Today the walk was for the most part fairly easy. There were a couple of challenging pieces, once again over loose rock, always precarious on a descent. The sun was hot (31C) and there was only occasional shade. What a difference walking under a tree made!. Speaking of trees we are seeing more of the eucalyptus forests. During the Franco era, eucalyptus trees were imported from Australia to accommodate a huge pulp and paper company. However, the eucalyptus, despite its wonderful fragrance and beautiful blue green colour, is not popular with all in Galicia. It is fast growing, one of the reasons the tree was brought here, but it also requires much water and deprives other plants. The dryness of the eucalyptus predisposes it to fire and with the Galician thunder and lightening storms, forest fires are a problem in the eucalyptus forests. There are also concerns that the forests are not well managed.
Segueing from Australian trees to Australians—we met up with a group of Aussie tourigrims on a ten day Camino. To their credit, although a bus and lunch meal service accompany them, most of them do walk as far as we do. We often pass by as they are picnicking and are amazed that they are back on the trail after their wine luncheon.
Another segue, this time into food. At our request that we wanted to eat at a typical Galician restaurant, our concierge recommended a place and a few menu choices. We shared a simple salad ( that is what it is called) which is lettuce, onion,and tomato). The mixed salad is these plus carrot, corn, asparagus and tuna. As the mixed salad is always on the Pilgrim’s Menu, we have had plenty of those. Next we had “Zorza” — chopped chorizo sausage with fried potatoes and a sauce of some kind. It was quite rich but OK. The potato is the main vegetable in Galicia and they are creamy white and very delicious. Rod decided to also have Galician anchovies. He said they were good but more like a small pickled herring. Galicia has vineyards and does produce wine, although they are not as well known as those from the Rioja region. Both the white (Rio Baixis)!and red (Ribeiro) are quite dry but good.
We finished off our meal with Santiago cake which is sort of like a moist, very almond flavored pound cake, typically with a shell design in powdered sugar on the top. This may be something just for pilgrims and tourists. It is heavy so we share:-)
We were greeted at our hotel in Palas de Rei by the friendliest and most concerned staff we have ever experienced anywhere. Although varied, all our accommodation has been good and the posadero and staff very nice, but these people were truly incredible from the moment we arrived until we departed the next morning. We felt like family.