We didn't get in as much walking as we had planned, but the picture on the left is the toolshed belonging to Antonio's farm down the winding dirt road that leads to the paved carretera. Most of the time we were there, we had this kind of weather. It only changed the last week, and even then it was cool and crisp in the mornings, with fog and mist, and some rain, and clear and sunny in the afternoons. Then rain again at night.
The last week was a bit of a scramble for us, full of good-bye lunches with friends, preparing the house for closing, and having meriendas one evening with neighbors, and seeing to a car inspection, etc. But we did squeeze in a trip to the area near Celanova to have a hello-and-goodbye visit over lunch with friends we hadn't seen for about 4 years: Elvira introduced us to her boyfriend, Jose. We met her through another friend years ago and thoroughly enjoyed her. Manuel we had met years before in Celanova, through the same mutual friend, in fact, Jacki Edmonds. The meeting place was to be at a restaurant in a small village fringing Celanova called O Cristal, at 2:00 p.m. When we woke up, though, to the rain-washed morning, we thought,"Uh-oh, it's going to be that kind of a drive."
But the Force was with us. At breakfast, looking out the galeria window, what to our wondering eyes did appear . . ? Nope, not
St. Nick, but a promise of the day to come:
So off we went, and it truly was a beautiful drive down winding roads that parallel the River Miño on the way to Ourense, befor it is joined by the River Sil. On this route, vineyards terrace the hills. The sloping banks are terraced with bright houses and tiled roofs.
We set out especially early this time, because we remembered another visual treat: the amazing village of Vilanova dos Infantes -- one of the most immaculately maintained villages I've seen in Galicia. The homes always seem freshly painted, the gardens beautifully tended. People were friendly, too, as they are everywhere in Galicia. And we were even visited by a cat who acted as if he were the town mascot.
We also were intrigued by a set of statues and a plaque. It was historical, but, not knowing Gallegan, we couldn't find out why. The horreos are also a historical landmark in Galicia. These are the granaries raised off the ground, looking like little houses on mushroom-shaped pillars. The mushroom shape is to make it impossible for mice to get in.
And then it was on to O Cristal, our meet-up place. We remembered a very interesting church from previous visits, right next door to the restaurant. My husband loves to photograph the churches around Galicia for their beautiful stonework, but what intrigued us about this church was the outdoor ampitheater and chapel:
This separate little building that looks like a hermit's cell I believe is a shrine instead to the Virgin of the Crystal (Virxgen do Cristal) who is honored in the Fiesta held September 15th (which we missed.) I obviously need to do some research on this church. It's fascinating.
This small building goes back to 1185. You can see the shrine inside in the third picture.
Then it was time to meet our friends at the restaurant, where we had a wonderful time catching up on four years of news.