Monday, November 30, 2015

Day 23: Villanueva de Campeán to Zamora (18.8 Kms)

Villanueva in the rear view mirror

We had a very restful and fun stay at the Posada del Buen Camino, but once again the road was calling and we made our goodbyes to Maria, our hostess and stepped out into a very chilly and very foggy morning. I would like to embellish this post with lots of anecdotes, but truth be told, we simply moved along in a patch of visibility that never varied from roughly 100 feet at best to 30 feet at worse. These conditions persisted until we crossed the last road that brought us down to the River Duero, where we finally saw some faint glimpses of buildings on the other side. So that was it for today. The plus side is that we are lodged in Parador with the heat huffing away, warm as toast. Just perfect. We are here for two days so hopefully this cold spell will pass through. I went to mass at a local church, bought some very nice wine, and am now watching crazy soccer goals on the tv. One day of being tourists then back on the road. We really haven't forgotten why we are here, but it's fun to play hookie once in awhile. Zamora is dripping wet in fog and cold, but we could not be happier just twisting the dial on the thermostat (this one actually works), and drawing the blankets up to our chins. A pilgrim fantasy come true. See your tomorrow.

Frosty fields
A bit of ice
I'm think I see a bridge
This way to Zamora
I actually smiled just after Robin took the picture
The Parador in Zamora


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Day 22: El Cubo del Vino to Villanueva de Campeán (14 Kms)

Frosty departure from Cubo

It was 28 F when Robin and I said goodbye to the Valencia crew. We were having a short day today so we took our time getting ready. This allowed the sun to creep up just a bit higher, and it gave the bar where we are going to for breakfast a bit more time to open up for business. Nonetheless it was still only 30 F when we finally talked ourselves into leaving the relatively warm bar. As we set out we could see a large contingent of hunters and dogs making ready for a Sunday hunt. What we did not know was that they would be setting up along the Via de la Plata. As we shivered along trying to warm up our bodies to accept our walking pace an SUV slowly drew past us. We saw him stop up ahead for a brief moment and then he moved on. Ask we reached where he had stopped there was some barrier tape across the road and a no passage sign indicating there would be boar hunting in the area. As this was just posted we took a chance and continued on. I was not thrilled with doubling back for another day on the N 630. As we moved along no one challenged us, but we could see that hunters were manning stations on either side of the trail. The dogs had not yet been released so that was a good sign. Perhaps, with a bit of luck, the hunters would not see two pilgrims bounding ahead of a pack of dogs into a crossfire instead of a boar. It was admittedly a less than comfortable feeling to be there but it also shows how determined I was not to spend another day alongside the N630. It all worked out. We moved along as the dogs started barking and rifles came to life. Perhaps today was not the best day for a couple of pilgrims to be on this stretch of the Camino, but it damn sure was not going to be a good day for a boar. Enough said. The risk/reward calculation tipped in our favor as we enjoyed a beautiful walk for the rest of the morning. Cold sunlight lit the way, as occasional pockets of fog played with the light to make it an even more interesting walk. We arrived at 12:30 and checked into our home for the night, La Posada del Buen Camino. It is a beautifully restored home in a not so beautiful village. The owner, Maria, has been fussing over us since we arrived. She is doing our laundry and will provide us with dinner as well. Again we are so grateful. Yes we are clients but she has been very kind, and kindness should never go unacknowledged.

Think there is any warmth in that sun?
Lot's of corn fields today
Arrival Villanueva


Day 21: Salamanca to El Cubo del Vino (34 Kms)

Leaving Calzada

Salamanca was just what the doctor ordered. We had a fine time enjoying the city, exploring the cathedral and dining on something other than menu del dias. We set out this morning by taxi to the village of Calzada de Valdunciel. This would reduce today's 34 km walk to a more manageable 19 kms. Our walk held brief promise of being off in the countryside, only to be led back to the N 630 where we spent the rest of the day trudging along a service road adjacent to the highway. We have seen many other similar situations on other caminos. Usually it is all that can be done to connect certain route segments but even knowing that doesn't make the walk any more pleasant. It was just one of those days where you simply have to walk just to get from one point to another. We arrived in Cubo just after 2:00 under a sunny sky that yielded little warmth. We met a young Spanish lady who directed us to the F y M (Fernando and Mercedes) Albergue where we spent the night. We were alone in the albergue when we went out to the market, but found a crew of mountain club members from Valencia that were doing a segment on the Via de la Plata, upon our return. We all settled in, exchanged stories and drifted off to bed and sleep as the evening drew on and the radiators started to cool. It was a fun night. Short day tomorrow as we will split the distance from Cubo to Zamora. The weather continues to be perfect. Unbelievable luck with that so far.

The service road
F and M


Friday, November 27, 2015

November 27, 2015: Lay day in Salamanca

Mass last night

Today was spent enjoying leisurely meals, wandering about the city, and marveling at the cathedral. Tomorrow we are back to being pilgrims on the road to Santiago.

Quite spectacular
We never walk alone
Rest in peace
St. Joseph with Jesus
The crucifix El Cid had carried into battle
Capilla de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad