Sunday, June 1, 2008

A further post from Palas de Rei

These photos relate to the blog post below. That post cover the journey from Sarria to Portomarin in 31 May 2008 and from Portomarin to Palas de Rei on the following day. The order of the photo follows the (chronological) order of the blog's narrative.
387. Nicole (Switzerland) and a German peregrina from La Faba leaving Sarria bound for Portomarin 388. Somewhere on the section between Barbadelo and Ferrerios
389. In the same section, a typical rural Galician sight
390. A popular sign. Just 100K to Santiago!
391. A little further on
392. A small grotto on the way
393. The stones enable walkers to rise above the flow
394. A little further on
395. The Romanesque Iglesia Santa Maria de Ferrerios
396. Its cemetery in the distinctive Galician way with stacked, above ground, vaults
397. Galicia, green and moist
398. And rocky and shaded
399. And with constant devotional marks
400. The running of the bulls neat Moutras deserves to be better known. (Where is Hemingway?) I had a nanosecond in which to decide whether take this shot and run the risk of the automatic flash engaging and spooking these bulls with such long horns. Happily, it didn't.
401. Advice is always welcome, don't you think? (Yes, that is a women of mature years doing the digging. Reminded me more than a little of the division of labour at the Yenda Estate except that I'm not so generous even with advice.)
402. Approaching Portomarin
403. The bridge across the reservoir to the relocated Portomarin
404. Iglesia San Pedro whose Romanesque doorway (see #405) was relocated from the old church
405. That doorway in more detail
406. The C12 Romanesque church of San Nicolas at Portomarin which was reconstructed after the relocation of the city to higher ground to make way for the creation of the reservoir in 1962.
407. Iglesia de San Nicolas at Portomarin
408. Iglesia de San Nicolas at Portomarin
409. The interior of the beautiful church of St Nicolas
410. Recrossing the reservoir on the way out of Portomarin, around sunrise, bound for Palas de Rei
411. On the way to a cup of coffee for breakfast at Gonzar
412. A form of affection, homage and respect, leading to the beautiful cross (see photos following)
413. C17 cross by the roadside near Eirexe. Thomas (Heidelberg) is in the foreground.
414. One side of the cross
415. The crucifixion on the other side
416. Marvelling at the 200+ year old oak next to the cross: Celia and Franz (Holland) with Thomas in the centre
417. More of the same but with a minor change of personnel
418. A simple church by the way
419. Its adjacent cemetery in the Galicia way with plots stacked above the ground. In some cemeteries they stand 3 or 4 high.
420. Antiquity and rebirth as constant companions
421. The parish church at Palas de Rei
422. Dinner in Palas de Rei with Angela and her father, Michael, both from Koln. He had rejoined Angela only that day to complete the Camino.

As soon as I left the one bar with Internet access in Palas de Rei, I found another across the square. This one updates the story so far. Hope you find it interesting.

Saturday 31 May 2008, Sarria to Portomarin (23 km)

It was very pleasant walking through farmland--cattle and sheep grazing and crop cultivation. The wheat was as high as 5´ in parts but was only 15" or so just two weeks ago in the Meseta. (Michael and Helen would understand this difference--perhaps the seed was just planted at different times.) There are no vineyards here--it´s just too wet (Galicia is Spanish for "even more rain" although to be fair we have had two days free of rain, today and yesterday, the first in almost two weeks.) There is the smell of animals in all built areas. Cattle share the roads with pilgrims--I can´t wait to load a photo of the running of the bulls yesterday near Mourtos; Pamplona eat your heart out. If my flash had been activated ...

The city of Portomarin has been moved to higher ground--the old city is under the reservoir. The beautiful C12 Romanesque church of San Nicolas has been reconstructed stone by stone. (It´s priest is unreconstructed, quite Romanesque in his own way--see my last post re Misa last night.) The Romanesque door of the old Iglesia San Pedro (only) has also been retained. Wait for the slide nights--one for churches, another for dinners, another for running bulls etc.

Sunday 1 June 2008, Portomarin to Palas de Rei (26 kms)

It was pleasant, if unspectacular, walking today across similar terrain to yesterday. Highlights? Probably the two sided cross by the roadside, with Christ crucified on one side and cradled by Mary on the other. I need to read in Gitlitz and Davidson (awaiting me in the Correos in SdC) about its provenance etc. It was next to a wide oak tree that a knowledgeable Dutch pilgrim, Franz, thought would be 200 + years old. These oak trees would (will?) delight my brother Tom (whom I am missing). Again, wait for the photos which I´ll upload when I return home [see above]. There is no facility to do so here.

Today´s walk was made the richer for being shared all day with Thomas, a medical doctor from Heidelberg who was a delightful and knowledgeable companion. He was converted from Catholicism to Protestanism by, among other influences, the music of J S Bach. I can understand that. We agreed that we both missed Bach a great deal on the Camino. Not newspapers, news, TV, email, but Bach. (I´m also going to miss a concert of Anna Jacobs´s music in Sydney on 9 June, I think. Anna and JSB. Both much missed.)

Albergues in Galicia and food

I should say something about the albergues in Galicia. The xunta (government) of Galicia runs albergues in each major and many minor towns. The charge is 3 Euros ($AU 5). They are crowded but good. There are also private albergues charging about double that which tend to provide little extra things like toilet paper and sometimes soap in the soap dispenser. Six Euros is about the average price I paid for albergues before Galicia. The menu del dia is about 8 Euros here in Galicia (about 11-12 E elsewhere). The food is generally good although the meal in Sarria challenged but did not defeat my system. The communalism of the albergue is very attractive, to me at least, but not to all, I suspect. I shared a bed (bunks pushed together) with 76 year old Maurice last night, one of my Camino heroes for his determination. Wish he had some English (and that I had not stopped French at 14 years of age).

Santiago is not far away. Today we saw in the distance the hills behind SdC, from a place called Monte Rosario since at this sight medieval pilgrims would fall to their knees spontaneously and say the Rosary. I´m afraid to say that Thomas and I kept walking but heartened by the prospect of being there soon. 69 kms away.

Thanks for your companionship on the journey.

Fondly, Paul

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