Camino de Santiago – Day 6 from Villafranca to La Herrerias

Giorno # 6 del camino, il per peso da Villafranca a La Herreria è in leggera salita per 21 km. Il dolore ai muscoli e tendiniti varie non mancano, ma la motivazione è più grande, alimenatata da un meraviglioso paesaggio di montagna fatto di campi verdi, mucche al pascolo, lo sciabordio dell’acqua di fiumi e ruscelli e il calore degli abitanti dei piccoli villaggi che attraversiamo a piedi. Lungo il percorso si incontrano e conoscono nuove persone ogni giorno. Il camino sembra una metafora della vita con nuove conoscenze, persone che incontrano di nuovo dopo giorni di cammino e quelle che non si incontreranno mai più. E’ come vivere una dimensione unica al massimo e in ogni momento. Ogni persona è un tesoro da scoprire. Si chiacchiera e ci si apre come se ci si conoscesse da anni. La mente è sempre più leggera e staccata dal corpo, il lungo viaggio e la natura meravogliosa intorno a noi aiutano a trovare una dimensione di sconosciuta tranquillità.

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Day # 6 of the Camino, the way from Villafranca to La Herreria goes slightly uphill for 21km, the pain in the muscles and various tendinitis is not lacking but the motivation is greater, nurished by the mountain landscapes, beautiful green fields, cows grazing, the lapping of the water and the warmth of the inhabitants of the small villages we cross during our walk. Along the way one get to meet and know new people every day, the way seems a metaphor for life encountering interesting people with their life experience, meeting some of them after several days of Camino and knowing that probably you’ll never meet again some others. It is like like living a unique dimension at its best. Every person is a treasure to discover. It comes very easy to chat and open your heart and mind to the other pelegrinos as if you knew your walking companions for years. The mind feels lighter and lighter and detached from the body, the long journey, wonderful nature and the atmosphere of small medieval churches help in finding a kind of unknown tranquility.

Camino de Santiago – Day 5 from Molinaseca to Vilafranca del Camino

Tratta #5 del camino, ogni giorno sembra più pesante anche le tappe che sembrerebbero più semplici risultano essere difficoltose, è difficile alzarsi dal letto la mattina presto, ma una volta in cammino le gambe vanno per inerzia. Incontriamo i nostri amici di viaggio per iniziare la tappa alle prime luci dell’alba con la nebbia che risale sulle colline e un freddo che ci entra nelle ossa. Durante il tragitto, ci si separa, ci si ferma in posti diversi, magari a visitare una chiesa per ricevere il timbro più bello sulla credenziale per poi incontrarsi di nuovo durante una pausa a immergere i piedi in uno dei tanti fiumi che costeggiano il cammino o la sera stanchissimi in ostello per cena. La tappa da Molinaseca a Villafranca inizia in modo leggero senza pendenze esagerate passando per deliziosi paesini come Cacabelos e Camponaraya con le loro chiesette medievali e le strade colme di persone vestite per bene che vanno alla messa della Domenica per poi riunirsi tutti per pranzo nelle piazzette principali. Sembra di tornare per un attimo a 15 o 20 anni fa quando la domenica ci si vestiva bene per andare a messa per poi pranzare insieme ai parenti a casa o al ristorante. È una bella sensazione malinconica che ha caratterizzato questa giornata, un ritorno al passato e all’importanza delle cose semplici della vita a cui non facciamo più caso e a quelle usanze che sono andate del tutto perdute, a quei momenti leggeri che la vita ci propone. Il tragitto che continua da Cacabelos a Villafranca è molto pesante essendo una lunga salita che va a stressare ancora di più le gambe che hanno già percorso 25km. Stasera si dorme all’Albergue la Piedra gestito da dei giovani è molto disponibili ragazzi, ancora una volta ci sentiamo come se fossimo a casa. Ma prima di tutto ci godiamo la nostra cena a base di Pulpo alla Gallega e Cecina de Astorga.

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Stage # 5 of the camino, each day feels harder, the stages that in the beginning seem easier are indeed difficult, it is hard to get out of bed in the morning, but once on the way your legs go by inertia. We met our traveling friends to start the stage at dawn with fog flowing over the hills and cold that gets into the bones. On the way, we separate, we stop in different places, perhaps to visit a church and receive the most beautiful stamp on our credential and then we  meet again during a break to soak your feet in one of the many rivers that run along the way or for dinner the night at the hostel. The stage from Molinaseca to Villafranca starts light through delightful towns as Cacabelos and Camponaraya through the it medieval streets filled with well dresserai people who go to the Sunday Mass and then all get together for lunch with their families and friends in the main squares. It seems to go back for a while to 15 or 20 years ago when in Sundays we dressed well to go to Mass and then have lunch together with relatives at home or at the restaurant. It is a nice feeling of melancholy that shapes this day, a return to the past and to the importance of the simple things in life that we are no longer used to and of those customs that have been entirely lost, of those relaxed moments that life offers us. The route going from Cacabelos to Villafranca is very step and long stressing the legs that have already traveled 25km. Tonight we sleep at the Albergue la Piedra run by young and very helpful people. Once again we feel as if we were at home. But first of all we enjoy our dinner of pulpo a la Gallega and Cecina de Astorga 

Camino de Santiago – Day 1 from Leon to S.Martin Del Camino

The first stage of our journey began in Leon and ended in San Martin del Camino after 26km ride close to a busy street and a few fields of corn and sunflowers. The cloudy weather makes us go more quickly than we hoped. Altre 7 hours we arrived at the Albergue Vieira, a little paradise run by very nice people who offer us a lunch of pumpkin soup grown in the kitchen garden and the inevitable red wine of the house. And We got to know other “caminadores” who starter from the Pireneis and are already on the way for 15 days, and who has left his town in France and is in its 46th day walk. New faces and experiences with a unique feature: HAPPINESS 

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la prima tappa del nostro cammino è iniziata a Leon e finita a San Martin del Camino dopo 26km di tragitto accanto ad una strada affollata e qualche campo di granoturco e girasoli. Il tempo nuvoloso ci fa andare piú veloci di quanto speravamo. dopo 7 ore arriviamo all’Albergue Vieira, un piccolo paradiso gestito da persone molto gentili che ci offrono un pranzo a base di zuppa di zucca coltivata nel proprio orto e l’immancabile vino rosso di casa. E si fanno le prima conoscenze con chi è già sul cammino da 15 giorni, e chi é partito dal suo paese in Francia ed è al suo 46esimo giorno di cammino. Nuovi volti ed esperienze con un unica caratteristica: la felicità.

Cadiz – Waves of Light – Andalusia, Spain

Built on a peninsula that extends along the Atlantic coast, battered by the waves that make it perfect for those who love water sports, surfing, windsurfing and kite. A quiet and relaxing place in the year to enjoy soaking in the history of sailors and conquerors. More active and vibrant in the summer.

Built on a peninsula that extends along the Atlantic coast, battered by the waves that make it perfect for those who love water sports, surfing, windsurfing and kite. A quiet and relaxing place in the year to enjoy soaking in the history of sailors and conquerors. More active and vibrant in the summer.
The city stretches for several kilometers along the Avenida de Andalucia where are located the majority of modern hotels with all amenities at a 5-minute walk from the beach.
This part ends at the gates of the old town at the round tip of the peninsula, charcterized by its bastion, the beautiful and impressive cathedral and the countless restaurants and tapas bar around which people gather in the warm evenings ventilated from the Atlantic wind.
Its urban beach The Caletta is famous for being the setting of one of the James Bond film “Die Another Day” with Ale Berry.
Don’t miss the tapas restaurant Casa Manteca at the corner of Calle Calle del Patrocinio and Corralon de los Carrros a must when visiting Cadiz, founded by a famous bullfighter. Try the tapas and cold cuts of meat shrimps and fresh oysters accompanied by a cold beer or a good white wine and finally enjoy one cherry.
Where to eat
Taberna Casa Manteca
Calle del Corralon de los Carros

Ronda & Setenil de las Bodegas – Cliffs All-Aroung – Andalucia, Spain

Ronda
One of the oldest and most spectacular Andalusian city, on the top of a plateau divided by a 100m deep gorge called El Tajo. It is located in an area away from the coast once famous for its trade and for attracting in the 19th century many famous people, such as Dumas and Hemingway who have found their inspiration from the its landscape and folklore.
Start to visit from the south, the new town, going to the old part, the Ciudad crossing the spectacular Ponte Nuevo which offers a breathtaking view of El Tajo, surrounded by a row of white houses built over the cliff.
For the braves, the Casa del Rey Moro, in the vicinity of the Ponte Nuevo, has a stair of 300 steps leading down to the bottom of the gorge. Be very careful, the stairs is largely in the dark and very slippery being carved into the rock. Once was used as an escape, or as a way to source the water to the city as well as point to attack the city.
To the north of the new bridge you will find the Plaza de Espana in the neighborhood of Mercadillo, famous for one of the novels written by Hemingway on the Spanish fascist period.
Continue north to the real attraction of Ronda and whole Andalusia, for the nostalgic but also for the curious of bullfighting and its history. The Arena of Plaza deToros still used after 200 years, is characterized by the intense yellow of its sand and hand-painted wooden balustrades that surround the 5000 seats. inside the Arena is the museum Taurino, a dip in the history of bullfighting. There you can learn more about the legend of bullfighting: Pedro Romero. His clothes are still stained with blood, a little macabre but rich in folklore. The fear and tension of this environment was also the subject of an ‘other work of Hemingway “Death at noon.”
Leaving the Plaza de Toros and still continuing to the north, relax and enjoy the wonderful scenery and the tranquility of Alameda del Tajo.
But what is the most interesting thing of Ronda? certainly its inhabitants, mainly gitanos who will welcome you with great familiarity and drag you in pleasant chats about their private lives, marriages, children, grandchildren, festivities, perhaps in front of a cool glass of tinto de verano. You will be enchanted by this fantastic and almost mythological place.
Setenil de las Bodegas
A country dug in the rocky walls of a plateau crossed by the river Rio Trejo
Cave houses complemented by beautiful white facades on the narrow streets. Terraces and natural shelters built into the rock and tunnel whose walls are the white walls of houses and the roof made of a overhanging rock.
Differenently from the other white villages, Setenil is built in Caves. On the border between the province of Cadiz and the province of Malaga, it is reachable from Ronda driving approx. 100km northward. it is s part of the characteric white villages ranging from Setenil to Arcos de la Frontera. In the past is served much to defend the Christian inhabitants of these areas by the Moorish in 1400 and now become attraction for tourists, many of those homes are now restaurants and bars in which you should keep an eye to understand what it was like to live in caves hundreds of years ago. Setenil is a beautiful place to discover on foot through its narrow streets, stopping to savor the great offering of its tapas bars, grilled meat, patatas bravas, followed by ice cold beer to drink in the shade of a cool shelter carved directly in the rock.

Cordoba – Among the Patios – Andalucia, Spain

Cordoba is an explosion of colors, of its multicultural tradition and a desire for life that will conquer you. Known for its unique style cathedral: la Mezquita, but also because of its Patios full of vases, flowers and little fountains well kept inside the courtyards of the historical private homes.

Cordoba is an explosion of colors, of its multicultural tradition and a desire for life that will conquer you. Known for its unique style cathedral: la Mezquita, but also because of its Patios full of vases, flowers and little fountains well kept inside the courtyards of the historical private homes.

Continua a leggere “Cordoba – Among the Patios – Andalucia, Spain”

Sevilla – The Flamenco Shrine – Andalucia, Spain

The colors of Seville dazzle through a game of reflexes that from the shimmering water of the river Guadalquivir go through the narrow streets surrounded by the white painted houses below the blue sky of Andalusia. Walking in this city is a real sensorial experience where scents, images and sounds characterize the discovery of the city, making it a journey through time and life of extraordinary vital people always open and hospitable to foreigners. Seville is a multifaceted beautiful city to be experiences around the clock.

The colors of Seville dazzle through a game of reflexes that from the shimmering water of the river Guadalquivir go through the narrow streets surrounded by the white painted houses below the blue sky of Andalusia. Walking in this city is a real sensorial experience where scents, images and sounds characterize the discovery of the city, making it a journey through time and life of extraordinary vital people always open and hospitable to foreigners. Seville is a multifaceted beautiful city to be experiences around the clock.
Do you want to experience the real atmosphere of Sevilla? then the best way to know the city is to walk and get lost in its streets and squares in the Barrio de Santa Cruz, whose name comes from the iron cross placed in the middle of the characteristic square of Santa Cruz. Between Tapas bar at the corners of whitewash houses and windows surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers, orange trees and typical churches which alternate with the typical houses of Flamenco that now populate the entire city offering shows around the clock.
Flamenco, the man suffering and passion transformed into powerful and exotic music and dance at the same time, powerful expression of what the strong but also tragic Andalusian feeling, from the intimacy of suffering to the happiness of life but also from violence to death.
Goethe wrote about Flamenco: “a physical force that everyone can hear but that no Philosophy can ever understand”.
The shows can be seen in many theaters and Flamenco schools such as the Casa del Flamenco (Ximenes de Engraved 28, Barrio Santa Cruz) but performances are also held in typical bars and concert venues as “La Carboneria” (c. 18 Levies, free entry) a former charcoal factory transformed into a concert hall with a bar attached and a beautiful entrance with a carved fireplace and a piano which possibly someone is already playing while others entertain themselves drinking Tinto de Verano, the Summer Wine ( red wine soda, ice and lemon slices)
From the Barrio de Santa Cruz, after a stop in one of the many authentic tapas place, you can easily reach the Cathedral Square, built in the 13th century with the intent, common for that time, to be a building so large that future generations would have considered their builders crazy.
Located right near the Alcazar, together with this one creates a mixture of Moorish and Gothic Christian style.
Entering the Cathedral you feel bewildered by its size and the beauty of the works of art such those preserved in the Sagrestia de los Calices as the painting of Santas Yusta and Rufin of Goya and various works of Murillo.
Inside the Cathedral is the grave of Christopher Columbus, whose remains were transferred from Havana to Seville in honor of the city from which Columbus departed to the continent that would have been America.
The monumental tomb consists of a coffin supported by four knights whose costumes representing the four great kingdoms of Spain. In reality is not yet known if the real remains are in Seville or Santo Domingo.
A little further away from the city center, in south direction, is the Plaza de Espana, built on the occasion of the Spanish-American exposition in the ‘20s.This is the place where the Sevillian love walking on the weekends between the balusters covered of azuleios and old trees and palm trees that hide the houses of ancient noble families around the Parque de Maria Luisa.
Just outside the park along the river Guadalquivir, is the Tower of Gold, formerly used as a watchtower and as a warehouse for the wares coming from the new colonies of Mexico and Peru. It is said that in times of wealth of the city, the dome of the tower was covered with golden tiles. Down the road heading north on Paseo de Cristobal Colon you reach the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza real where is one of the most important bullfighting arenas in Spain, as in Ronda also here was introduced bullfight without horses and is a symbol of almost religious importance for lovers of these events.
During Spring, the Semana Santa and Feria de Abril drastically change the atmosphere of the city passing from the sad but typical Holy Week atmosphere to the festive and colorful experience of the feria de Abril.
Just a little curiosity: the old ancient ruins and magnificence of Seville will be the setting of the new series of Game of Thrones.
Tapeando is the verb the Spaniards use to indicate the action to go and eat tapas, small portions of food served as an accompaniment to a beer on a nice glass of wine. Originally consumed as an aperitif and introduction to dinner, it has become in Andalusia the real alternative to dinner, giving a chance to try different flavors and aromas hobnobbing with friends over a glass of Estrella beer.
Order tapas can though be a hard challenge, especially in the most popular bars, where you must make room jostling in the crows to make your order.
Never lose an eye on your toothpicks with which tapas are served, at the time to leave they will be counted to calculate the bill.
Among the specialties of Seville try:
Torta de aceite: focaccia with olives
Huevos a la flamenco: made with morcilla sausage, garlic, onions, tomatoes and a cover of egg
Churros: the deep fried dough that are the best way to end the Sevillian nights out.