Finisterre, Muxía

Looking Home from the End of the World

Group 2 — Maureen, Savannah, and Weslee

Today was the finale to our experience here in Spain. We completed the Camino and spent the last couple of days in Santiago, basking in the afterglow of our accomplishment and immersing ourselves in the history and culture of this historic city. But today, we punctuated our Camino with a visit to the end of the earth. As our tour guide Davíd noted, there is a magic out here in coastal Galicia. The landscape feels untamed and ancient. Its Celtic associations add a dimension of mysticism. We embarked on this last excursion with excitement and anticipation. 

In the morning, we took a bus to Ponte Maceira and walked the medieval bridge. The river below cascades down from a small but picturesque waterfall. The banks were overgrown with wildflowers, and Savannah navigated through them on old water-smoothed boulders. The sight brought the old and sometimes dubious legends of the land to life.

River below the Roman bridge at Ponte Maceira
River below the medieval bridge at Ponte Maceira

We continued on to Costa da Morte, where we relaxed in the morning sun at a cafe by the water. There, serenaded by the bagpipes and drums of Celtic street musicians, we contemplated endings: the end of the continent, the end of the earth (for the ancient Romans of Iberia), and the end of our adventure together. 

At the Cascada del Ézaro, we traversed the rocky base of the magnificent waterfall. Wes gathered wild blackberries and longed to snatch little mullet from the shallows. Savannah and Maureen climbed over the giant boulders to find the best view of the misty deluge.

Cascade de Ezaro
Cascada del Ézaro

In Finisterre, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, our last group meal. We made toasts and expressed our gratitude for this opportunity to learn and explore together in this beautiful place. In the restaurant, overlooking the water, we wondered about where we would go next. For Wes and Savannah, it would back home to Florida. For Maureen, it was onto London to meet up with family. 

We carried these thoughts with us when we finally arrived at the rugged peninsular shore. Finisterre, which comes from the Latin words for “end of the earth,” juts out from the Galician coast into one of the westernmost points in continental Europe. We hopped from boulder to boulder down the cliff to take in the hazy horizon. Icy blue waves crashed up against the rocks and swirled around below. The ancient Roman’s edge of the world is marked by this stony turquoise boundary — beautiful and wild. But for us, the wonder transcended the visible landscape. The Galician coast of Spain touches the Atlantic, so our view west from this cape promised home on the other side. 

In the tradition of Camino pilgrims, we left small significant stones, messages, and our own personal contemplations out here — about this trip, about love and loss, those we came with, those we left at home, and those we carry in our hearts. Our stay ended too soon. As we bid farewell to the view and all that it meant to us, Wes let out a properly Ginsburgian “barbaric yawp.” We laughed and chattered on the walk back to the bus. But the day wasn’t over yet.

We made one last stop in Muxía, another peninsula further north. Our classmates flew kites to get aerial shots of the sapphire coast. We pondered the lore of St. James’ visit here millennia ago. In this place, in this state of mind, the legends seemed to leap out of the past and into our reality. Here, we were able to crawl down on the rocks level with the raging waves. It felt like another world. Crystal clear water splashed up around us littering the air with thousands of tiny azure droplets. Crabs, appearing as if carved from onyx, skittered in the crevices of the craggy coast. The hills above were blanketed in wildflowers of gold, white, and violet. In the sand and gravel, perfectly broken bits of quartz sparkled. Everywhere we turned, we found a postcard-worthy panorama. 

The ride back to the hotel was quiet and thoughtful. The vacant aisles between seats were filled with each of our personal ruminations. All of us will carry home so much more than we came with, and not just in kitschy souvenirs. We are exhausted and invigorated, joyful and sorrowful, but above all, truly grateful. This is the end, and so it feels.