Yes, I am now a tourist. Even though I walk around some with my pack, mostly to and from the bus stations, the trekking poles are folded up and put away. I left the albergue in Zamora this morning and walked to the bus station, arriving an hour later in Salamanca, where I have stayed several times before. This time I found a pension just off the Plaza Mayor. Instead of seeing the inside of the cathedral again, I found an interesting Art Deco museum, just behind the cathedral. Greg Hodgkins, you would have loved it. The Lis family built this place as their personal home almost a hundred years ago and were avid collectors of Art Deco items from that period of the 20th century. I especially enjoyed the porcelain figurines and the brass sculptures. I could not take photos in the museum so it is hard to convey the beauty of this collection.
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
I walked into the outskirts of Zamora about 10:30, 16 km or 10 miles. I took pictures of the only two cylinder John Deere that I have ever seen in Spain, a 1950 Model B mounted outside the local Deere dealer. I saw this tractor a few years ago, but was on a bus and could not get a photo at that time. I had a few hours before the albergue opened, so I visited the cathedral and a few other churches. There is a very high concentration of churches here in the old part of the city, probably 12 or 15 within a few blocks. The cathedral was good, but maybe not as impressive as many others in Spain.
Today ended my walking days for this trip. I celebrated by buying a bottle of my all time favorite red wine, Vina Pomal (100%) Tempranillo. I had a few sips and it is still as good as I remember. Plus it is one third the price here in Spain compared to the US.
I will spend the rest of the afternoon sightseeing in Zamora. Tomorrow I take the bus to Salamanca for a night there. Thursday, I take another bus to Porto to meet up with Kathy on Friday for the Portugal part of this trip.
Zamora's fortress walls
Walking to the cathedral
View of the Rio Duero from the old city's walls
I had intended to walk the 17 km to Granja de Moreruelo which was the point at which I left the Via de la Plata two years ago, then take a bus to Zamora. However, after asking several people in the village, there was no consensus that a bus even stopped there. So I keep walking another 23 km to Montamata, where I am staying in the albergue here tonight. It is about 15 km walk into Zamora tomorrow, easy enough. Today's walk was 30 km or about 18 miles. Much of it was along the N-630 highway and not that inspiring.
Sunday, October 2, 2016
The first photos are those of a local group in Alija trying to load their float onto a flatbed truck for its trip to a festival tomorrow in León.
I was only going to walk as far as Benavente today and got there before 1 pm, but no mercados were open since it was Sunday and to find a key for the albergue would have required a steep climb to find it (and it may have been difficult, too, since it was Sunday). Most businesses here still just shut down.
Anyway, I walked on another 8 km to Barcial del Barco, a smaller village. It has a privately run albergue with dinner and breakfast for 18 euro, soI am giving it a try. Total walk today was 30 km or 18 miles.
The walk from Benavente to Barcial was interesting as it parallels an abandoned railway. The interesting part was when I had to get up on the overgrown rail bed to cross the Rio Esla and its floodplain.
At least they used walnuts on the wheel hub. All this took place just outside the albergue.
Walking just as it was just getting light
My lunch stop in Benavente. You can see the steep climb to get the albergue key
The overgrown and abandoned railroad
The first bridge of four
The longest bridge
The Rio Esla
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Today's 22 km walk turned out to be more pleasant than I hoped with the middle 14 km on an unpaved farm trail paralleling the river. Weather is overcast with a slight wind blowing, about 23 C or 76 F. The municipal albergue here in Alija del Infantado is attached to the old folks home. Hmmm.
Hard to tell that this is the actualCamino path
Friday, September 30, 2016
I started my morning in Sahagun. The hostel owner invited me back to his apartment for a morning café con leche. Then a 1/2 km walk down the road to the train station to buy a ticket for the 8:30 train to Leon. Once I arrived in Leon, I discovered that the train to Astorga would not leave until almost 3 pm, so I walked two blocks to the bus station to find that the bus to Astorga was leaving in ten minutes. Great (and lucky) timing! I covered the 120 km to Astorga in two hours and was walking out of Astorga at 11 am. The walk to La Bañeza was 21 km. I decided to stop at a restaurant along the way for a menú del diá before continuing to the albergue. I am finding that it is difficult to walk a camino path backwards as you do not see all the way marks. I checked into the albergue about 4 pm. By the way, I am now walking in reverse on the Via de la Plata in order to complete the four stages thatI did not do two years ago.Probably I will have three more walking days.
I managed to find a tractor junk yard in Sahagun
A portion of today's walk off the road
Most of the walk was on the N-VI highway
Today's bacalao- no tomato sauce!
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Today's wal was about 26 km (16 miles). The first third was the best- a walk along the tree lined Canal de Castilla that left from Medina de Rioseco. The canal l was used to transport agricultural products and was part of what was an extensive set of canals in the meseta. There were even locks to compensate for elevation changes. Much of the rest of the walk was tedious along paved roads, but at least there was not a lot of traffic. I am composing this in a bar in the town of Villalon while waiting for the albergue to open at 3 pm.
The Canal de Castilla
An old mill and one of the locks
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Today's walk was 24 km or about 14 miles through mostly gravel roads between harvested wheat fields in the meseta. Not much different than previous days. I was able to get a cafe con leche at the first town after 9 km walk, then ate my leftover alubias blancas and albondigas at the second town another 10 km later. Tonight's albergue is in the Convento de Santa Calra in the town of Medina de Rioseco, which is the largest town in this area known as the "Gothic Fields" (Tierra de Campos).
Monday, September 26, 2016
The big question morning, should I go into the large, industrial city of Vallodolid just to view its cathedral or do I just take the actual Camino path through the country? As I walked through Puente Duero, I saw the bus that could take me into Vallodolid, but decided by to bypass the city for a full day of walking.
The first six kilometers took me through the last of the pine forests to Simancas. No more forest-from here it is wide open meseta with few trees. This country is one of relatively flat buttes, with river valleys between, but the climb up and down from those flat spots can be quite steep. The midpoint of my walk was the town of Ciguñuela. I found a nice bar with wifi and had a coffee with tortilla española and got caught up with my email and Facebook. The afternoon took me through the town of Wamba, then on to Peñaflor de Hornillos, all the towns approximately evenly between spaced. The walk was 26 km (16 miles) and I arrived at the albergue about 3 pm. I thought I might be alone tonight as the two peregrinas did go in to Valladolid to do some shopping and to see the cathedral. It would have been a long walk from the city, but they took a cab as far as Wamba, then walked the rest of the way here to the albergue. By the way, the cathedral was closed, so it was just as well that I did not go into Valladolid today.
The Rio Duero at Simancas
The steep descent then the steeper ascent in Peñaflor de Hornillos at the end of today's walk
From here one, it will be all meseta, all the time