The Camino Trail 2017 – Reaching Santiago…Then Heading to Muxia and Finisterre

Day 25- Reaching Santiago de Compostela- 25 km.

Last week, I published my Camino post one day earlier than usual. I wanted to open this new entry with arriving in Santiago. Arriving here can be an indescribably moving experience, and the thought of it filled me with anticipation. Above, are photos of our two separate entrances to Santiago. The first is after our 110 km trek in 2010. The latter is from earlier today. Sadly, much of the exterior of the cathedral is currently undergoing restoration. This definitely damped the quality of our arrival photo. It also may have been a sign of things to come. After twenty-five days of extended periods of peace and tranquility on the trail, the loud, chaotic, ‘hurry up and wait’ pace of this diverse, bustling city was a bit overwhelming…and not quite the arrival experience that we had imagined. Richard and I responded in the best way that we knew how. We had a 5 p.m. dinner, ordered a large pitcher of Sangria and retired early (to a private hotel room…with our own bathroom). Tomorrow would be a brand new day!

Day 26 – Rest Day in Santiago de Compostela.

And today was much more enjoyable! Although the crowds and fast-pace remained, somehow none of it seemed to be quite as daunting. We began the morning by waiting in line, for almost two hours, to receive our ‘compostela certificate’ as well as our certificate of the ‘official’ distance that we had walked so far this year on the Camino Trail (604 kilometers). In line, we met a very engaging couple from Western Australia. It is remarkable how good quality conversation can make time pass so quickly! We then attended mass in the cathedral. This service included the famous swinging of the botafumeiro (large, metal incense burning container). As this feature is quite expensive (more than 400 USD each time that it is operated), it is not included in every service. We were very grateful to have been able to witness this ceremony both at this mass, and during our 2010 visit.We also stopped by the Camino Museum, had wine and tapas for dinner and attended to the mundane…but very, very necessary washing of our hiking shoes. Seriously…check out the before and after photos!

Day 27 – Santiago de Compostela to Negreira – 21 km.

“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” said every fiber of my being as I got up this morning and prepared to continue walking. “But we already have the certificate,” protested some of my body parts even more loudly. I’d love to say that today’s walk was a breeze…but it just wasn’t so. Beautiful? Yes. And we passed some amazing scenery, quite unlike other views that we had seen before. In the suburbs of Santiago, we even fantasized about living in one of the gorgeous haciendas that we passed. Sadly, none of that was distraction enough from the LONG, 2.8 kilometer climb from Augapesada to Trasmonte. But, we did make it. (With me questioning why we had ever decided to take on this portion of the trek, and Richard barely breaking out in a sweat!) When we arrived in Negreira, we chose an alberge next door to a large grocery store so that we could prepare our own dinner. I just couldn’t eat one more piece of bread or heavy meat. And Richard would have a tantrum if there was any more tuna hiding in his salad, pretending to be a vegetable!

Day 28 – Negreira to Santa Marina – 21 km.

The author of our guidebook, John Brierly, suggested that today’s route end in Olveiroa, and thus consist of 33.8 km (36.9 when accounting for the climbs involved). However, he is also the same author who wrote that after completing this stage he stumbled up the stairs, saw “surreal images” (hallucinated?) and passed out in pure exhaustion. Not wanting to recreate his experience, we stopped in Santa Marina for the evening. We had plenty of time to chill out and meet more great people. Sadly, again we could not find reliable internet, so I needed to handwrite this post to be transcribed later.(Definitely not my favourite thing to do!)

Day 29 – Santa Marina to Dumbria (23.3 km).

Since we were both wide-awake quite early this morning, we began today’s hike an hour before full daylight (6:45 a.m). The walk was indescribably peaceful, and remained that way throughout the day. Part way through, our path divided towards Finisterre and Muxia. We wished to end our trek in Finisterre (long ago considered to be the ‘end of the world’…and a traditional spot for Camino pilgrims to burn their hiking clothes)! So, we headed towards Muxia — definitely the road less traveled. It was one of our favorite hiking days so far. When we stopped in Dumbria for the evening, we passed on the ultra new and modern auberge (only six euros) because we wanted to have wi-fi. We stayed instead at a local pension (40 euros) that said that it offered wi-fi. And it did offer wi-fi until their restaurant closed (5:30 pm)…giving us less than two hours of internet use during our stay. That’s Camino karma for you!

Day 30 – Arriving in Muxia – 22.3 km.

Although we plan to finish our Camino in Finisterre, when we arrived in Muxia, we were overwhelmed with the feeling that we were at the end of our walking journey. This small fishing port (population 5,000) quietly radiates that it is special. Its scenery is beautiful and its beaches are stunning (and surprisingly uncrowded…at least when we were there). As a pilgrimage site, Muxia holds much significance. It is said that the Virgin Mary came here by boat to visit Saint James. When near shore, her boat crashed. Its pieces became petrified into stone (believed by many to be some of the same stones still seen here today). Regardless of one’s belief, this site can’t help but fill you with wonder and respect for all of the history that came before us.

Day 31 – Muxia to As Eiras – 15 km.

We loved Muxia and found it to be both peaceful and fascinating. Before heading back on the trail, we once again visited the famous rock formations. One of the rocks, said to be formed from the sail of St. Mary’s ship, is also said to cure arthritis if you pass under/around it nine times. And one of us (the one without arthritis) successfully completed this ritual in proxy for the other. If that’s not true love, what is? When we made our final stop before Finisterre, we jinxed ourselves by bragging (just to each other) that except for two small blisters each, long since healed, neither of us received any illness or injury in our 700 kilometer walk. Shortly after saying this, Richard fell out of the hammock, that he was attempting to relax in, and received a large bruise and scrape. Seriously, I’m not a talented enough writer to make this stuff up!

Just 17 kilometers left to go!
To be continued…

36 Replies to “The Camino Trail 2017 – Reaching Santiago…Then Heading to Muxia and Finisterre”

  1. I have throughly enjoyed traveling the trails with you! Great journal entries and pictures. Sounds like it has been a marvelous holiday! !

    1. Hi, Georgia – Thank you for your kind words. had mentioned in a comment before that blogging on the trail was often more difficult than hiking the trail. I greatly appreciate you following!๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Thanks so much, Anabel. Since we started in Najera (where we left off last year) we added on Muxia and Finisterre to make it a full 700 km. We are so glad that we added on this extra trek. The scenery, and history, are stunning!
      I just attempted to comment on your Calgary write-up, but received a ‘crash report’. Hopefully that comment went through. Great post!

  2. I am in awe, Donna, of the distance you both covered in that time. You are right the difference in the before and after photos of your hiking shoes is like night and day. I hope you are going to frame your certificates and display them with pride in your home..that is truly an accomplishment to be proud of. =)

    1. Hi, Susan – Thank you so much for your encouragement. Richard and I have recently arrived in Finisterre, successfully completing our 720+ km journey. We will definitely look for an appropriate place for our certificates. We are very grateful that we had the opportunity to complete this ‘bucket list’ item!

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ƒWe were thinking of being a bit more environmentally-friendly and only burning our socks. ๐ŸŽ‰My shoes have washed up like new…but Richard’s are already falling apart (which has made him a bit cranky)!

  3. Since you two don’t look a day older, it’s good that the cathedral is undergoing restorations, otherwise no difference with 2010 would have been noticeable in the Santiago photos. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I can imagine that the arrival in Santiago was quite the contrast with most of your hike – overwhelming and hectic; back to civilization, the human race at its human pace…

    I can’t believe that you guys decided to keep going after the “big” destination. But, of course I understand. I’m sure you found peace again those last days and the scenery looks different, if not as or more scenic and inviting than before!
    Liesbet recently posted…Monthly Expenses โ€“ July 2017My Profile

    1. Thanks so much, Liesbet – Your continued kind comments have made Richard a number one fan of yours!๐ŸŽˆI was already a big fan!

  4. Well done Donna. You have had an incredible journey filled with fantastic memories. The feeling of accomplishment must be awesome along with the experiences and the people you met along the way.

    1. Hi, Fran – We are now fresh off of the trail, so have not had time yet to process much. We are incredibly grateful to have had the ability to complete this trek together. Thank you for following!

    1. Hi, Sue – I was hoping that I could find internet today so that I could wish you a very happy birthday! ๐ŸŽ‰Thanks so much for following. Now that we have finished the trail, I am looking forward to catching up on my favourite back posts that I have missed!

  5. Donna, I have so enjoyed reading your posts about your journey. I love the photos too, and the one of the rooftops at the top of this post reminds me of how I loved the skyline in Lisboa and of other Portuguese communities when we travelled there. It must be frustrating trying to find Internet services or having inconsistent access when you are already tired from a long day of walking. Your postcard posts have all turned out so well!

    Dr Sock recently posted…Moving to a New HouseMy Profile

    1. Hi, Jude – Thank you for your kind and wise words. I keep reminding myself that ‘no self-respecting pilgrim’ would be looking (so desperately) for internet. I think that the Camino has been sending me a message! We are now in Finisterre in a quaint old hotel (from 1958) that doesn’t even claim to have internet. We decided it was easier (and less frustrating) that way

  6. Donna, honestly no one would ever guess that you had Internet problems while on the trail. You’ve done an incredible, thorough job of posting, replying to comments on your posts, and reading and commenting on everyone else’s posts. You’re amazing, and not just because of the Camino.
    I love that you knew when you’d reached the end of your walking journey. It’s just another example of the awareness that you’ve demonstrated throughout your trip.

    1. Thanks for your very kind comments, Karen. Even though we are now officially finished the trail, we are still in Finisterre and finding reliable internet continues to be an issue. I have now become very efficient (or should I say ‘annoying’) at grabbing my phone and working on my blog whenever we are anywhere near wi-fi. I know that I will be horrified when I get home to my computer and fast internet and attempt to proofread these posts and comments properly!๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Hi, Christie -You are too kind! I can’t imagine running the distances that you do. Actually. I can’t imagine running any distances at all…unless there was a fire!๐Ÿ˜ŽThank you for following!

  7. Donna, by the time I’ve read this you might have completed your final journey! What an incredible experience and to be able to share it all with your readers is amazing! After tripping and falling just walking my dogs, makes me wonder if I would even survive a trek like this! Truly you are an inspiration to us all!

    1. Hi, Terri – Thanks for following! We have finished our trek but are still in Finisterre chilling out. Being the far superior athlete to me, you would have no problem with this hike. Hope you are healing well!

  8. Thank you for sharing your amazing journey. Your travel writing has definitely got this journey on my bucket list. Amazing.

    1. Thanks so much, Gail. This trip is definitely ‘bucket-list worthy’. Knowing everything that we now know, we would unquestionably do it again…and not change a thing!

    1. Hi, Ally Thanks for coming along! I greatly appreciate it. I hope that your ‘August luck’ has turned around in your favour!

    1. Hi, Kathy -Thank you for your warm words. Richard and I have arrived in Finisterre (and are still there). I will send out an update early this week. Thank you for coming along!

  9. I’m just getting to this post (we had wall-to-wall house guests and I couldn’t slip away to read my favorite blogs, darn it) and realize that I’m reading and commenting a bit out of sequence. Anyway, I continue to be amazed at your adventure. You have done such a great job keeping up with your posts and making us feel like we are right there with you (without those pesky blisters).
    Janis recently posted…GratiTuesday: Getting HighMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Janis – I greatly appreciate you following along. All of the support and encouragement made a very positive difference. Hope you survived your wall-to–wall company!

  10. I’ve enjoyed reading about your Camino experience – especially since I will likely never do it. It takes a special kind of mental toughness and physical fortitude to put one foot in front of the other day after day for such a long journey. I’m not surprised your body would then issue complaint for a ‘mere’ 3k walk ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think these hiking boots have deserved the right to be retired ๐Ÿ™‚
    Joanne Sisco recently posted…August In The Rearview MirrorMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Joanne – If you ever do decide to hike the Camino, I believe that you would greatly enjoy it…and be a real ‘natural’ at it! The mental toughness that both you and Helen have demonstrated in tackling The TransCanada Trail truly leaves me humbled!

  11. Santiago is a lovely place. My wife enjoyed being there with me too. Ah, this post makes me nostalgic. Lol. The shoes were nicely cleaned. “Professional Level” I would say. haha.

    Thanks anyways.

    1. Hi, Steve – Thanks for reading and commenting. I am sure that we will be nostalgic about so much of our Camino experience, for many years to come. It really is a remarkable experience!

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