September 19 - Transit to Baiona with stopovers at Barcelus and Valenca
This is mostly a day of travel from Portugal into Spain again. We are all each carrying just one overnight bag while the rest of the luggage goes on to Santiago. We stopped first at a little town called Barcelus to take in their street fair(323, 324). Barcelus is famed as Portugal's leading cereamics and crafts market and for its weekly fair. We did some shopping but bought little and then went into the local church briefly. While idling outside we saw a woman go by with a basket on her head holding two live chickens! Otherwise baskets on head were commonplace.Barcelus is the sourceof the story about the miraculous rooster that has become Portugal's national symbol.
After that we went on to Vallenca do Minho which is right on the border with Spain, accounting for the rather massive fortifications (326) in town. We went first to lunch at a restaurant, which was presumably good but is forgotten. After lunch we spent some time shopping, although most of the stores seemed to specialize in fabrics (325). After that we proceeded on to Baiona in Spain, our next Parador for one night.
"Occupying the Monterreal Peninsula, this is one of the most extraordinary Paradores, half medieval fortress and half Galician stately architecture. It rises up as an impressive viewpoint of the ocean, surrounded by a walled enclosure, protected by the sea and flanked by a beautiful pine wood. The Parador has regal and elegant common rooms in which decorative elements from other times abound. Stately living rooms and spacious bedrooms, many with views of the sea, make up a grandiose interior in which the splendid stone staircase of the entrance hall stands out." This seems to be a reasonably accurate description. We checked in to our room ((327 - 329) and then took a walk around the ramparts viewing the Atlantic. It was quite plush and the view amazing. We had a lecture on Galicia by Isabel, a professor at the University of Santiago and then into dinner. the dinner was very good, pork tenderloin with bacon and a special dessert of some sort of flanin a shell with a chocolaate decoration and a welcome message.