Meeting a Pilgrim at The World’s End

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I have driven to the furthest point west on the Spanish coast, or so most people believe. Actually, Cabo Tourinan, 20km further north, claims that record.

Along the way, I see several walkers with large backpacks, wooden walking sticks and plastic capes shielding them and their belongings from the unpleasant weather. For most pilgrims, their Camino finishes at Santiago de Compostela, but many continue on to the coast and Cabo Finisterre (The World’s End).

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I feel like a fraud, driving up in my motorhome, and I respectfully watch as a small, bald, bespectacled man takes selfies in front of the ancient 15th century stone cross. He calls me over and asks if I can take a photo for him. I’m happy to oblige and congratulate him on the successful completion of his journey. Amazingly, I discover that Jin (an American Korean) has walked from St Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela in only 34 days, a journey that takes most people at least 6 weeks. Although he freely admits to catching the bus from Santiago to Finisterre on account of the bad weather.

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We walk separately past the bar, the Parador and down to the lighthouse and simple symbolic concrete cross beyond. There is a large pile of ashes near the cross where pilgrims have burnt the clothes they wore during their trek. Other mementoes lie scattered around it: a lonely boot atop a rock, a fluorescent green compass and piles of scallop shells, the symbol of the Camino de Santiago.

I offer Jin a lift back to town but he declines, preferring to walk. I respect and admire his stamina, right to the very end. We take a selfie together and go our separate ways.

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