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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: Mar 27, 2016
Date: Thu, Apr 28th, 2016
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Day 32 - I'm Finished in Finisterre
The albergue stirred early because a lot of folks were catching the bus to Santiago de Compostella and it left at 6:30 am. So when I got up at the usual time there was no issue with disturbing anyone. I knew there were no cafes for 16 km so I tried to at least get a coffee in town. But with all those cafes, not one was even remotely looking open so I bailed on that idea and walked out of Muxia. For the first couple of kilometers the path was the road that ran along the coastline. It went past a beautiful white sand beach and I took a picture even though it was only just getting light.
Then the trail left the road and treated me to a steep and quite long climb of some 250 meters of vertical up to Facho de Lourido. It went through woodland and farmland while going up and then going down more gently on the others side. At one time I came across a farmer moving some horses that he sent into a large field on a hillside. The horses took off running fast all over the field and their new foals figured out this was good fun. I stopped and watched them with the farmer who was also appreciating his steeds enjoying their new-found freedom. A little later some cows being herded by a lady with just a stick came down the road and I stepped aside to let them pass especially as they had quite big horns.
The trail was the first that was double marked for hikers going in either direction. This made for some confusing signs at times and I went wrong twice. I also had big doubts at times that I had missed a sign but fortunately each time a sign eventually showed up. I knew where the ocean was but at best there were only brief glimpses of the water from far off. That was a shame because this section of coastline is called the "Coast of Death" because of all the shipwrecks and I'm guessing it's very rocky. When I reached the small town of Lires there was a cafe and a new albergue. I just wanted coffee and something to eat and luckily they had my favorite boccadillo. In the cafe was the Welsh guy that I had met the first night in Lisbon and then later at the Casa Fernandes when it was his birthday. Other hikers who I had met over the last couple of days also came in so it got quite busy.
After leaving the cafe I started to meet several of the folks I'd met since leaving Santiago on Monday afternoon but who went to Fisterra first and were now heading to Muxia. Each time I stopped and we chatted. The lady from Geneva told me she had literally followed tradition by burning her clothes on a bonfire she had just passed. She also gave me an albergue recommendation that turned out to be perfect.
The last few kilometers into Fisterra I chatted with a girl from Australia as we dropped down into town. I went to the recommended albergue and treated myself to a single room. After settling in, I went down to the municipal albergue that issues the Finisterre completion certificate, called the Fisterrana. Although I'd forgotten to bring my passport, she accepted my driving license and I ended up with my third certificate.
You might have noticed that I have been using both Finisterre and Fisterra. I asked about this several times today and got mostly shrugs from the locals. I looked it up and Finisterre is the Galician name and Fisterra the Spanish. On all the maps it is Fisterra so I have tried to call it that when referring to the location. When I'm referring to finishing the Camino then I have used the Galician name as it's derived from the Latin for "end of the earth". So that's my logic for what it's worth.
I decided I ought to visit the lighthouse as that is the official end to the Camino Finisterre. It was a 5 km round trip walk to add to the 30 of already done but I was able to leave my pack in the albergue to make the walk a little easier. Next to the lighthouse was a Camino marker with zero km on the distance to go space - see picture. The lighthouse is on the top of a peak known as Monte Facho and is 238 meters above sea level. The front facade of the building (pictured) I thought was more attractive than the seaward side that looked like a big light on the building's roof.
On the way back I saw a small, very small, beach that I walked down to. The Welsh guy was there and we joked about how many times we had bumped into each other. I took off my shoes, socks and trouser bottoms and went into the Atlantic while he took pictures. I promised myself and family that when I completed the Camino then I would at least dip my feet into the Atlantic so this was the fulfillment of that promise. And so now I've officially finished the Camino.
I still have three days before my flight so I've booked a rental car and plan to travel around a little faster, ending up at the Madrid airport on Monday morning. I'll also compile some overall thoughts about the Camino and write a wrap up entry that captures any highlights of my touring plus my general thoughts. That won't get posted, however, until I get home.
Camino De Santiago - Part Deux
The Camino de Santiago is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth.
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