The End

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We have seen these way markers through the whole trip- different types, but all listing the kilometers left to travel. Here is the significance of this particular marker

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Did you get that? Zero more Kilometers to go. This is not just the end of the road, this is the end of the earth, as they knew it. This journey predates even the Santiago Camino as people came to Finesterre (the end of the earth) as it was as West as one could get, before falling of the earth.

And here is the great thing. There is a hotel and a a bar and a restaurant  at the end of the world (I am hoping to smoke out all Science fiction geeks on this one). The Hotel was closed on Mondays, but we got to eat lunch at the bar at the end of the world- Lucky us.

So for us…
44 Days
880 Kilometers
555 Miles
1,000,000 Steps Later- we have reached the end, as far West as we can go. As we were celebrating and taking our picture at the Zero Mile marker we asked a nice man to take a picture for us. He asked were we ending or beginning. We told him that we were ending. He walked down the road, and then turned around- No he said, now you are beginning… and that is the profound truth. This Camino has ended, but the next one begins today.  Amen… but as this Camino has ended, this blog is also ending.

We feel truly blessed and truly thankful to our church, the Lilly Foundation, Follow the Camino, and the Creator of all we have enjoyed.

We had a hard time picking photos from this joyful day, so hear are our favorite 20.

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Ocean Baby

Oliveiroa

We are now 2 days away from Santiago and headed for the Ocean. This is also part of the Camino. Many pilgrims would continue past Santiago and walk out to the end of the earth, Finisterre (finis for end, Terre for earth). Now it seems most make this trip on bus.

But not the Bunnells. We are ocean people. We have been viewing the beauty of churches and architecture and statues. we have been truly overwhelmed by the amazing creations by our fellow humans… but… None of that holds a candle to the beauty of all that was made by the One Creator, and for us there is no place that is more on display than at the Ocean.

Both of us have lived next to the ocean for as long as either of us can remember. If you ask me there is nothing better than some sand, the smell of salt water, and miles of endless blue water. We kicked hard today (almost 22 miles) so early tomorrow we will be able to see the ocean, but it wont be until 2 days from now that we can dip our feet into the Atlantic and truly say- end of the earth, Did it!

Random thoughts from Laurie... As Doug mentioned today was long and hard.  One last @#$ kicking from the Camino – lest we think that we conquered it.  The Camino in in charge.  And to make it’s point even clearer a day and a half after we left Santiago and two days before Finisterre I officially got my first blister😞.  I think I would have been a bit too prideful of how our bodies had handled these last many weeks if I didn’t get at least one!  So now as Doug mentioned on to the ocean.  We can already see the environment changing, feel the air changing.  It’s exciting. We are definitely looking forward to looking out on the “attraction” that will never need refurbishing  or be under renovation!

 

Grace Compestela

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Santiago- Rest Day

Part of the pilgrim experience is taking our Pilgrim Credential, which we have been getting stamped along the way, to the Pilgrim Office. There they give it the official Santiago stamp, and  give us our Compostela, the official “you did it” certificate. Here is the great part. Everyone gets the same certificate. The people who started in Paris and walked twice as far as we did, they get a certificate. The people who biked get the same certificate. The youth group that has walked for 5 days and went less than 70 miles, they get the same certificate.

This feels like grace to me. It reminds me of the story Jesus tells about the workers in the vineyard. The folks who work all day get paid a days wage, but then the folks who worked less get a days wage too. Then it gets worse. The ones who worked half a day, they get a days wage. Then the guys who worked one hour, one measly no-account hour, they get a days wage. That is grace baby. We walked 500 miles and we get a certificate. Others walked 5 days and get the same certificate. Others walked over 1000 miles, same certificate.

Now just like life, if you want to pay 3 euro, you can get a different certificate that says how far you walked. I assume that they had to add that because, truth be told, we don’t like grace. We want something that says I went further than the other folks. I am tougher, stronger, better, I deserve this and those other people don’t.

We want rewards not grace, unless we are the guys showing up at the very end, then a days wage sounds pretty darn great. I think in reality it is more like we need to walk 40 bazillion miles, and none of us ever comes close- and we all get a certificate. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve, and it happens all the time. When we start to pay attention we realize we don’t deserve anywhere near as much as what we get. We also don’t get as much as we deserve, but that is for my mercy sermon. When we can receive grace- we are changed people. In fact I think much of spiritual growth resides in identifying, receiving, and giving thanks for Grace.

Our grace today- at the noon pilgrims mass they pulled out the big swinging incense burner. This is pretty infrequent and we were there- Grace baby!

It’s not over ’till we say it’s over!! More Random thoughts from Laurie

To market to market… I love going to the open markets in other countries! I love the people watching and the cool different things being sold, and all the amazing bright colors! I have enjoyed markets in Mexico and Italy and Jerusalem and Vietnam…and today I get to add Spain to the list. The Market here happens every day, but our trusty “tour guide” Rick Steves said that Thursdays were best because people come in from the country side. We were not disappointed.

However… the marketplace also can give me pause and make me reconsider my very smart daughter’s position as a vegetarian. The food section of the market in other countries is like a train wreck for me. I know I shouldn’t stare – but I can’t pull my eyes away. Remember how I struggled with Pulpo because although it tasted fine it continued to look like Octopus? Well today’s market was full of things being sold exactly like they are found in nature. Don’t look, unless like me you are drawn to train wrecks! 😝

Pilgrim>Tourist

Santiago, Spain

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Another sunny, beautiful day to stroll a short 12 miles and arrive at our first destination, the Santiago Catedral. Here is where being a pilgrim came in super handy. I have been reading about the Santiago Catedral for quite awhile. I have been re-reading Michener’s take on the sculpture in the Catedral, the Portico de Gloria. (It is in Iberia and well worth the read). I read it aloud to Laurie last night so that we could identify each figure and fully take in the joy of the whole piece. So as we enter the square, instead of being blown over by the beauty, we arrive and face this


OK, so the whole, and I mean the whole, facade is being renovated. But at least we can still go in, experience the Portico de Gloria and head butt the sculptor (this is a regular tradition where one hopes that some of his artistic prowess would rub off on our heads)- right? Not so fast…as we enter the church we find out that the Portico and the statue are also under renovation. Had we been tourists, if the 2 things that we came to see where not viewable, I think we would have been pretty bummed. In fact, it might have marred our trip. However as pilgrims, we are here to receive what God has for us. Today that is not the Catedral facade or the Portico de Gloria.

So what did God have for us? A stunning day. We came upon the monument to commemorate the visit that Pope John Paul II made and it had a side all about Saint Francis, whom we love. Laurie’s cafe con leche came with a mouse face. We were blessed with the chance to see and hug our friend Maximiliano from Italy. We walked past our South Korean friend Agatha who has a smile that is beauty to the core. We had a chance to see the youth group that we worried might not make it here, they did. We experienced the other 2 things in the Catedral, hug Saint James and see his remains (still skeptical about those). We are able to stay at the hotel that Saint Francis stayed in when he did the Camino- What?. When we check in, we are placed in the little Penthouse up on the top floor. It is huge, with skylights… double what?! The glory today was not where we expected it to be, in the facade or the portico. Today the glory and grace were in the joyful surprises that have delighted us throughout the whole day. We are here and it is good.

One Day More…

You have have heard us say it over and over, but once again, we found ourselves at the receiving end of grace upon grace… So many times we would struggle to even count them, but we can give you some high points.

Breakfast- We stayed last night at one of the most amazing Hotels yet- all made of stone and filled with stunning antiques that they were still using, it felt like living in Downton Abbey. Neither of us have ever seen anything like it. My antique loving grandparents would have been astounded. We got to eat breakfast in their old kitchen next to the authentic wood fire oven- yum

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Shade- On day T-minus 1 we both found ourselves thankful for shade! There were spots of the trail where we actually felt hot… This was a warm, sunny, beautiful day… Ahhhh- God is good all the time!

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Americans- We finally met other Americans- a small youth group from NY with their pastor, his wife, and their youth director all on a pilgrimage. We had a great walk getting to know each of them. They had begun in Sarria (4 days ago) and were quite blistered and sore. It was a great joy to walk with people we could talk with freely and easily.

Big Dog- We stopped at an open bar. Our rule now is if the bar is open, we stop because we don’t know if there will be another one. The owner came out as we were finishing lunch outside and poured 2 puppies into Laurie’s lap. Then we noticed a big head over the fence. The owner left and 1 minute later we were face to face with a truly big dog named Charlie. Charlie was an 8 year old puppy who went from pilgrim to pilgrim spreading love, joy, and a bit of drool. This will be, I am sure, our favorite bar ever.

Looking Forward- And tomorrow we will arrive, 500 miles later, in Santiago. Tune in tomorrow when we can finally say- Did it! For truly we are receiving grace upon grace.

Random thoughts from Laurie…

Home is where your heart is… actually Doug and I have always said that “home is where your ‘choners’ are”…maybe more that you need to know about colloquialisms in the Bunnell house.  However, the point is that even if you are going to be someplace for only a short while, you should live there like you will be there forever.  We have literally had our choners in a different place almost every day for the last 6 weeks or so, but we have tried very hard to be very present in each of these places.  That being said, it is amazing how the landscape in one place can take you right back to another place you have called home.  We have seen rolling golden hills that reminded us of the Bay Area,  tall groves of Eucalyptus trees that take me back to Santa Barbara, beautiful pine trees that are very PNW, even beautiful flowers that are starting to bloom that remind me of my Grandmother’s house.  Home is a wonderful and funny thing… it’s how you should live where you are now and also the memories of where you have been.  I’m glad that Spain will now be part of our “home”.

The Last Saunter

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I heard the story on my first pilgrimage when I went to Jerusalem. A friend of John Muir wrote that John Muir often spoke about the origin of the word Saunter. Apparently the people who had been heading to Jerusalem would often make their way slowly, appreciating and receiving all the grace that God had for them. They were called Holy Landers, or in their language, Saint-terre-ers, where we apparently inherited that word saunter. I have never been able to find that origin anywhere else, but if it is not true, it should be!

Today was a saunter. We had 9 miles to walk, and all day to do it. I changed the lines to the old Convoy song and began the day singing, “we’ve got a short way to go and a long time to get there.” So we stopped to admire a whole flock of Cranes that seemed to be doing flying practice. Wr stopped to talk to all the cute dogs. We slowed down our pace to extend the beautiful sunny day (we got another one if you can believe it). We spent 10 minutes just taking pictures of lambs in a field. We stopped to get a coffee at the one place open along our 9 mile rout and sat outside in the sun.  The inside of the bar was covered head to foot with ball caps- wow.

Through the day we saw pilgrims motoring past us. These were all new faces to us. They had drive and purpose. While we knew our destination and how long it would take, they seemed bent on getting somewhere quickly. They passed us like we were standing still, sometimes we were. The drive is understandable, we walk that way on 20 mile days. But, now we are less than 25 miles away from Santiago, 2 days of walking (remember we are sauntering). We can almost taste it.. It has truly been a gift to Saunter these last miles and squeeze them for every moment they contain. We have begun to notice even more things that we might have missed had we motored past. While I am excited about arriving, I am also sad to think this season will be coming to an end. It is now less than 48 hours…

Random thoughts from Laurie…

TV much??  📺   Its embarrasing how much Doug and I are children of the “media age”.   I can’t tell you how many times our conversations have gone something like this…

Look at those trees!  Don’t they look like they could start to throw apples at us at any minute?  Or… That’s a big hill, but if Maria and the Von Trapp kids could do it – so can we.  Or… If I start to say “Baa Ram Ewe” do you think those sheep will do whatever I say?  Or… look at this little quiet village, which house do you think belongs to Belle?   Sheesh

The people we love…  Every day as we walk along Doug and I think about and pray for some of the important and special people in our lives.  One day a few weeks ago we were talking about my Mom, and then we saw this

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I kid you not.  And the truth is – things like this happen all the time!  So cool.  Now in this particular case, Lynn needs some better friends who don’t think tagging on the Camino is cool- but Doug and I really loved this! ❤️

Camino Magic

Palas de Rei- Meride

A detour on the Camino
We woke this morning to another beautiful Galician day with only a few miles to walk, 8 to be exact. We slept in, had a late breakfast, and headed out around 10 in the am. We saw a sign on the trail to visit a castle that we could see from our hotel… Well that was too much temptation on a short day. We ended up crossing some streams, hopping from rock to rock, and making it through a muddy bog to arrive at the promised castle, which was closed until 12. We counted it a victory to get there, and started walking back. To avoid the bog, we walked on the road, and ended up walking right next to our hotel, so we added an extra 4 miles to our planned 8… but we got to see a cool castle. That is the joy of the Camino.

A real Sun-day
I remember one of my favorite quotes by GK Chesterton, he wrote, “Here ends another day, during which I have had eyes, ears, hands and the great world around me. Tomorrow begins another day. Why am I allowed two?” Today was that kind of day. It was sunny again as we walked through wooded trails and narrow paths with cows, how are we allowed another of these? Grace upon grace!

The book of the Camino
The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I found it at our local library (on-line, isn’t that amazing, even in Spain I can check out books) in a search about pilgrimage. It looked to be well recommended. I was hooked from the beginning. Strong plot, likeable characters, and very well written. It was a very good read for our journey and I would pass it along to anyone wanting to get a deeper insight into this pilgrim thing.

A slight mishap on the Camino
Today at mile 7 we stopped at an open cafe. We bought our beers, went to the bathroom, and then when it was time to pay, I realized that I had left all the money in my vest, which was packed away and on the way to our next hotel. We had downed 2 beers and did not even have the 2 euro to pay for them. We felt horrible. The 2 older owners were fine and told us not to worry about it. Not paying though, is not our style. We walked the 4 miles to Melide, got our money, and caught a cab back to the cafe where I passed on a 5 to the bar in return for their kindness. Our 2 euro beers ended up costing 13 with the cab ride, ah well, at least we were paid up. Anyways, that might be just a bit over what we’d have paid in the states?

The magic of the Camino
The specialty in Galicia is Pulpo, special boiled and cut octopus that one eats with toothpicks. We heard that Melide was the place to try it. After our cab ride to pay our debt, we settled in at the Pulperia Ezequiel to try this special treat. The place was family style seating and was very big. It seemed to be packed with locals all spending Sunday afternoon at the Pulperia. The place was literally buzzing. Laurie is not usually an adventurous eater, but the Camino seems to have gotten to her and she was game. We sat down to 2 glasses of Rioja vino tinto (local red wine) and a steaming plate of Pulpo, and finished it all, with Laurie eating her share. Camino magic is a beautiful thing.

Random thoughts from Laurie
OK- I’m going to need some kind of an award when I get back… and NOT because of the walking! I have tried very hard to get into a Camino mindset. One foot in front of the other… positive attitude…taking time to look back and appreciate where we have been… no crying or complaining…accepting whatever this day brings…being adventurous. But did you all read what Doug just wrote?? Octopus people – I ate OCTOPUS 🐙!! You can try and make it sound better and call it Pulpo…but that doesn’t change what it is. To top it off, it looked like Octopus. They did nothing to try and disguise it, just cut it all up with scissors. Doug was like wow Laurie you should get meat and potatoes as a reward for your bravery. And I was like- how long have you known me? How about Mac and Cheese or a PB&J? That was a very “adult” thing to try and I need some good honest toddler food now!! Honestly though – it wasn’t that bad. The taste was pretty good as long as I closed my eyes. Seeing it made it harder. Just one more thing about which I can raise my hands in the air and exclaim- “Did It!” #feelingproud😂