We made it. Dad and I got into Santiago yesterday afternoon. We immediately went to the cathedral to “km 0” and took a lot of pictures with our group. It was 18km from our start point that day, and dad and I were among the first people to reach the meet-up spot, which was 4 km out of town. After finding our hotel and washing up we all met back at the cathedral for a tour. The guide was very good, and we learned a lot about the history of the cathedral and the town. Then it was off to have Tapas for dinner. So way too much food and some good drinks later we decided to pack it in early (10:30 pm). Today we slept in for the first time this trip, had a late breakfast, and went to the Cathedral for the pilgrim’s mass. It was relatively good, but I don’t speak Spanish, and I’m not a big fan of Baroque architecture. The singing was amazing though. Then we wandered the old city a bit, had lunch, and now I’m typing this. I’m about to go back to the hotel for a short rest, and then it’s off to see a museum. Enjoy.
Yes, that’s right, I get to Santiago tomorow. For those who don’t know, yesterday we walked 28km. Yes, that’s right 28. We got into Arzura (sic) at about 6:30 pm. That meant walking through the heat of the day. When you hear the phrase heat of the day, imagine the sun on the hottest day of the year beating down on your neck. Yeah, it’s hot. But we made it eventually. Got in looking for a nice long soak in a tub… and there’s only a small shower. Sigh. So I started off today sore, and with tight muscles. But I wore that off, and had a great first six km. Had a nice talk with a French Gentleman, and enjoyed the countryside. Then my feet suddenly started hurting. I still don’t know why. But I pressed on and made it to the 12km mark where the check point was. That was as far as my feet would allow me. I took the van the last 8 km. On the plus side it meant that I could rest for a bit, and soak my feet (there was actually a tub) for a bit, then take a nice long bath. I’m feeling considerably more human right now, and should be able to make the last 18km tomorrow fairly well. Dad had a way better day today than yesterday. He, for some strange reason, decided to jog it. Yes, Jog. 20km. But he made it, and was the first one in today. Arriving just 1/2 an hour after the van. I’m impressed. The views here are beautiful. Huge vistas of every imaginable variety. It’s lovely walking here (until the heat of the day). I wish I could put some of my pictures up here for you to see them, but believe me, they’re awesome. I was asked to talk a bit about the group that we’re traveling with. It’s fairly multinational. There is a group of seven Australians who are friends and relatives (two of them live in London), there are four New Zealanders, two Californians, and two other Americans. It’s a pretty cool group. Well, enjoy your days. Oh, and has anyone let Zach and Clare know about this yet? Enjoy.
This one has to be quick as I´ve got 4 min left. No spell check for me. I started the pilgrimage yesterday. 7km yesterday, and 15 today. I´m in Portomarin right now. Tomorrow we ramp it up to 23km. I´m hoping my feet hold out. Adios
So here I sit in Sarria, Spain. Yeah, I love starting blogs like that. Traveling has been so much fun. I thought that since I had a bit of time, I´d share a little about the food here. Each area in Spain seems to have its regional specialties. Some of these are Seafood in the north west, and more Mediterranean meals in the south east. In Madrid it seems to be ham. I have had more varieties of ham than I thought were possible. The bacon first. Oh the bacon. If you’ve ever had American ¨bacon¨ you know how horrid it is. so thin and small that it´s always burnt and crunchy. English bacon is better, thicker and more meat like. Spanish bacon is best. It´s like British bacon, but it has more flavour. We also had several other types of ham, each better than the last. Most bars and restaurants have their own leg of ham that they cut up. It´s like everyone´s a butcher. The Paella is also good. Not for those with shellfish allergies, but amazingly good. If you´ve ever had Mexican Paella, well this is better. For one it´s much less spicy. I like spicy foods, but that tended to be too much. I just had stewed bull the other day, another wonderful meal. It tasted like it had been stewing all morning. Melt in your mouth good. The Spanish breakfast I had the other day was wonderful. We went down to a pub for breakfast and I had a piece of bread with ham on it with Chocolate (hot chocolate). It was small, but very good. The Chocolate is what we would consider European Drinking Chocolate, but about three times thicker. You stir in however much sugar you want, and when you take the spoon out the chocolate is sticking to it. Mmmm…. Best hot chocolate ever. Breakfasts are usually very small, a piece of bread and some ham is a fairly common one. Lunches on the other hand are at least two courses, plus a dessert. I´d tell you what dinners were, but we´ve really never been hungry for them after our huge lunches. For lunches we usually get the Menu del Dia, or menu of the day. It gives us a choice of a few things for the first course, a few for the second, a dessert, a basket of really good bread, and a glass or three of wine. All for less than 10Euros (about 15CAD). Some places let you choose the dessert, and some give you the choice of bottled water or pop to replace the Vino Tinto, but not often, since wine is cheaper than both of those. Bocadillos are another popular food here. It´s basically a smallish (16″ or so) loaf of french bread cut lengthwise with some meat and or cheese stuck in it. Also of note are Tappas. Basically a small appetizer. A few meatballs, or olives, or a piece of toast, or a bit of calamari. Nothing huge, but also very cheap. Usually served with beer. Something interesting here is that drinks are usually served with a free, or almost free, bit of food, and meals are served with a free drink. It´s kinda cool. I´d tell you all about the various odd foods I´ve tried, but that would take forever. I plan on trying the octopus later today, apparently it´s a specialty here. I haven´t had it in a few years, but I recall enjoying it. That´s all for now. Adios.
Well I tried to post part of this, but ran out of time. So I´ll finish now. Lets start with Madrid. First off we went down to the Prado. If you get the chance, go. It was awesome. Some of the best art in the world. I took a picture (bad Noah) of one of the paintings. It turned out pretty good. When I upload everything I´ll post it. One of the coolest things was seeing the 16th century art. I continue to love that time period. After the Prado we left for the Archaeological Museum just in time to dodge a few tour busses (we walked by the Prado on Saturday and it was packed. If you go, go on a weekday. So the Archaeological Museum is a must see. It charts the history of the Iberian peninsula from neolithic times to the 17th century. You´d be surprised at just how many cultures called Spain home. Some highlights were Roman Jewelry, Moorish architecture, and Celtic weaponry. After that we walked down to Plaza Mayor for lunch (eaten around 2 or 3). Lunch was wonderful, as was the wine. I´d tell you more, but if I told you all about the food I wouldn´t have time for anything else. After that we were exhausted, so after a stroll around the Plaza we went back to the hotel. Distance Traveled: 10 km The next day we went to the Royal Palace. This is another must see, but mostly for the weapons and armour. They had more 16th and 17th century pistols than even the White Tower in London. The palace proper was cool as well, but not nearly as cool as the armouries. After that we walked down to Retiro Park. It´s basically a big park around a man made lake. And statues. They really like their statues here. So we participated in two of Madrid´s most popular sports. Walking, and people watching. We also stopped by the rose garden, and the statue of the Fallen Angel. We went out and had lunch and then took a short nap. Then it was off to Reina Sofia Museum. Another must see. Not only does it have Guernica, and other Picasso´s it also has a huge collection of Salvidor Dali. If you like art at all, you must go here. Distance Traveled 15 km Toledo Day. So after a long bus ride at way too early in the morning we arrived, and were treated to the sight of a medieval walled city sitting on the hill above us. Yes, I have pictures. Again, you´ll have to wait till I´m home. First off, after climbing the hill, we went to a new Visigothic Museum. It was free, which was the first cool part, but the best part was that it was almost better than the Archeological Museum in Madrid. It is focused on the time from the end of the Romans to the beginning of the Moors. The rest of Toledo was mostly walking around and enjoying the architecture. We went into a few churches, synagogues, and mosques, but mostly we just enjoyed the city. We did get a chance to climb up onto the city wall as well. After a long bus ride home we slept very soundly. Distance Traveled 20+ km Segovia next. Again a long bus ride. Segovia is another wonderful Medieval city. We spent a lot of time walking around, got to see a kick ass cathedral, and some amazing architecture. But the best parts were the Fortress (can´t remember the proper name right now) and the Templar Church. The fortress looks like Sleeping Beauty´s. Mostly because it is what Disney based that castle on. It wasn´t the most amazing thing in the world, but it was very cool. Also it has the best view ever. Then we went to the only remaining 12 sided Templar church. It´s being slowly restored by the Knights of Malta, and is now a functional church again. It´s fairly small, but impressive none the least. We also got to walk around a beautiful garden at the Cathedral. It was awesome. Another long bus ride home. Distance Traveled: 20 km Next was our day to leave Madrid. But we wanted to see a few things first. So we went down to the Anthropological Museum, but it was mostly closed. We were allowed to wander the few open areas, but it isn´t really worth mentioning. Other than seeing an early Mate straw. We then went to see the Tyson (sic) museum. Again amazing artwork. This time spanning from the 16th to the 20th century. I think I can now say I´ve seen more Picasso´s than most people. Also Dali´s, Monet´s, and Degas´. We then got our gear, and walked up to the train station (8 km), and waited longer than expected for our train. Got on the train 1/2 an hour late and waited 20 min before we left. We then got to the transfer station at 3:30 am, and had to grab our gear and run to the next train. We made it, and that one was more comfy. I slept about 6 hours total last night. But we pulled in to Lugo. Distance Traveled: 15 km Lugo is an amazing city. It has the worlds only fully surviving roman wall. 2.2km of wall around the inner city. It also has a pretty cool, free, museum. The wall is the coolest part. Oh yeah, and each time they dig for a new building, they find more Roman buildings and objects. I got to see part of a roman road when I looked down into an excavation pit from the top of the wall. Now we´re in Sarria. Gotta go. bye