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Wednesday, 1 January 2014

El Camino Levante - Day 13 Medina del Campo to Nava del Rey

Safe Journey - Experience through the eyes of
a child (Alida)
I had been looking forward to this leg of the trip as I was planning to stay at the convent in Nava del Rey.  Apparently pilgrims can just arrive and as long as they call in before 20.00 hours, there is no need to book.  However, it was a rather interesting day in regards to things not being quite as they seem!

Firstly, do take care when leaving Medina del Campo.  On leaving the city, follow the directions as outlined in the guidebook and map as there are arrows under a railway bridge on route that look as though they are a "new way"... however, Michael decided to drive that way after parting with me just to see where they went (I followed the old and rather faint arrows as per the map) and he found that they took him right back into the city centre.  Very confusing!  The real way is not clearly marked, but once on track, over the overpass of the railway, it is not difficult because the route is straight, straight and straight again!

It was a stunning morning - clear and fresh with those wonderful damp autumn smells.  The route follows the railway tracks and has a nice, old feeling about it and is very rural, but as the railway is unfenced, it means "on leash" time for the dogs.  Nearing a working winery, small and private, there was a bird of prey watching us.  This was at Dueñas de Medina.

Church with large nest above the
private vineyard
The track goes gently uphill onto rolling downs
From here the track heads up a long but gentle hill and then over some rolling downland toward Nava del Rey.  We had a morning coffee break up on the top of these rolling hills just as the sun was coming out and watched trucks in the distance taking building materials up and down the new motorway being built right through this region.  I feel very fortunate that although I can see it being constructed, I am not assaulted by the noise of traffic that it will no doubt bring to the ears of future pilgrims once it is opened.
The new road which we have followed
on and off along this Camino
Well marked to show where to cross the new road, the
arrow interestingly, is made from steel reinforcing rod
and painted yellow!

On entering Nava del Rey, the convent was easy to find, however, getting attention was another matter.  We had arrived well before the allotted time but ringing the bell yielded no response.  I phoned the number in the guide book and left messages, I then got a call back, from a different number and fortunately had enough Spanish to understand that the convent no longer offers accommodation.  I asked where I was supposed to stay and they suggested asking at the ayuntamiento - which was my next plan anyway.  They would also be able to provide my sello for the day.

The ayuntamiento was easy to find and a nice lady explained that sadly the convent had been closed for a year (!)  As a suggestion to the amigos, maybe when sending out the maps and guidebooks, a piece of paper with any amendments could be included, as I understand that reprints will be expensive and an unnecessary cost done too regularly.  It was such a shame and when I asked why she said that there were no more nuns.   I will have to have my monastery experience on a different part of the Camino - that's if there are some nuns or monks to be found?!  She directed me to Hotel Zamora which was opposite and also mentioned in the guidebook, and this was a lovely and welcoming little place.  18 Euros for a room with bathroom along the hall - very clean and cozy and with a menu del dia which saved us traveling out for food.

Nava del Rey in the distance

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