Saturday, August 30, 2014

Palas dei Rei

Hello, everyone.

We had a noisy night in Portomarin, because of ambient noises of one kind and another. I don't know why I noticed them so much this time. One was an alarm that sounded like a rooster.

Leaving Portomarin meant returning to the kind of hills and woodlots and small villages and farms that we'd mostly been going thrugh. No more views of the pretty river, sadly--we were heading away from it altogether.

My sweetie's feet were really bothering him now, because we'd had so many rocky surfaces to walk on. We could feel the contours of the rocks through our boots, and if we hit a rock wrong, we got a definite advisory from our foot. I dont' know if this was because the insoles of the boots were dead, or the boots were wearing out, or we were just a lot more noticing by this point. At times now, I was actually walking ahead of my sweetie.

Morning clouds have not lifted off for the folks in the valley yet.

Nothing says fun like giant metal ants in the patio!

Unless it's a hog's head with sunglasses on.
I find in my journal that I forgot to write for a key couple of days--these ones! And in my sweetie's journal, everything stops at Palas de Rei. (He was pretty tired by the end of a walking day.)
As you can see, Galicia is as green as the early part around the Pyrenees. Trail marker in distance says to go left.
 As you can see in the above picture, we were walking along the small roads a lot. There are some big highways through this area, and when the trail comes to it you have a confusing set of arrows that lead you in a spiral that ends in an underpass, and then carries on. The way through the small villages is used also by the dairy farmers taking their cows to and from the barn, so even though the village roads are paved you can't always see much of the asphalt through the dried cow pats. I did say dairy farmers: the cheese style that Galicia is known for is a really rich, really good creamy soft cheese. Almost soft enough to spread!

I learned a new word for drumsticks: "the hams of the chicken"
In Spain, while there are grocery stores, there are also frozen goods stores in many towns. They sell fish, and this one had chicken, too. This congeleria was in Arzua. The sale on drumsticks works out to around $1.50 a pound, give or take for the exchange rate.

If I remember correctly, Arzua was the place where the albergue put us in a "private" room. That is, the room was small and there was only one bunk set in it. Which racked terribly. And I finally got to eat some Pulpo a feria: octopus chunks, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with pimenton. YUM!!! We also tried Galician style tortilla de patata, which is a little bit softer inside. I don't know how the cooks manage that trick. Maybe they just run the stove a little hotter under the skillet, so the egg cooks firmer on the outside faster and lets the inside be still soft and almost like a sauce around the potato chunks.

The poster for the concert. I think Mr. Johansen was going to put out a DVD of the music. Notice the Galician spelling of the date: Xunio.

Arzua was also the town in which we got to hear the concert by the cellist Dane Johansen. It was delightful. Mr. Johansen, an American musician, was traveling the trail with his cello, a crew, and a load of audio equipment. (Obvious, he wasn't toting all that on his back on the goat tracks! It would have been impossible.) He had a project going, to play in the old churches and recreate the beautiful sound environments the way people would have heard it--so no artificial boost to the volume. I still heard him very well. One of the songs was a Spanish folk song (Catalonian?) which brought to mind the walking through hills and looking out over the valleys with their "ponds" of clouds below me.