Day 50 – 5th November 2015, Lires to Muxia.
Once again, I awoke to the sound of torrential rain. The skies were crying uncontrollably and the wind blew a gale. I hoped this was not a bad omen for my walk ahead. I had a reasonable night’s sleep in the albergue at As Eiras, although the faulty extractor fan in the bathroom next door was a tad noisy throughout the night. I might have been better off staying in the pension part instead. Never mind, the new albergue area was spotlessly clean and warm and my bottom bunk was comfortable. I packed up early in the lobby, so as not to wake my room mate. It was still pitch black outside. I trundled over to the bar and dining area and enjoyed a generous breakfast.
I stared forlornly out at the bleak, unrelenting weather and hoped that the deluge would cease, before I ventured out to wend my way to Muxia and the physical end to this epic Camino journey of mine. I had 15 km left of my trek to go. The end point seemed so near and yet so far. Whose great idea was it to add on at least 115 km to my walk to Santiago de Compostela? I also hoped I wouldn’t encounter any more huge, menacing dogs on the way, otherwise I was heading for a major sense of humour failure on my part! Ultreia has never seemed such a challenging and yet motivating word as now!
And so, with that jumble of thoughts swirling about in my head, I set off into the horizontal rain and wild winds. It was probably the strangest part of my walk so far. I was entirely on my own and felt at the mercy of the elements and had to draw on any remaining reserves I had in me to complete it. I strode off into the cloak-like mists and dark, brooding forests, my visibility was less than 10 – 15 metres. In true blonde and bimbling fashion I got lost in the first stage of my journey, having taken a wrong turning out of Lires, thanks to a confusing map (again) and ambiguous way markings. I retraced my steps, which added about another 20 soggy minutes on to my trek. I had to exercise a lot of trust in the way and in myself. I didn’t see a single soul on the path. I persevered and a little robin accompanied me for some of the way, so I felt close to mum at that point and allowed myself to imagine she walked alongside me all the way.
I admired the rugged coastline as I rounded a headland and walked up a long stretch of road into town. When I finally arrived in Muxia I felt exhausted, wet through and sad at the end of my physical journey. My numerous, mixed feelings, churned about in my whole being and I desperately needed to dry out. I walked around the damp town of Muxia in search of somewhere warm to check in and stay for the night. I continued through the narrow streets towards the end of town and turned off left to Bela Muxia, where I booked a modern, minimalist, private ensuite room in neutral colours. The room was named after a poet from Muxia called Gonzalo Lopez Abente (1878 – 1963). Here is one of his most famous works called ‘O meu mar’ (My Sea):
O my sea!
The sea I face
on these winter days,
unresting, powerful and vigorous,
the anger stolen from the infernal depths
and beaten on the shoreline, foaming
from ire and fury in an epic struggle
– Gonzalo Lopez Abente
I texted Fiona, to let her know where I was, as she had bussed across from Finisterre to meet me here and she waited for me in Restaurant A Marina. I quickly unpacked, showered and changed into dry clothes and hung my wet clothes all around the room to dry. I put the air conditioning on full blast and then went back to reception, where the friendly and welcoming albergue owner kindly provided me with my certificate of completion for my walk, of ‘Muxiana’.
I wandered over to the sea front to join Fiona for lunch. After she had checked in to Bela Muxia too, we took a stroll over to the headland. While standing on the rocks feeling the power of the sea and the winds behind me, Gonzalo Lopez Abente’s poem came to life. I felt totally and utterly elated! Yes it is done. I made it! I had actually walked about 900 km all the way from St. Jean Pied de Port in France, across northern Spain to the coast. I am truly grateful for all aspects of this amazing journey, the people I have met, the lovely friends I have made, the places I have visited, passed through or stayed in, the ‘thin places’ and those with a turbulent past that some of us can feel in very tangible ways as their echos break through into the present.
I stood in front of the immense, stone sculpture, shrouded in sea mist. The sky pierced a lightening strike shape through the granite blocks and stirred up a wealth of emotion in me. The sculpture is called ‘A Ferida,’ which means ‘The Wound’ by Alberto Bañuelos-Fournier. This seemed like a fitting spot for me to reflect on my Camino pilgrimage. To me, the wound represented the aching chasm I felt in my life after my mum passed away. Not only that but it also resonated with the sense of struggle and ‘wounding’ (in emotional and psychological terms) I experienced, like so many other aid workers, during my humanitarian aid work career and more recently, with the realisation that it was time to reconfigure what I do for my working life going forward. My humanitarian aid career was more of a vocation than a job, so I struggled with the concept that perhaps, and at least for now, it was time for me to take a step back from the frontline and contribute to humanity in a different way.
The sky breaking through the lightening shaped wound in the solid, granite, boulders filled me with hope and certainty that everything would be OK. This Camino pilgrimage of mine was a profound outer and inner journey, one in which my conversations with spirit or source and my connection with mum through time and space, to whom I dedicate this journey to, will remain with me until the end of my days. I will go home soon but I am already aware that I will take my Camino with me. May I take this opportunity to urge all of you reading this, that if you are contemplating walking the Camino de Santiago, then do so, don’t hesitate or procrastinate. If you have heard the call of the Camino, then walk it. You won’t regret it, ever!
After our sojourn on the wild headland, Fiona and I strolled back into town and warmed up with some hot chocolate in the aptly named cafe bar O Chocolate and later on we enjoyed a marvellous seafood meal in Restaurante Virxen de Barca.
For now, friends, I thank you for your kind, encouraging and motivating words along the way and to all the pilgrims, who have trodden the way before me and to those who will walk the way after me, I will raise a glass to you in friendship and say ‘Buen Camino’ in my heart!
Peace, love and light,