Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 41 Camino de Santiago Aug. 15 Negreira

Well today is August 15th, and that makes tomorrow... August 16th, which is a HUGE anniversary for people from Memphis.  Listen to the radio tomorrow for hints of what the anniversary is.  As for today, I am so so glad that I waited a day in Santiago so that I wouldn't have to walk in the rain.  Because today... it rained cats and dogs!!  But it was fun.  Walking in the rain is always fun, to me, if I know that at the end of the day, I'll be high and dry.  And I am.  I'm in a nice 10E albergue after only 22K of walking.
   This is good ol' St. James, who had no idea that he was starting a whole way of making a living for so many Santiagoans.  That's him with a sword that looks bent to heck.  Must have poked a Moor with a hard head or something.  I'm thinking that if I were a descendent of the Moors, who happened to be living in Santiago, I wouldn't be too fond of that statue.   Doesn't he remind you a bit of Pancho Villa?

    This is the original pilgrim!!  I saw him for two days and he may be a bit touched in the head.  He walks around and people photograph him.  Probably hired by city hall to help promote the whole Camino experience.
   I could hear this old pilgrim mumbling, "ahem, er um, uh could a you a um er a scoot in, er um, uh just a  er uh um a little uh er uh um closer?"

    Santiago is bigger than I thought.  It took an hour just to get out of town.  Okay, I got lost two or three times, but still... This was a beautiful park just at the edge of town. One seriously old man was sitting on a bench smoking the biggest cigar I've ever seen...or smelled.  It looked like one of the goofy cigars you can buy in Tijuana.  His son probably sent it to him as revenge for not letting him walk in the rain as a kid!  
     About 3 k out of town, I got a good glimpse of the spires of the Cathedral.  It wasn't as early as this picture makes you think.  It was raining and the sun was shrouded.  It was 9:30 AM.  I don't do that 5:30 walking stuff.  I call that the Baker's Walk - as if they are all going to work in a bakery.  I'm kinda on the "Broken Clock Walk".  I just get up when I feel like it, take a shower and viola!  I'm fresh as a daisy!
     This daisy got plenty of wet today.  The first hours of the hike went up, up, and up, through a pine and eucalyptus forest.  It poured down for awhile (get the poncho out!!)  and then it would stop (put the poncho back!!).  Then it would start.  (get the poncho out!!).  Then it would stop (put the poncho back!!).  Are you getting tired of reading the monotony of the ordeal?  I made the mistake of saying, " Geez, either stop or start will you!"  I wasn't angry.  I was happy Steve.  Unfortunately, the rain gods said, "okay, then let it start... and continue....hard!"
     One time when it did clear, it allowed me to see that the road went quite a ways which meant that I could roll.  When it was raining cats and dogs, it was okay because the rain was blowing sideways directly into my face, which was okay because my body was blocking it from getting inside my backpack.  I don't mind getting wet.  It's like a shower with clothes on.  The ultimate in efficiency - wash clothes as I clip away the kilometers.
    Galicia is beautifully green, which probably means more rain is on the way.  It also is the perfect climate for growing grapes.  If I could stick around for another month or two, it would be fun to pick grapes.  Everyone here seems to have a backyard canopy made of grape vines, yet I see no bees.
     All these beautiful stone towns and I turned a corner and it was like Trumanville.  I understand the logic in making houses look alike, however, if I were the King... I'd say that they have to be in the style of Galicia....not Pleasantville.  By the way, that is a camera, not a street light!

You already know how I feel about graffiti, but I have to admit, other than hanging grapes, what else is more irresistible than a sign that says this.  Really?
 Where is Wienerville?  I'm just amazed that the town hasn't had the sign erased...or changed their name...
There is a legend that God destroyed the bridge to keep the Romans from capturing the Galicians who were at war with them.  (EVERYBODY was at war with the Romans!) On the state emblem, you can see a lightening bolt coming down and separating the bridge in half.

    Probably one of the most beautiful towns on the entire Camino is this town, Ponte Maceira, with it's 100 meter long Roman bridge.  By this time the rain had become a river flowing from the sky and I was ready to come up for air and lo and behold, a restaurant.  I plucked my little wet self there and had the view, the lunch, all good.  Even stopped raining...until it was time to walk again. Good sense of humor, those rain gods!!
     In my next life, I'm coming back as a trout fisherman or as a bear.  The rivers look so inviting.  Cold water, but not white ankle white.  Clear as a bell and fast moving.  Ernest Hemingway would have enjoyed this part of Spain...if he could have remained sober long enough.
     I like to think that it would be fun to have that stone house, turn into an albergue, but with that hassles of the government regulations, I think it would turn into a class A headache.  It would be fun for while, until I couldn't get the fish to bite, couldn't get the mosquitoes not to bite, and I'd have no customers.  Oh, and I couldn't speak the language, and I'd have no close friends nearby...Other than that, I think it would be a real hoot!!
     The homes in this town aren't all this big, but they are all cut stone and solid as a rock... don't say it...duh!  This one was on a slight hill overlooking the river.  Closest thing I've seen to a castle in a few weeks.   I wouldn't want to clean it, heat it, or cool it.
    This is what I call a beautiful entry way.  I love the hydrangeas as they remind me of my grandmother's house.  People here put nails in the ground (iron) to make the hydrangeas turn more purple.
The quickest way to become wealthy is to decrease your wants - SWB