Via de la Plata Camino – Day 14 (Mérida to Ourense). Tuesday 3 April 2018. 20 kms.
The camino is otherwise known as The Way, as is the Tao, and I turned over the similarities between the two as I walked the road from Morille to Salamanca.
There was a straight yellow line ahead of me, almost flat, through green fields of recently sown grass. There were three of us at intervals, visible to each other.
The wind was strong, all on my left and it was overall too cold. I walked with my woolly hat on and hood up most of the way. In fact, today I would have recommended avoiding the month of March on this camino, but perhaps it was unseasonal. The accommodation, in general, is not geared up to it.
Here there were plains and plains to cross and so for hours I could see Salamanca, but even once I reached the outskirts there were two underpasses to duck under and parks with unfriendly city folk to cross.
Then I received a lovely welcome at the municipal albergue (donativo ie you pay what you think it is worth) and a host of friends had already arrived in that warm place.
Oh, it is a very elegant and sturdy city, Salamanca, with its deep ochre buildings and grandeur!
In Bar Cuzco the man was also exceptionally friendly, and though expensive, I waited out the pouring rain with wifi and red wine to warm my insides, stepping out onto the gleaming streets 2. 5 hours later.
In the evening I wandered around and here are some of the great sights.
Via de la Plata Camino, day 13 (Mérida to Ourense). Tuesday 3 April 2018.
The previous evening, we (there were only two of us in the albergue) had sorted out the boiler, which fused the lights at top setting but gave out wonderfully hot water after several hours at a lower one. The rain and wind continued all night, the shutter irregularly banging to wake us at intervals, and it was a dreary start. The hostel was freezing, there was no kitchen where I could prepare something, and the cafe was shut so no breakfast.
It was a very straightforward journey though, through Monterubbio de la Sierra to Morille.
There were more pigs along the way, and men working in the street. Up and down roads we went in conversation for five kms, and then walked apart in blessed silence for the further seven.
The weather brightened eventually and the raindrops dried on my specs. It was sheep farming again after days of dairy country.
The Morille hostel was nice and bright in the upper room but open-plan so the one small heater was insufficient. Between us we moved the bunks across the opening to the further chamber and draped the coloured duvets over to keep out the draughts. Thankfully there was hot water and although there were also places to sit, it was so cold that they were impossible to use. Ditto, the fridge was unnecessary at this time, but a stove would have been amazing to make tea on. The cost was, after all, only six euros. The smaller hostel was shut – only this larger one was open. When we arrived all the bars were shut until 12 noon. I had my credential stamped at the bar and paid later. The village has no phone lines: I think I understood from her Spanish that a bull damaged the line but…!
Everyone was at work in Salamanca, 20 kms away. There was a seemingly deserted village school and the townsfolk had made a great effort to rebuild and smarten up the place. As in the previous pueblo, in this village there is a travelling shop but today I missed it (Pedrosilla blog). A most helpful woman in her housecoat helped us find the place.
Via de la Plata Camino – Day 12 (Mérida to Ourense). Monday 2 April 2018. 18 kms.
I slept in the upper room of the lovely hostel in Fuenterroble and two others joined us three from the crowded dormitory downstairs during the night to avoid the snoring.
Breakfast was amazing – an Easter Monday special maybe.
It was a flat walk today through holm oak woods. I started with Marie Noelle but we soon parted company to walk alone.
A plane left its noise behind it; there were more pigs. I had decided not to walk a very long way (over 30kms) so I took a right at the Dueño de Abajo when the others went left.
The young cows were orangey-red and they played Grandmothers Footsteps with me: first running away when I walked and then freezing, all in a crowd (about 30 of them), when I turned round.
It was wide open countryside and I spent a great deal of time reviewing my dream of the night before – very powerful.
There was rain coming, judging by the wind and the feel in the air. One becomes attuned to the changes when outside all the time.
The sound of an engine seemed to be connected to the blunt, cut-off tree stumps – also revealing strong orange at the wounds.
Chaffinches with softer apricot-coloured bellys were swooping, and there were some grey cows wandering, activating their sonorous bells.
It was getting cold and wet by the time I arrived at Pedrosilla and I went to the bar, as directed, to indicate the keys to the albergue municipal, the council hostel. It was devoid of any heating, dirty and musty-smelling, so when Benito came along he joined me in the bar where there was wi-fi and warmth.
The family-run bar was excellent. The youngest daughter (of 9!) was there with her mother and various relatives; her sister ran the joint when she was away in Paris working as a TV producer. She cooked a wonderful tortilla for us and chatted away, ‘twenty to the dozen’ as they say, telling us about her life and that of the others. There is no shop in Pedrosilla although there is a mobile one which happened by at the right moment and charged me 6 plus euros for a tub of lettuce, one mandarin and a banana!)
Nuria made a long afternoon/evening, in a village which had no any other entertainment, and where the weather was almost entirely terrible, most enjoyable.
Note: Something has gone wrong with my WordPress making it impossible to load photos using the usual method, so some of these are elongated for some reason, and all smaller than usual. For which I apologise.