A nice statue in Taboada to remind me that Santiago is very close.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
That's Lena from Finland at the corner. She had picked wild mushrooms from Ourense to Cea and has made a wonderful dinner for us with cream and potatoes. We supplied the wine and bread. Interestingly Lena only speaks Spanish (and Finnish) as she was was working with missonaries to South America in her past. She speaks no English but she does understand most of what I say.
Famous for it's bread, it is a hearty, darker bread that is baked in small batches the traditional way for more than 700 years. However, it does get hard within a day, and after 2 days may even take your teeth out.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
One of the 3 hot spring in the outdoor by the river with hot showers for you
to clean yourself before you go in. The adjusted temperature in the pool is
only 39-40 degrees. This is too cold for those used to the Japanese hot
spring. Was told by a German pilgrim that the temperature is quite normal
even in Germany. Got out after 15 mins. It was an interesting experience
Tomorrow, depending on the weather, I will decide whether to stop in Cea, or
further on to the monastery. Still not decided to reach Santiago in 4 or 5
Nice Kebab store right where I took the photo. Perfect food for the
afternoon after the walk. This is the first time that there is no free
internet at the library. I need to have residence card and credentials to
log in for the internet. Bummer! Had to go to a cybercafe. 1 euro for 30
Ourense is a big city. Just over 100 km, this is the last place to start
walking to Santiago and still get your compostela (minimum 100 km on foot,
200 km on bicycle). The city is a little hilly (like San Francisco),
ironically the albergue is right next to the cemetery San Fransisco. This
city is founded by the romans (Aquae Urentes). Aqua? Water? You guess it.
Hot springs. I'm taking the 6 pm bus from Praza Maior (Plaza Mayor) to the
springs which I was told is free! This body needs some hot spring water
badly. More information later.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Nice town with a library (for internet, hehe). Another over 30 km day, all thanks to having a menu lunch that allowed me to walk further in this weather. Will take it easier tomorrow with only 22 km to Ourense. I need the extra time in the afternoon to look around this city, do some overdued laundry, and to buy socks (the ones I am wearing are disintegrating).
More climbing today. At the top is the town of Albergueria. No albergue, but a cafe full of concha shells (symbol of St. James). Was told I am the first chinese there, though there were Japanese and also Korean. I have signed my name on a shell to add to his collection.
Only rained intermittently. The wet climate of Galicia favors white wine. Had a taste today at the bar. Very good! For some reasons, they are not exported. So it's time to drink more white, which should go very well with the seafood here.
The weather has turned even worst today. Either I stay in a hostal, waste the day and wait it out, or.....
Oh great. Not only am I wet, freezing cold, now I can't even see! And to add more punishment to myself, it was a more than 30 km day to Laza. I am betting that the lower altitude of Laza (just over 400 meters) might make things better.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Left to Verin (about 35 km longer) and right to Laza (where I will be taking tomorrow hopefully). Even at this altitude, the weather is extremely cold (very unusual for this time of the year). I can't even type this properly as my hands are numb standing outside the local university near the albergue where there is an open wlan.
Galicia at last! Where many towns starts with and 'A' or 'O'. A typical modern Galician town with a long main street along the side of the mountain. Reminds me of A Fonsagrada, the first town in Galicia along the Camino Primitivo. The rain, wet ground and the freezing wind is geeting into me. Will take a rest day if this keeps up. In any case I am 2 days ahead of schedule.
Almost the top of the mountain looking back. Altitude of at least 1300 meters. That two similar height peaks in 2 days. The highway goes into a tunnel about 100 meters underneath. The other side behind me is Galicia.
A nice day for climbing? Not! Cold, wind that is defintely below 10 c, and very wet. Galicia is still one day away. Already ferns can be seen even days before. With slate roof on some of the houses, one thinks they are already in Galicia.
Friday, May 23, 2008
A well preserved fortified medieval town with cobblestone streets that slopes up to the fort and church on the hilltop. It's definitely a tourist spot (It has a Parador). Another reason why I ended the day here even when there is no albergue is that it makes the plan stops in the remainder of the camino much easier.
Can't believe I ended up walking 42-44 km today! The many lovely villages, the big menu lunch, even the cold wind and the rain ironically helped. Still, I was tired when I arrived at 7.30 pm. No albergue in this tourist town so I am putting up in a nice tourist hostal (with free wifi). In any case I think deserved it after all this walking.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I visited the Domingo's bodega using his bicycle. It was not easy as I have to go against a bit of uphill and crosswinds. There are many bodegas around here. This is a typical small bodega next to Domingo's. They are mostly underground with machines to process the wine and also as a cellar to keep the wine.
After 2 days of over 30 km walk per day, I've decided to take it easy today. Just under 22 km. This private albergue is run by Domingo and Anita right at the edge of the town. Anita cook a nice lunch and dinner. Domingo has a bodega about 2 km away. The wine here comes from his bodega and it's free flow in this albergue!
The morning was so misty the visibilty was like less than 50 meters. Luckily it cleared a few hours later when I crossed the river Esla and walked along the banks of the river. A perfect place to stop to look at the stork catching fishes along the river.
This is Jose. He has in his garden not only vegetables, but statues made with mythical or biblical themes. They are all made by him in his spare time at the tiny shed beside his garden. There is even a statue of a peregrino and a peregrina (not shown).
Sunday, May 18, 2008
There are so many Romanesque Iglesia here. And the people lived so close to it. (picture). There is both a Santiago Matamooros and Santiago the pilgrim inside. Was prepared to go a hostal when I found the albergue (new this year) next to San Cipriano. Just opened this January, it has 3 floors and 4 euros to stay. There are just too many beautiful Iglesias here to post. I will need to come back here again. Very surprise there are very few tourist in this beautiful city.
This is the most beautiful city. I have seen so far in this camino, and there are not many left. Since it's Sunday, the internet in the library is closed, but luckily the open wlan signal is still there. Had to ask the security guard to let me sit at the staircase (where the signal is strongest).
A one horse (bar) town. Just 19 km to Zamora. Nice albergue (not in my guide book). The people in the village have placed many milarios with a scallop shell and the village's name before and after the road to welcome pilgrims. Just me and the French couple (Pierre and Solange) in this albergue. At least they serve dinner at the bar. I'm starving after the long walk.