More of the Big Cheat
The day started in the van, again, finishing the final quarter of our skipping out on working too hard. From Ribadeo’s funky, friendly, summer tourist vibe, to Parga, a no-place so small that it doesn’t cast a shadow, is about an hours drive. Its lack of everything is its attractiveness. We get rolling hills with no traffic.
Our lunch spot is in Sobrado des Monxes, where the monastery Santa Maria de Sobrado straddles alternating universes of decline and repair. It was built in the 900s, subsequently abandoned, rebuilt in 12th century, abandoned, rebuilt in 1708-ish, abandoned in 1835 and rehabbed again starting in the 1950s. The term ‘rebuilt’ must be used very loosely because it’s not very much rebuilt today, though they (Cistercian order) claim to be working on it.
I’ve never run into more unhelpful monks! There was one who spoke very good English, who gladly showed us to the gift shop. But when I approached him, trying to gain entrance into the interior, he pointed back to the gift shop and feigned not to understand anything. I didn’t try very hard, figuring that if we were that unwelcome, I’d go with the flow. So, I wandered around outside.
Shar, on the other hand, some minutes behind me, was successful in breaching the monkal barrier into the building. She reports a worthwhile experience. See her entry for some details and photos. Kira sent me this one of her.
The afternoon stretched on through the rolling green of Galician farmland. The most common crop is corn, which was brought from the Americas near the end of the 16th century. It’s seemingly everywhere, but, ya know, you won’t find corn on the cob in stores or restaurants. Corn kernels, yes, just not on the cob. Much of it is for livestock feed, too.
Part of the corn growing culture is a structure called a Horreos. They were used to store corn, on the same concept as a silo, but built up, off the ground, to keep moisture from seeping up into the grain.
By today’s standards, they aren’t at all efficient, so most are falling apart. But it’s part of Galician culture still in evidence as we pedal along.
Home for the night is in the same pastoral setting, outside a little village named Touro. We are guests at a country house that’s been in the same family for 300 years.
This welcome spot looked really good after another day of 90+ km on the saddle. The stone buildings were simple but elegant. Here’s us enjoying the soup, salad and fish cake dinner provided by our brother-sister hosts, Ramon and Elaina.
It’s quiet in the country. That’s what we like for a good sleep.