*I can’t actually tag the lighthouse on the map, but you can see it labelled “Faro de Fisterra” at the very tip of the peninsula.
You definitely want to make sure you schedule some time in your Camino to make your way out to the lighthouse. It’s a bit more touristy and commercialized than would be ideal, but nevertheless, you’ll be disappointed if you don’t go.
You’ll want to get a picture with the 0,0km marker. For me, this felt more significant than even the cathedral in Santiago. This, to me, felt like the real finish line of my Camino trek.
You’ll also want to see the lighthouse, and head around back to stand on what was historically believed to be the edge of the world, the westernmost point of Europe. Today we all know that neither of these 2 beliefs is accurate, but it still feels a bit awe-inspiring to stand on the point of a small peninsula surrounded by the Atlantic ocean on 3 sides.
We took it a step further and did a very dangerous thing. I was a bit disappointed by how far away from the ocean we were. The peninsula is quite a ways up from sea level, so you don’t actually get near the water. And when we were there, the ocean was entirely covered in low clouds. This was magical, in that it seemed like we were floating in the sky on a big rock, looking down on the clouds… but at the same time, I had come here wanting to see the ocean!
The edges of the peninsula aren’t exactly cliffs, but they’re far from being safe for a stroll. Or maybe they are cliffs, just not a sheer vertical drop. Either way, I wanted to get closer to the ocean.
So, the three of us made a reckless decision and very cautiously climbed down the rocks until we got to the point where it really was a vertical drop, and we couldn’t get any lower.
Would I do this dangerous climb again next time? Definitely not.
Would I recommend you do it? Definitely not.
Would any of our mothers approve of this dangerous thing we did? Definitely not.
But if I could change the past, would I go back and change my decision? Definitely not!
You may also wish to pick a worn out article of Camino clothing and burn it symbolically behind the Lighthouse.
There is a story that some historical person of relative Camino significance (St. James himself maybe? I really don’t remember who) walked from Santiago to Finisterre, to “the edge of the world,” and burned his clothes there. Then he cleansed himself in the ocean, and walked back to Santiago, purified in body and spirit. I wish I remembered the story well enough to give it to you in full, accurate detail, but that is the gist of it anyway.
Now, pilgrims are often inspired by this story to burn things behind the Lighthouse. When you get there, you’ll see the charcoal evidence of all the burnt shrubs that cover the ground.
On the way back into Finisterre, we took the trail along the back side of the peninsula, rather than following the road again. To get to the trail, you have to cut through the parking lot and climb up over the hill. It’s beautiful. There are spectacular views, and it’s just nice to get one last stretch of Camino time walking through nature. Eventually, this trail leads you around the outskirts of the back of the town and you can make your way to what people call the “hippie beach.” This beach has a boardwalk and everything. It’s beautiful.
At the “hippie beach,” I got to go swimming in the ocean for the first time in my entire life! I was so excited! I’ve seen the ocean before in Canada, but I’ve never gone swimming in it.
I’ll be honest, I was a bit intimidated by the waves, so when I say I went “swimming” in the ocean, what I really mean is I went wading. Yep, I stood in ocean water up to about mid-thigh! And I ducked down to dunk my whole body into this safely shallow water! But to be fair, the waves at this point were at least waist high, so I feel I should get a little bit more “ocean cred” than just “waded up to her thighs.”
Oh! And I don’t know why I was surprised, but I accidentally got a mouthful of salt-water, and for some reason, I was really shocked by just how salty it tasted! I remember being taught as a kid that if you’re ever stranded on the ocean, the worst thing you can do is drink the water because its high salt content will just make your body even more dehydrated. Well, honestly, having tasted ocean water, I don’t know how anyone could ever deliberately drink it!
Once back in Finisterre, after showering off the saltwater, Kevin and I went out for a romantic dinner for two at the Restaurante Tearron.
GO TO THIS RESTAURANT!
I wish I remembered exactly what I ordered. I think there were 2 steak options on the menu, and I’m not sure which one I ordered or what it was called. But it was a steak of some kind of red meat, and it came with some kind of creamy, cheesy sauce on it, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. I remember going on and on about how good it was as I was eating it. Months later, I remember talking about it with Kevin as I reminisced about it. At that point, I asked him if I had given him any to try; he scoffed and told me he was pretty sure that if he had so much as suggested I give him some, he probably would have lost an arm.
What did you think of the lighthouse? Is it disappointingly commercialized, or just perfect? And have you tried out the 2 different beaches in Finisterre? Do you have a favourite beach? And do you have a favourite Finisterre restaurante? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Join me next time for “Day 37: Bus Ride Back to Santiago”
And remember, my Camino 2015 posts come out every Thursday and Sunday!