May 16, 2021
Fisterra is an old fishing and port town located on Cape Finisterre. After we checked out of our AirBNB (and struggled for far to long to get out of the garage), we went back downtown to the port of Fisterra and had breakfast. We asked a couple local men for a recommendation, and they pointed us in the direction of a very strange seafood restaurant/bar that was filled with other old men. Needless to say, we shifted location and went and found a more appropriate and typical cafe to enjoy some tostadas and coffee before continuing down the cape.
Castle of San Carlos
The Castle of San Carlos was built in the 18th century as a result of ongoing invasions along the Galician coast in the centuries prior. It is built in an interesting style to accomodate the rough terrain of the coast. It was burned down during thr Napoleonic invasion and rebuilt. Today, it houses the Museum of the Sea, but this museum and entry into the castle was closed due to COVID.
Igrexa de Santa María das Areas
This 12th century church was an unexpected stop, but we saw it on our way and decided to peek inside. Due to a service, we couldn’t fully explore the interior, but we were able to see the outside and the adjoining cemetary.
The End of the World
Cape Finisterre comes from the Latin finis terrae: “end of the earth.” During Roman times, it was believed to be the place where the sun died at dusk, and that the end of horizon was the entrance to the afterlife. Many pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago continue past the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela and follow the stars to Finisterre where they can go no further. The 0,0 km marker for the Camino can be found here.
When we were here the night before, the fog was so thick that we couldn’t even find the lighthouse. When we arrived today, it was right in front of us! This is typically a packed site, especially when more people are walking el Camino. Thankfully, there weren’t too many people, so we were able to walk around and enjoy the nature comfortably. We also met a few pilgrims who had finished their journey!
Praia do Rostro
After finishing in the beautiful Cape Finisterra, we continued up along the coast to a well-reviewed beach, Praia do Rostro. This is a two kilometer beach with strong winds that have created an extensive set of dunes. With the weather being a little bit better than before, this was our first beach stop that we were able to enjoy more thoroughly. We were the only ones there, and it was another moment of pure joy just walking around on the coast, barefoot in the sand, taking in this beautiful country.
On our way to the next stop on the list, we passed through a quaint, traditional town that we decided to stop and wander through for a little bit. Lires is a town in the municipality of Cee in the A Coruña province. It was pretty quiet. We enjoyed walking through, seeing a few more hórreos, some street animals, traditional architecture, and then made our way back to the car.
Caldeiras do Castro
The Caldeiras do Castro are natural pools formed by a large waterfall and rapids from the Castro River falling onto staggered rocks. You have to park near a recreational area and then begin walking down the path. There’s some rough terrain and a lot of steps, but it was incredibly worth it. This is a less-known site in Galicia, but it was beautiful.
While the Romans believed that Finisterre was the end of the world, we know now that’s not true. In fact, it’s not even the westermost point in Spain nor Europe. Cabo Touriñán in Muxía holds the title of westernmost point in mainland Spain. After we finished at the Castro River, we drove back towards the coast towards this peninsula.
The English Cemetery in Camariñas
We continued our drive up the Coast of Death to an intriguing site we had found, the English Cemetary. As I’ve mentioned before, this coastline has been the cause of many shipwrecks and deaths over the years. One specific wreck was the British ship “HMS The Serpent” on in 1890. Local villagers came to the site of the wreck and buried the corpses and hosted the few survivors. After British ships arrived at the scene, they built a stone wall to block off the place where people had been buried. It is marked with the following inscription: “In memory of the captain, officers and crew of the HMS Serpent. 172 were cast away here. November 10, 1890.”
We continued up the coast towards Ferrol, where we would be stopping for the night. There was a site of interest in Laxe, Praia dos Cristais, where old glass from a nearby glass factory had turned into stones and landed on the beach. What we didn’t realize is that it’s been many years since any of these glass crystals remained. So, after a quick look around, we decided to continue on towards downtown Laxe, walk around a little bit, and have a break for dinner.
Faro de Punta Nariga
Faro de Punta Nariga is in the town of Malpica de Bergantiños about a half hour north of Laxe. This lighthouse marks the end of the Coast of Death that we have been driving up for the last two days. While I was mesmorized by Finisterre, I would argue that this point was the most beautiful. I was completely in awe and filled with bliss. Galicia is such a beautiful region, and I was so grateful for this moment.
We spent quite a while here admiring the ocean, watching the sunset, and taking in nature. After, we said goodbye to the Coast of Death and continued our drive up towards Ferrol.
From here, we had a somewhat eventful time getting to our AirBNB in Ferrol. We arrived quite late around 11 PM, and although we had been in communication with our host about our plans for arrival throughout the day, he wrote my first negative review on AirBNB for my “tardiness.” Although, it was self check-in, so I’m not sure why our time of arrival mattered…. We also were under the impression we’d have three beds, but there were only two. Out of all the possible AirBNB horror stories, it could’ve been worst.
We settled in after a long day of exploring in better weather than the day before, and we were all asleep before we knew it.