Adventures beyond time

Adventures beyond time

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Leaving Madrid

A view of the Prado, unfortunately glimpsed only briefly on Sunday morning as we were rushing to catch the shuttle to the airport...maybe next year. Don't mind the image of the finger at the top of the photo; it must be my fault, because who could conceive of a design flaw in an iPhone?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Beginning the Trip Home

We bid goodbye to our pilgrim friends and we are off to the train station. Tonight Madrid. Tomorrow Gainesville.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Side Trip Cancelled by Rain

We'd planned a fun side trip to the former capital of Spain, Valladolid. This morning when the 5 of us met in the lobby to head to the bus station, the changed forecast was 80% chance of rain both there and here in Zamora. We decided to stay here where we have a hotel to take refuge in.

It never rained.

I guess that is good ... Although I hate to carry my poncho all this way and never use it ... How's that for a conundrum?

The 5 of us had breakfast together and then went separate ways until our pilgrim meal at 2:00.

Russ and I wandered the Romanesque building walking tour, visited the cathedral, and took pictures from the ramparts. Later I want to shop for a trinket to add to our Christmas tree decorations. I try to buy one memory per trip for the tree.

Wine and cheese with our pilgrims friends at 7:00. They will hang here until Sunday to avoid a forecast of heavy rain on the trail tomorrow. We are sorry to not be going on with them. Sunday's walk looks very pretty and not too rigorous in the guidebook.

But Florida calls and our tickets home are for Sunday.

Last Day on the Trail

Less wind, 40 degrees when we started and mid-50s by noon, partly cloudy skies, wide open vistas across rolling, harvested farms, a shepherd and flock of sheep running across a field and then road ahead of us just too far to capture on camera but close enough to hear all the sheep bells clanging and pick out the black sheep from the white, one smelly barn to walk past with 3 barking dogs tied not as securely as I would have liked but securely enough...we got by unharmed, about 12 miles to Zamora.

Our new Hungarian friends had bused ahead because of a sore leg and found a new, clean, inexpensive hostel and great restaurant. They met us at the medieval bridge onto for once we didn't get lost entering a city.

When we got to the hotel, they had champagne and little sandwiches waiting! What a treat.

We rested, ate a wonderful meal, visited the albergue where we might volunteer sometime, saw the city on foot, bought cheese and had a cheese feast at the hotel on the evening. The bus riders had, bless their hearts, brought some wine from El Cubo albergue so we had that too. Great day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Prettiest Walk Yet

Low 40s with 20-30 mph winds this morning as we left our fun albergue about 8:30. We (us, the Canadian, and the Hungarians) spent yesterday evening enjoying pthe homemade wine of the albergue owner and his stories of breeding Arabian horses and opening the albergue in August. Never let it be said that having no common language makes communication impossible. We used the I-translate app to go from Spanish to Hungarian to English all evening. Great fun.

The photos show how lovely our walk was today. What a change..mid80s last week and blazing sun to downright cold this week and dramatic cloudiness.

On the trail we saw 2 foxes, kite (not a swallowtail but equally big), a big, loose, barking, black, sheep dog with sheep ... but happily he wanted to bite only passing cars, not pilgrims, corn fields in irrigation, sunflower field ready for harvest, vast panoramic vistas ... And not many hills. Perfect.

Two albergues in this town ... bonanza ... but one had smelly bathrooms. We are in the other one with 5 bunk beds. So far 4 men...Russ , our Canadian friend, a Frenchmen, and a Spaniard plus me. We each get a lower bunk :)

Tomorrow ... Zamora.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

This Camino Keeps Hitting Us With the Unexpected

Under threatening, ominous, low-hanging clouds we ventured out into, believe it or not, a cold, windy morning at 8:00. It was still quite dark.

We had stayed up talking with the 10 roommates in the 8-bed albergue long past dark. The Irish couple pulled the 8th mattress off the bunk and slept together on it on the living room floor. The Japanese pilgrim curled himself into the settee...better than an airplane seat, said he.

It was still dark when we all stirred about 7:30. We got on the trail about 8:00. It was a gradual and relentless 12 mile hike over rolling hills and took us about 5 hours. It would have been better with a cafe bar along the way or some smashing scenery. But it was pretty much just a long walk.

We are in El Cubo del Vino which is tiny. We stopped at the first albergue and paid 24€ for a room with two lumpy beds. The Hungarians and the Canadian are also here. We had our pilgrim dinner with them in town. The Hungarians treated us to guappo.

Now it is siesta time. At 5:00 the stores will reopen and we will buy ingredientS for an evening fiesta. It is still cold and blowing at about 30mph. Rain is forecast. A few days ago we were suffering heat stroke. What next??

The photos show the trail today and our albergue under the day's dramatic sky.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Little Albergue in the Middle of Nowhere

Tonight we will stay in an albergue with 4 bunks beds, 2 toilets and 2 showers. Everything else in town is closed for vacation. So far there are 9 people...2 French, 2 Irish, 2 Americans, 1 Canadian, 2 Hungarians. Oooops. The hospitalero says 1 must leave. It is 12 miles to the next town. Good luck kicking one of us out. We're sticking together!

The weather has taken a turn to cooler. It was a great walk to get here. If only it were spring and green this would be beautiful.

Oh heavens ... A Japanese man just arrived! He does not speak Spanish, English, French. I'm glad we were here first!

The photos show the walk today and the albergue

Sunday, September 23, 2012


What a pretty place! We walked around yesterday in the sun (interspersed with sitting on the Plaza Mayor re-hydrating and people watching), last evening in gorgeous weather, and today in rain. Salamanca seems to be an all weather city.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Longest Hike Ever, Not on Purpose

Friday we hiked about 20 miles. We know other pilgrims regularly hike that far...but never before, and never again we hope, do we.

We planned to hike about 12. The owner of the casa rural where we stayed in San Pedro said there were 2 villages at about 11miles distance. Each was about .5-1 miles off the Camino but one had no accommodations. So she reserved us a room in the other.

We should know better than to trust a non-hiker when it comes to distances. After walking about a mile, the village was still far over the hill before us. We retreated to the Camino.

A sign for the other town said it had a lodging. We headed off route a second time. In about .5 miles another sign had the lodging crossed out. Back to the Camino and onward into Salamanca...about 3 miles to the edge of town and about 2 more to get to the city-center. Then we walked in circles until we found our B&B, which is very nice and had a room even though we were not reserved until Sat.

The morning's walk was great. The afternoon was nice, but being tired makes it less wonderful and the sun gets really hot about noon. We got in about 3:30.

This city is lovely. More to come about Salamanca.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Communal Dinner, Sunrise on the Trail, Flies, Rest

The communal dinner at the albergue last night included fresh tomato salad, local sausages, potatoes (not french fries!), liver!!!!, local melon, and conversation with pilgrims from Denmark, Finland, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Switzerland. We cleaned up and washed dishes with the Swiss man and Italian woman.

It was cool enough for long sleeves when we hit the trail at 7:45. The first 8 miles through gently rolling farmland was beautiful. The next 4 up a steep, rocky ridge were horrid. Flies landed on us like we were cattle or horses and I longed for a swishy tail.

Then it got really hot and we caught a cab for the final 8 miles to town. No reason to be miserable, right?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It Keeps Getting Nicer and Nicer

This morning when we left our albergue, it was down right cool outdoors. No complaints from us. The trail was through farmland with sheep, cattle, and horses all day. We walked on wide, level, packed dirt roads lined be stone walls. Trees shaded the road some of the time. The sun shone bright but the coolness and breeze stayed with us all 12 or so miles. There was even a cafe bar at about mile 7...with a clean bathroom.

We are now resting at an albergue that is sort of a Camino legend. It was founded and is still the domain of a local priest who is reputed to be quite the character. We'll meet him at the communal dinner.

The American Pilgrims on the Camino provides some support here and we have a tiny room in "American House".

The photos show today's trail and this albergue.