We left Santiago around midday and set off on the Camino de Finisterra, the only Camino that goes away from Santiago. By embarking on this second journey we will be able to say that we have walked the entire length of Spain non-stop with unbroken footsteps and no rest days.
For anyone who is thinking of walking any of the Caminos, I highly recommend completing your journey with this route which is 90km in length and very enjoyable, taking one through some very quaint villages, across rivers and past many cafe bars with names starting with an "O" prefix, just like in Ireland.
The Galicians are from Gaelic ancestry and bagpipes are their pride instrument, making their traditional songs sound similar to Irish and Scottish music.
Our first proper Albergue experience, where we stayed in bunk bed dormitories was in Negreira. I felt ill, went to bed early and slept like a log, whereas poor Josh was kept awake all night by the other hikers in the dorm snoring loudly. We were so glad that this had not been our experience the entire way and that we had camped most of the time in our awesome tent!
I figured out that the tight waist belt on my backpack aka "The Purple Monster" was causing my ailments. My abdominal organs felt compressed by the constant compression from the belt and weight of the pack, mile upon mile, day after day. After readjusting the backpack to sit lower on my hips, I started feeling a bit better with less pain and nausea.
Wild flowers line the trail everywhere and in this particular stretch Foxglove is in abundance as are roses in people's gardens as we passed by.
The Galician horreos ( grain drying houses) are present in practically all the yards of the homes we passed and walking through the four different provinces has been an interesting study in these unique little huts which differ in shape and style in each area.
As noted before, the Camino really seems to add greatly to the economy of the small villages it goes along throughout Spain. The Spanish people have done an outstanding job of keeping the different "ways" very well marked and providing affordable accommodation for peregrinos. We are in awe!
A village we went through that was particularly pretty and well presented was Olveiroa and we would have liked to have stayed but we pressed on to get better mileage for the day, stopping at O Logoso to eat pizza as a drizzle started early evening.
We left there around 8:00pm and everyone there (other peregrinos and the locals) were concerned about our wellbeing as it was late in the evening, raining and there were no accommodations for the next 25km. Once they heard we had a tent and were planning on camping, they all thought we were super hardcore!
We reached the split in the road after a village called Hospital were we met a group of walkers heading in the opposite direction who warned us that there was nothing but wilderness ahead for many kilometers. We thanked them for their warning and again informed them that we would be fine as we had a tent.
An ancient way-marker along the way had messages, mementos, photos of lost love ones and stacking stones upon it's base. I placed a stone on it in honor of my lost brother.
By this time the rain had stopped and we enjoyed a fantastic walk until just after 9:00pm when we came to a church seemingly in the middle of nowhere, Sanctuary of A Nosa Senora das Neves (Our Lady of the Snow). On the side was a picnic area with tables and a lovely place to camp under a canopy of trees. This was going to be it! The last place we would camp along our journey. It was absolutely perfect and just as we zipped the tent closed, it started raining. It couldn't have been better timed!
There was an outdoor alter along the wall of the church where people had placed handwritten messages, prayers and wishes. I left my message there too, hoping for peace and harmony.
Further along the trail we came to the Hermitage of San Pedro Matir with it's miraculous healing water fountain where we both splashed some water on ourselves....we'll see what happens!
Soon the Atlantic Ocean came into view from the top of the hill and we became very excited about the prospect of reaching the "end of the world" so early in the day but it was a cruel joke because we soon found out that what we thought was Finisterra was actually the town of Cee. We still had 15 km to walk before we reached our destination of the lighthouse located on the far side and uphill from Finisterra ( also known as Fisterra).
"This Camino route pre-dates Christianity, as pagans would head to Fisterra on the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death) where they believed the sun died and the worlds of the dead and the living became closer. Prayers would be said and offerings would be made to please the gods. Fisterra is also believed to be the place of Ara Solis, a magical place and altar dedicated to the dying sun." (Wikipedia)
Fortunately it was a picturesque walk through a few more coastal villages.
Finally, after what seemed to be a never ending trail we reached Finisterra and the lighthouse, the place where in Roman times it was also believed the world ended. It was named from the Latin words " finis terrae", meaning " end of the earth".
What a great relief and feeling of accomplishment.
It had taken 28 days to walk across the entire length of Spain without a day of rest and with unbroken footsteps.
Back down the hill we walked to the Peregrino office to get our certificate for completing our second Camino.
Now that our journey was complete we decided to go back to Santiago de Compostela and experience more of this amazing city that is obviously a huge energy center on the planet.
After a three hour bus drive from Finisterra and another one hour inner city bus ride we finally found a place to stay at 10:00 pm. The entire city was practically fully booked and we got very lucky finding last minute accommodation so late in the day.
I would like to send out my heartfelt thanks to the country of Spain for providing us with a fantastic experience. We learned so much and thankfully I kept this blog going or much of it would have been a blur.
Thank you to our family and friends who kept in touch and cheered us on.
A huge thank you to Big Agnes outdoor gear company who sponsored me with our fantastic Flycreek UL3 tent, my "mother of comfort" sleeping mat and sleeping bag system which was exactly that and my awesome, comfortable jacket which kept me warm. I highly recommend their products all of which are top quality, durable and lightweight.
Muchas Gracias y adios.