Sunday, 16 August 2015

El Camino (Levante) - Cernadilla to Otero de Sanabria (16.9km) Wednesday 14th May

Cernadilla to Otero de Sanabria (16.9km) Wednesday 14th May
Surprisingly chilly start to the day on the walk from Cernadilla to Otero de Sanabria (where it was then
extraordinarily hot!)

The most wonderful and perfect surprise!  I had expected the way to be tar all the way to Asturianos, but in fact it turned out to be the most beautiful, old, medieval roads and forest tracks.  Stunning old viallges and buildings and at San Salvador, there were kind of "Romeo and Juliet" medieval balconies on all the buildings!  Oh I would so love to have the money to buy one, renovate it and live there for holiday times of peace and tranquility... or just be able to afford to retire there.  Just stunning.  This style of building must be typical of the area because they occurred again at Otero de Sanabria.

Chain sculptures!
There was the most amazing kind of engineering sculpture at Cernadilla, from motorbike chains and other kinds of springs and sprockets (for want of the correct terminology!) and which made a gate archway, gate and other sculptures at one of the houses on route.  The morning was surprisingly chilly, no doubt something to do with the mountains ahead, yet by midday, the temperatures soar so that one definitely wants to walk in shorts and short sleeves!

The houses are delightful, the villages again so peaceful and little hermitages along the way.  On reaching Entrepeñas there were wonderful old wayside crosses marking the route, and the medieval road still existed, between old walls along a green lane, next to the new tar lane.  The original entrances are still in it, leading into the gardens of the cottages lining the old route.  It makes its way, not surprisingly, to the church.  Where it makes its way under the new road, the two ways merging at times, the tar is crumbling and the old road and cobbles can be seen emerging from beneath.  It always amazes me how the old road construction is so strong and long lasting, still surviving and coping with modern cars, standing the test of time, where the tar gives up the ghost.

The original walls marking the fields are also still there - showing each household where their own plot would be to grow their food, keep their pig and so on.  Yet again it was like taking time travel.  The villagers are still farming their village plots - it's just breathtaking and something that unless one walks the camino, one rarely gets to experience.  It really takes us away from the tourist tracks and travels to places that one would not normally consider visiting.  I am grateful to the Camino for this experience among many.

Interesting tradition in this area of tying green bouquets
of leaves over doorways or next to them - I'm trying to
find out why and what this is means, but so far no joy.
On one section of extremely muddy track, through wonderful woodland, the big medieval (and maybe even Roman slabs) still helped us stay out of the puddles and prevented the mud from flowing over the top of my shoes.  The route is wet from all the little springs that emerge along the way, no doubt these would have kept the pilgrim refreshed at one stage.

Thank you fellow perigrinos
Where route markers were hidden or less obvious, kind peregrinos has built arrows with stones or twigs.  I found this a lot along this section of the Camino - from our start at Zamora all the way to Galicia.  I just wish I had thought of this myself on earlier stages of the route that were unclear or rather ambiguous.  In fact, there is one place in particular that should we be able to, we will go back to on our way home and place an arrow there - where near the beginning of this trip peregrinos ended up walking on the dangerous and fast main road near Montamarta and where we went horribly wrong at Granja de Moreruela.

Old slabs mark the original side
of the road
No doubts here then!
At Asturianos, the albergue apparently has 6 beds but it is not listed in the guidebook.  The bar down the road on the right is expensive (and not particularly friendly - unusual for Spain) but despite this did an excellent bacon, eggs and coffee charging only 12 Euros for two!

The route is changing a lot, with various diversions along the way due to the railways and new roads, but the way is well marked and easy to follow.    

Large old road slabs help us keep our feet dry - Kaishi also appreciates this!  She's not a dog that likes to get her
feet wet, unless the rest of her is swimming!

 Such a beautiful walk today - right out in the countryside and actually, I only saw other pilgrims as I neared my destination at Otero de Sanabria.

The various caminos start to merge into each other along the way - although I am officially still following the Levante route with my Levante guidebook, we are also on the Via de la Plata and Sanabrés routes.

Lovely tracks to our final destination today with some great camino signs.  Collecting photos of these is part of the fun!  On reaching Triufé (a lovely little village with some great places to renovate, along with some already renovated!) I met a couple of people working on their allotments.  I said what a "muy bonito" village they have and they were very happy and directed me to where there was a good pub to eat... sadly we never found it!  After reaching the support vehicle and driving off to locate it we must have taken a wrong turn, so ended up just heading back to Puebla de Sanabria instead and having a bit of a trek round looking for lunch, in fact returning to a lovely place where we had had dinner a couple of days before, up towards the castle.  It was lovely to do some site seeing and wander the old walls and town as tourists for the afternoon before heading back to our cabin again.

The old - beautiful and crying out for restoration...

The new... renovated and lived in again
There was a lovely little church in Triufé which sang of St James.  The coloured pictures on the door, the shell above it... everything says El Camino the further north we head. 

Ahead lie the mountains again, which I will start to walk
up into the day after tomorrow

The castle in Pueblo de Sanabria - a lovely town but very much tourist destination for hikers and those
wanting to explore into Galicia.  It is the kind of gateway to the next province.

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