Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Epilogue -- To the Edge of the Earth at Fisterra

After they reach Santiago de Compostela,  some pilgrims decide to "finish" by continuing on towards Fisterra --  in ancient times, this was believed to be the end of the earth.  Until Columbus proved otherwise.

The day after we finished our Camino, our two Amigos from the US regretfully had to head back home.  They had been to Fisterra the day before and told us how much they enjoyed the trip.

Our two other kababayans that we had met along the road came to say goodbye.  They would
be walking to Fisterra, taking another four or five days to walk the eighty kilometres.
This was all well and good and very admirable but the Amigos  had other plans.
We had fulfilled a year's quota of  walking by doing the Camino and were not about to start
lacing up our hiking shoes again.

We arranged for a private tour along the coast leading up to Fisterra.  If we were going to the end of the earth, we'd certainly do it in style -- in this luxe and spacious Mercedes Benz mini bus.  Such plush comfort for the Amigos!

Our driver and guide Marisol first brought us to this look out point where we could see the coastal towns we would be passing through.  It was a gorgeous Galician morning and on this clear day, you could really see forever.

These are definitely not Don Quixote's windmills.  We frequently saw these wind turbines
as we walked the Camino and here, on this hilltop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, they
were lined up as far as the eye could see.
Spain  is one of the world's top five producers of wind power.  Energy generated by these
wind farms is their  second largest source of electrical generation.
Don Quixote would have been very proud.

Our next stop was Muros where there is a delightful seafront, a nice beach for swimming and cafes, restaurants and small hotels that cater mostly to local tourists.

Explore the town beyond the postcard pretty harbour -- take a walk through winding, stone paved small streets and discover how attractive Muros really is.

Muros is along the road to Fisterra and pilgrims do walk through the town.  The presence 
of a cruceiro in front of the parish church would be a familiar sight to a passing peregrino.

After Muros  we headed to  Ezaro where we saw Cascada Xallas -- a powerful waterfall 
that comes from the Rio Xallas.  There is a hydroelectric plant that harnesses the waterfall's 
power for electric generation.  It is really impressive how Spain is dedicated to sustainable and renewable sources of energy.

Cascada Xallas' waters flow through this inlet and out into the Atlantic Ocean.  

From Ezaro, it is a short ten minute drive to Fisterra -- we are finally here, at the edge of the earth.

There is a kilometre marker at the very edge of the slope, it is marked 0.00.

The road to Santiago de Compostela is due west -- if you have walked the Camino Frances or any of the other routes, you would have been walking westward all the way.

As Fisterra is the western most part of Spain, the journey indeed ends  here.  
Thus, the Km 0.00 mark.  There is nowhere else to walk, unless you can walk on water.

This is the Faro Fisterra popularly called the "lighthouse at the end of the world".  
My wandering imagination conjures up black clouds, stormy seas, thunder and lightning and maybe a 
few pirate ships run aground ... channeling Jules Verne!
But on this hot Galician afternoon, I cannot quite get into a dark and mysterious mood -- it's too bright and sunny for that.

Behind the lighthouse is a way to get down to the rocks below where you can sit and wait for sun to set and yes, let your imagination run wild -- here at the edge of the earth.

While I didn't make the trek down, Mayk our intrepid and indomitable Amigo decided to 
give a proper finish to his Camino.  
On these rocks below the lighthouse, pilgrims perform a ritual by burning clothes and shoes 
they wore along the Camino.  By getting rid of these things, they signify the end of their 
"old" life  and the start of the their "new" one.    
Mayk didn't see any fires burning when he went down but he did see this  tower from which 
shirts, scarves, shoes, etc. were hung.

May I also add that Mayk is an experienced trekker, mountaineer, a professional photographer 
and also the youngest among the Amigos?  He easily climbed this tower of smelly stuff to hang 
his own worn out walking shoes -- a fitting closure to his Camino.  
And may I add -- a great excuse to buy a new pair.

Perhaps this is indeed as far as it goes  -- I couldn't see anything beyond  the limitless view of 
the Atlantic Ocean.  I could just pretend Columbus never existed.

We didn't scoot down the rocks like Mayk did (and besides we didn't have any extra
clothes or  shoes to  burn or leave behind) but we did have closure to our Camino too.
We found our "old" friend, Señor Peregrinó at the entrance of Faro Fisterra --
we had first met him in Triacastela, where we started our Camino. Now here he was again, at the end.
I believe he was here to tell us "Buen Camino ... e ultreiya , e suseia"  Onward and further upward!
The Camino after all is really a never ending road.

 NB  Thank you to millennial Amigo Mayk for Photos 17 and 18.

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