My Camino Route in 2016

My Camino Route in 2016
This year, I will be walking Camino Madrid from El Escorial through Segovia and Valladolid to Sahagun. I will have a few more days of walking and am currently thinking I might then walk from Astorga to Zamora on the portion of the Via de la Plata that I did not walk in 2014. In all it w=should be about 18 days and somewhere between 250 and 300 miles of walking.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Calzadilla de Tera 30 September

Not much different to report today. I walked another 19 miles. Some of it was through the hilly scrubby oak forests and some was on beautifully irrigated farmland.

Our hospitelero last night really has an interest in the various pilgrimages to Santiago and even wrote several books, which he showed us. He also cooked a very good dinner of salad and a rice dish similar to paella with morcilla (blood sausage) in it. Plus he made breakfast for us in the morning. Such nice additions to the pilgrim experience are remembered. Tonight's albergue is a 6 bed one on the edge of town over the senior center. No kitchen, no hospitelero, but at least it has clean beds, showers, bathrooms, and a place to wash clothes.

The rice and morcilla dish

The 5 pilgrims in the albergue last night

Chopping silage in the nicely irrigated farmland along the Río Tera

Monday, September 29, 2014

Tabara 29 September

I took it a bit easier today at 15 miles to Tabara. I walked from one valley to another with a bit of mountainous area in between. I also crossed the Rio Esla and the beautiful bridge over it. I am now off the Via de la Plata and instead am walking the Camino Sanabres, which will take me mostly west through Orense. There is a lot of construction activity with a new freeway and a new high speed rail line to Galicia being built. This sometimes makes for long and/or difficult detours around or through these projects.
Yesterday, The freeway construction project that I had to find my own way across.

More country tracks today, good weather, no rain and relatively cool

The brief mountainous area

The bridge over the Rio Esla


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Granja de Moreruela 28 September

Today was my last day on the Via de la Plata. It is in this village that the Camino splits into two routes. The Via de la Plata continues north to Astorga, where it intersects with the Camino Frances. This is the starting point for the Camino Sanabres, which starts out heading west to Orense and on to Santiago; this is the route that I will take.

I walked 23 miles today, 7 1/2 hours worth, in clear and fairly cool weather. I just added up the mileage for my 11 days of walking and it comes in at an even 200 miles for an average of 18.2 miles per day.

I promised a report on last night's pilgrim dinner. It was vegetarian and prepared by our Italian hospiteleras. The soup was the best- garbanzos, lentils, millet, along with carrots, broccoli and other vegetables and topped with cheese and bread. Main course was a cauliflower casserole, lettuce and carrot salad, for dessert, melon with pomegranate. The atmosphere was very nice in that albergue. By contrast tonight's is much more impersonal, no kitchen, no dining room, just the basics: beds, showers, bathrooms, and a place to wash clothes. Oh well, at least I found the city hall across the street has free wifi.

The vegetable soup

The dinner

A selfie of my mid trail snack , orange juice and tortilla

An old church on the wau

New highway construction always makes for London detours

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Zamora 27 September

Today's 20 mile walk was at least off the highway and completely on lightly travelled farm tracks. They were harvesting sunflowers and grapes along the way as well as working the wheat and sunflower stubble and fertilizing for next year.

Arrived in Zamora just before the 2 pm opening of the albergue. It is donativo, but very well equipped, even with wifi and a clothes spinner. Two very friendly Italian hospiteleras. A donativo meal tonight and breakfast tomorrow. Who could ask for more. I will report later on the meals.

Those of you who are familiar with the small town of Zamora north of Woodland may wonder how it was named. Originally called Black's Station, it was soon renamed by Spanish immigrants to California to maintain a connection to their homeland.

The farm path from El Cubo to Zamora

More farm path

And one more farm path

A different design for the waymarks in this region

Walking into Zamora, the view from across the Rio Duero

Friday, September 26, 2014

El Cubo de la Tierra del Vino 26 September

The view of the cathedral in Salamanca from near our albergue

This was the walk out of Salamanca this morning

This is the view that I saw most of the day.

Walking into the village

Garbanzos with bacalao fish and paprika

eggs with beef

Main Street in the village

The albergue

Our hospitelero helping the bicycle pilgrim to repair his flat tire

Well today's walk was a long and dull mostly on the highway, 23 miles or so, with no alternate place to stop any sooner. This is very good farming country, wheat, corn, and sunflowers, but not a lot of people or villages. Tonight's stop is a farming village, El Cubo de la Tierra del Vino, which would translate as the Cube of the Earth of the Wine. Hhmmm?

I am staying at a mom and pop albergue in this little farming town. Just got in after 7 1/2 hours of walking. The hospitalera was surprised that I arrived as soon as I did, since I was walking from Salamanca.  As soon as I arrived, I had the comida casera ( home cooking) for mid day meal. The primer plato was garbanzos in a sauce of paprika and bacalao fish, the segundo plata two eggs with peppers and beef, and a postre of the really good Spanish melon.

After my meal, shower, and clothes washing, I took a walk around the village. Aside from a little activity in the two bars, nothing else seemed to be going on. I walked back to the albergue to see that Tinga from Hungary and Jay from northern Ireland were just arriving.

What a contrast this is just one day's walk from the cosmopolitan university city of Salamanca. There is a tractor parked in the town square. Our hosts have horses, dogs, olives, grapes, straw bales. I have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit of our hosts. He sat along the road coming into town pitching his place with all the reasons why we should stay.  He convinced us. As I am sitting here writing this, I see that he just brought in a couple on a tandem bicycle, hauling them in on his trailer. They look very tired and also have a flat tire, which he is now helping them to fix. He just took off again to the highway to see if more pilgrims will arrive later.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Salamanca 25 September

Today is kind of a rest day with an easy 12 mile walk into Salamanca. This city is a place of good memories as Kathy and I spent almost a week here in 2005. Then I was here for two days again in 2010. I arrived at the albergue around noon, but they do not open until 4, so I left my pack there and am reacquainting myself with the city this afternoon. 

Starting to get out of the hilly grazing country into flatter, cultivated land just before Salamanca

The sunflowers around here are pretty spindly and small compared to the ones at home


Walking across the river on the Puente Romana, the cathedral is in view in the background
Brass plates set into the pavement to show the way. I saw this one in 2010, today it helped me to find the way.

Don Quixote, where Kathy and I studied Spanish in 2005

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Morille 24 September

More walking today through the high plains of Castilla y Leon, 18 miles Lots of grazing land, mostly cattle and some pigs, also some wheat stubble left behind after the wheat harvest. Tomorrow it is 18 km to Salamanca, which will the the largest city so far on my walk.


Once again we are walking on the old Roman Road

Kent, here is a photo for you, expensive ham eating up the acorns

My midday snack break on a bench outside a church in a small village. The wine is in a plastic water bottle to cut down on carrying weight.

Matt, you could weld up some sculptures like this from scrap iron

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fuenterroble de Salvatierra 23 September

I needed to walk 33 km or about 21 miles today, so that the next two days into Salamanca would be manageable distances. It took 7 hours with a lot of ups and a few downs, so not too bad. This is somewhat mountainous land about 3500 feet in elevation at the summit. Much forested with some grazing land. It will be a lot of up and down again tomorrow before I descend into the plains around Salamanca. When I arrived at the albergue today, I saw many of the same walkers that I first met three or four days ago. They had walked on farther than I had two days ago, but my long day today made up the difference. It rained quite a bit last night, but luckily, the rain held off for most of the walk today, with only a few brief showers.

This is the way to see Spain. It is definitely not the tourist Spain of Barcelona, Madrid, and Sevilla, but very much the average, everyday workingman's Spain. And seeing it at 3 miles per hour gives you a much closer perspective. Lots of cows, brush, flies, and gravel! Right now I am sitting in the local bar and enjoying the only decent wifi in the village, all for only the cost of a glass of wine. At the next table are a group of local men, playing cards, they are getting pretty excited about it. 

What's not to like about walking through beautiful countryside like this?

Here is a selfie of me at a village fountain during a midmorning break

All the rain makes for some occasional muddy walking

More beautiful countryside descending from the day's last summit

Monday, September 22, 2014

Baños de Montemayor 22 September

Today was relatively easier at about 13 miles. But we are starting to get into the mountains separating Extremadura from Castilla y Leon, so the next two days there will be a lot of climbing and downslopes, plus with the spacing of the albergues it means some 18 mile days.

Most of the people I had been walking with are going at a slower pace. Of those I've met, only Georgio is still here at the albergue tonight. 

Some of the last of  the Extremadura landscape

This portion of the camino is the actual Roman Road

Only 569 km to go to Santiago (about 350 miles)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jarilla 21 September

Very tired and sore after another 19 mile day. Leg muscles ache, sore shoulders from the pack, and 4 toes that are starting to have the nails turn blue, meaning they will be gone soon. But I feel great and am glad I can do this. Tomorrow I will have a "rest day" of only about 12 miles. 

In the province of Extremedura, the towns and villages are spread farther apart, so one must often walk farther than desired to find a place to stay. Today that was the case, and I detoured about two kilometers to the highway to stay in a hostel (which is like an inexpensive hotel) for the night, as the next albergue was another  8 km up the path and no way was I going to walk that  far today. Several of the other pereginos that I met are also staying here. After arriving about 2 pm, I met up with Mike from Australia and Georgio from Italy, along with a new peregrina from Oregon, Linda, and we had a midday meal in the hostal. Mine was alubias blanco con chorizo (white beans with sausage) and trout with peppers. That hit the spot as I ran out of food to carry since the supermercados were closed last night due to the festival. Still no groceries as this is Sunday and nothing here is open, but I will be able to resupply tomorrow morning when I walk into the next larger town.

Ah, me gusto mucho España!

I have to post this photo of our gracious 79 year old  hospitalera from last night, Elena. In addition to providing us with an excellent albergue, she also phoned ahead to make our hostal reservations for tonight.

Some of the beautiful farm country we walked through today.

The Arco de Cappara, ruins dating from Roman times, on today's walk

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Carcaboso 20 September

The walk today was long  at 19 miles. My legs and shoulders are sore, still not in shape yet, but will get there in a few days. The first part of the walk was on a track through a hunting preserve area, no no traffic to contend with. After about 6 miles, I had my morning coffee in Rio Lobos, then the rest of the way was on lightly used paved roads through farming and grazing country to arrive mid afternoon in the little town of Carcaboso. It's Saturday, with a fiesta going on here, lots of beer tents set up and loud music. Hopefully, the music won't last too late tonight.
Through the hunting preserve

Tabacco in Spain?

Part of the fiesta
Pilgrim dinner; Jack from Northern Ireland, Ton and Martin from Holland, Kristina from  Germany, Georgio  from Italy, and me from USA

Grimaldo 19 September

Difficult decision today, should I walk 12 miles to the first albergue or 24 miles to the next one. Since it rained most of the first twelve miles, I decided to stop at the first one. Also am a  bit  sore, since I am still trying to get in shape. So will rest up this afternoon and walk farther tomorrow. The walk today was through a scenic park area and alongside the new high speed rail that is being built. Pretty country but walking while you are wet is not as much fun.
Walking in the rain