Ribadeo to Corias

Before leaving Ribadeo this morning we stopped at Lidl to buy some lunch supplies.

We crossed the river into the region of Alturis, drove along the coast a bit, then headed south on backroads. The roads were narrow and very windy. At one point we followed s small, worn sign down a dirt track to this church. The sign seemed to say that a battle with the Romans occurred near here.

A bit farther down the road near a crossroads on a ridge top we stopped for our picnic lunch.

It’s Wednesday night and we are staying at the Corias Monastery Parador. It opened in 2013. It is an absolutely beautiful Parador with a swimming pool and archaeological remains in the basement.

The Monastery library is to die for!

The building is quite large.

And so are the rooms.

We had dinner in the former Monastery dining room. Here are the highlights of the meal. Roasted goat leg with potatoes, onions and peppers.

Pear tart with apple ice cream.

Milk curd with walnuts and honey.

Vilalba to Ribadeo

This morning we drove straight from Vilalba to Ribadeo on the coast. We immediately went out for a walk and bought some bread to go with our lunch.

In the park people were playing bocce ball.

We walked along the shore and watched a ship come in.

This is the view from our room in the Parador. We have seen lots of Eucalyptus tree farms in Galacia. Apparently the fast growing trees are harvested for making paper.

While we had lunch on the balcony of one of our rooms we watched them load the ship.

Low tide today was at 8 pm. We planned our trip to Cathedral Rocks Beach for low tide so we could walk the beach among the giant rocks.

we had an excellent Parador dinner. My scallops starter was especially tasty.

For his main course Duke had salmon with an orange sauce.

For desert I had luscious pineapple cold cake.

Ferrol to Vilalba

Our first stop this morning was the grocery store because our picnic supplies were running low. We bought bread, meat, cheese and chocolate.

We did not buy this Special K but I’ve never seen it with chocolate before. I thought it was fun.

Not far down the road we went for a walk down the edge of a lagoon.

Then a bit farther along we stopped at an amazing white sand beach and it was deserted!

Roger went wading and said it was very cold.

One of the advantages of traveling with a marine biologist is that he can identify all the shells you find. From left to right – mussel, razor clam, cockle, limpet, limpet with a barnacle on it and a Venus clam.

At another beautiful beach we had a picnic lunch.

Finally we went to the lookout at the northernmost point in Spain. The wind was blowing hard. It felt like a gale.

Baiona to Ferrol

Today we moved from Baiona on the west coast of Spain just north of the Portugal border to Ferrol on the north coast.

Along our route we stopped at Santiago de Compostela to see the Cathedral and square at the end of the Camino de Santiago. On our travels we have seen lots of pilgrims with the iconic scallop shell on their packs.

The cathedral is undergoing renovations so the interior was pretty much covered up.

Our second stop was the Hercules Tower on the north coast in A Caruña. The Romans built several large lighthouses along the coasts of the Mediterranean and Atlantic. The Hercules Tower is the only one still in use. It was originally built in the first century. We climbed the narrow stone steps to the top to see the magnificent view.

Our destination today was Ferrol. Our Parader overlooks a Spanish Naval base. After we checked in we went to visit the Museum of Naval Construction.

This evening we played cards and then. wandered around the Parador gardens.

Monforte de Lemos to Baiona

The building on the hill is the Parador in Monforte de Lemos where we stayed Friday night.

Just down the road from Monforte we stopped to check out this pedestrian bridge over the Miño River in Ourense. It is s-shaped.

A bit down the road we saw this road bridge. The curving part is a pedestrian walkway. I think Ourense could be renamed the Bridge Town.

For a change today we didn’t drive backroads to get to our destination so we arrived in Baiona about one. It is a beautiful day so we walked around the fortress walls.

About half way through we went down into the town and had some lunch.

Duke and I shared some calamari and Gayle and Roger shared scrambled eggs with shrimp and baby eels. Both dishes were absolutely wonderful.

When we got back to the hotel we played cards overlooking the Atlantic.

Parador de Santo Estevo to Monforte de Lemos

I think the orange juice machines in Spain are cool. This is the one in our Parador this morning. There is nothing like fresh squeezed orange juice.

The Monastery of Santo Estevo Parador where we stayed Thursday night has numbered panels on the walls that allow you to take a self guided tour. So that is what we did after breakfast.

We also took a walk through the gardens behind the monastery.

Around noon we left the Santo Estevo Parador and took the back roads to our Friday night stop the Parador de Monforte de Lemos which is situated in the former Monastery of San Vicente del Pino. For much of the drive the views of the Sil River Canyon were expansive and beautiful.

We stopped at the ruin of the Monastery Santa Cristina.

We had a picnic lunch by the bridge where our route crossed the Sil River.

As we climbed out of the river canyon we passed terraced wine grape vines that seemed impossibly steep.

Of course we had to stop at the Duke lookout. Even though it was under construction the view was still good.

For dinner Duke had octopus I had chicken cannelloni.

Villafranca del Bierzo to Parador de Santo Estevo

Our first stop this morning was the lookout over Las Médulas. Las Médulas was the largest hydraulic gold mine in the Roman Empire. The miners dug extensive tunnels and long canals to funnel water into the tunnels and wash away the gold bearing ground. This hydraulic mining washed away a massive amount of the mountain. You can see what was left of the mountain they mined in the terrain we saw from the lookout.Above you can see the outlet of one of the tunnel complexes. This tunnel is now called Galerias de Orelián. We went down into it until we came to the outlet in the picture above.When we came out of the tunnel we drove down into the valley to the museum. They had an excellent video that helped me to appreciate how much earth was moved by this massive mining operation almost 2000 years ago. There was also a model that showed the terrain left by the mines.We took the back roads to where we are staying tonight. Along the way we stopped at a gas station and bought fresh bread for our picnic lunch.After the picnic it started raining. The route to the Parador was green and lush. .The Parador de Santo Estevo where we are staying is in an old monastery. The rooms are big and beautiful with great views. They are situated around the cloisters.

The dining room where we are dinner is in the old stables.

Leon to Villafranca del Bierzo

Today was cool, rainy and very windy. So It was not a great day for being outside. We took the mountainous scenic route from Leon to Villafranca del Bierzo. But first we found some coffee and pastries in Leon.

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Then we took a walk in Leon along the river to the Convent of San Marcos and back to our hotel.

We also bought some bread and cheese for lunch. The cheese vendor gave us samples and offered us wine from a bota bag to go with our samples! We bought some cheese but passed on the wine.

As I said the road through the mountains was beautiful and scenic.

In Villafranca del Bierzo we walked around a bit and discovered that we are on the Camino de Santiago.

We also discover a lovely quilt shop.

And a castle ruin.

Madrid to León

This morning we saw Butch and Myra off for home, did laundry, and picked up a new rental car. Coincidentally it is the same car which we had for the last ten days but it has been washed and we didn’t have to pay for parking in Madrid.

Around 1:30 we headed out of Madrid northwest towards León. We stopped for groceries about half way through the drive. Spanish grocery store fish departments are always interesting.

We arrived in Leon in time to visit the cathedral. I think it has the most beautiful stained glass in Spain.

For dinner we ate tapas in three different spots and then walked back to our hotel which is located on the Plaza Mayor.

Avila to Madrid

Our plan for Monday was to drive to our hotel in Madrid, check in, Leave the luggage, drive to the rental car office and return our car, then take the Metro to the airport to meet our friends Roger and Gayle who will be traveling with us for the next two weeks. Everything went pretty much according to plan although maneuvering the narrow streets of Madrid and the traffic did prove to be a bit of a challenge.

This afternoon we walked and checked out some of the sites of Madrid with stops for drinks and tapas.

We ate dinner at Botín. It was founded in 1725 and according to the Guinness Book of Records is the oldest continually operated restaurant in the world. I had roast suckling pig

We’ve had a great time with Butch and Myra who will be flying home on Tuesday.