Friday, August 28, 2015

Day 8 Portomarin to Palais de Rei : Take to the Highway Won't You Lend Me Your Name

My way and Paul's way seemed to be one and the same, child! And here's a challenge for James Taylor--instead of 15 miles on foot, it was 17! Lyrics? We found out on our walk across England, you can't really trust the guidebook.

Leaving Portomarin. Reservoir in the distance.

We started out with a forest track and a mostly uphill gradual ascent for 9 miles. Fortunately, there were only sporadic tough grades and most were short lived...or we might have been short lived ourselves!
Grain fields along the way
Most of the day was actually spent walking along low traffic secondary roads, although there were some short treks through woodlands.
Pine, oak and eucalyptus predominate with occasional birches. The floor is often covered in ferns.
The towns we passed through today were Gonzar (never even noticed I went there), Castromajor (which had an okay brick factory and not okay as in "shoe wee" fertilizer factory on the way, Hospital de Cruz,  Ventas de Naron (where a huge battle between Christians and Moors took place centuries ago), , Ligonde, Lamiero/Eirexe (where we finally enjoyed lunch about 12 miles into the journey), Lestedo, Brea, and finally, about 2 miles later than expected Palais de Rei.

Our first rest stop at Castromajor. Love the crazy sloping roof here, the cats and the diet Coke.

Our halfway marker. 50 miles from Santiago and in front of a corn field... sweating like piggies. But half way in with a grin!

Paul encounters metallic human consuming ant in Lestedo.

Our lovely room at Casa Leopoldo in Palais Rei.

Church Palais de Rei

Inside the church.

Paul salutes his 17 mile walk with a Mahon draft.

A cross from  1670. The cross represents the maternity and life through images of Jesus and the Virgin. The base represents his suffering with a skull and crown of thorns.
 At this point there are indeed a lot of pilgrims along the Way. Most are pleasant and respectful. Some are loud. But overall, they have been a nice lot of folks from many locations, all making their own path. We did meet a woman from South Africa today whose friend had to quit on Day 1 for them from Sarria as she passed out and found out she has a bad heart valve. We are so grateful for health on this journey.

Our accommodations here look very nondescript from the street but Casa Leopold is beautiful inside and a treasure. Unfortunately, we don't see a lot to draw us to Palais de Rei other than this pension. But the room is gorgeous and there are so many pillows. Pillows in Spain are so utilitarian. And there is usually only one. Last night, the hotel pillow was one long pillow that Paul and I had to share. Ever share a long narrow pillow with someone? I am sure it frequently results in divorce by crankiness from lack of sleep!
Our dinner restaurant--The forgers table.
 We ambled about town and finally found this lovely little restaurant where we had chicken in brandy with mushrooms and a nice salad. We enjoyed the local cheese which was phenomenal.

Cheese Please! Local Stuff and so tasty.
So our longest walking day of the journey to Santiago de Compostela. Probably 10 miles uphill, 7 down, lotsa pavement, lotsa pilgrims, a "meh" town of Palais de Rei, but gorgeous accomodations, a lovely dinner and a beautiful bed with lotsa pillows to fall into ASAP!

Paul's Ponderings:  Long walk, notta lotta stuff going on other than walking!   Anywhere between 15 and 18 miles is about my personal limit for walking.   Once we got here, it was all about finding a place that was close to our lodging to walk to for dinner!    The good news is our two long days are behind us with minimal bad weather and no real issues.     Now we have two short days of nine miles each, which will seem like a cakewalk.   So far we have not taken one wrong turn either.   Compared to walking across the UK, that is a minor miracle.   It is very well marked.    At dinner tonight the portions were normal human sized as well -- not the norm!   For well past the halfway mark, esta bien!

Finally, from an equipment view, we see lots of folks walking this in tennis shoes, more or less.   I have no idea of how that would work --the path is often rocky and steep and based on other hikes, I'd really recommend real boots.   Mine are Salomons that I used for the UK coast to coast.  

For  now, we keep on trucking....

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