Monday, September 18, 2017

Back in Beautiful Galicia Again

                   
We are back in the place we love in Spain — for 7 weeks this time. Alas, the first week has passed in not very good health: I came down with a case of shingles a few days before we left. Layered, so that I couldn't spread the virus, and armed with medication, I was fairly comfortable on the long, long flight, and rested up the first few days after arrival.  Luckily, as you can see, this is a peaceful place to rest up and muse upon things.


Shingles is active for a couple of weeks: Small welts blister, then crust over, and once they do, you aren't contagious to others (which is why you cover yourself thoroughly during the time that you are.) They are very painful, and in a peculiar way. The wounds are abrasively painful, but your muscles ache, and you feel a general mess. Think of it as grown up chicken pox, because it's the same virus. If you had chicken pox as a kid, you have the virus in you for life and can get shingles as an adult.

I had expected to feel much better this week-end, so off we set with friends for a day trip to Castromayor, a Celtic settlement dating back to 400 b.c. to 100 a.d.


A "castro" is a Celtic hill-fort typical of Galician culture before the Roman conquest. In this case, Castromayor appear to have been concurrent with a Roman settlement nearby, which we did not see for reasons I'll mention later.

Castromayor is a point just off the main pilgrimage road to Santiago de Compostela. In this picture, you can see some pilgrims ahead of us, walking along the main entrance into these ruins. The stone ruins are basically the foundations of the old settlement, built the way "dry walls" are built — i.e. no stucco or cement to hold the stone in place. And while some areas have fallen to rubble, it's amazing to think of these foundations still existing for 2400-plus years. Have a look:

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More pilgrims here and there.
"The Camino" is something I have wanted to walk for some time.  To get a certificate, you have to walk 100 km minimum. Being realistic, though, I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything more than walk parts of it. Actually, that's fine with me. I was excited to be walking on a small stretch of it Saturday—less than a kilometer. But it was the Camino!



Meanwhile, here is a good layout of the entire settlement. Rajan and I were simply amazed.


After that, we went to an interesting town called Portomarin, with full intention to sight-see some more after lunch  But then the aftermath of my shingles was catching up with me. I was suddenly very tired and hurting all over again the way I hurt when I first broke out in shingles.

I made it through lunch — and a delicious lunch it was, at an Italian lunch that really knows how to make penne pasta and pesto sauce, not to mention dough pizza with herbs. But I digress. We came home early, deciding to keep further sightseeing for another day.

At home, Googling it, I learned there really is something referred to as "shingles aftermath". You feel the pain, though not as keenly, but there are no new sores or blisters. You lack energy and may have sore muscles (like flu symptoms) Apparently you can feel this way for months afterwards. I don't think that's going to be my fate--again because I had the shingles shot, which has made everything less severe than it might have been, from everything I've read.

But I am so glad we went! I felt so good until I felt so bad, and I would have felt horrible to postpone and perhaps miss this trip, as our time here is more limited than last time.

Meanwhile, Trasulfe is a great place to recuperate. It never looks the same way twice: This is what it looked last night before the rain and then this morning after the rain.

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How about you? Have you ever gotten a sudden illness you didn't expect to have? Do you make a good patient? (I try to, and I'm usually a "good sport" for about two days, then I get cranky.) Do you like ancient cities? Does ancient history fascinate you?

21 comments:

Vicki Lane said...

I envy you the time in Spain -- may the aftermath be gone soon. And I adore the ancient places -- hill forts and the like. A certain mana seems to linger in these spots.

Barbara Watson said...

Glad you're back in Spain! I certainly hope to visit there one day. And I'm sorry to hear about the Shingles. I've had them -- no fun whatsoever.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So sorry you have shingles, Elizabeth, and that the pain could go on for a long time. Even if it is less. I haven't gotten my vaccine yet but definitely want to get it next time that I go to the doctor. Especially since you got it with the shot. Loved your pictures and awesome that you'll be in Spain for 7 weeks.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Vicki, thanks for stopping by. I always love your posts, so I appreciate your comments here. Yes, there is something so mystical about ancient places for me. A real aura that seems to hover.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Barbra, thanks for your comments. Yes, shingles is no fun, as you say. I'm just grateful I had the shot, because the pharmacist told me that without the shot all the symptoms and pain would be much more severe.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Natalie, yes please do get the shingles shot. I had no idea. I've read of people having shingles, and thought, "Oh what a shame" the way you think when someone has the flu. Uh-uh. Isn't like the flu. Luckily, it could have been worse, so get the shot, for sure. I'm so glad you liked the pictures.

Rosi said...

Those shingles have really put a damper on things for you. I've had the shot too but have been lucky enough to not yet have an attack. The ruins are spectacular! How fun you got to see them.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rosi, yes I feel so fortunate. I have a thing about Celtic history anyway, and this was such a great experience. As for shingles, luckily, only about 50% get them after the shot. Rajan is one of the lucky ones, too. :-)

Sandra Cox said...

OMGosh, Elizabeth, I am so sorry to hear that you got Shingles. Several people at work got them and they say it is horrific. After hearing how bad it was I got the vaccine. I hope you continue to feel better. Take special care.
Glad you enjoyed your vacay in spite of your illness.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Sandra, thanks for the good wishes. It's improving, and luckily, I didn't have the horrific version to begin with because I DID have the shot. (So, yes, get the shot. It's only 50% effective, but if you get them, it won't be as severe a case.) How is your own health going? How is your elbow? I think you had to have some surgery on it. Meanwhile, I hope you are making a little vacation out of your time away from the computer. Thanks for stopping by.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Oh boy! I hope you feel better and it doesn't linger. It seems like you're able to make the best of things which is about all one can do. Enjoyed the pictures and so wish I could see that. I have such a love for history and cultures, and it looks so inspiring. Thanks for sharing, and feel better fast!!!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Tanya. Being in a quiet, soothing place with beautiful scenery really helps. (If I were home, I'd probably be staring out the back window at my hard and garden a lot.) I'm glad you liked the pictures. Like you, I have a love for history and cultures, and the idea that people 2400 or so years ago were living here, having dreams, frustrations, worries, happiness, just does things to me. Have a great day.

Mirka Breen said...

I haven't travelled in a while, and a genuinely enjoy being taken on other's journeys. You have an eye for what is beautiful and interesting. Thank you for letting me come along.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Mirka, I'm glad you enjoyed the journey. Galicia just amazes me every time we discover a new aspect of it. We also have to thank our friends for suggesting these places. It might take quite a while for us to find them on our own. We are very grateful.

Suzanne Furness said...

Oh no what a shame you got shingles just before your trip. Wishing you a speedy recovery although I know it can be very painful. The pictures look fascinating, I do enjoy visiting ancient sights. We went to Sicily a few weeks ago, lots to see there. Enjoy your time in Spain.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Suzanne, thanks for stopping by. Sicily! Now there is a place I would like to see. It's been such a crossroads of history.

Tamara Narayan said...

On my very first out-of-town job interview, I came down with a very nasty case of Roto virus and had to stay in the hotel an extra three days before I was well enough to complete my interview. Happy ending though--I got the job!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Oh, no! That sounds terrible. These surprise diseases that strike aren't any picnic. I'm glad you go the job, though. Thanks for stopping by.

PlanetKimberly said...

I'm glad you're having a good time on your vacation despite the shingles. You have me thinking I should get the shot since I had chicken pox when I was a kid.

Chrys Fey said...

Seeing that settlement in real life would be amazing. Yes, I do love ancient history.

I'm sorry that you've been dealing with Shingles. :( I hope you feel better soon.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Kimberly, yes, by all means, you should have that shot. It will protect you about 50%; But if you DO get shingles, in won't be nearly as severe a case as without the shot. Thanks for stopping by.


Hi, Chrys, thanks for the good wishes. I agree. It would have been interesting to walk through the village when it was still standing. It's amazing to think of life 2400 years or so ago.