Day One on the Camino to Finisterre, after leaving Santiago de Compostela, is a beautiful Camino through an enchanted forest, medieval towns and gorgeous countryside. My day, of walking alone for the first time, brought many new insights into my soul. It was a wonderful day!
After my personal trial of waiting around in Santiago de Compostela for two days, for my friend to get better from an illness, I felt as free as a bird. We decided that I was to go ahead and start my Camino from Santiago and we would meet further along the way. As I set out alone on the first leg to Finisterre, the feeling of exaltation was very empowering. I was, for the first time, on my own, very personal Camino.
The actual day one of the Camino Finisterre is not very difficult, as as you can see from the Gronze.com map, below, they rate the walk a one out of three for difficulty. The elevation map shows very little change in elevation, and the Camino de Santiago a Fininsterre, on this first leg is an ambling little up and down way.
The total distance of this leg of the Camino Finisterre is 20.6 and it took me five and a half hours, leaving sharp at 8:00 a.m. I had a wonderful buffet breakfast, where we stayed, at the Hospedería San Martín Pinario and even pilfered a bit for a my coffee break along the way.
I did stop in Aguapesada for my snack and a café con leche and I was glad I did, as it helped to power me up the hill afterwards. The 200 meter climb, which wasn't more than a few kilometers, probably took me a half-an-hour to complete. It was the most strenuous part of this day one on the Camino Finisterre.
I arrived in Negreira at 1:30 p.m., in time for lunch at the local café bar. It was the earliest I had ended my day, from any prior legs on the Camino Inglés just prior to this.
I was walking more energetically on my own, than with my Camino partner. I was not lonely at all, but found that on this leg, there was truly no one who desired to engage with me. Perhaps I was exuding an aura that said, this leg is for me, and for me alone. I thoroughly enjoyed every step of the way! I had no one to be responsible for but myself. I felt jubilant!
I voice-journaled frequently on my cell phone along this leg of the Camino. It was a very special time for me, and very emotional to be on my own Camino. It was certainly the first time I had ever done anything like this before; in a foreign country and walking on my own!
I had scoped out The Way to Finisterre and its start, the day before, so I was all set. The Way starts in the northwest corner of the Plaza do Obradoiro, on the west side of the Cathedral de Santiago.
The first steps take you down the Rúa das Hortas, shown below. The Igrexa de San Frutuoso church is on your left, just after the plaza, followed by a police station. You can see a police car parked in front of the church.
There is a fountain just opposite the church, above, so if you haven't filled your water bottles, here is your chance. The water, as stated on the fountain, is potable.
If you look back over your shoulder as you head down the street, you see this lovely view of the cathedral, receding in the distance.
I, however, left at 8:00 a.m. and it was still dusk in September, and somewhat of a rainy day, so the light was very low as I laid eyes on the first waymark. I was thrilled to see that there were also kilometer markers on the the waymark. Here is the 88 kilometer waymark at the start of my day one on the Camino Finisterre.
The Finisterre Way winds around town and soon makes way to rural roads like below. I was in awe of these high-walled roads with the flowers sprouting from the top. I am not sure what they were, these Wisteria-like, lilac-colored blooms. If you know, please comment below and let me know!
There were many more signs that also waymarked the route, such as the one below. Even though I had my reference guide from the Confraternity of St. James, I almost never referred to it because the Way was so well marked.
Day One on the Camino Finisterre continues on through more high-walled paths, that truly made me feel like I was getting ready to join a bigger Way, where many paths meet, just around that corner and that high wall! I was indeed in a Tolkien fantasy-land.
A truly magical moment occurred as I continued to climb out of the city of Santiago de Compostela and looked back at the roof of clouds that prolonged the sunrise. This vista below, was stunning and the light framed the cathedral to perfection. What a treat!
The double waymark was a common sight on day one of my Camino Finisterre. It truly was very difficult to get lost. This waymarking was more prominent that I was used to, on the Camino Inglés.
One of the first small towns along the Finisterre Way, was this charming town. A lovely local woman was in front of me, walking down the road with her small black dog. As I raised my cell phone camera to take a shot of her and the waymark on the wall by me, she turned the corner! Oh bummer, I missed the shot! Instead, I got this one, below, a perfect view of her doggie, looking like it was HE who was leading the way! Don't you just love serendipity!
The rainy day was trying to lift, and the rolling hills were very verdant from the deluge we experienced in Santiago de Compostela the days before. Hiking to Monte Pedroso in the deluge there was the most rain I have even been in, in the outdoors, I think.
I was fascinated by the countryside and the palm tree growing tall next to this home. On day one of the Camino Finisterre, you will see many such little hamlets as pictured here. The Way was going downhill, for a long way, into this hamlet, down, down, down.
More photos of the hamlets along the Finisterre Way...
Some of the roads were very rural and very long, which made me a bit nervous if I hadn't seen a waymark in awhile. Yet, always, somewhere around a bend, a waymark would appear, much to my relief! Heading off into the unknown, by myself, was certainly a pilgrimage experience that pushed me to some interesting edges!
For me, this day one of my Camino Finisterre was about seeing what was ahead. Being with myself only and what's ahead. I allowed myself to conquer my fear and become the adventuress that I had always wanted to be, even since I was a child.
I have often wondered, as long as I can remember, when I am on a road, where did it go? Where did it end? What would happen if I just stayed on this road until it ended? I allowed this spirit, deep in me, to finally surface. This spirit of adventure is deeply attractive to me and I could see why the constant movement of the physical and spiritual journey could become addictive.
Doing the Camino alone, is very interesting, shall I say, because you really don't know what's around the bend. You gotta go see! And trust that what you see is just what it is! And what is, is there for YOU!
I suppose I got sidetracked there, on my personal reflections. It can happen to you too!
Can you spot the double waymarks among the ubiquitous grape vines?
More walls, fences, palm trees and mist...common sights for me on the Camino Finisterre.
I loved running into the local support for the Camino de Santiago. Here, a home owner had decorated his fence with many shells! It was such a welcoming sight to a weary pilgrim along the way. So gorgeous!
After Aguapesada, as stated earlier, the Finisterre Way starts to climb
for a considerable time. A coffee break here is a wonderful opportunity
to refuel, if you are so inclined! Soon after Aguapesada, one encounters the forest in the photo, below.
Is this an enchanted forest or what? Looks like something straight out of Tolkien's The Hobbit. The September season, when this photo was taken, had given the ferns an autumn red hue. The green vines growing up the trees also gave this forest such an enchanted look. I didn't have to see with new eyes, as everything was already so new and different to me!
About three-quarters of the way on day one of the Camino Finisterre, you come to the charming medieval town of Ponte Maceira. Here the Way crosses the river, the Río Tambre, on this old 13th century bridge.
The stone road crosses the bridge...
and leads you up and through the town...
As I continued on day one of my Camino Finisterre, along the old stone road through Ponte Maceira, I passed all these beautiful old stone buildings. This one looks like it has a coat of arms on it, doesn't it? I only regret now, that I didn't dally here longer. I guess I didn't realize how close I was to Negreira, and there was no open café bar to invite me to linger. The day was still gray, and I of course, always had my eye on the sky. So onward, I went.
Yet another amazingly quaint, old building, with a cruceiro out front that seemed to point the way up the street, for us pilgrims. And just look at the size of those hydrangeas! Bigger than I have ever seen.
The old stone road narrows as the road gives way from the town to the rural path once again.
A closer look at this narrowing street...
At last, on this day one of the Camino Finisterre, as I walked down a nice hill, into the town of Negreira, I spied this waymark, in a "T" in the road. 68.4 kilometers told the story of my 20 kilometer day. I had arrived in town at 1:30 and I was the first at my albergue along the main road. I was also, for the first time on my Camino, in time for lunch at a café bar before it closed for the midday siesta at 2:30 p.m.! I was one happy pilgrim, as I could fill my belly with food and beer before taking my own siesta!
This waymark, above, at the T in the road as you enter town, is by the tourist information booth. I turned right at the T for the Albergue Alecrin, a comfortable enough place with kitchen, living and dining communal spaces. (If you want a hotel you can click here to see your choices.)
Negreira is an OK town, with a nice supermercado (supermarket) up the main road along the Camino and to the left. This is where I got my food to cook my dinner and commune with the other pilgrims that night.
The town itself has only a few nice features, which I did not discover until the following morning at dawn, as you will see, if you click through to my Day Two on the Finisterre Way. On this day, I just preferred to lay low and enjoy some down time.
I was scheduled to meet my friend the next day, near Olveiroa, along the Way. She was going to walk the opposite direction from Olveiroa, until we met up and we would go together into the town. I was looking forward to our reunion!
I hope you enjoyed your vicarious tour of day one on the Camino Finisterre with me! I do so hope you decide to do your own extension of your Camino de Santiago to the End of the World. Best wishes from one wayfaring pilgrim to another!
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