|May God accompany you...|
May 8th, 2014Peregrinos everywhere! It's just astonishing how different it is now I am past Zamorra. It was also very interesting to note my own reaction to all these pilgrims (on this day all 8 of them!!)... I had previously had 800km all to myself and now I discovered I felt quite possessive about the camino! I felt a bit irritated and annoyed that there were so many and where was my solitude?! On thinking about this I was quite astonished at the amount of emotion I felt over this. Attached to the solitude I guess?! Hmmmm - food for thought and "beware"!! It is amazing how quickly and where we create our comfort zones! I could fully appreciate why pilgrims talk of walking the more solitary routes and then, if they have decided to head north and join the Camino Frances, they find it a bit of a shock!
|Kaishi leads the way as the sun rises|
After a few days, I enjoyed being on the camino with these other peregrinos, although I never did quite get used to them being "behind" me or overtaking. I preferred to stop and let them pass and go their own pace, otherwise I felt almost as though I was being driven along at a pace that I hadn't set. This too got easier and was not necessarily a problem if someone was walking fast, caught up and passed - but where there was someone kind of "just a little distance behind" it often felt uncomfortable. A bit like when driving and someone is just going that speed that means they are a bit too fast to overtake, yet you are going to be too close on their tail to stay behind.
|Sign indicating we should go|
under the new railway via the
|Kaishi at the camino marker above the dam|
|Approaching the dam|
On reaching the top of the hill there is an underpass going below the new railway and on this occasion there was a sign, still covered and yet to be fully "unveiled" to mark the way of the camino. From here we climb a little more through a beautiful woodland path which brings us onto the main road which we cross. At this point we have to be careful to look for diversion signs and where to go as there are huge lorries and earth moving vehicles working as part of the railway construction. This section at the time I walked it was easy to follow, but further on peregrinos were again abandoned on the busy and dangerous highway. Re-crossing the road the track heads across fields and then winds gently upwards taking us past some lovely houses with a view over the dam. On this section was another of the fabulous camino markers like the one in Montamarta.
|Yume exploring near Castrotorafe|
|Marker and the castle ruins ahead|
|Peregrinos in the distance!|
We headed on over some wide, flat country and near some pines I put the leash on Yume as there were still a few processionary caterpillar nests about - although dirty and grey and on their way out. There were two peregrinos on my tail, a distance but gaining on me and I stopped to take off my long sleeved shirt and put on sunglasses and nip behind a bush. I set off again and they were closer but somehow never catching me up. I felt like I was in a Monty Python movie - The Holy Grail, where the knights are advancing on the castle and yelling and never getting any closer and then suddenly there they are!! I kept expecting to turn around and they would suddenly be right behind me! However, I got into Riego del Camino where we hoped to have a coffee break and pick up a bocadillo. As I neared the town I reached into my camelbak for my phone to let Michael know that I was nearing the meeting point... and it wasn't there! Sudden panic. I knew exactly where it was! Where I had stopped. I had been in such a rush to put my pack back on and move off before the other peregrinos descended on me that it had slipped off the pack and onto the grass. Now I almost ran the last km to the meeting point, and when I arrived - no vehicle! I wandered the town - which was almost completely dead and which was so in the Middle Ages still that they had the goats living under the houses in the middle of the town. I hurried back to the meeting point - poor Yume now thirsty and hot as the sun's intensity increased and still no vehicle. I couldn't even ask to borrow a phone from someone as of course I hadn't got Michael's numbers written down - a huge flaw in the back up plans and one I intended to rectify immediately assuming I got my phone back. Finally - there was the car! Late as there hadn't been any cafes or bars anywhere selling food and so Michael had been driving to find provisions. I bundled in Yume and we set off back down the road and turned onto a track that would take us onto a drivable part of the camino.
As we got to my stopping point - there it was! The relief was unbelievable.
|The AVE railway construction runs along the camino.|
These blue signs with yellow arrows are very
confusing as they are for the construction vehicles, yet
are identical to some used to mark diversion on the
|Finally the Camino reappears from under the railway|
I conferred with my back up vehicle which was already in town and had located a pilgrim's bar and Albergue. I wanted Akina picked up and new water brought for her as we had now run out as we had been ambling around for ages. The only thing to do was head back as scrambling down vertical banks was not going to be possible. The moment I got back to a bridge - which ran right across the railway and which was crossed by speeding trucks with construction material, there was a marker!! It would have been SO easy for them to have marked the way. If I had known or thought of it then, I would have built one of the wonderful arrows to help others... and I know more would make this mistake, because as I entered the town, the two Python peregrinos who had been behind me all morning and overtaken me in Riego... were suddenly behind me again! They must have gone a long way wrong and turned round and walked all the way back, to be in this position! Yet nearer still to the town, more pilgrims were coming from all directions, I guessed they had also gone wrong and somehow negotiated the building works to get back on track. In fact the next day the track went to where we would have come out and I guess that some of those I met had got onto this part of the camino and back-tracked.
|I struck gold with Hostal Galicia|
Dinner was at the Roble (Oak) bar just off the town square and with a big scallop shell proclaiming pilgrims welcome and over the two nights we were certainly surrounded by them! Germans, French, English and American with a couple of Spanish. Most were older - 50's and over - and not the 20-30 yo demographic I had expected. We got the lentils we had craved - although a little thin I have to say and not as chunky and heart warming as those we had spied at the Albergue in Granja (!)... The service was friendly and warm and actually, what more can one want? If you want to stay in the Albergue in Granja, it is actually welcoming and looks very nice and the room fee from what I could overhear seemed to be 5 Euros. I do believer however that it is "floor" showers and toilets and not beds - so if you have a back, hip or other physical challenge then it might not be for you. Floors sadly no longer suit my back and also I did not want to carry the extra weight of carry mats on these trips even if I could cope, but it's not worth locking up so that I would not be able to walk at all.
If you decide on the Galicia and arrive on foot into Tábara, then as you get near the town there are two arrows. One seems to take you into a field (which is correct if you are continuing on the Camino or going to the town centre) but if you wish to check in and go to the Galicia II check in point - you need to follow the arrow where there is also an "A" painted. I do not know if this refers to the Albergue, as I did not see it, but it will take you to the right point. The Albergue here is apparently very basic - floor and showers only. I recommend the Galicia if you have the funds!