From one end to the other

Our travels have seen us cross the course of the longest river in the country several times, and taken us to the four furthermost points of the country.

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The Rio Ebro rises in springs at Fontibre near Reinosa and empties into the Mediterranean over 900km away. A small monument to the Virgen del Pilar of Saragossa, including the shields of the provinces the river travels through, stands on natural stone in the water near the embankment from which the river emerges. Its rather special to drink from the source of a river. A lovely forest setting invites walking.

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Tarifa in the south of Andalucia, is close enough to Africa for the Morrocan coastline to be visible as a the yellow haze on the horizon.

The Cap de Creus lighthouse in Catalonia is the easternmost point. It is reached by a narrow road that winds its way through a rocky landscape torn and battered by storms and waves. Little grows here. The environment is too harsh.

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IMG_1704The lighthouse at Punta de la Estaca de Bares on a wild and mountainous coastline in Galicia, is the northernmost point. The swell of a deep blue sea surges up and boils over the rocky shore far below. There are no landing points for miles along this coastline – which also has southern Europe’s highest sea cliffs (600m) at the Garita de Herbeira. A stone chapel, surrounded by a low stone wall, shoulders itself against the winds which rip up the cliff face. Wild horses, each mare closely followed by her foal, warily crop the stony pasture surrounding the chapel.

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The Cabo de Fisterra lighthouse, also in Galicia, is the westernmost point.  Fisterra is also the end point of one of the many caminos to Santiago de Compostela. IMG_1721A bronze boot, to mark the end of the journey, is cemented to the rock. There were two boots, but one was stolen. IMG_1727Unfortunately, the area is not treated with respect by travellers: abandoned walking poles and boots are stacked at the bottom of a crucifix; plastic water bottles, blowing litter and residue from fires lit among the rocks mar the landscape. The 7km round walk from the fishing village of Fisterra to the lighthouse was a great way to build up a pre-dinner appetite and to exchange words with pilgrims from across the world.