This was an “if only” day. If only I had waited later to start. If only the rain had started sooner. If only I had known it was going to rain, I would have had a taxi ride like a lot of pilgrims or I could have started later. As it was, I was awake at 6:00 am and ready to go by 7:30. The temperature was mild but about 2 kms down the yellow arrow pathway a light drizzle began. I knew that there were no cafes for the first 8 kms, so I put the rain gear on and trudged onward. Thankfully the oak and chestnut groves provided relief from the rain so the trek was not too bad. There were very few pilgrims passing me so maybe the taxis were busy or people decided to leave later.
At the 8 km mark, a cafe was open so I had a chance to dry out a bit and have a bowl of Caldo Gallego – Galician Broth. This soup is a very common dish in Galicia. Cabbage, potatoes and beans make the basic version of the broth. Many times ham, sausage and pork are added to make a filling main course. My broth was season with the ham bone with plenty of cabbage and white beans. After resting about half an hour, I set out again for Melide another 7 kms to go. The rain was intermittent and just as I entered Melide, the skies began to clear.
During a break in the rain I was able to capture this cobweb outlined by the rain.
As with most of these early towns, the pilgrims enter over a bridge as was the case with Melide.
The origins of Melide go way back, over 4,000 years, evidenced by the dolmens or burial chambers that can be found dotted around the locality.
The actual town of Melide dates back to the 10th century but it appears to have gained more prominence when King Alfonso IX gave the land surrounding Melide to the Archbishop of Santiago in 1212 AD. In 1320 Archbishop Berenguel de Landoira built a castle and walls in the town to fortify it but these were destroyed during the Irmandiños uprising and after that the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella prohibited its reconstruction.
The speciality of Melide is “Pulpo Gallego” and since it was just before 2:00 pm, I decided to give this delicacy a try. The octopus must be pounded well to make it tender. Then, it is cooked whole and cut into pieces and seasoned with olive oil, paprika and salt. It is traditionally served on rustic wooden plates. The restaurant where the locals eat is called Pulperia Exequiel.
The paprika gives it a spicy hot taste but I can say that I probably would not have this dish again. While I was eating my octopus an older Spanish man tried to “hit on me”. Can you believe that!!!!???? He actually spoke excellent English from when he worked in London. I learned that he was 78, was in reasonably good health, had a home not too far from Melide, was married but wanted to have a fling with me. And, he was at the restaurant with a buddy, whom he left to come and talk to me. Thankfully I had had my fill of octopus and this older Spanish man, so I paid for my meal and left. I had wanted to have a cup of tea so I walked further up the street to another cafe and had mint tea.
The clouds have cleared so hopefully it will be an enjoyable walking day tomorrow to Arzua.
Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian family and friends!!!! Hope you did not have too much turkey and pumpkin pie!