Walking Home

reveries of an amateur long-distance hiker

May 16-17

May 18th, 2016

May 16-17

Along with Finisterre, Muxia is one of the medieval “end of the earth” points. Looking out from the ridge, it is easy to imagine why they would take that view. The area here is the Costa de Morte, a name drawn from the hazards the rocky coast with its powerful currents, but it also brings the proper foreboding a place at the end of the world should evoke. The shore is steep with rocks randomly strewn to produce spectacular spray when pounded by ceaseless waves. On the northernmost point is a church which was nearly destroyed by waves and fire on Christmas Day a few years ago. It is now rebuilt, stones looking strong but still fragile in the face of ocean forces. The town is anything but foreboding. Set between the larger, newer concrete buildings are two-story stone fisherman’s houses. This is a place of the sea, houses low and strong, braced against the weather but turning to the sun, what little sun there is. The people strong and resilient, facing long, cold, wet winters, and springs of rain with only occasional days of sun. I arrived in Muxia with the rain, but on Tuesday, the Galician holiday, the local drum and pipe band (mostly young children playing so seriously) came out to celebrate along with the sun. They serenaded my lunch, and the sun followed me to the beach, pure white sand dampening the roar of the waves on the rocks. The day of sun here is a day of celebration, whether holiday or not. All was in alignment– weather, holiday, and calendar–as it was also my hiking partner’s birthday. Celebration all around. Muxia is a place of food– chipianas, navajas, percebas, langostinos, and of course, plate after plate of pimientos de padrones. Here you must eat well, to appreciate the labors of the fishermen and to have the strength to stand up to the weather that blasts the end of the world.


T. Hugh Crawford