Monday, May 20, 2013

Palas de Rei to Melides

It is 10 pm and the sun is still setting over Melide, a beautiful little town of 7,000 in the middle of the autonomous province of Galicia.
Sun was the blessing for the day after what seemed liked days of rain and cold weather. The trail started out muddy (photo 1), but soon turned into a rather firm country path interspersed with country road. Again we were walking through deciduous forests, but with a preponderance of oak trees and eucalyptus trees, the latter with their elongated leaves, shedding bark and distinctive aroma.
I am still fascinated by the farm culture of this area. Today I photographed a cabaceiro, a circular twine structure with a thatch roof, which was also used to store grain and vegetables (usually corn). (Photo 2) This was is seen in front of the 13th C Romanesque Church of Santa Maria do Leboreiro. I know 4I have lots of photos of the insides of churches, but this one was beautiful in its austerity. (Photo 3)
Shortly afterwards I passed over the medieval Magdalena Bridge over the Rio Seco and was joined by a group of lively Spanish young people. One wanted to pretend he was going to jump off the bridge. (Photo 4)
Another medieval bridge (photos 5, 6) the Ponte Velha, took me into Furelos, a traditional village.
Soon after I reached Melides, my destination for the day at only 10 miles. I checked into the Pousada Chiquitin at 30€ for the night. After a brief rest, I explored the city. There was an interesting museum that had artifacts of the history of the area. Apparently, there is an archeological dig not too far away and they found a number of Roman coins from 200 AD. They also showcased traditional crafts such as lace making (photo 7) and shoe making (photo 8). I guess when you have a lot of mud, those thick wooden clog style shoes work very well.
Then I walked along the main street where there were a number of cafes across from the city park. I ran into a German couple, about my age,
Bridget and Peter from the Black Forest area. We have been hiking together off and on since Villafranca del Bierzo and seem to have a similar pace. We ended up having drinks and dinner together and they spoke English well. They told me they have a cousin in Louisville, a priest named Father Joe Voor, at Edenside(?) who visits them every summer. It really is a small world. My treat for dinner was pulpo (octopus) grilled and served over rice as an appetizer. Very tender. That was followed by beef stew, which is always a favorite. Included was flan and a 1/2 bottle of wine for 9€. Pretty amazing.

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