Wednesday, June 4, 2008

horsebacking riding, hiking 32k, and hiking 26 k

wow, it has really been an intense last two days since I last posted. At the rancho, we all got together to go horseback riding. We rode all over the owner Mario´s land, and we ended up climbing up on this hill that overlooked the entire valley. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip so far. It was definitely an incredible experience. After this we all got together for the end of our day of rest to dine under the cuisine of the chef Enrique at the ranch. There´s something about homeade food when you´ve been walking around town or hiking across the mountains all day that definitely cannot be topped. We managed to go into town one last time, and we were fortunate to spend some time with our Belgian and English friends from the camino. Now we are actually a day behind them due to our rest period, but we hope to meet up with them in Santiago on Friday. Yesterday we started from Portomarín and hiked all day through quite a sampler of rain, cold, humidity, and brilliant sunlight. All in all we made it about 32 km (somewhere around 19 miles), which has been our longest day yet. We stayed in a tiny village called San Xulian (pronounced Hoo-lee-aan in Galllego- which is the official language of the province of Galicia). In Spain each province has their own history since the time of the Romans, so the national identity typically comes in second under the provincial one. A good example of this is our pride in Texas, but here they take it to a whole new level which even includes violent separtism (the extreme Basques and ETA- check it on Wikipedia if you´re curios). Our albergue was nice and homely. The diner last night was definitely one of the best that we have had so far. When Spainards eat- they know how to do it. It started with a sort of soup, followed by tortilla española (potato egg omlette), salad with tuna (atún), rosemary porkchops- a great taste, and of course queso con membrillo (dessert cheese with a sort of candy) for dessert. We were all out of commission last night by 10:30PM and got up to go again this morning around 6:30 AM. We left San Xulian at around 7:30 after a hearty breakfast. I went ahead with some of the guys of the group on the camino. At our first stop we heard the news about Obama being the candidate on the television (it was kind of surreal to explain to the lady at the bar (every place to stop on the camino to eat or drink anything is referred to as a bar in Spain) why we were surprised, and it brought us back to what´s going on in the states as well. We continued today through several small towns and one larger one where we receieved sellos (stamps on our pilgrim´s passports from everywhere we go on the camino) from a local priest in Melide. Today was a grueling day after such a long day yesterday, but we managed to make it to our hotel in the outskirts of Arzúa. This is definitely a more white collar city as well as province. The people here are down-to-earth and very in touch with their roots. We spend most of our time walking through villages where the cows are still herded through at the end of each afternoon (in otherwards plenty of leftovers along the trail for us to dodge). We encounter quite a variety of smells on the camino as well in these parts from chicken coops to open pastures of grazing dairy cattle to urban mazes. I was hoping this computer would have functioning USB ports, but I guess pictures will have to wait. I hope that things are going well for everyone back home. We have to more twenty kilometer days before we arrive in Santiago! It should be incredible, and I can´t wait to inundate everyone with all sorts of pictures. Hasta luego...

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Absolutely amazing!!!We can't wait to see you and your photos.
Love, MOM & DAD