The Golden Box

Merida Travel Blog

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The beautiful Parador in Zafra. I made a point of having a Cafe con Leche in every Parador I encountered on my trip. This was one of the most beautiful.

So it is time to talk about the ´Golden Box´. I have been using this term for many years now and think that it is time to share this wonderful concept with my people.

The Golden Box is a place that I keep my most precious memories. The box is not very big and only the most precious memories belong here. When you experience something that surpasses a previous ´high´then it can replace the previous. In this way, the box is never overflowing and always contains the most blissful moments of your life.

Until this month, I had not accessed the Golden Box for several years. I was in a type of hibernation waiting to awaken from my rest. The last week has been the awakening I have been expecting. Every one of my senses is on high alert: I see new colours, smell aromas that defy description, taste exciting new flavours from the earth, hear the crispness of life and touch nature as I please.

The beginning of days of wine! Endless vines, endless camino, endless joy!
Clearly these experiences will facilitate the opening of the Golden Box and replacing past ´highs´so the Box is now renewed and refreshed.

Life here is really back in natures home and I realise just how far from this life we have slipped in Australia. We have stopped appreciating life in it´s naked form. Maybe it´s time to look into your Golden Box for a moment.

So back to the camino.....last time I wrote I was in beautiful Zafra. I really loved the pretty town but had to leave the next day. The appointed stop was a town called Villafranca but things did not go according to plan. Here´s the story.

The walk in the morning was quite lovely, a little chilly with a fresca wind blowing most of the day. For the first time in a week, we met other peregrinos (3 lovely old men from Spain).

Only June and look at these plump bunches
They were going at a cracking pace and we lost them for a day! By the time we reached Villafranca de los Barros it was close to lunch and the camino fortuitously took us past the local market. We stocked up on pan (bread), fruit and a last stop at the stall selling Chorizo. Ramon ordered a half Chorizo and the man kindly gave it for free as we are pilgrims - amazing and so typical of the Spanish. We continued to the plaza and had a lovely picnic lunch next to the church in the shade.  This included the obligatory changing of socks (life on the road!)

As the Albergue in this town was closed and we felt refreshed after our stop, we decided to continue walking another 18km (4 hours) to Almendralejo. It was a fabulous walk entirely through the middle of vineyards along the tractor trail. Literally 18km of vines!! I cannot tell you how exciting it was to see the healthy lush vines laden with fruit already. The teeny lime bunches glistened in the afternoon sun and promised a wonderful harvest in September. How I would love to be here to experience that. The picking is all by hand using rubber baskets made from old tyres. I think that half of Spain must have to relocate to this area (Ribera del Guidiana) to help with the harvest.

Finally we made the extra 3km detour to Almendralejo. This town is quite big and strangely for this area, very affluent. There were more expensive cars than I saw in Sevilla, due in whole to the bouyant wine industry here.

After settling in at a small (but quite expensive) Hotel we went out to have a drink. After 38km, we were exhausted and needed an early night. My calves were screaming and the usual ampollas (blister) carry on! We found a fabulous bar called Pámpano. It reminded me of Melbourne for the first time since I have left. It was very modern and funky. The surprise lies here . . . . in most bars, the price of a glass of wine is 1Euro (about $1.80). I was expecting prices around 3E here as the wine list was spectacular and included all regions of Spain. We tried 4 fantastic wines between 2 of us and it cost only 5 euros (including 2 free tapas: Patatas in aoli and mocilla in tomate). Should this go into the Golden Box? I am still deciding.

Today was also quite a big day so we left early at 6.30. Travelled 28km again through vineyards. At one stage we passed through a herd of about 200 goats and their protectors. There were several perros (dogs) who came running towards us ready to attack but stopped short when Ramon yelled at them. I was not scared but wondered where it was going to end up.

I drank lots of water today which was my saving grace but at 2.00pm when we arrived I was spent again. The albergue tonight has the 3 old Spanish guys in it as well as a couple of bici (bike) pilgrims. As usual I am the only female. I will have to put up with a fair amount of snoring tonight so will be prepared with the super duper silicon ear plugs!

Merida is famous through all of Spain for its Roman ruins. We have decided to stay for the morning and have a short day tomorrow to walk 17km in the afternoon. My legs need a rest but there is so much to see here I think the morning will include much wandering around the ruins as well.

So go take a look into your Golden Box. It´s never too late to replace some old cobwebby memories with fresh new ones.

Buen Camino, Gracia

kristinasub says:
I just bought book "O diario de um mago" (diary of magician) of Paulo Coelho, it's his first book he wrote 1986. but just year ago is translated on serbo-croat and edited here... follows his way from San Huan PIe-de-Por to Santiago de Compostela and i hardly wait to start to reminded me on his writing :o)
Posted on: Jun 14, 2008
RubyB says:
Hi grace. its ruby.
how are you. i hope you are enjoying yourself :)
Posted on: Jun 12, 2008
c_angel says:
Okay senorita Grace.... I now know that I am a full blown wimp. Ooozing blisters and stitches... all nighters. I have ten years over you but I feel like your abuelita (grandmother) ! I would not be a happy pilgrim with blisters and no sleep. You boggle the mind girl. Keep on treking.

Posted on: Jun 11, 2008
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The beautiful Parador in Zafra. I …
The beautiful Parador in Zafra. I…
The beginning of days of wine! End…
The beginning of days of wine! En…
Only June and look at these plump …
Only June and look at these plump…
photo by: bluemarbletreader