|Chilly start from Rionegro!|
|Route change for the better - leaving|
At least at the beginning of the day the roads were lanes and quiet and we did at least find out how the French guys are walking - going forwards, swapping ends and cars, with (we think) their wives... There was also one change for the better - a country route out of Rionegro, along tracks rather than along roads and road crossings. The first village that one meets is Mombuey, and with buey meaning beef (ox), the origin of the name is fairly easy to work out - Mount and Ox - Ox Mountain, although no one is too sure why!
There is also a very mysterious tower, and no one is sure what it was for but one of the stone decorations includes an ox and there are various stone symbols of pagan cults. It includes a refuge chamber in the upper part of the tower which can apparently hold up to 40 people! The only way to it is from the exterior balcony - as there is no staircase to the chamber (!!) This tower "never" formed part of the church although today it does, and it shows no sign of having been used for defending the area!
Heading out of Mombuey, the way was very pretty, quiet little villages with little going on except some allotment work, again it felt like the self sufficiency of the middle ages. Old buildings with flowers growing out of the cracks in the walls, some renovated and some that were beautiful and just waiting for someone to see their potential and revive them. They could tell stories of the people who once lived there if only the walls could talk.
I met another peregrina, who had fallen in love with walking El Camino. She had come a long way, in fact walking the whole of the Via de la Plata from Seville this trip. She estimated her trip would take her to Santiago in around 7 weeks. That's some going and the weather is hot and some of the distances in the early part of the Via de la Plata are long, dry, without shade and without water. I seem to remember in research that there were a couple of sections around 40km or so! In fact, on our return to Alhama, we decided to drive south following the route parallel to this camino and the heat of the month of May was really setting in. We crossed the Via de la Plata a few times and could see scorched pilgrims trudging their way northwards in the searing heat. I did not envy them.
The peregrina told me that she first fell in love with El Camino when she walked the Frances. She felt it was the most spiritual - but then that might have been because it was her first. That was 9 years ago and she had been walking caminos ever since. She felt the Via de la Plata was more of a walk in nature and that it had a different feel, but we also both agreed that it can be more easy to chat and be distracted away from really experiencing your camino if you meet lots of people, which you do on the Frances.
|After receiving my sello at the|
ayuntamiento in Cernadilla
|Tiny villages - one was|
Vallermerilla, with a population
of only 11 souls!
|Back in Sanabria - the lake where we ran the dogs each|
day and let them swim and have fun before heading
back to our cabin.
Being with the dogs is always a great way to relax at the end of the day. Yume demonstrated her prowess for fetching sticks - although she only really likes to fetch things out of water. She is a funny dog!
After a good splash and often a fast and furious game of chase up and down the shoreline, the dogs are always ready for their beauty sleep. Although as you can see in the photo here, Yume is always up for a bit of extra bone chewing - her energy knows no bounds!
|Time for bed after a long day on the camino|
|Interesting diversion sign on the|
route that took us away from
the tar road for a change.
One has to hope that it is meant to be
this way up for the sake of the arrow...??!