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vagamundos Byron Bay - A travel report by Carlos
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Byron Bay,  Australia - flag Australia -  New South Wales
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vagamundos's travel reports

Lighthouse at Finisterre (End of the World)

  22 votes
More info about lighthouses in and

Finisterre or Finis Terrae means ‘end of the world’. It was the end of the known world, the most western point of Europe and for many people the real end of the pilgrim way to Santiago

Finisterre Cape Lighthouse
Finisterre Cape Lighthouse
My choice for this place was not a coincidence. I have always been fascinated by lighthouses, maybe because I live in the city that has the oldest lighthouse of the world that is still in function. It´s called the `Tower of Hercules´ in La Coruña and has been nominated as Unesco´s world heritage. Since I became a professional traveller, three years ago, I was able to visit two other places which are considered as ´the end of the world´: The lighthouse at Byron Bay, Australia, the most eastern spot of the Australian continent and the lighthouse of the end of the world at Staten island, near Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. I have always been attracted to the profession of lighthouse keeper. So many times I dreamt about spending the rest of my days in an out-of-function lighthouse, preferably on an island. In Australia this kind of work is voluntary. People don’t mind standing on a long waiting list to have the privilege of working in a lighthouse for some months. Mostly in complete solitude. But the profession is a dying one, because the majority of lighthouses has been automated and are only visited by mechanics. The modern, radiographic lighthouses are often are located hundreds of kilometers inland. It’s sad to see how many lighthouses fall into decay and are being deserted. It seems to me like a metaphor of today’s world. It becomes more and more difficult to find ourselves a guiding light. I remember a scene in the movie ‘Heart of Glass” of Werner Herzog, in which four persons stare at the horizon from a forgotten island, as keepers of the end of the world. One of them predicts the future: ‘I look beyond the horizon, to the end of the world and before the day comes to an end, we will reach the finale: First, time will cease to exist and then the earth. The clouds will rage in fury and after that the earth will boil. That’s the sign, the beginning of the end’. How tragically and beautifully described

Favourite spots:
Finisterre lighthouse in Byron Bay (Australia)
Finisterre lighthouse in Byron Bay (Australia)
Years ago I visited Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, near Cape Town, as the name of the town already suggests. There is also a lighthouse of the end of the world. At Cape Point to be precise. There one can enjoy perfectly the battle of the giants between the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. They bump into each other, embrace, dance, fight and mingle their colours in a battle for power without bloodshed. At least if you don’t navigate too close. All of the region of about 8.000 hectares big, is a national park, called Cape Peninsula; you will find baboons, Jackass penguins and thousands of birds like albatrosses, storm birds, cormorants and dozens of other species, camping freely there.

What's really great:
Finisterre lighthouse in Good Hope (South Africa)
Finisterre lighthouse in Good Hope (South Africa)
At my last trip to Antarctica, I had the privilege of ‘rounding’ Cape Horn twice, as sailors say. This achievement gives me the right, according to sailor’s tradition, to wear two earrings, a right I renounce. The first time I rounded Cape Horn, I can hardly call comfortable. We passed by at night on waves of 6 meters high. The porthole of my hut was nearly all the time under the sea level and I had to grip or better tie myself to my upper bed to prevent myself from flying around the room. On the other hand, during the return trip from a fabulous ten day stay at Antarctica, the view of the mythical Cape Horn with exceptionally quit water, was the cream and butter of the whole journey. In what is called the ‘front room of Antarctica’, the last contact of the sailors with civilization, you can find a mysterious lighthouse. It inspired Jules Verne to what became his posthumous novel ‘The lighthouse at the end of the world.

Finisterre Lighthouse in Galicia, Spain
Finisterre Lighthouse in Galicia, Spain
The novel is situated in the lighthouse at Staten Island in Argentinean Tierra del Fuego. It was build in 1884 and was only in function until 1902 when it was replaced by another one at Observatory Island. It’s lights died and were forgotten until 1975, when it was declared a national Argentinean monument.

Finisterre lighthouse in Ushuahia (Tierra del Fuego-Argentina)
Finisterre lighthouse in Ushuahia (Tierra del Fuego-Argentina)
From 1997 on, its beam spreads its light again over the south pole, thanks to 8 French sailors that constructed a copy of the original lighthouse. I am very pleased to see there are people who work hard to preserve and revive the lighthouses and keep our history and cultural heritage alive.

New Zealand, Te Tokata Nugget Point Lighthouse
New Zealand, Te Tokata Nugget Point Lighthouse
Apart from Finisterra, Spain is a must destination for lighthouse lovers, with almost 200 lighthouses top range, and hundreds of minor range.

I visited the recently opened National Park of the Atlantic Islands, situated off the coast of Galicia in western Spain. The park is formed by the islands of Cíes, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada and includes the adjacent bottom of the sea.

I returned to the Cíes islands accompanied by a thick mist, that wrapped up the lighthouse in cloud of cotton that made it look very unreal. The lighthouse was being surrounded by the cries and screeching of white seagulls that you could only see when they were at a distance of centimeters.

It seemed the island was hung in heaven and the two seagulls that sat besides me, looked like my beloved Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and his friend Peter . I would have liked to jump of the lighthouse, together with them, thinking about my lost flying partner and fade in the mist, looking for my destiny.

Lighthouse in Cabo Vilán, Galicia (Spain)
Lighthouse in Cabo Vilán, Galicia (Spain)
The boat that brought us back to Vigo, passed through the fog and I felt like The Flying Dutchman. Like him I transformed to another dimension and felt forced to keep on navigating for the rest of my live. The sight of the seamen’s club in Vigo woke me up.

While we escaped from the mist we headed north, till Cape Villano or Vilán in Galician. This Cap is a few kilometers from Camariñas, one of the most spectacular lighthouses in Galicia. It is situated on a hundred meters high cliff and has a reach of 28 sea miles, about 50 kilometers. Unfortunately the fog kept pursuing us and even the beam of the lighthouse couldn’t penetrate it.

Therefore it was necessary to use the horn. Many people get scared by the sound of it´s loud sound, because it reminds them of the cries of the wanderings spirits of dead sailors that shipwrecked on days like these.

The world oldest lighthouse, Torre de Hercules in La Coruña, Spain
The world oldest lighthouse, Torre de Hercules in La Coruña, Spain
To finish the lighthouse tour we climbed the 200 stone steps of the Tower of Hercules in La Coruña the next day.

This time unfortunately I could not see the Green Ray, because the fog had hidden in our shoes. It didn´t matter though, because I have Jules Verne´s ´The green ray´ book with me. It was given to me as a gift by a vagamundos reader and now a good friend. She strengthened me in my conviction that the big change I made in my live three years ago, was a good one.

As readers and friends, you form the beam of the lighthouse that keeps me going and guides me on my spiritual journey. Every message you send me is fuel for my personal lighthouse. I already told you that I travel all alone.

But I don’t feel lonesome on my travels. On the contrary, every time I feel better, because I know that this ‘sailor’ will always find a light that leads his way, lights of twin spirits like you. Thank you very much for your kindness and support!.

More info in

Published on Wednesday November 2th, 2005

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Sun, Nov 06 2005 - 11:52 AM rating by jorgesanchez

El valor de tus reports está muy por encima de los que se escriben aquí. Pero tal vez muchos no lo aprecien.

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 08:19 PM rating by isaacmolina

Muy bueno! Pero prefiero leerlo en español! Ya lo vi en tu página web!

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 07:42 PM rating by eirekay

Carlos, what a great report and such beautiful photos! Thanks!

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 06:31 PM rating by nedkelly

Wonderful report....bit jelouse about you rounding the cape twice.... but totally understand not wearing two earings.... so you officially Rock. On yer,top report.

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 06:27 PM rating by miguelmarchi

report original, inesperado y excelente!!!

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 03:01 PM rating by rangutan

Excellent report combining quite a few beautiful places. If you wish, upload the pictures seperately under the correct destination with referance to this report. Your own homepage is great, the referance should be at the bottom though, also add it to your profile page. Otherwise basically wonderful, hope more reports will follow, real great "travellers" stuff!

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 01:18 PM rating by toribio


Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 12:42 PM rating by davidx

Most informative and really enjoyable to read. Well done and thanks.

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 11:06 AM rating by jesusferro

maravilloso pibe!
A partir de ahora os seguiré en y en tus demas güebs durante tu proximo viaje al Sureste Asiático. Sos muy valiente.
Buen viaje!!!

Wed, Nov 02 2005 - 09:35 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

nice report

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