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Published: September 12th 2015
Today we went on a tour to Finisterre, the end, and the Atlantic Coast with Jesus (as in heysús) as our guide. He picked us up in a van at our hotel before picking up six others at another hotel. So the nine of us headed west out of Santiago for a full day of adventures. Our first stop was a wide river with a picturesque Roman bridge, a wide, short waterfall and old mill. Everything is lush and green, we were glad to have only gray skies, no rain. Our companions were from Kentucky (a mother and adult son who spoke passable Spanish) and four Spanish men. Luckily Jesus' English was very good and easy to understand. We also visited the Waterfall of Ezaro that is much higher and falls into the ocean. It is at the base of a tall, rocky mountain that professional bike races like the Vuelta use. At each stop we were able to get out to explore and when a big bus arrived we were ready to leave. Much nicer to have a small group, we got to sit in the front seat so we could see everything.
The country has eucalyptus forests that they use for paper production, corn fields that they use to feed the dairy cows and some sheep amid rolling emerald hills. Galicia celebrates its Celtic heritage, lots of bagpipes and Celtic symbols reminded us of Ireland and Scotland. It was very quiet perhaps because it is Saturday. Next we visited Finisterre, kilometer "0" on the Camino, the edge of the world, the Atlantic Ocean. There is a lighthouse, several monuments and spots where pilgrims burn offerings, we saw a guy trying to burn a pair of shorts, mostly they just smoked. It was amazing to stand there and think of the David Whyte poems in his book, Pilgrim. The spot was a little touristy but there were rocks where you could grab a quiet moment. The ocean is spectacular lots of huge rocks and the rugged coast is known as the coast of ghosts because of all the shipwrecks over the years. After Finisterre we had a hearty lunch with mostly Spanish conversations, Gary did pretty well.
We visited the site of the Englishmen's Cemetery where they buried most of the crew (there were only three survivors) from HMS Serpent's shipwreck in 1890. Between the stone enclosure and the sea dozens of stone cairns have been created, a modern day remembrance, it looked like a stone forest with an ocean back drop. It is such a beautiful spot with hidden dangers, rocks, cliffs and swift currents. Of course now there are lighthouses and GPS to prevent most shipwrecks. One last stop at Faro de Vilan, a lighthouse, that they had to build twice because the first one was obscured from ships by a bigger rock. We are back in Santiago now preparing to fly to Madrid early in the morning and on to London in the early evening. We may have time and Internet in the airport tomorrow to write more. Now to pack and sleep!
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