Santiago de Compostela is the end-of-the path for most pilgrims. But there is more. The Camino Finisterre continues westward to its namesake destination, the seaside town of Finisterre or End-Of-The-World. And, beyond that, the camino leads slightly northwards to another world’s-end community, Muxia.
When we left Winnipeg, Gail and I had provisionally planned to extend our walk to Finisterre and Muxia – if our bodies and sprits were up to it. And here we are in Santiago, now veteran long distance walkers, the rhythm of the pedestrian life still strong and our bodies willing. Land’s end beckons.
Santiago is a wet place. Our stay has been peppered with downpours. So it is fitting that our departure should be under dark clouds and on wet cobblestones. It all adds to the mystery of our journey as we follow a path much less travelled. That first day takes us on an uneventful 22-kilometre stroll to Negreira. The next day, the weather clears and we follow the sun and the cows through gently rolling farmland. That long 33-kilometer day takes us to the small village of Olveiroa.
The third day boasts a remarkable change in scenery. Starting out from Olveiroa, the landscape is more barren, the villages less attractive and the landscape occasionally blighted by heavy industry. All that changes as the land curls downward, revealing the glass-smooth plane of the sea below. We clammer down 300 metres to water’s edge, following the coastline first to the seaside village of Cee and then, just around a spit of land, to the delightful fishing village of Corcubión.
It’s been a short 20-kilometre walk but this is too charming a place to pass through without pause. So we stay the night at Casa da Balea, a pension housed in an historic stone building with spectacular views over the bay. It’s been raining but the clouds decide to part for the evening, allowing us to explore the town’s small but intact historic core of buildings set in a tight network of winding streets and alleys. We wander down narrow passages lined with tall stone buildings that suddenly open into small, airy plazas or reveal a row of handsome pazos – manor houses – with their sturdy carved stone walls offset by delicate bay windows projecting from the upper floors.
Our day ends, as it should, with a platter of fresh seafood, local Albariño wine and a night stroll along the seaside promenade.
This is the twenty-second of a number of planned posts to my on-going Walking the Camino de Santiago, A Photo Essay. If you have any observations or your own Camino experiences to relate, feel free to use the Comments section below.
If you are interested in purchasing prints for any of the photographs in this series of Camino de Santiago blog posts, they can be ordered directly from my website at www.firmangallery.com/camino-frances