Vía de la Plata Marker

On a recent walk to O San Salvador via the monte, we noticed new kilometer markers on the vía de la plata, a less known route of the Camino de Santiago. Though plata means silver, the word actually derives from the Arabic al-balat, the cobbled paving of the old Roman roads.

I haven’t yet walked the camino (rather, camiño), but it’s been on my mind lately. Rather than traverse camino frances, I’d walk the camino mozárabe starting from Granada, which meets up with the vía de la plata at Mérida in Extremadura. Along the way, one would discover Muslim, Roman, Hispanic, and Celtic histories.

Villa Alaricii

My folks are in town from California. After a few days in Porto and Aveiro, Portugal (also a first for me), we made it back home to Allariz yesterday. The weather has been typically rainy, but there are some dry spells where we enjoy the beautiful views. This one is close to the old castro, overlooking part of the town.

Tomorrow, I’m taking them on the train from Ourense to Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, to see the Cathedral, where most of the pilgrims from all around Europe end their camino.

Galician Christmas

I have an a fascination with Galicia that probably borders on obsession. Historically Celtic, mostly green, rural, and wet in winter. Galicia reminds me of Oregon. People speak both Spanish and Galician. It’s also the destination for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.

We decided to see some friends up north for for a change of scenery during Christmas week. We don’t celebrate Christmas other than getting together with family but often we are abroad and do our own thing. I’ve been to this comunidad autónoma two years ago and I was eager to get back. Here are some photos.

Our friend’s place is in a small town between Sarria and Samos. This time our GPS took us through the back way, which was amazing because we caught some glimpses of the Abbey of St. Julian.

He has a farm right on the camino. The scallop shell symbol points the way for pilgrims.

We walked around to a few different pueblos on Christmas morning. They are hamlets, with only a few dozen people living in each. We also met this group of cows that followed us as far as they could in their pasture.

Galicia is amazing. For me, it might be a place I’d like to settle down in for some time. There is a lot of potential for some of the things we want to do; de-urbanize, be in nature, grow a portion of our food, and enjoy life.