Over the past two years I’ve spent nearly three months of my days in the beautiful country of Spain. I’ve seen a lot of it’s wonders. And yet, here I am at the ‘End of the Earth’- totally surprised and in awe of this beautiful rugged coast – unlike anything else I have seen in Spain.
I’m so glad we came.
Finisterre & Muxia are located on the Coste de Morte (Coast of Death), at the most western spot in Spain (and some argue in Europe). Located in the autonomous community of Galicia, both Spanish and Galician is spoken. The Coste de Morte is named thus because of the countless shipwrecks that have occurred on this rocky coast over the millennia.
For many pilgrims, this rocky coast is their final destination, after visiting the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. It’s a three-day walk to Finisterre and another day on to Muxia. For those who don’t have
the time, bus tours are available so pilgrims can come and see the historic and beautiful location.
It was Saint James who brought Christianity to the Iberian Peninsula. In 44 AD, he was beheaded in Jerusalem and his remains were brought back to Galicia. Following Roman persecutions of Spanish Christians, his tomb was abandoned in the 3rd century. In 814 AD, legends have the tomb rediscovered, and King Alfonso II of Asturias and Galicia is responsible for ordering the construction of a chapel to house the tomb, on the site where today’s Cathedral stands. This created the gradual development of the pilgrimage to the tomb.
As pilgrimage to Santiago grew, pilgrims also started arriving in Finisterre to worship and see the “End of the Earth”. The first hospital (hostel) was built in 1479.
For the people of ancient times, the Costa da Morte was the last redoubt of explored land, the westernmost part of continental Europe, the final stretch of an itinerary traced in the sky by the Milky Way.
Legend has this ‘End of the Earth’ also as the place where pilgrims would collect a scallop shell, to prove they had made the journey to the sea. The scallop shell has many meanings to pilgrims and the Camino de Santiago, read about that here.
So visiting Finesterre and Muxia was something we wanted to do. We had the time and seeing the Atlantic Coast of Spain was high on our list. Although the weather is cool and cloudy I’m still glad we came. The stormy coast is a great place to relax and enjoy a few cozy days before we continue on our journey. The End of the Earth as we know it. And I feel fine.
Note: We continue our Spanish journey in a few days. On to Sevilla, Malaga and Cadiz. Watch for more
about those destinations soon.
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