Day 31.1: Non-Coastal Coastal Route to Finisterre

Day 31
Date: Thursday, Oct 6, 2016
Start: Muxia
Stop: Hotel Mar de Fisterra, Finesterre     👍👍
Distance (Day/Total): 33/755 km
High Temp: 18 C/64 F (Low:  11 C/52 F)

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

The Bella albergue in Muxia is a large, multi-story building.  The outside is nondescript but the inside is modern, all concrete, metal & wood affair with clean lines and artwork on the walls.  There is a large common room with a kitchen.  It has quirky touches like a black and white picture of a rooster to designate the men’s bathroom and a hen for the women’s.  But then, perhaps in a subtle nod to the gender self-identity debate raging through the chicken kingdom, there is a sign under each picture with the bathroom designation written out in multiple
It has private rooms for 2 and 4 people and also huge dorm rooms (20 bunkbeds for 40 people).  I opted for a bed in one of the dorm rooms.

IMG_3275I’m up by 6 am but remain in bed listening to a few people leave.  I get up around 7, grab my pack, sleeping bag, boots and sticks and make my way out.  I’m surprised at the hub of activity in the hallway.  I make my way to the common room, which has more people than I had expected.  With a silent apology to anyone’s breakfast I ruined, I dress quickly but nonchalantly.  I’m out the door by 7:30 am.  The way from Muxia to Finisterre has limited services and I want to pickup something to eat to take with me, e.g. empanadas or bread and cheese.  So, the night before, I had scoped out a bakery that was going to be open by 7 am.  It’s closed.  Hmmmm.  I decide to go ahead and go.  There is a bar about midway to Finisterre.  Allez!

The first couple of hours is all on a road.  Outside of town, there is a huge construction project. Perhaps a mall being built into the side of the mountain, practically on the beach.  It’s too big to be just a hotel or resort.  Sad!

Alternative Coastal Route from Lires

I make it to Lires, about the half way point to Finisterre.  It’s a small village but because of the location, there are a lot of Casa Rurals.  I come across the bar I mentioned earlier and it is closed.  I walk down further and get to what looks like the end of the town.  There is a little site with benches and a water fountain.  There is also a sign pointing towards an alternative, coastal route.  I fill up with water and ask a passing woman if there is another cafe or bar.  She points me down a road that is leading away from the camino and looks like out of town.  I wonder if she thinks I’m driving.  I thank her and decide that I don’t need no stinkin’ food.

Hidden Beach on Alternative Route

I wonder about this alternative, coastal route.  it isn’t mentioned in my online guide but the guide is several years old.  I don’t have the waypoints on Google Maps.  If this alternative route isn’t well marked, then . . . Whoops!.  But I decide how bad can it get.  As long as I keep the coast on my right, I should make it to Finisterre.  Allez!    Initially, it looks like I am going in the opposite direction but then it veers back South.  At the end of the road there is a bar.  Yay!  It’s closed.  I am off the road and climb a steep hill.  At the top there is a breathtaking view.  There is a beach a the bottom of the other side of the hill.  However, other than by water, there doesn’t seem to be any way to get to it.

The trail swings back inland and I soon realize that the “coastal route” is misleading.  After the initial breathtaking view, you are actually walking thru a forest and can’t even see the ocean.  And pretty soon it reconnects with the original route.

IMG_3280Before getting into Finisterre, I stop at a cafe that someone seems to have opened in their garage.  I get a Coke and a slice of Tarta de Santiago.  This is an almond cake and you will see pilgrims returning home, hauling boxes of this stuff.  It’s like praline in New Orleans, except the tarta is actually good.

Finisterre suburb

I get to the outskirts of Finisterre and can see the ocean.  It looks tantalizingly closer than it actually is.  I finally make it to the beach.  I pass a fancy restaurant and about a 100 yards later there is a nice looking hotel.  I’m about a km from the town center but this seems really nice.  With the pilgrim discount, it’s only €50/night.  But looks can be deceiving.  I hesitate and she (turns out to be the owner) asks if I want to check out the room first.  Sure.  She gives me the room key (it’s actually a key).  It’s a corner room on the top floor with views of the ocean.  I’ll take it for two nights.

IMG_3290    IMG_3286


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