Cycling to the end of the world is a tough job, but someone has to do it.
Two things: a) I did not have to do it, the tradition is that the camino keeps going after Santiago and coming to the beach was extremely appealing to me, b) now we know that Finisterre is not the end of the world, it’s name however was kept in Latin from Finis Terrae. But it was so believed many years ago when people was scared of the sea becoming ignited by the sun during sunset.
I stayed at what initially seemed the best albergue I witnessed ever in my life -which equals to the number of albergue stays in the camino-, that would have been the case if this morning I did not wake up from bytes of something all over my arms and neck.
I took a shower, packed my stuff and analyzed the route to Finisterre while waiting for breakfast to be offered at 9am. This would have been the first time I did not follow the camino at all. I used the maps apple app from my phone and fixed it on the handle bar. This was also the first time I did that, previous rides were going through mud, dust, shit, water, etc. but this one was meant to be a clean ride on the secondary highway. I did not care missing the towns in between, I had plenty of them, I just wanted to get to my destination. The lady at the albergue was very friendly, I asked for triple portions of everything and she still charged me €2.
I did my usual morning ritual, weight the panniers, balance them, lube the chain, load salsa, warm up with some running/cycling/swimming/yoga postures, wear gloves, sunglasses and helmet, reset the speedometer, and start recording the route on the strava iPhone app. I felt observed and realized a line of kids was watching me right across the street following instructions from their teachers, which could also have been my own kids judging by their ages. I forgot how small people can be when you are very young. I waved hello to them. They looked like little adults going to work. I thought about their parents and the extra responsibility they were carrying at work, I wondered if their bosses looked at them as one more replaceable employe or like the income earner of a complete family. I thought in admiration about how many sacrifices their young parents might have been going through for them to be where they were. I looked back at my reality, jumped on salsa and started riding.
This was a hard ride, I rode at a descent speed along the highway nonstop until I reached 45km. I stopped for lunch, baguette, tomato, anchovies, cheese and tangerines. I got water from a gas station and kept going. I missed being at the camino but I was happy to be on the real world. I did not have to worry about the road obstacles this time, there was no short analyzing of the road and no immediate decision making to not hit a stone, or fall. Just the long highway, pedaling, trying relax the tight shoulders -typical in me when road riding-, becoming aerodynamic when facing front winds… Other than those low mind demanding activities, I just got to ride and think about nothing, or tried to.
I got to see some sea and got very excited, I stopped following the map and zoomed the long downhill to get to the port only to realize that I took the wrong exit. I refused to get back and instead I kept going through the ports to catch up with the original road.
Made it to Finisterre at around 4pm and decided it was too early to stop at the albergue so I kept cycling to the lighthouse. This was the end of the Camino de Santiago, although some continue to Muxia. I climbed up and got to be at the westernmost point of Spain.
When I bought salsa I was told on a Henry Ford style, you can get any color of this 2012 model type of bike as long as is orange. Tested that and other bikes extensively, loved the color and took it. As I was riding out of the lighthouse a big bus of tourists just parked and a large group of people came out. One person yelled at me “I saw you in Santiago yesterday”. Surely he recognized my face and muscles I thought… I went back to the town and found my friend Giovanni. We had a quick chat and went to find an albergue out of the touristic area and close to the beach.
Took salsa all the way to the beach, got ready to swim but only got to put my feet into the cold water and threw myself to the sand after a 100+km ride in the day and 1,000+km in Spain.
The people at the albergue was very nice, they took my dirty clothing, washed it, pulled it out of the wash machine and hanged it for me. I went for dinner at a local place I asked people around. Even when it was at the waterfront I would have never found it myself as it did not stand out for any particular reason. The seafood I had there was the best I had in the camino. I started with razos shell (Navajas), followed by scallops and squids.
The lady pointed at the beach where all these was caught from not long ago. I then walked back to the hotel and to the beach for sunset with a friend from the albergue. We arrived and met at a fireplace at the beach with other pilgrims. I got to share some camino thoughts with other fresh-finishers while watching the sunset and having some of their beers. The big cities are very impressive but this place is by far the most appealing one I’ve been to so far. I got to meet someone who finished the camino, she wanted to stay here for some days which became three years up to now. Tempting… But not quite for me yet. I still have other appointments to attend as this is just the start of the journey.