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Where is the goal of the Way of Saint James?

Asking for the goal of the Way of Saint James might seem to be a strange or superfluous question to some. Where would the Way of Saint James lead if not to Saint James - where if not to the sepulcher of the Apostle Saint James the Greater in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest of Spain? After all, the Camino de Santiago evolved over a thousand years ago because pilgrims from all over the world wanted to journey to the remains of Jesus' disciple which had been discovered in the first third of the 9th century - to the place where a first temple had been built under Alfonso II., where a somewhat larger basilica had been constructed under Alfonso III. and where in 1075 the creation of a Romanesque basilica was begun that remains in place until this day under annexes made throughout the centuries.

But for a some pilgrims the Way does not end until walking any further becomes actually impossible, until the Atlantic Ocean brings all progress to an end, until in Finisterre the end of the ancient world is reached. There, on the rocks of the cape or on the nearby beach, some burn parts of their equipment or search for a scallop shell as many of their predecessors did already a thousand years ago. To them, of course, it must have been an even more impressive moment to behold the mar tenebroso, the tenebrous sea and the end of the ancient world.

However, the question about the goal of the Way of Saint James is not merely a geographical one. Those who take a hundred thousand steps in search of themselves might possibly have arrived at their personal goal before even seeing the towers of Santiago's cathedral. And to those who find themselves altered in one way or another by their pilgrimage the last stage of the Way of Saint James might only be the start of a new and even longer journey.