Europe 2017 Cruise travel blog

Church in Musial at the end of the pilgrimage trail from France

Crawling under this rock is said to cure back pain?

Fishermen near the church

The harbor at Muxia

Waves and rocks

Finisterre - furthest point west in Europe


Pretty picture at Finisterre

Traditional grain storage - stopped rodents

A Coruna is a beautiful old port on the northwest corner of Spain. We did not get to spend time in the port as we were scheduled for an all day tour of Cape Fisterre and the Costa de Morte (Coast of Death, home to many ship wrecks). A bus ride through beautiful scenery took us to the first stop, Muxia and the church at the end of the old pilgramage trail (The Way of St. James) that extends from France a distance of 620 miles.

The cultural history of this town is linked to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of A Barca (santuario da Virxe da Barca) and the Stones (pedlars) within its surroundings. Throughout the centuries, it has been a magical-religious object of worship and of veneration for thousands of pilgrims that travel the Way of St. James from Santiago to Muxía – Fisterra. The arrival at the Sanctuary becomes the expected reward for the effort made to reach the end of the Way, the place where the Virgin arrived in a stone boat to inspire courage to the Apostle James.

“You cannot understand Muxía without A Barca”, says local historian Xan Fernández Carrera, author of several books and guides about Muxía. It even defines the annual calendar: “I remember about 35 or 40 years ago, if you asked someone when they were going to do something, they would answer before or after A Barca”, continues Fernández Carrera.

The place is spectacular, both the religious site itself and the atrium which stretches out beyond the wall to the “magical” stones, which boast curative and prophetic properties: the Oscilating Stone (Pedra de Abalar), the Kidney Stone (Pedra dos Cadrís), the Lovers stone (Pedra dos Namorados) and the Rudder Stone (Pedra do Temón). They are in fact the remains of the vessel in which according to legend the Virgin Mary came to encourage St. James in his task of evangelisation.

Even today many people make this pilgrimage and we met one who claimed to have done it in 22 days! Some extend their walk another 30 miles to Cape Finisterre. Cape Finisterre was considered the End of the Earth until Columbus's time. It is the furthest point west in Europe. We stopped for a coffee break in Muxia, a charming little town. We had coffee, churros, and coffee cake for one Euro each. Amazing bargain.

Note: I doubt that anyone with a bad back could make it through the opening under the rock credited with the power to cure bad backs. ( See picture)

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