29 May 2007

Galicia

Detail of stone carving on the entrance to the church in Noia

So we went, not like the medieval pilgrims who tramped footsore across Europe, mile after mile to get to Christianity's third most holy city - the alleged resting place of the apostle St James - Santiago in Spanish. Instead we flew for an hour and forty minutes from Liverpool. I noticed something about the huge cathedral - how algae and moss and small green plants had established themselves on its high stone pinnacles and windows - rather like a sea cliff. I liked that - the sense of nature threatening to reclaim it.

Our "cool" Peugeot Mover ice cream hire van.

After Santiago de Compostela, we drove to the coast near Riveira. There we stayed in a four star hotel overlooking the bay. How lovely it was to wake up to the sunshine of Sunday morning and see fishermen hauling in lobster pots or casting their lines from small rowing boats. Further round the coast, in our rented white Peugeot Mover, we walked on a wild Atlantic beach untouched by development - just wooden walkways weaving through the dune vegetation to rocky outcrops where broken shells and driftwood had gathered in heaps - as if purposefully installed by modern artists.


View from our coastal hotel room.

I fell asleep on the lonesome beach near our hotel, my mind drifting to forgotten memories and speculations, all swirling together with images from Will Self's 480 page "Book of Dave" - now finished. Don't you just love that sunny summery feeling - like beach fever - time suspended - your mind wandering in a relaxed haze? I wanted more afternoons like that but to have just one was quite lovely.
On the plane on the way home, we met a man of seventy who had walked the Camina Frances - six hundred miles. He began on May 2nd - walking over twenty miles a day to get to Santiago. He talked all of the hour and forty minutes home but you know - we didn't mind. He wasn't boasting - just telling the fragmented human story of his incredible journey along such a well-trodden path.

We only tasted Galicia. There was so much more to take in. Three days is nothing.

11 comments:

  1. Tag! You're it.

    Beautiful photos. Lovely descriptions. Thank you, thank you.

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  2. What a delightful view you had, glad you enjoyed yourself. It's so calming for the soul to have a break from the norm'.

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  3. what a lovley place jep

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  4. Well I Must say.. Im getting a little tired of all this travel and fun that you are having and IM NOT!!!

    I'm happy for you guys but very envious. :P

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  5. Sigh! That looks so lovely.

    And looks like the weather you had there was just slightly better than we have 'enjoyed' over the Bank Holiday weekend.

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  6. Ahhh. I believe that is a place I must add to my "I have to go there before I die and while I'm still young enough to peruse it in style". I'm glad y'all had a good time. No sunburn after the snooze on the beach, I hope. I don't believe I'd have ever left.

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  7. Welcome back.

    So glad you've had a good time.

    At least your "sample" visit may have given you a taste to go back there??

    FoX

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  8. looks good, l have headr that people walk vast distances to S d C on pilgrimages. Faith must be a very strong part of some people's life.

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  9. ALKELDA - I will take up your tag challenge when I have enough energy!
    CRYSTAL JIGSAW - You're right that time out can be like self-therapy.
    JULIE - Yes, the view from that hotel was "to die for" - I hate that expression.
    BY GEORGE - Envy is an extremely unpleasant human trait. Expunge it! You live in the cradle of democracy - the richest nation on Earth - I am the one who should be envious!
    JJ (GRISELDA!!!) Galician weather is very changeable but yes we had some warmth and sunshine there... very nice.
    FRIDAY WEB - No sunburn but something was happening in my trunks!
    ARCTIC FOX - I doubt that I will ever return to Galicia. There is just so mmuch else to see in this world.
    MUDDY BOOTS. Faith? Well it is not my thing. I love churches but only for their atmospheres and their architectural details.

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  10. St Jacques de Compostella is a place I'd love to visit. The mother of a French friend of mine did the pilgrimage a few years ago at the age of about 70 from Marmande, near Bordeaux and is still talking about it.

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  11. YP, I am glad you had a wonderfull trip... albeit a tad short.
    I am hoping to take a short break in July and am planning a longer trip on two wheels in 2008.
    Sort of a battlefield run with a diffrence into the dark interior of Namibia to see some of the places I trod as a soldier last century! (That sounds so funny!)
    Some mates of mine are putting together the trip and as it is still in the planning stage a lot can still go awry.

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