Day 29--Getting so close to Santiago! Can you feel it?!
I left Palas De Rei...
...danced with the statues...
...walked past yet another traditional corn crib...
...hiked through green field after green field of smelly cows...
...and through shaded tunnel of trees after shaded tunnel of trees.
It was a beautiful morning and I snapped quite a few pictures as I went just to try to capture and remember the experience.
Another typical cross in another typical Galician small town. In some parts of the region you can definitely tell that Galicia still remains one of the poorer regions of Spain.
Yes, another cemetery!
The church of Santa Maria de Leboreiro (a 14th century UNESCO site), where I stopped for a looksy and a stamp in my pilgrim credentials.
Back outside...clouds were starting to roll in...
Getting close to the city of Melide
I stopped in another little church and found this pinned to the back of the church
In Melide, there is really one thing you cannot leave town without doing--Eating pulpo (octopus). Spain is famous for their octopus, and within Spain the region of Galicia is the most famous for octopus. Within Galicia the most famous city for octopus is Melide--and in Melide this bar is the place to eat it. So you see, we had to stop!
They boil the octopus in giant vats, snip it into discs with scissors, drizzle it with olive oil and then shake spices over top. It's served on traditional wooden plates and eaten with toothpicks. Juanma had a bowl of wine (the traditional way to serve it there), and we finished up with an order of pimiento de padron: small, local green peppers which apparently sometimes are super spicy, and other times not--Which leads to the refrain:
"Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non" (Gallego), or,
"Los pimientos de Padrón, unos pican y otros no"(Castellano).
I had lunch with Maica and Juanma and ran into my Korean friend Bonnie (which got the song "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" stuck in my head all over again). Her friend also needed our help translating a text she received from her boyfriend that was written in Spanish--taken literally, it said roughly: You are the garlic of my life.
Anyway, I'd had octopus before and wasn't a fan. Squid I like, octopus not so much (the texture of the tentacles weirds me out), but, I will say, this was by far the best octopus I've had. I ate almost all of it--except the tails. That was too much for me. Luckily Juanma was ready and willing to eat my rejects! : )
After lunch we passed by the 15th century Capela de San Roque. Supposedly it had some nice Romanesque features (Maica's favorite) and a nice ceiling, so we wanted to have a look inside.
The reason it happened to be open was that there was a baptism going on inside. The family was all gathering and taking pictures...and we totally crashed it!
The frescoed ceiling
Juanma checking the map.
We were talking about where each of us planned to stay for the night and all decided that we would make it an easy 23 km day and stay for the night in Castañeda, if we could. I say "if we could" because there was only one private hostel there and it only had 4 beds. In the end Juanman let me use his cell phone to call them and we all reserved beds for the night.
When we got there (unfortunately not before it started raining!) we rejoiced in that we might have a quiet night. None of the 3 of us snored and the 4th bed belonged to an older Italian woman. It was this night that I officially put off the notion that women snore less than men. The italian woman's bunk was underneath mine and I swear she shook the bed growling like a bear the entire night. On the plus side--for the first time we had clean sheets AND blankets on our beds! Que lujo!
With nothing else in town we sat around the cafe attached to the hostel, ate (I had a big steaming bowl of Caldo Gallego, typical Galician soup of mostly cabbage, potatoes and white beans) and chatted with whoever came in. As we planned out the next day's journey, Juanma and I joked about the refrains/riddles he was always confusing me with. Maica, stopped me mid sentence and said basically--Look Lauren. Enough. Get it right!
Turns out Juanma hadn't been laughing all this time solely because he thought his refrains were funny--it was also because I was unknowingly butchering them! For the first time since he taught it to me way back in Santo Domingo (yeah, day seven!) I got it right. I wrote it on the paper table cloth and took a picture of it for future reference:
Bonus points to anyone who can tell me como le entra el agua al coco!