No class today so time to explore! I get lost easily but following a river is usually a safe bet. The French have a great word to describe mindless wandering, “flâner“; without doubt one of my favorite things to do.
The River Tormes runs through Salamanca and is filled with history, islands and wildlife. Come with me for a stroll.
Walked through the Plaza Mayor.
Waited for the little man to turn green, (he runs faster when light is about to change).
Passed trees in bloom.
Strolled through Huerto de Calixta y Melibea.
Saw street cleaner sucking up debris.
Admired street art.
Crossed Puente de Enrique Estevan.
Walked a path.
Quacked with the ducks.
Gazed at river.
Lunch at El Parque!
Alfred and I are studying Spanish for a month at Salamanca University. We have three hours a day and we’ll let you know how it goes!
“Para vivir no quiero, islas, palacios, torres.
Qué alegría más grande, víver en los pronombres!”
View from very nice pilgrim albergue
View from Roman bridge.
Street in old town.
Lovely utility access.
Door to the public library.
View across the Tormes River.
View from the Cathedral towers.
We are staying in a pension right next to the Grand Cathedral. The weather is cool and rainy and we are seeing a few other pilgrims wandering around. We met a German man who’d done 6,000 kilometers walking back and forth from home to here.
Carnaval is happening and people are dressing up and there are parades. We’re kind of on the edges of things but fun to see.
We got our pilgrimage certificates and went to a special pilgrim’s mass in the Cathedral. The sermon recounted the story of Jesus telling a rich man it’s easier to pass through the eye of a needle than for a wealthy man to get to heaven.
Santiago means Saint James, one of the twelve apostles, and he’s believed to be buried in the church. The edifice is over 800 years old and is undergoing serious renovations.
Pension Fonseca, we’re off season and rates have been quite low.
Walking down towards the convent.
Ponte de Ulla, Pico Sacro, Santiago – 17 miles, 2-26-17
Today we followed the Camino shells to the destination of Santiago de Compostela.
Alfred walked ahead at a brisk pace and I strolled along until I got to a sign for the “Pico Sacro” or Sacred Peak. It was rainy and foggy; perfect weather for a holy place. I followed the sign then lost my way. I saw a couple walking down the gravel road and asked for directions. They were out for a walk and offered to take me there. The man was from the area and we had a great walk to the top despite the wind. (Once again I was struck by how kind people are and how able to discuss a wide variety of topics in a lot of depth.)
I am sheep.
Camelias in bloom
Traditional soup with collards, potatoes and pork, (Caldo Gallego)
Walled Camino Real
Mist and rain
A Laxe to Ponte Ulla – 19.5 miles, 2-25-17
Down more winding idyllic country roads past newborn lambs and grazing cows in brilliant green fields. Much of the day was on the ancient Camino Real paved with polished stone and edged by gnarled oaks.
The air smelled of cut hay, cows and blooming fruit trees and sounds of birds, calling lambs and herding bells were all around.
Ponte de Taboada built in 912.
Worn stone steps and deep paths led to the river.
Macro of plants on old stone wall.
Just a few more cows.
Oseira to A Laxe – 19.5 miles, 2-24-17
I left the monastery early climbing up into the dawn. The road of weathered stone was worn deep into the side of the mountain and I could imagine people following this path to the monastery during its flowering.
The path wound through hamlets, along streams filled with watercress and past herds of meat and dairy cows.
We stayed the night in a municipal albergue and fell asleep to the sound of parents and children playing music in the community space below.
Path up from the monastery.
Wall bordering path
Ourense to Oseira – 20 miles, 2-23-17
We walked from Cordoba to Granada then on to Almeria, following the Route of the Caliphate and the Camino Mozarabe but had not made it to the end point of all the Caminos, Santiago de Compostela. We are going to start studying Spanish in Salamanca March 1st so decided to walk the last four days of the Via Plata into Santiago for Carnaval.
I’m really glad we did this as the Galician path is as inspiring and gorgeous as the walk through Andalucia but in a different way. In the south was sun, Arabic history, snow capped mountains and olives, here are lush green fields, stone houses, cows and deep moss covered paths trod for centuries.
We left Ourense and were soon in forests and stone. We had lunch with a retired trucker named Cesar, who opens his house and now travels via guests, then slept in a monastery where we attended vespers with the monks.
The monastery was built in 1137 and the passage of history struck me here as in few other places. The blend of poetry and sound during vespers left me with tears streaming down my face and many questions about faith and vocation.
Elves could be here.
Tidy gardens of roots and greens.
Shells are appearing more as way signs.
Water is everywhere and it’s stored and directed in stone.
Cats over the wall.
Our albergue for the chilly night. The monks make chocolate and an herbal liqueur so we ate this with fire baked bread from nearby Cea.
Three days in the glorious city of Sevilla before heading north to finish our Camino walk on the Via de la Plata.
Portrait busts of citizens were popular in Ancient Rome. These are from the Archeological Museum.
Plaza d’Espagne from the 1929 Iberio-American fair.
Each region has a spot in the Plaza.
Doves from Maria Luis Park.
Art and Culture Museum
Handmade lace from museum.
Narrow streets and oranges.
We see you.
So many reasons to visit Ronda: my dear friend’s name, an enticing post from another friend with impeccable taste, Alfred’s parents loved it and it was on the way to our next destination of Sevilla.
We hopped a bus drove up the Costa del Sol and pulled in just as night was falling. The next day was rainy which made for dramatic skies and glowing saturated colors.
El Costa Sol. Hard to see in this photo but greenhouses stretched for miles in every direction.
Palms, sun and sea
Cliffs and vistas
View to the east.
Santa Fe to Almeria – 15 miles, 2-15-17
We made it to Almeria last Friday. Most of the last day was on small roads and river bed walking.
We walked past a man harvesting oranges and he smiled and gave us two of the best tasting ones we have ever eaten. Have I mentioned how incredibly nice the people are?
River bed trail.
We saw many small dogs dressed in warm sweaters.
The graffiti here is almost as good as in Granada.
Almeria is a port city. Beyond the cruise ship you can see the Alcazar on the hill.
View from the tower.
More street art.
As in most cities we’ve visited life seems to get going once again he sun sets.