Santiago de Compostela (El camino) or The Way of St. James

This is my first blog in 2018. My last one was in June 2017. I had my personal journey fighting against cervical cancer last year and I had no energy whatsoever to post anything. Well, I’m still here! But after surgery in July and the beginning of chemo at the end of August, I’ve manage to travel to  Galícia and visited the city of Santiago de Compostela and the surroudings cities, Muxia, Ézaro, Carnota, Corcubión, Muros, Noia and also Finisterre, the last post of pilgrimage. I confess I didn’t do the whole “camino” but, you know, due to the circumstance at that particular moment of my life, I was happy just being there and somehow feeling blessed. Spain is a wonderful country to travel, full of history, wonderful food and spectacular wineries. It’s an energetic country to feel alive and enjoy living!! Something like “La Fiesta” therapy.

I love traveling by car. From Madrid to Santiago de Compostela is like 5.2 hours driving and the sightseeing change completely from the arid weather in Castilla La Mancha to a humid and ultra green meadows in Galicia. And I love eating fresh products from local producers. I specially recommend “O Graneiro de Amelia” (www.ograneirodeamelia.gal) where you can buy grains, species, dry nuts, teas and herbs. The colors, the smell of species and honey…. indescribable!!! And don’t forget to eat the Almond Tart, also a local food tradition.

There are eight main Camino de Santiago pilgrimage routes in Spain:

Camino Frances – the busiest route.
Via de la Plata – the longest Camino.
Camino del Norte – along the sea.
Camino Ingles The English Road – the shortest Camino.
Camino Portugues, (finishes in Santiago de Compostela but starts in Portugal).
Camino Primitivo. the original one.

Even if you don’t do the Camino, visit the city, the Cathedral and also Santa Maria la Real de Sar, a medieval church from XVI Century. From the cathedral’s balcony you can contemplate the beauty of the roofs and the city’s skyline. Unfortunately the frontal cathedral’s facade (The Obradoiro) is being restored and only will be re-opening on 2023. Well, I’ll have to come back somehow!

The Way of St. James (El Camino) was one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. Legend holds that St. James’s remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain, where he was buried in what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela. (The name Santiago is the local Galician evolution of Vulgar Latin Sancti Iacobi, “Saint James”.)

The Way can take one of dozens of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. Traditionally, as with most pilgrimages, the Way of Saint James began at one’s home and ended at the pilgrimage site. However, a few of the routes are considered main ones. During the Middle Ages, the route was highly travelled. However, the Black Death, the Protestant Reformation, and political unrest in 16th century Europe led to its decline. By the 1980s, only a few pilgrims per year arrived in Santiago.

Most pilgrims carry a document called the credencial, purchased for a few euros from a Spanish tourist agency, a church or parish house on the route, a refugio, their church back home, or outside of Spain through the national St. James organization of that country. The credencial is a pass which gives access to inexpensive, sometimes free, overnight accommodation in refugios along the trail. Also known as the “pilgrim’s passport”, the credencial is stamped with the official St. James stamp of each town or refugio at which the pilgrim has stayed. It provides pilgrims with a record of where they ate or slept, and serves as proof to the Pilgrim’s Office in Santiago that the journey was accomplished according to an official route, and thus that the pilgrim qualifies to receive a compostela (certificate of completion of the pilgrimage).

The “Way of St James” is marked by a scallop shell, a symbol of humility that also served practical purposes for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. The shell was the right size for gathering water to drink or for eating out of as a makeshift bowl. The pilgrim’s staff is a walking stick used by pilgrims to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

Most often the stamp can be obtained in the refugio, cathedral, or local church. If the church is closed, the town hall or office of tourism can provide a stamp, as can nearby youth hostels or private St. James addresses. Many of the small restaurants and cafes along the Camino also provide stamps. Outside Spain, the stamp can be associated with something of a ceremony, where the stamper and the pilgrim can share information. As the pilgrimage approaches Santiago, many of the stamps in small towns are self-service due to the greater number of pilgrims, while in the larger towns there are several options to obtain the stamp.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_de_Compostela

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Sublime Terrine

Sublime Terrine

 

I just love terrine and pates and… well, French Cuisine.  Last weekend we went to visit the Monastery of Uclés, located 98km from Madrid and I bought a bottle of Vermut by a local producer. Well, it was the excellent excuse to prepare another terrine. This time I put pork, veal and cow meat. Wrapped in bacon and also pistachios, mushrooms, rose pepper and  truffles.

We put in this terrine porcelain we bought on my last trip to Paris, at Au Bain Marie shop.  If you want to try it, below you can find the recipe.2 tbsp brandy, optional – Vermut in my case

SRapallo, Terrine, watercolor on Archer, 2017.
SRapallo, Terrine, watercolor on Archer, 2017.
    • 12 rashers bacon
    •  100 g pack pork mince
    • 100 g pack veal mince
    • 100 g pack cow meat mince
    • 50 g (2oz) pistachios, roughly chopped
    • 50 g mushrooms chopped and seasoned with truffles´s oil
    • Bay leaves to decorate
 Method
  1. In a large bowl let all the meats to macerate for 20-24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Put the 1 or 2 bay leaves in the loaf to decorate.  Use about the bacon to line the inside of a 900g (2lb) loaf, leaving excess hanging over the sides. Mix together the meats and put them on the food processor, but don´t let much time, just to cut in small pieces.
  3. Press the mixture into the loaf tin, leveling the surface. Fold any overhanging bacon over the filling; cover with remaining rashers. Press down again to make sure the surface is smooth. Lightly oil a small sheet of aluminum foil and press on top of the loaf tin. Wrap tin well in a further double layer of foil, then put into a roasting tin.
  4. Half-fill the roasting tin with boiling water from the kettle and carefully transfer to oven. Cook for 1½hr until the terrine feels solid when pressed. Leave to cool.
  5. Serve the terrine warm or at room temperature in slices with toast and salad.

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San Lorenzo de El Escorial

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

 

SRapallo, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, oil on paper, 65 x 50 cm, Madrid, 2017.
SRapallo, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, oil on paper, 65 x 50 cm, Madrid, 2017.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial. I’ve been there many times, but last time was special because I was with my husband Luis, my son Gabriel and his girlfriend Juliete. Also known as El Escorial de Arriba is a town and municipality in the Community of Madrid, Spain, located to the northwest of the region in the southeastern side of the Sierra de Guadarrama, at the foot of Mount Abantos and Las Machotas, 47 kilometres (29 mi) from Madrid. It is head of the same name judicial party. The settlement is popularly called El Escorial de Arriba, to differentiate it from the neighbouring village of El Escorial, also known as El Escorial de Abajo.

The Monastery of El Escorial is the most prominent building in the town and is one of the main Spanish Renaissance monuments. Especially remarkable is the Royal Library, inside the Monastery.

The monastery and its historic surroundings were declared a World Heritage Site UNESCO on November 2, 1984, under the name of “El Escorial, monastery and site”.

The site also enjoys protection on Spain’s heritage register; since June 21, 2006, it has been protected by the Community of Madrid as a Property of Cultural Interest.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial is located on the southern slopes of the Mount Abantos (elevation 1753 m). The average altitude of the municipality is 1,032 metres (3,386 ft), and most of the urban area is above 1,000 metres (3,300 ft). The hamlet initially sprang up around Monastery of El Escorial, gradually extending up the mountain. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the town underwent a strong urban expansion, particularly towards the southeastern side of Mount Abantos.

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Pedraza, Spain

SRapallo, "Pedraza", watercolor, 2016.
SRapallo, “Pedraza”, watercolor, 2016.

Pedraza

We’ve been in Pedraza last weekend.

Pedraza is a municipality in Spain, located in the province of Segovia in the autonomous community of Castile and León. It is located at 37 km northeast of the city of Segovia with a population of less than 500.

Every year in July, Pedraza holds the Concierto de las Velas festival during La Noche de las Velas. Residents of the town and surrounding cities light candles along the streets and residences. In the city center multiple concerts are held featuring varying types of Spanish classical music. See La Noche de las Velas (in Spanish).

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(Portuguese)

Estivemos em Pedraza na semana passada.

Pedraza é uma municipalidade na Espanha, localizada na província de Segovia, na Região Autônoma de Castilha e Leon. Está localizada a 37 km noroeste da cidade de Segovia e tem uma população de apenas 500 habitantes.

Todos os anos, em Julho, Pedraza celebra o Concerto das Velas, um festival de luzes durante a Noite das Velas. Residentes da cidade e adjacências acendem velas ao longo das ruas e residências. No centro da cidade há inúmeros concertos de música clássica espanhola.

 

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