Caceres-virgine de la montagne

I did write a post about this, but lost it. Mary comes down from the mountain for her holidays, to spend a week in the town church. It takes about 6 hours for her to be carried down and she stops and is adored, sung to and danced at along the way. She meets another angel, held by children, doing same swaying hypnotic walking as they tap the sticks and the songs and dancing get more joyous as she gets closer to town. For a couple of non-believers, we were both quite enraptured by Mary and the ceremony and watched from several viewpoints, including a wine in the plaza mayor at the end at midnight!
















Santiago here we come 25km to go!

We had a lovely rest day in ponte verde when we just did 10km and then met dad at the cathedral and decided to just chill out.
We all went for a beautiful (or so I thought) lunch, c and I wandered around the town, c even brought her camera and took a few pics. We had a wine in the plaza and spent time people watching then early to bed.
Woke a bit squiffy next day. On and off as we walked, but it was the best walking we had had in a few days. Agricultural suburbs, rivers, old bridges and woodland beautiful.
We came down into a town at 10km after we had powered past all the other peligrinos up a hill.
The owners of the cafe were standing there waving we went yay!! And ran down the hill. Coffee, toast. Yum!
Then it all went a bit wrong, felt v acidy and nauseous for next ten km. loosened waist belt, tried not to think about meatballs which I was pretty sure were the culprit.
C found hotel and checked us in, while I sat with bags. When we got to room I was sick a few times, drank gastrolyte, sick again then managed to sleep. C saved the day later with digestives and 7up.
In am I decided to ship bag, but thought I could walk 18km. Bit delusional as at about 3 km felt terrible, couldn’t tell c as she would panic, but yay! Cafe at 5 km. we ordered a cab and I have spent day sleeping. Feel I can walk into Santiago tomorrow yay, but still getting bag shipped!









The camino 165km mark. 75 to go!

Blisters on little toes the main blight since we left Porto on 5th may. Otherwise, loving it… Felling fit, strong, powering up the hills. C been well whole trip, not a glitch. All good. Yay!
Even gave my first public performance of ukelele at casa fernandas. A sort of home stay, dad couldn’t hobble to get the uke fast enough when they asked if anyone played guitar. Bit embarrassed (read Beetroot) but aided by a few ports, we had a great singalong with 4x Lithuanians, 4x Aussies, 1x German and 1 American who lives in Zurich + fernanda and her hubby.


























AAAAHHHHH a bath and no coed dorm tonight. So happy!!!! Muchas gracias

Cards on the train Seville to Caceres.

We got on and this older couple sat across the aisle from us. It’s a “local” train so we settled in for the 5 hour journey, by having an orange- they bloody are amazing from Seville. 
Then we continued the scorpa challenge, which I did win 100:94. 
The guy opposite was watching and so we invited him over. Manolo, left his wife Antonia to come and play. We tried to teach him scorpa and then he taught us rondo. 
This was all in Spanish and gestures/ English and gestures and laughing. Turned out manolo was 75 “but felt 15”. 
Then an American girl who is living in Spain teaching English came and joined us and interpreted. It certainly passed the time, especially when manolo started showing us rondo version 2, 3 each time more tricky and with a little bit more vindictiveness, which I do love in a game!

The rain in Spain falls mainly in Madrid

Madrid in the rain

Art galleries abound! (And unfortunately today, football “fans” what is it with European men in football shirts walking through the streets with cans of lager chanting??? Especially when they are chanting gay lord at the other team-what are they 5??)
Anyway, morons aside…
In madrid the art galleries charge entry ranging from 6-14 euros (quite pricey on the coffee index- how we work out relative expense or country.  This entry equivalent to 4/5-8/10 coffees) ImageImageImage
however, with a little queuing, they do have free time for the late living, low budget art lover. In our short time in Madrid we managed to capture the free sessions at the 3 biggies;
thyssen-bornemisza (huge collection including amongst others Picasso, lucien Freud-C’s fave, and Lichtenstein)
And free entry to Dali exhibit (7-9pm) largest collection so far apparently (we saw the big exhibition in aus, but still there were ones I’d never seen) but in 2 hours we only made it half way through.  
Prado 6-8pm lots of Goya and I actually saw some Heironymous Bosch. So wierd, surrealist in 16th century. Coz of colettes catholic origins and my tiger balm gardens (in Singapore diaramas of hell made a big impression on me!) experience if a child we both loved him. 
He does all these hell paintings-people being boiled and eaten and tiny devils brilliant. Especially loved the table of seven deadly sins, so while being gluttonous you do it knowing what is coming. 
Then we a huge free cubist exhib and virxilio vieitez a Spanish portrait photographer from 1950s to 70s. Photos of families and individuals from northern Spain villages. 
And……we both bought a pair of shoes. Couldn’t help it, well I “needed” some flip flops for after the camino and these beautiful red leather criss cross slip ons fit the bill. Gorgeous. 
C got some super funky leather plimsole sort of shoes. She’s been looking for ages and today finally got her funk on. I am slightly jealous of them, would have got a pair if she didnt. We seem to be morphing a bit due to limited clothing, walking shoes and cold weather again necessitating 2x black tops and black puffer jacket with jeans, it’s a tad similar! Eternal vigilance!!!?

Caceres fiesta of San Jorge

Saint George or San Jorge (haw-hee) is the patron saint of the city.
Last night, muchas excitement. A reenactment of the story (which we don’t really know). It involved Christians, Moors, a dragon, Esmerelda, maybe unrequited love and st Jorge galloping in on his steed and setting fire to the poor dragon that had been paraded through the streets.
It was all very exciting.
Then there were fireworks in the square which were so exciting coz they were right overhead, colouring everyones






Sexy Sevilla Saturday

A reflection on coincidences……
Tourist office at train station not open, so….
Went into hotel for a map.
She’d never heard of avenida da Sevilla (the road our hotel was on) and when she googled it, it was in a suburb 30km away. Bloody
But (bloody the booking hadn’t gone through, so we stayed at the hotel.
Just outside the hotel was a bus stop where these women in all different coloured and styled flamenco dresses were getting on the bus.
Our jaws dropped and we just watched for a while, thinking they must be off to work as dancers.
I couldn’t believe the dresses, earrings, make up and hair even in the kids. The little boys were all smart too in braces and with a red scarf as a belt.
We walked on, I saw these cool retro postcards, and while I was browsing c asked a lady where they were going.
“The ferry”…. Or something.
As I paid for the cards c said “feria?” As the cards were old adverts for Feria de Sevilla -a week long celebration in April. Biggest night- the Saturday!!
We got a Spanglish run down from the guy in the shop but still didn’t really know what we were going to. An expo? A trade fair? A competition? No. The Easter show but muy muy cooler!
On the bus, still not quite sure what we were going to, we met manuela, her husband and baby Juan. Manuela had a gorgeous green spotted dress on. They honeymooned in Australia. She explained it to us.
It is a week long celebration, set up like an old town with streets and casetas (little bars in pavilions).
Most casetas are private, bought by people who invite their friends or clubs.
We wandered through the “streets” admiring the horses and carriages, costumes and casetas and saw these two women putting their money away.
The flamenco dresses have a purse sewn into the ruffle. We admired it and began chatting as they spoke English. They have known each other since they were 10 at scouts, who meet at the feria every year. They said it is a festival that is about the beauty of the women so they all take the chance to wear the dress. The men just accompany.
They dance the sevillanas (a type of flamenco) eat and drink “too much” and it is a celebration after the solemnity of Easter.
They invited us into the caseta (a big privilege) introducing us to Angel. He was the informal boss of the caseta, a policeman by day. He bought us ribolitos the traditional drink -white wine and sprite. But strongly cautioned us (in Spanish) that we should be careful and eat. The girls told us traditional food was fried fish (marinated in vinegar first) and flamenque meat rolled with egg and peppers and, yes fried.
That was our food because so far all we had seen was candy floss for sale unless you got in a caseta.
Anyway, it was brilliant, we ate, watched the dancing, listened to the music and castanets. Colette had a quick castanet lesson from these 2 other women inside. They were amazing, dancing and playing, really playing the castanets.
We headed out after an hour or so and saw the posada-big entrance door lit up – it has a unique design each year, then headed home (at midnight as everyone still flooding in).
I remembered as well that we weren’t even going to go to Seville I just had a lot of trouble booking the trains.
Heading home, again very lucky. Which hotel were we staying at its not on the key (fortunately near the station) which bus do we catch? where’s our map? What street is the hotel on???? How do you even say station in spanish???Whoops.
Anyway, with luck and miming we got on the right bus, went past the station, recognised the street, got off the bus right outside the door. You can’t ask for more than that!
For breakfast at 1pm we were a bit limited. Went to a cafe where you ordered the coffee, but went across the road for the food. Mmmn fried again. But C found a new word churros!