Monday, July 31, 2017

Walking the Camino, Day 27: Our Last Mountain Day

Our last mountain day started with a strenuous climb five miles straight up.
A beautiful morning for hiking before the temperature shot up into the 90s.
Staying in a three block town tonight where the cows outnumber the human residents, although there are a few hundred pilgrims staying the night.

Up, up, up, to 4500 feet.

Finally entering Galicia, where we're expecting more varied food.

 The octopus house.

At the summit. 

Galicia, from the summit.

We're staying at this huge albergue in Fronfria, although not in the "bunk rooms". This particular room has a dozen double bunks for couples with a twin on top. We are not staying in these rooms.

Our room has a private bathroom, plus we get a nice view.

The dining building where we had dinner with 150 other people.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Walking The Camino: Day Twenty-six

Our longest day so far. Thankfully the weather was beautiful with temperatures approaching 80 degrees. Twenty-three miles in just under nine hours, which included a nice lunch in Cacabelos.

 Day 26. Heading out at 7 am. The only people awake at this hour are the pilgrims.

Another stone bridge. I love them.

First coffee break.

Our friend saying see you down the Camino. He's carrying a huge pack. I'm not sure how much of what he's carrying is necessary.

Stork's nest.

Lunch break in Cacabelos. Three courses, with bread, a bottle of wine, and coffee for ten euros each.
Alan had all his favorites - lentil soup with chorizo, braised rabbit, and chocolate cake for dessert.

Through the western wine area of Spain.

And we arrive at our hotel in Villafranca del Bierzo almost nine hours later.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Walking The Camino: Day Twenty-four - Pilgrim's Food

Eating experiences are such a big part of traveling. You never know what's going to be on the menu. Unfortunately for us, some destinations along the Camino don't offer much more than the standard fare dished up for pilgrims passing through. Once in awhile there's some really good regional food.

 Empanadas, with tuna, for breakfast.

 This is a better breakfast. Ham on toast with a creamy tomato spread.

 Spicy pulpo (octopus) on potatoes.

 Mussel and potato soup.

 Bacolao with spicy sauce.

This is a regional specialty we found in Hospital de Orbigo. It's their famous trout soup. Basically toasted sliced bread layered in a bowl, a piece of trout on top and a seafood broth poured over it. You stir it all up and it becomes this porridge-like soup. 

 Sliced meat starter.

 There's always a mixed salad on the menu with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, egg, and tuna.

 Frog soup. Tasty but a lot of work.

 More empanadas at the bar.

 Sometimes there's paella as a starter on the menu but northern Spain isn't known for paella.

 Natilla for dessert.

 Smiling cookies.

Meats are usually served with fries, fish with salad.

Meats as part of El Cocido Maragato. A complete meal in three courses from one dish. 
Meats, cabbage, chickpeas, and spices are all boiled up any you're served the soup first, followed by the chickpeas and cabbage, and finally the meats (usually all pork, including smoked tongue, chorizo, belly, ears, and some meat of course).

Bubbling seafood.

Lamb and chips.

Alan doesn't really like mushrooms all that much.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Walking The Camino: Day Twenty-three

Leon to Astorga in three days. Big city to tiny village to The Chocolate City.

 Leon Cathedral

 Leon cafe life. Late afternoon coffee and people watching.

 Downtown Leon

 The old historic district of Leon is like a maze.

Hospital de Orbigo, the jousting capital of Spain.

 Crossing on the puente.

 A nice little place to stay in a town with a population of fifty (not including farm animals).

 A flat day of walking. It's been a week of relatively flat terrain but we hit the hills tomorrow.

 Overcross ramp for wheelchairs and pilgrims.

 Approaching Astorga and the much needed Spa Hotel.

 Astorga's Plaza Mayor at dawn when we made our escape.

 Gaudi Museum in Astorga.

 Astorga has been one of our favorite places on the Camino so far. Nice restaurants serving some very interesting regional food, great architecture, lots of locals, and chocolate everywhere.

We just follow the arrows.