Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We took a bus this time

Hello, everyone.

Bright and early on Tuesday morning, we left the key in the apartment and walked over to the bus station. It isn't far, expecially if you have just come off of about a month of 10-mile-plus days. Food, drinks, papers? Maybbe a little, but not much. Ticket sales? Yes. Bathrooms? Well, they weren't anything to jump for joy at, but they were there. 2-hour express bus to Fisterra? You got it.

And we got it. The road the bus took to Fisterra isn't quite like a backwoods Ozark 2 lane "highway", but it's close. We saw parts of the Fisterra hiking trail too--there is a recognized extension to the Camino going there, and one going to Muxia as well. (It takes about 4 or 5 days to walk from Santiago to either of these places.) There were lots of towns, and the bus stopped at them, if anyone wanted to get off. We passed lots of salt water inlets and observed large wooden square frames floating on the surface. We later learned that these are mussel farms. The mussels grow on ropes hanging down in the cold Atlantic water.

About 10:30 we rolled into downtown Fisterra. Well, as downtown as a cute little fishing village on the Atlantic coast gets, anyway. There was a crowd of people when we got out, gathering hteir luggage from the belly of the bus, handing out pamphlets on lodging, waiting to board the bus, or just being there. I felt some woman handing me a pamphlet and said "Gracias" and pocketed it, then another hand gave me another and I did the same thing. Then I was at the opening in the bus and taking my pack.

After we had our packs, we sat down to drink a coffee in the restaurant across the street and look over our travel information and the pamphlet collection. We settled on the first one I had gotten, a green one, and set out to find it. There was nothing that looked even close along the harbor front. We tried wandering up a side street and gave that up for hopeless. Then we went back to the bus stop area in hopes that we'd see the woman who had handed me the pamphlet and could ask directions. Nobody was at the bus stop. As we wandered along the street and passed by the grocery store, we saw a lady standing outside it. She looked over at our hands and said, "este es mi pension." Then she walked us over there, telling us about the town points of interest as she went. One that she mentioned was the tiny fishing museum.
The museum has a fishing boat, with actual nets and a pair of manikins dressed in fishing clothes.
The man at the fishing museum told us how the nets are treated and how the fishermen catch octopus (in traps) and sardines. He had a conch horn and he demonstrated how the families would blow it to get the fishermen's attention. It was fascinating. He told us that Sardine Eating Season had begun that day, and the sardines would be at their best, fat and tasty.
Of course we had to try the fresh sardines after that.
We had a plate of sardines (sardinias de Fisterra, so they are really fresh!) on St. John's Day. They were great. We enjoyed them so much, we forgot to make a photo until we had half of them eaten!

The town has a small tidal beach. It's not a sunbathing area, the water is much too cold and the beach is only there when the tide is out. We were astounded at how clear the water was and how many fish of all sizes could be seen swimming in it.

Low tide at Fisterra. Boats resting on the beach,
waiting for the water to come back.
High tide at Fisterra. The ocean water is crystal-clear here.

The zero marker.

 We hiked out to the lighthouse at the point to see the zero-kilometer marker. There was a small but steady stream of people going there. (They even had an RV parking lot!) We saw tthe little souvenir stand, but we didn't feel like adding any weight to our packs.

The lighthouse at Fisterra. It still works.

At the very tip of the point, below the lighthouse, some people come and burn clothing.
We spent one, restful, night in Fisterra. The next morning we caught a bus back to Santiago. This time, we weren't on the express bus. It took three hours and stopped in every collection of more than 5 houses on the way. Lots of people got on and off, too. When we got back to Santiago, we located the train station and a hotel. After renting a room for the night, we walked to the train station and bought tickets for the next stage of our exploration. This post is getting long, so that will have to wait until next time.