Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Return to Santiago de Compostela But by Car This Time

Monday, 11 May, 2015:


Before discussing Monday's leg of the Circumnavigation of the Iberian Peninsula, I must return for a moment to revisit Sunday's dinner in Espinho, Portugal.  We dined at the Casa Meirles which was run by a father and son.

We were tired when we sat down to dine and the menu was in Portuguese only. What to do? Our friendly waiter, the son, suggested typical Portuguese tapas and we agreed to try them.

Only after he left the table did it hit me, we did not consider prices and were about to get soaked to be sure as we were obviously non-Portuguese speaking tourists.

Out came three gigantic, great fish tapas and a bottle of delicious, local red wine suggested by the father. Then out came another large tapa plate with a bottle of water and eventually two espressos and the required digestives.

When I asked for the tab, I was cringing.

Oh, it was only 18.50 Euros, about $20.

Life on the Iberian Peninsula is GOOD!

In the morning we were greeted by the
Atlantic Ocean pounding on our jetty

Surf's UP!!!

Our apartment had a cool
refrigerator in the kitchen

Rested, we were ready to head back into Spain by way of Porto, Portugal. Once in Porto, we were warned by our GPS that there was heavy traffic on the auto via and that she was taking us on an alternate, traffic lighter route called . . .

. . . the Circumnavigation . . .
No, really!

Spain that-a-way

200 meters to the borderless border

Back in Spain at last

Another of Laurie's bridge shots

Santiago de Compostela
today's goal city

We made it to Santiago!

Time for a well deserved café con leche at the Derby Bar.

The Hotel where our Camino Family
stayed after our 33 day, 500 mile
pilgrimage walk in 2010

Atlas NEVER rests

This is on OLD store


El Caudillo?

Near the Cathedral

Santiago Matamoros

The Cathedral was getting
a facelift


Old but looking good

Random Ferris wheel

Ancient post

Official looking building

It was time to enter the empty Cathedral for a look-see.

These flowers still try to cover
up a few Moors that Santiago is
about to hack to death

Cathedral Dome

I'm not sure of the meaning
of all of this symbolism

Main Altar

Main Altar head on

Side Chapel

Laurie and the HUGE, swinging
incense burner's rope

The HUGE incense burner

Islamic looking Virgin

Another Side Chapel

The Camino Clam Shell logo

And yet another Side Chapel

Ornate Side Chapel

Really ornate Side Chapel

Relics of St. James are perhaps here

Alms accepted here

The Santiago Cross

Statue of Santiago Matamoros

Dome close up

Exit that way to the . . .

. . . outdoor plaza dining area

The Jazzman was still in the
same place five years later!

Pilgrims on the prowl

Not sure who this is

Ode to a Derby Bar regular

After touring Santiago de Compostela's Cathedral and historic center we finally got a chance to meet a long time friend for the first time.

How is that possible you ask? Simple really, the miracle of Facebook.

Our friend is Diego Pagnotta who is attempting to get a new American football club started in Santiago de Compostela. The former American football club in the area was mismanaged and fell apart this year. Diego and a group of fellow parents whose children love our great game have banded together to start this new project that will field teams in both American football and rugby.

As a bonus, Diego generously invited us to spend the night in his home in the suburb of Teo.

The view from our bedroom window

A former seminary turned . . .

Camino de Santiago Alberque

It is an old place to be sure

Today it also would serve as Diego's new project's practice field on a day of rugby training for the 20+ athletes in attendance.

Coach Alberto starting the
training session with a video

Alberto brings a combination of expertise, common sense, fun and love of rugby and kids to his practices. He is definitely a team builder!

Outlining the days practice

Practicing Gator tackling

Post practice photo-op

Where the new team
will play their games

After practice we returned to Diego's home where his Mother Graciela had prepared . . .

. . . a feast fit for King Pelayo himself!!!

Very satisfied diners!

L. to R.: Oscar, Nacho, Sandra, Andres, Diego, me, Laurie, Graciela and Pablo. Diego's brother Sebastian took one for the team by taking the photo.

Who are all of these people you ask?

Well, here goes:

Oscar is a member of another nearby American football club, the Estrada Bestas.

Nacho is Diego's son.

Sandra is Andres' significant other.

Andres is also a member of another nearby American football club, the Estrada Bestas.

Diego is our host.

I'm just an old hobo touring Spain.

Laurie is this hobo's best friend and very significant other.

Graciela is Diego's Mother and our feast provider tonight.

Pablo is Diego's Father.

A great home cooked meal, new friends and lots of American football talk around the dinner table. What more could you ask for on the road?

With Nacho

With Diego

Another great day on the road to be sure thanks to Diego and his family and friends!!! Thank you so very much!!!

Next stops on the Circumnavigation: Avilés and Gijón

Again we will meet old Facebook friends for the first time, a cousin in Avilés, and a Notre Dame loving football coach in Gijón. 

This trip just gets better each day!!!

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