Camino de Finisterre (CSJ)  

 

                             Pilgrim Guides to Spain 3. Finisterre : Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre and Muxia

                                                            Alison Raju - Confraternity of Saint James - 2009

  

  http://www.csj.org.uk/Finisterre2009A4.doc   

  

  C.Fisterra (CSJ) PDF  

 

                         

 

  Finisterre (“Fisterra” in Galician) was the end of the known world until Columbus altered things and was the final destination of many of the pilgrims who made the journey to Santiago in centuries gone by. There are various explanations as to how this continuation came about (one such is that it was based on a pre-Christian route to the pagan temple of Ara Solis in Finisterre, erected to honour the sun) but it is also known that a pilgrim infrastructure existed, with “hospitals” in Bon Xesús, Cée, Corcubión, Finisterre itself and elsewhere.

 

  There are also several Jacobean and other pilgrim references along the way. A cruceiro with a figure of Santiago in the village of Trasmonte, for example, the church of Santiago in Olveiroa, with a statue of St. James inside as well as on the tympanum outside, probable pilgrim hospital in the place of that name (apart from those already mentioned in Cée and Corcubión), the church of Santiago at Ameixenda, 2km south of Cée with a relic reputed to be of one of St. James’ fingers, a large statue of San Roque in pilgrim gear in the church of San Marcos in Corcubión, a statue of St. James in the church of Santa María das Areas in Finisterre with a cemetery chapel that formerly belonged to its pilgrim hospital and two references to San Roque in place names: the Encrucijada or Alto de San Roque at the top of the hill leaving Corcubión and the San Roque area at the entrance to Finisterre. Then, 3km from Muxía, on the route direct from Hospital, you pass the Capilla San Roque, with a statue of San Roque Peregrino inside, with a wound on his right leg, an angel/child and dog at his feet, a stick and wearing a pilgrim hat with a scallop shell on it.

 

  After pilgrim accounts of their journeys along the Camino francés the route that those in the past most frequently wrote about was the continuation to Finisterre - Muxia. These came from various European countries and were in several different languages, including the 17th c. Italian Domenico Laffi, four times a pilgrim to Santiago, who describes his visit to the church of Santa María das Areas, 2km before the “end of the earth” itself.

 

  It has always been possible to walk there avoiding main roads but, although numbers have increased very considerably in the last few years, at present only a relatively small percentage of those who make the pilgrimage to Santiago continue on to Finisterre. This was initially due to lack of information and route-finding difficulties but now that the entire route has been well-waymarked and that there are refugios and other accommodation at convenient intervals along the way, those who feel their journey would be incomplete without continuing to the “end of the earth” will find it much easier to do so. And as indicated above, pilgrims in past centuries also continued on to the Santuario de Nosa Señora da Barca in Muxia, 29km further up the Atlantic coast, to the north of Finisterre. This route is also waymarked, both directly from Hospital and from Finisterre and both options are described here.

 

  Continuing to the coast on foot is definitely worth the effort. Finisterre is the real end of the journey, both in the physical sense and in the religious and historical one. You will pass a number of interesting small churches, pazos (large Galician country houses), fountains, cruceiros (wayside crosses) and old bridges along the way, apart from (if you have already walked to Santiago) the now familiar hórreos (raised granaries, frequently very long), as well as (in season) a lot of very large, very bright blue hydrangeas, and the scenery is often beautiful. It is a very peaceful route and, as there are still relatively few walkers, the route is quite different from the often motorway-like Camino francés before Santiago in July and August. It does rain a lot in this part of Spain, of course, and it is often misty in the mornings, but on the walk to Finisterre (and especially if you continue on to Muxía), you will have the opportunity to see something of the real Galicia, away from the big towns.

 

  How long does it take?

Allow at least three days, preferably four, to walk to Finisterre, with possibile overnight stops in Negreira, Olveiroa, either Cée or Corcubión and Finisterre itself, plus a day for the (recommended) continuation to Muxía. The actual walking is not hard but there are a lot of climbs and descents.

 

  Waymarking

The route is waymarked with the familiar yellow arrows and they lead you from the first one by the Carballeira de San Lourenzo in Santiago, all the way to Finisterre/Muxía. The route is also marked with concrete bollards with both the blue and yellow stylised ceramic shell familiar from parts of other caminos (and whose rays normally indicate the direction you should take). Many of these marker stones also give the distance remaining to Finisterre while others show the number of kilometres still to go to Muxía.

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delhommeb at wanadoo.fr - 09/01/2013