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The Way of Fisterra. The Way of St. James

The Way of St James does not always finish in Santiago de Compostela. Arriving in Santiago de Compostela, a lot of pilgrims decide to continue their way around 90 km more until they arrive at Cabo Finisterre. It is a route full of symbolism. The culmination of the Way from Santiago de Compostela to Finisterre is proved with the Fisterrana, which is a document which certifies the achievement of the pilgrim.

The Cabo Finisterre goes 3 km into the sea. The Romans thought this was the most western point in Europe, the end of the Earth and so they named it, “Finis Terrae”. Nowadays, however, it is known that the Cabo de la Roca in Portugal and even the Cabo Touriñán in Galicia are far away to the West. This pilgrimage towards the West, following the course of the sun, was already present in the celtic towns. According to the tradition, the Apostle Santiago would have arrived at Finisterre in order to destroy the temple of Ara Solis, in which the pagans worshipped the sun.

Nowadays, the Cabo Finisterre has become the End of the Way, not only physical but also spiritual. Once there, it is typical for pilgrims to carry out three acts: purification, death and resurrection. The pilgrim purifies his/ her body having a bath on Langosteira beach. There, the pilgrim leaves behind all kind of dirt and impurities and starts a new vital stage. It is also a tradition the burning of the clothes which had been used during the journey, as a symbol of interior renewal. In the Cabo Finisterre there are two artificial burners to perform this ritual. Finally, pilgrims go up to the Lighthouse to contemplate the spectacular sunset this emblematic place offers its visitors, which symbolizes the death and the resurrection.

If you continue up to Muxia or from Santiago to Muxia directly without going through Fisterra, the Muxiana can also be obtained. This jacobean route, has its origin in the city of Santiago and its destination in the “Virxe da Barca Sanctuary” together with its environment of “saint stones”. The legend tells that the Virgin arrived at Muxia on a stone boat to encourage the Apostle in its preaching. The “saint stones” would be the remains of the boat in which the Virgin arrived and they are attributed curative properties. In this route that connects Fisterra and Muxia there is a spring in which the pilgrims traditionally washed themselves before going into the sanctuary, as a sign of respect and purification.

The Way of St. James is an introspective experience which should be lived at least once in one's lifetime. Travel with Monbus if you want to start the French Way from Sarria, or the Way of the North from Irun. If you have already arrived at Santiago you will surely have that extra deal of energy necessary to end the Way in Finisterre. That is why, if you decide to do this so traditional and symbolic route you can travel by bus to Santiago de Compostela. If you prefer, meet your family and friends and ask for a budget to rent buses and organise the journey the way you want.

Santiago de Compostela