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JabbaPapa

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Last year it was the food that stopped me, not the heat. 2019 was the year of insane heat.

On another train now, and will be in Spain within the hour. Train again then to Girona, then a bus to however far I can get today.

The pilgrim albergue in Perpignan is as simple and straightforward as ever, nothing's changed there and nothing needs to. Room for six on bunk beds, equipped kitchen, toilet, shower, and you get a key to go in and out. It's great !!

Seems now that Catalonia has started to promote the route from the border towards just above Barcelona - - which I'm personally happy about as it is the historic route, and a part of the longer Way from Cadiz to Rome. It's also easier physically than the previously waymarked route which is more mountainous and less populated.

Posted nothing last night, yesterday was exhausting !!
 

JabbaPapa

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I am in Barcelona, and the railway gods are against me.

After getting into Perpignan 2½ hours late from works on the railway, it took me over 2 hours to get out of Girona which means I missed the mid-afternoon trains out. So I'm on a late train to Zaragoza, I'll have to sleep out somewhere, instead of either making it to Valladolid at least, or even just somewhere to sleep at Lleida.

Oh well, the Camino chooses your Way, not you !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Sleeping at the park wasn't too bad, apart from about 2AM onwards as a group of Spanish youth came to enjoy themselves there, in the typically noisy Hispanic manner.

I had BTW mspath taken note last time I was in Zaragoza of that general location near the station as a potential sleeping out place, which I always keep an eye open for, but your post was most welcome anyway in a confirmatory manner -- so thanks !!

Sunday timetables this morning though, so that both bus and train out are towards 11AM, and so I'll get a train to Burgos and then stay at the Albergue. Moratinos tomorrow.

The knees are surprisingly pain-free, regardless that I've done virtually no walking so far. And I'm already getting used to the pack weight again. Possibly I suddenly need less cerveza for pain relief than I did ? That would be weird, but good if true !! But the cerveza is still a useful helpmeet in this business of waiting for trains ...
 

mspath

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Sleeping at the park wasn't too bad, apart from about 2AM onwards as a group of Spanish youth came to enjoy themselves there, in the typically noisy Hispanic manner.

I had BTW mspath taken note last time I was in Zaragoza of that general location near the station as a potential sleeping out place, which I always keep an eye open for, but your post was most welcome anyway in a confirmatory manner -- so thanks !!

Sunday timetables this morning though, so that both bus and train out are towards 11AM, and so I'll get a train to Burgos and then stay at the Albergue. Moratinos tomorrow.

The knees are surprisingly pain-free, regardless that I've done virtually no walking so far. And I'm already getting used to the pack weight again. Possibly I suddenly need less cerveza for pain relief than I did ? That would be weird, but good if true !! But the cerveza is still a useful helpmeet in this business of waiting for trains ...

Jabbapapa,
Glad that you got some sleep!
Although my ad hoc sleeping nights are well in the past wherever I go even now I "spot" possible locations.
Good luck tonight in Burgos.
 
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Sunday timetables this morning though, so that both bus and train out are towards 11AM, and so I'll get a train to Burgos and then stay at the Albergue
By now you are on your way. Maybe even in Burgos. Wishing you a good indoor rest tonight and a good journey tomorrow. And pain-free knees without needing cerveza!
 

JabbaPapa

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I am with a cool beer (Mahou verde) on the square in front of the Cathedral in Burgos. Hooray !!

One last bus tomorrow morning.

Temperature here is a little bit higher than at home, but not much -- the air is much cleaner of course, which does also make the sunlight brighter. Love it !!

Temperatures coming through Catalonia and Aragón were elevated of course, but not to any extreme nor outside seasonal norms.

Seen a few pilgrims now, obviously, though I was glad that the first two I spotted (from a train) were Ignaciano ones on one particularly memorable stretch of the Camí Catalàn.

I'm even more glad to have roughly followed my walking route to get here, partly for the (literal) trip down memory lane, though mostly because it helped make the journey back a part of the pilgrimage, and not just A to B on public transport.

Stage 4 seems to be off on the right foot.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Seems Albergue Emaus is open. A nice alternative for Casa del Cubo.
Marie-Noëlle was great in 2005, but perfectly awful to me in 2014. Never again, and as things stand now, of the three most important Albergues here, it's the big one I like best.

Heh they even gave me the exact same bed as last time !!
 

SabineP

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some and then more. see my signature.
Marie-Noëlle was great in 2005, but perfectly awful to me in 2014. Never again, and as things stand now, of the three most important Albergues here, it's the big one I like best.

Heh they even gave me the exact same bed as last time !!

What a coincidence! Enjoy.Great showers too.
 

JabbaPapa

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They've got this weird fetish here about switching off the "free" WiFi after a certain time, which seems completely pointless and vexatious in the presence of ubiquitous 4G and 5G networks. That this policy may have made some sense in the early 2000s OK, but in the 2020s ??

OK maybe in some pueblo Albergue out in the sticks, but here ?!??
 

JabbaPapa

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We'll my bus doesn't run on Mondays, so I'm off to Valladolid EDIT - Palencia then a bus or train to Sahagún, then I'll see about getting to Moratinos from there.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 140.1 -- Moratinos

Another awful public transport day, but I'm here at last !!

Of course there was a 4-hour wait for the train in Palencia ; of course it was 45 minutes late on top of that.

Many pilgrims on all of these trains and buses BTW, although I will say that the somewhat elderly and friendly Swiss gentleman at the Burgos bus station quite clearly needed to just stop and get back home, from evident physical and mental exhaustion.

Some undoubtedly like myself were making their ways to or from their 2022 start or stop points, but I'd guess a majority were just skipping the Meseta or whatever.

I'm anyway feeling strong, healthy, and positive enough.

Short walk to Sahagún tomorrow, don't need to leave that early. The weather is cloudy and coolish, and I have not so far seen the massive numbers of pilgrims that some are alleging -- this may be a problem mainly of those seeking to generally book ahead and pre-plan and whatnot.

Though I also think that many Albergues may still have reduced bed numbers from covid-related stuff.

Not sure though if the lack of occupancy of top bunk beds in Burgos was from covid limitations or from relative lack of customers.

Lovely anyway to see Paddy again, and even get to repeat my trick of just walking up to him and : Hallo Paddy. Took me so long today he'd stopped expecting me. Rebekah is away on Hospitalera business elsewhere, so I've missed her this time. On the Way back hopefully !!

Anyway, here I am Ultreia ; the Sus Eia starts again tomorrow !!!
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 141 - - Sahagún

I am in Leon - - Hooray!!

I am on the Frances - - Hooray !!

I am on the Madrid Way - - Hooray !!

Today has been as the whole of the Camino Frances condensed into a single day.

Strange thing is, Day 140 feels like yesterday.

I'm as slow as I was, and I need the same cervezas to get by as I have previously.

Paddy made me eggs, I drank beers on the Way, the Albergue is an old-fashioned 6€.

Many people offered me drinks. I had a menu del peregrino down priced to menu del dia level, i.e. 1€ less. It was well enough, though the tinto was rather ghastly.

I've talked with many pilgrims of this and that and with various alarums and excursions.

It has been a fantastic day !!

Tomorrow, southwards.
 
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lovingkindness

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Day 141 - - Sahagún

I am in Leon - - Hooray!!

I am on the Frances - - Hooray !!

I am on the Madrid Way - - Hooray !!

Today has been as the whole of the Camino Frances condensed into a single day.

Strange thing is, Day 140 feels like yesterday.

I'm as slow as I was, and I need the same cervezas to get by as I have previously.

Paddy made me eggs, I drank beers on the Way, the Albergue is an old-fashioned 6€.

Many people offered me drinks. I had a menu del peregrino down priced to menu del dia level, i.e. 1€ less. It was well enough, though the tinto was rather ghastly.

I've talked with many pilgrims of this and that with various alarms and excursions.

It has been a fantastic day !!

Tomorrow, southwards.
Buen camino!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 142 was yesterday - - Grajal de Campos

Just a 6.5K or so to here, and it will likely be a bit before I can manage longer days again.

I came across five pilgrims after leaving Sahagún, all French ; two retired married couples walking separately, one of the two walking with a +1 friend or relative.

The only other notable person I saw was a clever shepherd doing it on horseback - - seemed to be far easier for him than usual as he could just lead his flock straight across the fields more briskly than at walking pace along the dirt roads.

Not much to say, other than I'm alone again, which has its positives, negatives, and neuter, though it's probably for the better that apart from the stay in Burgos plus the Moratinos to Sahagún day, it's at the start of this stage. It's good anyway that on this short bit of the Madrid, and the VDLP, there are the pilgrims walking the other way rather than just absolute solitude.

There are just two pueblos ahead of me, and a hamlet, on my part on the Madrid Way 'til I head off hors piste towards Villalpando, Zamora, and the VDLP.

Otherwise, end of the month time again, so cash is right down, same old, same old - - just 5 days to get through though, and that pales in comparison to being back on the Camino Hooray !!

The Municipal here is fine, and just 5€. No kitchen facilities apart from a sink and a microwave, but the bunk beds are solid and comfy, and are provided with good thick blankets. Power outlet situation is poor though.

Weather is slightly cloudy, there were even some tiny raindrops for a minute or so yesterday, and whilst not forecast so, it feels like actual rainfall is possible in the near future.

Grajal is beautiful, with its old Cluniac Abbey and its castle though I haven't really visited as I just needed to crash into bed. For me it's mostly about the walking these days anyway, building up muscle, building down fat, and managing the pain and difficulties from the disability. Which is all good, but it definitely shifts my focus away from any sightseeing. Apart from the landscapes of course !!

Suppose I'll have a latish start and wait for the shop to open ; I have a chorizo in my pack, and if the next Albergue were similarly cheap or if I slept out, expenditure should be minimal today.

Apart from that, steak and eggs does seem to be what I should aim for plato combinado style.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Backwards on the Madrid will be nice and quiet.
This won't be backwards for me until the day I head out of Santiago homewards, as I'm still walking towards there, just by a longer route than most. So it's forward, despite being southward. :cool: 👉
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 143 -- Melgar de Arriba

Alone on the Meseta ...

I met no other pilgrims today, but given that I walked all morning on a dust road parallel to the waymarked route, had they been there, we couldn't have met anyway.

It's pleasing finally after all these years to be on the Meseta when it still has a little green in it, and some blossoms in the fields and bushes.

Legs are still dodgy, though I think today was a 9K, and they're hurting less this evening than last.

Weather was fine, fluffy clouds rolling across a transparent sky blue, sol y sombra en la meseta ... and a cooling light breeze to help me on my Way.

Arenillas de Valderuade on the way here is more ghost pueblo than anything, though it does seem to be one of those many places to which those having gone off to work in town will retreat back to in their summer vacations.

The mayor of Melgar is providing a bed in what's functionally more the village Refugio than its Albergue -- just from disrepair from having been closed for some time -- at the amazing price of Free !!

Looks like it must be a decent place though, when all were up and running, with such things as hot water and so on. He did kindly run off for some lightbulbs !!

Main thing though, proper beds and blankets, very kind and welcoming people here, making an effort with English and French, and the Refugio is a lot more comfortable than some other locations where I have slept !!

Tomorrow will just be a short 5K, and my last on the Madrileña.

The cerveza is going to be an issue, as there's no shop -- so good thing it'll be such a short one. There is a bar, and I hope that will do. At least the unbeatable Refugio price leaves me with more beer budget from my meager remains. (until Tuesday) :cool:
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 144 -- Santervás de Campos

Alone on the Meseta ...

I ended up having a good time in Melgar de Arriba. I needed a slow day, mostly for the travel fatigue I think, and I could stay as long as I needed, which was good as the bar only opened at 11.

I ordered one beer, and there were some cheese bits chorizo and peppers to take a small breakfast with in a complementary manner, plus another beer for free.

Nice people.

The Albergue in Santervás is a Donativo, which given how little cash I have on me will have to be free as well, which I rather dislike.

My payment is actually going to be in tomorrow morning instead of Tuesday as I thought -- Hooray !! -- but that's not much good in the here and now with nowhere to get it out, nor perhaps even spend it.

And the pueblos I was planning on going through in the next few days seem to offer little opportunity either.

There's a bar here, though it seems to have strange opening times. I'll see what's possible.

But it looks like I'd better take some more days on the Madrileña via Vilalón de Campos, as it appears to have the needed facilities. In fact, looking at available facilities on mapy.cz seems to suggest that the only reasonable route is to go as far as Valladolid on the Madrid Way, then > Tordesillas > Duero Way > Levante up through Toro to Zamora.

hmmmm, well, I knew I'd be making it up as I went along once I reached this point, so I guess this is what that looks like.
 

JabbaPapa

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Two other pilgrims are staying here tonight ; one's here, the other's arriving later.

Sadly the bar is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, and to boot opens at about lunchtime. Curses !!

Tomorrow is going to be hard, a 16K sin cerveza ...
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 145 - - Villalon de Campos

It was a long walk by my standards, and the lack of cerveza really hit hard on the final few K.

But the first half of it went rather well, did about 3K/h over the first 9K.

The weather wasn't bad - - not too hot in the morning, and frequent cloud cover in the afternoon.

Otherwise, just a slog on the dust with increasingly painful knees - - one of them still hurts this morning, even after the anti-inflammatory, so it's a good thing today is just a 3-4K job.

I really like Villalon, it reminds me of Belorado in a few ways. It's busy but peaceful, and there's a kind of easy tranquility to the town.

Of course the first thing I did after hobbling in, was chug-a-lug cervezas in the first bar, I even got two large ones on one go, as the first was clearly going to be emptied within seconds.

Then really just check into the Albergue, 8€ + breakfast donativo - - speaking of which, I was actually able to leave some donativo after all at Sancervas, upon confirmation of the existence of cash machines in Villalon and the arrival of this month's €€€ Hooray !! - - supermarket supplies, more cervezas in the very pleasant town square, then onto a good chat with the clever and well-natured hospitalero.

Pilgrim-wise, after breakfast with the two Swedes, I came across the Czech fellow they had mentioned at a rest point in the first pueblo, then the two Spanish cycling gentlemen of a retired persuasion. Buen Caminos galore !!

A younger Spaniard turned up in town to be a dinner companion, nice fellow, and starting to suffer from the loneliness of the Madrid Way, so he was rather glad for the company, as was I. Had pork and eggs instead of steak and eggs.

Hoping for a menu del dia today.

I am reconsidering my route options, and I'm beginning to think that I may go no further South on the VDLP than Salamanca. Then DIY my Way from there into Portugal - - that would shave hundreds of K off my journey length, plus let me avoid the worst of the VDLP heat.

No firm route devised yet though, and much will depend on what I can see on mapy.cz as far as facilities go in the various pueblos. Of course I'll need to go whichever way is feasible, rather than by some ideal route that would be fine if I were faster than I actually am these days.

But to just head straight for Fatima pueblo to pueblo does seem like an attractive idea. As does getting closer to the Atlantic sooner rather than later.

hmmm but for now just a restful 3-4K will be sufficient. And cervezas !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 146 -- Cuenca de Campos

I could not get out of Villalón until midday plus 4 large cervezas. The consequence of walking without yesterday, lest I belabour that point.

The walk itself was dead easy, and only became a 4.5K because I missed the proper turnoff.

Now, on paper in Cuenca there are two restaurants, an Albergue, and a Casa Rural.

In practice, one restaurant is closed permanently, and as to the other it is attached to the Casa Rural, and they're off on vacation. And the woman with the keys to the Albergue is off at her boyfriend's place in Palencia.

One good thing though -- the permanently closed restaurant is the ex-Albergue and is lived in by the ex-hospitalera (who had to shut it down after the death of her husband), and as she had made a lunch for some of the local oldies, she went and made me a quick luncheon of fried ham and eggs. Excellent, and provided in perfect Camino spirit.

And there is a shop here, opening at 10, and tomorrow is just an 8K day.

Has to be said though that the current sentiment towards pilgrims is not the best, because on Monday some idiot called to reserve a place, and yet without the decency to either actually turn up, or at least call to excuse himself.

OK on the Francès happens all the time and who cares, but out here in the sticks where some villagers are dedicating significant time and effort to provide a welcome, that sort of lack of respect is quite horrid.

And I'd say it's pretty much the antithesis of the Pilgrim Way.

Anyway, I can resupply tomorrow for the two days to Medina, so for now I'm OK. I'll be sleeping in the porch of the village church, weather is warm and pleasant, and I have my inflatable mattress, French Army sleeping bag, and my great big black pilgrim's cape for a blanket.

So, notwithstanding alarums and excursions, it's been a good stopover at Cuenca.
 

mspath

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JabbaPapa,
Thanks for your Cuenca update.
So glad that you have all your needed basics "... sleeping in the porch of the village church, weather is warm and pleasant, and I have my inflatable mattress, French Army sleeping bag, and my great big black pilgrim's cape for a blanket."

Sleep well and have a comfy night!
 

mspath

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JB,
Are you at Santa María del Castillo in Cuenca de Campos? If so in the photos on line that brick porch looks big enough for several rough sleepers.
Perhaps you will have a few companions after all.
 

JabbaPapa

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Well, it's getting on towards 6AM, and I am not waiting 4 hours for the shop to open.
 
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Day 147 - - Tamariz de Campos

All in all it's a good thing that I had that early start, as I was a bit slow today from the night outdoors.

Happily, it was clouded over basically all the way, except for the final few hundred metres into the pueblo. I think it was a 9K, maybe 9.5, despite the road here from Cuenca being about 8K.

I had to sit for a rest every 1-2K, and when walking was going no faster than 2K/h.

Came across two peregrinos, both Argentine I think - - one has a hiking staff that's a working flute !! He played a little part of a Scottish bagpipe tune on it for me to demonstrate. We exchanged useful information on each other's road ahead.

Else, just a pretty straightforward dust path through a very typical meseta, apart from the bits where it's tarmac instead.

Oh, and the mosquitoes - - from the closeness of the Canal de Castilia, that I shall be walking along tomorrow.

The bar opened about 15 minutes after I got in, so with cerveza, I had lunch of a simple omelette with cheese bits on the side. Boss man at the bar is also the hospitalero at the parroquial, which is about as simple as they come. There are more beds up a spiral staircase I gather, but downstairs, it's basically one (good) bed, another camp bed, shower, loo, and sink. Many thick warm blankets though, which are necessary as it is located on the cool side of the village church.

Then just turning in early. Did manage to catch a programme of extracts from this year's Monaco GP, that I had been unable to watch as I was in the train heading back to the Camino. Charles Leclerc really did have his race ruined for him !!

I am advised to wear long sleeves tomorrow for the bitey things, and to walk on the left hand side of the Canal.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 148 - - Medina de Rioseco

My last day on the Madrid Way.

12K at 2 Kph = 6 hours.

The Camino here as it is was OK, but my slowness is something else. Once you pass the beginning of the canal the Way is beautiful, but at the same time you are being attacked by hundreds of mosquitoes.

I had enough pain that I just needed to drown it in cerveza, some locals helped, though for whatever reason there's nobody here now at the Albergue apart from some annoyingly hostile Ukrainian refugees, though thankfully some local aid workers turned up, so that it is now well established that I shall be sleeping on the floor, regardless any Ukrainian opinion.

6 beers were needed to kill the pain this evening. That's a lot.

Tomorrow is about a 10K and the start of my hors piste. The Madrid Way goes the wrong way from here, whereas the tarmac etc in the right general direction is for many K purviewed of resupply points, as well as leading to the Sureste.

The bar at this end is pleasingly grotty, and the simplicity of it was most relaxing after this curious and difficult day.
 

JabbaPapa

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Well, at least the light here is motion sensor and won't stay on all night ...
 
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mspath

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JabbaPapa,
Before that automatic light dims which direction are you going tomorrow?
I hope that the bugs will lessen and the shops along your ad hoc path provide all your necessities.

Sleep well and Carpe diem.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 149 - - OK, I need a rest day.

I'm exhausted, and a marble floor is not the best of beds.

More later.
 
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JabbaPapa

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My route will be - -

> Villabragima > petrol station > Villagarcia de Campos > Villardefrades (probably) (Sureste) > San Pedro de Latarce

Then I'll see.
 

mspath

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Thanks for the update. So you you will walk by Repsol to begin?
 

JabbaPapa

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So that was the rest day. Basically, a few bars, a pretty heavy menu del dia, rest, not that much chatting with the other pilgrim nor ex-pilgrim here just for a rest of his own.

There was another screw-up here as the guy in charge forgot to give me a key, so I was locked out again 'til he came 'round to open up, didn't even apologise which I thought was a bit much.

People are odd in this place, though a few of them are rather nice.

But too much went wrong for me to keep a good memory of the place. Ah well, the bad with the good ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 150 - - Hooray !! - - Villabragima

I am Hors Piste !!

The start of the day's walking was lovely, on a small tarmac country road leading to a Sanctuary dedicated to Our Lady and to Saint James. I strongly suspect that the route I'm following is the actual historical route, leading to either Leon or the Sureste or Levante, instead of the artificial recently created one up to Sahagún.

And nobody seems that much surprised to see a pilgrim here, just some curiosity as to why this way and not the other - - nobody suggesting it's the "wrong" way anyway, instead one fellow the day before had pointed due West and said "Santiago is that way !!" Mainly though because this way down the valley is just so much easier, simpler, and more sensible than the current hiking trail across little more than fields. The Way from Madrid to Medina de Rioseco via Segovia more or less makes sense though.

I did however tarry and delay too much, so that I got myself caught in the afternoon heat on the dust trail afterward, and was tired from the heat when I finally staggered into the pueblo.

After some rest in the shade, then a cool cerveza though, I found the church was open, first for a Monstrance, then the Holy Mass which was wonderful despite my fatigue, after which the priest with great kindness offered me a room in this hotel, with supper and breakfast !!

Such a blessing ...

And a lot better than the camping outdoors that I was contemplating.

Steak and eggs with a bottle of tinto, clean sheets, and a rather long sleep.

As to my planned route, I'll likely go down to Mota del Marques rather than up to San Pedro de Latarce, as that will make it easier to get to the Via del Duero.

The two stages to the Sureste should be easy enough, albeit the tarmac, provided I don't tarry again like a silly person !! The stage to Mota will be a bit more difficult as it's beside a motorway, and somewhat longer - - so my mind is not completely made up about that ; especially as the locals have told me about every village having a bar around here.

Just about ready for a quick shower and breakfast, then day 151 ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 151 - - Villagarcia de Campos

After my breakfast of lomo and an egg, cafe solo and cervezas, I took the tarmac to the petrol station. Bar there was closed today, but I managed a basic resupply at the shop.

Off then after a break onto the dust trail, and well, in the current heatwave, it's at midday that the fun begins.

But it was just a 7.5 or possibly 8K, I neglected to tarry overmuch, so that I got into the pueblo at about three, as the worst of it starts, but no later - - Hooray !!

Even managed to get into the village shop before closing time !!

Since then, I've been hiding from the heat in the bar. Nearly 9PM, and it's still too hot to think about getting out to look for a sleeping spot.

I will be carrying on to Villardefrades tomorrow, whether there's a pilgrim Albergue there or not. I did have a plan C, but honestly it was just more complicated and difficult, and likely hotter as well.

This heat is still nothing compared to the 2019 though ...

Not sure about after Villardefrades, as there are multiple options, but still probably Mota del Marques. But there is one pueblo at a seemingly convenient halfway point towards the Duero valley.

I have some salchichon, which will do for supper.

I'm not sure if this impression is correct, but this valley seems a bit like the southern edge of the meseta. There are more trees, and the southern edge of the valley is a low wooded sierra. It's still the meseta, but somehow a little less.

Another tinto or not ? Dilemmas ...

Ah well, guess I can look forward to an early start tomorrow, at least !!
 

JabbaPapa

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The bar owner had been leering at me all afternoon, as I had been nursing my drinks and reordering without paying piecemeal, but he's just made up for his worry and suspicion post-payment with a satisfyingly large pile of olives etc. ...

A large pile of the kind of plant food that I actually can eat without getting ill !!!

hmmm, without the heat, I would certainly have continued to Villardefrades.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Well - - all afternoon I thought it felt like rain, despite the heat and the almost completely clear blue sky, and then coming out (finally !!) from the bar, what do I see but bruised indigo clouds bristling with flashes.

So that ended my plan to sleep in the open air, and instead I am in the deepest porch I could find, house currently abandoned I think, and I think sufficient overhang to keep mostly dry.

It's dark enough.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 152 - - San Pedro de Lacarce

I am on the Sureste !!

Slept well enough, and there was no rain (though it seems to be thundery again right now).

I woke up knowing I'd need to come here, and my check on the internet at the crossroads later confirmed it, i.e. there is an Albergue here.

I walked anyway on tarmac as far as Villanueva de los Caballeros, where heat and handicap pretty much stopped me.

Huh !! It is actually raining, hope it lasts this time.

Anyway, I was digging myself in for a second heat evasion bar stint in a row. Not for fear of 5-6K, just heat fatigue plus my very slow hiking speed.

So then I'd been there for a couple of hours, then this young man just came straight up to me, said, want to go to San Pedro ?

I can only suppose that caring locals organised this from knowing what I am up to, and not wanting to see me left outside, and hungry to boot.

The Camino does provide.

So Jose drove me to the bar-restaurant here, where I had cervezas, mutton cutlets, eggs, and a bit of cash for the next days. They called the hospitalera for me, and so here I am, fed and with a bed instead of outdoors, in this basic and unusually Free Albergue. Yes there's a donativo tin, but it is blatantly obvious that it's there for people who use the drinks in the fridge, or who feel like leaving a tip. It is not for basic running costs nor anything of the sort, given that they seem to host about 1 pilgrim every 2 weeks or so. It's a fully subsidised Municipal.

And the Free ones are always this simple.

I like San Pedro from what I've seen, and its good-natured and good-humoured people, with their very many village bars ...

The rain sounds a bit more serious than last night's mere threat of it, but it still sounds like the edge of the storm, not the heart of it.

I'll sleep better anyway out of it !!

San Pedro is the beginning and end of my Sureste ; and whilst people may simply be being polite, I'm finding general agreement that the route here from Medina de Rioseco is the historic one, as well as not unlikely being a Via Romea.

But well - - bed is calling ; a 10K tomorrow I think. I'm just using my sleeping bag as a pillow, and my great big black pilgrim cape for my blanket.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 154 - - Villardondiego

Still in the Meseta.

.My current daily pace is about 10K.

Not that I couldn't walk farther, but that the afternoon heat prevents it.

Yesterday, my hiking took me away from what seemed to be its edge, and right back into it. Dust trails through fields of cereals and under the blazing Sun. You all know what I mean ...

I wanted to carry on at least to Pinilla de Toro, which would have been great, as it is a lovely pueblo. But no, the afternoon heat was too much.

So I spent another afternoon escaping the heat in first one bar in Vezdemarban, then the second (as they had meat things).

A local peasant let me sleep in his barn filled with straw, though it took a while for his dogs to stop barking at me. He had the kindness to prepare enough for a cheese and ham bocadillo, but by the time he took it to me I was fast asleep, so that the ham, cheese, and apple were my breakfast instead.

I broke the bread up into pieces for the birds, but one of the dogs had followed me that far, and scoffed it all up instead. Pleasingly, that particular dog's last sound as I left, instead of more barked, was a sad whine.

The hiking had been interesting yesterday anyway, as I had been able to do the first couple of K with just one dose of the antiinflammatory, and also the first 6K in 2 hours ; but then 3.5 hours for the 4K after.

Today, I've entered an area where the pueblos are about as close to each other as they are in France. Which would be perfect for my hiking style were it not, once again, for the afternoon heat.

I did manage to get two small cervezas from one closed bar in Pinilla, and a large one from the closed bar here in Villardondiego, as well as a tomato and other liquids from the pleasant little shop here, so that the basics are assured, and I'm now close enough to Toro that I'll be there in the morning.

I will almost certainly sleep here on the terrace of the closed bar, rest day Monday, as it is the only location in the pueblo combining cover with sufficient shade.
 

JabbaPapa

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The Camino provides ...

There I was, gearing up for another outdoors event, when a peregrino who lives in the pueblo comes and chats, then suggests would you like to take a shower ?

Out of the blasting heat into his cool house, good Camino chat, crikey it's so much better out of that heat, lovely shower, handwashed the clothes, met his sister, talked with her a little about Christianity, which turns into an excellent dinner invitation, and now I'm in bed, not in the street.

This is the Way.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 155 - - Toro

I am on the Levante !!

Slept so well ...

Sleeping outside again tonight, as the Albergue that was run by the nuns closed years ago, as I understand it because they grew too old to carry on, and the Municipal has existed in mere project form since 2018.

As to hotels, a 45€ starting price is not my cup of tea.

In better news, I am now wearing the middle-sized pair of trousers that I had with me, and have jettisoned the largest, and so my backpack is now that much lighter and less voluminous.

Still need a bit more weight loss before getting to tier 3 ...

Mamerto who had put me up last night actually comes in to Toro every morning for breakfast, or at least often, so he ended up driving me here - - possibly an excuse to do so, though he did need a new pack of cigarettes, so I think it was so.

Then no dice at the Ayuntamiento, so I'm back to my strategy again of avoiding the heat in a bar.

Toro is beautiful, and it is just about entirely bourgeois, in the form of commercialism and tourism. Including 4€ if you want to go into the church, a vendor of those entrance tickets clearly quite ignorant of Catholicism, and so on and so forth.

Whereas at Villardedondiego last night night it turned out that there were three separate offers to house me for the night, from the Alcalde to provide floor space, ditto from the gentleman with the keys to the church, and then my pilgrim friend who provided the bed, and his sister the food.

Night and day.

And it's not as though I had anything against the bourgeoisie, I live in just the same sort of place after all, but it remains nevertheless an annoyance that the richer towns are also the ones where sleeping outside is of greatest likelihood.

Temperatures are right up, but there's still some intermittent cloud cover.

I think there's no open Albergue 'til Zamora, so there will be more of the same in the next few days.

Hoping this is just a heat wave, and not an early start of the dog days ...
 

JabbaPapa

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The Pension Zamora which seems to have offered cheapish beds for pilgrims is also permanently closed, and I have no idea how to contact the local priests, to which the Internet is of no help at all, as it only provides touristic stuff about what to visit and what to see.

Ah well at least I had my steak and eggs ...
:cool: 🍺:cool:
 
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JabbaPapa

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I have anyway a beautiful place to sleep, with neither lights nor sprinklers, and a truly spectacular view over the Duero valley.

A simply peace is here, in contrast with the business of the town, and despite all alarums and excursions, the quiet presence of God fills the Spirit that is given with joy.

This Way is a blessing.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 156 - - Peleagonzalo

I am not in the Meseta !!

It took me a long time to get out of Toro, partly from wrong turns in town, but mostly because I wanted some more cerveza before heading out.

The way down from Toro and the Meseta into the Duero valley is stark and steep, on the old road down to the bridge. Patchy and faded yellow arrows indicate the way, but so more efficiently do the GR waymarkers.

The morning was cooler than in previous days, from the influence of the river, but as the morning drew on, and I grew slower, the heat went up and up, and the hiking became rather difficult. A few places to rest in the shade do exist, but that doesn't beat the underlying heat wave.

I eventually staggered into the village with its bar open for a couple of hours, which helped me recover. Thankfully, the mayor could offer sleeping space on the floor of the village community hall, with its lights, electric sockets, toilets, so that I spent the night indoors instead of out in the oppressiveness of the heat and a gathering storm (no idea if it broke or not).

It was a 9K or so, more with the time wasted in the morning, and today is a 10K job. Starting on tarmac.

Zamora tomorrow ? Dunno, tomorrow is also set to be the hottest of this heat wave, before things start to cool down a bit over the weekend.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 157 - - Villalazan

The walk was actually a 9K, not a 10K - - distance matters here are somewhat confused by the GR version of the trail making two massive detours around some fields, for tarmac avoidance, and had I followed it, it would have been a 12K instead !!

During this heatwave, the heat starts at about 10:30 AM instead of midday, so that I was glad to get into the pueblo before 11.

There's some discussion of my stay here at this place, that I need not repeat : https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...ay-between-toro-and-zamora.74650/post-1041417

I went to bed at about 5-6 PM, and whilst I heard that the storm that had been threatening finally broke, with quite a downpour, I just went straight back to sleep.

The hottest day was actually yesterday, hitting 40°C locally, and today's another scorcher, tomorrow a bit less, then Monday should be down again. At least here in the valley, the heat is mitigated by some cloud cover, whereas up on the Meseta it was more brutal.

Today would be a 9-10K if I followed the trail, but I'll just tarmac again, so about 6K instead, unless I feel like pushing on into Zamora, and on how the knees and heat will be. Thing is I need some shopping done in Villaralbo, and by the time it's done, with rest and such (i.e. cervezas !!) the heat might already be too much to continue.

Without the heat question, I would definitely be walking into Zamora today ... :rolleyes:

Oh well, hopefully next week will be cooler and quicker for my few days on and around the VDLP.
 

JabbaPapa

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How the heat will behave today is actually an unknown. I saw a heat map on the weather report yesterday, and rather surprisingly, almost all of the VDLP was shown as outside of the heatwave area, so that I'm in some sort of borderland.
 

JabbaPapa

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Day 158 - - Villaralbo

It was an 8K on fairly nondescript tarmac, but the trail would have been 12.

The weather is starting to change, there was a bit of a cool breeze this morning, but not enough to overcome the general heat, though its a few degrees less than yesterday's.

Somehow, I'm rather sleepy, and anyway no Zamora 'til tomorrow.

I am now in the face of some more DIY route decisions to make, and am starting to think that Salamanca is an unnecessary detour, despite the fact that I would like to be in the place. Zamora is really a detour too, but it's so close now, I don't mind.

I just want to take a more straightforward route now, though there's no question if I find myself near a Portuguese Way going more or less towards Fatima, I'd follow it for as long as convenient.

No idea yet about where to sleep tonight, going to see if the priest can help. Still digesting a panchetta and eggs meal though, it's hot, getting towards siesta, so later.
 
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hel&scott

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Beer, breakfast and strolling around Spain in search of a cheap bed. You have confirmed our children's opinion that the Camino is a geratric pub crawl!

Very envious, have a cold one for me and all the best for your travels.
 
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JabbaPapa

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Well, I've got somewhere to sleep, on the floor, and I'll need to wait 'til rather late for it ; but no later than outdoors would require.

The temp has gotten bearable earlier than in past days, but my slowness anyway prohibits carrying on at this point, let alone the pain and so on.

I have been continuing to consult maps anyway, including those of the Portuguese Ways, and it is now very clear that my route should avoid Salamanca. There's one small section, possibly two, of the VDLP that I'll set foot on, but even then it will be mostly on a variant Way.

There's one tougher day ahead that I probably can't escape, though I will do my very best !!

My new projected route is anyway likely to be the best, including because good portions of it are on the Way of Saint James.
 

mspath

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JabbaPapa,
Glad that you have at least a "floor" for the night. By chance is it in the Residencia de Mayores ? Wherever/whatever do try to "stay cool". Good luck tomorrow!
 

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Oh well - - instead of floor space on the Presbytery floor, a Romanian gentleman chose to stop by me in his car, and then drove me to his place, where his wife offered an excellent dinner, pretty much entirely compatible with my dietary restrictions, except that there was of course far too much of it from their generosity ; so that now I am in bed not on the floor, and in a position of being unable to refuse the husband's offer of a morning lift into town after breakfast - - oh well, at least that means I won't be walking the wrong way tomorrow ...
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 159 - - Zamora

I am on the Via de la Plata !!

But just a rest day. Met some pilgrims, which is a nice change from recent days, and then just sat around in town a bit.

Zamora is beautiful, particularly in the mediaeval centre where the Albergue is located. And it feels a lot like Burgos in some ways, including all the tourists.

Not much to write though. Most of the pilgrims are bikers.
 

JabbaPapa

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... except that the weather changed yesterday. There was a short, sweet rain shower, and after that, it was suddenly bearable to be outside in the middle of the afternoon.

The Albergue is really rather standard, despite its having been constructed inside an old mediaeval house.
 

JabbaPapa

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JabbaPapa,
Do take care. There is a dreadful fire in the area.
Nowhere even close to where I'm going.

I've been much, much closer to forest fires during Caminos in the South of France, and really all you need do is refrain from acting like an irresponsible idiot.

Still, close enough to it to have spotted a Canadair plane this afternoon ...
 

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Day 160 - - Villanueva de Campean

So then, that was my VDLP.

I was so used to the daily K and time limits imposed by that stupid heatwave, that I was thinking I would break this up into two days ; but as things stood this morning, and the next to perfect hiking conditions, I just went on and on, and when I reached the point of my final choice, I simply chose to carry on.

It's my longest hike so far this year, not entirely sure of distance as there is much contradictory info, but I think it was somewhere between 17 and 20 K. Probably closer to the lower number though.

I met many pilgrims on the way today, most from the wave of those who will have started or restarted or arranged to be in Salamanca for the weekend.

By contrast, the Municipal here is still closed, but there's just two of us in the private place.

If my one day VDLP is typical of this route though, I'm not surprised that it has become so popular. Much more pleasant than what I've experienced of the Madrid or Levante (can't speak of the Sureste, as I just crossed over it).

Especially though, I'm just happy to have managed a normal day's hiking, no matter how physically tiring it was ; the absence of heat fatigue alone is a huge difference !!
 
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JabbaPapa

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Day 161 - - Penausende

I am hors piste !!

And I ended up walking not that much today, as a gentleman stopped by me on the road, and asked me if I needed to come to this very place. Before, as a younger purist I would of course have politely declined, but in these elder years of the same purism, I know darned well that if you're disabled and someone spontaneously offers you a lift to exactly where you're going, you say yes please, and thank you.

Still, I did do a 7K or so out of what would have been a rather pleasant 16 or so, in the far cooler weather.

The landscape changed almost instantly walking out this morning, and whilst it is still clearly Spanish, it looks very, very French as well, and my morning walk on tarmac winding through rolling hills and valleys, dotted with little woodlands, cattle pasturing on the bracken, provided a lovely feeling of familiarity, including in the overcast and cool weather, which helped keep things easy for my knees and so on.

Having acquired some stuff at the small shop, I did nevertheless feel like some lunch - - especially after scoping my options on the map, and realising that to carry on would be a bad idea, so I came for the menu del dia at the Hotel Rural, and quite good it was.

Having then sought any solutions for sleeping arrangements, it seemed that the Ayuntamiento place is used by the women's association, and so filled with their sensitive documentation etc ; but the manager of the Hotel Rural has kindly offered floor space out on the dining terrace, plus it turned out that the fellow who had offered me that useful lift is an employee of the same establishment, so I got to thank him again.

After which it was a matter of nursing drinks 'til in a little while, and I'm rather pleased that the terrace floor in question is quite rubbery.

There is some muzak playing until don't know when, but that's a small tradeoff for the relative comfort and shelter.

I do have the impression that had I not already walked as far as I have, it may not have been forthcoming.

I am most impressed though by the beauty of the countryside here, and how pleasant it is to walk in, tarmac aside.

The end of the bloody heatwave is of course glorious !!
 

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Day 162 - - Santiz

The beginning of yesterday's walk was glorious - - most of it being on an uphill but easy track through amazing rolling landscape, large stones jutting out of the earth like sleeping giants, the country dotted with trees and covered with cattle pastures.

I have reached some higher altitudes again, 800 to 900 metres elevation, the best thing about which is the cleaner air, though it also means I'm out of most of the wheat fields (a few still occur here and there), and into more woodland and expanses of the shorter high altitude grasses.

And successive panoramas as you reach the top of each rise.

The second part, on the main road over the ridge was less fun - - just a 3K+, but it wore me out a little, so that when I finally got onto the trail again, down here to Santiz, it was clear that I would not make it to the next pueblo after, which is not far at all.

I am unfortunately again in the situation of not enough cash on me, in villages without card payment options, but I had some scraps to eat with me, a couple who run one of the bars very kindly offered a few scraps more (and it's still often annoying I can't eat bread), and I could get a bottle of beer for the day's walk at the shop, so I got by with a little help from the locals.

And the Alcalde made floor space available in the village sports hall, where I have had a very long sleep, probably for the need to recuperate from the shorter one the night before ; which may in turn explain the onset of tiredness during the walk here.

Anyway, see how far I'll get today !!
 

mspath

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JabbaPapa,
Today will you be passing the the ruins of the Castillo de Asmesnal? Hope you find real food and a bunk/bed for tonight. Take it easy.
As always Carpe diem!
 

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Day 163 - - Ledesma

It's been a difficult couple of days.

Mainly from the sleeping arrangements.

The walk from Santiz started well enough, on an easy trail, and in Palacios del Arzebispo, I found some ham, cheese, and a can of cerveza for breakfast.

Then was tarmac to Anover de Tormes where, annoyingly, some locals called the Guardia Civil to check me out, Sigh, good thing as a Brit to have my French Residency papers ...

Started walking again, but had a strong intuitive feeling that I should hitch a ride, which I did, and the intuition was right, for not only did I get a quite decent lunch (one more double steak, though this time it was by size not number), but I would very clearly have slept outdoors, with the rain, had I got into town any later.

It took a long enough time just to find the priest, and despite initial misgivings which I'm convinced his mother helped him overcome (he's taking care of her, and jolly good too !!), he actually drove around town looking for me, and to put me up in the garage of the Presbytery. Which was far better than recent nights, as there was an old carpet to sleep on top of, and it was a room not a hall, and so not so chilly at night.

Since then, I've spent a long time pondering my way out from here - - there are multiple options.

Plus I needed to recharge both literally and figuratively, phone batteries and myself.

Still, finally this morning I realised I absolutely need to make my way to the nearest Albergue de Peregrinos at San Munoz, which brought my options down to two, but from asking the locals, only one of the two has a bar etc, so I will be heading down via Villaseco de los Gamitos.

Good thing this is also the option with more trail than tarmac.

The rain anyway did bring out my big black pilgrim cape. Hooray !!
 

mspath

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JabbaPapa,
Hope all is better today without any visit by the Guardia Civil to check you out. I had a similar problem November 2008 when hiking alone in France; twas ever thus! How is the weather now?
Carpe diem!
 
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Day 164 - - Encina de San Silvestre

Today went rather well, notwithstanding the midday start.

And it was a 100% track 0% tarmac day too !!

It turns out that the trail I mentioned earlier that I would be walking on actually goes all the way from Ledesma to La Fuente de San Esteban, and so, well, exactly in the right direction.

The hiking was pleasant, not difficult, and fast enough by my snail's pace standards ; up and over a hump of land given over to the grazing of cattle and the cultivation of some trees.

But when I reached the tarmac that I had originally wanted to follow, it simply looked far too grisly, unpleasant, and dangerous ; so that when an internet search told me about the bar in this place, across the road, carry on the trail, and into a better place.

Good enough lunch, bull meat and eggs.

Then I asked about maybe any possibility to not sleep outdoors in this risk of rain, and the Alcalde has set me up in the school room, where I have found a relief map of the Salamanca region, which tells me that carrying on with this trail is the better choice than aiming for Munoz.

So I'll aim for the next Albergue along instead, then.

Short day tomorrow.

Though my Camino legs seem to be showing signs of returning.
 

JabbaPapa

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How is the weather now?
Carpe diem!
All of today was overcast and cool, with some occasional sunny spells, and it rained a bit over the final couple of Ks into the pueblo.

Pretty good hiking weather in other words, given that I was able to hike from midday to 5PM or thereabouts, with little Ill consequence.

There are some heavier showers, but so far those have been at night. It is cooler rather than hotter though, compared to expectations.
 

JabbaPapa

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hmmm, I have found out some more about this trail that I am on - - and it is a part of a Pilgrimage Camino.

I am on the Camino de San Francisco de Asis !!

It is a Way of Saint James.

It goes all of the way to the Torres, and is perfectly suited to my needs.

Hooray !!!
 
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mspath

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JabbaPapa,
What happy news this is! I trust that you have seen this Web. However it may help all your readers follow your steps. Carpe diem!

 

JabbaPapa

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Day 165 - - Sando

I am still in two minds though.

The Albergue in San Munoz is a heavy draw.

Not going any farther today though, anyway.

Won't rain tonight, so might just sleep out.

In either case, my Way goes through Garcirrey.
 
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mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
JabbaPapa,
Any spot near the Plaza Mayor? What about food and beer? Hope you find a friendly local.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
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JabbaPapa,
Any spot near the Plaza Mayor? What about food and beer? Hope you find a friendly local.
The Alcalde will arrange a place for me.

I've had a menu, steak and eggs, tinto, and have cerveza on the table right now ; plus enough in the pack for tomorrow.

At points though, I feel like some kind of harbinger of touristification, as it feels almost inevitable that this Camino will become a lot more well-known than it is.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Blimming heck - - the locals have provided not just the place to sleep in, but also the lunch, the cervezas, and some extra tinto.

This is the Camino providing big time ...

I even have a shaded porch to sit out in, by the church. Which by itself would have been a decent enough place to sleep.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Blimming heck - - the locals have provided not just the place to sleep in, but also the lunch, the cervezas, and some extra tinto.

This is the Camino providing big time ...

I even have a shaded porch to sit out in, by the church. Which by itself would have been a decent enough place to sleep.
JP,
Lucky you! In Google street view I "walked" about Sando and "saw" several spots that also were inviting. Sleep well.
 
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