Being a study abroad student, you have a natural desire to see absolutely anything you can while you’re in another country and another continent. The past eight weeks have been filled with day trips, weekend adventures, and trying to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Among all the packed lunches and train tickets, there are a few places in Spain that I have loved seeing. One of them, without a doubt, is Finisterre.
About a month ago I took a day trip to this beautiful place with some of my close friends. For those of you unsure of what Finisterre is, it’s a rocky peninsula on Spain’s west coast. The word comes from the Latin words “finis terrae,” which means “end of the earth”, as it was considered the end of the known world during the Roman Era. Along with being absolutely beautiful, the cape is also a point of the Camino de Santiago. On top of all this, the weather was beautiful with no rain (which, coming from Santiago, is a blessing).
Before we arrived in Finisterre, we decided to stop in a couple other places along the coast to explore. Our first stop, Castro de Baroña, was absolutely breathtaking from the minute we got off the bus. Castro de Baroña is actually a fort which was used many years ago, and a lot of the structure is still intact. All of the walls and roundhouses are made of stones, while two large rock formations help protect the right side of the fort. Many of the walking paths are still visible and used. I continued my walk up to the rocks with a desire to get to the top of the tallest rocks.
About halfway climbing up a steep groove, I remembered there was an easy walking trail on the other side of the rock, but nevertheless it was fun to climb. It was so beautiful to look out and see nothing but ocean, knowing that somewhere, a long way away, is the coast of America. I sat on the rocks for a good chunk of my time there, lost in thought.
After leaving Castro de Baroña, we stopped in Carnota for a brief amount of time. The main thing we stopped to see was the longest, most well-known hórreo, which in short is a granary. They store grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables and other dry foods and are put on high pillars to avoid being flooded and eaten by small animals. We then stopped to see a waterfall, followed by stopping in Cee to eat our lunches and relax a little bit.
Our last stop of the trip was the much awaited, much anticipated Finisterre. We arrived as the sun was beginning to go down before setting. It was much windier and much colder initially, but the wind let up while we were on the edge of the peninsula itself. Once we reached the actual peninsula, I looked like a little kid on Christmas: running around excitedly, taking pictures every few seconds, and looking to see where I should go to next. I sat on a large rock close to the top and watched the sun go down, disappear behind some clouds, and reappear again.
While I was sitting, I remembered learning about European explorers back in high school and how many of them set out to explore and find the New World. To think that these explorers: 1) had no idea where they were going; 2) probably felt terrified and unsure of what would happen to them, and; 3) left their families behind to go look for something that might not have even existed is amazing to me. I can’t begin to comprehend how excited they were when the realized that more land existed and that the world was round.
Regardless if you visit any part of Europe in the future, I encourage you to make Finisterre a stop on your sightseeing tour. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen, but it also holds a lot of history as well.