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Before we began the celebrations the day before, I made plans to take a bus to Fisterra so I could hike to Finesterre, once believed to be the edge of the world. I was fortunate enough to buy a bus ticket off of another pilgrim. She didn’t have time to make it there and back in time to start her journey home, plus she gave me a discount since I was a pilgrim myself.
Before I took the bus to Fistera, I decided to attend the famous pilgrim’s mass in Santiago. I got into the church with just enough time to grab a seat in the back next to, you guessed it, some guy that didn’t speak english. I was lucky to get a seat beause by the time Mass began, there were at least a couple hundred people standing to see the service. Of course, the service was in Spanish so I didn’t really understand much, but I would have gone to do the service again in a heartbeat. Going to the final pilgrim’s mass is another one of those long standing traditions for pilgrims to do. The biggest draw for most pilgrims to this Mass was the swinging of the incense. It swings from one ceiling at one end of the church to the other! I don’t know if it’s true or not, but someone told me that one reason it swings so far throughout the sanctuary is because the masses of pilgrims that used to join there for Mass made the place smell so bad from their journey that the swinging the incense was the only thing that helped to mask the smell.
It was about a miles worth of backtracking on the Camino to get to the bus station, but at least I didn’t have to hike the whole way to Fisterra. In my mind, the bus ride would have taken about an hour or so. It actually lasted for about 3 hours. We made a few stops for a bathroom break for the bus driver, and then we picked up a friend of the bus driver who apparently just along for the ride because he was bored and had nothing else better to do that day. The driver didn’t really make it a priority to get us there quickly, probably because there were only 4 of us on the bus: me, another pilgrim, the bus driver, and the bus driver’s friend. On a side note, I’ve never been car sick, but I’m pretty sure I came close to yacking a few times. There were so many twists and turns and for most of them, the driver wouldn’t slow down too much.
After the long bus ride, I got off and started searching for my hostel I’d made a reservation for earlier that day. While wandering around searching for it, I ran into Sally and a couple of friends of hers, Chris (Australian) and Tess (Dutch). After chatting for a bit, they invited me to come stay with them at the hostel just about a mile away. The hospitalero wasn’t there when we arrived, but Chris and Tess assured me that he’d be cool with it.
The 3 of them had already made the 5 km hike to Finisterre earlier that day. I wanted to make it there before sunset, so I took down their directions and took off at a jogging speed to make it there by sunset. I was running short on daylight, so I decided to take what I thought was a shortcut up a dirt trail. It was not a shortcut, and I was sure that I was probably heading in the opposite direction of the coast at that point. Again, I was reminded of how horrible my sense of direction was. As the sun went down, I decided to just backtrack and head back to the hostel and wake up early to catch a sunrise hike.
By the time I got back to the hostel, the hospitalero was back and I payed him for the night. He was really laid back, and even shared s few drinks with us for no charge. He also offered us a smoke of something which was not tobacco to which I politely refused. In my traveling experience, sharing water bottles, food, cigarettes, or even a cigarette “alternative” gets you sick real quick and real easy. I opted to go to bed early so I could get an early start on my morning hike to the “edge of the world.”
Distance: 3 hour bus ride (don’t know how many km, but apparently, it usually takes about 2-3 days to hike there).
Accommodation: Can’t remember where I stayed, but there were plenty of places to stay in this quaint little town.