|We were really out there in the boonies most of the
day, with few towns or amenities along the way
Where We Be
|Finishing in Finisterre, Spain
Everything seems fraught with added signifi-
cance when you’re near the end of a long
journey -- this one almost 50 days straight and
over 500 miles long. Each yellow arrow seems
to have extra meaning as you realize you soon
won’t have yellow arrows to follow any more.
Each stone kilometer marker counting down to
zero seems important, and even knick knacks
on your last day suddenly become interesting.
When we finally arrived at the lighthouse at the
end of the world in Finisterre, it was with mixed
emotions -- euphoria at having finished what
we set out to do, sadness at seeing it end.
Along the way we came to realize the Camino is
a pretty good metaphor for any hard thing you
do in life, whether it's writing a novel or saving
for early retirement or starting a new career:
it's best done in stages, without thinking too
much about the whole thing at once, lest you
feel so daunted you never get started in the
first place! But taking one step at a time, one
day at a time, amazingly enough you get there.
|Kilometer marker 0.00. Feeling fit and happy
in Finisterre at the end of our 536-mile journey.
|During this stretch we hiked four days from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre (or Fisterra), with distances as follows:
13½ miles to Negreira, 21 miles to Olveiroa, 12½ miles to Corcubion, and 12 miles to Finisterre and the lighthouse.
|Hiking Day 43: Santiago to Negreira
|Galicia is green! Just look at the exuberant
vines overflowing this stone horreo.
|Most of the day's 12½ mile hike to Corcubion was through natural scenery with no amenities.
At one point we came to a bar advertising itself as the last bar for 15 km -- and they meant it.
|At this well-marked juncture the trail divided, with one route going to
Finisterre and the other to Muxia. We went left towards Finisterre.
|As we approached the town of Cee from above, we were
treated to our first gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean
|“We’ll see what we see when we get to Cee by the sea,” we said to each other.
(Admittedly we were a little punch-drunk at this point, our goal being so close.)
|The descent into Cee was steep and the trail signs more or less evaporated once we
reached town, but we found our way to a whale-themed tapas bar called As Baleas
|After resting our tired feet for a good hour at the tapas bar, we continued hiking
the final stretch through Cee and around the coastline to neighboring Corcubion
|Following the water, we arrived at our lodging at Praia de Quenxe (€45), located
on the beach of the same name. This was the terrific view from our window.
|It felt good to have reached the ocean. We went for a walk along the beach
and put our feet in the water, confirming what we already guessed: it’s c-c-c-cold!
|This was our longest hiking day of the Camino by far at 20.7 miles (33.3 km). Mostly because of this one long day, we chose to go pack-
less from Santiago to Finisterre. (We had hiked with packs every day from Saint-Jean to Santiago.) I must say, it was a nice reward to hike
unencumbered during this last stretch. We paid a small fee (€5 per pack per day) to have our bags forwarded each morning to our next hotel.
|Continuing on, we came to this old stone
bridge barely visible through the trees
|These two dogs made us laugh with their heads poking through the shrubbery.
Clearly they know how to entertain themselves as pilgrims pass by.
|We took much-needed rest stops in two towns along the way, Vilaserio
and Santa Marina, and enjoyed occasional lovely overlooks like this one
|Last day of our Camino! 12 miles total including the walk to the lighthouse and
back (8 miles just to Finisterre). The ocean views were lovely along the way.
|"Horreos" (traditional raised stone granaries)
were a common sight along the way
|We also saw several of these elaborate above-
ground cemeteries or mausoleums in Galicia
|Photo-op with Finisterre in the background. Just about every pilgrim stops here
to pose for a selfie or have their picture taken by an obliging fellow pilgrim.
|Some buildings looked a little worse for wear, like
this one with shrubs growing out of the windows
|Doesn't this look inviting? A bar and a beach on the
way into town -- the perfect place to savor your arrival.
|Finishing up with a cup of cafe con leche
was a nice reward after such a long day
|Early the next morning we captured these sunrise pictures
of a quaint country church on the outskirts of Negreira
|And here we are -- the Hotel Langosteira (€40) with its fish mosaics and friendly vibe on
the outskirts of Finisterre. We were happy to be staying here for three whole nights.
|The spires of Santiago Cathedral were visible in the distance as we
began our 13½ mile hike to Negreira through lovely countryside
|After a late lunch in Finisterre we pushed on to the lighthouse. We knew
we wouldn't be able to truly relax until we had made it to our endpoint.
|The view from our window at Hotel Langosteira was none
too shabby. From here we could watch pilgrims passing by.
|We loved the curving cascade of water and the
ancient stone buildings on both sides of the river
|We stopped for half an hour here it was so beautiful
and stuck our feet in the cold water of the Rio Tambre
|The lighthouse at the end of the world, as it's called, isn’t much
to look at in and of itself, but the setting and the view are terrific
|It took a steep climb to reach this point, but the reward was the town of
Ponte Maceira (“Bridge of the Apple”) with its 13th century stone bridge
|Success! 46 hiking days, 4 rest days, 536 total miles,
11.65 miles per day on average. And just like that we're done!
|Ponte Maceira quickly made our list of favorite
Spanish towns we'd love to come back to
|We enjoyed the relative solitude on the "Camino Fisterra" -- a nice change of pace
from the typically overcrowded stretch of the Camino from Sarria to Santiago
|We couldn't resist paying a euro at the lighthouse to have
a five-cent coin smashed into a keepsake Camino arrow
|A small bonfire marked the spot where some pilgrims
symbolically burned a piece of clothing from their journey
|For a time the “real world” of TVs and smartphones faded into
the background and the "real real world" of nature took its place
|Hiking Day 44: Negreira to Olveiroa
|Can a pilgrimage be a pilgrimage even if you aren't traditionally religious?
We're not sure, but we certainly can say we felt enriched by the journey.
|Hiking Day 45: Olveiroa to Corcubion
|Over the coming days we reveled in staying put, letting
our sore feet rest while soaking up the soothing views
|We took walks -- short walks! -- along the beach and
continued to think about what the Camino meant to us
|And we took the time to celebrate the
completion of a long and fruitful journey
|Hiking Day 46: Corcubion to Finisterre
|Bedtime came early at La Mezquita hotel (€45 with breakfast)
as we knew we had a long, hard day ahead of us tomorrow
|This powerful sculpture in Negreira shows a father literally
uprooting himself as he emigrates from Galicia to find work
|We got a kick out of this sign encouraging us to
keep heading towards the ocean (and mermaids!)
|With relief we arrived in Olveiroa, which is said to have more horreos than people.
We stayed at As Pias (€50), enjoying our pilgrim dinner there on a sunny enclosed patio.
|The countryside was largely agricultural -- think farmed fields and dairy cows
|We liked this religious icon with roses
barely visible behind dusty glass
|We gave each other plenty of space
to reflect on our long journey
|Others sat in ones or twos doing what we were doing: soaking it all in and trying
to process what it meant to have hiked more than 500 miles to arrive at this place