DAY 71. 17JULY. CEE TO FISTERRA

 Looking back at Cee in the morning light

Looking back at Cee in the morning light

I'm nearing the end of my journey. Finisterra (the modern town is called Fisterra) is the official final destination of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage.

 Wood-fired toast

Wood-fired toast

It's a fairly short undulating walk through woods with some lovely white beaches enroute. I have breakfast at a bar on the beach at Estorde, consisting of toast made on a wood-fired pizza oven, served with olive oil and peach jam. Nice!

 Breakfast view

Breakfast view

Then onto Finisterre. First I have a hill to climb, but suddenly views of the sea open up. The last few km were on a delightful stone-paved path meandering under pine trees, with the sound of the ocean beyond the sand dunes. There's a huge long beach here and even though it's Sunday, there are very few people in it.

 My first view of Cape Finisterra on the left

My first view of Cape Finisterra on the left

I make my way into town; it's a busy working fishing port, but with enough tourism to support plenty of bars, sea-food restaurants, hotels and albergues. There is Municipal albergue, but I choose a new private one for €12. The best so far I think!! It's run by a very nice youngish Spaniard and it's spotless and comfortable with the all important towel included! He shakes my hand and shows me round. I settle in. The woman in the adjacent bunk is French.

 The walk into town under pine trees

The walk into town under pine trees

It's a modern town with an older area and a bustling harbour area, not picturesque exactly, but surrounded by a soft misty blue sea and distant mountains.

 Feet up and an ice-cream

Feet up and an ice-cream

Finisterre was believed by the Romans to be the most Westerly point in the known World, but it's actually Cabo da Roca in Portugal about 10 miles further west.

In Celtic and Neolithic times there was an important solar-temple here; Ara Solis and there is also a stone circle at Monte San Guillermo nearby. So it was an important place of pilgrimage thousands of years previous to Santiago!

I've been reading some fascinating stuff about the pre-Christian origins of the Camino de Santiago on the Internet.

"Some scholars believe that another clear antecedent to the Camino is the “Callis Ianus” named after the god Janus, who occupied the highest rank among Etruscan-Latin divinities and represented the “Earth’s Axis”... Janus was the God of gods – the god of beginnings and transitions, thence also of gates, doors, passages, endings and time; the god of motion that caused the starting of action  and change; and master of the four seasons (he still stands at the door of our New Year: January) and transformation. He is depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past... and holding a key that opened the gates of the invisible world."

www.iberianadventures.com/a-pagan-history-of-the-camino/

The cape is 3.5km to the west of the town; a slow steady 238m climb above sea level and so has spectacular views of the Atlantic and the rising and setting sun.

 The distance is palest blue

The distance is palest blue

In the afternoon I walk to the Municipal Albergue in town to get my Credencial stamped with the sello stamp which officially completes my pilgrimage. Done.

 Sello of Fisterra. The official end of the Camino of St James (Xacobea in Galician). 

Sello of Fisterra. The official end of the Camino of St James (Xacobea in Galician). 

The albergue is staffed by helpful Spanish volunteer hospitaleros who give me advice about walking to Muxia. Then a late lunch. Very delicious roasted razor clams with a glass of white wine by the harbour. Perfect.

 Roasted razor clams

Roasted razor clams

Then more wandering to the beach for a swim. It's pretty chilly but refreshing when I finally manage to submerge. Later I bump into the Italian family and little boy and in the evening have a beer on the harbour side with the German guy who ate too much chorizo, who's called Andreas, and a couple of other Germans. More post BREXIT disbelief. I think we underestimate the effects on the rest of Europe.

I'm turning my mind to the logistics of collecting water for my ongoing series of works called THIRST. They all involve finding, collecting and carrying water. This iteration consists of collecting water from the End of the Earth; fresh and saline. So the hunt is on for a well- there must be one here somewhere?

 Indeed

Indeed

I mention it to the Hospitalero on my way to the shower and he whisks me off to see his neighbour... in bare feet and still clutching my towel and soap. There in his neighbour's courtyard is a glorious and wonderfully deep well full of fresh water, but no bucket. They'll sort it out mañana.

 Gloriosly deep well

Gloriosly deep well

The evening light lingers until 10.30pm and it's a nearly full moon tomorrow. Bed to my bunk. Another great day.