And you thought we were done in Santiago?
“For many pilgrims their Way comes to an end in Santiago de Compostela. However, dating back almost to the discovery of the tomb of Saint James the Apostle in the 9th century, many of the pilgrims, decided to continue their journey to the Costa da Morte (“Coast of Death”) on the Camino Fisterra (the worlds end). Pilgrims in past centuries also continued northwards up the coast to the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de la Barca in Muxía, 29km north of the “end of the world” itself. This is where it is believed to be the ruins of the stone boat that the Virgin Mary sailed on to visit St James landed.”
“The Jacobean Way of Fisterra-Muxia is the most faithful depiction of the historical cry of the pilgrim who exclaimed “Ultreia” (still further). It is the goal beyond Compostela and the remains of St James that requires more sacrifices after the past harsh days and means another 4-5 days and 109 more km.”
Fisterra is located in the westernmost part of Galicia, looking out onto the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean and it was the “end of the known world until Columbus altered things 1492” . Here pilgrims have been know to throw their shoes into the sea to symbolize their new beginning in life on finishing the Camino.
We decided to go to Muxia first and then to Fisterra, since the forecast was for rain if we planned the usual 4 days to Fisterra directly. This means we would be more likely to get to mile zero with better weather on day 5.
The Route. Starts from the Cathedral in Santiago and leads in a fairly straight line through the mountains via Negreira. We started today from the Praza do Obradoiro, at Santiago’s Cathedral and went thru the lost pilgrim’s gate. Today’s section of the Camino passes small villages and crosses ancient Roman bridges. The destination for today is the medieval town of Negreira.
I will say it is a bit depressing and anticlimactic today. We “reached Santiago”, most of our Camino family have gone home or are taking the bus to Fisterra to see the end of the road because they do not have the extra time to walk, and the weather is about to turn for the worse.
Santiago to Negreira 21 km
Setting out this morning from Santiago the streets were pretty quiet. We left the main square and walked down the stairs and down the narrow road leading out of town.
The direction markers are not that clear here in the city and we had to wander back and forth a couple of times, but got better once we left the urban area. From the city you go down to cross the river and then up again for a nice view back onto the cathedral.
For the extension route there are the same yellow arrows, as on the Camino Francés, but it is also way marked with concrete milestones bearing the blue and yellow Council of Europe ceramic star, whose rays normally indicate the direction to be taken. The way marks leading the pilgrim from Santiago show the distance remaining to the lighthouse in Fisterra and/or to the Santuario in Muxía. These are in one direction, while the route between Fisterra to Muxía is way marked in both directions without indicating any distances.
The village of A Ponte Maceira is built over the River Tambre (14 th century). Today my foot is still pretty painful and with the depressed mood I am feeling discouraged about being able to walk another 4 days.
We arrived early in the day to Negreira, but called it quits since I was pretty fatigued, it is cold out, and my foot was pretty sore. We decided to try to find a hotel. There is a bar/hotel on the main street and we got a nice room here. We hardly left the room except to get some snacks at the store near by and to get a Pilgrim stamp from the tourist office. The food here at the restaurant was pretty good as well.
Negreira to Santa Mariana (Casa Pepe) 18.9 km
Leaving Negreira we climbed up to Negreiroa, a little village that was the original site of the town and where we see the main church of Negreira is located. Today’s team Pedersen’s mood is better since it is not raining and Sara’s foot is much better.
Santa Mariana is not more than the collection of a few homes and a small Albergue. We had called yesterday to make a reservation just in case my foot was bad and we really could not go on from here. We were also lucky since we were the first to arrive we got a corner bunk in a walled off area and no one took the other bunk in there. That said there was some terrible snoring that kept us awake much of the night. We were now feeling the strain of the 5 1/2 weeks of walking, with poor sleep and general exhaustion. Despite that we got up early and pushed on. We had again made a reservation for a bar along the route in case we needed to stop early, but we were trying to get a bit farther than that to Dumbria.
Santa Mariana to Dumbria 25 km. The days was very cool, but the sun was shining on us again!
Today we will also arrive to the Bifurcation of the Fisterra-Muxia way. Here the decision is made whether to go Fisterra-Muxia or Muxia-Fisterra. We chose the latter mostly for the weather, but also that the distance from here to the next town is shorter this way. The other thing was that this way we would end at the end instead of having another 29 km to go to Muxia from km zero at Cabo Fisterra.
Arriving to Dumbria we walked past the municipal which is just before the town. It looked closed for the season (it was not), but after last night we kept going. This is not much of a town actually. There is not even a market. It is more like a few buildings lining the side of the roadway. There is a fancy new hospital (EU dollars at work) at the far end, which is where we ended up and had to ask there for directions back to the only hostal. It is not on the main road and there is no sign directing you from there either. We were the only guests, but we did join another pilgrim (who walked the km from the municipal) in the hotel bar for dinner. It was chilly and we were thankful for the thick blankets on the bed.
Dumbria to Muxia 30 km.
From Dumbria it is 5.5 km Senande before there is anywhere to get breakfast. We were the first there and had coffee and freshly baked egg bread. About 10 minutes later the 6 pilgrims who had been at the municipal also showed up. It is amusing since almost everyone that first night in Orrison said they would walk to Fisterra. On line it says only about 10 % of pilgrims do walk past Santiago, and so far there is just the 20 of us that we have come across in total so far. Something like 600-1000 people arrive to Santiago every day on the Way.
We were pretty happy that the weather was still holding out, but the forecast for tomorrow is terrible. We arrived to view the sea for the first time just above Merexo and then headed south along the shore to the quaint fishing village of Muxía and our final destination today.
Muxia is a fishing village. Here you can visit the Virxe da Barca sanctuary and its famous ‘rocking stones’ overlooking the Atlantic. According to tradition, you have to walk 9 times under the ‘Pedra dos Cadrís’ to cure all your back ailments. It is said that the rocks piled up here are formed from the ruins of the stone boat that brought the bones of the Saint here.
KM zero for the Way to Fisterra! We had light rain on and off in the evening today, but heavy rain all night.
When you reach Muxia you can also claim the Muxia Compostella.
We had planned a very short day today from Muxia to Lires of 14.3 km. This is half way to Fisterra. I did not feel up to the 29 km today anyway. We were booked into the hotel in Lires since we knew the weather forecast today was for heavy rain. It was then supposed to sunny the next day for our arrival in Fisterra. We lasted about 1 km before donning the rain ponchos. The sky opened up!
At the 2 km mark it was torrentially raining, we and our packs were dry, but our shoes were full of water that had run down off the ponchos. The initial 5.5 km is up up up to mountain top of Facho de Lourido. It is then down hill all the way to Lires.
We had 3 massive downpours today. During one of which we were actually hiding under a tree. We did not do this long, since were were not likely to get wetter if we went on, but we were getting very cold just standing in the wind under the tree in our water logged shoes.
There is only one town at 2.4 km past the summit, but there are no services here. There was a break in the rain here and for the next 6.4 km to Lires. We stopped here also to take off our shoes at a covered bus stop and actually wring out our socks.
We were very happy to get to the hotel before it started pouring again. They had no power yet today after the incredible wind and rain storm of last night. We did eventually get power and could use the room heater to fully dry out our shoes and socks for the last day of our Camino.
Lires to Fisterra 14.5 km
Starting from the village Lires today’s Camino trail takes you to Monte do Facho and then thru the the hamlets of Morquintián, Guisamonde, and Frixe.
Just some more proof we walked the whole way here. Today is a bit overcast, but not raining. We are so happy that today is the last day of walking! It is again a short 14.5 km to go.
The route was a bit up and down along the coast, but with not much view of the sea. We did meet a number of pilgrims who we knew and who had elected to walk the other way to Fisterra and then to Muxia. We were so happy to see Sonya (France) and Christine (Germany) again.
Arriving to Fisterra the way markings are very confusing and point in several different direction at each intersection. We headed on a more or less direct route to the city. Luckily we had google maps on the phone and we could hone in on our hotel. It was not in the old town, but up on a hill over looking the city.
Fisterra a Cabo Fisterra 3 km
The last 3 km to Cabo Fisterra we just took some snacks and wine in one pack and headed out to catch the sunset.
You have to stop in here to obtain your very last stamp!
Just after the sun disappeared into the ocean… a pod of dolphins started leaping just below us for a Disney finish!
After completing the Fisterra Way you can claim the Fisterra pilgrim credential and bring back the original proof of completion of the Camino – the scallop shell. As the scallop shell is native to the shores of Galicia, the shell functioned as proof of completion and that the pilgrim had actually seen the end of the world – Fisterra.
Well we are finally done walking! Taking the bus today 90 km took over 3 hours. Time for some more celebration.
The Pilgrim’s museum has a lot of information and artifacts from the Camino.
Shell from 1120 BC.