Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Day 28: Churros and Peppers!

Oct 14: Once again, Amanda woke up early and headed out into the darkness while I lingered behind in the hostel waiting for the sun to rise. The morning was generally sunny, but fog lingered near creeks and low-lying areas.

The morning was generally clear, but you can see fog along creeks and other low-lying areas.

It took a couple of hours, but I caught up with Amanda just as she was about to leave a cafe. I decided to grab a snack as well, so I stopped and put in an order for croquettes which took much longer to get than I had expected and set me back a half hour.

But I caught up to Amanda again in Padron, a bustling town known for their infamous Padron peppers. Eating the peppers is a bit like playing Russian roulette. Only about 1 in 30 of the peppers are actually hot, but you don't know which one it is until you take a bite into it. =)

Amanda and I stopped at a restaurant for lunch. I ordered spaghetti while Amanda ordered a plate of Padron peppers. I tried a couple of the peppers but didn't find any of the particularly hot ones. Amanda was funny to watch because most of the time she'd take a bite of a pepper and go on chatting like nothing had happened, but a couple of times she'd bite into one and yelp, "That was a hot one!"

I let Amanda get another head start on me and I lingered back reading my Kindle for a half hour or so. Soon, dark clouds started rolling in and I started worrying about rain. Maybe I should get a move on as well....

Leaving Padron, I saw a couple of signs warning about a "temporary detour," but if there was a temporary detour, I never figured out where. The entire route I followed was well marked and had nothing to suggest a temporary nature to it.

Late in the day, Amanda typically slows down, but I had trouble catching up with her. She must have been anxious to get to the hotel! I was more than a little surprised that she had actually reached the hotel a few minutes before I did. I was sure I'd be able to catch up with her before she reached it. I think Amanda's getting stronger and faster the longer she's on the trail, but she dismissed the notion.

"The alternative is that I'm growing weak and slow," I told her. I preferred thinking that she was growing stronger and faster. =)

After checking into the hotel, I headed out to get dinner. Amanda didn't seem interested in going out again, so I headed out on my own and went to a restaurant across the street, but they said they wouldn't be serving food until later in the evening. They were only selling drinks now.

We weren't actually located in a city per se. Mostly just a scattering of buildings alongside the nearby highway, and I didn't see any other food options around so I sat down and ordered a Coke, which arrived with the usual free snack. In this case, bread with beans. At least it put something solid in my stomach, even if it wasn't a real meal.

On my way back to the hotel, where I crossed the busy highway in a crosswalk, a couple of women were selling freshly made churros. I knew they were fresh because I could actually watch them making them. They had a boiling cauldron of oil and dropped lengths of dough cut up with scissors into the boiling liquid before pulling them out and sprinkling cinnamon and sugar over it. It was a hypnotic process to watch, and I bought a bag for a couple of euros which I ate the rest of the way back to the hotel. They were absolutely delicious. =)

When I made it back to the hotel, I told Amanda about the churros and she was upset that I hadn't saved any for her. "You ate them all?!" 

But come on.... in all the years I've known her, she's never expressed an interest in churros. "And," I told her, "they were pretty small. It's really hard not to eat them all."

So I went back out and picked up some more churros, this time saving them for Amanda. I got two orders--one for myself to eat so I didn't "accidentally" eat her churros. That should occupy my mouth in the time it took to walk to the hotel. I also got a third order of chocolate churros, just in case Amanda wanted to try the chocolate version. (Personally, I liked the regular ones better, but Amanda likes chocolate a lot more than I do.)

Amanda seemed astonished at the fact that the churros were still hot.

"I told you that these were freshly made! Of course they're hot! I literally watched them frying in the oil then brought them right back. These churros didn't even exist five minutes ago!" Amanda tried one and gave her her seal of approval.

"These are good!" she exclaimed.

"And now you know why I ate them all the first time I bought them...."

I made it back to the hotel just in time too, because it soon started to rain again. So far, we'd gotten pretty lucky at avoiding being outside while it was actively raining, but I knew our luck couldn't hold out forever....
A pilgrim rest stop with vending machines and a stamp. =)
Holy giant spiders! That thing is hairy!

When I showed Amanda this photo, she told me, "I took a rest break right on that bench!" =)

This was a "medieval restaurant." We didn't stop there, but I liked the decor!

Crossing over the Ulla River just before Padron--which is also where the Spiritual Variant merges  back into the Central Route, so I expected to be coming through here again in a couple of more weeks!

Padron is famous for their Padron peppers--so much so they even had a giant statue of a woman with a basket of them!
Amanda admires my spaghetti.
Amanda's order of Padron peppers. On average, only about 1 in 30 of them are particularly hot--but you won't know which one until you bite into it! =)
A pilgrim statue!
The Sar River.

I was a little puzzled by this tile because it kind of looked like Spanish, but not quite. Turns out, it's Galician! I didn't realize that Galician was a separate language. It's spoken by about 2.4 million people primarily located in (not surprisingly) Galicia—the northwest section of Spain where we're currently located.

Amanda didn't want to stop at this "club" for refreshments.... Bummer! =)

These waymarks have plaques on them showing the number of meters to Santiago—19,595 in this case. A local fellow who only spoke Spanish told me that a car had collided with this one, and I joked that that was fine, but the plaque should be updated to read 19,594 meters since it's now one meter closer to Santiago. He laughed. My first and only joke I told entirely in Spanish on the entire walk! =)

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