View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Thursday, 30 October 2014

28th September, Camino Sanabres to Puebla de Sanabria

 

Can we do altitude? We can. Oh yes we can…

image     I mean, look at the size of that tree!

There was rarely a time when we were in doubt as to which way we should go, the inhabitants of Asturianos wanted to make damned sure we knew how to leave town:

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The bar at the Albergue didn’t open for breakfast so we got our heads down and sloshed (only a bit) to the first village that had an excellent bar / restaurant and a Dia shop (think Spar, but foreign).

The bar was a busy place and not without it’s peculiarities. Slap bang in the middle of the customer area was a display of knives, all for sale. There were big ‘uns, little ‘uns, in-between ‘uns, in fact there was virtually every type of knife available for sale. What I didn’t realise until now, and Matthew certainly hadn’t mentioned this to me, Vanessa had a thing about knives. She seemed to want to keep buying them. In fact it was becoming clear that she couldn’t get enough of them. Perhaps she’s taken out a huge life insurance policy on Matthew – they’ve only been married a few months. You hear about these things…..

So she bought one – how one earth she was going to get it past security at the airport, well heaven knows. I suppose she’d just put it with all the other knives she was carrying.

;-)

Another unusual thing about this bar were the large numbers of wasps nests on the ceiling:

image Oh well, whatever floats your boat. A bit like knives I suppose. Or taking all the bread.

Suitably refreshed, and only a little nervous of the knife-wielding Vanessa, we passed the first water source of the day:

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Leaving our snug little bar, suitably armed with a variety daggers, swords, stilletos and other dangerously sharp implements, we came across two ladies out for a Sunday morning mushroom collecting jaunt.

It appears that this area (I daren’t tell you where it is, I’ve been sworn to secrecy under pain of something probably quite painful) is a favourite mushroom hunting area for those in the know.

Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.

These ladies sell the product of their Sunday morning forays to restaurants in the posher parts of *******.

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Then we came across more mushroom hunters:

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This fine lady very kindly gave us the mushroom she’s holding. I’ve no idea of the variety, you’ll have to ask Vanessa – she seemed to know.

image It’s not just ladies that get up to these larks

 

imageIf you got a fed up of walking you could always jump in a taxi

A gazillion miles away, and obviously nowhere near where the wonderful mushrooms were being collected, was Remesal de Sanabria. At this place a meeting took place (a very long time ago) between Fernando the Catholic and Felipe the, er, beautiful. That’s the literal translation. They were probably very nice boys.

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They must have fallen out / had a bit of a tiff, because just down the road they prepared to beat the living daylights out of each other:

image I’m not sure who came out, er, on top.

Off we went on out jolly way, the right way as it happens…

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….until we came to the village of Otero de Sanabria and it’s parish church:

image  image Wooden carvings of two saints above the church’s main door

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Wooden carving of seven sinners above the sacristy door

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Matthew enjoying the power cables….and the view of the church

What sticks in my mind when I think back to this walk, apart from the history, architecture and so on, is the interest shown by the people I met on the way.

If a car drove by as I walked down a road, the driver would invariably waved and greeting shouted. People would stop to talk when walking through towns and villages, the call ‘Buen Camino’ was often heard. Everyone realised I was walking the Camino. The Camino belonged to them and they were proud of it.

image We were stopped by this lovely man, chatting with him for nearly half an hour!

image The builders are in

imageThis one looks like a good project… 

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…although this one may be beyond economical repair

A change of scene, the pylons of Puebla de Sanabria come into view…

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…and a tractor…

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…shortly followed by a musical welcome into the town…

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…and then our Albergue:

imageCasa Luz = Light House 

After an excellent lunch in the restaurant across the road from the Albergue we set off to explore the town….and have a beer or two.

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imageDowntown (uptown?) Puebla de Sanabria

imageThe castle walls 

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 Puebla de Sanabria from the castle

This was my last day of walking El Camino on this trip, I’d walked around 250km from Salamanca. It’s around the same distance again to get to Santiago de Compostela – a good few km more to get to Finistere, where I hope to eventually finish this walk. That will have to wait until next year, there are other trips to do.

Matthew & Vanessa, Frankfurt Frank, Patrice & Christien, and all the other peregrinos I encountered on my walk all contributed hugely to my enjoyment of the trip. I miss their company already!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

29th October: For Mick & Gayle

…who will know precisely where I am!

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This was so good I may just have to drive north and try another one tomorrow!

27th September, Camino Sanabres to Asturianos

Note to self: bring gloves next time.

A 7.30am start (that’s the 7.30am in the morning) and it’s cold. Again.

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We’d been advised that there would be very limited facilities on today’s route and that Mombuey, the first town on today’s route, was to be avoided.

I can’t recall where the advice came from, but it was a bit wrong.

Mombuey had tractors…well it had ONE tractor: 

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It also had food shops, loads of them. It was a really bustling place although at 10am it was only just waking up. Stocking up with far too many goodies than we needed at the panaderia we followed the signs out of town:

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Plenty of opportunities to fill up with water:

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image  A building like this in England would have snapped up by a builder long ago

More churches, this one in Valdemerilla:image image imageIt’s difficult to photograph interesting architecture that’s not adorned with power cables

And some lovely roadside (locked) Ermitas, this one in San Salvador de Palazuelos:

image….and the mysterious guitar-carrying peregrino (peregrina?) 

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Passing along the north side of the huge lake of Embalse de Cernadilla, passing through the small town of Entrepenas with it’s (locked) churches, we arrived in the outskirts of Asturianos.

The (locked!) Ermita del Carmen:image 

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imagePlease give money! 

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image This way to the Albergue

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The Albergue in Asturianos, attached to the back of the local sports centre was clean and quite well appointed, but it was a bit soul-less. Importantly, the bar was able to provide beer and decent meals.

It had been a day of unremarkable flat, easy walking. The main points of interest were the buildings we encountered on the route. The only hard bit was walking through the heat of the day.

Mad dogs and Englishmen and all that. Oh, and mad Canadians too.

That night it rained – heavily.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

26th September, Camino Sanabres to Rionegro del Puente

A quick photo call at the 12th century church of Santa Marta de Tera:

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A 7.20am start under clear skies meant yet another cold start, they’re becoming something of a bad habit. The first few hours of unexciting walking were in the shade of trees which didn’t help.

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The benefit of sunshine wasn’t felt until we crossed the River Tera, and then it got really hot:

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More troglodyte dwellings:

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In search of a late breakfast / early lunch in Calzadilla de Tera, we passed the ruined and abandoned church dedicated to Saints Justa and Ruffina (Santa Justa y Ruffina). The two sisters were martyred in the 3rd Century – you can read a bit about them here.

There’s a very atmospheric photograph here.

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It’s a damned shame that so many of these wonderful churches have been allowed to fall into such states of disrepair. It can’t be that long before these buildings collapse all together.

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It was another couple of Km before refreshments were found, in the village of Olleros de Tera:

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Blink and you miss it:imageThe village shop. There was nothing to identify this as a shop other than an advertising poster for ice cream in one of the windows. 

 

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 I do like grapes….

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…..lots!

image Matthew giving an apres-lunch performance.

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To The Trout Inn

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Another locked church: Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Agavanzal

image I managed this shot through a peep-hole in the front door

image Route choice: left for bicycles

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The dam across….this:

image Embalse de Nuestra Señora de Agavanzal

Which was full of enormous fish:image

At Villar de Farfon a small Albergue offered very welcome refreshments to passing walkers. The place was run by a South African family who have dedicated themselves to missionary work. imageWe were certainly grateful for their efforts. Within a minute of walking through the door we were offered cold drinks and biscuits – all they asked for was a donation. I hope we were generous.

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A couple of hours later we rolled up at Rionegro del Puente. En-route to the village I snapped this, just for Alan:

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We arrived in a cookingly hot Rionegro del Puente and made straight for the wonderful Albergue:

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Things were to get even better. Across the road from the Albergue was a rather splendid restaurant:

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This place was run single-handedly by one man….well I suppose it would. Although it could have been run single-handedly by one woman. Whatever.

Our chef / waiter / everything else, served excellent fare (including wine and seemingly unlimited amounts of the local rocket fuel) for norralot of dosh – 10 Euros.

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We all slept well that night.

Well we would have done had it not been for the burping, farting and general racket coming from a bunch of cycling peregrinos who were sharing our dorm. Oh well.

And the storms that were forecast? They just didn’t happen.