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Thursday, December 29, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 10, Part 3 - Las Médulas

"I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back." - Richard Lewis

***

France/Spain 2011
Day 10 - 26th March - Las Médulas
(Part 3)

The next stop was Las Médulas, a Roman gold mining location and another World Heritage Site.

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Cute dog in parking lot

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Las Médulas from parking lot

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Without cars in the way

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Car belonging to someone from a historical reenactment society

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Map of "Natural Monument and Archaeological Zone of Las Medulas"

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No chestnut picking
Maybe they need them for local delicacies

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A monument to EU money. Notice that it is correct to the last 46 cents.

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Sheep-like Dog

In the village there were more cats than I'd seen in the rest of Spain.

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Church and backdrop

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"Agoga"
As you can see it was raining (we were almost at famously-rainy Galica), which made extensive exploration impossible (besides which it was already almost 5pm)

The path started out promisingly, being properly paved. However:

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It soon ended, presumably as EU money had run out.

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Derelict house in the background

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Deterred by the rain and the mud and the wind, my companions gave up, but I pressed on.

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The path here was flooded so I had to bypass it by the side

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Looking ahead, I saw that there was something to see at the top of a slope, with a path clearly worn out for me by previous travellers. So I tried to go up it. Despite the aid of my stick, it had been and was still raining, so it was muddy and slippery, and I slipped many times. My umbrella also got ruined by the wind and rain.

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Indentation in rock from hydraulic mining

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Information on the mining techniques

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As I was coming down I realised that I had not been meant to trek up the slope, and there was a semi-proper path up, which would not have involved slipping. And that others had taken this path and had probably been giving me weird looks:

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The smart way up

When I got to a warm building, I found that the reenactors were deploying. Probably to get out of the rain and into a warm and dry area.

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A majestic entrance

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The support staff follow the legionary

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Roman reenactors

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After I'd dried up and recovered a little, we left.

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Rundown shack in village

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Flags

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We then proceeded to a lookout, Mina de oro de Las Médulas.

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Mist (cloud) rolling across the hills


Path up
Me: "It's damn cold"
It was also still drizzling

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Sign for the lookout: Mina de oro de Las Médulas

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View of valley. There is a shop below but it was closed


Majestic Panorama 1


Majestic Panorama 2

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Camera stitches

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Mist enveloping valley

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(there was quite a bit more to Las Médulas that I didn't get to see: an aqueduct, a town of Orellan town and walking in one of the hollowed-out chambers. You can find out more on Wikipedia)

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Rainbow

We spent the evening at the nearby town of Ponferrada. Walking along the streets, we saw:

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Churreria

Unfortunately Spanish restaurants were getting more and more ridiculous, and the place closed at 9:30pm, so we decided to pop in for some churros first.

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The hot chocolate. Which came out from the Espresso machine.

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Menu on wall

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Churros con chocolate

The freshly squeezed orange juice was the best I'd ever had - sweeter than Florida's Natural, even. So in this trip I had the best milk, OJ and confit d'Anatidae I'd ever had. The OJ was so good I had another, and it was as good. How did they ensure the consistency? And both cups and the platter cost only 6,4€.

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Close up

3 of us had one portion, and an old couple ordered a double portion.

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Churros

The bar lady and the kitchen lady were both girls in their 20s. My theory was they wanted to close early at 9:30pm (this is Spain - this is not late) and go clubbing. Or go for dinner/tapas.

We didn't find many food places (later we found out we'd gone down the wrong street contrary to the hotel guy's recommendation), so we wandered into a random restaurant.

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We had Lasagne negra, Carbonara and Frutos del mar:

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Unfortunately it was the worst meal I had in my entire time in Spain. And I couldn't find the langoustines. So we couldn't finish it.

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Missing dog poster


It's interesting seeing windmills on snow-capped mountain tops.

There were signs on the highway for Santiago de Compostella which showed a person walking. Presumably the easier walk makes up for the pollution and the risk of being knocked down.

The Spanish like to boast about the length of their bridges. Even on viaducts their lengths are on the signs with the viaduct names.

The power supply in the hotel was designed by a genius - turning off the room light cut power to the power socket in the hall.
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