A Very Old Chestnut!

A Very Old Chestnut!

This venerable chestnut tree is on a farm not far from Triacastela where I walked yesterday. According to the sign it is estimated to be 800 years old & has seen (perhaps) millions of pilgrims pass by. The walk yesterday was beautiful, through lovely, hilly farmland & down (a lot of down!) country roads.

Wine Harvest in Bierzo

Wine Harvest in Bierzo

Today I walked through ANOTHER wine region of Spain. It is harvest time here & as I got closer to Villafranca del Bierzo I saw more & more action in the vineyards. Lots of trucks hauling grapes & families in the fields picking. Made me think of this time of year in the Finger Lakes of NYS & especially of my family and friends at Keuka Lake.
I even happened on a pressing shed where they offered me a taste of the juice from “blancas”. “Sí, ¡por supuesto! I said. It was very fresh (minutes!) and quite sweet. No wonder, they have had constant sun here for more than a month!

Templar Castle in Ponferrada

Templar Castle in Ponferrada

This imposing 12th c. castle was built by the Templars (and sanctioned by King Fernando II) for the purpose of defending the Camino & pilgrims. Hard to imagine a time when that much fire-power would be needed. The Templars were disbanded in the 14th c. because Rome (and European monarchs) feared their “increasing power and esoteric tradition.”