Walking without a donkey 26: Finnisterre

Finnisterre / Fistera (by bus) / Santiago de Compostella 24 – 28.11.17

The bus from Santiago de Compostella to Fisterra in the O Coruña province of Galicia, Spain, takes 3+ hours. We drove through torrential rain, along a really beautiful coast which was often shrouded in mist, arriving in the dull damp, with rucksacks and immediately wet shoes. Happily, the bus stops in the centre of the town and the accommodation was only a short walk away.

Oh it was dreadful! Booking.com did not come up trumps, and, later, a complaint had to be made. It was surely the dirtiest kitchen and coldest set of rooms imaginable, without wifi. The only thing going for it was the hot baths.

But look what happened! The next day the sun was shining, and Spain was it’s usual, stunning self.

The final part of the long ‘chemin’, the Camino path, is to the fin de la terre that gives the area it’s name, the ‘end of the earth’. It’s a slow hour’s 3kms wander, uphill out of the town, and past the final milestone.

0 kms

The road passes a church.

Parroquial de Santa Maria da Vila de Finsterra

There are glorious views to gawp at!

Here’s the last of the grand pilgrim statues.

There is a small group of buildings at the point – a hotel, gift shop and the lighthouse.

And, oh, there was the Atlantic Ocean, and it was a wonderful sight to behold.

I sat and contemplated the expanse of water.

Taking photos of more walking-related statues.

While I sat, two men arrived. They had obviously walked the last part of the Camino de Francés, and they undressed and danced and whooped with joy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they went on to burn their boots ceremoniously, as many do. Too wasteful for me!

On the way back down, there were still nasturtiums even though it was the end of November!

And other vibrantly coloured flowers growing by the roadside.

The harbour is full of fishing and pleasure boats, and there’s lots to see at all times of the year, even when it is out of season.

There are several supermarkets, one gift shop, a post office and banks, but it’s a sparse town with an air of bewilderment at the wacky backpackers pouring in and out every day. There are also dogs just running around the streets, with cars swerving dangerously to avoid them.

The view from the balcony of accommodation #2 was gorgeous. I enjoyed my sunset sangria and snacks of mussels in spicy sauce ‘en escabeche’.  These were slow, peaceful days after the long trek, spent mostly in the open air because it’s a habit that is hard to break. We breakfasted and supped on the terrace, grand meals prepared in the spotless self-catering kitchen. It was, however, slightly less private, what with the loudly copulating couple in the room above.

It is almost obligatory to beach comb in Finnisterre,  reputedly the home of the coquille Saint Jaques shells. At that time of year the strand is totally deserted, almost rivalling our Scottish ones, but that suited the end-of-the-road mood. It was good paddling weather!

Reminds me of Claigan Coral beach on Skye, Scotland
The only complete shell found that day, and one half of a matching pair

Being away from the city of Santiago, the cafés are cheaper, with free wifi, cake and biscuits, and no-one takes any notice of how long you sit there, or if you simply pop in to use the toilet

I only bought the coffee, the rest was gratis.

On the 27th it was back to Santiago and getting to know the attractive wee streets and gift shops some more. There was a delicious final meal of paella, including my first taste of razor fish, and much happy on-street greetings of friends previously met along the way.

After several brandies,  I danced in a jazz bar with C. (Although I didn’t know her name then, she was someone I was to meet unexpectedly the next day, on the Via de la Plata (see later blog https://wordpress.com/post/shiatsutamsin.wordpress.com/687).

Europe was made on the pilgrim road to Compostella.

It was an early morning farewell to Alain, my walking companion of the previous weeks, on 28th, and afterwards I wandered around Santiago feeling somewhat lost (and hung over). Then, well, then of course, I set off walking again.

Thoreau, Gros writes, ‘… we store when walking vivid feelings and sunny memories for winter evenings’. From A Philosophy of Walking, Frederic Gros

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