Friday, October 7, 2011


This week author Inka Piegsa-Quischotte is writing about the boot burning ceremony at the end of the Camino where the road meets the sea. Inka was born in Germany but has lived and worked in the UK, Switzerland, South Africa and Spain. Until four years ago, she used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Marbella/Spain. She is now an author of a novel called Sweet Revenge
set in Turkey where she lives part time

Many pilgrims who have completed all or part of  the Camino de Santiago in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, continue on to Cap Finisterre, the starting point of Galicia’s Coast of Death.

The purpose of adding several more miles of hiking to the already arduous camino,  is to  celebrate the beginning of a new, better life after their pilgrimage by taking part in a cleansing ceremony. The ritual consist of the burning of their boots and clothes they wore during the pilgrimage at the bottom of a bronze boot, perched high on a cliff overlooking the crashing waves of the Atlantic far below.

I did my little bit of the ‘camino’ by walking the distance of approx. 2 miles from the town of Finisterre to the Lighthouse of Cap Finisterre and the boot. It’s a winding street, uphill all the time with wonderful views of the coast line below and the adorable statue of a female pilgrim, always carrying a bunch of fresh flowers.

Cap Finisterre is not the most western point of Europe, which is actually in Portugal, but close enough. Beyond that there is nothing but the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Walk around carefully. The surface is treacherous and, unfortunately, several tourists  have fallen to their death, ironically whilst taking pictures of the lighthouse and the awesome cliffs and rocks below.

I was lucky to happen upon just such a boot burning ceremony, but the pilgrims didn’t want to be photographed which of course I respected. There were at least 6 different nationalities represented and they were all full of enthusiasm of having completed their pilgrimage.  They had brought their travel clothes all bundled up and lighted a mighty bonfire just below the bronze boot.

Granted, the smoke and smell wasn’t all that pleasant, but their enthusiasm and sheer happiness were contagious. An expiring experience.
 Below is a short montage of our DVD 'A Walkers Guide'
The full DVD can be found at
Here is a link
Camino de Santiago, A Walkers Guide.

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