Europe, Galicia, Spain

Northwest Galicia Road Trip: Introduction

May 15-17, 2021

I am finishing up my time in Galicia and preparing to head back to the United States for the summer. Since the region opened in March, I have seized the opportunities most weekends to visit a part of Galicia accessible by bus, such as A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, and Santiago de Compostela. Galicia is a community where most of the gems are outside of those big cities.

I had been wanting to go to Finisterre for a while. The bus was quite difficult and would take nearly a whole day between transfers and waiting. So, this was on the back burner. I then found out that Cabo Touriñán was the westernmost point in Spain and not too far up from Finisterre. This is when the wheels started turning, and the idea to take a northwest coastal road trip before leaving Galicia came up. After renting a car for Ribeira Sacra with Corinne and Giselle, I felt confident in doing it myself. I found a Facebook post in one of our auxiliar groups where people were asking about plans for the long weekend (we didn’t have classes on Monday due to Galician Letters Day). I found someone named Sri who was looking to get off-the-beaten path, and we started messaging. She had another friend who was interested, and before we knew it, a trip was in the works!

We decided we would go up the west coast of Galicia along the Costa de la Muerte (Coast of Death) and up around the north. The Coast of Death refers to an approximately 200 kilometer stretch of coastline with violent waves, large capes, and rocky shores. Over the years, it has been responsible for many of shipwrecks and deaths.

Here is a picture of the area where the Coast of Death is, as well as a Google Map recap of the route we planned out. With a long weekend (puente), we had plenty of time to explore and had 1000 kilometers and a couple dozen sites laid out to see! We planned out a tentative itinerary, rented a car, booked two AirBNBs to stay the night in Fisterra and Ferrol, and then counted down the days until the weekend.

Here’s the Facebook post I wrote introducing the plan:

Well, in honor of my last weekend in Galicia, I’m going out with a bang. 1000+ kilometers in three days along the northwest coast of Spain. Passing through Costa da Morte (“The Coast of Death”), the 200 km coastline marking Europe’s western frontier that was once considered the to be the end of the world and the gate to the afterlife. It’s charaterized by coves, cliffs, abandoned beaches, dozens of lighthouses, and violent and choppy waters responsible for many shipwrecks and deaths over the centuries. I will stand at the westernmost and northermost points of Spain, trek through the forest to see one of the 19 waterfalls in the world that empties into the ocean, be immersed in national parks, archaeological sites from the 9th century BCE, cemetaries for those lost in the shipwrecks, Medieval-era churches, abandoned beaches, and more.

Oh, did I mention I’m doing this for 50€ a day? An idea that came up spontaneously, and I made happen. I couldn’t stand the idea of not seeing more of this province before I left. If you want to see the world, don’t forget that sometimes it’s not that far and not that expensive. I can’t wait to be back in New England and explore all the places that I’ve skipped over in my 24 years of existence, thinking that the only travel experiences were the ones far, far away.

It might be uncomfortable taking a plunge to make an idea happen, especially if you don’t have it all figured out. But, it’s worth it. “Travel far enough, and you’ll find yourself.”

Let the trip begin!

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