Saturday, 15 August 2015

El Camino (Levante) - River crossing at Camarzana de Tera to Rionegro del Puente (18.8km) Monday 12th May, 2014

River crossing at Camarzana de Tera to Rionegro del Puente (18.8km) Monday 12th May, 2014

Again, another stunning walk, this time all along the canal as the sun rose and the mist hung above the water.  It is so peaceful at this time of day and the colours are so vibrant.  It was a tad confusing on reaching Calzadilla de Tera as it looks like a long bridge when it's a small one marked on the map.  It's actually the canal bridge that one crosses, not the bridge on the road!  

The old abandoned Albergue
It then turns left along the canal but the arrows end up taking us to the old albergue which is no longer in operation and there are sad forgotten grave markers propped inside and one has to go through a hedge!  Turning left at the road through the hedge and then over the canal and left again, this is where you pick up the arrows and continue along the canal.

There are albergues, but they are mostly private ones, but are clean, nice and have good home made food - especially those of "La Trucha" and "Toro" which can be found in the lovely little village of Olleros de Tera.  They are well signed on the route and also offer a good breakfast if you have been up and walking early in the refreshing morning.

The route then takes you along way by tar by the dam to Villar de Farfón where there can be found a new Albergue that is not mentioned in the guide book (or at least not the one I have and that was still the only one available at the time I originally bought it... I am not sure if there has been an update since, but certainly not in 2013.)  The early route is confusing as as one approaches the dam there is a route that heads off to the right, with arrows, through scrub.  

It's a lovely walk but overgrown and with old arrows and it takes the pilgrim down to an area of flood plain, which if they opened the dam could cause serious problems and even cut off the pilgrim or create a risk of drowning!  It is important to note that the upper road is the one that is supposed to be taken, but as in many cases on the camino, the old markers are not removed but still linger.  
The route is less interesting but safer and will take mostly gravel/tar routes until reaching the dam (where again I saw the two walkers going in reverse but was not able to catch them up or direct them to the prettier reverse walk).. Also, the old route would have taken the pilgrim on a bridge crossing which is now at the foot of the dam and no longer in existence.  It's interesting to see, but also makes me think (as on a number of occasions) that a great job is being done on keeping markers updated and refreshed, but old ones should really be removed!  This particular section could be very dangerous at the wrong time!!  
Of course the dogs, and in particular Yume, loved the dam walk!

On meeting up with the support vehicle, we decided that we would all walk together for a while and the dogs could have a run and play in the water.  They love dams and as it was a particularly hot day, it seemed the perfect opportunity for them.  As there was a lovely cup of coffee drawn on a sign that suggested refreshment could be found at Villar de Farfón, we decided that this would be the perfect place for us to stop, it's around 3km from the dam and at the start of yet another piece of very old "medieval" preserved camino which takes the Peregrino through to Rionegro del Puente.  There are so many wonderful old cobbles, some in place but many also dug up and thrown aside.  There are side markers along the way, like old curb stones, and in places old ridge stones, stone masoned to fit together like an elongated jigsaw.  I love these stretches, they feel ancient and filled with the energy of past pilgrims.  There are trees that offer cooling shade along the way and this particular stretch is totally amongst countryside so that one feels one is walking in the past itself.

The following photos really capture the walk to and along the dam - little Yume my faithful companion for the day and loving playing among the trees, exploring to her heart's content.  My favourite thing - shadow photos.... and the ancient arrows still looking fresh on the trees although this is "not" the correct route since the dam has been created!

The two wonderful people at the new albergue (4 bed and growing) are Dorothea and Craig, both missionaries who have done a fabulous job renovating the old buildings and creating a haven of tranquility for the Peregrino.  They new South Africa and we chatted about Ridgebacks.  They loved them.  They had also worked in India and Malawi.  On arrival we were welcomed with coffee and biscuits and we could have spent the day chatting.  I wished I had known about this place as I would most certainly have stayed with them.

I loved this section of the walk and could have walked it all day.  I finally entered Rionegro over an old pilgrim bridge (sadly now concrete) and having collected a ridgestone for my mother.  It was discarded to the side and abandoned among its companions.  Ahead there was a shepherd with his flock and I could have been transported back hundreds of years.  Only a couple of other pilgrims had passed me, one walking at quite a pace (as actually so many do!) with his scallop shell bobbing on the back of his back pack.  

Always good to have great home
cooked food and a vino tinto at
the end of a good day on the camino!
  • Have lentejas with Esther at Bar Palacio - and they have a great sello
  • Have tortilla and home made chorizo at Bar La Trucha (also with a nice sello) who also have great coffee
  • Stay at Albergue Rehoboth

Rehoboth - means "Broad Places" and is the name of 3 biblical places:
  1. A well in Gerar dug by Isaac
  2. An ancient city where Saul came from
  3. A town in Genesis
Thanks to Dorothea and Craig for the history/bible lesson on that one - very interesting!   Check out and call on 647 297 390.

Small yellow marker on a stone on the "old" camino

Stunning views from the top of the dam wall, across the woodland that Yume and I had just walked through... followed by the "steaming cup of coffee" - to be had at Rehoboth with Dorothea and Craig.
The entrance to Rehoboth, where we had coffee, tea and biscuits and a good chat in the shade.  The dogs waited in the car under a tree and we whiled away quite some time before heading off along the medieval track - about 9 perfect kilometres as though I had traveled back in time.    
Rehoboth... welcomes you

9km of Medieval Time Travel... 

... and again - Medieval road, the curb stones mark the side
of the Camino
 With Dorothea outside Rehoboth... marker stones from Peregrinos walking this way before me and wonderful old buildings lining the route into Villar de Farfón.

Another one of my favourites - a shadow picture... after all, when walking alone, it's one's shadow that is the main company along the route sharing each and every footstep!

Villar de Farfón.
Although I saw many more Peregrinos on this trip and along the Camino, it's a popular time of year for walking and we are getting every closer to Santiago... I was fortunate to be mostly alone on the Medieval stretch to absorb the energy of the pilgrims of the past.  It is always nice to see someone sporting a scallop shell though, and there is a shared purpose that seems to be generated between everyone, even if walking alone.

Arriving in Villar de Farfón and sending this photo of
me with the ridgestone to my mother

Ridgestone shaped to fit

Perfect end to the perfect day -
relaxing with the red girls at their

A nice bit of history and the story at Rionegro del Puente - important in the history of the pilgrimage and due to the sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de la Carballeda, also known as "los Falifos", was that confraternities were obliged to leave their most valuable garment to them on their death.  The value of these "falifos" built roads, bridges, hospitals and pilgrim albergues, perhaps including my lovely little ridgestone!  The total bridges built in this way was 35 and the total hospitals, 30!
Second perfect ending to the day!

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