|Packer Paul Parris readies his backpack for a 15 miler.|
Every day, we diligently start our trek with a look at the weather forecast. As many of our friends live and hike in the mountains, I guess we all know this is folly, but with the electronic connectedness of modern Spain, it seemed prudent. Forecast: Low 66F and high 77F. Partly cloudy. 20% chance of rain. Wind at 8 km/hr. Real weather: temperatures correct. Partly cloudy correct. Rain--definitely got sprinkled on sporadically throughout the day and spent about 1-2 hours in raingear. Wind--Constant, swift and at times, downright gusty. Why do we keep listening to the weatherman?
|This bridge was one of many today. We crossed a lot of water,mostly small streams.|
|Every village , regardless of size has a church. Some are postage stamp size, but this one was substantial.|
|Galicin style grain silo|
|Paul at the 100km way marker|
|One of the many tree lined paths. The photo is a little blurry because I am moving and so are the trees.|
|The bridge into Portomarin built on the old Roman aqueduct over the RioMinos. THe village behind creeps up the hillside.|
|The main church of Portomarin|
Portomarin is home to 2000 permanent residents. To welcome the weary hiker, there are a set of stairs for you to utilize to enter the city. What sadist thought this was a good idea after 15 miles of hiking up and down? :) What masochist would do it? Not us! But that's predominantly because our hotel, Pousada de Portomarin, formerly a Parador (a Spanish hotel owned by the government and placed in a historic structure), was off the main track. This one was built in 1962 and doesn't have the background of the ones in Leon or Santiago de Compostela. But the rooms are nice. There is no AC but the wind outside is providing plenty of ventilation with our curtains dancing about like ghosts.
|Our room .No Lucy and Desi arrangements tonight!|
|The view from El Mirador|
|An eel of a meal with croquettes|
Paul chose a wine call Besquer, after the famous Spanish poet. It was mostly temparanillo with a bit of garnacha. It had a rich nose of stone fruit, vanilla and "Aunt Jemima syrup"according to our "sommelier P. Parris."!
|Besquer--amazing wine and poetry!|
Today's meditation: Early music of the church. We learned about chant and the progress to the motet. We listened to Ave Verum Corpus and the four melodic lines. Paul's reflection was he was very impressed that the Catholic church took the musical concepts and worked with it. It was a new form to them and they developed from monochromatic method to something completely different. People who did "new things" in the church were often considered heretic, but this was embraced and grew, probably because it glorified God so beautifully. He is impressed that in a time where struggle to survive was the norm, the monks and church aesthetics took time to pursue art. He marvelled that one day, someone got out of bed and said, "Let's do this." He thinks if that person were ever identified, they deserve a statue. They could just as easily had their head chopped off in the town square. To me, this is the root of even the modern musicians--modern hymnals, classical music and yes, even rock and roll!
|A blurry photo. I was moving and the wind was coursing heavily in the trees.|
|Floras de sol pinned against a gray sky|
|These plants have some height on them.|
Paul's Ponderings: A long hike for us into Portomarin, but as noted, we got here by 3ish and then had dinner and a nap (plus the inevitable pain relievers!). After that, it was a great dinner with an incredible view on the river and of the full moon. Once again, we are reminded of how lucky we are to be out here in rural Spain having this incredible time. As a footnote to yesterday, when we checked in, Lou was able to sign for the room. Incredible local Rioja with dinner along with fabulous tapas. A great end to a great day. Everyone we've met has been great along the path and I've polished up my Spanish a bit. Tomorrow is our second big day of hiking, another 15 miles or so, and then it's lower mileage after that (9, 9, 12, and 14 for those who care). Overall, esta bien for the experience to date!