Camino de Madrid

Camino de Madrid
Camino de Madrid

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Camino Portugues. Day 9. May 31, 2016. Recondela to Pontevedra. 18 kms.

Now to my three score years and ten
I add five more, and sigh again.

A nice, thick piece of tortilla set me up for the day.

Then it was off along little country roads, through a forest, and up a hill and down again to the sea at Arcade, a delightful spot with a good swimming beach.

Along the way, I confirmed with a Spanish woman that the leafy ingredient of Caldo Gallego is indeed a kind of cabbage, of which there are many varieties, she said. Kale, is one of them, in fact.

From Arcade, after a few teasing little ups and downs through narrow lanes, we climbed steadily along dirt tracks and stony paths into the hills again. Farmers were chugging up and down on their little tractor-trailer combos, either large garden tractors towing a trailer or a tractor and trailer fixed together, tending their small holdings, usually of grapevines, cabbages, of course, various other vegetables, and sometimes a few roaming chooks. The gardens are always attractive to the birds, but this demure little scarecrow wouldn't have frightened many away.

Sometimes you have the delightful experience of reaching your destination before you expect to, and I arrived quite early at the edge of town, booking in at the private Albergue Aloxa, where, on looking at my passport, the hospitalier commented perceptively on my date of birth. She didn't offer me free lodging, though. 

But making my way down through the unattractive modern city to the old town was almost another day's walk in itself.

I had a beer at a bar at the edge of a grand plaza in the old medieval city. It is in fact a combination of four plazas.  I suspect that some buildings were razed a long time ago to make one large space. A variety of arcaded buildings form half of the grand plaza; the Convento San Francisco and the pilgrim chapel, the Sanctuario da Peregrina, the rest. The later is a spectacular baroque church, as simple as baroque can be, and formed in the shape of a scallop shell.

A little boy ran at the pigeons that were scrambling for the food someone had left them, but they paid little heed, making way for a moment, and then resuming their scratching. Bolder individuals pecked about my feet after the chips I had dropped. These pigeons come in such a variety of colours, from white like gulls, to piebald like magpies, to a gentle russet brown. And they waddle back and forth like chooks in quick motion.

I texted Manzu to see if he and Trevor were up for a drink and a meal, and strolled on. Suddenly, across the plaza, a bearded man was waving frantically ar me. They too had sent a text, but neither had arrived. Semaphore was a more effective means of communication.

We talked much about the current political situation in Britain with the looming Brexit referendum, and the consequences of a "yes" vote. They are ardent supporters of the new Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, arguing that he is less extreme than the North American press would have us believe. They have a theory that he might emerge as prime minister out of the resulting chaos if Britain votes "yes".

We dined well on calamari, pimientos, pulpo and pork.

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