This little piggy . . . .
Monesterio Travel Blog› entry 9 of 43 › view all entries
June 6th, 2008 – by: Gracethepilgrim
Since the last post, I have walked from Castilblanco to Almaden de la Plata and today to Real de la Jara. I am not in Monesterio until tomorrow but this site does not recognise the little towns so excuse the location being wrong.
The walking has improved a lot since the outskirts of Seville. For the past 2 days I have had a walking companion. He lives near Barcelona and is a Catalan and speaks both Catalan and Castillano. His English is about as good as my Spanish so the last 2 days have been very funny with us both acting as teachers.
On the way out of town we stopped at an open bar for early cafe and I made the (bad) decision to try the local breakfast speciality of tostada con mantiquilla (like butter but animal lard flavoured with spice). It looked OK and tasted OK but the after taste and burping to follow were not very ladylike.
I also had an interesting lunch yesterday with another local speciality - caracoles (snails) cooked in a lovely thick sauce. This was a tapa (small serve) and I also shared many other tapas with Ramon while sipping a few of the local vinos.
The walk yesterday was long (30km) but through a 'park' so very tranquilla. There were birds everywhere and I spent most of the day looking for the elusive herds of deer, famous for the area. When we stopped later in the day there was a program on TV in the bar dedicated to the sport of deer hunting. It was like watching sheep herding in NZ and Aus. Very strange.
The park is also home to crops of cork trees, most of them stripped of their bark to provide corks for the local wine.
After a long walk yesterday, Ramon, German and I sat in the Plaza at a bar and enjoyed the evening sun (light until 10pm) and some more tapas (huge corn kernels that you remove the outer skin from and then eat - yum).
Always at night, pilgrims attend to their old and new ampollas (blisters). It is fun to perch on the edge of your bunk and swap stories of pain! I now have one on almost every toe except for the big toes. They are painful but not as painful as ones on the sole of your feet. I am saying ampolla prayers all the time.
Today was a spectacular walk through many Dehesas (free range farms) with much opening and closing of farm gates. The amimals are often up close and personal and I was in my element. I patted dogs and cats, took photos of sheep, goats (all with the cute bells around their necks) and my favourite ones, the black pigs!
At one stage we encountered a Toro without a tether and managed to get quite close to him. He was huge. I could not bear to think of the bull fights but maybe he has a better fate (like the dinner table?).
The many coloured spring flowers are still blooming and we took a short break for a picnic this morning to eat some Manchego cheese and tostada. The cheese travels well and is exquisite. We sat by a small reservoir in the shade of the oak trees. The pigs eat the acorns and thus the special flavour for the local Jamon (cured ham). It is highly prized in Spain. The supermercados (imagine like a corner store not a Woolworths or Coles) have dozens of cured legs hanging from the ceilings. I just love wandering the stores and enjoying the attack on my senses. I wish I could bottle the sights, sounds and smells - truly La Buena Vida!
The Albergue for tonight is like a lot of interconnecting caves.
Of course my contribution will be the vino.
I am loving reading the messages to my hotmail - thanks everyone but sorry for not replying as it is often difficult
I also have a Spanish phone you can SMS me but be aware that not all messages have been getting to me.. I think it is something to do with the phone company you belong to +34 666 720 678
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