It has been brought to my attention that I have been “slacking” on my adventures.  Well, let me assure you again that it is not due to a lack of adventures.  In addition to the constant thrill seeking I have been spending a large portion of each day building, cleaning, and fixing things for my kind hosts.  Just to prove that I still have a little adventure in me here is what I did today…

After having breakfast this morning it was time to begin a day of celebration for my new friend, John.  It’s his birthday and to celebrate we would be taking an all day drive through the mountains of Galicia, Spain to tour notable monasteries and wonderful scenery.

Our first stop was Gundivos.  This is a small village hidden in the forested lowland near my temporary home in Panton.  The purpose of this trip was to find mud.  Well, not exactly mud.  You see, John is a sculptor and there have been rumors floating around that the wonderful pottery seen in Panton comes from a man in Gundivos.  John intended to ask him where he found such wonderful clay.  We drove through the village, which I nearly missed when I blinked, but did not see a potter’s home.  John did not seem to surprised or disappointed that this first mission was a failure.  We didn’t really think of it like that, anyway.  It was a pleasant drive with a pleasant guy and I think he felt the same way.

After a brief stop at a coffee shop in Aba Sacra we headed for Castro Caldelas.  We began the mountainous portion of our adventure and before long we were winding around the cliffs on two way roads with only one lane.  John’s husband, Mick, was driving and every time we came around a blind turn John grabbed the door handle in anticipation of a head on collision.  I have to admit that I found the traffic situation a bit unnerving at first but after a while I began to enjoy the thrill of mountain driving.  This is me at our first mirador (llokout point)…

Our first stop in Castro Caldelas was the Castillo (Castle).  Inside the castle there is a museum filled with tools, weapons, and vessels found on the site.  I took a walk up to the top of the castle to get a little footage of the town to share with you.  Here it is… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTpjxwHIY8o

After leaving the castle we walked out to the central plaza.  On the way back to the car we spotted this church…

I gently forced open a door and climbed up to the roof between the bell towers.  It turns out that this would only be the  first of many narrow, dark staircases I would ascend today.  It was the darkest but not the scariest (Iwill get to that in a minute).  Here is a shot of the interior of the church…

Before leaving Castro Caldelas we made one final stop.  It was a cemetery, kind of.  This cemetery holds the remains of the families of the city.  What makes it unique is that no one is buried here.  Instead, their bodies are placed in vaults around this church, which I also climbed.  Here is a pic of the vaults…

We left Castro Caldelas and headed for a much anticipated monastery.  On the way we found another mirador…

We followed the winding mountain road up and down until it ended.  It ended at the Monastery of Santa Christina.  The main hall was closed until summer but that didn’t stop us from doing some adventuring.  This is the exterior of the hidden monastery near the Rio Sil…

Then I discovered a door that I believed would lead to something worth seeing.  This was the scariest staircase of the day and this is my climb to the top (warning: some explicit content and a lot of darkness)… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxzvli_07J0

After Santa Christina’s and a quick stop for some bocadillos (sandwiches) we headed for the final stop.  We ended our day trip at the Monastery of San Estavo.  The monastery has been used as a parador (Private Spanish government hotel) for many years but much of the original architecture remains.  Here are some shots of the interior of the main cathedral…

After leaving San Estavo’s we headed back to the house for John’s specially requested birthday dinner.  Apparently, American food is quite a treat to a Brit living in Spain so he asked that I cook southern fried chicken with hash browns and coleslaw.  We all ate like it was out birthday and now it is time to get some rest.  Tomorrow we have a full load of work to get done and I am excited to see the gardens nearly ready to be planted.  Well, I hope you enjoyed my adventure.  I know I did.  Until next time…

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