Saturday, May 7, 2011
Camino de Santiago - Day 3
Picking one picture per day and only one picture is so hard! Everything was pretty and the days were so full and with so many events and experiences packed into them that it's hard to tell the story with just one photo.
However. Moving on.
Day 3 - Eixede - Melide
Mostly a regular day of hiking. Gorgeous spanish countryside, stone houses with more modern ones mixed in and my feet started to hurt. I was laughing looking over my journal entry for the day because I ended it with "my feet hurt, my ankles hurt". True. We are covering 12-15 miles a day and it has been tough, but tough in a good way. There are so many things I want to write about today that I am going to break it up a bit (i.e., this is going to seem disjointed anyway so I figured I'd go with it and do bullet points).
1. See that structure pictured up above? Every Spanish farm and country house has one. And I mean EVERY ONE. Some are fancy and new, others are crumbling. Some have crosses on top, some not. We spent several hours guessing today. Chickens? (Every house we pass has these as well) Grain storage? Some kind of religious thing? The answer - for those of you trivia folks - is grain storage. Supposedly it keeps the rats out of the grain but over time, it has become a "good luck" sort of thing, hence the crosses and the smaller ones.
2. The Camino - a couple people have asked me what this hike is. It's one of the three largest and most popular Catholic pilgrimage routes in the world. It is third to Rome and Jerusalem. Supposedly, the body of St. James is buried in Santiago de Compostela and folks came from all over Europe to pay respects. There are many camino's or paths to the city. We are on the Camino Francais, the most popular and well supported. Technically it starts in France and takes about 35 days to complete the whole thing. If you finish the last 100 km on foot you get a certificate from the church forgiving all your sins or earthly discretions. It's a little bit like the indulgences for sale in days of old. However, we are not religious and I would hazard a guess that over half the people hiking are not as well. It's just a great (and cheap) way to see Galicia.
3. Melide. This is one of the biggest towns we've stopped in so far. Word on the street (trail) is that the albergue is icky so we opted for a hotel room tonight that has beds! and a shower! and our own toilet! It's all so exciting. One of the things that Galicia is famous for is it's seafood. Melide in particular is famous for it's octopus (pulpo) specifically octopus that has been boiled, sliced and doused in olive oil and paprika. It's so famous in fact, that there is an entire style of restaurant called pulperia's that serve it. Tonight we had pulpo. At 7:30 the restaurant was entirely filled with pilgrims (no one else in Spain eats that early) and it made for a fun atmosphere. The family sitting next to us was speaking Japanese to each other and after we crudely exchanged a few "buen camino's" and thumb's up about the octopus (they had finished eating, we hadn't ordered yet) the woman overheard us talking. She asked where were from and I said "United States" and she says "oh, what part? We're from LA". We had spent a good 10 minutes crudely gesturing to each other because neither party guessed that the other one spoke english. As for the pulpo, as I told the kiddos, I was "thumb's sideways" on it. Didn't love it, didn't hate it, probably not something I'll have again but this trip is all about getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things. So there you go. Boiled octopus. With tentacles. Lots of tentacles. And suckers.