Tuesday, September 26, 2017

An Interesting Series About Galicia

Craig and Melanie and their sweet
dog, Slawit. 
While we are here in Galicia, my postings would be incomplete without reference to friends of ours, one of whom has written a series about living here in Galicia.  Craig and Melanie Briggs actually sold us our house in Trasulfe twelve years ago. (How time flies!) Since then, we've added touches to make our second home more commodious, but we have always enjoyed the house from the get go. And they have always been special friends.

Meanwhile, Craig has written a series of books describing their adventures when they first came to Galicia 14 years ago and, step by step, became more and more immersed in the life of the area, until they decided to live permanently in Galicia. Originally they hail from Huddersfield, England, but 14 years of living here have turned them into Spaniards. They live in a village called Canabal where they have fitted right into village life. (Expats seem to average about one family per village here, and the villages are scattered around larger towns that are hubs of grocery and clothes shopping, etc., not to mention the abundance of fiestas. Canabal is close to Sober, which has a wonderful wine festival each year and often offers classical musical concerts.)

The Books: These are the books in the series:

The very last one, Opportunities Ahead, has just been released.
As you can see from the titles, this is a joyful series, recording how they met challenge after challenge and found that they were not simply "expats" but actually, finally, "home".  This series will give you a good feel for the challenges and adjustments, but also the joys of life in Galicia and what it is like to find a new life in a new setting, speaking a new language.

All of these books are on Amazon, in print and in ebook form. You can go to Amazon.com and Amazon.uk (an maybe other sites as well).  A good way to know your options is to go to the Briggs' travel blog HERE, which makes for delightful reading about certain villages and towns in Galicia and historical signposts that make the area unique.

In addition, a new, humorous posting once a week — The Someday Supplement — includes tidbits of local news and some pretty good local recipes.

You can also reach Craig on Facebook HERE to catch up on latest posts of interesting events and sights.  Happy reading.

How about you? Do you have an author friend who has released a new book lately? Does the author have a site you find particularly interesting? (If yes to either or both, by all means share with us.)

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?