There are no signs (that I saw) pointing you to the lighthouse (faro, in Spanish). Basically, you will walk up the bus stop street (away from the harbour) until you hit a T-junction. Here, you turn left and walk up the main road. You will follow it for several km, taking its twists and turns along the coast. At one point, you will pass the 12th-century Igrexa de Santa María das Areas (church) on the right and further up, you’ll pass a wind-blown pilgrim statue on your left. This will be your first good view of the faro. When walking along this road, PLEASE walk facing traffic, except when taking a tight curve (cross to the other side), and walk in single file if with others. I fully expected to see people mowed down on this road, the way they were walking! Main road, people, MAIN ROAD. If you are spending the night in Finisterre, there are several paths up the hills that look really intriguing which you could explore. I certainly wished I had the time – the views from up there must be amazing.
You’ll know when you’ve arrived to your destination by three things – a giant carpark, a giant lighthouse, and the km 0.0 marker. I was so sad not to have been able to walk to it but was so excited to see it anyway! And it was awesome to see other pilgrims trudging their way to the end – I actually meant my “Buen Camino” again!
The lighthouse and associated restaurant were closed – again, apparently May 28 is too early in the season. However, there were several stalls selling things like postcards and other tourist items. You can also get your sello here. But the highlight here is walking down the rocks to get as close as possible to the sea and contemplating the horizon. I took a few minutes to find a rock where there was no one was between me and the sea, sat for a while, and toasted myself with some juice and cookies. Vino Tinto would have been lovely but glass and rock…not a good combo.
On the rocks, pilgrims tend to burn something they used along the Way to symbolize many things: giving thanks for a safe completion, a sacrifice, a purification ritual, because everyone else is doing it, or because they don’t ever want to see that particular piece of clothing again. Whatever the reason, I am entertained by the irony of completing a traditionally Catholic pilgrimage with a ritual that more than likely has pagan roots (as determined by my Captain Crunch PhD – but seriously, apparently there is evidence there was some sort of sun worshipping and fertility rites happening in this area eons ago).
When I got back to the village, I wandered the streets for a bit – typical fishing village in that the streets were narrow and twisty. Ancient pirate protection. But conscious of time, I didn’t linger. The beach, or playa, was relatively easy to find because of the signs. I guess tourists find the beach more important than the lighthouse. My first look at the beach was disappointing – the tide was out and clouds were looming. However, the upside to the tide being out was that shells were ridiculously abundant on the sand. And to my delight, they were mostly Camino scallop shells in all sorts of sizes!
The bus back to Santiago is taken from the same spot it dropped you off in the morning. You can be back in the city for dinner or you could stay in Finisterre and witness the famous sunsets.