My Camino Route in 2017

My Camino Route in 2017
This year (2017), I will be walking most of the Camino Levante from Albacete to Zamora I've alloted three weeks in September and October, but may have time at the end for more walking.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Madrid 13 September

I started the day with a simple breakfast provided by the albergue. The other pilgrims staying here were, of course, continuing on their Caminos. For me, it was a 1 km walk up to the bus station to purchase a ticket for Madrid. I was on the bus by its 9:30 departure for the three hour ride to Madrid. It was interesting to see from the bus some of the same paths that I had walked days before. 

I previously made reservations at a hostel in Madrid near the three art galleries, not knowing how crowded the city would be on the weekend and wanting to be sure of accommodation after my near miss inToledo. My favorite place to stay in Madrid, the Hostal Nieto, was unfortunately closed for remodeling. I arrived too early for the opening of the hostel at 3 pm, so walked to a restaurant close to the Prado, at which I had eaten 3 years ago, the Hotel Mora for a menu del dia. I am writing  this post as I finish up my meal here. I will check into the hostel and head over to the Prado at 6 pm as they are open then for two hours at no entry charge. I can view some of my favorites such as the Velasquez, Bosch, and El Greco paintings in their fabulous collection. 


The public library in Zamora, just around the corner from the albergue.


Street art (graffiti) in Zamora. 


Looking into the courtyard of the albergue from the street 


Leaving Zamora, view from the bus before leaving the station. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Zamora 12 October

My final day of walking was another long one, about 36 km or 22 miles. It is always a relief to finish a Camino, but also a little sadness knowing you will not be doing the same walk, eat, rest routine tomorrow. I am staying in the very nice albergue here in Zamora for the third time in the last four years. Hospitelero(a) run, it is one of the nicest on all the caminos. One hospitalero here is from Canada and has walked as many caminos as I have, so we spent a lot of time talking about our experiences. Tomorrow, my main walking will be to the the bus station to go to Madrid before flying home on Sunday. On this Camino, I walked 600 km. That is 372 miles in 20 walking days or 18.6 miles per day. Most was through relatively flat farm country, but there were a few days of pretty tough and steep/mountain walking.



Walking out of Toro this morning



Flat farm land along the Rio Duero


Walking into Villalazan 


Only 5 km to go!


Zamora in the distance.


City limits 


The path along the Duero


Walking across the Puente Piedra into Zamora 

 

The large building on the left is the cathedral


My second plate was merluza with some/kind of sauce or gravy and real (!) potatoes 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Toro 11 October

Today's walk was a longer one at 34 km or about 21 miles. The first part of about 9 km between Siete Iglesias and Castronuño was up and down gentle slopes on farm roads. I stopped in Castronuño where the path meets the Rio Duero for an quick cafe con leche. I made a decision to vary my route from the hilly Camino path to a different walking path closer to the Duero until I got into the village of Villafranco Del Duero, where I had a snack stop for sheep cheese, chorizo, bread, and almonds. Total distance was about the same, but I enjoyed the closeness of the river. Beyond Villafranca, I followed the Camino path, which was pretty much the same as the river path. It turns out that Toro, my destination for the night, is on a very high bluff overlooking the river, so the last two km. involved a very steep ascent of that bluff. Not much fun after you've already been walking 6 plus hours already. Tomorrow will be another walk of about the same distance into Zamora, where I will complete the Camino Levante and my walking for this trip.


A pleasant farm road just outside of Siete Igesias


An old grain seeder. I have to wonder when they added the three point hitch.


The path along the Rio Duero just outside of Castronuño. 


That Claas combine is harvesting the nicest field of sunflowers I ever saw in Spain- shows what good soil and irrigation can do.


The steep road into Toro.


They built those old cities on the high bluffs for the strategic advantages of the fortress (alcazar). 


Looking back down-I crossed the bridge on the river just 2 km before.


My grilled salmon with homemade French fries. I've started to like the agua gaseosa (carbonated wanted) along with the wine. 





Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Siete Iglesias Del Trabancos 10 Octobrer

26 km today or about 16 miles through entirely farm paths except for the intermediate city of Nava Del Rey. 
Choices in the little town here were the truck stop hotel on the autopista or the municipal albergue in the polideportivo. but there is also a mom and pop hostal visible beyond the hotel, so I took a chance. The room was inexpensive and ok but the meal was terrible. I was wishing I had walked back to the hotel's restaurant to try their meal instead.


The plazas in Spanish cities come alive when it cools off and starts to get dark.


My shadow with the sun behind my back tells me that I'm headed west again


I just happened to be on the rail crossing when the high speed AVE (Alta Velocidad España) train appeared and whooshed by 


I'm entering the Duero wine region. Acres of grapes that are drip irrigated, trellised, and machine harvested just like in California.


Siete Iglesias Del Trabancos off in the distance.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Medina Del Campo 9 October

After staying in the centrally located Hostal Del Campo in Arévalo last night (and enjoying my mid day meal also at the hostal), I walked out of town at just before 8 am as I had a lot of ground to cover today. It was mostly on farm roads with a few crops I had not seen before on this walk-sugar beets and potatoes. Even with a lot of  distance of 34 km or 20 1/2 miles, the walking was easy with gentle slopes. I arrived in Medina Del Campo just after 2 pm and walked through the main plaza to the church and convent of the Carmelitas, who have an albergue in a part of their facility. The 10 euro donativo is super as all the rooms are private. After my shower, I went back to the Plaza Mayor de la Hispanidad for an excellent midday meal at the Restaurante Gloria. After I post this, I will do a grocery run to one of the local stores to stock back up after the long weekend. It was a great day!



A Santiago sculpture in Arévalo.


One of the bridges out of Arévalo.


Street sculpture in Palacios de Goda 


Typical walk out of a small town, Palacios de Goda 


The red machine is a potato harvester 


Harvested potatoes waiting for transport


A gleaner finding potatoes missed by the harvester. If they grew potatoes at home, this would be me.


Irrigated sugar beets. 


Planting winter wheat. 


Leonard Cohen was walking with me on this long straight stretch. 


My snack stop in San Vicente Del Palacio


My first plate, alubias (white beans) with clams


My second plate, Avery good merluza (hake). I'm glad to have gotten the mini salad instead on French fries.


And, of course, melon for dessert 


Always nice to have a good, sunny area for clothes drying 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Arévalo 8 October

I started today's walk at 7:45 am, the sky lightening up, but no sunrise yet. Today, I walked 28 km or 17 miles. There were a few gradual upgrades, but mostly flat and some downhill. Nice, easy walking. The first half was through typical cultivated farm land. At about the halfway point just after 10 am,I walked into Tiñosillos. There, I spied the first bar that was open on this day's walk (remember, it is Sunday and so far I had only walked through several small villages). The Bar Volante was recommended by my guide book as having "un buen bocadillo"  ( a good sandwich). So I ordered my cafe con leche and a jamon y queso bocadillo (ham and cheese). I watched while the owner cut the ham from a long leg of cured ham- it was delicious. The second half of the walk was mostly through pine forests, some of which were tapped for their sap. The forest provided a cooler walk for the afternoon, but was in an area high in loose decomposed granite, which made for shoes full of that granite sand that needed to be periodically emptied. I walked into Arévalo around 2 pm and found a room at the Hostal Del Campo. I just finished a good menu del diá at their restaurant  downstairs. I will go out later to see if the Diá supermarket is open, but since this is Sunday, it probably will not be. Since I already had two good meals today, I can always wait until Monday to find a store farther down the road. 



Remains of an old threshing machine just outside Gotarrendura.


My cafe con leche and jamon y queso bocadillo for 10 am snack


The pine forest 


The sap tap


Another good ensalada mixta


I tried the albondigas (meat balls)  which were great. Now why can't they serve real potatoes instead of French fries. 


That great Spanish melon (better than honeydew)

Gotarrendura 7 October

It turns out there was no wif-fi at all available in Gotarrendura. I am posting this in a bar in Tinosillos as I have a late morning cafe con leche and bocadillo halfway through my day's walk.

The albergue in Ávila was very nice and I was the only person there last night. Today's walk again was 24 km or 14 1/2 miles. There was a good amount of both elevation gain and loss on the path.The first part was the same sort of boulder strewn pastureland and scrubby oaks that I had encountered the previous day's. The second half of the walk brought me out of those hills and down into relatively flatter farmland with much easier walking on the smoother farm roads. I should have this farmland all the way into Zamora.

 I got into Gotarrendura before 1 pm. There was no answer at the albergue's phone number, so I walked over to the ayuntamiento/Centro de Salud/bibliotheca building to find someone working there who was able to give me the key to the albergue. Once again it is very nice with a private courtyard. I am off soon to the only bar/restaurant in the village. They are supposed to have a midday meal at 2 pm, hopefully they will also have wi-fi to post this!


A fewe km out of Ávila.


Snack stop 


Walking through a pleasant oak grove




Starting to see some cultivated land again


The final steep hill to the farmland 




The last km into Gotarrendura 


Mother Teresa 


Another Mother  Teresa in the albergue's courtyard