Day 49 – 4th November 2015, Cabo de Finisterre to Lires.
Albergue Cabo de Vila provided a restful night’s sleep in comfort and warmth. Fiona and I ventured out into the damp air at the end of the earth to seek out breakfast and we stumbled upon Cafe Real 42, which was bright, welcoming and open. And of course, 42 is a good omen if you happen to be hitchhiking around the galaxy. We hoped against hope for the dark, grey clouds to disperse, while we supped our orange juices and cafe con leches, but alas, there was nothing for it but to brace ourselves for the inclement weather ahead and go forth in the horizontal rain to Cabo Fisterra (the Finisterre headland).
The sheer force of the winds almost stopped us in our tracks as we walked up out of the town centre onto the promontory, high above the crashing waves below. The stormy skies, looked terribly ominous but we kept our footholds and pressed onwards to the pilgrim statue and beyond, past the tacky wood souvenir shack to the lighthouse.
We paused for pictures by the 0.0 km way marker and the peace pole. However, neither of us could hide our disappointment at the commercialised, tackiness of the place. The hotel and lighthouse appeared shabby and run down. The peace pole presented a powerful message, vertically on its surface “May peace prevail on earth” in four languages. Sadly, it was covered in graffiti and its message seemed lost. I found myself wondering whether a simple peace garden would have had a greater impact and be more appropriate at the end of a pilgrimage walk, offering a place of rest and reflection, where one could admire the power of nature?
We treaded carefully over the slippy boulders to reach the fire pit, which, unsurprisingly was waterlogged and contained half-burned remnants of clothing and footwear. As you can imagine my T-shirt and unmentionables survived to live another day! There was no way I could light a fire to burn them there. I took that as an appropriate sign in a way, because my Camino is not yet over. The physical part of my Camino will end tomorrow when I walk out to the headland at Muxia.
Getting a bit chilly and windswept, Fiona and I backtracked into town for a comforting lentil and veg stew lunch at La Frontera, near the sea front. Afterwards, I popped into the municipal albergue to obtain my ‘Fisterra‘ (or Fisterrana) another type of certificate like the Compostela of Santiago, which pilgrims receive on completing the walk from Santiago to Finisterre.
On that note, I once again bade Fiona a temporary farewell for it was time for me to begin the final leg of my entire pilgrimage. I knew already that it was too late in the day realistically to walk all the way to Muxia, 28.5 km away, so I planned to walk this in two stages. I would see how far I could get, weather permitting that afternoon and complete the journey in the morning. Fiona planned to join me in Muxia the next day by bus.
I retraced my weary steps back through the centre of Finisterre towards Praia de Langosteira and at the Cruceiro, I turned off onto the Camino Muxia trail. Once again, mixed feelings enveloped me as I strode forth. I approached my journey’s end, filled with elation and sadness at the same time. I trekked 14 kms in the rain up through mysterious pine forests, on my own and in blonde, bimbling style, I managed to miss the turning to San Salvador and walked on alongside the main road for about 20 minutes before I realised this. Yep, pilgrim rant warning…the Brierley map is crap! Oh joy, like another groundhog day I walked back to start again at the crossroads, where I had become slightly confused.
Ah yes, I found the correct turning, hidden in some trees and trundled through San Salvador, continuing through the pine woods, though the tiny hamlets of Rial and Bujan.
The rain continued to fall, adding to my sombre mood and somewhere between Castrexe and Canosa, I hesitated in front of a house to double check my route so that I wouldn’t miss the Camino way markers. The hairs on the back of my neck shot up in the split second two huge dogs bounded towards me, growling and baring their rather sharp teeth at me. They gave me such a fright, my heart leapt up into my throat. This was my second encounter with dogs and a more sinister one! Thankfully I escaped unscathed after waving my stick and striding on. The rest of my walk was dark, brooding and depressing, so I didn’t take the turning off to the beach. I am sure it would have felt different in the sunshine though.
Eventually, the afternoon light began to fade, just as I reached the higgledy, piggledy, stone village of Lires, nestled along the banks of Lires estuary. Cold, wet and tired to my bones, I turned up one of the narrow streets to follow a sign post to one of the albergues. It seemed to take me forever to reach the front door. Thankfully As Eiras albergue and hostal was open for business and I bagged a bed in a dorm room with one other pilgrim. As Eiras is modern, clean, well serviced and once again I treated myself to a large dish of calamari before turning in for the night.
Tomorrow I only have 15 kms or so left to walk. It seems unreal. The end of the road is almost in sight. That’s all I have to say about that!
Peace, love and light,