So I haven’t been in Spain in ages and I’m about to lead a tour in an area I have never been to. Ok, it’s walking the camino to Santiago de Compostela, so our main activity will be walking, but I could do with a brush up on Spanish culture. I read up on the pilgrimage online and in books, I talked to a colleague and I’ve got a few days in Santiago to get ready. And yes… I totally think that my day trip to the Costa da morte was research.
Since I don’t have a car here, I decided to book a day trip. I was a bit apprehensive since day trips are a bit of a hit or miss, but this one was excellent. We drove for an hour through the countryside and arrived at the seaside town of Muxía. As soon as I stepped out of the van, the wind caught me. It was insanely windy! At times the wind would even throw me off balance.
Our guide Miguel took us onto the rocks behind a small church. The true pilgrims don’t stop in Santiago de Compostela, but make their way all the way to the ocean and the true kilometer zero. On their way they pass Muxía. According to legend the local celts here were hard to convert to Christianity. This is the place where the virgin Mary arrived in a boat made of stone to help St. James in converting the locals. The sail is still there and is said to have healing powers if you crawl underneath it seven times. The main part of the boat is a big stone that used to rock, but is now wedged on another stone.
Although the story is interesting, it was the scenery (and the wind) that blew me away. The ocean was wild, creating white, foaming waves. There was a path leading up a hill from which you got incredible views of the town and harbour. On the other side was the church and a lighthouse, with only the sea beyond.
After some exploring, our next stop was Finisterre. The romans used to think this was the end of the world, and it is the real end of the camino. It’s about 100km from Santiago de Compostela and this is where the pilgrims are truly done. At the very end you pass a lighthouse and sit on the rocks. There used to be a tradition where pilgrims burned their clothes, but this is officially not allowed anymore.
Even arriving by bus it is a nice place though. It is so peaceful. Sure, there is a souvenir shop and there are a lot of cars, but it doesn’t feel overly crowded. There is plenty of space on the rocks to accommodate everyone. There is still a strong wind, but the wind turbines on the opposite hill are not working. Down in the water are a few boats. One of them is surrounded by seagulls.
Luckily there was a town at the end of the world as well, with plenty of restaurants to choose from. They all seemed to serve the same, so I sat down and had some fish. Being at sea and all, I felt like this was my best option. Afterwards I went for a wander and found the most perfect beach. It made me regret not bringing any swimming gear. The water looked so perfect! Instead I kept walking and got lost in the small, quiet streets of this little town. The streets could barely fit a car and I found and old church and tons of cute houses along them.
The sun was getting stronger and by the time we were at the Ezaro waterfall, it was really hot. At the waterfall was a beautiful park along the water. The waterfall practically end up in the ocean, which is just around the corner. The scenery made me think of some places I have seen in Western Australia. It was the dry vegetation, the red rocks and the deep blue colour of the water. After crossing some boardwalks I got to the waterfall. The mist was so refreshing.
There was time for one more stop, before returning the scenic coastal way to Santiago. We stopped at the small town of Carnota to see the traditional horreos. A horreo is a place where they used to store grains, potatoes etc. We had a chance to see the second biggest one in Galicia. After that we drove past so many beautiful beaches. Unlike the few I’d seen before, people were splashing around in the water here. Wouldn’t that be nice! But even though we didn’t swim, it was a beautiful day and I’m glad I’ve seen some more of this beautiful province.