- We were up early enough to see Praza do Obradoiro completely empty.
The cathedral highlighted in the glow of dawn was stunning.
Today we took a day long tour out to Finisterre, which until the discovery of North America, was thought to be where the world ended. This was an hour and a half trip one way, through a lovely countryside and along the northern coast of Galicia. Enroute is was evident that this area of Galicia is more prosperous than any we have walked through. Perhaps, it is the proximity to Santiago or the success of their off shore fishing industry. It was good to see. The coast is beautiful. The many indentations called “rias” are said to have been made when God rested and put His hand down— His fingers creating the rias. Low granite mountains green with scrub brush and fern rise above the sea. Gigantic granite boulders cover the mountains, some doing incredible balancing acts. It is understandable that so many myths and legends abound in this area.
All the coastal villages are fishing ports. One, Muros, is renowned for razor clams that they grow off rafts in the ria. Rod had the clams for lunch and said they were delicious but tasted a bit different from other clams.
When we reached Finisterre we were confused. The Finisterre we were expecting was the one in the film, “The Way”. The real Finisterre has a lighthouse, chapel and a granite cross. It is significant for pilgrims arriving at Cabo Finisterre to bathe in the waters ( carefully, as there is a serious current),watch the sunset at the Cape and burn their Camino clothes. Finisterre is an adjunct to the Camino and many come here because they cannot face the farewells yet or they do not wish their Camino to come to an end. Our next stop was near Muxia on the point called “Pedra dos Cadrises”—this is where the final scene from the movie was filmed. Here are the two ” magic stones” believed to be the boat and sail of the stone ship that brought the Virgin Mary to St. James when he was anguishing about his mission in Spain. Her encouragement inspired him to continue, although his discipleship here was not hugely successful. Part of the story has to do with back and kidney problems. If you circle the “sail” of the boat a certain number of times, touching it, you will be healed…also, apparently this stone moves — the tide does not reach the stone and it must weigh at least a ton, so it is not the wind….
There is a small chapel up from the beach, ” Sanctuary of our Lady of the Boat” which has several model boats hanging in it to honour the Virgin’s boat and the seagoing vessels of their village. It is a simple and welcoming place.
At one point, gazing out of the bus window we passed some pilgrims walking to Finisterre. For a moment we both had a sense of guilt that we were not walking with them and actually wished we were. However, we stayed on the bus and the “Camino fever” moment passed.
An interesting bit about our hotel. As it was once a pilgrim hostal built by royalty, the mandate for it to assist pilgrims still remains. Each day at 0900, 1200 and 2000 the first 15 pilgrims to arrive, on presentation of a copy of their Compostela certificate are given a free meal. This is allowed for 3 days after a pilgrim’s arrival in Santiago.
We had a little glitch in our itinerary, as the baggage handlers in Madrid are on strike. Ryanair will take us but not our checked baggage. It is a bit iffy to send your baggage by bus or train unaccompanied, especially if you need it within a couple of days. So, now we will be going to Madrid by train which should be a nice journey.
There were more stars tonight and they shone brightly.
This is a “cruceiro”, a distinctive Galician landmark. They are usually simple, stone crosses on long, slender shafts.
They are found in plazas or at crossroads and sometimes, what appears to be randomly, in a field. Cruceiros mark significant events and date back to the 14th century.