in a tidy, modern seafront cafe. All far too contemporary for me; TV, chrome tables and chairs, everyday meetings and early birds from the office. WTF?! Still in denial I tramp the town with hope of that room and that linen. Hotel Naturaleza Mar da Ardora is a little rock of modern seaside architecture perched above the Praia do Mar de Fora at the back of the town. It is so what I am looking for and so not – at the same time. It is closed, empty, hopeful, waiting. The owners show me around, I could have the whole place to myself but it would be pushing the budget and screaming out my aloneness. I opt instead for the hippy, run down comfort of Albergue do Sol e da Lúa where my host mistakes my disgruntled humour as a judgement on his rooms and apologetically insists I can have a private room all to myself for little more than the price of a dorm bed. As a result I create my cheapest private room with wi-fi on this trip. Not much consolation in the face of prevading depression. All I want to do is get out of here, no lolling in soft linen or drinking up my achievements.
The only thing to do is trudge for the light house. The lighthouse is stolid and impassive, its gimlet eye facing out to sea. The 0km milestone, the museum, the peace pole and the fire pit but distractions from its proper job. My only companions a Spanish couple who are walking all around the coast of Spain for charity. A far more worthy cause than mine. It is traditional for pilgrims to burn something in the firepit below the lighthouse to represent the burdens they have let go of on the walk. I am holding on to every threadbare belonging and grizzly emotion. When I ask myself what is going on I realise I am angry with myself for not having the ‘right’ kind of pilgrim experience and projecting that pain on to everything around me. The end of the known world is just not up to my standards. There is no handsome pirate prince, no sun, no flags of jubiliation, no one, just me. What I am experiencing isnt what my friends said they experienced, no champagne corks popping, no pals to high five, no coquilles st. jacques on the beach & far too cold to delicately paddle my toes. I am in a town on a rocky outcrop of the Atlantic on a stormy November day that is just doing what it can do to get by off season. What I would love is just to be, to stop struggling and resisting to just love who I am, where I am, and whatever reality I am experiencing; to let it wash over me and around me. I am above the lighthouse now, below the twin peaks of Monte Facon and Monte Guillermo walk. Relief seeps in, the tension drops and I realised I am beloved. I have loved this journey, my journey, the only one that matters. Get in!
I am smiling and the cockles of my heart are warmed. I text my long suffering parents, a little missive of joy skims across the grey Atlantic waters to the shore of Tramore and I receive little tokens of congratulations by return. I enjoy the boisterous gloomy walk up to the ruined remnants of the Ermita de San Guillerme to see San Guillerme’s bed reknown for its miraculous powers of fertility. This headland is layered with pagan and Christian ritual, an altar to the sun, a place where the spiritual and the material shake hands. I am buffeted by the flailing curtains of this multi-verse but I walk energised and exhilarated and find myself looking forward to the cheap warmth of the albergue. It is a hive of activity when I get back and long lost Kevin is there; celebrating with hearty mugs of German pilgrims all set to wallow in beery inebriation. I discover that will I was looking down on the world stepping into my cloak of beloved Kevin was at the lighthouse popping that bottle of bubbly. Ah well. We head to dinner, seafood and Albarino before I return to the luxury of my private room and to all night beer drinking in the living room. The end of the world is not the end of the world after all.