This little piggy . . . .

Monesterio Travel Blog

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That breakfast!
The last few days have been as fantastic as any could be - my new favourite saying is 'La Buena Vida de la Peregrina'( the Good Life of a pilgrim)

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.
Eating caracoles
I speak only in Spanish and he in English. There have been some hilarious moments of laughter with the mistakes. Yesterday I confused the verb 'to stop' with 'to give birth to' so when asking if we would stop soon, I actually asked if we were giving birth soon! (only me).

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.
Ramon and the bar snacks like corn kernels
I really liked the pigs liver stew. It is common to serve it when serving wine in bars. We also had a really lovely local sausage finely sliced, fried beef with homemade chips (deliciosa) and ample bread (white and floury).

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).
The famous 'black' Iberian pigs munching on acorns

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?).
A dehesa (large farm)
It was only after I had been close that I realised I was wearing my pink singlet, red scarf and red hat. Idiota!

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.
Our wonderful little albergue in Real de la Plata - pilgrim dinner on the balcony
The doors are about 5 feet high and the ceilings in each room are curved. Although it was over 30C today, it was very cool inside. I am looking forward to dinner and Ramon has offered to cook Tortilla. Mi favorita!
Of course my contribution will be the vino.

Buenas, Grace
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  
margotnz says:
Hey Gracie - finally caught up on your blog. Sounds like you are having fun and getting very hot each day. Don't dehydrate with the VINO!! Don't know where you are finding the energy to write your blog. I'm off to the beach for walk with Mickey. Keep on dreaming and meeting wonderful people on the way. Will try SMS'g you soon - love Margot
Posted on: Jun 07, 2008
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That breakfast!
That breakfast!
Eating caracoles
Eating caracoles
Ramon and the bar snacks like corn…
Ramon and the bar snacks like cor…
The famous black Iberian pigs mu…
The famous 'black' Iberian pigs m…
A dehesa (large farm)
A dehesa (large farm)
Our wonderful little albergue in R…
Our wonderful little albergue in …
photo by: Gracethepilgrim